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Clerkenwell | EC1A

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Clerkenwell Area Info

Clerkenwell Area Info

Clerkenwell in the London Borough of Islington is now considered an extremely fashionable place to live and its well-connected location makes is very attractive. For Francophiles and Europhiles St Pancras International is just one stop away from Farringdon Station.

For the less adventurous, Clerkenwell is within easy reach of a plethora of tube lines and, with the imminent arrival of Crossrail, an entirely new station has been built at Farringdon to cater for the Elizabeth Line as well as the existing Thameslink service. Other nearby tube lines are: Northern Line (Angel or Old Street station), Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City (Barbican Station), Central Line (Chancery Lane) and, slightly further afield at Russell Square station is the Piccadilly line. Kings Cross St Pancras has all of these, plus the Victoria Line and Suburban railway services.

For those looking to live in Clerkenwell, the world is your oyster with an eclectic mix of styles available from converted industrial warehouses around Saffron Hill to high end Georgian apartments on Wilmington Square, with the price tag to match – a 3 bedroom maisonette with a private courtyard on the Square will set you back in the region of £1.3m – but it’s worth every single penny. If you’re looking for something more modern and don’t mind waiting, there’s a 214 apartment development under way at the old Royal Mail sorting office at Mount Pleasant with the first phase due for completion in 2020. Alongside all of this however are social housing in the form of the listed Edwardian tenements on the Bourne Estate, behind Leather Lane.

Being in Central London of course parking is a premium and you would most likely be required to purchase a residents parking permit. Unless you drive a low emission vehicle or an electric car, be prepared to pay heavily for owning a vehicle – and wishing to park it outside your home. With the introduction of the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) however, Islington Council have published heavily discounted parking tariffs for owners of low emission vehicles. For example, a diesel vehicle manufactured before 2001 with a 2 litre engine will cost you nearly £400 per year for a parking permit. Compare that to a post-2001 vehicle with Co2 emissions of 115g/km, you’ll pay under £32 for 12 months. Electric vehicles can park for free.

Of course, buses serve the area extremely well and a taxi will get you anywhere for less than a tenner, or of course there’s the bike hire scheme - colloquially known as Boris Bikes - and docking stations are in abundance. This really is the best way to get around and see London.


Things To Do In Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell is home to the world-renowned Sadler’s Wells Theatre on Roseberry Avenue. Sadler’s Well’s has a longstanding reputation as one of the top dance performance venues working alongside the English National Ballet, associate Company since 2014, Resident companies Wayne Mcgrecor CBE, ZooNation and New Adventures contemporary dance company. International Associate Companies include Belgian company Rosas, Germany’s Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and brilliant upcoming dance company Acosta Danza from Havana, Cuba. As well as showcasing new talent alongside well known names in genres like hip hop, ballet and modern, Sadler’s Wells is one of the most respected dance academies, encouraging and teaching dance to young and old alike, regardless of their skill level.

Just off Clerkenwell Road on St John’s Square is the breathtaking St John’s Gate. Built in 1504 by Prior Thomas Docwra it formed part of Clerkenwell Priory which was the English headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St John, who provided medical assistance during the Crusades. The voluntary medical service St John Ambulance are governed by the Order of St John, of which the Queen is the Sovereign Head. St John’s Gate now houses the museum of the Order of St John and is well worth a visit – and it won’t cost a penny.

Follow your nose to Smithfield Market famous for its reputation as one of the largest wholesale meat market in Europe. The market itself is located between West Smithfield and Charterhouse Street inside three listed buildings – covering approximately 10 acres – and is open weekdays from 2am. Most of the trade has been completed by lunchtime so to get the full experience and to find the full range of stalls open, set your alarm to get you there for abut 7am.

Quality food and drink are of course well catered for in Camberwell, and none more so than the Michelin Star St John, just a stone’s throw from Smithfield Market and run by Head Chef Steve Darou. With a logo of a whole pig, it goes without saying that it is a feast for carnivores everywhere.

Coffee bars abound here also, heavily influenced by Australian and New Zealand coffee aficionados, who have shared their craft with the residents of Camberwell. The Clerkenwell Road seems to be the focal point for caffeine, cakes and croissants with Workshop Coffee Co., Modern Pantry and J&A to name but a few.

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History of Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell’s history is largely a religious one. It’s name comes from the Clerk’s Well in Farringdon Lane. After the hospital and Priory of St John of Jerusalem was founded in 1140, the Sisters of the St Benedictine Order drew water from the well, and annual plays were performed close by, by the London Parish Clerks and City Students, making the well a focal point for the area. Part of the well remains visible today, through the window of a building at 14-16 Farringdon Lane, and can be visited by appointment.

Traders were an important part of Clerkenwell’s heritage. Apart from the famous Smithfield Market since medieval times jewellers, printers, bookbinders locksmiths and horologists would ply their trades. Today, these crafts remain well represented, although now occupying shopfronts instead of warehouses and lofts, which have since been converted into apartments.

In the early 1900’s Clerkenwell formed part of the Borough of Finsbury, later becoming the London Borough of Islington. Clerkenwell suffered badly after the Second World War when many engineering trades deserted the area. This opened up the scope for regeneration when several housing estates cropped up in the post-war years. Fast forward to the 1980’s again the focus was on gentrification, with attention turning to the former industrial buildings. Loft-living became popular in the area, with architects, building professionals and designers flocking in.

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