Above: View looking south along St John Street from the western side of Islington High Street. The zoom view in the RED rectangle is shown below.
The short road called Islington High Street (which extends north as Upper Street) is on relatively high ground. High relative to the City. If you walk south from the busy road junction where Islington High Street, St John Street, City Road and Pentonville Road meet, your journey will be along St John Street. Although it meanders a little, it essentially leads to Smithfield and thence to St Paul’s Cathedral.
There are many paintings from centuries gone by of village life around London with distant views of the City’s tallest building – St Paul’s Cathedral – to be seen on the skyline. Today there are so many offices and blocks of flats in and around London that recreating such idyllic country scenes with a modern view are often a waste of time.
Islington was the last village on the long journey from the north of England to the City of London. When the weary traveller reached Islington the sight of the dome of St Paul’s must have been a welcome sight. It is therefore all the more remarkable that the dome can still be glimpsed from the busy road junction that has just been described. Glimpsed, that is, if you have a keen eye and fairly powerful zoom lens.
Because the roads are very busy at this spot, most people are either driving their vehicles, keeping a keen on the road ahead, or are pedestrians on the pavement that are too scared out of their wits to notice such an unusual view. At the top of this article is a general view looking south along St John Street from the west side of Islington High Street at the corner with Pentonville Road. The small part of the image that is important is surrounded by a red rectangle.
Above: Enlarged view of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The enlarged view of the RED rectangle is seen in the second view, showing the grandeur of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Instead of peering through the trees we have to squint past the lamp-posts and traffic lights then – lo and behold – there is the dome, still standing out against the modern backdrop. To the left are two red lions on – guess what – a pub called the Red Lion. On the right are the top floor and roof-line of Georgian terraced houses, still standing from when they were built some time after 1800.
Of course, it only needs a developer to erect a high-rise office or block of flats to totally obscure the view. It is to be hoped that this grand vista will continue unimpeded and others will enjoy discovering it.