News & Press

A summary of news, month by month – plus a few extra things for keen readers.

Stopped to take a photo of Rosemary Branch pub theatre on the Islington/Hackney border and was snapped by Islington-based @Jonokojonoko (instagram) who takes a pic of Rosemary Works, the building behind me every day. Serendipity as now I must interview him! Here is his Rosemary Works facebook page.


Thank you to the many Islington Faces readers and interviewees who came along to Blighty Cafe for the first meet up. (c) islington faces/feb 2016

MARCH 2016
London City Hall is expanding its info about Islington. You can see basic info here. Plus Islington Faces got a BIG mention. Read the full post here, or just enjoy this taster:

I’ve always felt that everyone has a story… you just have to ask the right questions. But I hadn’t expected interviewing would give me so many new friends.

“Wherever I cycle or walk in Islington I’ll see readers and interviewees to stop and chat with. Shared stories of our inner city lives can be so inspiring. The interviews include all sorts: grannies, shopkeepers, community stars and the people who’ve turned their lives upside down in response to injury. I love hearing about people who are passionate about food, history – anything really.”
NICOLA BAIRD, founder Islington Faces

Thank you to the 16 readers and interviewees joined Islington Faces’ first meet up on Leap Day (29 Feb 2016) at the fab Blighty Cafe, 35-37 Blackstock Road, N4. Faisal and his son were the only ones born and bred in Islington but one lady, who moved here when she married, had lived in Islington for 47 years.

To test our adding skills over a cuppa we tried adding up the number of years everyone had lived in Islington (including the two dogs) and it came to a grand total of 450 years.

Two of the guests – Stanley Smart and Hanisha Solomon – had also performed on stage at the Islington Faces celebration in Oct 2014.

Read more about Chris Evans who set up Blighty Cafe on Islington Faces here.


Valerie Goode from British ethical fashion brand Kitty Ferrerira (front row, left) with Nicola of islingtonfaces blogging students.

Valerie Goode from British ethical fashion brand Kitty Ferreira (front row, left) with Nicola of islingtonfaces blogging students.

One of my favourite interviews on islington faces was with ethical fashion brand Kitty Ferreira. Brand founder, Valerie Goode, subsequently came into London College of Communication to meet some of my blogging students and talk to them about her motivations and fab clothes.

They took notes for their blogs…

Now Val has posted links to her favourite three posts by my students, see for yourself at

THANK YOU INTERVIEWEES & READERS – the blogger’s mega milesonte – 100,000 plus views – was passed on 30 October 2015. Here’s the evidence, plus five fascinating interviews from people who live or work (or have lived or worked) in Islington.

Milestone from met on 30/10/15

Milestone from met on 30/10/15

November 2015
“At The Islington Society’s AGM (12 Nov) members were greeted with handouts that included excerpts from your interview with David Gibson. He was clearly delighted with the interview and used it instead of his End of Year report. He also emailed a link to it to all members.” Ceinwen, Islington Faces reader.

October 2015
Loved seeing the Q&A about Islington and Islington Faces in the rather fab (uber-free) Cabbie Blog, here’s the interview with me. There’s such a lot of interesting London info on that blog, definitely one to follow.

Just seen the new magazine for Islington Age UK with some islington faces blog interviewees in it – Subhash & Urvashi Patel from Highbury Barn’s Five Boys Natural Health Store. Get Together is a lovely magazine for Islington Residents aged over 55 (but you can have a look if you are younger too). Heere’s a link or go to

Thank you for all your views – about 700-1,000 people pop on to Islington Faces every week. Here’s the latest screengrab of happiness.

30 September 2015.

Blog views from 30 September 2015.


Celebrate autumn 2015 with a bit of music. You can play the piano at Oxfam Books, 48 Upper Street; enjoy the free organ concerts at Union Chapel or listen to the voices of Islington Music Centre playing at a gig on Saturday 17 October.

Celebrate autumn 2015 with a bit of music. You can play the piano at Oxfam Books, 48 Upper Street; enjoy the free organ concerts at Union Chapel, next to Highbury & Islington station or listen to the voices of Islington Music Centre playing at Martha’s Gig on Saturday 17 October, see ticket info here.

September 2015
Heaps of interest in Islington since Jeremy Corbyn, our local MP for Islington North, became leader of the Labour party. Some quotes inspired by Islington Faces, and JC on C4 News (print),

While on holiday this summer the 150th interview was published on Islington Faces. I was also happy to receive this feedback from an early Islington Faces Blog follower, Lynda, who has suggested a couple of good people (and places) for me interview. Soon after @IslingtonMuseum tweeted a cool pic of Campbell Road.

“Thank you for your great interview with Jerry White – a real coup. I read Campbell Bunk many years ago and found it absolutely riveting.” Lynda

You can read the interview with social historian and London author Professor Jerry White here.

March 2015
Just received a gorgeous email from Islington Faces reader Kim Hodges. Couldn’t resist sharing it.

Dear Nicola,
I want to thank you for your blog. My family is from Islington – my Auntie lived on Sheperton Rd ( sadly the area she lived in is gone), my mum grew up on Fairbridge Rd and my great grandparents were from Clerkenwell.

Mum is an active 81 and does not have a computer but she loves it when I call and read your blog to her. That’s when we take a stroll down memory lane – remembering the Eel Pie shop on Junction Rd and shopping in Nags Head. So many other places and she loves hearing about what’s changed and stayed the same. From a link on your blog we got to see the interior of my Nan’s flat on Fairbridge Rd. It was for sale/lease this year.  My whole family got a kick looking at the photos.

We were in London this summer and strolled around Islington. It was great! Coming home I found your blog and we will definitely consult it on our next trip.  My cousin is in London but everyone else has moved away. We’re in the US.

So, thank you again – your blog brings back names and faces of those long gone. Joy knowing the old neighborhood is thriving. Kim

February 2015
My hope is to get more customers for the great people offering amazing services in Islington (and get some more followers) with this useful guide to where to get your stuff fixed. Check out

January 2015
During 2014 WordPress monitored this blog – here’s a fact I’m extremely happy to discover: “The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 39,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”

Thanks anyone who looks at the interviews. Here's a magic moment on 14 November 2014

Thanks anyone who looks at the interviews. Here’s a magic moment on 14 November 2014

November 2014
I’d be delighted if you’d vote for Islington Faces Blog in the UK Blog Awards  #UKBA15. The link to vote for this blog is here, open from 10 Nov-3 Dec 2014. There are a huge number of blogs on the nomination list… all wanting you to read them.

FILM: Have a look at this link to see a short film and report about the Islington Faces Live 2014 event which raised £200 for the King’s Head Theatre.

October 2014

Islington Faces Live line up - instead of going viral took to the stage. Watched by 80 people guests included piano player Bernita Matondo, stargazer Ernie jegorovas, poet mechanic Stanley Smart, Pearly King of Finsbury John Walters, singer Hanisha Solomon, interviewer Nicola Baird and King's Head Theatre executive director Dominic Haddock at the front Islngton's Mayor, Theresa Debono, with her husband, Tony.

Islington Faces Live 2014 line up – instead of going viral took to the stage to celebrate the 100th published post on the blog. Watched by around 60 people (who raised more than £200 for the King’s Head Theatre),  guests (L-R) included piano player Bernita Matondo, stargazer Ernie Jegorovas, poet mechanic Stanley Smart, Pearly King of Finsbury John Walters, Ethiopian singer Hanisha Solomon, interviewer Nicola Baird and King’s Head Theatre executive director Dominic Haddock pose behind Islington’s Mayor, Theresa Debono, with her husband, Tony. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh. A huge thank you to the audience, guests (missing from this pic were Speak Street cafe organiser Joanna Bevan and artefact collector & Whovian Dad author Pete May) and those who couldn’t make it this time.


The Pearly King of Finsbury, John Walters:

The Pearly King of Finsbury, John Walters:

ISLINGTON FACES LIVE – to celebrate islingtonfacesblog’s 100th interview there will be a one-off live event with Nicola Baird at the King’s Head Theatre, Upper Street on Saturday 25 October 2014, from 3-5pm.

Tickets are £5 in advance at  or call the box office on 0207 478 0160. Tickets on the door will be £6.

Expect to meet local royalty – the Pearly King of Finsbury; a stargazer from Highbury Fields; stunning Ethiopian singer Hanisha Solomon; Joanna Bevan who runs a unique language cafe at Archway, the Mayor of Islington plus others.

This event is to fundraise for King’s Head Theatre.  islingtonfacesblog is delighted that Barnaby’s hairdressing salon at Highbury Barn is sponsoring the show.


I like this news item in the Islington TribuneNicola’s blog comes to life at the King’s Head: (24/10/14), see here.


Screen grab from King's Head Theatre promoting the show on 25 October 2014.

Screen grab from King’s Head Theatre promoting the show on 25 October 2014, tickets available from the King’s Head Theatre here or on the door.


Quick promo for the #islingtonfacesLIVE event on 25 Oct with a photo shoot outside the King's Head Theatre. I asked a passer by to snap us all so you can see Nicola Baird, Peter Gruner from the Tribune newspaper and Dominic Haddock, Executive Director of the King's Head Theatre & Opera Up Close.

Quick promo for the #islingtonfacesLIVE event on 25 Oct with a photo shoot outside the King’s Head Theatre. I asked a passer by to snap us all so you can see Nicola Baird, Peter Gruner from the Tribune newspaper and Dominic Haddock, Executive Director of the King’s Head Theatre & Opera Up Close.

Two online pieces by me – research thanks to the time I hang around Islington – for Angel Resident magazine.

September 2014 Lovely feedback: “There’s so much ‘insider’ information about local life on This is such an excellent blog; will be my ‘must read’ from now on. Will think of some suggested interviewees for you. Ursula

June 2014 There’s a thriving community in Canada called Islington. In their Summer newsletter they talk about, see here August 2014 read the interview with Toronto-based Linda Plater who is the co-ordinator here.

May 2014 - Marina is my 100th email follower. As a thank you I baked and delivered a lemon cake to her home.

May 2014 – Marina is my 100th email follower. As a thank you I baked and delivered a lemon cake to her home.

24 April 2014 – I’ve been blogging now for seven years! I still run the three blogs I’ve worked on about low-carbon exploring and on childcare. this blog gets the most attention these days – and there are 99 followers in total. The next one gets a homemade cake, as long as they live or work in Islington. Here’s some feedback about my blogging career from Facebook. But most of all I want to thank anyone who has ever read any of my posts.

Nicolette Congrats! We have enjoyed your posts. Caroline  Thank you Nicola, your posts are wonderful. You’ve really hit your stride with Islington faces. Jennifer  Congratulations Nico, I enjoyed reading your inspiring.. Fleur  I am impressed. wish we had some one like you up here in the dales

8 April 2014 – from Twitter  Have just discovered ‘s lovely Faces blog. 28 March is launched. Still figuring out how to use it but think I might put more pix of landmarks on to it. Meanwhile had some lovely twitter feedback from the fabulous IslingtonBlog. 21 March 2014 It’s spring, and nearly my birthday, so taking a liberty and adding this lovely twitter feedback from @FieldsHighbury – a regular retweeter of islingtonfacesblog interviews. If you’ve enjoyed the stories and interviews on this blog, you could: islingtonfaces2013_cover DOWNLOAD the eBook Would you like to read the eBook of Islington Faces 2013 by Nicola Baird. Islington faces 2013 costs just £2.01 – for the Kindle version available from Amazon here. HELP promote a local charity Let me know which local charity any funds raised by this blog should go to. At the moment we are talking zero funds, but just in case that changes. My preference is for organisations that help give people a voice, a skill or local opportunities. Do you know a charity working in these areas? INVITE me to give a 20 minute talk about…

  • The brilliant people of Islington What makes a good life story (just about everything!)? How do you get people to share their stories? How do you keep an interviewee’s voice true?
  • How to write your life story Simple ways to share all the adventures of your own life with your nearest, dearest and the next generation
  • Read all about it Tips on how to start recording family and neighbourhood stories, plus ways to share them.
  • Your own group/organisation Be amazed at what you and your friends/family/colleagues know but haven’t always been so good at sharing because they thought you already knew.

Contact: Nicola Baird. ================================== MARCH 2014 Screenshot 2014-03-02 11.52.17Join in – Want to try writing an interview for, or taking photos for this blog? Have a look at the (unpaid) opportunities via Here To Islington. FEBRUARY 2014 Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 12.47.23Milestone – Live tweeting via Highbury Barn pub’s website, after interview with pub manager Tony Bedwell. Tony’s post also secured the most views on the first day (231). On a normal week between 500-1,000 views are made for the most recent interviewee. Do follow this blog so you don’t miss out. Very happy to be profiled in Highbury Community Association’s newsletter. There is a pdf of this edition here. JANUARY 2014 Milestone – interview with Hazel, park theatre dog. She’s cute, oh yes, and a Renaissance dog, with her own twitter account. Interview in Angel Resident with Steve Hatt – fishmonger in the My Angel column adapted from islingtonfacesblog. OCTOBER 2013 Milestone – 60th interview about people who live or work in Islington published on, see Miles Brown, garage boss. SEPTEMBER 2013 Interview in Angel Resident with Ian Shacklock on the My Angel column adapted from islingtonfacesblog. See here JULY 2013 From Twitter/Highbury Fields: I’ve raved about @nicolabairduk ‘s blog before: her piece on Clara Macedo Cabral and Islington is especially resonant Amrita: “I have been following your wonderful blog for some months and just recently took the plunge to subscribe.” Lynda: “I’m a dedicated reader of Spitalfields Life and saw your link under one of your comments. Until then, I’m embarrassed to say, I had not heard about Islington Faces.  Will let you know of any people I come across who might be of interest to you.” JUNE 2013 7 June feature in the Islington Tribune by Pavan Amara and Amy Smith about flower seller Marco Wouters and the amazing 400 year old mummified cat. See their feature here. Marco’s story is on here. Rewrite of the interview with unique house portrait painter Teresa Robertson in the fabulous Angel Resident magazine (June 2013). You can see the online version here (the My Angel column starring Teresa  is the last page of the mag). From Twitter/Caroline Russell: Another great Highbury blogpost from @nicolabairduk on local activist Sue Jandy. MAY 2013 From the Islington Tribune 3 May 2013 by Amy Smith in the Neighbourhood News column, see what she wrote here:

Did you go to Vaudeville?

framework_islington_logoNICOLA Baird loves to hear the quirky and unusual stories of Islington people. She has already written about more than 35 residents in her blog, “Islington Faces”, from a circus founder to a milkman. She has asked for the Tribune’s help to find willing interviewees, particularly anyone who remembers attending the Vaudeville Theatre in Finsbury Park or a bus driver who used to enjoy their tea breaks in Plimsoll Road. Nicola would also like to talk to Arsenal’s biggest fan – a title people might fight to claim. If this sounds like you or someone you know, contact Nicola on


MAY 2013 COMPETITION – Win a book by Piers Torday. Comp closes on Wednesday 8 May 2013 at 5pm. Winner was Annie who said: “A 12 year old boy in Islington should go to a street where all the men play football in the road, slowing and blocking traffic, and be exposed to the good sides of what Total Tetosterone can look like.”

NOVEMBER 2012 From Philippa W: “You need a better SEO (search engine optimisation).” Reply: Thanks Philippa, I realise I’ve go to improve it, so now the blog is called I hope this will be less confusing, and ensure the stories about people have who live or work in Islington will be much easier to find. Nicola DECEMBER 2012

 Islington Chinese Association
Below are some of the questions people have sent me hoping to find out info about their families or Islington memories. Please do email them or leave a comment below. Thank you.

8 February 2014 from
GARAGE: I have read with interest the blog about Don Buckenham and his postcard collection from the Islington/Finsbury Park area.  I wonder if any of your readers might know anything about, or have any photographs of Arsenal Garage which was an “automobile training centre” (driving school – apparently the larges and oldest motoring school in north London) during the war at 70 Blackstock Road N4 and which  my grandfather (William Brain) used to own. I would really appreciate any info.

Many thanks
Fiona Wootton
26 November 2012
v2 BOMBS AT HIGHBURY CORNER: I read your very interesting article about Edward Smith on your ‘Islington Faces Blog’. I am hoping to make a series of films about lost landmarks and the reason for their demise. The film I am currently researching is about Islington and Highbury train station, which was destroyed by a v2 bomb on 27th June, 1944. The film will involve an architecture historian helping a CGI expert to re-create the original station, as well as pertinent interviews with people who remember the station and the bombing.
I wondered if you knew anyone in Islington who might remember this event?
Kind Regards,
Will Steel

Follow up 10 February 2014: 

The film is on hold at the moment. I ended up finding eye witnesses by attending a local bingo night in Islington! Will

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