I attended a conference in Islington today. It was in the Hilton Hotel, adjacent to the old Floral Hall on Upper Street and a stones throw from the southern portal of Islington Tunnel. At lunchtime I wandered down to the wooded valley beyond the tunnel and before City Road Lock. It was once, some 20+ years ago, my first mooring in London.

The Vincent Terrace cutting is a hidden gem, a sanctuary in the heart of the city; yet so close to the bustle, noise and crowds of Islington’s Upper Street.
The tunnel mouth. We’d take Tuesday night convoys of boats up through the tunnel to the sanitary station at the St. Pancras Cruising Club, stopping at the (now long gone) Waterside Inn for a ‘celebratory’ pint on the way home…
The glassy-still waters reflecting the woodlands. We used to have clean-up crews in the woodlands each weekend. At the time, we were working to pursuade Islington Council to support the creation of fully residential moorings on the site. Sadly, it came to nothing, and British Waterways, despite our offer to pay the Poll Tax etc., forced us to move on… It’s good to see that boats still moor here, though the ‘railing’ side is now emptied of boats…
Today, just like 20 years ago, people were meandering along the towpath, enjoying the afternoon sunshine, the quiet of the Cut, and the decorated moored boats… To my mind, London’s waterways remain a sadly under-utilised resource for all Londoners…
This was my mooring, under the weeping willow. My ‘home’ for close on two years, and two boats!
A ‘green & pleasant land’ in the heart of the Capital. Looking back towards the tunnel-mouth.
The view from beneath the Danbury Street road bridge. On the left-hand side, where the bushes are now, there  were once moorings too…
The old factory above the lock. In my time it was a semi-derelict shell, but has long since been converted into desirable live-work apartments…
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