Holloway is a continent of multiculturalism…

… in the planet of diversity which is London.

Planet diversity.

Planet vielfalt.

Planète diversité.

Planeta variedad.

Planeet Verscheidenheid.

Planetens mångald.

Planeta Različitosti.

Планета разнообразия.

Planeta Diversidade.

العربية: كوكب تنوّع

Banbanchin Yanayin Duniya.

Rozmanitosť Planéty.

(Do you recognize this woman in red?)

This series of ‘Holloway’s diversity’ is based on a few days of photo shooting in the street. I have read that at the 2001 census, the population of Holloway was 33,958. Overall, more than 180 000 people live and work in the Islington area. It is home to a very multicultural population and is one of the most densely populated areas of London.

Our community is a mix of Jamaican, Columbian, Brazilian, Russian, Mexican, Australian, French, Polish, Turkish, British, Swedish, Irish, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Bahraini, Chinese, Congolese, Japanese and Beninese…

There are about 3000 languages spoken in Holloway.

The ‘community feel’ in Holloway is what makes my neighbourhood so unique.

A series of ‘Spring is back’…

… from yesterday’s photo shoot in Holloway.

It seems as if Spring is back. We have had very sunny spells this week.

Walking through Holloway is a pleasure, with the heat of the sun warming up our souls. I just love London when it is not snowed in, unbearably cold or damp as a puddle.

A loose T-shirt, a chilled blazer, a pair of nice flats and no more fur coats, no more big woolly jumpers, no more warm boots… And I’ve even started wearing my Ray ban sunnies.

The invasion of the sun in my everyday promenade is just a path to happiness.

I love Holloway in this weather.

A very ironic video about Holloway Road…

… I just found on Youtube. Enjoy!

It made me laugh, and when I showed it to my flatmates in Holloway they laughed even more.
Although Holloway is a very pleasant place to live, sometimes I have to admit the content in this amateur-video is very relevant.

I also found this poignant amateur-video. This is exactly the kind of journey I have when I travel by bus. This shows the journey on the 43 route, that goes through Archway, Holloway Nag’s Head, Highbury and Islington, Angel and terminates in London Bridge, via Moorgate and Bank. Watch this and you’ll get an idea of what my borough looks like on a (very) sunny day:

A series of ‘Big Brother is watching us’…

… as Holloway is the the most spied-upon road in Britain.

I have read in The Telegraph that Holloway Road is ‘watched over by more than 100 closed circuit television cameras‘.

In the article it is reported that in one 650-yard section of Holloway Road, that runs from Archway to Highbury Corner, there are 29 cameras mounted on shops and lampposts, a church and a courtroom.

The Telegraph states that there are 102 CCTV cameras monitoring crime on the two-mile road, as well as a further seven checking for speeding cars and vehicles straying into bus lanes.

CCTV cameras in our streets in a very big issue in London: ‘Civil liberties groups are alarmed by the number of opportunities for the state to watch people in Holloway Road, particularly as they claim surveillance cameras do not always help to reduce crime‘.

The DailyMail ironizes the situation by titling one of their article published in July 2007:

Welcome to Big Brother Street

Georges Orwell, had already a visionnary mind in his 1984 book as he wrote:

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct— in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”

A series of ‘Van and Man’ ads…

… found this morning on my walk to University.

I always tend to smile when I come across some strange things while walking.

Luckily this morning was very sunny, quite warm (believe it or not) and there was a smell of Spring in the air.

And I had time.

And I had my camera.

And I found these quirky ads on every phone box on Holloway Road. This is Holloway’s randomness.

H.M Pentonville Prison in Holloway…

… or how there is a prison up my street.

H.M. Pentonville Prison is situated on Parkhurst Road in Holloway. This is just a bus stop away from my house, on the 29 route. I go past the prison nearly every time I hop on a bus.

I have made some research on the prison. It opened in 1852, originally housing both male and female prisoners, but since 1902 it has housed only women. It is considered as the U.K’s major female prison.

Famous prisoners have been held in the prison’s walls. Oscar Wilde, the Irish writer and poet was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor in May 1895. He was convicted for ‘gross indecency’ implying homosexual acts. He was called a ‘sodomite’ by public opinion.

Another famous person imprisoned was Ruth Ellis. This beautiful blonde was the last woman to be executed in the U.K. She was convicted with the murder of her lover, David Blakely and hanged in the prison in 1955.

There has been a book written by Thomas. L. Jones on Ruth Ellis’ story. To read it, click here.

Numerous suffragettes were sent to Holloway in the early 1900s, as I read here:

The first suffragettes to be sent to prison were Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, in Manchester in 1905. Suffragettes were first sent to Holloway Prison in October 1906.

Once inside Holloway suffragettes were stripped and made to wear dark green dresses with white arrows marking them as prisoners. (A brooch in the shape of a white arrow was given to suffragettes emerging from prison as a badge of honor.) Their cells were 5 x 7 feet big, and they were confined there for 23 hours a day, with half an hour chapel and half an hour of exercise. They could not speak to one another, and could have no visits or letters for the first 4 weeks – after which they were allowed one letter, and one visit.

They were given knitting and sewing to do, a book about housekeeping, and little else. Annie Kenney described being imprisoned after so much activity outside: “I summed up prison as follows – Too much discipline, too little companionship, too much gloom, too little laughter. There is a sadness, an oppression, in every cell that goes to the building of that great structure.”

This prison has been a home for many prisoners and I feel it is filled with history. Criminal, illegal, improper, mental and out of time stories are still imprisoned in those walls I go past on my 29 bus.

And I discovered a few songs, talking about Holloway prison.

Bush, the british rock band sings ‘Personal Holloway’ in its 1996 album ‘Razorblade Suitcase’:

Tune my weaker eye, Spit white
Hold the world up all day
She’s blue in the face again
Paracetamol, Burn the darkness all away
And drinking kitchen paint to dye the winter eye
I hope we’ll never see again

Deaf and dumb with the lights on
Deaf and dumb with the lights on
Married by signs
Married by signs

Personal holloway, Six month linen
It’s safe to say we are alone
Suburban suicide, Watching night come amber
It’s all so temporary

Deaf and dumb with the lights on
Deaf and dumb with the lights on
Deaf and dumb with the lights on
Married by signs
Married by signs
Married by signs

Move a little way forward, move a little way now
Move a little way forward, move a little way now

Bleed life, breathe life
Could be a better plan

Hear his song on this video:

I have also found a 1989 song called ‘Holloway Girl’, sung by Marillion:

I was out in the cold of a North London street
A cog in the hurrying world
Above the walls and the gate police
I caught a glimpse of a Holloway girl

She was reachin’ out of a window
From a space just a few inches wide
’till the hand of justice pulled her back inside

One day, freedom will unlock your door
Hold on. believe on.
Be who you were before
One day, freedom will unlock your door

I know how hard it can be to wait
For proof you were right all along
Self destruction is easy for you
We know what you’re capable of

But like a needle in a haystack
The truth gets so disguised
In a kingdom built on madness and on lies

One day, freedom will unlock your door
So hold on. believe on
Be who you were before
In deepest darkness
The faintest light shines bright
So hold on, hold on
It’s gonna be alright

You’re lookin’ up at a mountain
Between you and the outside
But there isn’t a mountain in this whole world
Hasn’t been climbed

One day, freedom will unlock your door
So hold on. believe on.
Be who you were before
In deepest darkness, the faintest light shines bright
So hold on. hold on.
It’s gonna be alright
One day, freedom
One day, freedom
One day, freedom will unlock your door

To view Marillion’ s ‘Holloway girl’, watch this:

The Kinks, the 1960s British rock band from North London released a song called ‘Holloway Jail’ on their 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies:

They took my baby, to Holloway jail,
They took my baby, down Holloway jail,
She was a lady, when she went in,
Now she’s in jail, and it’s giving me hell.

She was succeeding in the city,
She was just beginning to excel,
Then a spiv named frankie simes
Led her to a life of crime,
And led her on the downward trail.

Frankie came home late from work one evening,
The c.l.d. were hot on his trail,
Frankie promised everything,
And then he went and turned her in,
She went and took the rap for him,
Now she’s impaled in holloway jail.

They took my baby, down holloway jail,
They took my baby, to holloway jail,
There ain’t no pity, there ain’t no bail,
And she assures me that it’s living hell.

She was young and ever so pretty,
Now she looks so old and pale,
She never sees the day,
She wastes her life away,
Sitting in that prison cell.

They took my baby to holloway jail,
They took my baby, down holloway jail,
She was a lady when she went in,
Now she’s in jail, and it’s giving me hell.

She’s impaled, in holloway jail.

To listen to their song in mono (sorry there is no image), click on this Youtube video:

Next time I go pass H.M Holloway Prison I’ll remember the boredom, the gloom, and the loneliness experienced between these walls.

Street life in Holloway…

… from my photo shoot of today.

Walking down Holloway I started photographing people, walking beside me, in front of me or on the other side of the road.

The early morning is the best time to get the full atmosphere in Holloway. People walk to work, people walk to the Tube Station, people walk to get on the bus and people walk to University -like me-.

Old man waiting for the 43 bus, Holloway, March 2010

But in the craziness of the morning rush, you sometimes stop and witness see some funny things.

I should be bored of walking down Holloway Road- at least twice a day to go to University- but I always see interesting people, doing interesting and quirky things.

At least I have colourful things to look at when I walk down the grey streets of North London.

But when they are no real people walking down in front of me, there are artificial people drawn on the walls.

When there is no street art to contemplate, there are still a Londoner’s best friends to watch.

At the end of my morning walk and just before entering the University doors,  I walk past this very optimist burger shop display: ‘Take it Eazy’.

This was today’s walk to University. Tomorrow is another day, tomorrow is another view of Holloway.

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