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Draw a line on the map from the Angel Islington to Smithfield Market and you’re following the line of St John Street, a medieval thoroughfare that once linked the City of London to the country hamlet of Islington. Down this street, for centuries, farmers from the fields north of London would drive their cattle down the street to be slaughtered. Walk along St John Street today, and you pass through almost a millennium of history – past the remains of a medieval priory, former breweries, warehouses and factories. And – if you know where to look – there are numerous reminders of the Clerkenwell of the 19th and 20th centuries – when hundreds of jewellers and clockmakers made this quarter of London their own.
St John Street fell into decline in the latter years of the 20th century, but in the 21st , this once post-industrial part of London has been reborn, as the internet and new media companies around Old Street’s ‘Digital Roundabout’ draw a whole new workforce into the area. Giants such as Google may be moving in … but the rebirth of the area around St John Street is more about the hundreds of tech start-ups operating out of former factories and warehouses.
So St John Street past and future … but most important of all are the people who make up our present. It’s an incredibly diverse part of London: a mix of social housing and private, of businesses that go back generations and newcomers, of upscale restaurants and family-run cafes, of people who live here, study here or come in each day to work. Each day, we’ll be telling the story (and the stories) of St John Street, and we want to hear yours.