Gazette letters: Old Red Lion, Chapel Market row, Arsenal and damp housing

The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in St John Street. Picture: Dieter Perry

The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in St John Street. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

I wish to share some important historical information in respect to the Old Red Lion Hotel in Islington, writes Graham McKelvie.

A bust of Thomas Paine in North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York. Picture: Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons

A bust of Thomas Paine in North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York. Picture: Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) - Credit: Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I am transcribing and annotating the notebooks of Bishop Beilby Porteus, the Bishop of London and, in those notebooks, he made an entry in which he referred to “a Club that frequently met at the lodgings of Thomas Paine” in December 1791.

The entry made by Bishop Porteus is: “I am also informed, & I think from good Authority, That the Rights of Man was not the Production of Payne alone but of a Club that met frequently at his Lodgings at the lower Red Lion at Islington where he came in Decr.1791.”

The entry is much longer but in the end he has placed an “X” over it as he did not wish it to be transcribed, maybe because it was hearsay. I have found, however, careful checking of the other references in the entry are fully verifiable. This comes from MS2103, folio 66.


Chapel Market is under assault (“Traders and tenants in ‘battle’ for market”, Gazette, October 6), writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

Yet it provides employment and coerces cheaper prices for the public.

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Another area of concern would be the value of the garages alongside the car park – traders’ storage – as you could build expensive flats there if the traders did not have the space.

Chapel Market, 2016

Lend me your ears,

I will explain the economic fears,

As the rich have launched their smears,

On a market that has been there for 137 years.

Their argument is naff,

They scream about noise in their fancy new gaff,

Yet they knew before,

They bought the keys to their door,

What was here before.

Chapel Market’s customers and public should frown,

They know the market helps keep prices down,

So to promote a solution,

To the perceived noise pollution,

Or to stop this noise from blazing,

Why don’t the rich install triple glazing?

Or is there a secret mission

For some kind of planning permission?

Now you might understand the fears,

You can have back your ears.


As I write this I am in despair because I realise the Arsenal I followed have followed a lifetime may be dead and buried, writes Mr J O’Connell, full address supplied, in an open letter to Ivan Gazidis, chief executive, Arsenal Football Club.

At the Arsenal v Ludogorets match certain players – Bellerin, Ozil and Sanchez – were wearing long sleeves whilst the rest of the team were wearing short sleeves. This is not a trivial matter – it goes to the very heart of the ethos of Arsenal. Is it coincidental these are players we are anxious to keep and therefore all tradition must be sacrificed to accommodate them?

During your tenure I am sure you have become aware of the club’s traditions and that they are not something we just pay lip-service to. The “captain decides” rule goes way back in time and applies to the whole club, including academy and ladies teams. On the stadium tours visitors are proudly told of this when being shown the home dressing room. It is one of the things that defines Arsenal and sets the club apart: you would NEVER see an Arsenal side in a scruffy mixture of long and short sleeves. We have proudly stuck to this through all these years.

The Philistines would say: “All that matters is a winning team – what does it matter?” Wrong, so very wrong. Remember Chapman’s famous attention to detail. Please make my feelings clear to the manager. I truly hope you will tell me this is a one-off.


I would like to apologise to Janice Bruce for the delay redecorating her home (“Council responsible for mould – not me”, letters, October 27) after the council repaired her damp problem, writes Sean McLaughlin, housing director, Islington Council.

We have paid compensation for the delay Ms Bruce faced for painting and redecoration following the removal of mould from her home.

At no stage did we seek to blame this tenant or her family for damp in their home, and I am also sorry if that was the impression that was given. Through normal, everyday use, even the best designed home will have some condensation, which can cause problems over time. Some of our properties were designed at a time when unfortunately condensation was not as well understood as today. We offer advice to tenants on how to best reduce condensation at home to help avoid problems. We would never suggest this will solve all problems with damp or condensation. We’re committed to dealing with these issues and we want to work with our tenants to help resolve them.

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