Update 16 April

Masks and scrubs

Quite a few of you have asked for details of the project based on the Kentish Town Health Centre, to make masks and scrubs for health workers. If any of you would like to be in touch with each other to share ideas, experiences, materials, let us know and we can forward contact details. And if anyone has spare material, thread etc. let us know and we can put you in touch with the sewing team.

We have two white cotton sheets which we are happy to donate for scrubs (it seems a shame to cut them small for masks if there’s a need for scrubs) – if you are sewing scrubs and would like them let us know.

Covid 19 stories

One reassuring story from we suspect a rather fortunate recovered patient!

I started feeling unwell with a bit of a temperature and a shivery, feverish feeling. I also had an upset stomach. By day two I didn’t have a temperature any more but still felt shivery and under the weather. The main symptom was a strange tight feeling almost like a band around my chest, and breathlessness if I ran upstairs. It was uncomfortable but not debilitating, and lasted for 7 days. My partner and the kids have had no symptoms at all so possibly/hopefully they have also had it but were asymptomatic. We feel very fortunate.

But we have also had accounts of much more unpleasant and long lasting symptoms.

It would be good to have other stories to share about how everyone is coping. One suggestion is for people to contribute a few sentences about people’s experiences of home schoolingand ideas and tips.

Want a dog companion on your walk?

Harriet is asking:

I have 2 trusted households who walk my dog. If anyone else would like to borrow him, please tell them to let me know. Likes long walks. Very obedient. Good with older children. Plays foot ball & is very friendly & great company. Particularly good for people who walk alone & would like a companion with 4 legs! harrietcraven@tiscali.co.uk

Sad news

We are sad to report the death (not from the virus) of Margaret Walters, longterm resident of Willes Road. Gerry has sent us this brief obituary:

Broadcaster, critic, and feminist Margaret Walters was born in Australia in 1938. She studied at the University of Melbourne and then at Oxford University. She taught English Literature at the University of Reading before turning freelance, becoming a regular guest on BBC arts programmes, such as Critics’ Forum, where she was noted for her sometimes acerbic wit. She was film critic of Spare Rib, and then The Listener, and a regular contributor of reviews to The Sunday Times and The Times Literary Supplement. Among her books are The Nude Male: A New Perspective (1978), and, the result of her lifelong active feminism, A Very Short Introduction to Feminism (2005).

Local History
If you haven’t looked at it before, you could while away isolation by looking at the history pages on the IARA website https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/category/history

There is a compilation we have made of maps of the area from the time when Kentish Town was in fact down by St Pancras Old Church, followed by maps of our area with the growth of housing during the Crimean era up until 1916 – the last Ordnance Survey map that is out of copyright. They are arranged in reverse date order so be sure to click 2 or >  in the hard to spot box down the bottom of the page to see them all. 

 It also has a link to the really excellent Conservation Area Statement which has more background history and details of almost every street with a well informed, if rather precious, architectural commentary. 

Maybe we can resuscitate the Local History Group? 

Meanwhile, with kind permission from the wonderful daily Ryland Road newsletter, here is the story of the Claudius Ash False Teeth Factory, which is the long building to the left of the archway in Anglers Lane:

From our Special History Correspondent – Sara

Pearly whites

Claudius Ash (1792-1854) began his career as a goldsmith, but turned his skills to dentistry and manufacture of dental equipment, including artificial/false teeth.

Prior to his involvement, replacement teeth were either (very gruesomely) gathered from bodies on battlefields, or (cruel to animals) made from hippopotamus or walrus ivory, which were prone to discolouration. Ash’s idea was to make teeth from porcelain mounted in gold plates, fixed by gold springs and swivels. Apparently, they functioned well and looked good.

His firm (several of his sons and their descendants were involved in the business) became incredibly successful, dominating the European market.

At the Great Exhibition in 1851, the firm exhibited 2 sets of mineral teeth with gold tubes, and single teeth of various colours.

And these would have been made at the factory in Anglers’ Lane, just around the corner from Ryland Road.

Several of our earlier residents worked at this factory.

Sisters Alice Rosa (20) and Amelia Jane Gibbins (16) from number 36 were recorded in the 1891 census as being employed as artificial teeth makers. Although they moved from Ryland Road, they stayed in Kentish Town and carried on with their work making teeth. They never married, and lived together till their deaths in the mid twentieth century.

Another pair of sisters, Hilda Louisa (18) and Ida Florence Short (16) from number 1, worked as dental assistants in 1911. Their father, Robert John Short, had worked in the manufactory in 1893 when the family was living in nearby Castle Road.

Trees and gardens
Several people have offered to look after the young trees near their houses (and thank you Sarah for going much further!), which involves at least weekly watering into the green bag (more if you water a small amount), and to water bare batches where we and others have put wild flower seeds. 

In our last email we mentioned that Camden Garden Centre has packages of different kinds of plant for sale, plus seeds.  For example, for £50 (+ £12 delivery charge) you could get roughly five or six good size plants or 13 1 litre perennials.  We have thought of ordering a pack – partly for ourselves and partly for street trees – for example a
pack of mixed outdoor plants half for sunny good light and half for shade.  It is though quite a lot of money and we’d be happy to share costs if anyone else is interested.  Or if you want details for yourself of what is available let us know and we can forward the full list (which includes packs of climbers, roses etc.).  It doesn’t seem to be on their website.

Shopping, eating …

We’ve been delighted with our order (mainly fruit and veg) from The Fields Beneath – see previous emails for details. Several local restaurants are doing take away/delivery – we’ve mentioned some before, and we know that Babuji (south Asian street food) opposite KT station is taking orders.

Quite a few people have picked up shopping, prescriptions etc. for friends and neighbours – please ask if you need help as there are lots of offers.


We’ll go with setting up an IARA WhatsApp group.

If you would like to be on this group, please let us have your phone number.

We plan to have just first name and initial showing. Is that ok?

D & D Late update 18.4.20 – more people joining…. some asking for help and some offering help …