The Clerkenwell Other

by Steve Watson in July 2010
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Oxford American and its mythologising of the American South, and now I’ve stumbled across a similar project, but much closer to home. As its name would suggest, The Clerkenwell Other takes Clerkenwell in London as its starting point, using the area’s people, architecture, myths and oddities to create a lovely looking large format 12-page magazine.

Editor Marcus Baron has lived in Clerkenwell for 15 years, and has the inside knowledge to make the most of an area that lends itself well to this sort of project. It was the first place I worked in London and I always enjoy going back, usually as part of a trip to Magma, one of London’s best magazine shops. You can’t help notice the history of the area – the old city walls are still visible in places – but reading The Clerkenwell Other added to my enjoyment of it.

With its loving tribute to the domestic chimney, an exploration of coalhole covers and a piece on the birth of London telephone numbers, the history is all present and correct. But there’s also a piece on local tattooist Mr Duncan X, a personal story about unreleased sexual tension, and a beekeeper who collects honey from his hives on the roof of The Easton pub.

It’s not available to buy online, so if you can I recommend heading over to Magma, buying a copy and then finding a good local pub to sit and have a read. (Warning – The Griffin, next door to Magma, is a strip pub and will probably be too dark to read in)

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