It always feels appropriate when I visit a tube station named after a pub. In this case, Angel(and the wider area) was named after the Angel Inn, which according to Wikipedia dated back to 1638. The station first opened on 17th November 1901 as part of an extension of the City and South London Railway from Moorgate.
The station itself was completely rebuilt at the end of the 1980s – before that time it had the cramped island platforms that are still in situ at Clapham North and Clapham Common, as well as lift access to the platform. These access issues meant the station was plagued by congestion issues, necessitating the rebuild which was completed in 1992. You may have noticed the southbound platform at Angel feels nice and spacious -this is because it previously served as the island platform for both lines before the redevelopment!
The escalators at Angel installed in place of the lifts are notorious for their length and are the third longest in Western Europe – you do certainly feel as if you are ascending to the heavens on them! Angel also always reminds me of Monopoly, as Angel, Islington was one of the more memorable properties on the board to me.
The Pub: The Old Red Lion, 418 St John Street, EC1v 4NJ
Angel is another of those stops where there are no shortages of places to drink. I used to come to the area a lot when I lived on nearby Caledonian Road. It was great because I could stay out past midnight and not have to figure out navigating the night bus network.
We decided to go to the Old Red Lion,just south of the station. I was immediately drawn to it thanks to its rather impressive neon-sign. It’s another pub with a popular theatre upstairs, and there are pictures of various thesps on the walls. Before you enter the main bar area, you pass some nice ornate glass.
The tail end of the Six Nations was playing on our visit, which was being beamed onto a large projector on the back wall.The pub was very busy with Rugby fans so we hovered by the quiz machine, never a bad thing in my book! They also show the football here as well. According to their website, there are regular live music events including a group of Irish musicians who drop by twice a month. In terms of atmosphere, it’s a good solid traditional pub. The red walls help to create a warm, homely feel. It’s got a decent range of ales too, with Broadside, Landlord and Wherry from Woodfordes.
The Old Red Lion is another fine pub and well worth a visit. If you feel like earning that first pint, climb the escalators at Angel…