Relief: Chiswell Archer
Site: Chiswell Archer (1 memorial)
EC1, Chiswell Street, 14-20, Longbow House
In 1315 a large area known as Bunhill Fields was leased to the City of London, probably to be used, amongst other things, for archery practice. Eventually about two square miles of Islington fields were turned into the archery equivalent of a golf course with 194 targets.
In 1498, as the musket replaced the longbow, part of this area was made into an artillery ground. The Honourable Artillery Company still occupies the land it was granted then, north of this, 1950s-60s, building. Its designers have referred back to the archery history with this bold, primitive relief.
We were lucky enough to be able to visit the Honourable Artillery Company on a recent open day and inside their Armoury House there is an interestingly battered stone with a nearby plaque: "This ancient mark or Rover is one of a number of similar stones used by the HAC for archery from 1537 to 1792 and which formerly extended from the Artillery Ground to Islington Common. It was removed to this spot from the wall near the Canal Bridge in the New North Road, 26th July 1881." And nearby is a small framed map, showing the location of the 'similar stones' and the measurements between them. A caption reads "This plan shows the position of the ancient stone shooting marks which formerly extended from the Artillery Ground to Islington Common, the last of which, bearing the inscription "Scarlet", was removed from the wall near the Canal Bridge in the New North Road and erected at the Armoury House, 26 July 1881."
Longbow House was designed by Joseph & F. Milton Cashmore & Partners in the 1950s. We cannot identify the sculptor.