With so many old pubs having closed and taken on new uses as supermarkets or fast food restaurants, it is good to find one in City Road, between the Angel Islington and Old Street, that has established itself as one of London’s premier companies for the supply and restoration of antique and marble fireplaces. This is an Aladdin’s cave for anyone carrying out interior decoration with an extensive selection of fireplaces and cast iron grates, sourced from across Europe, that the company “Renaissance” restores in its workshop on site, plus modern light fittings, mirrors and other sculptural items. Recently refurbished, the front has a jazzy new logo and the interior of the showroom has been opened up.
Renaissance has been here for 20 years since Owen Pacey visited Moorfields Eye hospital after an accident and spotted the empty pub. As he says: “Shoreditch was very different in 1995, and it was a pretty run-down area, a no-man’s land really. But when I came out, I noticed this derelict old pub. I’d been looking for new premises to really expand and it was perfect, space for my shop downstairs and a flat for me upstairs. The rest is history.” (The Angel Resident)
Pacey was ahead of his time, as the area itself undergoes a renaissance with redevelopment and creative businesses and art galleries such as Vitoria Miro and Parasol Unit setting up nearby.