A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ADAMYAMEY

WANDERING ALONG WARREN STREET

Warren Street is a station on the Northern and Victoria Lines of London’s Underground network. Situated at the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Euston Road, both important arteries, Warren Street itself is comparatively small and of minor significance in the greater scheme of things. Be that as it may, this short street, which runs south of and parallel to Euston Road, has had some importance in my life.

Warren Street

Warren Street

When the Underground Station was opened in 1907, it was named ‘Euston Road’. In 1908, it acquired the present name. By the time that I began using the station regularly (in 1970), the Victoria Line had been serving the station for two years. Warren Street itself was built in the late 18th century as part of the Fitzroy Estate. It was named after Anne Warren (1737–1807), who married Charles Fitzroy (1737-1797), First Baron Southampton.

In the early 1970s, when I was studying at University College London (‘UCL’), one of my fellow students on my BSc course in physiology was a young Indian girl, Lopa, who is now my wife. She spent a couple of years living at the International Students House (‘ISH’) which faces Great Portland Street Underground Station. She and other Indian students introduced me to really good Indian food. This was served at the now no longer existent Diwan-i-am restaurant on Warren Street. It was here and at other nearby restaurants, such as Diwan-i-khas, Lal Qila, and Agra, that food was cooked by Indians and Pakistanis rather than by Bangladeshis, who operated the majority of so-called Indian restaurants in the UK. While Bangladeshi cuisine might be excellent, much of the ‘Indian’ food cooked by Bangladeshis is less satisfactory.

Tiranti, Warren Street

Tiranti, Warren Street

When the Diwan-i-am was in business, so were many car dealers who had their premises on Warren Street. These have long since disappeared. One business that still exists and predates the Diwan-i-am is Tiranti, an important supplier of, to quote their website: “…materials, equipment and tools to sculptors, modelmakers, mouldmakers, designers, prototypers, woodcarvers, stonecarvers, specialist plasterers, building picture and furniture restorers, potters and ceramicists.” Giovanni Tiranti started this enterprise in High Holborn in 1895. The company first began using premises near Warren Street in 1945. I am not sure when the Warren Street shop opened, but it was about 20 years ago at least. I never purchased anything there but my late uncle S, an engineer by profession and a keen sculptor in his spare time, was a regular customer.

I studied at UCL for twelve years. During the last five of these, I was studying dental surgery at the now, sadly, no longer existing Dental Hospital. Warren Street Station was the most convenient place from which to reach the Dental School from my home in Golders Green. It was a few yards from the station to the passage that led from Tottenham Court Road into Mortimer Market, where one part of the Dental Hospital was housed. In those days, the passageway was flanked by an official Iraqi Tourist Office. I used to visit this occasionally to look at the fine exhibitions of photographs shown there. The staff, no doubt agents of the late Saddam Hussein, were friendly. Once, they gave me a gift of four LPs of Iraqi folk music. Many of the ancient sights in the photographs might well now have suffered damage during the troubles that afflicted Iraq long after I had become qualified as a dentist.

Warren Street

Warren Street

There were several photography suppliers’ shops on the stretch of Tottenham Court Road near Warren Street. Their windows displayed a huge range of camera bodies and lenses. I bought my first SLR camera at one of these shops. They have mostly gone now. So also has Sterns. This electrical shop was well-known for its superb stock of African music LPs. Some years after I had left UCL finally (in 1982), Sterns, which opened in the early 1950s, moved from its somewhat aged premises on Tottenham Court Road to a newer shop around the corner on Euston Road. This has also disappeared, but Sterns still goes on in the form of an on-line firm.

One rainy early Monday morning, I emerged from Warren Street Station, and walked to the Dental School. The streets seemed emptier than usual. When I arrived at the school, the doors were locked closed. I was puzzled. Then, I bumped into another student, also soaking because of the weather. Shamefacedly, we realised that we had turned up on a bank holiday.

Evans Dairy, Warren Street

Evans Dairy, Warren Street

Some time during the mid to late 1970s, a branch of McDonalds opened on the corner of Warren Street and Tottenham Court Road. Occasionally, I used to pop in there for a snack on my way home. Now, some decades later, Warren street is lined with ‘trendy’ eateries, one of which is housed in an old dairy on the corner of Conway Street. Much of the original tilework of the former dairy of J Evans has been preserved. Although there are many newer buildings on Warren Street, a few of the original late 18th century structures have survived.

Warren Street

Warren Street

While Warren Street is not worthy of a long detour, it provides much more than a name for an Underground Station.


Posted by ADAMYAMEY 07:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london england india restaurants university iraq student ucl Comments (1)

THE CURRENCY OF COMMUNISM at the British Museum

A fascinating temporary exhibition that looks at aspects of money in Communist-ruled countries.

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= = = THE CURRENCY OF COMMUNISM = = =
An exhibition at the British Museum (room 69a): 19 Oct 2017-18 Mar 2018

Entrance to room 69a

Entrance to room 69a

An article by Michael Harrison, who writes a great deal about Socialist art and culture, attracted me to this small but fascinating temporary exhibition at the British Museum (see: http://michaelharrison.org.uk/2018/01/currency-communism-role-money-socialism/).

The political theorist and philosopher Karl Marx wrote in 1844:
By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as an omnipotent being. Money is the procurer between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me it is the other person.”

The Communist regimes that rose and fell during the twentieth century understood this as well as any other regimes, capitalist or otherwise. They issued coins and banknotes for their people to save and spend. As Stalin said in an interview held in 1952 near the end of his life (see: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/ACFB07.pdf ):
Since commodities circulate there has to be money. In capitalist countries, financial institutions, including banks, contribute to the impoverishment of workers, the pauperization of the people and the enrichment of the exploiters. Money and banks in capitalism act as a means of exploitation. Our money economy is not typical, but differs from the capitalist money economy. Here money and the limited money economy act in the strengthening of socialist economy. For us the money economy is an instrument that we take hold of and use in the interests of socialism.”

Assorted banknotes including an Albanian one

Assorted banknotes including an Albanian one

This exhibition at the British Museum displays examples of currency issued by Socialist governments in many continents. I am not sure that it demonstrates what Stalin meant, but, as with banknotes and coins issued all over the world, it served the governments who issued it as a vehicle for propaganda. Apart from their historical value, many of the banknotes and other exhibits are fine works of art.

Lenin and a Soviet money box

Lenin and a Soviet money box

Immediately opposite the entrance, there is a bust of Lenin alongside a money box embossed with Soviet insignia. The Soviets were keen on getting people to save money, especially in the state-run savings banks. Several colourful posters exhorting people to deposit their money in banks are on display – to save for the future of the USSR was clearly virtuous. There is also a poster discouraging people from corruption and reliance on the ‘black market, in the years between the Russian Revolution and 1939.

Soviet savings book and bank advert

Soviet savings book and bank advert

Soviet posters encouraging saving

Soviet posters encouraging saving

Soviet anti-corruption poster

Soviet anti-corruption poster

Small in size but very varied in appearance, the ‘stars’ of the show are the banknotes. One exhibit is a collage of banknotes from a wide range of socialist countries. Amongst these, I spotted Mao Tse Tung’s smiling face, the hirsute Friedrich Engels, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, North Korea’s Kim Il Sung, and Albania’s mediaeval hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. Near these, there is an aluminium coin minted in East Germany (the ‘DDR’).

Assorted banknotes

Assorted banknotes

Individual banknotes from former Peoples’ Republics are also on display, grouped together to illustrate various themes illustrated on them. Industrial development was very important to those who ruled the people.

Romanian banknote with industrial scene

Romanian banknote with industrial scene

DDR banknote with factory

DDR banknote with factory

Albanian 10 lek note with female textile worker

Albanian 10 lek note with female textile worker

A 25 Lei note issued by the Romanian State Bank is illustrated with a view of chimneys belching smoke and tall buildings – a vision of a modern hell. A 10 Mark note from the DDR shows a tidy modern factory in a pleasant wooded hilly setting. The factory depicted was that of the East German branch of the Carl Zeiss optical firm in Jena. The State Bank of Albania issued a 10 Lek note in 1964, which shows a female worker operating a huge textile spinning machine. I wondered whether this was one of the machines in the (now obsolete) vast Chinese-built textile factory on the edge of Berat.

Albanian 100 Lek note with a dam

Albanian 100 Lek note with a dam

Albanian 5 Lek note with truck and train

Albanian 5 Lek note with truck and train

Albanian 500 Lek with harvester

Albanian 500 Lek with harvester


Another note issued in Albania in 1964 shows a man in overalls with his right hand on the right shoulder of a young boy. The man’s left hand is extended towards a hydroelectric dam in the background. This 100 Lek note was displayed close to a 5 Lek note, which shows a fully loaded lorry speeding from right to left. Behind it a steam engine is pulling a passenger train over a viaduct, again from right to left. Of all the Albanian notes on show, the 500 Lek note is really fascinating. It is illustrated with farm workers operating a truly archaic-looking motorised harvesting machine. Given that the Communists only assumed power in 1944, this machine looks like it was built several decades earlier. This high value banknote also bears Skanderbeg’s head in profile.

Yugoslav banknotes with industrial themes

Yugoslav banknotes with industrial themes

Albania’s neighbour, the former Yugoslavia, also produced nicely illustrated banknotes, often bearing a portrait of Josip Broz Tito. Two notes, which are exhibited, have an industrial theme. One shows a grinning miner, and the other shows workers doing maintenance on a railway steam engine.

Cambodian note with bazookas and a Chinese doll

Cambodian note with bazookas and a Chinese doll

Cambodian note with a bazooka

Cambodian note with a bazooka

Many, if not all, of the Peoples’ regimes achieved power with a ‘heroic struggle’. Aspects of the struggles make fine illustrations on some of the exhibited banknotes. A Cambodian note dated 1975 shows a field in which a several people are firing shoulder-borne bazookas. 1975 was the year when Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge began their genocidal attack on the people of Cambodia. Next to this note, there is a toy doll in a khaki uniform, holding a little red book in her raised right hand. No doubt, this was a copy of Mao’s famous ‘Little Red Book’. Another Cambodian note depicts three men in peaked caps loading a shell into an articulated cannon or bazooka.

Cuban note with revolutionary scene

Cuban note with revolutionary scene

A note from Cuba worth 1 Peso shows a glorious scene. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, along with several other men, stand on a tank entering Havana in 1959. The tank, which is moving from left to right, is surrounded by men wearing wide-brimmed hats. In the background, there are high-rise buildings, some of them draped with the new republic’s flag.

Czech post-communist nostalgia

Czech post-communist nostalgia

Many of the People’s Republics, especially those in Europe, came to an end soon after the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Albania’s being one of the last. In Europe, there is still nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ of Communism. The wonderful German film “Goodbye Lenin” (made in 2003) is a fine example of this. Recently, when in Wrocław (Poland) I visited a restaurant, The Konspira, that specialised in exhibiting reminders of Poland’s decades under Soviet-dominated Communist rule. It includes a small room decorated entirely with furnishings that were available in the Communist years. At the exhibition, there is a contemporary tee-shirt from the Czech Republic decorated with an enlarged print of an old Czechoslovak note showing a soldier with a Russian hat bearing a machine gun. He is standing next to a workman in a peaked cap carrying a rifle over his shoulder.

Aluminium coin from the DDR

Aluminium coin from the DDR

I hope that this short account captures some of the ‘flavour’ of the exhibits at this small exhibition. It amazed me how much history is preserved in the banknotes, which were once in everyday use. The posters on display as well as the banknotes provided a superb display of that (for me) alluring style of art known as ‘social-realism’.

Assorted banknotes

Assorted banknotes

Finally, I must include a joke that was once current in the former USSR, which relates to the money on display, which was often almost valueless outside the country that issued it:
We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us!

Soviet poster with Stalin

Soviet poster with Stalin

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 02:54 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged propaganda albania communism currency socialism ussr banknotes Comments (3)

IN GOLDFINGER’S SHADOW: North Kensington

The north end of Portobello Road crosses Golborne Road, the heart of a vibrant multi-ethnic community in London's North Kensington.

Golborne Rd

Golborne Rd

Between 1994 and 2001, I practised dentistry in a surgery on Golborne Road in North Kensington. The street crosses the better-known Portobello Road a couple of blocks north of the elevated Westway. Despite no longer working there, I make regular visits to this lively part of North Kensington, which is home to people originating from many parts of the world. Although much remains from when I began practising on Golborne Road, changes keep on occurring.

A detailed map surveyed in 1865 shows that where Golborne Road is today, was then open countryside through which ran ‘Portobello Lane’ (now Portobello Road). Thirty years later, what had been a narrow footpath running through fields from Notting Hill to Kensal New Town (laid out north of the Harrow Road in the 1840s and the railway tracks) was shown on a later edition of the map as Golborne Road, solidly lined with buildings. In 1870, Golborne Road, named after Dean Golbourne (vicar of St. John's Church in Paddington), was widened and lined with shops and houses. By the start of the 20th century, the area around Golborne Road had become an overcrowded slum (see: http://www.golbornelife.co.uk/golbornehistory.html). From the beginning of its urban development onwards, the cheap accommodation in the area attracted waves of immigrants, many of whose descendants still live there. The first group to arrive were Irish folk. Others will be described below. In the 1960s and ‘70s, there was extensive slum clearance, the Westway was built, as were apartment blocks such as Trellick Tower, which dominates the horizon. Abutting the wealthier parts of Kensington, North Kensington, which includes Golborne Road, has remained a less prosperous part of London, but this is beginning to change slowly.

Ladbroke Grove

Ladbroke Grove

This exploration begins in Ladbroke Grove just north of its Underground Station. Beginning on a morbid note, there is a branch of John Nodes Funeral Service close by. This company has been serving the area since 1828. In 1920, when the body of the Unknown Soldier was brought back from France: “…H Kirtley Nodes of John Nodes in Ladbroke Grove and together with … the Revd John Sowerbutts, they accompanied the coffin to and from France.” (see: http://lafd.org.uk/funeral-service-in-london-a-short-history). Recently, I was passing by when I saw a horse-drawn hearse loaded with a coffin waiting to depart from the premises. The two horses were decked with black ostrich feathers, and the driver, dressed in Victorian garb with a top hat, sat above them in front of the glass-sided vehicle.

Chesterton Rd looking northeast

Chesterton Rd looking northeast

The short Chesterton Road, lined with Victorian terraced housing, links Ladbroke Grove with the western end of Golborne Road. It is dwarfed by the massive Trellick Tower beyond it. The best days to visit Golborne Road are Fridays and Saturdays, when its street market is working. Many of the market stalls on the south side (or right side as you approach from Ladbroke Grove) are dedicated to selling used or ‘pre-loved’ goods, a term which sounds politer than ‘junk’. The vendors demand ridiculously high prices for their often almost worthless wares, but are willing to haggle sometimes. Books are sometimes on offer; these are rarely costly. When I worked in Golborne Road, there used to be a bookstall outside the surgery. Only once during my seven years working there did I ever acquire a valuable book at a bargain price. Whatever the value of the goods, they include an amazing assortment of items – everything from rusty tools and furniture (‘on its last legs’) to colourful disused shop signs.

Golborne Rd flea market

Golborne Rd flea market

The 'gentrification' of Golborne Rd

The 'gentrification' of Golborne Rd

I will describe the south side first. East of Portobello Road, there is a Danish restaurant, Snaps and Rye, next door to an Austrian one, Kipferl. These have opened in the last few years, and appeal to visitors rather than locals, who would regard them, as I do, as being overpriced. They are part of the ‘gentrification’ of the area, which had already begun with the establishment of Warris Vianni, an upmarket textile company, which opened in 1994 a few months before I began working in the area (see: http://warrisvianni.com/about-us/). Nearby, at number 91, presently the home of the smart-looking Zayane Modern Moroccan, there used to be a modest Arabic eatery with good food (Moroccan and Lebanese), where I often lunched. This used to be patronised mostly by North African men, some of them wearing traditional Berber costumes. I remember that whenever I brought my wife to eat with me there, all the men would turn to stare at us, not always approvingly. Many of these men have Moroccan heritage, Golborne Road and its environs having a large population of Moroccans.

L'Etoile Golborne Rd

L'Etoile Golborne Rd

Golborne Fisheries

Golborne Fisheries

The Etoile de Sous has changed little since I worked nearby. This north African café/bakery offers a selection of Middle-Eastern confectionery, including beautiful freshly-made baklava. It stands on the corner of Swinbrook Road opposite the Golborne Fisheries. This fishmonger contains a bewildering variety of fish and seafood that rivals many the stock in many good aquaria, except that all the creatures lie motionless on beds of crushed ice. The range of seafood on offer reflects the diversity of its customers, many of them locals. Many of the folk who have settled around Golborne Road are keen seafood eaters, for example: Irish, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian, Afro-Caribbean, Moroccan, and Tunisian. A seagull often lurks close to this shop.

Golborne Fisheries

Golborne Fisheries

Les Couilles du Chien

Les Couilles du Chien

Les Couilles de Chien (the dog’s balls), a little further along the south side, has been in existence for more than 25 years. Its friendly owner Jerome and his staff sell a wide selection of “… unusual and decorative antiques and natural history curiosities…” (see: https://www.lescouillesduchien.com/). Facing this corner shop across Wornington Road, there is another corner store, Rainbow News. Until recently, this newsagent was a well-stocked, shabby-looking establishment. It used to be run by two Gujarati brothers from East Africa. After one of them learned that I often visit Bangalore, he would always ask me whether I ever visited Puttaparthi in Andra Pradesh, where until recently Shri Sathya Sai Baba (died 2011) ran his ashram. For the record, I have not yet visited the place. In about 2014, the Gujaratis sold their shop. Its new owners have spruced it up impressively.

Rainbow News

Rainbow News

The newsagent was separated from ‘my’ dental practice at number 59 by a Moroccan community advice centre (no longer there). When I joined the practice in 1994, I had no idea what an exciting professional life I would lead there. Back then, drug-dealers and their customers loitered outside the building despite it being under scrutiny by closed-circuit TV police cameras. Many of my patients, especially the drug-abusers, had a better knowledge of pharmacology than my colleagues and me. The richly varied backgrounds of my patients reflected that of the local population. Generalising a bit, almost the only patients who turned up punctually were the Portuguese. Just about everyone else, despite having made appointments, turned up whenever they felt like it, either on the appointed day, or on another, or not at all. One day to my great surprise, a Tunisian turned up on time. When I praised him for this, and vented about the unreliability of most of my other patients, he turned to me, and explained: “You must understand people around here believe in what the French call ‘rendez-vous africain’”. After learning this, I began feeling as relaxed about my patients’ attitudes to punctuality as they did.

Many of my patients at Golborne Road required careful handling. Some of them were schizophrenics, who had been encouraged to mingle in the community. Others were excitable, unused to not getting their own way. There were people who had endured spells in prison on several occasions. On one occasion, a couple of young men burst into my surgery. One of them demanded that I extract a certain tooth because he was in agony. I examined him, and realised that he had a broken jaw, and that extraction, apart from being dangerous, would not relieve his pain. I suggested that he headed for a hospital, but he was aggressively unwilling. In the end, his friend persuaded him to leave. I met the friend some days later, and asked how the chap with the broken jaw was getting on. He replied: “He’s on holiday,” and then paused before adding: “… a very long holiday. He won’t be back for a few years”.

Dental Surgery, 59 Golborne Rd, where Adam yamey worked

Dental Surgery, 59 Golborne Rd, where Adam yamey worked

Another man started visiting me for a course of appointments during which he was going to have a set of complete dentures constructed. He had an intimidating appearance, and told me that he needed permission from the police to visit Golborne Road, as he was barred from staying there. At the penultimate appointment, I told him that he would need to attend the following Friday. He replied that it might be difficult because he was “seeing the judge” on Monday. I asked him if he would let me know if he could not make it. He said that he would be able to ring from jail. He burst out laughing when I said to him: “You can ring from prison? Is that what they mean by a ‘cell phone’?” And, talking of mobile ‘phones, once a young fellow, a patient I saw often, came rushing into my surgery looking ‘frazzled’. I asked him what had happened. He told me that his ‘phone had just been stolen. I expressed my sympathy, and then he said: “I know who’s done it, and I’m going to get the boys in south London to put him six feet under.” You could not ‘mess’ with most of my patients!

There is no doubt that in the 1990s, Golborne Road was a rough area. One of my patients, a tall fellow with a deformed nose, told me that if ever I was in trouble locally I was to say: “I am a friend of Mick’s”. Another helpful patient was standing next to me in a queue, when he turned around and said: “If you ever need a motor, just tell me what make you want, and I’ll get one for you.” Many of my patients had challenging dental as well as social problems, but once I got know them many of them were very nice to me, and greeted me as a friend in the street, and, even today more than sixteen years after I left, some of them still stop and greet me cheerfully.

Lisboa Cafe

Lisboa Cafe

Lisboa Cafe

Lisboa Cafe

Lisboa Cafe

Lisboa Cafe

The practice, which still exists but is now under new management, is next door to the Lisboa Patisserie, which is a little bit of Portugal in London. When my ‘boss’ at the next-door surgery was interviewing me, he bought me an espresso coffee from Lisboa. I believe that it was the high quality of the coffee that helped me decide that I wanted to work in his surgery. Apart from excellent coffee, this popular café, where there are frequently queues, offers a great selection of Portuguese snacks, both savoury and sweet. It is famed for its ‘natas’ or baked custard tarts, but everything else is worth sampling. One wall of the café is decorated with a beautiful blue and white tiled (‘azulejo’) panorama of Lisbon depicting times long past. Next door to the café there is a Portuguese gift/stationery/book shop, the Lisboa Papeleria.

Lisboa Papelaria

Lisboa Papelaria

Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre Acklam Rd

Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre Acklam Rd

Just before reaching the railway bridge, St Ervans Road leads to Acklam Road on which the Al Manaar, Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, housed in a purpose-built brick building, is located close to the tracks. It is an Islamic community centre.

Golborne Rd railway bridge

Golborne Rd railway bridge

Golborne Rd railway bridge steps

Golborne Rd railway bridge steps

Golborne Rd railway bridge steps

Golborne Rd railway bridge steps

The iron railway bridge carrying Golborne Road over the Great Western Railway was built in about 1870 (see: http://www.golbornelife.co.uk/golbornebridge.pdf). At its north-eastern corner, there is a set of several curved steps edged with coloured tiles and paving stones, on which various historic events related to the area are recorded with inlaid letters. These dates include, for example: 1870, when Golborne Road was widened from a track; and 1948 when the ‘Empire Windrush’ set sail for the UK from Australia via Jamaica, beginning a period of immigration from the Caribbean. The walls of the bridge abutment next to these steps are decorated with strips of coloured ceramic tiles with names and dates scored in them.

Former Earl of Warwick pub

Former Earl of Warwick pub

On the corner of Golborne Road and Southam Street, there stands the former ‘Earl of Warwick’ pub, undistinguished architecturally. A plaque above its corner entrance records the death of Kelso Cochrane (1927-59). Kelso, a carpenter from Antigua, was fatally wounded near this pub in what was most probably a racially-motivated attack. When this happened, the area was a stronghold for Oswald Mosely’s Union Movement and other racist groups (see: http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/death-kelso-cochrane). The pub is almost directly beneath Trellick Tower.

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Designed by the left-wing Hungarian-born architect Ernő Goldfinger, and erected by the London County Council in 1972, Trellick Tower is a brutalist-style apartment block (217 flats and maisonettes, mostly state-owned, but some privately owned) that people either love or hate. I love it, but the creator of James Bond (Agent 007) Ian Fleming (1908-64) did not like Ernő’s architecture (especially the home he constructed for himself in Hampstead). Fleming’s evil character ‘Goldfinger’ was so-named because of his creator’s animosity towards the architect of Trellick Tower (see: Guardian online, 3 June 2005).

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower

Holmfield House

Holmfield House

A separate slender tower connected to the main block by short covered walkways houses the lifts and staircases. Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural historian, approved of the building. He wrote of it in 1991: “…by the 1970s public housing on such a monumental scale was already a dinosaur from another age, however handsome and generously planned (the entrance halls are marble lined, the balconies are large)…”. At street level the block has several shops, two of which include the name Goldfinger in their trading names. The ground floor of a neighbouring block, Holmfield House, contains a shop named ‘Rellik’, which opened in 1999 and continues to sell ‘vintage’-style clothing.

Lisboa delicatessen

Lisboa delicatessen

Lisboa delicatessen

Lisboa delicatessen

Lisboa delicatessen

Lisboa delicatessen

Crossing over the bridge back to the stretch of Golborne Road to its west, we will next explore the northern side of the road. The Lisboa Delicatessen is opposite the Lisboa Patisserie. All the staff at the ‘deli’ and most of its customers are Portuguese speakers, either from Portugal or from its scattered former colonies. At least one of the serving staff hails from Angola. His parents moved there from Goa, when it was a Portuguese colony. The shop contains every ingredient that might ever be needed to prepare Portuguese dishes. You can buy salted-cod; prepared meats including hams (e.g. Portuguese ‘presunto, which rivals the Italian ‘prosciutto’ and Spanish ‘jamon serrano’) and salamis; wines and other drinks; fresh breads; confectionery; olives and olive oil; Portuguese cheeses; frozen goods from Portugal; and so on. We often buy ‘presunto’ here; it is freshly cut to whatever thickness is required and far cheaper and tastier than that which is available sealed in plastic in supermarkets.

Former Hicks greengrocers

Former Hicks greengrocers

Oporto cafe

Oporto cafe

Next door to the delicatessen, there is an abandoned shuttered shop bearing the name ‘W Hicks’ in fading gold lettering. When I worked at the surgery across the road, this was an old-fashioned greengrocer with friendly staff. After it closed some years ago, it premises began to be used to house stock for the delicatessen next door. The Oporto on the corner of Wornington Road is another Portuguese café. I went there a few times in the 1990s, but did not find it as congenial as the Lisboa across the road.

Vegetables and junk Golborne Rd

Vegetables and junk Golborne Rd

Tropical veg Golborne Rd

Tropical veg Golborne Rd

The north side of Golborne Road near to the Oporto has a group of fruit and vegetable barrows, which are in business on Fridays and Saturdays. The lively salesmen, who man them, joke a lot and yell out their special offers. Once I heard one of them shouting: “Collies, collies, collies … three collies, wuppa, wuppa, wuppa!” It took me a while to work out that three cauliflowers were being offered for one pound. Apart from ‘European’ fruit and vegetables, they also sell tropical foods. These greengrocery stalls have been present ever since I began working in Golborne Road, but this is not the case for the several pavement-side stalls containing kitchens where delicious Moroccan food is cooked and consumed.

Al Houida Golborne Mosque

Al Houida Golborne Mosque

There are two shops, Le Marrakech and Le Maroc, selling the conical ceramic containers for cooking tagines. Both are Morroccan groceries, which include in-house halal butchers. Near them, there is a shop frontage, the entrance to the Al Huda Mosque, a small mosque with room for only thirty men. The mosque on nearby Acklam Road (see above) can accommodate 1500 worshipers (men and women). Both mosques, although open to all worshipers, caters for the local North African community.

Unrestored half of Price and Sons

Unrestored half of Price and Sons

Le Maroc’s neighbour is the double-fronted “E Price & Sons. English and Foreign Fruiterers and Greengrocers”. One half of the shop, the left as you face it, is closed-up and dilapidated. The other half was restored in 2017. When I worked in Golborne Road, the shop was fully open, and staffed by an elderly pair, a brother and sister. They used to be out on the pavement peeling the deteriorating outer leaves off cabbages and lettuces. As a result, day after day, the peeled items gradually decreased in size. It was a place where I only bought fruit and vegetables as a last resort.

Restored half of Price and Sons and Le Maroc

Restored half of Price and Sons and Le Maroc

Tagine pots at a Moroccan shop in Golborne Rd

Tagine pots at a Moroccan shop in Golborne Rd

Restored half of Price and Sons and Le Maroc

Restored half of Price and Sons and Le Maroc

Recently, young members of the Price family have restored one half of the shop, and have begun selling a wide selection of groceries, some basic and others luxury, in their very attractive shop. The large, healthy, fresh cabbages that they have on offer are a complete contrast to what used to be available in the 1990s from the ageing siblings, who died in about 2016. Nearby, there is a ‘cash and carry’ shop run by some Sikhs. This has an extensive stock of ingredients required for preparing food from the Indian subcontinent, as well as for several other non-British cuisines.

Cash and Carry at 84 Golborne Rd

Cash and Carry at 84 Golborne Rd

Galicia Portobello Rd

Galicia Portobello Rd

The Galicia is a Spanish restaurant on Portobello Road, a few feet south of Golborne Road. Its name, that of a north-western part of Spain, reflects the origin of many of the local Spaniards, who live around Golborne Road. Although there have been Spaniards living in London since mediaeval times (a notable example is Eleanor of Castile [1241-1290], whose death is commemorated in several places including Charing Cross), there was a significant influx of refugees from Spain to North Kensington during the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish Institute Portobello Rd

Spanish Institute Portobello Rd

I will not write much about Portobello Road, which is far better-known than Golborne, but I will mention the Spanish Institute (Instituto Español “Vicente Cañada Blanch”) close to Galicia. It is an independent co-educational school run by the Spanish government. It follows the Spanish school curriculum, and is housed in a former Dominican convent. The rather grim-looking brick building surrounded by brick walls was built in 1862 (see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol37/pp298-332#h3-0012), designed by Henry Clutton (1819-93), and later modified by his student John Francis Bentley (1839-1902). On Saturdays, there is a lively flea market on the stretch of Portobello road where this Spanish school stands.

Georges Portobello Fish Bar

Georges Portobello Fish Bar

Going north along Portobello across Golborne Road, you will soon reach George’s Portobello Fish Bar, which was founded by the late George Periccos from Cyprus and has been in business since 1961 (see: https://www.timeandleisure.co.uk/articles/food/1123-fish-and-chips). I used to buy lunch there occasionally. Incidentally, of all the localities where I have practised, none could begin to match the Portobello/Golborne area for the variety of reasonably-priced, good food available at lunchtime. Portobello Road continues north, and becomes steadily less interesting. Faraday and Bonchurch Roads both lead to Ladbroke Grove.

North Kensington Fire Station

North Kensington Fire Station

St Michael Ladbroke Grove

St Michael Ladbroke Grove

The attractive contemporary red and grey North Kensington Fire Station stands at the corner of Faraday Road and Ladbroke Grove. It opened in 1984, replacing an older one that had been in almost the same location since 1882 (see: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/150/map-of-london-fire-stations.asp). The parish church of St Michael is a few yards south of the fire station. Built mainly in brick in 1871, it was designed by James Edmeston Junior (1823-98). Pevsner describes its style as “Rhineland Romanesque”.

The Eagle Ladbroke Grove

The Eagle Ladbroke Grove

Proceeding north along Ladbroke Grove, after passing the fire station, the Eagle pub is reached. This pub has been in business since the beginning of the 1870s.

Ladbroke Grove Railway Bridge

Ladbroke Grove Railway Bridge

Kensal House Ladbroke Grove

Kensal House Ladbroke Grove

Kensal House Ladbroke Grove

Kensal House Ladbroke Grove

Further north, the Grove crosses the railway over an impressive metal bridge, whose girders are richly covered with the dome-like heads of rivets. Kensal House, a slightly curved apartment block on the west side of Ladbroke Grove, was opened in 1937. Its principal architect was Maxwell Fry (1899-1987). He was one of the few British exponents of the Modernist Style that included Walter Gröpius of Bauhaus fame, as well as Le Corbusier. Fry was assisted in the designing of Kensal House by Elizabeth Denby (1894-1965), who was an expert on social housing.

Detail of  330 Ladbroke Grove under restoration by Cubic

Detail of 330 Ladbroke Grove under restoration by Cubic

There is a small house, number 330 Ladbroke Grove, which was under restoration in late 2017. The restorers have added an old carved stone to its façade. The stone, which looks like a milestone or boundary marker, reads “KP 1860”. KP might mean Kensington Parish. Old, pre-restoration photographs of the building do not show the stone, which means that it might not have originally been located here. Whatever the inscription means, the northern half of Ladbroke Road is a parish boundary along much of its length.

Canalside

Canalside

The brick building with stone facings just south of the bridge over the Paddington branch of the Regents Canal is aptly named Canalside. It is almost all that remains of an extensive gasworks that was built on a site now partly occupied by a large branch (built 1989) of Sainsbury supermarket and its car park. The Gas, Light, and Coke Company that owned the gasworks was responsible for the building of Kensal House, already noted above. A couple of gasometers can be seen west of the store. They are sandwiched between the mainly Victorian Kensal Green Cemetery and the railway tracks that lead to and from Paddington Station.

Townhouse in The sky

Townhouse in The sky

Close to the supermarket and Canalside, there is a modified water tower. Mounted on its four original concrete legs, there is a cylindrical structure which has several windows and is clad with wood. Tom Dixon, the designer associated with the Habitat chain of furnishing stores, bought the disused water tower, and had, by 2009, converted its 5000-gallon cylindrical tank into his futuristic high-altitude home, the ‘Townhouse in the sky’. The water tower had been built in the 1930s to store water to be used in case of fire braking out in the gasworks spread out below it.

Ladbroke Grove railway crash monument

Ladbroke Grove railway crash monument

On Monday the 4th of October 1999, I arrived earlier than usual at Paddington Station from Maidenhead, where I worked several days a week. Being early, I bought my ticket to Maidenhead for the following day. Usually, I bought my ticket a few minutes before boarding the train at Paddington. On Tuesday the 5th, having already purchased my ticket I did not have to waste time at the ticket office, and was able to take the train before the one that I usually boarded at a few minutes past 8 am. Had I boarded my usual train, the 8.06, I might not be writing this today. My ‘usual train’, a local stopping train, collided head-on with a heavier express train (travelling at high speed) very close to the branch of Sainsburys mentioned above. Thirty-one people were killed, mainly of them passengers on the local train leaving Paddington and well over four hundred people were injured. A simple stone monument to the victims of this accident, inscribed with the names of those killed, stands between Sainsburys and the railway tracks. Whenever I think of this incident, I shudder, and say inwardly: “There for the Grace of God…”

Barlby Gardens

Barlby Gardens

Returning south along Ladbroke Grove and turning into Barlby Road, we pass Barlby Gardens, a short crescent lined with houses of the type that can be found in almost any of the housing developments built in London’s suburbs during the years between the two World Wars. They are a far cry from their terraced neighbours with porches supported by pillars, which are so typical of most parts of Kensington.

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

Hewer Street former laundry

Hewer Street former laundry

Exmoor Road leads towards the enormous Victorian St Charles Hospital compound. Along Hewer Street, which branches off Exmoor Street, there are some old brick buildings that once housed one of the many laundries that used to exist in the neighbourhood. Described as a “fortress-like pile” by Pevsner, this hospital was built 1879-81 and designed by Henry Saxon Snell (1831-1904), an architect who specialised in creating health-related buildings. It was built as a hospital for the poor by the Board of Guardians of the Poor Law Union of St Marylebone and known as the ‘St Marylebone Infirmary’ until 1922, when it was renamed briefly, before being re-named once more as St Charles Hospital in 1930 after having been taken over by the London County Council.

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

St Charles Hospital

For lovers of Victorian architecture, this place with its open-air cast-iron walkways, and numerous gothic-revival features, is a real treasure. For the patients, who visit the numerous out-patient clinics which are now housed there, its exterior, redolent of oversized Victorian funerary chapels, might seem rather forbidding. However, the interiors have been pleasantly modernised, and made to look as welcoming as can be expected of hospitals.

Carmelite Monastery

Carmelite Monastery

By St Charles Hospital

By St Charles Hospital

The hospital abuts a Carmelite monastery. On the wall connecting the monastery and the hospital, there are two letter-boxes. One, now sealed up, bears the letters ‘VR’ standing for Queen Victoria. Its neighbour, still in use, bears the letters ‘GR’, which refer to one (or both) of the two King Georges that reigned after Victoria and Edward VII.

St PIUS X Church

St PIUS X Church

The Roman Catholic church of St Pius X can be entered from St Charles Square. Designed in a neo-classical style by PA Lamb and R O’B North, it was built in 1908 as part of the former St Charles Training College (for boys), which was founded by Doctor (later Cardinal) Henry Manning (1808-92) in 1863 and closed in 1903. After the college closed, its precincts including the church were taken over by the nuns of The Sacred Heart for use as a training establishment. The church became a parish church in 1955. Its barrel-vaulted interior, reminiscent of 18th century churches in Italy, is delightful and airy. A short walk leads from the church to Ladbroke Grove, about five hundred yards north of the funeral parlour, where this exploration commenced.

St PIUS X Church

St PIUS X Church

Golborne Road and its environs is an area where the multi-cultural nature of London can be explored enjoyably and rewardingly. Not being a lover of crowds, I would avoid the area during the annual world-famous Notting Hill Carnival, but that is not a view shared by many. The area is full of memories for me. I worked in its heart for several years, and became acquainted with many people who live there. I continue to visit it regularly to enjoy a coffee at Lisboa, to buy ‘presunto’, and to mingle amongst people enjoying the markets that flourish at the end of the week.

Golborne Rd bus stop

Golborne Rd bus stop

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 10:33 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london market morocco portugal kensington portobello golborne goldfinger Comments (2)

OLIVER CROMWELL, SHEEP, AND SHEPHERDS BUSH

Explore an area of West London that lacks the charm of, say, Hampstead or Kensington, but which is not without its own fascination.

large_BUSH_3n_Th..Bush_Market.jpg

In the 1870s, Shepherd Bush was a small village, built around a triangular green, Shepherds Bush Green (formerly ‘Common’), that was beginning to become engulfed by London’s relentless growth. “The place has little to interest anyone”, James Thorne wrote about Shepherds Bush (in his 1876 “Handbook to the Environs of London”). Many people erroneously share his opinion today. I hope to demonstrate that what Thorne wrote is now no longer true.

The name Shepherds Bush and variations of its spelling existed in the 17th century (see: “Oxford Dictionary of London Place Names”, by AD Mills, publ. 2004). It appears, for example, on a 1775 map, in the middle of open countryside, as ‘Sheperds Bush’. The name might either refer to a family name or to shepherding. A ‘shepherd’s bush’ is a bush from which a shepherd can shelter from the elements to watch his (or in the case of Little Bo Peep, her) flock. The place name might also refer to a place where shepherds rest their sheep on their way to Smithfield Market. Whatever the name’s origin, you are unlikely to spot a sheep anywhere in the area except in a butcher’s shop.

Shepherds Bush Green view of Westfield

Shepherds Bush Green view of Westfield

Until recently, Shepherds Bush Green was an uninviting triangular open space littered with drug-users’ syringes. Between 2012 and ’13, the Green was re-developed, and has become a pleasant island of greenness surrounded by a seemingly unending stream of traffic. Shepherds Bush Station on the Central Line first opened in 1900. In 2008, coinciding with the opening of the nearby Westfield shopping centre, an attractive, airy modern station opened to replace an older one, which had been closed. The station gives access to both the Underground and the Overground railways. Not being a lover of shopping malls, I will not describe the vast and, in my opinion, hideous Westfield.

Shebherds Bush Station and Westfield

Shebherds Bush Station and Westfield

Shepherds Bush Green ventilator

Shepherds Bush Green ventilator

At the eastern apex of the Green, there is a solitary metal pipe sticking up from the ground. Just below its pointed top, it is perforated by six rows of small circular holes. I have not discovered what function this neglected tube serves or served. Maybe, it is related to what remains of a subterranean public toilet nearby. The Edwardian ironwork around its entrances is decorative. According to detailed maps drawn early in the 20th century, there was a public toilet at two of the Green’s three apices. The one that remains is now derelict. After having been used as a subterranean snooker hall for some years, it was converted into a subterranean nightclub called Ginglik in 2002. It provided a stage for up and coming artistes as well as for established ones, such as Robin Williams and Ellie Goulding (see: https://www.residentialadvisor.net/club.aspx?id=935). The club closed in about 2008 because it was prone to flooding.

Shepherds Bush Green old WC

Shepherds Bush Green old WC

Shepherds Bush Green war memorial

Shepherds Bush Green war memorial

A few feet west of the disused ‘loos’, there is a war memorial. This is a winged Victory holding a sword in her left hand and a wreath in her right. It was sculpted by HC Fehr (1867-1940), and erected in 1922. Of Swiss heritage but born in London, one of Fehr’s ancestors was a former President of Switzerland.

Shepherds Bush Green north side

Shepherds Bush Green north side

The north side of the Green is lined with shops and restaurants, which are beneath brick buildings that date back to the early 20th century, or a few years before. They are trimmed with white stone and topped with variously shaped gables.

Shepherds Bush Green south side

Shepherds Bush Green south side

Romney Court Shepherds Bush Green

Romney Court Shepherds Bush Green

On the south side of the Green, there is a 1980’s shopping cinema, which includes a cinema complex where Bollywood films are shown regularly. Towering above the shopping centre, there are four identical blocks of flats built in 1961, designed by Sidney Kaye. Although most of the pre-WW2 buildings, some of which might have suffered bomb-damage, have been replaced by newer ones, there are still a few buildings at the western end of this side of the Green, which were built before the one or two of the World Wars. Romney Court, a tall art-deco block of flats built in the 1930s, stands between Kaye’s four towers and the remaining older buildings. There is another fine art-deco building nearby (see below).

TGCM Church Shepherds Bush Rd

TGCM Church Shepherds Bush Rd

A brick and stone, neo-gothic church stands at the north end of Shepherds Bush Road. This was formerly a Baptist chapel, built about 1893. Now, it is used by the Great Commission Ministry Church (founded in the USA c. 1970), which has owned the building since 2008. Pevsner notes that the church was built in 1907 to the designs of PW Hawkins. However, I noticed that part of the building has a stone “… laid by Mrs Robert Miller November 3rd, 1892”.

The Grampians Shepherds Bush Rd

The Grampians Shepherds Bush Rd

The Grampians Shepherds Bush Rd

The Grampians Shepherds Bush Rd

The church’s neighbour is the spectacular art-deco Grampians building. Designed by Maurice E Webb (1880-1939), son of the architect Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930; he designed the principal façade of Buckingham Palace), and Stanley Hinge Hamp (1877-1968) of Collcutt and Hamp (see: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1390753), this block of flats was built in 1935. The ground and first floors are occupied by shops with curving glazed facades and flats above them. These curving structures project forward from the main twelve-storey tower.

St Simons Church, Minford Gdns

St Simons Church, Minford Gdns

Minford Gardens leads to St Simons, a neo-gothic church with a slender hexagonal steeple decorated with tiles and stones of various colours. It was designed by AW Blomfield (1829-99), and built by 1886. The church contains an organ (c. 1865), which was originally that of Dunblane Cathedral in Scotland (see: http://www.stsimons.co.uk/). It was acquired in 1893, when the Scottish cathedral was being re-furnished. St Simons stands on the corner of Rockley Road, which leads north to the Green.

The Shepherds Building

The Shepherds Building

Charecroft Way leads off Rockley Road. Most of its south side is occupied by The Shepherds building, with its bold lettering on a vertical structure next to an external metal staircase projecting from the front of the long brick edifice. It was built in the 1960s on disused railway land that was surrounded by terrain that had suffered bad bomb damage during WW2. In 2000, it was refurbished, and another floor was added. Apart from being an office building, this also provides a centre for budding creative entrepreneurs. A few yards north, we return to the Green.

The Empire

The Empire

The Empire

The Empire

The west side, the shortest of the Green’s three sides, is lined by several historic places of entertainment. At the southern end, there is a pub, the Sindercombe Social (see below). This is neighboured by a building with a tall circular tower, The Empire. The cylindrical tower reminds me of some castle towers in Germany. The Empire was built as a theatre in 1903. It was designed by Frank Matcham (1854-1920), who designed many theatres in London including the London Coliseum and the London Palladium. Charlie Chaplin was one of the first to perform in the Empire (in 1906). In 1953, the theatre was bought by the BBC, who renamed it the ‘BBC Television Theatre’. Since 1993, after the BBC had left it, the Empire has become a ‘venue’ for popular music ‘gigs’. Despite its many changes of ownership, the building retains its original external decorations including a bow window decorated with a row of bas-relief ‘putti’ playing musical instruments.

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium cinema Shepherds Bush Green

Smaller than the Empire, is its northern neighbour: a long squat building with a façade bearing two snarling lion’s heads on either side of a large, centrally located hemi-circular arch that frames a window above what was originally the front entrance. This building, which until recently was home to an ‘Australasian Bar’, was originally the Palladium cinema (see: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/3776). This was built in 1910, and opened as the ‘Shepherd’s Bush Cinematograph Theatre’. It was the sixth of a chain of cinemas opened by the former ‘cinema king’ Montagu Pyke (died 1935). In 1923, after having been closed for a few years due to insufficiencies of the local electricity supply, it re-opened as the ‘Palladium’, which was renamed several times before it finally ceased functioning as a cinema in 1981. Running along the southern wall of the building, there is a long notice written in deeply engraved letters. It reads: “Cinematograph Theatre Continuous Performance Seats 1/- 6d 3d”. After standing derelict for many years, it was reopened in about 2011 as a branch of a chain of ‘Australasian’ bars. This closed in 2013, and the future of the building is now uncertain.

The former Palladium and Pavilion cinemas Shepherds Bush Green

The former Palladium and Pavilion cinemas Shepherds Bush Green

Remains of former Pavilion Cinema now Dorsett

Remains of former Pavilion Cinema now Dorsett

The Palladium’s neighbour to the north is all that remains of a much larger cinema, the former ‘Pavilion’. It has a long brick façade that has been preserved since the rest of the cinema was demolished and replaced by the luxurious Dorsett Hotel, which opened recently. Designed by Frank Verity (1864-1937), a cinema architect, the original cinema opened in 1923 (see: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/3777). It won Verity a prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The architect of New Delhi and Hampstead Garden Suburb, Edwin Lutyens, was one the judging committee. The cinema was hit by a flying bomb in 1944, and reopened in 1955. Until 1962, when it became an Odeon cinema, the Pavilion had been part of the Gaumont chain. The cinema finally closed in 1983, and was used as a bingo hall until 2001. Now, its ‘innards’ have been removed, and replaced with the new hotel (see: http://flanaganlawrence.com/project/shepherds-bush-pavilion/).

Defectors Weld pub former Beaumont Arms

Defectors Weld pub former Beaumont Arms

At the southern end of Wood Lane overlooking the Green, there is a pub called The Defector’s Weld. It stands at the start of the busy Uxbridge Road. This late 19th century pub building was originally called the ‘Beaumont Arms’. There has been a pub on this site since the early 19th century, and maybe before. After being renamed ‘Edwards’ for a while, it got its present curious name. The ‘defector’ part refers to a local Cold War spy, and the ‘weld’ part refers to joining together as in welding (see: https://londonist.com/pubs/defectors-weld). I do not know of the identity of the spy, but in 1966 Shepherds Bush was swarming with policemen after the Soviet spy George Blake (who was born George Behar in Rotterdam in 1922) escaped from nearby Wormwood Scrubs prison (see: “Eccentric London: The Bradt Guide to Britain's Crazy and Curious Capital”, by B Le Vay, publ. 2007). He continues to live in Russia.

Old Drill Hall  Wood Lane

Old Drill Hall Wood Lane

The Du Boisson Dance Studio is housed in a brick building a few yards north of the Defectors Weld. Its two-coloured brick façade is decorated with bas-reliefs including the date “1898”. It was originally built to house a drill hall (see: http://www.indyrs.co.uk/2011/08/halt-for-gootness-sake-der-bushmen-are-in-sight-they-mean-bizzness/) for the Bushmen’s Training Corps and, later, 1st City of London Volunteer Artillery (who served both in the Boer War and WW1). Later, after WW1, it served as a village hall, a community centre, for Shepherds Bush. The present occupants of this building are part of the West London School of Dance, which was founded by a former Rehearsal Director of the Ballet Rambert, Anna Du Boisson.

Palms Hopwood Street

Palms Hopwood Street

2B Macfarlane Road

2B Macfarlane Road

Macfarlane Road leads west from Wood Lane. At the corner of Hopgood Street, there is a terraced house outside of which I saw a small thicket of tropical palms planted in its small front garden. At the corner where Macfarlane Road makes a right-angle and heads north instead of west, number 2B with its plain triangular pediment looks as if once it was a meeting hall of sorts. Hopgood Street leads into Uxbridge Road opposite an elegant brick building with stone trimmings around its windows and triangular roof gables.

Bush Green House

Bush Green House

Dated 1900 and rising above a row of shops and restaurants, this is Bush Green House, which bears the words “London County Council” (‘LCC’) in gold coloured letters. The Council existed between 1889 and 1965, when it was superseded by the Greater London Council. The building on Uxbridge Road looks as if it were built in the earlier years of the LCC. It does not appear on a detailed 1894 map, but on a similar one published in 1916, it is marked as a fire station.

Bush Theatre

Bush Theatre

Bush Theatre 1895 and its new extension

Bush Theatre 1895 and its new extension

Just west of the former fire station, stands the Bush Theatre, which is housed in a brick building adorned with stone trimmings including pillars with Ionic capitals, mansard windows, and a tall chimney stack bearing the date 1895. Designed by Maurice B Adams (1849-1933), and built as the ‘Passmore Edwards Public Library’, this elegant edifice has been, since late 2010, home to the Bush Theatre, which I have attended several times to see plays that are usually overloaded with political messages. Before moving into the library, the theatre used to be above the pub at the corner of Goldhawk Road and Shepherds Bush Green. Recently, an attractive glass and steel extension containing a seating was added to the western side of the ground floor. The philanthropist John Passmore Edwards (1823-1911), a journalist and newspaper owner, paid for many libraries to be built in London. One of his libraries, that in Whitechapel, became incorporated with its neighbour, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, in 2009.

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

The theatre is a few steps away from Shepherds Bush Market. This runs from Uxbridge Road to Goldhawk Road. It is located beneath and beside the railway track, part of the Underground that runs overhead along a series of brick arches. The market first opened for business in about 1914 (see: http://www.horatha.com/our-history/). Free of vehicles apart from occasional trains running overhead, this market is a quiet place. When I visited it, I heard very few, if any, sellers shouting about their wares.

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Many goods are on sale including: meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables; clothes and shoes; flowers: real and artificial; materials for clothes and curtains; electronic goods; music recordings; cooking and other household utensils; refreshments; baggage items; bedding; and much more. The clientele and sales people hail from all over the world, as do the products that are on sale.

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Shepherds Bush Market

Stepping into this colourful market is like stepping out of London into a place where Asian (middle East and Indian subcontinent), African (north, east, and west), and Caribbean cultures flourish in harmony with the uncertain British climate. Although in detail this market looks exotic, its variety is what London is all about. In amongst the shops selling things, there are stalls offering services like tailoring. Some of the market stalls are in the open, but many are sheltered by a translucent canopy attached to the railway brickwork. In some places, the market invades the spaces under the railway arches.

Goldhawk Road Station

Goldhawk Road Station

Across a busy road from the southern end of the market, there is the entrance to Goldhawk Road Underground Station. It was opened in 1914. Architecturally unexceptional, part of its eastern platform is supported by a series of steel supports, whose appearance is reminiscent of the elevated parts of the Subway in New York City.

The New Shepherds Bush Market

The New Shepherds Bush Market

The New Shepherds Bush Market

The New Shepherds Bush Market

New Shepherds Bush Market

New Shepherds Bush Market

Just west of the market on the other side of the railway tracks, there is another similar, but administratively distinct, market called The New Shepherds Bush Market. Although it seems like its neighbour, it is a separate market. By walking into the depths of the newer market, I suddenly found myself in the older market. The two markets merge beneath one of the railway arches.

Former White Horse pub

Former White Horse pub

St Stephen and St Thomas Uxbridge Rd

St Stephen and St Thomas Uxbridge Rd

Continuing along the Uxbridge Road, we reach a building with a small tower on the corner of Lime Grove. Now a branch of Tesco’s supermarket chain, this was formerly a pub, the ‘White Horse’. The pub existed early in the 19th century, and closed before 2011. Between 1949 and ’93, the BBC had TV studios in Lime Grove. Built in the 1920s, the studios were first owned by the Gaumont-British cinema film production and distribution company. West of the pub is the stone clad neo-gothic church of St Stephen and St Thomas, which was built 1849-50. It was designed by Anthony Salvin (1799-1881), an expert on mediaeval buildings. He also designed the parsonage, now called ‘Glebe House, in Coverdale Road.

Glebe House Coverdale Rd

Glebe House Coverdale Rd

Miles Coverdale Primary School

Miles Coverdale Primary School

The Miles Coverdale Primary School, built in brick, stands where Coverdale Road meets Thornfield Road. Opened in 1916, the school’s name that of a man who lived from 1488 until 1569. This Coverdale was and English ecclesiastical reformer and translator of the Bible.

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church near Thornbury Rd

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church near Thornbury Rd

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church near Thornbury Rd

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church near Thornbury Rd

Where Thornfield Road, lined by terraced housing, crosses Godolphin Road, there is a brick church with gothic windows. A Greek flag flies from a flagpole near the church’s eastern entrance. Above this doorway, there are words written in Greek. Designed by AW Blomfield, this church, St Nicholas, was constructed in 1882 (a chancel was added in 1887). The church of St Nicholas, formerly known as ‘St Thomas’, was closed in 1960, and two years later its congregation combined with that of the nearby St Stephen, which was then renamed St Stephen and St Thomas (see above, and also: https://www.ststephensw12.org/history-of-st-stephens/). Since 1965, the abandoned church, now St Nicholas, has been used as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Nicholas.

Massacred Vespas in  Havilland Mews

Massacred Vespas in Havilland Mews

The street outside the west end of the cathedral was littered with the carcases of five abandoned Vespa motor scooters. Resembling victims of a ritual killing, they were all denuded of their seats, wheels, and front panel covers. A vehicular version of the “Sicilian Vespers” massacre, you might say. I suspect that by the time that this goes into print, they might have been removed.

Thornfield Road ends at Stowe Road that first proceeds north, and then west. Where it changes direction, it passes the entrance to a gated community called Havilland Mews. This was built on the site of the former Paragon Works. The works belonged to the Brilliant Sign Company, which was founded in 1888. They brought about a revolution in shop sign technology with their ‘Brilliant letter’ which: “…was a pressed copper sheet with a v-shaped cross section so as to imitate the classic incised wooden facia letter. These were then fixed to the rear of the painted glass by way of flanges with shellac, furthermore they were then covered with lead foil to then ‘hermetically seal’ them from the weather and condensation.” (see: http://www.brilliantsigns.co.uk/OUR-HERITAGE). In 1907, the company bought the three-acre site at Stowe Road, where they built a factory that continued production until 1976 – the year the company was ‘wound up’. In 1999, the company was revived under new management, and now has a factory in Buckinghamshire.

Coningham Road connects Stowe Road with Goldhawk Road. This road runs from Shepherds Bush Green to Turnham Green. The name of this thoroughfare derives from John Goldhawk, who owned land in Fulham in the 14th century. It has been called ‘Gould Hauk Road’ in the past. In Thomas Faulkner’s “The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Hammersmith”, published in 1839, he suggests that the road followed the course of a Roman Road built in the first century AD. This is confirmed in later accounts (see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol7/pp51-54). In the 1870s, the road was called ‘New Road’, as well as ‘Roman Road’ (on an 1866 map), but it reverted to Goldhawk after the mid-1890s.

Former Swakeley Hotel

Former Swakeley Hotel

Former Wheatsheaf pub Goldhawk Rd

Former Wheatsheaf pub Goldhawk Rd

O’ Donoghues pub on the corner of Coningham and Goldhawk roads, whose ground floor is adorned with pillars and pilasters bearing Ionic capitals, was formerly the ‘Swakely Hotel’. This is a 19th century pub building, which does not appear on a detailed map drawn in 1866. In contrast, the former ‘Wheatsheaf’ pub almost opposite on the corner of the now fashionable Brackenbury Road was in existence in 1866. It is a three-storey building with decorative ironwork above its main entrance. Its name changed to the ‘Brackenbury Arms’, which closed in 2009. Now, the premises house the Zaman Lounge, an ethnic restaurant with ‘African’ and ‘Mediterranean’ food.

Brickfield House Brackenbury Rd

Brickfield House Brackenbury Rd

Neighbouring the Zaman Lounge, the first house on Brackenbury Road is a small apartment block in a building, Brickfield House, that looks as if it might have been built more than 100 years ago. In the 19th century, there were brickfields in the area. By the mid-1890s, these had been built on as part of the spread of residential housing developments. Nearby, Brackenbury Primary School, housed in a large brick building with triangular gables and a small wooden tower, was already built by 1893.

Townhouse Mews formerly Townhouse Studios

Townhouse Mews formerly Townhouse Studios

Heading east along Goldhawk Road, we pass a building on the corner of St Stephens Avenue. Its ground floor is contemporary, but the upper storeys facing Goldhawk Road look Victorian. This is deceptive because this old-looking façade is part of a very much more contemporary building. This is the Townhouse Mews, a recently constructed development of twelve up-market housing units. The housing complex is built on land that had previously been occupied by ‘Townhouse Studios’, a recording studio set up by Richard Branson in 1978 (see: http://www.bective.co.uk/downloads/sales/3870007_2245918_DOC_54.PDF). Artists who have recorded there include Phil Collins, Duran Duran, Robbie Williams, and Elton John.

Shepherd and Flock pub Goldhawk Rd

Shepherd and Flock pub Goldhawk Rd

The small Shepherd and Flock pub, on a corner plot and decorated with pillars and pilasters that serve no obvious structural function, is further east along Goldhawk Road. It was built in 1869 (see: https://pubshistory.com/LondonPubs/Hammersmith/ShepherdFlock.shtml). It has an attractive painted sign hanging over the pavement.

Ethiopian shop Goldhawk Rd

Ethiopian shop Goldhawk Rd

A few doors east of this pub, there is a shop adorned with words in the Ethiopian alphabet (Amharic). Called Messi Abyssinia, the shop sells fashion accessories and Ethiopian outfits. Its presence is one of many signs of the area’s multi-ethnic composition.

Former British Prince pub Goldhawk Rd

Former British Prince pub Goldhawk Rd

Former British Prince pub Goldhawk Rd

Former British Prince pub Goldhawk Rd

On the corner of Richford Street and Goldhawk Road, stands a branch of Kerr & Co, an estate agent. Their ground floor offices retain bas-reliefs including the date 1898 and the three feathers of the Prince of Wales. This building housed the ‘British Prince’ pub, which was already in existence by 1855 (see: https://pubshistory.com/LondonPubs/Hammersmith/BritishPrince.shtml). It closed in about 2013, after having been renamed ‘The Prince’, and then ‘Raving Buddha’.

Watch repair shop Goldhawk Rd

Watch repair shop Goldhawk Rd

The narrow, small watch- and clock-repairer’s shop a few feet west of Goldhawk Road Underground station, AR Roberts, looks as if it has remained unaltered for many decades. It is popular, and rated reliable.

A Cooke's  former pie shop

A Cooke's former pie shop

Just east of the railway bridge, the shop that used to house A Cooke’s ‘Traditional Pie, Mash, Liquor, and Eels’ - formerly favourite foods of Londoners – looks (December 2017) as if it about to be demolished, or totally changed. The company was started by Alfred Cooke in 1899 (see: https://www.cookespieandmash.com/about-us/). He moved to the now derelict shop on Goldhawk Road in 1934, which served customers until it closed in 2015. Alfred’s great-grandson, Mike Boughton, continues the family tradition by providing customers with the same fare via an on-line delivery service.

Pennard Mansions

Pennard Mansions

The old pie shop is in a terrace of shabby two-storey buildings that, at its eastern end, abuts a late Victorian block of flats, Pennard Mansions, built in brick with stone window surrounds. Currently the ground floor is occupied by textile shops that bear Arabic lettering on their signboards. Roger Waters of The Pink Floyd (a popular rock music group) and his wife, the potter Judy Trim (1943-2001), lived in the Mansions in the late 1960s (see: “Pink Floyd: The Early Years”, by B Miles, publ. 2011).

Former Bush Hotel pub, Shepherds Bush Green

Former Bush Hotel pub, Shepherds Bush Green

The elaborately decorated brick building with a corner turret with a bell-shaped tiled roof on the corner of Goldhawk Road and Shepherds Bush Green, where we started this exploration, is now called the Sindercombe Social. It is a place for drinking, dining, and dancing. The building began life as the ‘Bush Hotel’, a 19th century pub. Between 1972, when it was established, and 2010, the Bush Theatre (see above) occupied the first floor of this hostelry in what had before been the dance studio of Lionel Blair (see: telegraph.co.uk, 18th April 2002). ‘Sindercombe’, the name of the present establishment, which opened in 2014, has an interesting history.

Miles Sindercombe (died 1657) was involved in at least two plots to assassinate members of the government of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). Cromwell’s biographer Antonia Fraser writes in her “Cromwell Our Chief of Men” (publ. 1973) that Sindercombe and accomplices: “… had in the first place intended to fire at Cromwell with ‘screwed guns’, each containing twelve bullets and a slug, on his route to Hampton Court…” The place chosen was a banqueting room in Hammersmith, where it was known that the coach carrying Cromwell would have to slow down because the road outside it was narrow and in bad condition. On the day that the shooting was planned, Cromwell escaped with his life because he had chosen to travel by boat instead of by road.

Sindercombe was less fortunate. Convicted of treason, he was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered. He escaped this fate by killing himself with poison, which had been smuggled into his cell in the Tower of London (see: “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography”). Walter Besant wrote in his “London North of the Thames” (publ. 1911): “At Shepherds Bush, in 1657, one Miles Sindercomb [sic] hired a house for the purpose of assassinating Oliver Cromwell … the precise spot on which the attempt took place is impossible to identify. It was somewhere near ‘the corner of Golders Lane’, says Faulkner, but the lane has long since been obliterated.” Faulkner (writing in 1839: see above) is more specific than Besant implies: “The house which Syndercomb hired for the purpose of killing the Protector was an inn, much frequented by travellers on the great western road. It was situate [sic] at the eastern end of the Gould Hawk Road, which was at that time very narrow, and nearly impassable. This old house was pulled down about sixty years ago.” This would place the scene of the crime very close to the present-day Sindercombe Social.

When I first set-out to explore Shepherds Bush, I was afraid that I would not find much of interest there. I hope that what has been described shows that the area, which lacks the charm of, say, Hampstead or Kensington, is not without its own fascination. Although there be no more sheep to be seen, there is more than the Westfield shopping centre to attract visitors to the ‘Bush’.

PS: I looked around Shepherds Bush for just over an hour and a half whilst waiting for my wife to have her hair 'done' at a local hair salon. I thought that I would lose interest after a short time, but how wrong I was to have made that assumption!

New Shepherds Bush Market

New Shepherds Bush Market

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 02:20 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged markets cinemas london pubs hammersmith oliver_cromwell shepherds_bush Comments (4)

TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE STRAND

Strolling along London's Strand can be an evocative experience, as many of today’s sights reflect, either in substance or merely in their names, the rich history associated with this lively thoroughfare.

['Pepper pot' towers at corner of Adelaide Street and the Strand

'Pepper pot' towers at corner of Adelaide Street and the Strand

"Come, Fortescue, sincere, experienced friend,
Thy briefs, thy deeds, and e’en thy fees suspend;
Come, let us leave the Temple’s silent walls;
My business to my distant lodging calls;
Through the long Strand together let us stray,
With thee conversing, I forget the way
.”

John Gay (1685-1732)

The Strand runs from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar. The street’s name derives from the Old English word meaning ‘seashore’ or ‘beach’. During Roman times, the Strand was part of a road leading to Silchester. Later, it became the main route between the City of London and the palace at Westminster. It acquired its present name in the 11th century. A map published in 1578 shows the Strand as a street bordered on each side by houses. Those on the south side had gardens running down to the bank of the River Thames. Those on the northern side backed onto open countryside: fields and gardens (e.g. Covent Garden). From the 12th century onwards, many wealthy people built palaces mainly along the south side of the Strand. During the 17th century, many of these opulent homes were demolished when their owners moved to the up and coming areas in the West End. In their place, theatres, shops, offices, banks, inns, and hotels, were built. This situation remains unchanged.

Mon Plaisir Monmouth Str

Mon Plaisir Monmouth Str

Oldest part of Mon Plaisir Monmouth Str

Oldest part of Mon Plaisir Monmouth Str

This exploration begins north of the Strand in Monmouth Street. This leads south to the Seven Dials (see below). From the 17th century onwards, it was home to wealthy merchants and lawyers, but by the end of the 18th, it had become a slum. In recent decades, its affluence has improved. The Mon Plaisir in Monmouth Street is a French eatery that was opened in during the 1940s (see: https://www.monplaisir.co.uk/about-us/history/). My parents often ate there in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Now occupying two shopfronts, it used to be confined to one of them when I first went there as a child. The décor of the original part has been faithfully preserved. I wonder whether the artist’s palette with the words ‘pipi room’ still exists.

Mercer Str near The 7 Dials

Mercer Str near The 7 Dials

Monmouth Street leads to the Seven Dials, from which seven streets radiate like spokes of a wheel (as in many parts of Paris). The street layout was created in the 1690s by a property developer Thomas Neale (1641-1699), an MP who formed the first postal service in the North American colonies in 1691. Mercer Street, one of the seven ‘spokes’ has some fine old shopfronts (numbers 23, 25, and 27). One of these (possibly number 25) might have been the ‘St Lukes Head’ pub, which is mentioned in “The Truthteller”, by W.E. Andrews (publ. 1826).

Inside Ching Court

Inside Ching Court

Two Brewers pub on south part of Monmouth Str

Two Brewers pub on south part of Monmouth Str

Continuing along Monmouth Street, we reach Ching Court. Named after an architectural ironmonger company ‘Comyn Ching’ (which was not a Chinese name), which stood here for over 200 years, this peaceful courtyard with a tree is surrounded by many 18th century buildings. It was restored in the 1980s. Almost opposite the entrance to the courtyard, is the Two Brewers pub, which moved from its original address near St Giles Church to is present one in the 1940s. Its grandiose white stone and brick façade contrasts with its much older and simpler brick built neighbours.

St Giles in the Fields parish marker and Equity at southern end of Monmouth Str

St Giles in the Fields parish marker and Equity at southern end of Monmouth Str

West Street marks the point where Monmouth Street becomes Upper St Martins Lane. The actor’s (and other professional performers’) trade union Equity occupies a building on the eastern corner of this street. This edifice bears a small plaque (overlooking West Street) with the letters “SFG” and the date “1691”. This is a boundary marker for the parish of St Giles in the Fields, whose boundaries have been subject to many alterations over the years (see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol5/pt2/pp1-2).

Former County Court    St Martins Lane 1908

Former County Court St Martins Lane 1908

The Salisbury pub,  St Martins Lane

The Salisbury pub, St Martins Lane

Further south on St Martins Lane, stands the former Westminster County Court, an elegant building faced with white stone. It was designed by HN Hawks of the Office of Works and decorated with carvings by Gilbert Seale (1881-1930), who also worked on sculptures in the Old Bailey. The court was built in 1908 on the site of an earlier court building, which appears on an 1876 map. Now, the building is occupied by Browns, a ‘brasserie’ and bar, but the façade is well-preserved.

St Martins Lane End of Goodwins Ct

St Martins Lane End of Goodwins Ct

Goodwins Court

Goodwins Court

The Salisbury, a little further south, is a riotously decorated, fine example of late Victorian pub decoration. Almost opposite it across the road, there is a narrow gap between the buildings. This is the western entrance of Goodwin’s Court, a truly unsuspected delight, which was pointed out to me by my friend the author Roy Moxham. An unexceptional narrow covered passage leads to a slightly wider alley lined on its south side by several shopfronts with bow windows. All of them date back to the late 18th century. The east end of the court is on Bedfordbury, which leads south to Chandos Place.

Former Charing Cross Hospital

Former Charing Cross Hospital

The southern side of Chandos Place is occupied by a large building, which is now the Charing Cross Police Station. The oldest part of this building, which began life as the former Charing Cross Hospital and was built 1831-34, was designed by Decimus Burton (1800-81), who also designed, amongst many other buildings, the Athenaeum and the Palm House at Kew Gardens. The building was much altered by James Thompson in 1877, and then by A Saxon Snell (1831-1904) in 1903. In the late 1950s, the hospital moved to its present site in Fulham, and now (2017) faces possible closure.

Adelaide Street

Adelaide Street

Chandos Place leads southwest into Adelaide Street, whose eastern side is occupied by a building built in 1830 and planned by John Nash (1752-1835), the principal architect of Regency London. The corner of the building (facing Charing Cross Station) has two ‘pepper-pot’ shaped towers. Near these, there is a monument to Oscar Wilde sculpted in 1998 by Maggi Hambling, who once offered to paint a portrait of my father while he was a Trustee of the National Gallery.

Oscar Wilde by Maggi Hambling Adelaide Str

Oscar Wilde by Maggi Hambling Adelaide Str

TheCharing Cross

TheCharing Cross

In the forecourt of Charing Cross Station (opened 1864) on the Strand, there is a Victorian replica of an Eleanor Cross, one of several ornamental crosses (all originally constructed in the late 13th century) to mark where the corpse of Queen Eleanor rested on its trip from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey in 1290. The original location of the Charing Cross was a few yards further west (see below). The replica was made in 1883; the original was destroyed in 1647.

1977 storm plaques at Chring Cross Stn

1977 storm plaques at Chring Cross Stn

Just east of the cross at the north-western corner of Villiers Street, there are two plaques relating to the great storm of October 1987, which destroyed about 250,000 trees in south-east England, the area to which trains from Charing Cross travel. I was living in Kent when the storm hit, and remember that it was so strong that I could feel my brick house literally rocking in the buffeting winds. Walk down Villiers Street, and then turn left to enter the Victoria Embankment Gardens.

York Watergate

York Watergate

There, stands the decorative neo-classical York Watergate. Designed by Inigo Jones (1573-1652), this was constructed (with stairs leading down into the river) in 1626. It was the riverside entrance of York House (built in 1620 for George Villiers [1592-1628], the first Duke of Buckingham), one of several grand palaces along the south side of the Strand. The gate’s position, now well inland from the river, marks the position of the bank of the Thames as it was until 1870, when the Gardens were built on reclaimed land.

Buckingham Street

Buckingham Street

Near the old Watergate, there is a plaque recording that the diarist Samuel Pepys, the statesman Robert Harley, and the painters William Etty and Clarkson Stanfield, lived in a house that used to stand where the memorial is located. Follow Buckingham Street, with its surviving 18th century houses, uphill to reach John Adam Street (marked as ‘Duke Street on a 1682 map). At this point, the street, named after the architect John Adam (1721-92), is several feet lower than the Strand, demonstrating the steepness of the river bank leading down to the Watergate.

Steps up to The Strand from Buckingham Str

Steps up to The Strand from Buckingham Str

John Adams Street runs steeply uphill in a north-easterly direction. The caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) lived in a house near the present Durham House. The latter was built on the site of Durham House, which existed in various forms from about 1345 until the mid-18th century when the Adam brothers, John and Robert (1728-92), constructed the Adelphi (see below). Further up the hill, occupying a corner plot, is the elegant brick and stone neo-classical (neo-Palladian) Royal Society of Arts (‘RSA’). Built in 1772-74, this was designed by the Adams brothers as part of their Adelphi development.

Royal Society of Arts John Adam Str

Royal Society of Arts John Adam Str

John Adams Str

John Adams Str

The Adelphi housing development, designed by the Adams brothers, began to be built in 1772 on the grounds of the former Durham House. Had the Adelphi survived intact, it would have rivalled some of the finest rows of houses still standing in Paris. But, it did not. From the 1870s onwards, chunks of this masterpiece of urban architecture were demolished to make way for newer buildings such as the art-deco Adelphi building, designed by Collcutt and Hamp, and built in the late 1930s. Even though this building has some lovely features such as the bas-relief friezes around its entrance on John Adams Street, it is a poor substitute for what must have been some of the finest neo-Palladian buildings in London.

Art-deco detail on Adelphi Building John Adams Str

Art-deco detail on Adelphi Building John Adams Str

Adam House Adam Str

Adam House Adam Str

Sir Richard Arkwright lived here

Sir Richard Arkwright lived here

Adelphi Terrace

Adelphi Terrace

Luckily for us, some of the Adelphi remains, for example: Adam House in Adam Street and its neighbour, where the inventor and industrialist Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92) lived. Other 18th century buildings still stand in Robert Street, Adelphi Terrace (the lower storey of number 11, which is a survivor of the original Adelphi, gives a good idea of what has been lost), and York Buildings.

Adelphi Theatre Strand

Adelphi Theatre Strand

Vaudeville Theatre Strand

Vaudeville Theatre Strand

Adam Street leads to the Strand opposite the aptly named Adelphi Theatre, which was founded in 1806. It was redesigned and rebuilt in its present art-deco style in 1930 by Ernest Schaufelberg (1892–1970), who also designed the Fortune Theatre near Covent Garden. A few yards east of this theatre, is another: The Vaudeville. Its white stone façade (built 1889) has neo-classical features. First opened in 1870, the theatre has undergone many internal modifications.

Former Bun Shop pub,  417 the Strand

Former Bun Shop pub, 417 the Strand

Just west of the Adelphi Theatre, there is a narrow building (number 417 Strand) with half-timbering just below its steeply angled roof. Now home to The Port House tapas bar, this was once a pub called ‘The Bun House’ (opened about 1890), and then later ‘the Tram Shed’, and then ‘Yates Brothers Wine Lodge, which closed in 1981 (see: https://pubshistory.com/LondonPubs/StMartins/BunShop.shtml).

Zimbabwe House

Zimbabwe House

Epstein sculptures on  Zimbabwe House

Epstein sculptures on Zimbabwe House

Walking west from the Port House, you reach Zimbabwe House. Designed by Charles Holden (1875-1960), who was the architect of many Underground stations, this building, faced with stone, on a corner plot was originally the ‘home’ of the British Medical Association. A series of weather-beaten, mutilated sculptures separate the windows on the second floor. They were carved by the American-born sculptor Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) in 1908, a year after the building was erected. The nudity displayed in the figures shocked many folk (see: http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/insight/brockington_epstein/brockington_epstein02.html). The mutilation of Epstein’s work resulted from the deliberate neglect by the Rhodesian High Commission of the crumbling sculptures, which had been damaged by London’s polluted air, when they took over the building in the 1930s (see: https://lookup.london/jacob-epstein-scandal-strand/).

Former Cecil Hotel

Former Cecil Hotel

Cecil Chambers Strand

Cecil Chambers Strand

Crossing to the south side of the Strand and proceeding eastwards, we reach the grand façade of number 80, behind which lurks Shell Mex House (built 1930-31), which is visible from across the Thames. The façade, a glorious Victorian neo-classical structure, is all that remains of the former Cecil Hotel, which was opened in 1889, and used to cover where Shell Mex House now stands. When it opened with over 800 rooms, it became one of the largest hotels in Europe. A plaque in its centrally placed Strand entrance records that it was in the hotel that the Royal Air Force (‘RAF’) was founded in 1918. The site occupied by the hotel and then Shell Mex House was originally where the former (aristocratic) Salisbury (aka Cecil) House stood during the 17th century, its gardens reaching the Thames. The Salisbury estate was sold in 1880 (see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol18/pt2/pp120-123). The office building at number 86 is called Cecil Chambers.

Coal Hole Strand

Coal Hole Strand

The Coal Hole pub (built 1903-04, architect: TE Colcutt [1840-1924]) with is flamboyant façade, and the Savoy Taylors Guild, separate the former Cecil Hotel from the still extant Savoy Hotel. The pub, which is built into an extension of the Savoy occupies the position of the former coal cellar of the hotel.

Savoy Tailors Guild

Savoy Tailors Guild

Several months before I took my final examinations in dentistry, I bought a bespoke double-breasted suit from the Savoy Taylors Guild for my viva-voce examinations. Just before the examination date, our home was burgled. Although the burglar had rummaged through our possessions, he did not take much except a few silver spoons and my new suit. I felt gratified that it was my new suit that the thief had thought worth having, rather than my father’s far more fancy suits in his wardrobe.

Savoy Hotel driveway

Savoy Hotel driveway

It was at the Savoy Hotel that I tasted my first ever Dry Martini. I was a teenager, and had no idea what I had ordered. I thought that I was going to get a glass of dry Martini, rather than mostly gin. The hotel, founded in 1889 by Richard D’ Oyly Carte (1844-1901) with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan operetta productions, is still one of the world’s most glamorous luxury hotels. It was designed by CJ Phipps and TE Colcutt. The short road leading up to its main entrance is unique in the UK because cars are required to drive on the right side of the road instead of the normal left. This feature enabled Hackney Cab drivers to open the passenger’s door without having to leave his seat. The hotel has had many famous guests. Among the less well-known was one of my father’s students at the London School of Economics (‘LSE’) from overseas, the son of a multi-millionaire, who told him that he lived in a suite in the Savoy because: “…it is so convenient for the LSE.”

Strand Palace Hotel

Strand Palace Hotel

The Savoy is across the road from the Strand Palace Hotel, which is (according to Nikolaus Pevsner) faced with artificial stone. Built by 1930, the hotel used to have a fabulous jazzy art-deco entrance and lobby. This was replaced by a more mundane design in the late 1960s. Incidentally, it was in this hotel that my parents spent the first night after their wedding in 1948.

Simpsons Strand

Simpsons Strand

Simpsons Strand

Simpsons Strand

Simpsons in the Strand is just east of the Savoy Hotel, and is part of Savoy Buildings. This establishment was founded in 1828 as a ‘smoking room’, but quickly became one of London’s leading restaurants, famous for its traditional English fare. In 1898, D’Oyly Carte acquired the restaurant. Its colourful entrance has tiles depicting part of a chess board with chess pieces above the revolving door. This motif alludes to the restaurant’s importance in British chess in the 19th century. Brass plates wrapped around pillars by the entrance bear the words “Simpson’s Divan Tavern”. This recalls the existence on this spot of ‘Samuel Reiss’s Grand Cigar Divan’, which opened in 1828 on the site of the former 18th century ‘Fountain Tavern’. This old inn, where the political opponents of Sir Robert Walpole (in office between 1727 and 1740) met, is commemorated by a plaque on the west side of the main entrance to Savoy Buildings.

Savoy Chapel

Savoy Chapel

Savoy Street leads down towards the river from the Strand, and runs alongside the grounds of the small gothic Savoy Chapel, a royal chapel, which is surrounded on two sides by the backs of the much taller Savoy Hotel and Buildings. It was first built between 1510 and ’15 as part of the Hospital of St John, founded by Henry VII for the homeless, which the king hoped would rival the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Florence (see: “Winter King”, by T Penn, publ. 2012). The hospital used to stand on the land where the Savoy Palace of the king’s ancestor John of Gaunt (1340-1399) once stood.

Savoy Chapel from Savoy Steps

Savoy Chapel from Savoy Steps

Savoy Chapel

Savoy Chapel

During the reign (1820-30) of George IV, and at his expense, the chapel was repaired and improved. This work included the construction of the bell turret designed by Robert Smirke (1780-1867). The beautiful interior has a magnificent colourful ceiling and dates from the time when improvements were made in the 1860s. The hall to the east of the chapel contains a small exhibition of the history of the place.

India Restaurant and St Mary le Strand

India Restaurant and St Mary le Strand

After crossing Lancaster Place, which is the northern approach to Waterloo Bridge, we reach the narrow number 143, home of the Hotel Strand Continental. Its unprepossessing, shabby staircase leads up to the second floor, which has been home to The India Club Restaurant since 1946, a year before India became independent.

India Club Restaurant Strand

India Club Restaurant Strand

The management have retained the restaurant’s original décor to such an extent that if one its earliest customers, say, the Indian nationalist and politician Krishna Menon (1896-1974) who studied at the nearby LSE, were to step in today, he would recognise it instantly. I love the place not so much for its food but for its dowdy evocative ambience. On the first floor, there is a small bar, which would not look out of place in one of India’s many surviving ex-colonial clubs. Until a few years ago, alcoholic drinks were only available to fully paid-up members of the India Club. However, the annual membership fee of this was only fifty pence. Worryingly, this historic establishment is (2017) under threat of demolition by developers.

St Mary le Strand and St Clement Danes

St Mary le Strand and St Clement Danes

Somerset House

Somerset House

Just before the Strand is split into two lanes by the island on which stands the Church of St Mary-le-Strand (established since before the 12th century, the present building was designed by James Gibbs [1682-1754] in the early 18th century), we reach the impressive neo-classical Somerset House. Designed by the Swedish born William Chambers (1723-96), it was built in 1776 to house government departments and learned societies. The land where it stands was formerly occupied by a palatial earlier Somerset House with a terrace overlooking the Thames, which was at times home to royalty. Gradually, the older building (refurbished by Sir Christopher Wren in 1685) fell into disrepair, and was demolished in 1775. Today, the building houses, amongst other organisations, the Courtauld Institute of Art – a centre of excellence for the study of history of art, and the Courtauld Gallery with its fine collection of Impressionist (and earlier) paintings. In summer, a terrace overlooking the Thames is used as an outdoor café, and in winter the huge courtyard becomes a public skating rink.

Rear of Bush House facing Strand

Rear of Bush House facing Strand

To the north of St Mary-le-Strand and facing it, there is a pediment containing a bas-relief of a boat with wind-filled sails superimposed on a map of part of the world. This is affixed to the rear of Bush House (see below). Somerset House’s immediate neighbour is an unexciting modern building (erected 1966-71), which serves as part of King’s College (founded in 1829) along with adjoining parts of Somerset House. Recently, archaeological evidence has demonstrated that Somerset House stands on land that was part of Saxon Lundenwic (see below).

Roof of Australia House

Roof of Australia House

The college faces Australia House, which has a green roof with several circular and rectangular mansard windows. Created by the architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie (1848-1933), this building, which has a steel framework, was opened in 1918. The quadriga high above the eastern entrance was sculpted by H Parker. The house stands on the site of an ancient well that drew water from the River Fleet (see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-10/holy-well-lies-underneath-australia-house-in-london/7061722).

Strand Station Strand entrance

Strand Station Strand entrance

A few yards east of King’s College, there is a plaque on an otherwise blank wall. It records that the influential Master Astrologer William Lilly (1602-81) lived on this site. The wall is the western side of an entrance, now blocked-up, to Strand (aka Aldwych) Underground Station, which opened in 1907 and closed in 1994. It was the terminus of a spur of the Piccadilly Line, which branched off at Holborn Station.

Strand Station Surrey Street side

Strand Station Surrey Street side

Strand Station ticket hall

Strand Station ticket hall

There is a larger terracotta-coloured tiled façade of this station on Surrey Street. When I visited the area, the heavy folding door guarding the old station entrance was slightly open. Through it, I could see into the perfectly preserved old-fashioned, ticket hall with its tiling that reaches from the floor to about six feet above it. The station is usually locked up, but occasionally the public can book to be taken on guided tours of this ‘ghost’ station.

Former Norfolk Hotel Surrey Str

Former Norfolk Hotel Surrey Str

Former Norfolk Hotel Surrey Str

Former Norfolk Hotel Surrey Str

There is another ‘ghost’ establishment downhill from the former station. Now a part of King’s College, this building, with its fussy neo-renaissance stone decorations in bas-relief and its cast-iron porticos, still retains a stone notice proclaiming its former incarnation as the ‘Norfolk Hotel’. During WW2, the hotel was patronised by French agents of the Special Operations Executive, and, earlier, the writer Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) stayed there (see: https://openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk/listings/4899 and “Conrad To A Friend: 150 Selected Letters From Joseph Conrad To Richard Curle”, ed. by R Curle, publ. 1928). Attached to the hotel, there is a sign giving directions to a Roman bath. In the 19th century, this was believed to be a bath built by the Romans, but recent research has revealed that it was built as a feeder cistern for a grotto fountain in the gardens of the Somerset House that existed before Chambers constructed the present building.

St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes

Returning to the Strand, and heading east, there is another church on an ‘island’. This is St Clement Danes, a place of worship which has been in existence since the period of the Danish occupation of Britain (11th century). The present building is the result of Christopher Wren’s rebuilding of an earlier one in the early 1680s. Nikolaus Pevsner remarks that: “… it is unique amongst Wren’s churches in that the aisles were carried around the E end as an ambulatory and that an apse was added, perhaps on the pattern of the first St Clement Danes.” Badly damaged in 1941 during WW2, and carefully restored after it, the church is now the ‘RAF church’ in London.

Royal Courts of Justice

Royal Courts of Justice

A little to the east of the church on the north side of the Strand, there is a masterpiece of Victorian gothic building: The Royal Courts of Justice (‘RCJ’). Built during the 1870s, and designed by the mainly ecclesiastical architect George Street (1824-81), this opened for judicial business in 1882. Entering the main hall (the Great Hall) of the building, which is open to public visitors, is like stepping into a huge gothic cathedral. It is an uplifting experience. The courts in this remarkable edifice are dedicated to hearing civil, rather than criminal, cases.

Twinings

Twinings

Almost opposite the main entrance to the courts, there is a narrow shop, whose entrance is flanked by two pillars with capitals decorated with leaves like the plant motifs on ancient Egyptian pillars. These support a triangular pediment, in which there are two seated coloured sculptures depicting Chinese men.

Twinings

Twinings

This is the entrance to Twinings shop, which sells packets of teas and coffees, although it is most famous for teas. The present shop is on the site of the company’s original store, which was established in 1706. At the far end of the long narrow shop there is (2017), a bar where knowledgeable staff inform customers about different kinds of teas, as well as prepare samples for tasting.

Temple Bar Memorial

Temple Bar Memorial

A winged dragon, mounted on a decorated stone plinth, stands in the middle of the Strand near the easternmost point of the RCJ. This, the Temple Bar Memorial (designed by Horace Jones), was erected in 1880. It marks both the eastern end of the Strand as well as the position of the former Temple Bar. This was a gateway that served as the main ceremonial entrance to the City of London on the route taken by royalty between the Palace of Westminster and the Tower of London. The name ‘Temple’ derives from its proximity to the Temple Church and the Inns of Court (Middle and Inner). The ‘Bar’ or barrier was first mentioned in 12th century documents. In about 1672, a wonderful sculpted, stone gateway with three arches, possibly designed by Christopher Wren, was built to serve as the Temple Bar.

Original Temple Bar, now in Paternoster Sq

Original Temple Bar, now in Paternoster Sq

This attractive encumbrance to the smooth flow of traffic remained in position until it was carefully dismantled in 1878 (to relieve congestion), and was reassembled to stand in Theobalds Park in Middlesex. There it remained until 2003. By 2005, it had been reassembled in its new location, Paternoster Square near St Pauls Cathedral, where it can be seen in all its glory.

Returning west along the north side of the Strand, we reach the eastern end of the Aldwych. This crescent stands about a mile west of Roman Londinium, and was the site of a 7th century Anglo-Saxon village named Lundenwic (see: “Archaeology in British Towns: From the Emperor Claudius to the Black Death”, by P Ottaway, publ. 1972). The name of the area changed to ‘Aldewich’, which was first recorded in 1211. The present street layout, lined with many buildings in the ‘Imperial Palladian’ style has existed since the start of the 20th century.

Bush House Aldwych

Bush House Aldwych

Close to Australia House, which has a side facing the Aldwych, is Bush House. Designed between 1925 and ’35 by the American architects Helmle and Corbett, this was for many years a home of the British Broadcasting Company (‘BBC’) World Service. The portico of its entrance facing Kingsway, with its half dome supported by two tall white pillars and a ring of sturdy square pilasters, is designed to impress. The BBC left the building in 2008, and now parts of it are used by King’s College.

London School of Economics and Wright's bar, Houghton Str

London School of Economics and Wright's bar, Houghton Str

Houghton Street, which leads north off the eastern wing of the Aldwych is mainly occupied by the LSE. Founded in 1895 by members of the socialist Fabian Society, this has become a world-famous centre of excellence in many fields including: economics, sociology, and law. My father was a Professor of Economics there for several decades. As university campuses go, I have always found it unappealing. Wright’s Bar next to the main entrance has been in existence ever since I can remember (the late 1950s).

India House

India House

India House: an Indian provincial emblem

India House: an Indian provincial emblem

Since marrying a lady born in India, I have had many opportunities to visit India House on the western arm of the Aldwych. Built 1928-30 and designed by Herbert Baker (1862-1946) with AT Scott, this stone building is profusely decorated with Ashoka lions and many circular, coloured emblems, which were those of the pre-Independence (and pre-Partition) colonial provinces (e.g. ‘Baluchistan’, ‘United Provinces’, ‘Burma’, ‘Madras’ and ‘North West Frontier’).

India House: British Imperial crests

India House: British Imperial crests


Looking upwards, there are two elaborate crests each topped with heraldic lions and including the mottos: “Honi soit qui mal y pense” and “Dieu et mon droit”. These are ‘souvenirs’ of the era when India was a British colony. Just as in post-Independence India there are still some statues of Queen Victoria standing– there is a fine example in Bangalore, these reminders of British imperialism remain attached to the building.

India House: Nehru

India House: Nehru

One side of India House faces India Place, which contains a bust of the Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), who became a barrister at the nearby Inner Temple. Close to a side entrance of India House, there is a monument to an off-duty policeman Jim Morrison, who was stabbed in December 1991 whilst chasing a handbag thief, who has never been caught. A ‘Friendship Tree’ was planted nearby in 1994 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.

Site of former Gaiety Theatre

Site of former Gaiety Theatre

Opposite the Indian building, is the Aldwych Theatre, which was designed by the theatre architect W Sprague (1863-1933), and opened in 1905. For two decades during the 20th century after WW2, this was the London stage of Stratford on Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company. In my childhood, my parents took me to see many plays there. Where the western branch of the Aldwych meets the Strand, there is a plaque on a characterless new building (the ME Building, a hotel), which marks the site of the former Gaiety Theatre, a music hall that was demolished in 1956.

Lyceum Theatre

Lyceum Theatre

Returning to the north pavement of the Strand, the grand portico of the Lyceum Theatre on Wellington Street, which is supported on six fluted columns with Corinthian capitals, is difficult to miss from the Strand. The façade bears the date 1834, is the date when this incarnation of the establishment opened. It was built to replace an earlier version that was built in the 18th century. For many years from 1871, the great actor Henry Irving (1838-1905) appeared on its stage.

Lyceum Tavern Strand

Lyceum Tavern Strand

Lyceum Tavern courtyard

Lyceum Tavern courtyard

The façade of the Lyceum Tavern as a barrel mounted with a clock mounted at its second-floor level. This pub stands on the site of the original Lyceum Theatre (before it was destroyed by fire in 1830; see: http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/LyceumTheatre.htm). The pub, which was first established in the 1830s, has a small courtyard surrounded by high walls, where customers can sit and drink.

Joe Allen

Joe Allen

Joe Allen, an American restaurant (a ‘sister’ to that established in New York City in 1965) that first opened in London in 1977, has its entrance close to the Strand on Burleigh Street (having moved there from its old premises in Exeter Street). Situated on the edge of ‘Theatre Land’, it is a place where you might, if you are lucky, be dining next to some famous star of screen or stage.

Lumley Court and stairs of Vaudeville Theatre

Lumley Court and stairs of Vaudeville Theatre

Bull Inn Court and the Nell Gwynne

Bull Inn Court and the Nell Gwynne

Bull Inn Court and the Nell Gwynne

Bull Inn Court and the Nell Gwynne

Bull Inn Court

Bull Inn Court


Lumley Court is one of several narrow alleys leading north from the Strand. This one, which existed in the 16th century, leads along the east side of the Vaudeville Theatre (see above). Further west, there is Bull Inn Court, named after a pub that used to exist there. This leads past some colourful wall tiles marking the gallery entrance of the Adelphi Theatre. Just beyond the theatre entrance, stands the Nell Gwynne Tavern, a pub named after the famous mistress of King Charles II. Nell Gwynne (1650-1687) might have been born close to the pub, but this is uncertain. The present pub was built in the 17th or 18th century, and has a 19th century façade.

Heathcock Court

Heathcock Court

Just west of Bull Inn Court, Gatti House, with its pink granite pillars, stands on the Strand next to the Adelphi Theatre. A plaque records that this was the site of the Adelphi Theatre Restaurant, which was run by the Swiss-Italian Gatti family, who were restaurateurs and suppliers of electrical and other requirements needed in theatres and music halls. One of the family, Sir John, was Lord Mayor of Westminster (1911-12). West of this, is the narrow Heathcock Court lined with semi-circular pilasters, and often closed to the public. Its name, which is that of a type of bird, related to a pub that existed in the 18th century but has long since disappeared. The alley is recorded by John Stow (c.1525-1605) in his detailed survey of London published in 1598.

The Strand seen from Exchange Court

The Strand seen from Exchange Court

Exchange Court

Exchange Court

The covered tiled narrow passage at the Strand end of Exchange Court, which is Named after the ‘New Exchange’ that used to exist on the south side of the Strand (see: https://knowyourlondon.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/exchange-court-strand/), leads to a slightly wider uncovered lane. On the west side of this lane, there is a house whose entrance is flanked by a pair of pillars topped with Ionic capitals. It has a bow window and a small front yard, which is overlooked by a small clock. This building used to be the premises of the Corps of Commissionaires. Founded in 1859 by Captain Edward Walter (1823-1904; see: https://www.corpssecurity.co.uk/), this was one of the world’s first security firms, supplying doormen to banks and so on. Now, the building is residential.

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

Moving west along the Strand past streets leading north into the Covent Garden area and Zimbabwe House, we reach South Africa House that occupies a corner plot overlooking Trafalgar Square (its development began in the late 1820s) at the western end of the Strand. This building, festooned with sculptures of animals liable to be found roaming about in South Africa, bears heraldic crests that hark back to before the beginning of apartheid proudly sports the Afrikaans words “Suid Afrika”.

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

Some wood-framed windows with shutters overlook Trafalgar Square. Their style is that of the older Dutch buildings found especially in the Cape. The building was designed by Herbert Baker (see above) and completed in 1935. A golden springbok appears to be leaping from its south-western corner.

South Africa Hse

South Africa Hse

For many years during the era of apartheid, protestors against this system of racial oppression used to gather outside South Africa House. One of my father’s relatives, David Kitson (1919-2010), a Communist in South Africa, was a bomb instructor for the banned African National Congress. During the twenty-odd years he spent in a South African jail, his wife Norma (1933-2002), who died a hero in Zimbabwe, often stood protesting outside South Africa House as part of a London-based anti-apartheid group she founded.

Grand House

Grand House

Grand Buildings stands on the corner of the Strand and Northumberland Avenue (which runs through land that was once occupied by a palace that was built for the Earl of Northampton in the early 17th century, and demolished in 1874). Years ago, I recall that there was a marker on the front of this building from which all distances from London were measured, but it is no longer there (see below). Built in 1879, designed by F & H Francis (1818-96, and 1821-94, respectively), this large edifice with an almost oval facade used to be the ‘Grand Hotel’. It has been extensively modernised, but is no longer a hotel.

Charles I monument

Charles I monument

The last item in this exploration is an equestrian statue a few yards west of the Strand at the north end of Whitehall. Standing beneath the gaze of Nelson on his column, this depicts King Charles I (1600-49). Sculpted by Hubert Le Sueur (c. 1580-1658), the bronze statue was cast in 1633. After the Civil War, which cost the king his head, the statue was hidden for several years, and then re-erected in its original location in 1675. The carved stone plinth is by Joshua Marshall (c.1629-1678). The statue stands where it was originally placed, on land which was once part of the Royal mews (marked on a 1775 map as “The King’s Mews” in the position now occupied by Trafalgar Square) belonging to Westminster Palace. The position of the statue is almost the same as the original location of the Eleanor Cross, which was relocated to its present site at Charing Cross Station (see above). At the foot of King Charles’s monument, there is a plaque set into the pavement marking the place where mileage distances from London are officially measured.

There are many roads to be crossed around Trafalgar Square. Be careful only to cross when the green pedestrian signal is showing. At present (2017), the green signals around the square do not always show the usual ‘green man’. Instead, some of them show two children holding hands, and others, wishing to avoid gender preferences, show the symbols for male and female intertwined.

Strolling along the Strand can be an evocative experience, as many of today’s sights reflect, either in substance or merely in their names, the rich history associated with this lively thoroughfare. As the music hall song by Harry Castling & CW Murphy goes:

Let’s all go down the Strand
Let’s all go down the Strand
I'll be leader you can march behind
Come with me and see what we can find
Let’s all go down the Strand
That's the place for fun and noise
All among the girls and boys
So let's all go down the Strand
.”

Green pedestrian light Trafalgar Sq

Green pedestrian light Trafalgar Sq

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 10:56 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged hotels london alleyways england pubs alleys strand theatres royalty Comments (4)

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