Day 5 – Fitzrovia – North of Oxford Street East

Today’s route covers the area to the west of Tottenham Court Road and North of Oxford Street and takes in most of the rest of Fitzrovia. Back in the 90’s some genius tried to re-brand this area as “NoHo” but there was NoHope of that succeeding despite the prevalence of media businesses. Most well-known thoroughfare is probably Charlotte Street; once renowned for its many Greek restaurants. It appears sadly that those have all gone now (I guess plate-smashing and austerity aren’t a good mix), replaced by clutch of high-end eating establishments – all doing great business on a Friday lunchtime.

A lot of this post will focus on the compact but fascinating Pollock’s Toy Museum in Whitfield Street – more than worth £6 of your hard-earned if you’re ever in the vicinity.

Day 5 Route

IMG_20150828_111827

We begin at Goodge Street tube station just adjacent to which in Whitfield Gardens can be found the Fitzrovia Mural depicting life in the area at the start of the 1980s.

Head north up Tottenham Court Road then turn left into Grafton Way and again into Whitfield Street. At no.108 is Marie Stopes House, former home of the lady herself.  Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes (1880 – 1958) led a very colourful and varied life and although her fame today rests on her pioneering work in the field of birth control she was also (and first) a renowned palaeontologist.

IMG_20150828_112554240px-Marie_Stopes_in_her_laboratory,_1904

The address of the aforementioned Pollocks Toy Museum is actually 1 Scala Street but it does front onto Whitfield Street.

IMG_20150828_121541IMG_20150828_113155

The museum’s collection mainly focuses on Victorian toys with a particular interest in model theatres and dolls but as you can see below there is plenty of nostalgia prompts for us kids of the sixties and seventies.

 IMG_20150828_114242 IMG_20150828_114811

The following two items greatly intrigued me. I wasn’t previously aware that Snakes and Ladders originated as a game used for Hindu religious instruction. Apparently it represents the journey of a soul towards heaven with the ladders rewarding good deeds and the snakes punishing evil ones. The unfortunately named Plopitin looks like some weird 1930s forerunner of swingball. If you’ve got a £150 spare there’s one currently going on ebay

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1930S-RARE-VINTAGE-BOXED-THE-GAME-OF-PLOPITIN-/261704562321

IMG_20150828_115223 IMG_20150828_114914

Just about my favourite things though were these two prints which are facsimiles from 1883 editions of the Victorian publications, the Girl’s Own Paper and the Boy’s Own Paper. At the end of each paper was as section which printed replies to correspondence received from readers – the letters themselves were never published. I’d urge you to take a closer look at these because they are supremely amusing.

IMG_20150828_113834 IMG_20150828_121352

I can’t believe I’m alone in finding dolls like these incredibly creepy. As for the Russian Matryoshkas I’m ok on the smaller ones at the front but having trouble identifying the three at the back. Looks to me like there are two alternative Gorbachevs.

IMG_20150828_120409 IMG_20150828_115725

Anyway moving on…At the end of the street is Lewis Leathers, proclaimed as Britain’s oldest purveyors of motorcycle clothing. I thought it was the motorcyclists that wore the clothing but that may be just me being pedantic. Inadvertent crap selfie of the day. 

IMG_20150828_121841

IMG_20150828_122142

Above right is the charmingly out-of-context Colville Place which cuts between Whitfield Street and Charlotte Street. This is home to the Movie Poster Art Gallery which also features original artwork for LP sleeves such as this one for the brilliant A Certain Ratio’s Sextet album from 1982. If you’re unfamiliar with ACR then I strongly suggest that you Spotify them.

IMG_20150828_122110

I’ve already mentioned Charlotte Street and its culinary delights. It’s also home to Saatchi & Saatchi of which the less said the better probably. Quick mention of the Darren Baker gallery which currently has an interesting selection of work on display and where the assistant was atypically friendly.

IMG_20150828_125226

On to Goodge Street and then in succession, Tottenham Street , Goodge Place, Charlotte Place and Newman Passage.

No 15. Percy Street was for a time the residence of actor Charles Laughton (1899 – 1962). No matinee idol, Laughton is probably best known for his portrayal of the Hunchback of Notre Dame though he also starred in Mutiny on the Bounty and The Barretts of Wimpole Street (see previous post). Nowadays his acclaim, as far as film buffs are concerned, rests on his solitary directorial effort, the startling Night of the Hunter.

220px-Charles_Laughton-publicity2

poster_thenightofthehunter

Next door at No.14 lived (though not contemporaneously) the poet, Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore (1823 – 1896) about which nothing was quite as interesting as his name.

On the corner of Charlotte Street and Windmill Street is the famous Fitzroy Tavern which is unfortunately closed for major refurbishment until 2016 which means that the pub of the day is the nearby Rising Sun, quite possibly the last unreconstructed boozer in the vicinity. Which means that there are free tables and who can argue with just over a tenner for a pint of Czech lager and a plate of ham, egg & chips.

IMG_20150828_131002 IMG_20150828_140353

Had I hung on till I got round the corner into Rathbone Place I could have drunk in the footsteps of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell in the Wheatsheaf,

Stephen Street is home to the British Film Institute and in Gresse Sreet is the grandly named Fashion Retail Academy (where you can learn how to flog frocks in Next).

Duck back down onto Oxford Street and up Hanway Street leading to Hanway Place. On the former lies Bradleys Spanish Bar which is for my money the best drinking place within coughing distance of Oxford Street and one of the few bars that still has a working jukebox.

IMG_20150828_141751

North again on Newman Street and into Mortimer Street. The architecturally striking Radiant House occupies nos. 34-38 though there seems to be a dearth of information about its origins.

IMG_20150828_144422

At No. 10 Berners Street is the 5 star Edition Hotel (part of the Marriott Group). The building dates from 1835 and the site has been a hotel since 1904, simply the Berners Hotel in its previous incarnation.

IMG_20150828_143421IMG_20150828_143817

IMG_20150828_144007 IMG_20150828_151100Back up Wells Street and veering off down Marylebone Passage (above right) takes us on to Margaret Street where on opposite sides you have the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple (south side) and All Saints Church (north side). The former (Grade II listed) was originally the parish school attached to the latter and dates from the mid 19th century.

All Saints was completed in 1950 and, designed by the architect William Butterfield, is one of the landmark buildings of the Gothic revival.

IMG_20150828_150806IMG_20150828_150712The church has recently undergone renovation work which shows off the impressive decorative tiling and paintwork to fantastic effect.

IMG_20150828_150557

Next up is Riding House Street home to the College of Naturapathic Medicine where presumably one student has the same effect as several thousand.

IMG_20150828_144857

This leads on to Nassau Street, Foley Street, Candover Street, Hanson Street and Eastcastle Street.

IMG_20150828_145232 IMG_20150828_151433

Eventually arriving back on Oxford Street via the already familiar Great Titchfield Street we emerge opposite Marks & Spencer which opened here in 1938 occupying the former site of the London Pantheon which in its various incarnations since 1772 served as a theatre, opera house, bazaar and wine merchants. The present building, in iconic art deco style, was designed by by Robert Lutyens (son of Sir Edwin Lutyens) and was granted Grade II listed status in 2009.

IMG_20150828_151555

Day 4 – North of Oxford Street West

Today’s route covers the area north of the Marble Arch to Bond Street stretch of Oxford Street. It’s a part of London dominated by soulless chain hotels and the knock-on effect of proximity to the mecca of consumerism but with some surprises.

Day 4 Route

First of those surprises is Stratford Place which almost has more of interest in its short span than the rest of this area put together. Immediately adjacent to Bond Street tube it’s only about 100 yards long but by the end of it you would never know that the inferno that is Oxford Street is within spitting distance. The Tanzanian and Botswanan high commissions are next door to each other at numbers 3 and 5 and at no. 7 is the one-time residence of Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the USA.

IMG_20150817_112254 Van Buren

Colloquially known as the “Little Magician” he was unfortunately unable to conjure up a solution to the financial crisis of 1837 (which if you read about it sounds rather familiar – plus ca change).

At no.10 is the Royal Society of Musicians and at no. 11 (though it doesn’t advertise itself) is the Oriental Club, originally established in 1824 by and for officials and officers who had served in India and elsewhere in the “East”. Nowadays you just need to have the right background and a £1,000 a year to spare.

IMG_20150817_112352

IMG_20150817_112644

Finally at no.12 is the Kabbalah Centre. “Kabbalah is an ancient wisdom that provides practical tools for creating joy and lasting fulfilment.” As you can see from these handy aphorisms (if you enlarge the picture).

IMG_20150817_112909

Next street down is James Street which has gone for al-fresco dining in a big way.

IMG_20150817_142836I notice that the branch of Nando’s here does a Quinoa salad. And thoughtfully displays a poster advising on the ridiculous pronunciation (Keen-wah). Can’t be long before people in Ireland start naming their children after it. Come back cous-cous all is forgiven.

IMG_20150817_114045Running parallel is St Christopher’s Place, home of high-end brunching and shops aimed at people who might get French puns, as in the name “Les 100cials”, and appreciate a bush shaped into a giant platform shoe.

IMG_20150817_113916Turn right into Wigmore Street and then north up Welbeck Street. IMG_20150817_115231This was home to the scientist Thomas Young (1773 -1829) at no.49 and the poet and sculptor Thomas Woolner (1825 – 1892) at No.29. Woolner was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (though not quite colourful enough to make it into the TV series).

Left into Bulstrode Street and on to Marylebone Lane. Here you can find Paul Rothe & Sons delicatessen (est.1900). As you can see, actor Tim McInnerny (of Black Adder fame) worked behind the counter back in the day.

IMG_20150817_120832

paul_rothe2

Bentinck Street houses the former residences of historian Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794) and chemist James Smithson (1765 – 1829) at nos. 7 & 9 respectively. The former is of course best known for the Decline and Fall of the Roman Emperor (the book not the actual event). The latter was the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. despite having never visited the United States.

North again on Mandeville Place. At no.11-13 is the School of Economic Science, a registered charity which has the somewhat esoteric mission of finding the common ground between Philosophy and Economics and the spiritual dimension to that link.

IMG_20150817_121334IMG_20150817_121407

Mandeville Place is bisected by Hinde Street, home to quite an imposing Methodist Church which dates from 1887, before turning into Thayer Street. A nod to the AtTheMovies film poster store at no. 18.

IMG_20150817_121443 IMG_20150817_121521

Right onto George Street where we find St James’ Spanish Place RC Church with a lunchtime service in full swing. Out of respect I decide I have no choice but to sit down and wait for this to finish before taking a look around. Quite a fan of the current Pope but judging by the literature on display some of his more liberal notions have yet to filter down to the grassroots.

IMG_20150817_123655 IMG_20150817_125622

On Spanish Place proper no.4 is the former of home of the novelist Captain Frederick Marryat (1792 – 1848) and actor-manager George Grossmith (1847 – 1912).

IMG_20150817_130356A quick tour round Manchester Square home of the Wallace Collection (see previous post). At no. 14 lived Lord Alfred Milner (1854 – 1925) the sort of chap who wouldn’t have had any trouble getting into the Oriental Club.

IMG_20150817_130743

The route then takes us along Robert Adam Street, Blandford Street, Portman Close and Upper Berkeley Street. The beginning of the last of these is sandwiched between the massive and unlovely Radisson and Hyatt Regency hotels.

Montagu Street then on to Great Cumberland Place which goes all the way back down to Marble Arch. Part way down is Wallenberg Place which features this memorial to the great Raoul Wallenberg (1912 – 1945?). The Swedish diplomat responsible for savings tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazi holocaust who was taken captive by the Red Army at the end of WW2 and never heard of again. If you’re not familiar with him this is one of the essential bios to look up.

IMG_20150817_132924

On Bryanston Street can be found the Church of the Annunciation Marble Arch then down to Marble Arch itself (which more another day). Don’t know when this ferris wheel was put up.

IMG_20150817_133252 IMG_20150817_133527

Finally brave the hell that is Oxford Street to briefly marvel at the hordes outside Primark. Since this is everywhere these days God alone knows why anyone would want to trek into town just to patronise a slightly larger branch. I will also note in passing the very sizeable presence of middle-easterners in this corner of the capital – the Marble Arch to Bond Street stretch of Oxford Street could just as well be part of downtown Riyadh.

IMG_20150817_133756

 Take in Old Quebec Street, Seymour Street and New Quebec Street before reaching Portman Square which has one of those private gardens that always strike a discordant note. Off the north-west corner of the square is Fitzhardinge Street which is only notable for being the former home of B.T Batsford the publisher for whose softball team, the Batsford Bats, I turned out as a regular ringer during the late eighties and early nineties.

Back to Oxford Street via Seymour Mews and Orchard Street. No pub of the day today as this part of town is something of desert as far as hostelries are concerned. Duke Street has both the Devonshire Arms and the Henry Holland but the former doesn’t do food and the latter is asking £8 for a baguette. It also boasts the fact that Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) the hero of South American liberation took lodgings at no.4 in 1810.

IMG_20150817_142156

Picton Place and Barrett Street then finish off at Selfridges the world-renowned emporium and TV series inspiration founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909.

IMG_20150817_140409 IMG_20150817_140538

Was going to have something to eat on the 4th floor but £11 for a Halloumi wrap (as an example) is taking the proverbial somewhat. Still, the toilets are splendid enough to make the trip worthwhile even if it does involve passing the jaw-dropping apparition that is the Christmas Shop. Now either they’re jumping the gun by several months or this is here all year round – and I don’t know which is worse. All the more surprising since quite a fair proportion of their clientele definitely doesn’t do Christmas.

IMG_20150817_141007

Day 3 – Marylebone – East of Baker Street

 Today’s Route

 Day 3 Route


York Terrace East

IMG_20150803_125510 Sir_Charles_Wyndham

Sir Charles Wyndham (1837 – 1919) – actor-manager.

Born Charles Culverwell in Liverpool. Shortly after the start of his stage career he went to America where he ended up volunteering as a military surgeon on the Union side (he had qualified as a doctor in England). After resigning his contract with the army he returned to the stage in the US with some success. On one occasion he appeared in New York with John Wilkes-Booth. Returning to England his career flourished and in 1899 he opened the Wyndhams Theatre, which still bears his name, in London.

The Doric Villa is something of a fancy gaff as you can see here.


Marylebone Road

IMG_20150803_130101 IMG_20150803_130026

The Royal Academy of Music – was founded in 1822 and is Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school. In 1911 moved to this location (which includes the 450-seat Duke’s Hall) and was built at a cost of £51,000 on the site of an orphanage.

   IMG_20150803_130331 IMG_20150804_110249

IMG_20150804_110307 IMG_20150804_110426

St Marylebone Parish Church – built to the designs of Thomas Hardwick in 1813-17.  The Marylebone area takes its name from the church. A bomb fell in the churchyard close by during WWII, blowing out all the windows, piercing the ceiling over the reredos in two places with pieces of iron railing from the school playground and necessitating the church’s closure for repairs until 1949, when fragments of the original coloured glass were incorporated into the new windows (as you can see above). Personally I prefer the aesthetic effect of this to many intact stained-glass windows.

IMG_20150804_110016 IMG_20150803_131233

Charles Dickens was a local resident (1812–1870), in Devonshire Terrace. His son was baptised in the church (a ceremony fictionalised in “Dombey and Son”). I think I can work out 4 or 5 of these but have no idea about the one with the bird.

Madame Tussaud’s, on the other side of the street, is a charming palace of entertainment much beloved of tourists to the city which creates a vibrant and sophisticated ambience.


Luxborough Street

IMG_20150803_132439

Luxborough Tower – built at the tail end of the sixties contemporaneously with its neighbour, the Polytechnic (now University) of Westminster, on the site of the Marylebone workhouse. The LCC architects responsible cited Le Corbusier as an influence.


Marylebone High Street

IMG_20150804_112229  IMG_20150804_112342 IMG_20150804_112431 IMG_20150804_112555

This is the site of the third incarnation of Marylebone Parish Church which was demolished in 1949 and is now a public garden. As you can see  quite an impressive roll call of people were buried here and in addition the church that stood here witnessed the baptism of Lord Byron and welcomed Lord Nelson as a worshipper.

IMG_20150804_115309

Oxfam bookshop in Marylebone High Street has a very extensive inventory – including this full set of Transvision Vamp picture cover singles – yours for a fiver.


Paddington Street

IMG_20150804_113711 IMG_20150804_113612

Paddington Street Gardens – were built in the 18th century as additional burial grounds for the church though all that remains of its original purpose is the mausoleum you can see here which was built by the Hon. Richard Fitzpatrick in memory of his wife Susanna. The gardens also possess some very handy, free and well-maintained public conveniences (something of a rarity these days.)

IMG_20150804_114045

The Hellenic Centre – began life in the 1900s as a Swedish gymnastics college and served as a Swedish War Hospital for the British wounded during WW1. In 1992 the Hellenic Community trust acquired the building and  the Hellenic Centre opened as a cultural centre in 1994.

The Swedish Gymnastics college was founded by Martina Sofia Helena Bergman-Österberg (1849 – 1915), a Swedish PE instructor and women’s suffrage advocate. After studying in Stockholm she moved to London, where she founded the first physical education instructor’s college in England, to which she admitted women only. Bergman-Österberg pioneered teaching physical education as a full subject within the English school curriculum, with Swedish-style gymnastics at its core. She also advocated the use of gymslips by women playing sports, and played a pivotal role in the early development of netball.


Ashland Street

IMG_20150804_114128

Has to be one of the narrowest thoroughfares in the capital. Good luck getting your sodding Range Rover down there.


Moxon Street

IMG_20150804_114505

Marylebone Village (as it likes to style itself !!) is pretty swanky these days. Moxon Street is also home to the renowned upmarket butcher’s – the Ginger Pig. I remember back in the seventies you’d have been lucky to find a Wimpy round here.


Weymouth Mews

IMG_20150804_131006 IMG_20150804_125944

Pub of the day – The Dover Castle.

A bit tucked out of the way so I had the place to myself to start with. Part of the estimable Sam Smith’s chain so very reasonably priced. Pint of best and a pulled pork roll for less than nine quid.


Mansfield Street

P1040269

John Loughborough Pearson, 1817 – 1897, and later, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, 1869 – 1944, architects.

londonrem

Lutyens is the much more celebrated (and interesting of the pair)  Designer of the Cenotaph and consulting architect for Hampstead Garden Suburb, he also spent many years designing a large chunk of New Delhi to serve as the seat of British government. Had a close but difficult marriage, losing his wife to Krishnamurti and his Theosophical teachings, for a time at least.

P1040270

Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753 – 1816) – British statesman and scientist. He was the father of the great traveller and Arabist Lady Hester Stanhope and brother-in-law of William Pitt the Younger. He was the chairman of the “Revolution Society,” founded in honour of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In 1790 the members of the society expressed their sympathy with the aims of the French Revolution and in 1795 he introduced into the Lords a motion deprecating any interference with the internal affairs of France. This put him in a “minority of one”—a sobriquet which stuck to him throughout life. Prior to acceding the peerage he was member of parliament for my home town of High Wycombe – it is doubtful that any of the subsequent representatives of this constituency have ever expressed any sympathy with any kind of revolution.


Weymouth Street

P1040271


Wimpole Street

P1040272

Renowned for The Barretts of Wimpole Street, a play written by Rudolf Besier in 1930, based on the romance between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, and her father’s unwillingness to allow them to marry. She was six years older than him and semi-invalided, though the much better known poet of the two at the time. But marry they did, in 1846 in (where else) St Marylebone Parish Church. The play was filmed in 1934 and 1957, directed both times by Sidney Franklin.


De Walden Street

P1040273

In this and the parallel Wheatley Street all the front doors are painted different colours (purely for the sake of affectation I can only presume.


Chiltern Street

P1040274 P1040276 P1040275

Home of that nouveau-riche mecca, the Chiltern Firehouse. Not sure if the celebrity clientele has moved on yet but the menu doesn’t inspire me to fork out the eye-watering prices required.

The Marylebone Fire Station was built in 1889, by the London County Council’s Architect’s Department (them again), “in the Vulliamy manner”. “Red brick with stone dressings; tiled roof, Tudor-Gothic style”. The Fire Station was decommissioned in June 2005 and the hotel/restaurant opened eight years later.


Montagu Street

P1040277

The year of the White Album and also John and Yoko’s solo effort – “Unfinished Music No.1 – Two Virgins” (to slightly less critical acclaim). This was actually Ringo Starr’s flat and it was here that John and Yoko were arrested for drug possession on 18 October.


Gloucester Place

P1040278 Collins

Wilkie Collins (1824 – 1889) – Author of “The Moonstone” and “The Woman in White” (not to be confused with the much inferior Woman in Black) and possessor of a beard to make hipsters weep . If you’ve never read it I can also recommend the exceptionally ripe melodrama that is “Armadale”.


Manchester Square

P1040279 P1040280

The Wallace Collection – was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890), whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The museum opened to the public in 1900 in Hertford House, Manchester Square, and remains there, housed in its entirety, to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. Admission is free.

P1040281 P1040282

Crap selfie of the day

P1040283

P1040284

Rembrandt self portrait

P1040286

Hals’ “Laughing Cavalier”

P1040285

Velasquez’s “Small child dressed as Dalek”

P1040287

Possibly my favourite picture in the collection, Domenico Zampieri’s “The Persian Sibyl” (Part of his “Persian Fawlty Towers” series

P1040289 P1040288

A couple of wonky Canalettos depicting pre-massive cruise-liner Venice.

One general observation – it appears from certain of the work on display that either “wardrobe malfunctions” were a lot more prevalent in those days and tit-grabbing not quite the social kiss-of-death it is today or else your 16th century male painter was a bit of a perv.

Day 2 – Regent’s Park East – Fitzrovia

 

Today’s Route

Day 2 Map copy

Hampstead Road – Robert Street – Stanhope Street – Granby Terrace – Park Village East – Albany Street – Redhill Street – Augustus Street – Harrington Street – Varndell Street – Cumberland Market – Chester Terrace – Outer Circle – Chester Road – Longford Street – Drummond Street – Triton Square – Regent’s Plaza – Euston Road – Warren Street – Whitfield Street – Maple Street – Fitzroy Street – Fitzroy Square – Conway Street – Cleveland Street – New Cavendish Street – Great Portland Street – Hallam Street – Weymouth Street – Portland Place – Devonshire Street – Harley Street


Hampstead Road

IMG_20150728_105439

This pub closed its doors some time in the early 1980s and was taken over by the Camden People’s Theatre in 1994. In 2008 apparently the Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. lettering and the pub’s name were boarded over with signs advertising the upper floors’ use as a martial arts college, chinese medicine college and a language college but these have thankfully now been removed.

IMG_20150728_112340

The National Temperance Hospital moved to this site on Hampstead Road in 1885 . A children’s ward was opened in 1892 by the Duchess of Westminster. In 1893, 12 beds were set aside for cholera patients.  The Ear, Nose and Throat and Skin Departments were opened in 1913/14.The hospital was further  extended in 1931 after Chicago magnate Samuel Insull donated $160,000 to build a new extension, the “Insull Memorial wing”. The hospital was incorporated into the National Health Service in 1948 and merged with University College Hospital in 1968. Between 1986 & 1990 the hospital was used to treat torture victims by an organisation called Freedom from Torture (which originated from Amnesty International’s Medical Group).It was closed as a hospital in 1990 and the building was used for various courses and admin purposes by Middlesex Hospital and the Camden and Islington NHS Trust established various clinics  on the site until 2006 when the Middlesex Hospital also closed down.

IMG_20150728_111536

The owner of Addison Lee is a major donor to the Tories so let’s hope the Uber effect does some damage there.

IMG_20150728_111114 IMG_20150728_111150

A bit outside of the designated area but I had to include the Egyptian-inspired Art Deco marvel that was the Carreras Cigarette Factory (now sadly re-named as the prosaic Greater London House). The building was erected in 1926-28 by the Carreras Tobacco Company owned by the Russian-Jewish inventor and philanthropist Bernhard Baron on the communal garden area of Mornington Crescent, to a design by architects M.E and O.H Collins and A.G Porri. In 1960-62 the building was converted into offices. As part of the refurbishment it was stripped of all its Egyptian decoration, which was now out of fashion. However, in 1996 the building was purchased by Resolution GLH who commissioned architects Finch Forman to restore it to its former glory. The restorers consulted the original designs and aimed to recreate 80-90% of the original Art Deco features, including installing replicas of the famous cat statues (you will see above). The restoration work won a Civic Trust Award.

IMG_20150728_111238 IMG_20150728_111314


Mornington Crescent

IMG_20150728_111504 ISIHAC

Also beyond the zone but I couldn’t pass up the chance to pay homage to the wonderful I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue


Granby Terrace

IMG_20150728_111751


Albany Street

IMG_20150728_114150 jacobs

The somewhat spectral looking William Wymark “W. W.” Jacobs was an English author of short stories and novels. Although much of his work was humorous, he is most famous for his short horror story “The Monkey’s Paw”. Based on the premise of a severed monkey paw that can grant three wishes to whoever possesses it this story has been filmed several times, most recently in 2013.

IMG_20150728_115428

St George’s Cathedral is an Antiochian Orthodox church. Built to the designs of James Pennethorne, it was consecrated as an Anglican place of worship called Christ Church in 1837. It became an Orthodox cathedral in 1989.


Little Edward Street

IMG_20150728_115132


 Chester Terrace

IMG_20150728_120010

Possessor of what must be the most grandiose street sign in London, Chester Terrace is a neo-classical terrace designed by John Nash and built in 1825. The terrace has the longest unbroken facade in Regents Park (about 280 metres) and takes its name from one of the titles of George IV before he became king, Earl of Chester. John Profumo. of 1960’s infamy,  lived at  3 Chester Terrace, from 1948 until 1965. Perhaps understandably, there is no blue plaque to commemorate this. Profumo’s mistress, Christine Keeler, apparently later lived in Chester Close North nearby. If you were interested in acquiring a property on this street Savill’s have one on the market for £9,250,000 (a snip I’d say).


Regent’s Park – Avenue Gardens

IMG_20150728_121655 IMG_20150728_121544


Regent’s Place – Regent Park Estate

 IMG_20150728_124443 IMG_20150728_124242

As a prime example of the cheek-by-jowl existence of social groups at opposite ends of the economic spectrum in London the sprawling Regent Park estate (bottom left in distance) is just a few hundred yards from Chester Terrace and a similar distance from Regent’s Place  a five-year old business and retail development that is axiomatic of the way London is evolving in the 21st century

IMG_20150728_124804IMG_20150728_124118

.


Marylebone Road

IMG_20150728_125121 IMG_20150728_125236

One Marylebone, is the former Holy Trinity Church (Anglican), was built in 1826-28 to the designs of Sir John Soane.  In 1818 parliament passed an act setting aside one million pounds to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon. This is one of the so-called “Waterloo churches” that were built with the money.

By the 1930s, it had fallen into disuse and in 1936 was used by the newly founded Penguin Books company to store books. A children’s slide was used to deliver books from the street into the large crypt. In 1937 they moved out and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), an Anglican missionary organization, moved in. It was their headquarters until 2006. From 2008 onward the building, following refurbishment, has been used as an upmarket event space.  In 2009 an art exhibition held in the crypt created something of a storm in featuring works involving skulls, crucified monkeys, stag heads, five-billion- year-old meteorites, a black Christ in an electric chair, a whirlwind in a glass box, a Japanese girl riding a polycarbonate walrus, stuffed baby sparrows in a coffin and the levitation of St John the Baptist.


Warren Street

IMG_20150728_140707 IMG_20150728_135754

Pub of the Day – The Smugglers Tavern

Pint of Doom Bar and a Falafel burger. Aaarghsome !

IMG_20150728_140804


Cleveland Street

IMG_20150728_141010morse

Samuel Morse – (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872)  American painter and inventor best remembered today for his invention of single-wire telegraph system and co-invention of Morse Code (along with Alfred Vail who I guess we have to mark down as one of those people who’ve ended up on the wrong side of history).

IMG_20150728_141352

The BT Tower (visits by appointment only). Celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (it was opened by Harold Wilson on 8 October 1965). You’re too late now for the ballot to win “reservations” for the commemorative re-opening of the restaurant from 25 July but there is a separate ballot in September for the chance to win free 30 min “flights” to view London from the 34th floor.


Maple Street

IMG_20150728_141651

Crap selfie of the day


Fitzroy Street

IMG_20150728_141923

Francisco de Miranda,  (born March 28, 1750, Caracas, Venezuala—died July 14, 1816, Cádiz, Spain), Venezuelan revolutionary who helped to pave the way for independence in Latin America.

IMG_20150728_142632220px-3rd_Marquess_of_Salisbury

Robert Gascoyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830 – 1903)

Prime Minister for three separate terms during the reign of Victoria between 1885 and 1902 and so was the last British Prime Minister of the 19th century and the first of the 20th century. He was the last Prime Minister to head his full administration from the House of Lords.

As an aside, the phrase “Bob’s your Uncle” is thought to have derived from Robert Cecil’s appointment of his nephew, Arthur Balfour, as Chief Secretary for Ireland.


Fitzroy Square

IMG_20150728_142827


Conway Street

IMG_20150728_143111 bechet

Sidney Bechet (1897 – 1959). A contemporary of Louis Armstrong, Bechet perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Although he received acclaim later in his career he was involved in various dubious incidents in his twenties and in fact his brief sojourn in London was largely spent in jail before being deported back to New York.


Great Portland Street

IMG_20150728_143622


New Cavendish Street

IMG_20150728_144224

Whatever !


Ogle Street

IMG_20150728_144831 IMG_20150728_144943

Saint Charles Borromeo Church

Charles Borromeo (1538–1584) was a cardinal who was archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584. He was a leading figure during the counter-reformation and was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, popularly known as the “Little Flower of Jesus” is one of the most popular saints in the history of the church.


Portland Place

IMG_20150728_151309 IMG_20150728_152318

On your left -Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, Bt., OM, FRS, PC (1827 – 1912),  pioneer of antiseptic surgery.

On your right – Field-Marshal Sir George Stuart White, V.C., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O. (1835 – 1912), hero of the Siege of Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.

7- 4 to the Field Marshal on the honours score then.

IMG_20150728_152414 IMG_20150728_152719

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

66 Portland Place was designed by George Grey Wornum. His was the winner of the competition to design the new headquarters for the RIBA, which attracted submissions from 284 entrants. King George V and Queen Mary officially opened the building on 8 November 1934.


Devonshire Street

IMG_20150728_151458

The Mason’s Arms – perhaps the greenest pub in London.


Hallam Street

IMG_20150728_151635 murrow

Edward R. Murrow (1908 – 1965). Ed Murrow first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during WWII, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States. Subsequently as a pioneer of television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports that helped lead to the downfall of Senator Joe McCarthy (of witchhunt fame). Good Night, and Good Luck, the 2005 Oscar-nominated film directed, co-starring and co-written by George Clooney focused on the clash between Murrow and McCarthy on See It Now, Murrow’s flagship TV series.


Harley Street

IMG_20150728_154224

The mecca for those seeking top-end private medical treatment. I suspect I was the only person visiting this particular street who came by public transport. Saw Paul Whitehouse on his mobile outside one address – I suppose he may have come on the tube.



Day 1 – Regent’s Park – Marylebone – Baker Street

 Today’s Route

Day 1 Map


Inner Circle

P1040192

Disillusioned with the failure of the Simply Red reunion Mick Hucknall embarks on a new career

P1040197

The Garden of St John’s Lodge – A Little Gem

P1040195 P1040196


Queen Mary’s Gardens

P1040198 P1040199

A drone-free oasis

P1040200 P1040202

Can’t remember ever having been round this part of the park before – the gardens really are quite impressive and the wildfowl exceptionally numerous, especially the geese and you don’t want to get too close to those guys

  P1040208

The herons can be pretty unnerving with their sentry-like stillness. If “The Birds” ever became a reality I wouldn’t want to find myself anywhere near here.

P1040210

P1040214

P1040217

                                                                       crap selfie of the day

P1040220

                                                                        Oi ! Over here mate !


Outer Circle

P1040223Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen Writer 1899 – 1973

“Novelist and short-story writer who employed a finely wrought prose style in fictions frequently detailing uneasy and unfulfilling relationships among the upper-middle class”.  As famous for her 32-year affair with a Canadian diplomat seven years her junior as documented in Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie: Letters and Diaries 1941–1973 (edited by Victoria Glendinning),


Park Road

P1040225steiner

The Rudolf Steiner House

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner – Austrian mystic, philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Born: February 27, 1861, Donji Kraljevec, Croatia  Died: March 30, 1925, Dornach, Switzerland. Anthroposophy, a philosophy which he founded postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world that is accessible by direct experience through inner development.
 

P1040227 P1040226

The London Business School – what goes on behind the blue door ?

P1040232jose

José Francisco de San Martin – 1778 – 1850

was an Argentine General, governor and patriot who led his nation during the wars of Independence from Spain.


Gloucester Place

P1040228 P1040229

The Gloucester Arms

Closed in August 2005, it is now a branch of the Francis Holland School though much of the exterior pub decor still remains.


Ivor PlaceP1040230

Proverbs 6:23

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

– King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition


Glentworth Street

P1040231

Cyprian (Latin: Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (c. 200 – September 14, 258) was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop soon after in 249. He was executed by beheading during the reign of the Roman Emperor Valerian.


Balcombe Street

P1040236

Flat 22b – infamous site of the 1975 Balcombe Street siege in which four members of the provisional IRA (responsible amongst other things for the murder of Ross McWhirter) took a middle-aged couple hostage for six days before giving themselves up to the Met.

P1040237 P1040238

Pub of the day – excellent crab sandwich


Siddons Lane

P1040235

Bentley1919

Bentley was founded in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, or “W.O.” as he was known


Dorset Square

P1040239dodie

Dodie Smith – 1896 – 1990

Writer of “A Hundred and One Dalmations” and “I Capture The Castle” and joint author of the script for the 1944 film “The Uninvited”.

  The Uninvited


York Street

 P1040242P1040241

St Mary’s Church

Not keen on people sleeping in the doorway


Montagu Place

P1040243

Who’d have expected the Swiss of all people to have their embassy in a 1970’s office block (though the side façade is significantly more prepossessing). The Swedish consulate across the road is even less impressive.


Crawford Street

P1040244

On Crawford Street, once well-known for its antique dealers, is the long-established (200 years as of 2014) pharmacy of Meacher Higgins & Thomas


Baker Street

P1040234 P1040233

The queue outside the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Not sure what these people are expecting to see. Are they under the impression that it will be memorabilia of real person.

P1040246

219 Baker Street (Ability Parkview) features the retained central tower and a section of the Baker Street facade of Abbey House, which served as the headquarters for the Abbey Road Building Society (then known as Abbey National and now Abbey) from 1932 until 2002. The prominent clock tower on the Baker Street frontage is topped by a 13 metre (43 feet) tall flagpole. The site of Ability Parkview covers the address of 221B Baker Street, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes. However, the address only came into existence when Baker Street was extended to the north in 1930, long after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books were written. The retained 1920s east façade and open clock tower are art deco/art moderne in style and were designed by J. J. Joass.