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Posts by Rob Gallagher

Life (and Death) beneath the Virtual Strand

Since its retirement from public service in 1994 Aldwych tube station (née Strand) has been busily pursuing a second career in showbusiness. Scoring a part in The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ video (1996) before going on to star in films like V for Vendetta (2005), Atonement (2007) and Fast and Furious 6 (2013), it’s also broken into…

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Thirteen Lions

The Gunpowder Plotters meeting at the Duck and Drake, as rendered by Maz Hemming.

The work of illustrator, graphic designer and game maker Maz Hemming, Thirteen Lions is a webcomic retelling the story of the Gunpowder Plot. It’s now being published online in instalments. While the conspiracy is currently in its infancy, there’s already been a pivotal cameo for the Duck and Drake – the pub on the Strand…

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‘that Strand which is lost as Atlantis’: Arthur Machen’s memories of the Strand

Mystic, theatre critic, teller of weird tales and tramper of London’s obscurer byways and thoroughfares, Arthur Machen was also very fond of the Strand. Available through the Internet Archive (courtesy of the University of California libraries) his memoir of the 1870 and 1880s, Far Off Things (Martin & Secker, 1922) recounts ‘the first time I saw the Strand, and…

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‘Gaiety George’ and the Making of Modern Celebrity

The cast of The Shop Girl in an 1895 souvenir programme © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

During the 1890s and 1900s the Strand’s Gaiety theatre played host to a string of dazzlingly successful shows featuring the ‘Gaiety Girls.’ For the project Moving Past Present I invited artist Janina Lange to ‘reanimate’ two of the Gaiety’s best-known stars, Constance Collier and Ellaline Terriss, as digital avatars. The process of researching their lives…

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Moving Past Present: Digitally Reanimating the Gaiety Girls

Photographs from the Moving Past Present performance

In the 1890s the Strand’s Gaiety theatre became famous as the home of a new genre: the musical comedy. The brainchild of Irish impressario George Edwardes, musical comedies like A Gaiety Girl, The Shop Girl, The Quaker Girl, A Runaway Girl and The Circus Girl beguiled audiences with a mixture of songs, spectacle, romance, daring…

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