In 1629, Robert Herrick had to leave London to assume a post in Devonshire. Before his departure, he wrote His Tears to Thamesis to say his farewell to the city. It remarkably stands the test of time as an example of how one can feel deeply for their home. As an ex-pat of London, I…

Read More
The medieval street network around the Strand and into the City, from seventeenth-century plans attributed to Robert Hooke.

In the wake of the Great Fire of London (September 1666), many speculative entrepreneurs reinvented themselves as urban developers. These individuals were the major figures of the modernisation of London’s street network. Laying out regular streets over freshly-bought land and building rows of similar (if not identical) terrace houses proved the best way to maximise…

Read More
The Strand from the corner of Villiers Street by George Scharf, 1824 (British Museum)

Villiers Street has always captivated me. Linking the Strand to the Embankment, it remains one of the most vibrant walkways in the area and it plays an important part in connecting people to some of central London’s main visitor attractions – historical buildings and palaces, galleries, theatres, cinemas, museums and parks. It has a buzzy…

Read More
Shell Mex House, Public Domain image uploaded by Wikipedia user Mahlum.

‘If one could choose a single location in which the encounter with cultural complexity became routine, it would be that unique gathering of peoples along the Thames.’ So says John Cramsie, author of a book about such encounters in the early modern period, though mostly ones away from London (British Travellers and the Encounter with…

Read More

Jonathan Sisson established a scientific instrument making business at the corner of Beaufort Buildings in the Strand, London. The attic rooms included an observatory, the exterior visible in a drawing by the freemason, Thomas Sandby.[1] Sandby was the architect of the first Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street, which was completed in 1766. For many…

Read More

Editor’s note: below you can find teasers of Aisha Brady’s research for her Layers of London collection ‘Lost Buildings of the Strand‘. Aisha researched this collection (and many more!) as a Layers of London and Strandlines collaborative volunteer. We are currently recruiting for more volunteers, apply by 7 February 2019! Find out more here. Lost…

Read More

If you’re reading this on our website, we hope that you already know that Strandlines collects and shares histories and stories of this most central of London’s streets. Why not browse some of our existing ‘strands’ to see what our contributors have preserved so far? Layers of London is a huge collaborative effort to map…

Read More
York Water Gate. London. Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).

When the Duke of Buckingham ordered his York House (approximately located at present day 38 Strand) to be modernised in 1623, “it was customary for nobility to be conveyed by water” [1] while the less convenient carriages were preferred for state purposes. This made the building of private watergates by the river very common in…

Read More