The Island Churches of the Strand

Many King’s students have likely passed the ‘Island Churches’ of the Strand as they make the pilgrimage from Somerset House to the Maughan Library. Likewise, many Strand dwellers may recognise their spires from afar, perhaps unaware of their history. Just a few minutes walk separate St Mary le Strand, located between Bush House and the…

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Sculptor John Flaxman and his wife Nancy move to 420 Strand

In the autumn of 1794, the sculptor John Flaxman and his wife Nancy returned from their seven-year stay in Rome. They lodged, temporarily, with Flaxman’s father in his house at 420 Strand, between Bedford Street and where the Adelphi Theatre would be built a little more than a decade later. His father, who moulded and sold…

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The Adelphi and Robert Adam

Benedetto Pastorini's engraving of the Adelphi terrace in its splendour.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the Strand had become the theatre of one of London’s most adventurous architectural enterprises: the Adelphi. Four Scottish brothers Robert, John, James, and William Adam endeavored to transform a slum into a fashionable quarter, and in doing so, to promote their dream of social and artistic uniformity, equity,…

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People of the Strand: Fortunatus (died 1601)

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…

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Stargazing from centuries gone by

In the 18th century, the Philosophical Transactions journal (then a relatively new publication) preserved several accounts of astronomical events as observed from the Strand. The Royal Society of London provided James Short, “from the College at Edinburgh”, this platform to publish his observations. In the Philosophical Transactions database Short’s name appears thirty-four times. Of these,…

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People of the Strand: Jonathan Sisson (1692 – 1749)

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…

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Lost buildings of the Strand

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…

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Can you volunteer for Strandlines and Layers of London?

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…

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Twinings and Lloyds Intertwined

Twinings portico ©Heather Tweed

Part One Twinings has long been associated with fine teas but the company actually sprang from Tom’s Coffee House. This blog explores a little of that early history and links to Tweed family members who lie within my own ancestral tree. Walking along the Strand in 1706 a waft of aromatic coffee and stimulating chit…

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