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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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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A Wind of Tingling Fullness on the Strand

Top image: Detail of George II and The River Thames, by John Bacon.

A Wind of Tingling Fullness on the Strand: Sir William Chambers’ Sculptural Design and Somerset House as ‘the object of national splendor’ An Interview with Professor Michael Trapp, Department of Classics, King’s College London By Freya Zhang In her essay ‘The external sculptural decoration of Somerset House: And the documentary sources’, Susan Jenkins writes: “It…

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Eighteenth-century lives in Devereux Court

Micah Anne Neale is a 3rd-year PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London, and volunteered for Layers of London in Summer 2019. Her thesis topic is the musical lives of eighteenth-century domestic servants in Britain, and her research interests include early modern social and cultural history, the history of work and the history of…

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London History Day 2019

Greening Aldwych: A walking tour of lost and future green spaces of Aldwych  31 May 2019 12:30pm – 2:00pm Free! Booking required (link opens Eventbrite booking page). Join the Strandlines editorial team, researchers and archivists at King’s College London, on a tour of past, present, and future green space around Aldwych. We are marking London…

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