Savoy to Albemarle: The Tale of Wilde’s Demise

The Savoy On the 2nd March 1893, the Savoy Hotel’s adjoining rooms 362 and 361 were checked into by an Oscar Wilde rapidly approaching the apogee of his dramatic career. Soon to be joined by Lord Alfred Douglas – or ‘Bosie’ – to whom Wilde had been introduced some two years earlier, the pair would…

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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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Two Short Accounts on the Old Waterloo Bridge

Before structural issues led to a redesign (resulting in Giles Gilbert Scott’s concrete bridge built in 1942), Waterloo Bridge was considered the most beautiful of all London’s bridges, whose aura was captured more than once by artists: including Constable and Monet during his stays at the Savoy. The following accounts, one by an English archeologist…

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Dracula Stalks the Strand

The names 'Terry', 'Stoker', and 'Irving', carved into the Lyceum Theatre on Burleigh Street. Photo by Fran Allfrey.

On the back wall of the Lyceum theatre in Burleigh Street are three engraved names: Stoker, Irving and Terry. They honour three great characters of the British theatrical world  in the late 19th century.  Henry Irving was the actor/manager of the Lyceum from 1878 to 1902.  Ellen Terry was one the most famous actors of…

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A Dickensian Necropolis, our ‘new normal’ London

Dimly lit Victorian London street

As we entered a new decade, little did we know that three months down the line our bustling thoroughfare would come to be haunted by the shadows of London’s Victorian past. Transforming into a flaneur-like figure in the dead of the night to combat his insomnia, Charles Dickens documented his traversing of London in the…

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The Strand’s Foggy Past in Conan Doyle’s Work

In the late 19th century, the Strand Magazine propelled Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings to new heights. This meteoric rise brought wider public attention to some of the issues that plagued London in the 1890s. In the Strand Magazine pieces, complex connections between writing by Doyle and the concerns of the Smoke Abatement Society are apparent.…

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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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