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1800-1899

A Smoking Rebellion at the Savoy?

Savoy 'out' sign

The Savoy hotel is a treasure trove of weird and intriguing events over the last century of Strand history. In 1896, per the Fairmont Hotel Group blog, the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre was the first woman to smoke in public and did so at the Savoy. “The Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre, the first woman to smoke in…

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A Wind of Tingling Fullness on the Strand: Sir William Chambers’ Sculptural Design and Somerset House as ‘the object of national splendor’

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

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 is clear that Sir William Chambers planned a sustained and sophisticated iconographical program for the external sculptural decoration of Somerset House, which…

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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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Layers of the Strand

Today, I have been time travelling. I explored the farm around Trafalgar Square. I squeezed into a tiny top room in Devereaux Court to hear Isaac Newton speak. I paid a ferryman tuppence to take me to the floating coffee house on the Thames to look over the water at Somerset House. This is all…

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‘I’d Rather Be an American Girl at the Savoy Hotel…’ — sponsored content, early-20th Century style

Sponsored content might sound like a development of the internet age, but far from it. On television and in the print media, companies have been managing their brands, shaping their public images and enticing consumers this way for years. Often called advertorials, these pieces blurred the lines between advertising or entertainment and objective journalism. They…

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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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The Mineral Shop at 149 Strand

Stanley Gibbons’s stamp shop was not the only mecca for nineteenth-century collectors, as Dr Adelene Buckland (English Department, King’s College London) demonstrated at the ‘Shows of London’ seminar series last Monday night at King’s. On the opposite side of the street to Gibbons’s establishment, at 149 Strand, was a mineral shop from 1804-1881. Dr Buckland told us…

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The Old Watch House and Roman Bath in Strand Lane

The ‘Roman’ bath, though not the buildings over it, dates from the early seventeenth century. The Watch House, once belonging to St Clement Danes, looks early nineteenth century in its present form, but there are documents to show that there was a building of this shape (projecting over the Lane) already in 1724, and a…

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The Vaudeville Theatre

A few doors down from the Adelphi is the pretty building which houses the Vaudeville Theatre.Built in 1870, Henry Irving acted on this stage for a while, as Ronald Bergan’s book The Great Theatres of London tells us.

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