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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Robert Herrick’s Love Letter to London

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…

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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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The York Watergate

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…

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Thirteen Lions

The Gunpowder Plotters meeting at the Duck and Drake, as rendered by Maz Hemming.

The work of illustrator, graphic designer and game maker Maz Hemming, Thirteen Lions is a webcomic retelling the story of the Gunpowder Plot. It’s now being published online in instalments. While the conspiracy is currently in its infancy, there’s already been a pivotal cameo for the Duck and Drake – the pub on the Strand…

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The Old Watch House and Roman Bath in Strand Lane

The so-called ‘Roman’ bath, though not the buildings over it, dates from the early seventeenth century. The Watch House (the white building with the balcony) 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…

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Australia House

Originally submitted by Alan B I am a tired man.  my eyes are heavy but I am deep in thought.  I guard over Australia House.  Am I alive or dead ? When I’m awake I look over the Aldwych towards the Royal Courts of Justice But I am not watching because Justice is in good…

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Count Peter and the Savoy

This week has seen the return to the Strand of a very important figure: Count Peter of Savoy. He’s the gilded figure on the pediment entrance to the Savoy Hotel who looks like a Wagnerian extra on the run. Now resplendently restored and polished, he looks alarmingly like Darth Vader. But it’s good to see…

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