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Life (and Death) beneath the Virtual Strand

Since its retirement from public service in 1994 Aldwych tube station (née Strand) has been busily pursuing a second career in showbusiness. Scoring a part in The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ video (1996) before going on to star in films like V for Vendetta (2005), Atonement (2007) and Fast and Furious 6 (2013), it’s also broken into…

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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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Göttingen and the Strand: Publishers and Princes

Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen

What connects Somerset House and King’s College London in the Strand with the University of Göttingen in Germany? The answer, it turns out, is a combination of the Royal House of Hanover and the movements of an enterprising eighteenth-century Dutch publisher. The current Somerset House was begun in 1776 in the reign and under the…

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The All-New Watch House

A general view of the Watch House

The scaffolding has recently come down from around the Old Watch House in Strand Lane, after a five-month restoration project sponsored by King’s College London and carried out by PAYE Conservation . It has been completely re-rendered, the zinc sheathing of the penthouse storey has been replaced, and the zinc, woodwork and wrought iron of the balcony…

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Mrs Holt’s Italian Warehouse

In the 1720s, Mrs Holt’s Italian Warehouse (a warehouse was a sort of 18th-century department store) in the Strand opposite Exeter Change. According to the trade card that William Hogarth engraved for her, she stocked ‘all sort of Italian silks as Lustrings, Sattins, Padesois, Velvets, Damasks, &c, Fans, Leghorne Hats, Flowers, Lute and Violin Strings,…

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St Mary Le Strand

In 1147 the site was occupied by the church of The Nativity Of Our Lady and the Innocents. This was demolished in 1549 to make way for Somerset House, Protector Somerset promised to rebuild it but never did so and for nearly 200 years the parishioners had used the Savoy Chapel. A maypole used to…

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Metropole Hotel Invoice

Metropole Hotel Invoice

This is an invoice regarding the Metropole (or Metripole as gt Grandpa spelt it). J Garrod was Joseph Garrod, my great grandfather. The business was carried on by Edward, my grandfather and James & William my father and his brother. It is still going, trading as Garrod Brothers in North London. The owners are still family,…

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Sockmob Walking Tour

On Wednesday last week I was given a new perspective on the Strand area. Certainly I had walked its lines before: I had been to Temple tube station, the arches under the Adelphi, Embankment Park, the Cole Hole, and Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Yet, I shall now look these familiar places and spaces differently: they have…

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