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Anthony Heap’s Strand

Anthony Heap (1910-1985) kept a daily diary for nearly 57 years – from just before his 18th birthday in 1928 until 36 hours before his death in University College Hospital in October 1985. He was a Londoner who lived until 1932 with is parents in Gray’s Inn Road. Anthony attended St Clement Danes Grammar School…

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Shaw scammed

Shaw-1024x537

While researching a talk on sites around the Strand related to the women’s suffrage movement, I came across mention of a very odd incident involving George Bernard Shaw and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, whose wife, Emmeline, had in 1906 become one of the leaders of the Women’s Social and Political Union. With Emmeline, Frederick had founded and…

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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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Léo Caillard dresses Bush House statues for The Classical Now

Paris-based artist Léo Caillard, known for styling classical statues in contemporary attire, has dressed the two figures above the grand travertine marble entrance to Bush House as hipsters. Made by American artist Malvina Hoffman in 1925 to symbolise the friendship between Britain and America, the statues were each hewn from a 20-ton piece of stone.…

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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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Windows on Maureen Duffy

Maureen Duffy

Maureen Duffy is a playwright, poet, novelist and biographer—her output totalling some 34 published works to date. She was an undergraduate at King’s College London in the 1950s, which she subsequently re-imagined as ‘Queen’s’ College London in her novel Capital (1975). King’s now hosts her archive, and the Strand Campus windows feature a biographical installation dedicated to…

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The King’s Shop in 1847

The King's shop as it was in 1847 from the second, 1847 edition of John Tallis’s Steet Views.

With thanks to Professor Michael Trapp of King’s, this is the (now former) location of the King’s shop as it was in 1847, long before the 1905 rebuild that brought the present building into being; from the second, 1847 edition of John Tallis’s Steet Views.

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The Strand in November

The Christmas tree goes up in Somerset House courtyard

A set of photographs taken by Clare Brant, showing the Christmas tree being assembled in Somerset House courtyard, and remembrance poppies on display in the window of Coutts bank. The Christmas tree goes up in Somerset House courtyard The Christmas tree goes up in Somerset House courtyard The Christmas tree goes up in Somerset House…

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Balloon on the Strand

A balloon

The history of crazes is an enormously rich subject. We seem to be in the middle of a craze for fidget spinners, of which all sorts of varieties are on sale in the Strand. In 1784, the Strand was a key location for what became, for two or three years, a mad craze for balloons…

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Souvenirs on the Strand

A Strand shop window

A recent walk along the Strand in search of fidget spinners led me to start thinking about souvenirs. Sadly the Strand doesn’t feature in London-themed merchandise – it’s not as cool as the other big streets. A couple of years ago I asked a souvenir seller why he didn’t have items with the Strand? He…

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