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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Wych Street looking towards the Strand, c. 1890, from 'Lost London' by Hermione Hobhouse. Shared by @WychStreet, 10 December 2017.

I often scour Instagram for gorgeous, strange, or mysterious looking photographs of the Strand, historical and contemporary. @WychStreet, an account run by Justin Sherin, is an account I return to again and again, as the photographs – and generous evocative captions – instantly transport me into the past. Justin was kind enough to share some…

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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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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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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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In Matthew Arnold’s essay on ‘The French Theatre’ (1879) he urges on the movement to found a national theatre and fancifully imagines French comediens departing for London and passing ‘along the Strand… I see a fugitive vision of delicate features under a shower of hair and a cloud of lace, and hear the voice of…

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In 1787 Robert Barker put a patent on a way of seeing: ‘panorama’. It is said that he came upon the term when surveying the city of Edinburgh from the top of Calton Hill. Moving to London, Barker reconstructed 360 degree views in a Leicester Square art gallery; an initiative mimicked by his son on…

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The Strand figures twice in Ford Madox Ford’s reminiscences about his pre-Raphaelite relations, Ancient Lights (London: Chapman and Hall, 1911). First in this passage which is revealing about the different experiences of place in different generations: I was talking the other day to a woman of position when she told me that her daughters were…

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