Featuring beautiful photography and rarely seen material, features on Strandlines are longer articles and personal essays which focus on particular topics and themes in unbridled depth, harnessing the passions and interests of their authors.

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.…
Portrait of Machen in period costume (image via the Harry Ransom centre)

‘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 a 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…
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen

Göttingen and the Strand: Publishers and Princes

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…
Maureen Duffy

Windows on Maureen Duffy from 2015

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…
The empty King's Shop in November 2017

The changing face of (academic) retail

I worked at King’s College London for seven years, and I was a student there a long time before that. I have many memories of interesting projects at the College, but this post is about one in particular—in 2009 I helped to build a new retail space for the university on the corner of Surrey…
The Christmas tree goes up in Somerset House courtyard

The Strand in November

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.
A balloon

Balloon on the Strand

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…
A Strand shop window

Souvenirs on the Strand

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…
Constance Collier and Ellaline Terriss

From the Electrophone to the Xbox Kinect: Remediating the Gaiety Girls

In my last post I described how the Strand’s Gaiety theatre became famous as the home of the Gaiety Girls. Under the stewardship of impresario George Edwardes the Girls changed the face of London’s theatre world while helping to lay the groundwork for modern celebrity culture. In this post I want to focus on two…