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EXPERIENCES, MEMORIES AND REFLECTIONS

The 2018 Christmas tree at Somerset House

The Strand is ready for Christmas

The Strand is ready for Christmas: thanks to the Northbank Association, strung with stars to brighten the cold skies. Looking along the street, however, is a less starry affair. A theme emerges, of the housed and the unhoused, picked up in the big window display of Coutts Bank, where paper houses press home the point of home. I counted fifteen ...
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York Water Gate. London. Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).

The lost mansions of the Strand

Behold that narrow street which steep descends Whose building to the slimy shore extends Here Arundel's famed structure rear'd its frame The street alone retains an empty name There Essex' stately pile adorn'd the shore There Cecil, Bedford, Villiers – now no more. For several centuries, before the Georgians built Mayfair and when Chelsea was little more than a riverside ...
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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 interactive entertainment, featuring prominently in Tomb ...
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Es Devlin’s Poetic Lion, by Clare Brant

Strandlions

Es Devlin’s Poetic Lion and Emotional States The 2018 London Design Biennale had as its theme ‘Emotional States’. From Argentina to Vietnam, a large group of countries presented ideas, constructions and installations interpreting that theme, mostly in material forms. One distinct work, sponsored by Google Arts & Culture, was Es Devlin’s poetry-roaring lion, installed alongside Landseer’s  quartet of lions in Trafalgar ...
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The Gunpowder Plotters meeting at the Duck and Drake, as rendered by Maz Hemming.

Thirteen Lions

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 where Catesby, Fawkes and their ...
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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. Anthony Heap in 1965 He was a Londoner who lived until 1932 with is parents in Gray’s Inn Road. Anthony attended St Clement Danes Grammar School in ...
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Shaw-1024x537

Shaw scammed

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 funded the WSPU newspaper, Votes ...
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Rapid and joyous bells

‘Oranges and lemons Say the bells of St Clements’ ...is or used to be well-known as the first couplet of a nursery rhyme which featured seven churches close to the City of London. The bells of St Clement Danes ring out the tune every day. The Danes built a church at Aldwych, hence the name of the later church which ...
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‘March in February’ 2018

The Strand has been home to innumerable protests over the years, with the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, led by Wat Tyler, creating perhaps the most enduring folk memory. Strandlines could encompass the Stop the War march of 2003 which was variously estimated to be between one and three million people, still the largest political demonstration in recent times. The Universities and ...
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