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…

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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…

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‘March in February’ 2018

Universities and Colleges Union 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…

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A Canadian girl on her way to work on the Strand

A Canadian girl on her way to work on the Strand

In Street Haunting, Virginia Woolf describes the streets of London as having “buses strung on a chain. People fight and struggle. Knocking each other off the pavement.” On all my visits to London riding the tube in the morning to visit one art gallery or another, I would look longingly at the stylish women in…

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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 from 2015

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 changing face of (academic) retail

The empty King's Shop in November 2017

The empty King’s Shop in November 2017 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…

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