Savoy to Albemarle: The Tale of Wilde’s Demise

The Savoy On the 2nd March 1893, the Savoy Hotel’s adjoining rooms 362 and 361 were checked into by an Oscar Wilde rapidly approaching the apogee of his dramatic career. Soon to be joined by Lord Alfred Douglas – or ‘Bosie’ – to whom Wilde had been introduced some two years earlier, the pair would…

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The Island Churches of the Strand

Many King’s students have likely passed the ‘Island Churches’ of the Strand as they make the pilgrimage from Somerset House to the Maughan Library. Likewise, many Strand dwellers may recognise their spires from afar, perhaps unaware of their history. Just a few minutes walk separate St Mary le Strand, located between Bush House and the…

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Sculptor John Flaxman and his wife Nancy move to 420 Strand

In the autumn of 1794, the sculptor John Flaxman and his wife Nancy returned from their seven-year stay in Rome. They lodged, temporarily, with Flaxman’s father in his house at 420 Strand, between Bedford Street and where the Adelphi Theatre would be built a little more than a decade later. His father, who moulded and sold…

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Who put the Villiers in Villiers Street? Art, culture and élite life on the seventeenth-century Strand

The Strand from the corner of Villiers Street by George Scharf, 1824 (British Museum)

Villiers Street has always captivated me. Linking the Strand to the Embankment, it remains one of the most vibrant walkways in the area and it plays an important part in connecting people to some of central London’s main visitor attractions – historical buildings and palaces, galleries, theatres, cinemas, museums and parks. It has a buzzy…

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Stargazing from centuries gone by

In the 18th century, the Philosophical Transactions journal (then a relatively new publication) preserved several accounts of astronomical events as observed from the Strand. The Royal Society of London provided James Short, “from the College at Edinburgh”, this platform to publish his observations. In the Philosophical Transactions database Short’s name appears thirty-four times. Of these,…

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People of the Strand: Jonathan Sisson (1692 – 1749)

Jonathan Sisson established a scientific instrument making business at the corner of Beaufort Buildings in the Strand, London. The attic rooms included an observatory, the exterior visible in a drawing by the freemason, Thomas Sandby.[1] Sandby was the architect of the first Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street, which was completed in 1766. For many…

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Can you volunteer for Strandlines and Layers of London?

If you’re reading this on our website, we hope that you already know that Strandlines collects and shares histories and stories of this most central of London’s streets. Why not browse some of our existing ‘strands’ to see what our contributors have preserved so far? Layers of London is a huge collaborative effort to map…

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Twinings and Lloyds Intertwined

Twinings portico ©Heather Tweed

Part One Twinings has long been associated with fine teas but the company actually sprang from Tom’s Coffee House. This blog explores a little of that early history and links to Tweed family members who lie within my own ancestral tree. Walking along the Strand in 1706 a waft of aromatic coffee and stimulating chit…

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Monet’s Pied-à-terre

Monet Waterloo Bridge

“I find London lovelier to paint each day” – Claude Monet. Monet’s link to London Monet fell in love with London in 1870-71, while in exile from France, during the Franco-Prussian war. After his return to France he vowed to revisit London, which he did in 1899, 1900 and 1901. In each of these three…

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