Musings on Place, Travel, Books, Literature, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Collecting, Media, Life and the Arts

Archive for the 'London, England' Category

October 2nd, 2014 • Posted in London, England

Today is National Poetry Day in the U.K. Remember

This year’s National Poetry Day will take place on Thursday 2 October. The theme for 2014 is ‘remember’. 

Whether it’s Thomas Hood or Philip Larkin‘s ‘I Remember, I Remember’; the centenary of the First World War; or the national Poetry by Heart recitation competition; memory is an important part of poetry.

This year, refreshing our collective poetry memories, there will be readings, launches, prizes, performances and happenings. Details of the Poetry Society’s work is below, but for details of other events taking place visit:

You can also keep a track of everything that’s going on by following the Poetry Society on Twitter, or watching the hashtag  #nationalpoetryday.

National Poetry Day Live

The Poetry Society and Southbank Centre, London, present National Poetry Day Live from the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall. Join us for a wonderful afternoon of poetry for all ages, including school groups, families and an evening of performances for adults. Featuring performances from some of the biggest names in poetry, including Julia DonaldsonJohn HegleyDaljit NagraKei Miller and Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.

Several new Poetry Society commissions will also premiere at National Poetry Day Live, including a new film of Marian Allen’s ’The Wind on the Downs’ and several new Page Fright films, featuring spoken word legends.

September 11th, 2014 • Posted in London, England

London’s Book Benches

Literary London. I loved these painted book benches in London. Name this book? 

— Megan Oteri (@memomuse1) September 11, 2014

September 10th, 2014 • Posted in London, England

Paddington Bear set to attract visitors to London

This from James Ruggia at Travel Pulse:

Once again, destination marketing will find a comfortable seat on the coat tails of movie marketing. From Hobbits to Harry Potter, attracting movie makers to use your destination as a location has enormous benefits for both film maker and tourism promoter. In the upcoming promotions by London & Partners using the soon to be released Paddington film by STUDIOCANAL, vulnerable children will also be beneficiaries.

In anticipation of the November release in the U.K. and the U.S. release in December of Paddington, a movie based on the affable bear in the stories by Michael Bond,  is joining with STUDIOCANAL and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), to promote the Paddington Trail, which will be unveiled in October.

The trail is the creation of many artists, designers and celebrities who are supporting the campaign and the funds it will generate for the NSPCC in its efforts to protect children. Bond’s original Paddington story, now some 60 years old, is ideal as a narrative to open up a city new to first time visitors.

Read the rest here. 

August 11th, 2014 • Posted in London, England

Second Orwell Society Walk in central London 27th September 2014

This from the Orwell Society:

I am pleased to announce that Orwell Society member Michael King, who is an experienced guide for tours on a number of Authors including of course, George Orwell, has offered to lead a tour in central London for Society Members at 11am on Saturday 27th September. It is not possible to include a walk encompassing all the areas he is well known for having frequented because the distances are just too long, for example between Hampstead, Canonbury Square and Lambeth.

Michael says:

George Orwell spent a considerable period of time, especially in the 1940s, living and working in London. We will explore some places, mainly in the Fitzrovia and Soho areas of London, which feature in both his life and writings. There are several restaurants where he dined and pubs which he drank in and used for scenes in his novels. Also we will see the site of The Chestnut Tree Café from Nineteen Eighty-Four as well as the former offices of the Adelphi magazine which published his early essays, and which also features in a scene in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Other sites include the building which inspired the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen-Eighty Four and the offices of Faber and Faber, the publishers for whom T. S. Eliot rejected the manuscript of Animal Farm, as well as the flat of Sonia Brownell, that was also used in Nineteen Eight-Four. Finally we will see the wing of University College Hospital, where George Orwell died in 1950.

There are numerous places en route and also at the end of the walk for refreshments, both liquid and food. The walk will last about two and a half hours.

Key Walk details

- Meet outside Goodge Street Station at 11am.
- Cost: £10 per person, including a contribution to The Orwell Society.
- If you would like to join us, please email me Quentin Kopp at by September 13th.

August 6th, 2014 • Posted in London, England

Luxury accommodation for the discerning Literary Tourist

I haven’t stayed here, but the Draycott Hotel in London, England certainly appears to be a place in which the Literary Tourist would feel at home. It offers 35 beautifully appointed and individually decorated large rooms and suites “steeped in Edwardian splendour”; with high ceilings and fireplaces, each room is theatrically themed and adorned with Victorian antiques, each contains something of its theatrical namesake – be it Sheridan, Coward, Grenfell, or Dame Ellen Terry: you’ll find prints, posters, photographs and relevant biographies. All rooms come with en-suite bathrooms containing a “well-proportioned bath and a power shower.” Suites feature fully kitted-out kitchens.

Rooms at the back of the hotel benefit from glorious views over a private garden square below - particularly beautiful when the cherry trees are in blossom. And, at the end of a day of book or author hunting, there’s the promise of sleeping between fine Sea Island cotton sheets in a luxuriously large custom built bed. 

For more information visit here.

July 2nd, 2014 • Posted in London, England

Five Things Sherlock Holmes Lovers can do in London

By Angela Youngman

Fancy walking in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes? Here are five London locations where you can do this! Go for a drink in the Sherlock Holmes pub or at the Criterion Bar; roam along Baker Street, The Strand or take a boat ride along the Thames.

Baker Street 

Sherlock Holmes dominates this street. Leaving the tube station, a bronze statue can be immediately seen. Further down the street is the most iconic location of all – 221B Baker Street. For years the Abbey National Building

Society existed at no 221B and a secretary was employed to answer fan letters. When the Abbey National moved its headquarters in 1990, the local authority allowed the number to be given to the Sherlock Holmes museum, which is situated between 237 & 241 Baker Street. Inside, the first floor study carefully recreates Holmes study as well as lots of items linked to Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Interestingly, this building did not actually exist when Conan Doyle wrote the books – street numbers only went up to 100!

River Thames

The banks and wharves of the River Thames are used in countless Sherlock Holmes stories. In The Sign of Four there is a dramatic chase along the river. Although the buildings have now been modernized, the river is still as dominant as it was in Victorian times. Tower Bridge (in its half built state) even featured in Robert Downey Jr’s film version of Sherlock.

The Strand, London

Apart from Baker Street, this is the street that is most associated with Sherlock Holmes. It is mentioned in 8 of the 60 stories written by Conan Doyle. Watson lived for a while in a hotel in the Strand, while Baskerville purchased new boots at a bootmakers. In Resident Patient, Holmes and Watson stroll along the Strand and Simpsons was Sherlock’s favourite restaurant. All the stories were published in The Strand magazine, and the illustration on the front of the magazine showed St Mary Le Strand Church in the distance. Just round the corner from the Strand in Wellington Street, is the Lyceum Theatre where Miss Morston, Holmes and Watson met Thaddeous Sholto in the Sign of Four. It is also where the first notable Sherlock Holmes actor – American William Gillette – played Sherlock Holmes in front of an audience which included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Criterion Bar

Writing in a Study in Scarlet, Watson recounts “I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when someone tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognised young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Bart’s’. During the subsequent conversation, Watson hears that a man named Sherlock Holmes is looking for someone with whom to share a flat. History is made!

Sherlock Holmes Pub, Northumberland Street, London

Originally this pub was a hotel known as the Northumberland Arms. Sir Henry Baskerville stayed here when visiting London to meet Sherlock Holmes. It is also where Holmes identified a mysterious stranger in The Noble Bachelors. The name change came in 1957 following the Festival of Britain. There had been a major display of Sherlock Holmes items in the Festival, and when it ended, they were moved to the Northumberland Arms.

Angela Youngman is a writer and journalist with numerous books linking travel and literary/film sites. She is the author of In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.

Help us to help you…order  one of Angela’s books here.


December 8th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Sam Wanamaker’s Dream Comes True


Next month the newly constructed SamWanamaker Playhouse will open its doors to the public with a production of The Duchess of Malfi. Located on the Thames, next door to the 17-year-old Globe theatre, the Jacobean-style structure represents the full realization of American actor Sam Wanamaker‘s dream to recreate authentic Shakespearean environments, both in and out door, in London where modern audiences can go to experience the Bard’s genius in ways it was experienced four hundred years ago.  

Based on designs by a protégé of Tudor architect Inigo Jones, the new theatre, unlike The Globe, is closed-roofed and candlelit. Two tiers of galleries and a pit area provide seating for an audience of 340.  


September 4th, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Charles Ricketts in Richmond Park

Photo: Wiki

Referring to his new home at 8 Spring Terrace, Richmond, the great personality, connoisseur, book and stage designer Charles Ricketts ( 1866 – 1931) once wrote: “The place is an ideal one for walks, there is the heart of Richmond Park, mists, water, stags, fallen trees, desolation and rabbits…”

As J. G. P. Delaney writes in his biography,

“Ricketts had wanted the ashes to be scattered to the four winds, so Lewis, Sturge Moore, Lowinsky, and two others went to Richmond Park, where Ricketts had so loved to walk. The five friends began scattering the ashes, which were in a shoe box, but they seemed endless and kept being blown into Sturge Moore’s long beard, turning the white into black. With increasing frenzy, they scattered and scattered. In spite of the solemn ceremony, Lewis could imagine Ricketts doubling up with laughter, ‘chocking and convulsed…tears streaming down his face, as he laughed when something overwhelmed him…’ Finally, to everyone’s relief, Lowinsky suggested to Lewis that perhaps the remaining ashes should be scattered on the ground in Italy which Ricketts had given him.

This Lewis duly did. A niche was hollowed out of the cliff face, where the bronze head of Ricketts by Wells was placed. It still looks over the narrow garden towards the beautiful lake.”

August 13th, 2013 • Posted in London, England, Ottawa, ON

National Libraries: British and Canadian: A study in Contrasts

Here’s what’s coming up at the British Library for September 2013:

Speakers’ Corner at the British Library

Mon 2 Sep 2013 – Thu 5 Sep 2013, 13.00-13.45

Price: Free, no booking required  More

Dear World: Editors, Poets and Trans-Cultural Practice

Fri 6 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30 Price: £4 / £3 concessions

Super Family Sunday : The end of Propaganda

Sun 8 Sep 2013, 11.00-16.00 Price: Free

Do the Right Thing

Mon 9 Sep 2013 Price: None

The Rediscovery of Wisdom

Mon 9 Sep 2013, 18.45-20.15 Price: £8 / £5 concessions

When Britain Burned the White House

Tue 17 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30 Price: £8 / £5 concessions

Folk Song in England Study Day

Sat 21 Sep 2013, 09.30-17.00 Price: £10 (no concessions)

You are the Ref

Mon 23 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.00 Price: Free, booking essential

International Translation Day 2013

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 09.00-17.00 Price: £30 / £20 concessions

Boccaccio & Company: an introduction to the Decameron

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 10.00-16.00 Price: £25 / £20 concessions

Laughs in Translation

Mon 30 Sep 2013, 18.30-20.30  Price: £10 / £8 concessions

More  Book now

Here’s what’s coming up at Library and Archives Canada for September 2013:

That’s right. Absolutely nothing.

What’s wrong with this country anyway?

July 31st, 2013 • Posted in London, England

Some 20th Century Fiction Set in London

U.S. First Edition
Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent (1907)
P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels
Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway (1925)
 G. K. Chesterton The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Patrick Hamilton – 20,000 Streets Under The Sky (1935)
Cameron McCabe – The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor
Patrick Hamilton – Hangover Square (1941)
Patrick White – The Living and the Dead (1941)
Norman Collins – London Belongs to Me (1945)
Elizabeth Bowen – The Heat of the Day (1949)
George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Agatha Christie – Crooked House (1949)
John Wyndham – The Day of the Triffids (1951)
Graham Greene – The End of the Affair (1951)
Samuel Selvon – Lonely Londoners (1955)
Colin MacInnes’s City of Spades (1957), Absolute Beginners (1959)

Iris Murdoch – A Severed Head (1961)

Muriel Spark – The Girls of Slender Means (1963)
Doris Lessing – The Four-Gated City (1969)
Michael Moorcock – Jerry Cornelius stories (from 1969), Mother London (1989)
Maureen Duffy – Capital (1975)
Peter Ackroyd – The Great Fire of London (1982), Hawksmoor (1985
Iain Banks – Walking on Glass (1985), Dead Air (2002)
Martin Amis – Money (1984), London Fields (1989)
Tom Clancy – Patriot Games (1987)
Hanif Kureishi – The Buddha of Suburbia (1987)
Salman Rushdie – The Satanic Verses (1989)
Josephine Hart – Damage (1991)
Bernice Rubens – A Solitary Grief (1991)
Barbara Vine – King Solomon’s Carpet (1991)
Nick Hornby – High Fidelity (1996)
Will Self – Grey Area (1996)
Julian Barnes – Metroland (1997)
Helen Fielding – Bridget Jones’ Diary (1997)
Anthony Frewin – London Blues (1997)
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (1997)
Ian McEwan – Enduring Love (1997)
Geoff Nicholson – Bleeding London (1997)
Once you’ve chosen your poison, check out some of the great literary destinations, activities and events to be visited in London on Literary Tourist’s listings map here.