the london compendium guide to my week – part 2


Sir Hugh Cudlipp

Due to inadvertent over-napping, I left home much later than planned yesterday, so my task is a bit easier today.  And despite getting a job from Clapham South to Wilton Road Victoria, it took a while for any of my jobs to through up ay usefull stuff from TLC.  This how my day went yesterday then;

Clapham South Station to Sainsbury’s, Wilton Road, SW1 – nothing to report.

Ebury Street, SW1 to Bourne Street, SW1 (via Chemist in Elizabeth Street, SW1) – nothing to report.

Victoria Station to Cheyne Walk, SW10 – ‘The most prestigious riverside street in London, whose residents include the artist J.M.W. Turner; the James Bond author, Ian Fleming; the Victorian novelist George Eliot; and the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’

King’s Road, SW3 to Denyer Street, SW3 and Alderney Street, SW1 – No. 65 King’s Road was home to I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, ‘one of the most famous 1960s King’s Road boutiques, it’s quasi-military touches inspired a number of rock groups, including the Beatles, who personified the look on the cover of their 1967 Seargant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.’

Victoria Station to Welbeck Street, W1 – nothing to report.

New Bond Street, W1 to Wilton Crescent, SW1 – New Bond Street is, rightly, described by Ed as ‘Mayfair’s High Street.’  But away from the shops at No. 147 ‘The naval hero Lord Nelson stayed here in 1797-8, heavily sedated with laudanum to take away the pain from losing his right arm during a failed raid on Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  Cheating slightly here as I dropped this punter around the corner at The Berkeley Hotel in Wilton Place.  But this story from Wilton Crescent, where Lord Mountbatten lived at No.2, features my namesake (but unfortunately not relation) Hugh Cudlipp.  So the story starts; ‘(No. 2) was the setting for a bizarre plan, hatched by Cecil Harmsworth King, chairman of Mirror group newspapers, to stage a coup to replace Harold Wilson’s ruling Labour Government by a “Government of National Emergency”, which would be run by a team of patriotic politicians and capable business men, such as himself.  King did not got to see Mountbatten himself but sent his assistant, Hugh Cudlipp, also a Mirror executive, and the two men discussed the liberalization of laws on abortion and homosexuality under Wilson’.  Needless to say, the coup never quite took off.

Harrods to Courtfields Gardens, SW5 – nothing to report.

Harrods to Brown Street, W1 – nothing to report.

York Street, W1 to West Street, WC2 – nothing to report.

West Street, WC2 to Finchley Road, NW6 – nothing to report.

Finchley Road, NW6 to Finchley Road, NW11 – nothing to report.

Hampstead High Street, NW3 to Exmouth Market, EC1 – ‘A busy street dominated by boutiques, coffee bars and restaurants where at No. 42a, at the corner with Flask Walk, John Lydon squatted in the 1970s and wrote the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”.  Don’t know about you, but that leaves me with an image of John Lydon literally squatting down in the street, forcing out the lyrics to ‘God Save the Queen’, you wouldn’t put it past him would you?

Skinner Street, EC1 to Bank Station, EC2 – As I dropped these punters on Cheapside, I’ll give you this little snippet of history from Ed; ‘On St John’s Night 1510 the nineteen year old Henry VIII strolled along Cheapside unrecognised, dressed as a Yeoman of the Guard, and drank in some of the local taverns until he spotted the Night Watch and beat a retreat.’

King William Street, EC2 to Prestons Road, E14 – nothing to report.

Canada Square, E14 to Tower Bridge Road, SE1 – ‘Following the opening of the docks in the early nineteenth century the land was known a Rum Quay, on account of the produce unloaded here, and it was renamed after the Second World War, when the Fred Olsen Line unloaded bananas and tomatoes imported from the Canary Islands next to a 2 storey warehouse, the only building on the site.’

So another day delving into the nooks & crannies of London history with the help of my punters.  I’m enjoying myself, even if no-one else is.


3 thoughts on “the london compendium guide to my week – part 2

  1. A blue badger once told me that Julie Andrews lived on Cheyne Walk the same time as Keith Richards, just a few doors away! This was in the 60’s when their public personas couldn’t have been more different. I don’t know if that is true, but it makes for an interesting thought… And I think that the view from those houses must be amazing on a clear summer night, with the view of the bridge in plain view lit in all its glory. Lucky ba****ds!

  2. Hampstead High Street and Flask Walk, I know ’em well. I heard that Hampstead acquired its air of exclusivity and superiority from the fact that the horse trams couldn’t make it up the hill, keeping out the workers and hoi polloi.

    Times have changed and Hampstead is slowly and reluctantly sliding down the slippery social slope – they even have a Tesco’s now, for heaven’s sake! But there are still some nice houses in secluded little streets.

    Exmouth Market can be fun but I suspect it is only a shadow of its former glory. Chapel Market, hard by where I live, puts on a livelier show and every day except Monday, at that.

    It’s sad to see the lovely old specialist shops turning into pasta restaurants and wine bars.

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