: ' London eccentrics'

Queen of Hell

Quite why at the age of 70 Elizabeth Gibbons decided to build an enormous house on the north side of Portman Square when she had a second home opposite remains a mystery. She could certainly afford [...]

Tiddy Dolls

When on The Knowledge one has to go out, find and memorise ’points’, places where you might reasonably he asked to take a passenger when driving a cab. Some points are easily forgotten while others for [...]

England’s Rich Impact on Gambling History

There is a long history of English stereotypes involving heavy gambling, and it should be no surprise as England has a rich history of gambling. Once a hobby of the highest class of society, gambling has [...]

Mole Man resurfaces

It has all the ingredients of a Grand Designs programme for Channel 4, Kevin McCloud walking through the rubble and telling viewers that the restoration of 121 Mortimer Road poses problems not seen before and unlikely [...]

April Fool

In Berners Street there now has as its most famous building the Sanderson Hotel in a building which was once the headquarters of the famous furnishing designers with whom it shares its name. Because the building [...]

Mayfair’s leering peer

When the Les Enfant terribles of apparel arrived at London’s centre of bespoke tailoring of all places opposite Prince Charles’s tailor the makers of sartorial elegance were up in arms to protect their image. Even worse [...]

Hanway’s pernicious brew

Hanway Street is a narrow street connecting Oxford Street with Tottenham Court Road and is named after Major John Hanway the developer whose eccentric nephew dared to invade the rights of coachmen. This ancient lane can [...]

I could eat a horse

The site of 37 Albany Street was once home to naturalist William Buckland, Dean of Westminster, a fanatical animal collector and one of London’s strangest characters. To prove the efficacy of bird droppings as fertiliser he [...]

Pull the other leg

one-legged transvestite female impersonator could have lost England the American Colonies in a scandal that rocked Georgian society. It was possibly the extraordinary life of Samuel Foote that provided the material for Peter Cook’s ‘One leg [...]

Rage against the machine

his year’s mayoral race is following the predictable campaign that you would expect from the front runners, all the time honoured issues are being aired and as per usual it looks like a two horse race. [...]