Would They Be Amused?


Star Street W2 7.04

In my ‘Farringdon and Paddington’ post of two days ago, I featured a view of the Paddington Basin Development from Praed Street. Here is one from Star Street W2. Several million pounds, even then, was required to purchase one of the top floor apartments. Perhaps the terra cotta arcs are an attempt to remain in keeping with the chimney pots of the older terraces. Central Wash laundrette is still in business at 17 Star Street.

This photograph is the first of a batch of a dozen Streets of London series colour slides from July 2004, that I scanned today. Star Street lies parallel and between the equally parallel Praed Street and Sussex Gardens, the latter of which form a rectangle with Edgware and Bayswater Roads. This contains a network of smaller streets

Porchester Place W2 7.04

one of which is Porchester Place W2. This is of course part of the London Borough of Westminster, prepared to spend money on hanging baskets in honour of its visitors.

Connaught Square W2 7.04

Another is Connaught Square W2, leading  to Hyde Park Square where, 3 years on, I was to take out a nightmare rental, the story of which is told in AAARGH!

Seymour Street/Connaught Square W2 7.04

Seymour Street W2 crosses Edgware Road, and runs through Portman Square to Wigmore Street. What, I wondered, was this woman’s relationship with the child in the buggy.

Dunraven Street/North Row W1 7.04

Dunraven Street W1 lies parallel to Park Lane. North Row runs alongside Oxford Street. Marble Arch is very nearby, beyond the Big Bus Company‘s tour transport. The trees are in Hyde Park. I’m not sure who the uniformed gent represents.

Park Street W1 7.04

A major refurbishment was underway in whichever this was of the streets crossed by Park Street W1, and leading directly into Park Lane.

Adam's Row W1 7.04

Park Street leads us into the heart of Mayfair with its splendid buildings viewed here from Adam’s Row. Six months ago you could rent a 1 bedroom flat in Adam’s Row for £4,225 per calendar month. That was on the first floor of a period coach house., in other words not one of the grand apartments on view in this picture.

Carlos Place W1 7.04

The Historic England website contains this listed building entry description of 2-8 Carlos Place, W1:  “A quadrant block of houses 1891-93 by J E Trollope of Giles, Gough and Trollope. Red brick with lavish Portland stone dressings, slate roofs. Free English/Flemish Renaissance style. Four storeys, basement and attic storey with dormers and shaped and straight gables. Effective rhythm of canted bay windows through storeys, balustraded parapets and gables, enlivened on alternate houses by bands of carved brick Renaissance decorative ornament. The canted bays, with mullioned lights and glazing bars and leading, are in some cases capped with ogee copper roofs. Semicircular arched and recessed porches. No 8 has a polygonal bay window to corner and a 2 storey rear wing the upper part timber framed. Basement areas have ornamental cast iron railings. Panelled stone and brick chimney stacks prominent on ridge of roof. Part of the 1880s-90s rebuilding of Mount Street for the Grosvenor Estate. Prominent corner site.” Renting a three bedroomed apartment here would set you back upwards of £10,000 per calendar month.

Mount Street Mews W1 7.04

On 22 September last year Stephanie Hirschmiller in The Daily Telegraph described Mount Street, Mayfair as “one of London’s most stylish destinations….home to a plethora of luxurious boutiques and restaurants with global acclaim.” One of these establishments is Delfino Pizzeria on the corner of number 1 and Mount Street Mews W1. Would Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, whose busts look down onto these streets, I wonder, be amused at all this?

Jones Street W1 7.04

All I know about nearby Jones Street W1, is that it is not in Greenwich Village.

Hay Hill, W1 is as steep as it looks. The gentleman in the first picture is striding into Dover Street, where can be seen both the elegantly restrained window display of the corner antique shop, and a reflection of another across the road. The Club for Business at 12 Hay Hill claims that:

“Hay Hill has a history of good fortune

Beau Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency London. On an early summer’s morning in 1813, Beau was lamenting a run of bad luck, which had led him close to destitution. Wandering around the corner of Berkeley Square towards Hay Hill, he saw something glistening on the floor. It was a crooked sixpence. He took the coin home, drilled a hole in it, and attached it to his watch chain. Almost overnight, his fortune changed and the penny became his good luck charm and he always looked fondly on Hay Hill.

“Whilst at 12 Hay Hill we believe you make your own fortune, we hope that a bit of good luck from the place where Beau found his sixpence won’t do our members any harm…””

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, wild rice, onion bahjis, and parathas, with which I finished the Shiraz.

May Fair


Incessant rain had hammered down for 24 hours after the family left yesterday. It was not until mid afternoon that we could go outside to survey the damage and stake up the taller plants like


these nicotiana sylvestris that had been beaten and weighed down.

Gladioli Priscilla

Some, such as the Priscilla gladioli, had been broken off completely. Becky made their  vase  more than 20 years ago.

In the meantime, I scanned another dozen slides from May 2004 in my Streets of London Series.

Streets of London 430

During that time I regularly walked past Murray Road NW1 on my way to visit a foster home in North London. The maroon concrete planters were part of the London Borough of Camden’s efforts to brighten up the streets.

Streets of London 431

Essie Carpets, at 64 Piccadilly, on the corner of Albemarle Street, W1, sells Persian and Oriental rugs of allegedly superior quality. Never having been able to contemplate such luxuries I am unable to confirm this from my own experience.

Streets of London 432

Crossing Piccadilly and walking through Piccadilly Arcade, one comes face face with Beau Brummell, that famous Regency dandy about whom Wikipedia has this entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau_Brummell

The sculpture was made by Irene Sedlecka in 2002.

Streets of London 433

Streets of London 434Streets of London 435

The next three photographs were made in a district which came to National consciousness in the 1980s when ‘the deputy Conservative Party chairman and author Jeffrey Archer met the prostitute Monica Coghlan‘ This last phrase and the next three paragraphs are slightly edited extracts from Wikipedia.

‘Shepherd Market is a small square in the Mayfair area of central London, developed in 1735-46 by Edward Shepherd on the open ground then used for the annual May fair from which Mayfair gets its name. It is located between Piccadilly and Curzon Street and has a village-like atmosphere. The area was called Brook Field, through which flowed the Tyburn. It contained paved alleys, a duck pond, and a two-storey market topped by a theatre.[3]

During the 1920s, Shepherd Market was a run down area, popular with writers and artists such as Michael Arlen and Sophie Fedorovitch.[4] Arlen rented rooms opposite The Grapes public house and used Shepherd Market as the setting for his best-selling 1924 novel The Green Hat, which prompted Anthony Powell to move into the area in 1926.[5]

It has been associated with upmarket prostitutes since the eighteenth century.[2] When Olivia Manning and her husband Reggie Smith lived at 50a, she found the prostitutes “fascinating”.[6]

Jeffrey Archer once cajoled thousands of pounds from guests at a Charity Dinner auction on behalf of Parents for Children Adoption Society during my period of Chairmanship.

Streets of London 436

I assume the driver of this police car alongside Chesterfield Street, still in Mayfair, was seeking directions from a colleague.

Streets of London 437

Hay’s Mews still contains some of the original converted stable buildings.

Streets of London 438

Around one corner is Waverton Street;

Streets of London 439

 Balfour Mews

Streets of London 440

and Rex Place run into S. Audley Street where services are still held in the 18th century Anglican Grosvenor Chapel.

Streets of London 441

This young man must have taken his life in his hands as he crossed Park Lane and straddled the stride-stretching barrier to reach this strip of grass. And he could manage to sit cross-legged afterwards.

This evening Jackie collected our dinner from the garrulous Mr Chatty Man Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. Dessert was treacle tart and ice cream. We both drank Kingfisher