When Saturday comes, Fitzrovia will limp back to life

On Saturday 4 July some of Fitzrovia's hospitality traders will take a small, tentative step forward as pubs, cafes and restaurants open for the first time for more than three months, after the government eased Covid-19 restrictions. A handwritten sign on the door of a pub in Fitzrovia welcomes punters back for 4 July. Only …

Fire damages roof at Fitzroy Street hotel

Firefighters say use of a disposable barbecue may have been the cause of a fire which damaged that roof of Georgian building on Fitzroy Street this week. Fire engines in attendance outside the hotel in Fitzroy Street. Photo: Clive Jennings. On Wednesday evening the London Fire Brigade (LFB) attend a fire at the Fitzroy Hotel …

Westminster council sets out its table on outdoor dining, drinking and toilets

Westminster council has published its latest plans to allow cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars in the West End to set out tables and chairs to increase trading capacity from 4 July when lockdown is eased but while social distancing continues. Some roads will be closed and pavements widened for outside eating and drinking. The temporary …

New legislation threatens to turn streets into ‘large outside bars’ say West End community groups

New legislation making its way through Parliament this week could turn streets into "large outside bars" if it is not amended says the organisation representing community groups in London's West End. The Business and Planning Bill is being rushed through Parliament. The Business and Planning Bill includes a range of measures to help businesses recover …

Bloomsbury conservation group revamps its website and warns of threat to the area’s ‘special character’

The Bloomsbury Conservation Areas Advisory Committee (BCAAC) wants more people to visit its improved website to learn about the internationally renowned district but warns that heritage assets are facing "significant threats". BCAAC covers seven conservation areas in Central London. The website has been updated to include new information on the conservation areas (including Charlotte Street …

Westminster council Tories gave planning permission for extension on Jenrick home against officers’ recommendation

The Times reports that fellow Conservatives at Westminster council approved a home extension and overturned the planning department's recommendation to reject the plans. Robert Jenrick the secretary of state for housing who is currently embroiled in a row over a planning decision has some previous experience with planning matters, reports The Times newspaper. Conservative councillors …

Dave Ferris: neighbourhood worker who led collective action and fostered a community spirit

By Nick Bailey, Helen Haigh, and Mairi Mills Dave Ferris (left) with partner Adrian Dowson. Dave Ferris, who died in April, was a community worker at the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre for more than two decades, and was highly regarded by his colleagues and the management of the organisation. Generous in spirit, and genuinely democratic, it …

Mike Pentelow: much-loved journalist, communist, and author

Mike Pentelow in pub.

By Peter Kirker Mike Pentelow enjoying music and a drink at the King and Queen pub in September 2018. Mike Pentelow, who died suddenly at home in April, was a long serving contributor to Fitzrovia News and Tower, its predecessor, editor-in-chief for 13 years, and an accomplished trade union journalist and author. His book Characters …

The 200-year-old cosmopolitan and architectural allure of Oxford Street

Front of buildings on street.

The Survey of London has published its latest volume, for the first time devoted to a single thoroughfare -- Oxford Street. Survey of London, Oxford Street. Oxford Street in 2018. To the left, the former Lyons Oxford Corner House at Nos 14–24. Composite image. Survey of London, Oxford Street. Chris Redgrave. Historic England Archive. The …

The artist Harry Jonas – ‘Last of the Fitzrovians’

Row of buildings.

By Robert Cunning I first met Harry Jonas in the early 1980s. I was a volunteer with Islington social services, and a message came in to help an ageing artist, who thought he was the best painter in Britain. Harry Jones lived at 35 Maple Street (with arched window). Photographed in 1969. Source: London Metropolitan …

Exploring our own areas and supporting local businesses could make us a lot happier and healthier

The campaign encourages people to rediscover their local high streets and town centres. An email from The Fitzrovia Partnership’s chief operating officer this week invites the business group's members to read about a campaign to get the London economy up and running again. The Because I’m A Londoner is a city-wide initiative which claims to …

Soho’s lost post-war living room of badly behaved bohemians

The Colony Room in Dean Street W1 was a living-room-sized drinking club for members only, above an Italian restaurant up a long dirty staircase. It was at the heart of a post-war Soho packed with pubs, clubs and restaurants full of people wanting to get off their heads on drink or drugs, debate, argue, and …

The barbarous treatment of slaves was for the benefit of local gentry

The barbarous and cruel treatment of slaves, described by Mary Prince from her own experience, greatly helped the campaign for abolition. Mary Prince. Illustration by Clifford Harper. She was working as a charwoman at 4 Keppel Street (opposite Store Street) in 1829 after fleeing her slave owner John Wood (1783-1836) of Leigh Street, Bloomsbury. Wood …

When this is all over we will have learned the real meaning of community

By Pat Tulloch It is the week before lockdown, I self-isolate as I have an underlying health condition that makes me vulnerable to Covid-19. At the Fitzrovia Centre we are in the business of creating social cohesion through bringing people together, it becomes clear we will be unable to maintain safety and forced to close. …

Portraits for NHS Heroes, an online exhibition at The Fitzrovia Chapel

The Fitzrovia Chapel, in Pearson Square, is hosting a virtual exhibition entitled “Portraits for NHS Heroes” showcasing portraits of NHS staff, created during the current crisis. There is some very accomplished work on display, elegantly complemented by the Chapel’s extravagant interior. The Net Gallery in partnership with Tom Croft have created the virtual exhibition at …

Architects are not the only ones obsessing about learning spaces and working spaces

A friend of mine passed me a copy of Architects Journal this week which has some interesting observations on life, and valuable insights into how schools and offices will operate when they re-open. The Architects Journal: Adaptation + Workplace, 21 May 2020. "Things architects obsess about are everyone's obsession now: public space, green space, learning …

Formal consultation opens on Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Plan

Map of Fitzrovia West.

A formal public consultation on the Fitzrovia West Neighbourhood Plan  opens today ahead of a public examination and a referendum on the planning document which will control land development in the area. "We encourage all residents and businesses based in the area to read the Plan and submit their comments to the Council by the …