Artist Harry Jonas was helped by actor Oliver Reed in a campaign to save buildings on Maple Street

Row of buildings.

An early campaigner to preserve the Georgian and Victorian buildings in Fitzrovia was artist Harry Jonas, who lived at 35 Maple Street. Our attention was drawn to this recently from a reader who is researching the life of artist Harry Jonas (1893-1990) and wanted to know if we had any information on the campaign to …

Investigation of former hospital and workhouse site reveals intact human burial remains

An archaeological investigation at the Middlesex Hospital Annex and former Strand Union Workhouse site has recovered 55 intact human burials dating from 1780 to 1853 from three test trenches dug into the ground. The findings are revealed in a report by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) which concludes that "archaeological deposits survive extensively across the …

A new history of Fitzrovia shows a rich mixture of workers, migrants, intellectuals and villains

Life on the edge, both geographically and socially, is the theme of this book. Colourful examples come from fake antique dealers, dodgy second hand car salesmen, and a variety of villains. Many honest and underpaid workers in the furniture trade, the clothing industry, show business, and restaurants are also included. And a rich mix of …

The life and changing times of the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre

Newspaper front page.

The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, which will be closing in June, was a product of its time and was one of several community advice centres being established across Camden and other inner London boroughs in the 1970s. The opportunity arose as a result of funding provided by the Home Office to tackle inner city problems. This …

Wreath-laying and rededication at restored Rangers Memorial for Armistice Centenary

Stone monument.

The recently restored London Rangers Cenotaph in Chenies Street will be rededicated at a wreath-laying ceremony at this year's Remembrance Sunday, the one hundredth anniversary of the Armistice. The memorial has been restored as part of Camden's West End Project and will form an end piece at the northern end of a new public open …

Guided walks explore London’s history of sexual diversity

Front of pub.

Two fundraising guided walks to support international LGBT activists will take place in September and uncover the hidden sexual history of some familiar surroundings. London-based activist Richard Cohen is leading the guided tours, in affiliation with the Amnesty International Mayfair and Soho group, showcasing the fascinating heritage of London’s LGBT community. The walks take in …

Human remains ‘should be anticipated’ at former workhouse site

Human remains from an historic burial ground at the former workhouse building in Fitzrovia are very likely to still exist and would have to be removed before any redevelopment of the site says a report from Museum of London Archaeology. The report is a desk-based analysis and draws together evidence from historical records and the results …

Why is there no blue plaque for Doris Lessing in Langham Street?

Front of mansion block.

Did you know that Doris Lessing lived in Holbein Mansion, Langham Street from 1958 to 1962? She rented a flat from her publisher, Howard Samuels, for £5 a week. Doris Lessing (1919 – 2013) was one of the foremost post-war British novelists, the author of some fifty novels, plays and volumes of poetry and autobiography. She …

Excavation reveals post-medieval pits and potential Civil War fort

Two men in underground structure.

An excavation between Rathbone Place and Newman Street in Fitzrovia has uncovered a number of interesting and unique finds according to an archaeology fieldwork report. The investigation carried out between November 2014 and March 2015 found a series of post-medieval walls, drains and brick-lined pits, constructed on the site in the late 18th century, as well as 19th century …

Gresse Street and Stephen Street before redevelopment in the 1970s

Gap between Victorian buildings.

Just to the west of the lower end of Tottenham Court Road only a few buildings in Stephen Street and Gresse Street survived the huge redevelopment of the Gort Estate in the mid-1970s. In the foreground on the left hand side of the picture below are the Stephen Buildings, and in the mid-ground on the left is …

Tottenham Court Road before redevelopment in the 1970s

Blue Posts pub and single storey buildings along Tottenham Court Road.

The southern part of Tottenham Court Road is again undergoing large scale change with redevelopment of the Central Cross building on the west side and on the east side the former Time Out building has now been completely demolished. Another chapter in the story of the road that originally led to Tottenhall Manor House. This was what …

Wreaths laid at Chenies Street war memorial

Three wreaths at memorial.

Wreaths were laid today at the Chenies Street war memorial near the former headquarters of The Rangers regiment. Three wreaths were placed at the base of the memorial for Remembrance Sunday and as part of commemorations marking the centenary of the start of the First World War. The Chenies Street monument is in memorial to The Rangers …

Fitzroy Place developer in trouble over Middlesex Hospital Chapel plans

Red brick chapel building.

Exemplar the property developer leading the construction of Fitzroy Place is coming under increasing pressure to abandon its plans to rename the Middlesex Hospital Chapel which it is meant to be restoring as part of a legal agreement with Westminster City Council. A medical historian, a former surgeon, and the chair of one of Westminster City Council's planning …

The poster that helped name a London neighbourhood

Poster advertising Fitzrovia Festival 1973.

By Peter Berthoud It is quite well known that Fitzrovia gained its name from the Fitzroy Tavern and the artistic and literary crowd that hung out there and neighbouring pubs in the 1930s. The Tavern itself being named after Charles Fitzroy who began developing the area in the 1750s. But I didn't realise until recently …

What the First World War means to me

Date on stone memorial 1914-1919

By Simon Glyndwr John I read “Our Island Story,” by H E Marshall, when I was about ten years old and began a lifelong love of history and books. Unsurprisingly, history became my best academic subject and within that subject one topic chose me: the First World War (WW1).  My interest in WW1 developed whilst …

From jazz pioneers to township jive exiles

Cover of book with black musicians.

Sounds Like London, 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital. By Lloyd Bradley (Serpent's Tail, £12.99). The first black band to make its mark in the UK played in Great Portland Street almost 100 years ago. And the area's clubs and record shops which had an enormous influence in developing Black Music in the …

Searching for memories of the Middlesex Hospital

By News Reporters Do you have memories of the the Middlesex Hospital in Fitzrovia that you'd like to share? A doctor and an architect are working together to collect people's stories and memories of the Middlesex Hospital, which stood on Mortimer Street until it was demolished in 2007.  Khaldoon Ahmed trained as a doctor at …

See Red Women’s Workshop

So long as women are not free the people are not free.

By Sue Blundell 'The State and Sexist Advertising Cause Illness’; ‘Fight the Cuts’; ‘The Freedom of the Press Belongs to Those who Control the Press’. Though these rallying cries may seem completely relevant today, they in fact appeared on posters created in the 1970s and 1980s by the See Red Women’s Workshop. In 1974 two …