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 …

Plaque unveiled to identify Charles Dickens first London home

By News Reporters The house at 22 Cleveland Street has long been known as Charles Dickens first London home but it was not until this weekend -- 143 years after the author's death -- that it finally gained a plaque to publicly identify it. The lack of any notice on the building had caused confusion …

Tudor Place and the warren of streets of the Gort Estate off Tottenham Court Road

Alleyway.

It's hard to believe if you were to walk out of the Time Out building on Tottenham Court Road you would have seen this narrow street. But up until the mid-1970s that is what you would have found. A few yards off one of London's busiest roads you would have peered into a narrow street …

40 years of community newspapers in Fitzrovia

We are celebrating the 40th birthday of community news reporting in Fitzrovia by printing extra copies of the newspaper and putting together an archive of every issue since 1973. It was in March 1973 that the Tower community newpaper, forerunner to Fitzrovia News, was first published, making us possibly the longest known community newspaper in …

Remembering VE Day street party in Hanson Street

This street party (pictured) took place in Hanson Street, Fitzrovia, back in May 1945 to celebrate VE Day (the end of the war in Europe).  The woman standing on the far right is Hilda Mogilner (whose grandmother Nancy Lazarovitch had run the kosher butcher at number 18 in the street from 1938 to 1941, when …

The first Earl of Camden: a man whose life was rather more fortunate than his name

By Christina Latham Having recently moved to Camden, the same lovely borough in which half of Fitzrovia lies, I have developed an interest in area names and the history alongside them. As most of us know Fitzrovia is likely to be named after the Fitzroy Tavern which is situated on the corner of Charlotte Street. The …

The Slave-owners of Bloomsbury

By Nick Draper and Rachel Lang Alongside Bloomsbury's associations with literary and cultural gentility runs a less comfortable story of exploitation and oppression as many British colonial slave-owners settled in the area’s streets and squares in the 18th and 19th centuries, according to an exhibition, The Slave-owners of Bloomsbury which will run at Holborn Library from 1st …

The wild woman who bore the king four children

By Sue Blundell My second ‘secret family’ is directly responsible for several of Fitzrovia’s street names, and ultimately for the tag applied to the whole area in the 1940s. Community activists and property developers alike have reason to be grateful to Barbara Villiers for having unwittingly created the affectionate term ‘Fitzrovia’. FitzRoy is an Anglo-Norman …

Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank criticises plans to demolish Goodge Street building

By News Reporters Dan Cruickshank the architectural historian and BBC television presenter has given his support to save a building on Goodge Street from demolition. Cruickshank has written responding to a planning application submitted to Camden Council in May which proposes the redevelopment of the corner of Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road. The application …

Ronnie Kasrils and anti-apartheid Charlotte Street

By Mike Pentelow Ronnie Kasrils returned to Fitzrovia today to lead a guided walk of buildings associated with the anti-apartheid struggle. Kasrils (ex-leader of ANC military wing, and later deputy defence minister of the post-apartheid South African government) described the various pubs, offices and homes that during the 1960s and 1970s were used to smuggle …

A century of change in Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia

Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia Through Time, by Brian Girling. Amberley Publishing: £14.99 Reviewed by Angela Lovely This attractive books juxtaposes today's street scenes with those of a hundred year's ago. The photographs of people and often animals standing proudly outside shops, homes and industrial sites contrasts with the today's car-clogged streets. Each page features an older …

Virginia Woolf’s relevance today

By Christina Latham One of Fitzrovia’s most notable former residents is the writer Virginia Woolf who is regarded as one of the principal female literary figures of the twentieth century. During her time in Fitzrovia, Woolf occupied a fine house at 29 Fitzroy Square: the same house previously occupied by another influential writer, George Bernard …

The young actress Charles Dickens kept in a love nest

By Sue Blundell Charles Dickens is a Hero for many people, but for some time now it’s been difficult to picture him as a Saint.  As a married man with a large family, Dickens found time to enjoy a long-term clandestine relationship with a much younger woman, an actress called Ellen Ternan (aka Nelly Ternan). …

Charles Dickens’ many addresses in Fitzrovia

By Mike Pentelow Charles Dickens did many moonlight flits in Fitzrovia in order to dodge the creditors of his debt-ridden father, John, so has many local addresses associated with him. In later years Charles housed his secret young lover in the area, while also helping its child prostitutes. And he found the locality rich in …

Cambridge historian and Oxford publisher under scrutiny over claim made in Dickens book

A book about Charles Dickens’ life in Cleveland Street written by a Cambridge historian and published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in February has been criticised after it failed to acknowledge previously published works. In Dickens & the Workhouse Dr Ruth Richardson uncovers new material about Charles Dickens’ life in nineteenth-century London. She discovers that …