contemporary

Souvenirs on the Strand

A Strand shop window

A recent walk along the Strand in search of fidget spinners led me to start thinking about souvenirs. Sadly the Strand doesn’t feature in London-themed merchandise – it’s not as cool as the other big streets. A couple of years ago I asked a souvenir seller why he didn’t have items with the Strand? He…

Read more

Moving Past Present: Digitally Reanimating the Gaiety Girls

Photographs from the Moving Past Present performance

In the 1890s the Strand’s Gaiety theatre became famous as the home of a new genre: the musical comedy. The brainchild of Irish impressario George Edwardes, musical comedies like A Gaiety Girl, The Shop Girl, The Quaker Girl, A Runaway Girl and The Circus Girl beguiled audiences with a mixture of songs, spectacle, romance, daring…

Read more

Lord Nelson and the Strand

On a bright, cold afternoon at the end of January 2003 I made my way down the Strand towards Trafalgar Square in the company of American audio artist and playwright Gregory Whitehead and BBC radio producer Neil McCarthy. Ahead of us, high up on the column in Trafalgar Square and silhouetted against a clear blue…

Read more

170 Strand with reflections of Bush House

[missing image] Morning light, early autumn.  Before becoming part of King’s College London, this building was known as Aldwych Chambers; this floor was occupied at one time by the stamp merchant Bridger & Kay—the fixing-points for the letters of their name can be seen along the architrave at the top of the photo.  It’s a…

Read more

Childhood days in Embankment Gardens

This is my sister, Kate, eating ice cream (or is it yoghurt?) on a September day in 1982. This was a few years before I was born, but it’s evocative of my own childhood memories of the Strand. We grew up in Kent, but our parents’ roots are further North, so we would often pass…

Read more

Donald McDonnell – an artist among the people

“It is a living place”, said Donald McDonnell to me near the beginning of our interview. Donald is an artist living and working on the Strand. He is heavily involved with the Peabody Trust, and his artistic mediums range from poetry, photography and painting, to sculpture. Having spent the last (and my first) three years in…

Read more