Monday, 6 February 2012

Leonardo in London Part 3: Hamleys London to Hamleys Glasgow

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the  joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city.

This is Part 3 of Leonardo in London.  For Parts 1 and 2 see

Leonardo Part 1: Glasgow Central to the London Eye

Leonardo in London Part 2: Gower St to Regent St

We are going to be heading down Regent St here

Waterloo Place way down there. . .

. . . we passed it on the Pall Mall side yesterday

The great  London writer Ian Sinclair is the best-known British practitioner of psychogeography, that dark art defined (thank  you Wiki) as

"the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."

Or as Virginia Woolf thought some decades previously (in The Waves):

'We insist, it seems, on living. Then again, indifference descends. The roar of traffic, the passage of undifferentiated faces, this way and that way, drugs me into dreams; rubs features from faces. People might walk through me ... We are only lightly covered with buttoned cloth; and beneath these pavements are shells, bones and silence.'

Over there on our right at 68 was the Cafe Royal
From Wiki: 'By the 1890s the Café Royal had become the place to see and be seen. Its patrons included Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Brigitte Bardot, Sir Max Beerbohm, George Bernard Shaw, Sir Jacob Epstein, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales.] From 1951, it was the home of the National Sporting Club. The Café Royal entered a new era after 1972, when it was bought by David Locke.'

Alas it was closed in 2008.

I was only in the Cafe Royal once, on 14 February 1995, the day of the unveiling of the memorial to Oscar in Westminster Abbey; a minibus took us from the Abbey to here. Lilies were laid under the Abbey window by Oscar's daughter-in-law, Thelma Holland, who died a few weeks later. Bones and silence.

Man in Moon Passage. Terrible things once happened here. See

Swallow St

Looking back

Mappin & Webb - we watchers of Bargain Hunt salute thee

These pixies (or whatever they are) are watching the people on the bus

Now at Hamleys. The world's biggest toy shop. The lack of an apostrophe is deliberate. Bombed five times in WWII. See

A Mr Darcy for the mums

This very eerie animated battle scene looked like something dreamed up by the Chapman Brothers

Now leaving Hamleys

We are now going to walk to the  Foundling Museum at Coram Fields

Walking east along Oxford St

William Dunbar's poem In Honour of the City of London (written 1501)

Above all rivers they river hath renown,
Whose beryl streames, pleasant and preclare,
Under thy lusty walles runneth down;
Where many a swan doth swim with winges fair,
Where many a barge doth sail, and row with oar,
Where many a ship doth rest with top-royal.
O town of townes, patron and not compare,
London, thou art the flower of Cities all.

London, thou art of townes a per se.
Soveraign of cities, seemliest in sight,
Of high renoun, riches and royaltie;
Of lordis, barons, and many a goodly knyght;
Of most delectable lusty ladies bright;
Of famous prelatis, in habitis clericall;
Of merchauntis full of substaunce and of myght:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Gladdith anon, thou lusty Troynovaunt,
Citie that some tyme cleped was New Troy;
In all the erth, imperiall as thou stant,
Pryncesse of townes, of pleasure and of joy,
A richer restith under no Christen roy;
For manly power, with craftis naturall,
Fourmeth none fairer sith the flode of Noy:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocunditie,
Most myghty carbuncle of vertue and valour;
Strong Troy in vigour and in strenuytie;
Of royall cities rose and geraflour;
Empress of townes, exalt in honour;
In beawtie beryng the crone imperiall;
Swete paradise precelling in pleasure;
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Above all ryvers thy Ryver hath renowne,
Whose beryall stremys, pleasaunt and preclare,
Under thy lusty wallys renneth down,
Where many a swan doth swymme with wyngis fair;
Where many a barge doth saile and row with are;
Where many a ship doth rest with top-royall.
O, towne of townes! patrone and not compare,
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Upon thy lusty Brigge of pylers white
Been merchauntis full royall to behold;
Upon thy stretis goeth many a semely knyght
In velvet gownes and in cheynes of gold.
By Julyus Cesar thy Tour founded of old
May be the hous of Mars victoryall,
Whose artillary with tonge may not be told:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Strong be thy wallis that about thee standis;
Wise be the people that within thee dwellis;
Fresh is thy ryver with his lusty strandis;
Blith be thy chirches, wele sownyng be thy bellis;
Rich be thy merchauntis in substaunce that excellis;
Fair be their wives, right lovesom, white and small;
Clere be thy virgyns, lusty under kellis:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

Thy famous Maire, by pryncely governaunce,
With sword of Justice thee ruleth prudently.
No Lord of Parys, Venyce, or Floraunce
In dignitye or honour goeth to hym nigh.
He is exampler, loode-ster, and guye;
Principall patrone and rose orygynalle,
Above all Maires as maister most worthy:
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

The famous Maire at the moment is of course Boris Johnson who will be challenged by Ken Livingstone shortly. While over in  the US,  Gingrich is fighting Romney for the privilege of losing to Obama. Sometimes you are just spoiled for choice, eh

We buy a perspex Big Ben that lights up here - half price. Nice chap owns the shop - we wish him well

Work going on in Great Chapel St. . .

. . . and in Dean St

There is an old 'auction' scam going on in  that 'Store Closing' shop. The barker talks up imaginary bargains and gets the punters to pay for tat. The scam is as old (at least) as ancient Rome

We've gone into Tottenham Court Rd

Now we're back in Store St

Now we're back in Gower St - we pause to salute the office of the British Humanist Association at Number 1.
Now in Montague Place. . .

. . . beside which is a nice wee wildish spot

. . .and on the right the British Museum

We've arrived at Russell Square

Heading down Bernard St; Waitrose behind there [bows head]

Now into Brunswick Square

No time for a movie

And so we arrive at Coram Fields

The Foundling Museum. See

The Foundling Hospital was set up by the philanthropist Captain Coram. From wiki: 'As a great philanthropist Coram was appalled by the many abandoned, homeless children living in the streets of London. On 17 October 1739 he obtained a Royal Charter granted by George II establishing a "hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children."

Jacqueline Wilson's  fine children's  novels Hetty Feather and Sapphire Battersea are about a child at the Foundling Hospital. See

Let's have a look at the statue of the captain

We're in the cafe; fine Georgian clock there, part of the old hospital

Cafe exhibition

Cafe is cheap and the food and service are quality; and you get a free bottle of nice wine if you spend £25

Not allowed to take pics of the interior (you can see them much better online anyway) but I thought OK to take pic of this part of the exhibition

Now in Euston Rd; St Pancras over there. I have a pic of myself and John Betjeman inside the station - well Betjeman's statue

On train. Book is no classic but a good romp. Edwin the boy hero joins Robin  Hood and his merry chaps as they fight against the evil barons who launch vicious and unprovoked wars against foreigners. Nae change eh.

Stafford. . .

Crewe. . .

Warrington. . .

Wigan. . .

Carlisle. . .

Glasgow Central

Hamleys Glasgow

And our Leonardo bag

Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is

My other blogs are

Reviews of Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know


'I love it - I'm giving this copy to a friend and buying another for myself' - Darren Adam, Presenter, Radio Forth, 17 November 2008

‘It’s a great wee book’ – Stephen Jardine, introducing Edwin Moore on Scottish Television’s Five-Thirty Show

'A fantastic book' - Scott Wilson , talk 107 Breakfast Show host

'A great read' - Dougie Jackson, Drivetime host, Smooth Radio 105.2


'Despite its apparently humorous format, this is a serious and extensive dictionary on all things Scottish; from Jean Redpath to Lorne sausage, from Flodden to the Corries. Is particularly good on history and minutiae. There's a useful chapter on famous Scottish legal cases and another on literature. Excellent' - Royal Scottish Legion, Feb 2009

'This is the ultimate Scottish reference book' - Waterstones Christmas catalogue, 2008

'This is a fascinating look at the history of Scotland: its languages, politics and great achievements, from its origins in the ancient landmass of Laurentia 400 million years ago, to devolution and Billy Connolly. Edwin Moore has collected a thousand important facts about this beautiful country, covering Scottish history and culture, correcting misconceptions, and examining the mysteries of haggis and bagpipes with insight, warmth and impressive attention to detail' - The Good Book Guide, November 2008

'This is a recipe for revealing how horribly ill informed you are about your country. Although, if you are skillful, you can nod sagely as you read some new fact and mutter 'Ah, yes!' as if recalling the information from your excellent schooling. Where else will you find a real recipe for making haggis from scratch side by side with a potted biography of David Hume; a section of the Declaration of Arbroath and the curiously touching fact that Lulu was only 15 when she had a hit with 'Shout'? The whole thing is of course, silly - but oh so addictive.' - Matthew Perren, i-on Glasgow, December 2008

'. . . well crafted and witty' - Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 October 2008

‘While most of Edwin’s entries are entertaining and scholarly – he writes like a Scottish Bill Bryson – it is when he takes an interest in the backwaters of history, the details lost down the back of the sofa, that he is at his best’ – Jack McKeown, The Courier, 27 October 2008

'History, it is said, is written by the victors. Trivia, meanwhile, is written by the guys with the smeared spectacles and the breathable rainwear. The first discipline is linear and causal; to quote from Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, history is “just one f****** thing after another”. Things look different, though, when viewed through the prism of trivia. The past is reduced to one big coleslaw of fascinating facts that in their randomness tell a more mixed-up tale entirely.
The first approach leads to big, frowning books by the likes of Tom Devine and Michael Fry. The latter results in small, cheerful books such as Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin Moore’s valiant attempt to navigate the more trivial contours of enlightenment and clearances, crown and parliament, dirt and deity.
Moore proceeds from a sincere and controversial first principle: Scotland is really a rather pleasant and interesting place. . .As a work of popular scholarship, though, it’s in a different league to the Scottish novelty titles that get stocked next to the bookstore tills as potential impulse purchases, those little handbooks of parliamo Caledonia and regional braggadocio, such as Weegies vs Edinbuggers.' - Allan Brown The Sunday Times, 21 September 2008

'In his book, Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin celebrates all that sets us Scots as a race apart - our language, law, flora, food, and of course, our people. From our poets, architects and inventors, to our artists, entertainers and fighters. But he doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of our history. . .' - Robert Wight, Sunday Post, 14 September 2008

‘We think we know all about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Union of the Crowms. However, according to Edwin Moore, author of , Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, we’re still in the dark about many aspects of our history and culture. . . The Big Issue looks at 20 of the most astonishing examples of secret Scotland.’ – The Big Issue, 18-24 September 2008

'What's the connection between Homer Simpson and Larbert, and why are generations of lawyers grateful to a Paisley snail? Need to know more? Author Edwin Moore has gathered 1000 facts like these about Scotland in a quirky new book. Brian Swanson selects a few favourites. . .' - Scottish Daily Express, 13 September 2008

'The palm for Christmas-stocking books seems to have passed recently to popular science, with best selling titles every year such as Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? This year there has been a gallant attempt at a historical fight back. Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know(Atlantic Books, £12.99) asks (and answers) such post-turkey questions as ‘How many kings of Scotland died in their beds?’, ‘Who on earth decided that the Declaration of Arbroath was the cornerstone of modern democracy?’ or ‘Why is iron brew spelled Irn-Bru?’ Mark Mazower,History Today; The Best of History in 2008, December 2008

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