Just one block west of Tavistock Square (see previous blog) is Gordon Square where the Bloomsbury Group began. Virginia moved to 46 Gordon Square in 1904 with her sister Vanessa and brother’s Adrian and Thoby. On Thursday evenings they entertained many writers and painters including Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Roger Fry, and Leonard Woolf.
Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Walking around Bloomsbury, during our recent visit to London, we came across many locations associated with her life. Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived at No 52 Tavistock Square from 1924 to 1939 and ran the Hogarth Press from this address. The building was destroyed during World War II but Virginia’s association with this area is remembered with a memorial in the south west corner of Tavistock Square Gardens.
Waterstones Bookshop in Gower Street, Bloomsbury has an extensive travel section. We were looking for books about walks in and around London and we chose from a large selection, “Walks for all Ages in Greater London” by Ardella Jones, to use when we next visit London.
Very close to the Agatha Christie memorial (see previous blog), in Long Acre is Stanfords Bookshop which specialises in travel and maps. The founder, Edward Stanford, began producing maps in 1853. In the late 19th century, Stanfords became the sole agents for Ordnance Survey maps and the store still stocks an amazing collection of maps. A huge vinyl map of the World covers the floor on the ground floor.
The most famous of crime writers, Agatha Christie, died 41years ago today. We were pleased to see, on our recent trip to London, that a memorial has been erected to her honour in the West End, not far from the theatre still showing “the Mousetrap”. This play, written by Agatha Christie, is the world’s longest running stage production.
The memorial, which takes the form of a 2.4 metre high book, is on the corner of Cranbourn and Great Newport streets. It contains a lot of detailed information about the author’s life and work, including the titles of some of her most famous books.
The novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”, begins with a mail coach journey to Dover. Dickens had first-hand experience of this incredibly uncomfortable way to travel from London on his first visit to France in 1837. The Priory Hotel at Dover Priory Station, still has a stagecoach depicted on its pub sign.
By 1851, trains connected London to Dover and Boulogne to Paris and Dickens made this more pleasant rail journey many times.
Just one block back from the seafront at Dover, in Camden Crescent, is a blue plaque to commemorate where the Dickens family stayed on holiday in 1852. The actual building was destroyed during World War II.
The plaque is part of the Dover Society Millennium Historic Plaque Trail and you can pick up a brochure for the trail at the visitor information office in the town centre.
We came across another Dickens and David Copperfield connection (see previous blog) on our recent trip to the UK. The Dickens Corner Cafe in the Market Square in Dover is believed to be where David Copperfield sat on the doorstep to rest, after walking for days and then searching all around the town for the home of his aunt, Betsy Trotwood.