London Studies 1 Out & About
25th February 2019
For our February meeting we investigated a familiar friend, Trafalgar Square, and also one of the most exclusive areas of London, St James's. Apart from hearing some of the history of Trafalgar Sq, statues and surrounding buildings (did you know that Nelson's Column was destined for Berlin if Hitler won?). We also had the smallest police box in the UK pointed out. Hidden in a rather fat lamppost on one corner, it was installed in 1926 so police could keep an eye on protesters and agitators. It did have a direct line to Scotland Yard, but is now a home to mops and buckets. Our walk took us to the Mall and Pall Mall, named after a precursor of croquet, and then to the London Library in St James's Sq. We were given a tour and talk there by the Head of Communications, who regaled us with stories of famous members including how they have recently discovered that one of the books on were-wolves they lent to Bram Stoker, was used for background research for "Dracula" and they found his annotations and underlinings! Then we visited some of the stacks, containing over 1 million books, the vast majority of them available for loan. As we were in St James's we had to gaze at some of the clubs, which made the area famous as "Gentlemen's Clubland", including the Athenaeum, Whites, Brooks and Boodles. We also had a short talk in Berry Bros and Rudd, wine merchants, the second oldest family run business in England. No samples though.