Home and warm. I have led three London Walks this weekend; two from the main programme and one of my own from the repertory.
I was early in Westminster yesterday morning so strolled and took some pictures.
St John’s Smith Square is a well known well loved music venue. Originally a church, it was gutted in the Second World War and rebuilt for concerts.
The story goes that Queen Anne, when asked her opinion on the design for the church on this site in C18, kicked over her footstool, and said, “Design it like that!” So it has four towers, one at each corner, and is popularly known as Queen Anne’s Footstool.
Charles Dickens didn’t admire it. He described it in Our Mutual Friend as “a very hideous church with four towers at the corners, generally resembling a petrified monster, frightful and gigantic, on its back with its legs in the air.”
Here’s another view from Lord North Street.
Lord North Street, an almost complete street dating from 1722, was where Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister, lived. He preferred it to Downing Street which he maintained was bugged by MI5. People caled him paranoid, but later it turned out he was right.
But my favourite resident of this street is Lady Sybil Colefax. A society hostess who lived there from 1939 to 1950, Lady Sybil was notorious for inviting guests to dinner then switching the venue to the Dorchester Hotel at the last minute. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but she also sent her guests the bill.