The recent Bookwalk for Plague has already been the subject of posts here, but these include only a small percentage of photographs taken. We made several digressions and diversions during the day to take photographs of things we liked (which was partly why it was so much fun to do). These reflect the various enthusiasms of myself and my fellow walker, Helen.
First up – bricks. The Victorians were great decorators in brick, something I’ve had several conversations about recently because we’ve just had a face lift for our Victorian house. I now know more about bricks than I ever thought was possible, largely courtesy of David Fairbrother, who oversaw the work, a man who truly loves bricks. On our walk we encountered some excellent examples of Victorian brickwork, like that announcing Grosvenor Works or the decoration on the buildings at the top of Great Smith Street, or, see left, the brickwork on the Marlborough Head public house, North Audley Street (readers of the novel will recognise that street name). The young woman working there was surprised and, I think, rather charmed, by our fruitless search for any indicator that there were Roman baths nearby.
Second, statues of admirable people. There were lots of those – from William Tyndale to Sir Joseph Bazalgette (who has already appeared in the Bookwalk blog ) via a whole procession in Embankment Gardens. Given limited space here, that of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square will represent them all. She holds aloft her uplifting message ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’.
Third, idiosyncratic peculiarities, based, broadly, around the subject matter of the book. So, a Stop Works sign propped in a doorway of the Norman Shaw buildings on the Embankment ( a former home of the Metropolitan Police and work place of one of the victims in the novel, where he is helping to refurbish the building ). Colourful chains at the construction site on Davies Street by Bond Street Underground Station, site of the first discovered crime, against said victim. The vaulted roof of the arches through which one passes from Horseguards Parade into Whitehall (which appears to be numbered, something I’ve not noticed before) and the receding arches within the arches, through which the protesters pass before harassing my heroine.
One of the most eye-catching was what must be one of the smallest public houses in London. Not, perhaps the smallest that, I believe, is The Dove in Hammersmith, but pretty small nonetheless. We found the four-storey Coach and Horses on the edge of Mayfair, it is still a working pub ( though we didn’t enter, either this or the Marlborough Head, just in case you’re wondering, we were committed book walkers ). Besides, the No Entry sign outside could have put us off. Other unusual architecture spotted includes Sothebys’ warehouse, found down a back street and what looked like a closed up market hall in Davies Mews.
If you follow me on Facebook you will already know that we finally succumbed to the temptation of a chilled pint of beer, at Cask, a craft beer emporium in Tachbrook Street, Pimlico. So, for those who care about such things, rest assured that your walkers were eventually refreshed and, yes, I’ve noticed that two of these photographs are of hostelries!
For more on the Book walk see Walking a book, walking a river The Book Walk continues and ‘With an address like that you must be very wealthy’
‘Plague’ (Claret Press, 2020) is available for pre-order on Amazon HERE. It is published on 15th September.