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Monday, 7 August 2017

Fitzrovia, London

Fitzrovia is an informal area in central London, north of Oxford Street and consisting of less a square kilometre of prime property and possessing a rich history. The area is named after the Fitzroy Tavern, a pub situated on the corner of Charlotte Street and Windmill Street within the district. The name was adopted during the inter-war years, initially by and later in recognition of, the artistic and bohemian community habitually found at the public house. Inside there are photos of Dylan Thomas, Augustus John, Jacob Epstein and George Orwell among others, seen drinking there. The name Fitzroy comes from Old French meaning "son of the King", generally being the name given to a King's illegitimate offspring.
Fitzroy Square, designed by Robert Adam, is  one of the finest in London.
It is often used as a feature film and TV drama location especially as it traffic-free.
The garden in the centre of Fitzroy Square is private; all the residents have a key. However, you can admire a sculpture by Naomi Blake just inside the railings - see my post about her HERE. Two sides of the square are faced with Portland stone, like many of the important buildings in central London. Because of the intervention of the Napoleonic wars the later sides were finished in stucco plaster due to financial restrictions. 
Charlotte Street is famed for it's restaurants, many of them are long-established.
Many famous residents have lived in the Square including Virginia Wolff and George Bernard Shaw (same house - different times; what a couple that would have been!)
The King and Queen pub in Foley Street (where Charles Dickens once lived) is where, in 1962, Time Out magazine said one of the most important gigs of all time was played. That was where Bob Dylan played outside of the USA for the first-ever time.  
Charlotte Street is famous for restaurants and the Scala cinema and theatre, since demolished, is where the concert and some exterior scenes of The Beatles 'A Hard Days Night' were filmed.
Many media companies are based in the area now and the most famous of these, since relocated, was Saatchi and Saatchi. They grew to be the world's largest advertising agency while they were based there.  Famous Fitzrovia residents have included Robert Louis StevensonJames McNeill WhistlerRoger Fry, Guy Ritchie and the novelist Ian McEwen. Madonna has lived there and Lady Gaga bought a place with a roof garden five years ago.
Colville Place, Fitzrovia. Photo: Silver Tiger
I'm listening to  Amy Winehouse singing 
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
We really lost the very best when she died.
Click HERE to listen.


Hels said...

I am delighted to see your photo of Colville Place. When my first child moved abroad years ago, I wanted to spend 3 months a year in the northern hemisphere and 9 months a year in Melbourne. Affording a place in central London was NEVER going to be a financial possibility, but seeing a proper mews house before moving to the edge of the suburbs was irresistible.

Assuming that the 18th century houses in Colville Place were renovated but not totally changed, the sash windows on the first and second floors are still very attractive. Ditto the lamps down the centre of the lane. The cultural associations you described would have been a bonus.

Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, Another place in London to add to my list for "next time." The aura of creativity hangs over its handsome architecture.

bazza said...

Hels: The appearance of most of the property in the area is strictly controlled by either English Heritage listings (Grade I, Grade II etc) or local Conservation Area controls. That means that very little can change independently, at least in the external appearance, in this kind of property. I love the many mews cottages in central London but they are very sought after and even more out-of-reach than most alternatives!

bazza said...

Jim: I think you are going to need a long stay in London. It's a huge city of course. It has been described as a collection of villages and there is truth in that. So many neighbourhoods have their own unique ambience and Fitzrovia is no exception!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I haven't been to Charlotte Street for donkeys years ... and when I was, in the last ten years, spending quite a lot of time at various hospitals - I could so easily have got to this area ... but had completely forgotten about it. When I have a chance I'll make sure I visit and have a stroll around Fitzrovia ...

Thanks - I shall enjoy this new once again to me exploration ... cheers Hilary

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

What wonderful history that area holds.

bazza said...

Hilary: It is worth a visit. There's so much that I edited out of this post! But Fitzroy Square (Warren Street Tube) and Charlotte Street are the highlights.

bazza said...

Arleen (Starting Over): Certainly a lot of history! It was first developed in the 1750s - quite late for London.

Dina said...

Shalom Bazza. Well there certainly is a lot to learn and to enjoy in your blog! All kinds of different things.

bazza said...

Shalom Dina! Thank you for visiting and for your kind words.

Joanne said...

looks like a new place I need to add to my list to visit. Definitely a place to hang out

bazza said...

Joanne: Yes, it's a place that epitomises mid-twentieth century London!