The Hon. Henry Fitzroy developed Fitzroy Square following the Great Fire of London in the seventeenth century, much later The Fitzroy tavern was the haunt of artists, writers, poets, drunks & dreamers who summoned the name Fitzrovia from the aether in the early nineteenth century, although more recently some refer to area as Noho. Located on the border between Westminster and Camden or more accurately the area between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Euston Road & Gower Street with Camden to the north, Bloomsbury to the east, Soho to the south and Marlyebone to the west. To walk the boundry of the old neighbourhood; Start at Regent's Park walk south down Portland Place and Regent Street to Oxford Circus, turn east along Oxford Street then north up Tottenham Court Road avoiding Centre Point and Soho Square, east along Store Street just before Goodge Street then north the wrong way up Gower Street past University College London and the British Museum to Euston Square, finally west along the Euston Road past Warren Street and Great Portland Street and you have walked widdershins round Fitzrovia.

The main thoroughfares already described and Tottenham Court Road in particular should be avoided at all costs as they are roamed by hordes of simply horrid people. Instead familiarise yourself with the back streets and hidden passages. The restaurants on Charlotte Street are world renowned but the bookshops are elusive. I recommend a couple of hostelries, The Bricklayers Arms has seen much drunken debauchery while The Jeremy Bentham has its own peculiar charm, his stuffed and mounted carcass is however out of bounds.

The ever growing list of people who have connections with the area; Robert Adam & John Nash... (Architects), Jeremy Bentham, Charles Dickens, Dylan Thomas, Marie Stopes, Karl Marx, George Orwell, Aneurin Bevan, Jennie Lee, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry (Omega Workshops), Bloomsbury Group, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Ruth Ellis.

The tallest building in all of Fitzrovia and therefore the one most likely to climbed by a giant monkey on the rampage is still the Post Office Tower, surpassed in its ugliness only by Centre Point which you should continue to avoid. Once considered a state secret it has only started to appear on maps in recent memory, even today its existence is still occasionally denied. The giant rotating restaurant was bombed in the seventies by the Angry Brigade and has been closed to the public ever since. Undisputed is the fact that a giant white kitten on the rampage has beaten the monkey to the prize.

Finding Fitzrovia

Footnote

this really is a work in progress so the prose tends to break down in places, allow me the luxury of filling in the blanks before subjecting this node to any premature scrutiny. I am presently researching the whole area and will evolve this node as content is added. 04/04/03 (returns to project). Twinned with Underground Tokyo.

Too many young men now wish they were old
and spend their days walking like old men,
looking for wisdom in cold, drafty corners
from the wives of men who are dead and cold.

Too many old men still think they are young
and spend their days walking like young men,
barking out laughter they still think is brave,
but is bitter and brittle and cold like their hearts.

Too many young girls now wish they were famous,
would live in a palace made out of men’s dreams,
they leave all the young men to sleep with the old men,
to sleep with old legends on pillows of jade.

Too many old women still think they are young,
they look to a mirror in broken men’s eyes,
they ask all the young men to dress up as old men
and dance to a sad tune that once was a kiss.

For here in Fitzrovia, your world does turn slowly,
like wise men you huddle to talk of a star;
there are still songs a-falling from your white, frightened faces,
but none of you see how perfect you are.

Shaun Traynor
The Hardening Ground

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