Point 12

Kenwood House Eden I rode the line of misery, against an inner voice, ’Twixt Balaam and the Angel, with little other choice. Just a little further on – knee-deep in freebie news And smoking-cough late risers – emerged from blackened hues. You cannot flash yer Hampsteads without a bluish plaque Of pioneering vagueness, an armyContinue reading “Point 12”

Point 11

St Pancras Gardens Here Lies … Here lies Adam’s glory which ‘shall never pass away’! Here, though, come the martyr’s icy fingers every May. Here lies King Death’s last hurrah with his subcommittees. Here the dispossessed inherit the new rail of two cities. Here lies an architect, in one of only two. Here’s the thing:Continue reading “Point 11”

Point 10

Wood Street Plane Tree Last of the Mohicans (Mio Platano Amato) “Because it is a non-native hybrid, there is no mythology and folklore associated with the London plane.” The Woodland Trust A tree. A visible, living tree. Intertwining the occident and orient by accident. Rootless cosmopolitan shackled by its locks. Soaring eighty feet, yet it’sContinue reading “Point 10”

Point 09

St Foster’s Church Foster Father ‘Bloody ’ell! It’s so quiet. It’s bloody quiet in ’ere.’ ‘Yes, son, it’s very quiet. You really shouldn’t swear. ‘After all, this is a place Where people come to pray: A c-h-blank-blank-c-h. What’s missing, by the way? ‘What are you doing? Put that back! That’s Our Lord’s thorny crown. What’sContinue reading “Point 09”

Point 08

Postman’s Park The Truth Is Somewhat More Prosaic Sarah Smith, in pantomime, at the Prince’s Theatre, Died of the terrible injuries received Attempting to extinguish the flames on her companion, Twenty-fourth of January, 1863. This tribute, dedicated to heroic selfless sacrifice, Lends itself to poignant poetry. However, as the actual truth is somewhat more prosaic,Continue reading “Point 08”

Point 07

St Bartholomew’s Hospital The Italian Boy On a moonless winter island, we lurk among the tombstones, Honeycombing graveyards and hawking to the sawbones. Plunging down to dig my earth, beneath the watching tower. Use a noose to yank it loose within the quarter-hour. Jack will log the evening’s haul: four large, one small, a foetus.Continue reading “Point 07”

Point 06

Smithfield Seat of the Beast From Haunch-of-Venison Yard to Shoulder-of-Mutton Alley, Praise the lord of the loin and the leg. See Hogarth’s beef with the burghers of Calais, In the place where he hobnobs with Bacon and Egg. Carve your way round the City of Lud, Past Poultry and in from the east. Dripping withContinue reading “Point 06”

Point 05

City Thameslink Station, Newgate Street It Tolls for Thee “’Tis Saint Sepulchre’s bell. It tolls alas for human guilt.” Sunday: tavern, solo drunken, More’s the reason, more’s the pity. Evening: cavern, so low sunken, Pondering slices of the City: What a strange place for a station, West, the hidden Styx of Wen; Between, the fallContinue reading “Point 05”

Point 04

Redcross Way Big Daves Gusset ‘Where are we now? What place is this? Are we just passing through?’ ‘I’m not quite sure; all I know is we’re well past Waterloo.’ Near the ancient market where the train stopped overhead Sat a strip of wasteland and stood a burnt-out shed. Through the window darkly, beneath aContinue reading “Point 04”

Point 03

Hungerford Bridge What I Did (Obsessive Killing Disorder) London, spend the night with me. Craving over water, Lure with bondage and escape The gaze of luminary artists. London, spend the night with me. Craving over water, Dredge up the worst types: Psychotic, degraded, people on the edge. London, spend the night with me. Craving overContinue reading “Point 03”

Point 02

Westminster Abbey A Vast Unfinished Universe “All human things are subject to decay, and, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.” What can ye boast of this illustrious sepulchre? A vast unfinished poem of marble, stone and glass? The ultimate majestic scene with all its crowning grandeur? Or an improper indulgence of Elgar and Bach? RecoverContinue reading “Point 02”

Point 01

Piccadilly Circus Children of the Revolution (The Urchins’ Parade) “Love sending forth indiscriminately, yet with purpose, his missile of kindness.” In eighteen hundred and thirty-three, A great procession we shall see, of poverty. And there’s the Earl of Shaftesbury. The champion of philanthropy and charity. He did so much to help the poor. He triedContinue reading “Point 01”

Bob Dylan in London – Troubadour Tales

Reviewed by Soul City Wandering author Frank Molloy. This fascinating book serves as an insight on both London’s impact on Bob Dylan’s career, and Bob Dylan’s impact on London’s musical legacy. Co-authors and Dylan aficionados Jackie Lees and K. G. Miles plot a 50-year musical pilgrimage which follows a roughly chronological route mirroring Dylan’s connectionsContinue reading “Bob Dylan in London – Troubadour Tales”

Soul City Wandering – A London Pilgrimage

AMAZON TRAVEL BOOKS TOP-TEN BESTSELLER – 5-STAR RATED “A great book… a great guide. Poems… music… history… and fantastic ways to… go for walks” Robert Elms, BBC Radio London Frank Molloy‘s Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. The aim of the book is to inspire travellers to engage as individuals with their journeys. ItContinue reading “Soul City Wandering – A London Pilgrimage”

London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London

From Tinpan Alley to Carnaby Street INTRODUCTION This walk starts from outside the main entrance to Tottenham Court Road tube station, on the corner of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road, and finishes near Oxford Circus tube station. The walk covers 12 stops and takes roughly 2 hours to complete. Please be aware that youContinue reading “London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London”

Sherlock’s Psychogeographic Adventure

While I was working a self-guided tour of Sherlock Holmes’s London haunts, it dawned on me that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had, amongst the other talents he had given him, equipped his fictional detective with a natural sense of psychogeography, before the word even existed. In the second Sherlock Holmes novel, The Sign of Four,Continue reading “Sherlock’s Psychogeographic Adventure”

Psychogeography: A Brief DIY Guide

“The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?” Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room. You Can Go Your Own WayRooted in the 1950s, Guy Debord’s ‘Situationists’ are still considered the most influential group in the field of psychogeography. But ‘group’ is theContinue reading “Psychogeography: A Brief DIY Guide”

Psychogeography: A Brief History

“I had often heard of the world’s seven wonders in my reading days at school but I found in London alone thousands.” John Clare. Lost In WanderingSome say that ‘psychogeography’ was just a trendy urban buzzword from the 2000s. Overused to the point of exhaustion. Others say think again, as it’s been with us, inContinue reading “Psychogeography: A Brief History”

Psychogeography: A Brief Definition

IntroductionPsychogeography: a comparatively modern label for a theme the new book ‘Soul City Wandering‘ seeks to embrace. But what does it mean? In the 1950s, the French writer Guy Debord defined it as the interpretation of “specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” In otherContinue reading “Psychogeography: A Brief Definition”

The Museum Exhibit That Never Was

In 2010, the British Museum and BBC co-presented A History of the World in 100 Objects. However, the key exhibit never saw the light of day. Soul City Wanderer briefs. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperback or on Kindle, it encourages readers to rediscover their urbanContinue reading “The Museum Exhibit That Never Was”

London’s Hidden Genius

200 years ago, one of Britain’s most talented designers was born. Today, his greatest legacy lies hidden in the heart of London. Each year The Open House event affords a rare opportunity to salute this somewhat forgotten genius, and to view his seldom-seen masterpiece. Soul City Wanderer briefs. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul CityContinue reading “London’s Hidden Genius”

Brunel Fashions Bristol

50 years ago, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous ship, the SS Great Britain, returned to undergo renovation in its home city of Bristol, a place that held a special connection with the work of the famous engineer. Soul City Wanderer briefs. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Brunel Fashions Bristol”

The Lurkin’ Gherkin

20 years ago, planning permission was granted for the ‘Gherkin’. Today, this architectural masterpiece looms on the London skyline like something out of a Terry Gilliam animation. Soul City Wanderer briefs (with his own images). Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperback or on Kindle, it encouragesContinue reading “The Lurkin’ Gherkin”

Samuel Pepys: Forced Entry

At the time of writing, The recorded UK 2020 death rate for coronavirus (69,051) had just overtaken the recorded death rate for the Great Plague of London (68,596), the bubonic pandemic which broke out in the capital in 1665. The day-to-day accounts of the spread of that pestilence by 17th century London diarist Samuel PepysContinue reading “Samuel Pepys: Forced Entry”

Wonder Woman 1184

800 years ago, the body of one of the most powerful but little-known women in British history was buried. She was of noble Norman-Welsh-Irish ancestry, and one of the wealthiest heiresses in the medieval world. Soul City Wanderer briefs. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperback orContinue reading “Wonder Woman 1184”

The Bishop’s Boozy Bender: a Christmas Tale

During the run-up to Christmas 2006, the Bishop of Southwark reported to police that he had been the victim of a shocking street mugging, in which he had been seriously injured and robbed of several personal possessions including his ceremonial crucifix. A few days later, a very different story emerged of what had happened, andContinue reading “The Bishop’s Boozy Bender: a Christmas Tale”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 10/10: Five Days in London by John Lukacs

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 10/10: Five Days in London by John Lukacs. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. AvailableContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 10/10: Five Days in London by John Lukacs”

Sherlock’s Grand Day Out

Sherlock’s Grand Day Out is a self-guided tour of the famous fictional detective’s London haunts. But how can we claim it to be the most ‘elementary’ of Sherlock tours? Well, first of all, not only is the Soul City Wanderer an old Holmes aficionado, he is also a top qualified London tour guide. Secondly, whileContinue reading “Sherlock’s Grand Day Out”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 9/10: Collecting the World by James Delbourgo

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 9/10: Collecting the World by James Delbourgo. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available inContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 9/10: Collecting the World by James Delbourgo”

‘Sherlock’s’ ‘Annus Horribilis’

One hundred years ago, the reputation of the legendary creator of Sherlock Holmes began to take a tumble. Soul City Wanderer investigates. Perhaps it was inevitable. There had always been an alternate side to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which would lead him towards controversy in his later life. After he became an established detective fictionContinue reading “‘Sherlock’s’ ‘Annus Horribilis’”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 8/10: God’s Englishman by Christopher Hill

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 8/10: God’s Englishman by Christopher Hill. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 8/10: God’s Englishman by Christopher Hill”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 7/10: Thomas Carlyle by Ian Campbell

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 7/10: Thomas Carlyle by Ian Campbell. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 7/10: Thomas Carlyle by Ian Campbell”

Sherlock’s Musical London

The television documentary Sherlock Holmes against Arthur Conan Doyle (Gedeon Programmes 2017) was broadcast on the Sky Arts channel on Wednesday June 17, 2020. It was about the author’s strained relationship with his own literary creation. One of the contributors was Anthony Horowitz, an English writer who specialises in the detective mystery genre. In 2011,Continue reading “Sherlock’s Musical London”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 6/10: Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 6/10: Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 6/10: Thomas Cromwell by Robert Hutchinson”

‘Sherlock’s’ Homes

Soul City Wanderer’s briefs on the residences of the Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Scotland on May 22nd, 1859 to Irish parents. As a young boy, he lived with his family at 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh. As a schoolboy, he temporarily lodged at Liberton Bank House onContinue reading “‘Sherlock’s’ Homes”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 5/10: Contested Will by James Shapiro

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 5/10: Contested Will by James Shapiro. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 5/10: Contested Will by James Shapiro”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 4/10: Mansions of Misery by Jerry White

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 4/10: Mansions of Misery by Jerry White. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available inContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 4/10: Mansions of Misery by Jerry White”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 3/10: Escoffier, King of Chefs by Kenneth James

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 3/10: Escoffier, King of Chefs by Kenneth James. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. AvailableContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 3/10: Escoffier, King of Chefs by Kenneth James”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 2/10: Shakespeare’s Local by Pete Brown

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 2/10: Shakespeare’s Local by Pete Brown. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 2/10: Shakespeare’s Local by Pete Brown”

Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 1/10: Carmen Widonis by Kathleen Tyson

During the 2020 lockdown, Soul City Wanderer took the opportunity to catch up on his history book reading: These are his top ten recommendations from the pile he ploughed through (in no particular order). 1/10: Carmen Widonis by Kathleen Tyson. Soul City Wanderer’s own book Soul City Wandering was released in 2020. Available in paperbackContinue reading “Top 10 Lockdown History Books: 1/10: Carmen Widonis by Kathleen Tyson”

London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London

Taken from the book Soul City Wandering by Frank Molloy.Available online from Amazon and Waterstones priced £9.99 Official Event of Open House London 2020 INTRODUCTION From Tin Pan Alley to Carnaby Street, this walk covers 12 stops and takes roughly 2 hours to complete. The walk starts from outside the main entrance to Tottenham CourtContinue reading “London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London”

London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London

Taken from the book Soul City Wandering by Frank Molloy.Available online from Amazon and Waterstones priced £9.99 Official Event of Open House London 2020 INTRODUCTION From Tin Pan Alley to Carnaby Street, this walk covers 12 stops and takes roughly 2 hours to complete. The walk starts from outside the main entrance to Tottenham CourtContinue reading “London Walk: Ghosts of Swinging London”

London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 3

As part of the 80th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, Soul City Wanderer tells the incredible story of the first WWII bombing raid on Croydon, August 15th 1940.Here in part three, he notes the controversial nature of the attack, and challenges the received historic interpretation of events. As such a calamitous event, for bothContinue reading “London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 3”

London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 2

As part of the 80th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, Soul City Wanderer tells the incredible story of the first WWII bombing raid on Croydon, August 15th 1940.This is part two, where he explains how and where the attack took place. At about 6:30pm, on August 15th 1940, a huge formation of German bombersContinue reading “London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 2”

London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 1

As part of the 80th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, Soul City Wanderer tells the incredible story of the first WWII bombing raid on Croydon, August 15th 1940. In part 1, he reveals the elite German bombing squadron that were behind the attack. In part 2, the story of the raid itself. In partContinue reading “London Places: The Blitz Before The Blitz – Part 1”

London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 5

Carlton House Terrace, in the heart of London, has had a major impact on the city’s environment and on world history. Soul City Wanderer invites you to read more of its fascinating story in the final instalment of a five-part article running this week. When the German ambassador Ribbentrop moved into the existing embassy atContinue reading “London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 5”

London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 4

Carlton House Terrace, in the heart of London, has had a major impact on the city’s environment and on world history. Soul City Wanderer invites you to read more of its fascinating story in the fourth instalment of a five-part article running this week. In February 1938, Joachim von Ribbentrop was officially recalled to GermanyContinue reading “London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 4”

London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 3

Carlton House Terrace, in the heart of London, has had a major impact on the city’s environment and on world history. Soul City Wanderer invites you to read more of its fascinating story in the third instalment of a five-part article running this week. In 1937, after all hopes of a pro-German king & queenContinue reading “London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 3”

London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 2

Carlton House Terrace, in the heart of London, has had a major impact on the city’s environment and on world history. Soul City Wanderer invites you to read more of its fascinating story in the second instalment of a five-part article running this week. When the incumbent German ambassador to the UK died at theContinue reading “London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 2”

London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 1

Carlton House Terrace, in the heart of London, has had a major impact on the city’s environment and on world history. Soul City Wanderer invites you to read more of its fascinating story in the first of a five-part article running this week. Just off the Mall in Westminster, next to the statue of ‘theContinue reading “London Places: The Carlton Conspiracy Part 1”

London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (3)

Soul City Wanderer is enticed to a unique lockdown experience, an illicit drink at a south London ‘speakeasy’, where he encounters a modern secret society. This is part 3 of 3. Inside a clandesdine ‘speakeasy’ held in a south London pub, I am intrigued with the secret society I have encountered. My guide is happyContinue reading “London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (3)”

London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (2)

Soul City Wanderer is enticed to a unique lockdown experience, an illicit drink at a south London ‘speakeasy’, where he encounters a modern secret society. This is part 2 of 3. So, I have managed to gain entry into a clandesdine ‘speakeasy’ which is being held in a south London pub. A friend in theContinue reading “London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (2)”

London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (1)

Soul City Wanderer is enticed to a unique lockdown experience, an illicit drink at a south London ‘speakeasy’, where he encounters a modern secret society. This is part 1 of 3. A few weeks ago, in my lockdown boredom, I read Empire of Booze by Henry Jeffreys (Unbound Press, 2016). See review below. It’s aContinue reading “London Life: Return of the Speakeasy (1)”

London Life: Through the Mosaic of London

Welcome to the world of the Soul City Wanderer. Through walks, articles and ideas, this blog invites readers to re-engage with the capital, its streets, its structures, and its soul. Enjoy. Soul City Wanderer is the alias of London-born journalist and author Frank Molloy. A writer on the city’s history and culture, he has anContinue reading “London Life: Through the Mosaic of London”