Halloween Special: Pendle Witch Trials

Pendle Hill in Lancashire casts a dark shadow on England’s history. Around 400 years ago, it was at the centre of one of the most sensational tales of witchcraft in history. Intro: Brief History of Witch-Hunting in EnglandWitch-hunting has a long history in England and across Europe. A Papal decree of 1258 announced that witchesContinue reading “Halloween Special: Pendle Witch Trials”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”