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Lives on the Strand: past, present and creative

The Strandlines Digital Community explores one of London’s most famous streets, the Strand, and its past and present communities. This site is an archive from which experiences, memories and reflections about the local area can be retrieved; a gallery where photographs, drawings and films can be viewed. But it is also a place where residents, workers and visitors can engage with one another by sharing stories and images.

Each contribution from a past or present Strand dweller adds a strand to Strandlines Digital Community. On this website you will find many different kinds of strands, traversing a range of themes and places; reflecting upon the present and delving into the past.

Strandlines activity

Strandlines activity

It’s time for some news from Strandlines to our community. First of all, news about Dr Hope Wolf who did so much to create the site, design activities and inspire us all with creativity. Hope is going to a Junior Research Fellowship in Cambridge, starting now. The usual formula is to say we wish her well and we will miss her. Hope was so unusually brilliant to work with I would like a more unusual formula – something along the lines of may her time to write be full of joy, and may she know that what she leaves for Strandlines is truly exceptional. We had a great compliment recently by being one of two sites held up as beacons for how to bring together digital and historical things; Hope did a lion’s share of that. Best we can do is to continue to try to be imaginative still.

And so we are: two lines are building for Strandlines. One will be the development of a nineteenth-century strand by Dr Mary Shannon. Mary’s doctoral thesis was on Wellington Street and its literary culture in Dickens’ time; now she’s going to explore the Strand’s theatre history in the same period, with exciting interactive possibilities if funding comes through. She’s busy planning & will share her progress over the coming months. Dr Sheila Anderson at King’s and Judith Finnamore at Westminster Archives will be giving valuable advice.

The other strand is led by Katie Webb, and comes out of a day the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s is planning for December 6th 2013: a day to celebrate Maureen Duffy, who is 80 this year. You may have seen the new window featuring her on the Strand frontage of KCL (and the new VW building on Kingsway, where the Department of English has moved). It was hardly possible even to outline Maureen’s exceptionally versatile and distinguished literary career in the space of one window, and even a day isn’t long enough to cover her many achievements and their significance for the world of letters. So Katie is going to curate the day for Strandlines, and showcase materials to a larger audience and with a longer shelf life than a day can host. (There are still places for the day: you just need to register. All welcome!)

I am very pleased to welcome Mary and Katie as active contributors to the Strandlines community – especially since for various reasons I’ve been quiet on the blog front for a while. Intellectually I’ve been on the Strand quite a bit, in the form of connections with the eighteenth-century balloons that are the subject of a book I am finishing. Some balloon news to follow, I hope

Meanwhile thank you for visiting, and please feel inspired to add a strand.

Clare Brant
Project Director, Strandlines

Covent Garden Project 2013

Covent Garden Project 2013

Between May and July 2013 the Centre for Life-Writing Research collaborated with Westminster Archives and the Covent Garden Community Association on a Lottery Heritage Fund project, ‘Gentlemen We’ve Had Enough: the Story of the Battle to Save Covent Garden.’ The project aimed to tell the stories of Covent Garden residents who campaigned to prevent GLC… Continue Reading

The Mineral Shop at 149 Strand

Stanley Gibbons’s stamp shop was not the only mecca for nineteenth-century collectors, as Dr Adelene Buckland (English Department, King’s College London) demonstrated at the ‘Shows of London’ seminar series on Monday night at King’s (see On the opposite side of the street to Gibbons’s establishment, at 149 Strand, was a mineral shop from 1804-1881. Dr… Continue Reading

Transforming the Strand: A Virtual Walking Tour

22 October 2012, 19:30-21:00; Anatomy Museum, King’s College London   An exciting evening event run by the Centre for Life-Writing Research: the Cabinet of Artists will be leading an imaginative tour of London’s busy thoroughfare, the Strand. The tour will bring the Strand to the Anatomy Museum at King’s College London. Not only transforming the museum space,… Continue Reading

King’s College London

If you look across to the south side of the Strand, you can see the entrance to the original Strand Campus of King’s College London. The College was founded in 1829, and subsequently joined the University of London. The original entrance looked very different; it was a small, undemonstrative gateway off the busy nineteenth-century Strand. Continue Reading

‘They Transformed the Quad into Piccadilly Circus’ — Janice Savage, interviewed for the Oral History Project

Janice Savage; Interviewed 11 May 2012 by Max Saunders   Janice is currently Assistant Site Services Manager (soon to be Assistant Facilities Manager) for the Strand Campus for about 15 years. Started at KCL 23 years ago (i.e. c. 1989) as temporary assistant residence manager at Manresa Road in Chelsea, Lightfoot Hall; then 552 King’s… Continue Reading

Digging in the Archives with Patricia Methven: An Interview

The soft-spoken yet direct Patricia Methven is no stranger to the Strand, having lived in London since 1969 and worked at King’s College since 1978 in various positions. Today she is the Acting Director of Information Service Systems, which includes IT and Library Services. Today she is the Director of Archives and Information Management, a… Continue Reading

The Old Watch House and Roman Bath in Strand Lane

The ‘Roman’ bath, though not the buildings over it, dates from the early seventeenth century. The Watch House, once belonging to St Clement Danes, looks early nineteenth century in its present form, but there are documents to show that there was a building of this shape (projecting over the Lane) already in 1724, and a… Continue Reading

Memories of the Strand: Dr Barrie Morgan

As part of the Strand Lines Project I met with Dr Barrie Morgan to talk about his associations and interactions with the area whilst working at King’s. Dr Morgan was initially a Lecturer in the Geography Department when he first joined King’s in the late 1960’s. His career spanned to become founding Director the International… Continue Reading

Donald McDonnell – an artist among the people

“It is a living place”, said Donald McDonnell to me near the beginning of our interview. Donald is an artist living and working on the Strand. He is heavily involved with the Peabody Trust, and his artistic mediums range from poetry, photography and painting, to sculpture. Having spent the last (and my first) three years in… Continue Reading