Wendy Pank is School Administrator: Strategic Communications, Innovation & Research at King's College, London. Wendy began her career at King's in Schools Liaison, which was led by the then Dean of Arts, and part of External Relations, although it was housed in the Arts Faculty space during its early days.
Wendy Pank alias W M Pank, has worked at King’s, on the Strand Campus, for twenty five years. She started off in the Arts faculty in her late ’20’s, where she remembers taking dictation from the Dean of Arts in his office whilst sitting in an easy chair and writing on scraps of paper that he provided her with.
A dirty bonnet and the Lyons Corner House
The Strand’s cafes, bars, restaurants and shops have played a major part in Wendy’s social life, from being brought up to the Strand by her mother at a young age for tea and cakes at Lyons Corner House after feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square; to buying wine and beer from the bottle take away behind the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, and party food at the Civil Service Stores; to spending evenings at Tony’s Vino Vino Bar (now Pizza Express) socializing with colleagues from King’s.
Wendy remembers her first visit to Lyons Corner House, in the late ‘60‘s, mid winter, with her mother, who worked at South Africa House, just around the corner. Affectionally recalling the ‘nippies,’ the waitresses in their starched skirts (so called because they nipped around the tea shops), Wendy’s mother took her there for tea and cakes after a trip to feed the pigeons at Trafalgar Square. However, unlike most children, her attention wasn’t really on the lovely cakes on offer; instead, Wendy fretted over the pigeon tracks that had been left on her white furry bonnet when one had walked all over it in Trafalgar Square. Wendy laughs as she recalls her mother commenting: “Isn’t this a treat?” and all she could think to herself was: “No, my bonnet’s got pigeon feet all over it and people are looking at me!”
Towing Tom down the Strand
Nowadays, when Wendy walks along the Strand, she always remembers a time when she helped tow her friend Tom’s broken car along the thoroughfare in the early 1990‘s. Wendy had sold him her kit car, which promptly broke down in Hampstead, so she felt she had to go and help out and and collect him. Towing him back through rush hour traffic in the Strand in her old Allegro estate, with only an old rope between them, a taxi driver suddenly drove between them. Wendy remembers looking in her rear view mirror and seeing Tom, large and blonde, standing up in his sports car screaming at the taxi driver: “You fool - there’s a rope between us!” - immediately reminding her of Hippolytus driving his chariot along the beach and a bizarre translation of: “See the young man drive his car along the Strand!” Wendy remembers watching Tom gesticulating at the taxi driver, and thinking: “...its Hippolytus in the back driving down the Strand!”
The Strand as an artery
Ultimately, the Strand has and always will be an important part of Wendy’s life, both as an artery to access other places in London, and as an area where she can just take her time and gaze - at its architecture, its trees, and take a wander down to the river, her favourite place.