The International Brigade

Jubilee Gardens, SE1
Sculptor Ian Walters, Bronze, 1985

19internationalbrigade
The Spanish Civil War that raged between July 1936 and April 1939 captured the interest of the world and divided opinion between those of the left and right.  The war was between Spain’s elected Republican government and the Nationalist forces of General Franco who were supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.  Western governments did not come to the Republic’s defence and it was left to the Soviet Union to establish the International Brigade.  The Brigade attracted nearly 60,000 volunteers from 55 countries to fight for the Republican cause including around 2,000 British volunteers.  They experienced physical hardship, but fought bravely alongside the Republican army against the better equipped Nationalist forces.
The Brigade initially enjoyed some success with the defence of Madrid in November 1936.  Divisions soon, however, emerged within the Brigade, as Nationalist forces continued their advance.  In September 1938 the International Brigade was disbanded by Spain’s Republican government in an attempt to win the support of western democracies.  The attempt failed and in April 1939, just five months before the start of the Second World War, Franco declared victory.
This monument is in memory of the British men and women who volunteered for the International Brigade, of whom 526 gave their lives in the struggle.  The monument is a wonderful figurative piece by Ian Walters, who also made the bust of Mandela further along the south bank.  Many participants in the Spanish Civil War regarded it as part of the wider struggle against fascism and went on to fight bravely in the world war that followed.

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Americans in London

George Washington (1732-1799)

02WASHINGTON_blog
Trafalgar Square, SW1
Sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon, Bronze, 1785
The marble original of this statue stands in Richmond, Virginia.  This bronze copy was a gift from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1921, to commemorate the first President of the United States.  George Washington was born in 1732 into a planter’s family and received the education of an 18th century Virginia gentleman.  He trained as a surveyor before taking command of the Virginia militia and fighting on the side of the British during the French and Indian War.  From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, Washington managed his lands and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
Washington was not initially in favour of independence but the bad administration of the British and the writings of Thomas Paine helped to persuade him.  From May 1775 Washington fought for six gruelling years against the well-trained British troops with his own poorly equipped militia forces.  Finally, in 1781 – with the aid of French allies – the Continental Army forced the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.  Washington could easily have assumed power at the head of his army, but instead retired from the military and set about establishing a constitution enshrining the rights of the citizen and placing limits upon government. It was as a civilian that Washington was elected America’s first president in 1789.  He served two terms of office but retired in 1797 and died only two years later from a throat infection.

George Peabody (1795-1869)

01 Peabody_blog
Behind Royal Exchange, EC2
Sculptor W. S. Story, Bronze, 1869
George Peabody was born to a modest family in Massachusetts and left school at the age of 11 to help support his six siblings.  Peabody fought against the British in the war of 1812 and afterwards established a wholesale business that made him a small fortune.  He travelled to England in 1827 and over the next ten years built a successful banking business trading in currencies and American securities.  In 1838 he intervened to stabilise US state bonds during a crisis.  The states made good on their loans and Peabody’s bonds made him a further fortune.  In 1851 he profited from promoting American goods during the Great Exhibition and made further fortunes investing in US railways and trans-Atlantic cables.
Peabody was now a trusted figure and he came to the public’s attention when he funded the search for the missing explorer Sir John Franklin in 1852.  He was troubled by the poverty he saw and following the advice of Lord Shaftesbury the Peabody Donation Fund was established to build good cheap housing for the poor.  The first Peabody estate was built on Commercial Street, Spitalfields, in 1863 and the fund went on to build many more estates.  In the last years of his life Peabody spent an estimated £8 million in his philanthropic work to improve housing and education in both America and his adopted home.  This monument was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in July 1869, just a few months before Peabody’s death.  He was briefly laid to rest in Westminster Abbey before being returned with full honours to the United States.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49)

poe_028300
Fox Reformed, Stoke Newington High St, N16
Sculptor Ralph Perrott, Stone, 2011
The famous American novelist, poet and man of letters spent three years of his short and troubled life as a student in Stoke Newington before returning to America.  Poe was born in Boston to actor parents, but his father abandoned the family and his mother soon died, leaving him in the care of John and Francis Allan from Richmond. He had a difficult relationship with his new guardians and John Allan withdrew financial support from Poe, forcing him to abandon his studies at the University of Virginia.  He soon found success with his narrative poem The Raven.  Poe’s subsequent dark, gothic tales of horror, in some way mirrored his own difficult life which involved the death of two wives and his own mysterious death at the age of 40, having been found delirious on the streets of Baltimore. This bust sits on the front of the former Fox Reformed wine bar in Stoke Newington and was unveiled by the actor Steven Berkoff.

Here is the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. (Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)

02Chaplin_monument

Leicester Place WC2, Sculptor John Doubleday, Bronze, 1981

On 4th March 1975 Charlie Chaplin received his long overdue knighthood.  The great actor, director and writer is commemorated with a monument just outside The Prince Charles Cinema.  Here’s our mini-biography taken from London’s Monuments:

Charlie Chaplin was born to theatrical parents, he made his entrance in 1889 in Walworth, London and appeared in music hall as a child.  His family life was unstable and they were forced into the workhouse when their father abandoned them.  Chaplin was always a natural comic and as a teenager found acting work which eventually took him to America.  It was while touring the States in 1913 that Chaplin was spotted by the movie producer Mack Sennett and began his career in comic silent movies.  Chaplin was intelligent and ambitious and within a year he had begun writing and directing his own films – slowing the pace and developing characters.  During this period he made The Tramp (1915), Easy Street (1917) and A Dog’s Life (1918) and became the first movie star to sign a million-dollar contract in 1918.  Chaplin’s success was only matched by his ambition and within a year he had established a film studio with other film stars of the day – United Artists.  Directing and producing his own films, Chaplin was one of the few actors to make a successful transition to talking pictures.  Despite having very little formal education he formed friendships with some of the leading intellectuals of his day including H. G. Wells, Harold Laski and Albert Einstein.  Chaplin was a socialist with strong sympathies for Soviet Russia and made some of the most overtly political films of the period – Modern Times (1936) and the Great Dictator (1938).  During the war he devoted his energies to Soviet war relief and the campaign for the opening of a second front in Europe.  With the rise of anti-communism and the start of the Cold War, Chaplin fell under suspicion by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and in 1952 Chaplin’s right to enter the United States was revoked and he became an exile in Europe.  He made several films in Europe – none of which were distributed in the US – and was only allowed back into the country in 1972 to receive an award.  Chaplin died in Switzerland on Christmas Day 1977 having become one of the most successful and controversial figures of the 20th century.  This monument has avoided any political controversy, representing Chaplin in his early days as a loveable tramp with the inscription ‘The comic genius who gave pleasure to so many’.

 

This is an extract from the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

http://tinyurl.com/pmx6fnr

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

Word on the Water – The London Book Barge

Paddington Station canal exit
Paddington Basin, W12 1LA
Facebook.com/wordonthewater
@onthewater
Open: Daily 12noon-7.30pm

Word on the Water 59_edit

This floating bookshop is the work of three people one of whom is an experienced bookseller and American literature specialist, the second has provided the boat and the third is an Oxford graduate and editor called Paddy who runs the shop on a day to day basis.  The venture has been trading since May 2011 and is now doing well on this mooring in Paddington Basin, as Paddy explained:

Word on the Water 5

‘We traded for quite a few years in east London, but things never really took off and then we had a really bad year in 2012 when it rained until the summer… We were close to packing the whole thing in until we found this mooring in November 2013.  The location has really made the difference with so many tourists coming from Paddington Station and lots of regulars visiting during their lunch.  We’re not making much money but we’re making enough to survive and we love the job..’

Word on the Water 40

The boat takes about 20 minutes to set up for trading with shelves put up on the exterior of the boat and signs put out to attract customers.  The stock of second-hand books is very mixed with anything from an old Robert Ludlum novel to the collected works of Freud to be found on the shelves and a far more extensive stock available to browse in the boat’s cosy interior, including a large children’s section.  Paddy is always on hand to give help and advice and can often hunt around before proudly emerging with the title the customer is seeking.  The stock is diverse but the pricing is kept simple with all paperbacks for £3 (two for £5) and hardbacks for just £5.

Another feature of this quirky little bookshop is the music that is constantly playing from two massive speakers placed on deck with a playlist as eclectic as the book stock with anything from Dolly Parton to Gregorian Chant accompanying the book browsing.  Paddy is convinced that the playing of music encourages sales but it’s clear that he enjoys the music and occasionally darts inside to skip a track if he doesn’t like what’s playing.

Amid the new glass towers of Paddington Basin this quirky floating bookshop with its occasional live jazz concerts, poetry slams and book launches brings a welcome dose of humanity into an otherwise rather corporate urban space.  It would be a real loss to the area if the bookshop were to be forced to move and Paddy is hopeful that the Canal and Waterways Trust will grant their application for a permanent mooring.  Word on the Water is very active on social media (Twitter & Facebook) and this is the best way to find out about their progress and future events.

 

2014 BLL_COVER_2014

This is an extract from our forthcoming edition of Book Lovers’ London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artwords

Artwords 42

20-22 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ
020 7923 7507
broadwaymarket@artwords.co.uk
http://www.artwords.co.uk
@ArtwordsBooks / @ArtwordsMags
Mon-Fri 10.30am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm

Artwords has been selling art books in London for over 10 years and despite the problems facing the book trade generally, the business is going from strength to strength. The company now has two stores in the east end of London, having moved into this corner shop on Broadway Market in 2009. The owner, Ben Hillwood-Harris, spent some time and effort getting the shop design right and commissioned bespoke shelving to best display the range of books covering art, photography, fashion, graphic design, architecture, food culture and to a lesser extent philosophy and art history.

Artwords 32

One of the reasons for the new store’s success is its location on one of east London’s busiest and most transformed shopping streets, with a popular Saturday Market that has become a major attraction in the last ten years. Artwords arrived just as this street began to boom, as Ben puts it:

‘Hackney is the only area in the country in which more bookshops have opened than closed. On Saturdays there are two booksellers trading from the market and three bookshops including our store – its like Charing Cross Road East.’

Artwords 50

Another reason for the store’s success  has been the growing interest in modern art and design in recent years with places like Tate and the Saatchi Gallery leading the way. Ben explains that the real skill in this market is to anticipate trends and constantly source cutting-edge books to keep things fresh:

‘We’re hoping to show our customers new things and to surprise them, we’re showing them books and magazines that have just come out… So they visit us to get one book and find other titles they hadn’t expected. Local artists and designers often come here just to get inspiration..’

Like all good bookshops, Artwords is selective in its stock and uses large table top displays to attract customers to particular favourites many of which are not to be found in high street stores. The Hoxton Mini Press can’t be found on the shelves of your local WH Smith, but here they are handsomely displayed and selling well.

Artwords 29

Artwords is also an important outlet for art and culture magazines that are beautifully produced in relatively small quantities and sell for as much as £20. A large area of shelving is given over to these publications with names such as Kinfolk and Like the Wind which will not be familiar to many, but are a strong draw for the art community of east London.

Ben and his team of eight booksellers are chuffed with the way things are going, but don’t intend to rest on their laurels with plans to expand the number of book signings and events and develop further their online presence. If you want to enjoy the Broadway experience, this shop is best visited on a Saturday when the market is in full swing. Broadway Bookshop and Donlon Books are just a few doors away.

Artwords is surrounded by great places to relax with The Dove offering good food and a pint, F. Cooke serving traditional pie and mash and the smarter Market Café with seating outside on fine days.

Branch at:
69 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY
020 7729 2000
rivingtinstreet@artwords.co.uk
http://www.artwords.co.uk
Liverpool Street or Old Street LU/Rail
Mon-Fri 10.30am-7pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12noon-6pm

 

2014 BLL_COVER_2014

This is an extract from our forthcoming edition of Book Lovers’ London.

Leo the Lion

Metro have recently published London’s Monuments which features all the major monuments in London with biographies of those memorialised from world figures like Nelson Mandela to more obscure figures such as Sir Walter Besant.

We have included monuments to animals including Guy the Gorilla and the Animals in War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner, but only recently found this fine monument inscribed to ‘Leo the Lion’, looking out over the ponds at the top of Alexander Palace.

Leo is a handsome fellow and we would love to know more about him for inclusion in the next edition of the book. His tail is obviously very popular with those of a tactile nature as it has been caressed to a shine…

GetInline

Alexander Palace Lion 8 LR

Alexander Palace Lion 7 LR

If you have any information about Leo the Lion please get in contact or leave a comment below.

 


 

 

Here is the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. (excluding Leo, Sorry!) Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

2nd April 1865 – Richard Cobden (death)

Richard Cobden (1804-1865) Camden High Street, NW1 Sculptors W & T. Wills Sicilian Marble, 1868

Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
Camden High Street, NW1 Sculptors W & T. Wills Sicilian Marble, 1868

Richard Cobden was a wealthy calico trader who formed the Anti-Corn-Law League. Once the Corn Laws were repealed, Cobden became a Liberal MP and a fierce opponent of Palmerston’s aggressive foreign policy. Napoleon III was the largest contributor to this monument, which is now very badly eroded.

 

This is an extract from the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

 

1st April 1794 – Elias George Basevi (birth)

Private Garden, Belgrave Square, SW1 Sculptor Jonathan Wylder, Bronze, 2002

Private Garden, Belgrave Square, SW1 Sculptor Jonathan Wylder, Bronze, 2002

Elias George trained as an architect with Sir John Soane and was one of his favourites. Like his mentor, Basevi’s work was of a classical style, inspired by his travels to Greece and Italy. Many of his major works are outside London, most notably the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. He did design several grand squares in West London including Belgrave Square. Basevi met a premature and violent end, falling from the ceiling of Ely Cathedral while inspecting its restoration.

This is an extract from the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

1st April 1875 – Edgar Wallace (birth)

Ludgate Circus at the junction with Fleet Street, EC4 Sculptor F. Doyle-Jones, Bronze medallion, 1934

Ludgate Circus at the junction with Fleet Street, EC4 Sculptor F. Doyle-Jones, Bronze medallion, 1934

Edgar Wallace tried many jobs before enlisting in the army to escape his mounting debts and unhappy engagement. He was sent to South Africa during the Second Boer War but left to become a war correspondent for the Daily Mail in 1898 and later the editor of the Rand Daily Mail. He returned to England and was given a job at the Daily Mail by Alfred Harmsworth. While reporting the Russo- Japanese War Wallace began his first thriller The Four Just Men. The book was a great success but owing to a reckless competition which Wallace devised he lost money on the venture. He went on to write all kinds of popular page-turners but divorce and his reckless lifestyle left him always in debt. He moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter, but died soon after his arrival. Wallace’s writing is now largely forgotten, but during the 1960s his racy plots and sharp dialogue were adapted for television and he is still a household name in Germany, where many of these programmes were made.

This is an extract from the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

31st March 1631 – John Donne (death)

John Donne (1572-1631) Outside St Paul’s Cathedral, EC2 Sculptor Nigel Boonham, Bronze, 2012

John Donne (1572-1631)
Outside St Paul’s Cathedral, EC2 Sculptor Nigel Boonham, Bronze, 2012

The inscriptions at the base of this monument give clues as to the life of the metaphysical poet John Donne. One reads ‘birthplace Bread Street’. It was here that Donne was born into a large Catholic family when the rights of Catholics were severely restricted. As a young man Donne was unable to graduate because of his faith.The monument also states that he was a ‘reader Lincoln’s Inn’ where, aged 20, he studied law. Following his brother’s imprisonment and death, Donne joined the Anglican Church and embarked upon a brief naval career fighting against the Spanish fleet and travelling on the continent.The monument states ‘married Anne More of Losely’. Anne was only 16 and the niece of his employer, Sir Thomas Egerton. The family disapproved and Donne was dismissed and briefly imprisoned. There followed years of hardship, but Donne’s poems testify to a happy marriage only ended with Anne’s death in childbirth. Donne tried to gain favour with the new King James I and in 1615 was made Royal Chaplin and later, as the monument tells us, ‘dean St Paul’s Cathedral’. He died in 1631 having left behind a vast body of work. His tomb is still to be seen in St Paul’s and is one of the few to have survived The Great Fire. Donne’s complicated poetry of subtle argument and extended metaphor is full of the contradictions and tensions involved in the living of a rich and full life and is still read today.

 

This is an extract from the latest edition of London’s Monuments, which features all of London’s major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 off the RRP (recommended retail price)

http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj

This is an extract from the latest edition of London's Monuments, which features all of London's major public monuments. Available from our website at £2.00 of the RRP (recommended retail price)  http://tinyurl.com/ow8uorj