Aldridge’s Horse Bazaar or Repository for Horses and Carriages, as the premises were also called, was a famous horse mart. During the mid C19 there were accusations of insider dealing. The proprietor advertised auctions with the caveat that “under no circumstances is the practice of misrepresenting the ownership of horses ever resorted to”. Several cases of horse stealing in Old…
Briefly home to a free dispensary for poor children, set up by George Armstrong, a Scottish physician whose work initiated the scientific study of paediatrics. Having observed his own children he wrote an Essay on the Diseases most Fatal to Infants, which ran to many editions. He set up the world’s first hospital for sick children.
John Logie Baird carried out the first experimental transmissions of true Television on this site in autumn 1926 – three years before his work with the BBC. Here he also demonstrated noctovision and phonovision,
Eccentric front-man of the phenomenally successful rock group Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was the lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter during the band's psychedelic years, providing major musical and stylistic direction in their early work, including their name.
A central figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Robert Anning Bell was born in a house on this site in 1863. The son of a cheesemonger, he became Master of the Artworkers' Guild and a Royal Academician.
Born into a Protestant gentry’s family in Hungary, by 1684 Jacob Bogdani was working as a still-life painter in Amsterdam, In June 1688 he was in London, settling at Tower Street in the parish of St Giles in the Fields. Within a just a few years he was patronised by royalty and the leading aristocratic families in England.
Founder of the enduring inprint of Mills and Boon, Charles Boon was born near this site, above Combes Brewery and lived in the family home in this street. A champion of women authors, Boon shaped a popular genre and a marketing style which still flourishes.
Prominent Modernist architect, Henry Thomas 'Jim' Cadbury-Brown, made his home at 32 Neal Street between 1964-1982. One of the designers of the Festival of Britain, he is perhaps best known for his work on the Royal College of Art.
Seven Dials’ most famous and successful chapbook and broadsheet seller, James 'Jemmy' Catnach founded his business in the now disappeared Monmouth Court in 1813. He paid writers, usually anonymous, a shilling for words, which were then normally set to a well-known tune and vividly illustrated. The cheap, lively publications were sold on the streets by 'patterers'.
The Cave of Harmony was a popular meeting place for London intellectuals, including H G Wells, Aldous Huxley and Evelyn Waugh. It was founded by the young Elsa Lanchester (later famous in films as The Bride of Frankenstein) and her then partner, Harold Scott.
A masterly translator of Virgil, John Dryden was also a brilliant versifier, a discerning critic and a savage satirist. He has been called “the literary dictator of his age” and the first master of modern English prose.