Her name is Mary Le Bone. A pretty exotic name I know but she used to be called St Mary by the Tyburn, very holy. The Tyburn incase you didn’t know is a river in London, which is now subterranean. Gurgling deep beneath the ground, one of twenty-five in London. Some of these rivers form part of the London sewage system and others make themselves known above ground at points around the city. Apparently the Tyburn comes out in an antique shop just outside Oxford Street. Now there’s something worth going to see!
Mary Le bone is a part of London I have largely ignored for most of the 37 years I have been here but in preparation for a tour in November I have been walking the streets and soaking up the rich herstory.
The famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst died here 18 days before the full vote came in for women. The creator of the National Trust began her work here and the greatest love story I have ever heard began here in a street which Virgina Woolf described as the most ‘august of streets’, a compliment me thinks given that Augustus was highly esteemed.
Yesterday as I walked the mews houses I was captivated by how many have prepared for Halloween. Carved pumpkins and witches hanging from stairwells.
Marylebone High street still has a village feel with bookshops and school children leaving the yard in noisy droves. I just know that as the nights close in and the Christmas lights appear this area will be enchanting.
Yesterday I talked to Paul Rothe and his son as they were just shutting shop. The most delightful of delicatessens and a wonderful place to stop for coffee on route which is why I am switching my tour around somewhat and making it Saturday 5th. I know that it is Guy Fawkes but I think you will be home for the fireworks! I want you to experience the charm of an eatery which has been in existence for 119 years. They don’t open on a Sunday so I have moved our tour to Saturday..
I have also changed the route slightly. Up until this week our tour was starting at Marble Arch and finishing at Bakers Street but the lights will be turned on in Oxford street on the 2nd of November and I can think of nothing more spectacular than finishing at dusk when the worlds busiest shopping street is illuminated with glistening stars. A perfect end to a tour.
So I invite you to join me on the Sat 5th November at 2.30pm at Bakers Street Underground station.