Getting Lost, Episode I: Victoria Station to Hyde Park


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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Belgravia
November 10th 2008
Published: November 11th 2008
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I decided to start a little trend. I told myself that although I get to see a lot of the city, I don't get to see nearly as much as I would like. So I got on the tube, off at some random stop, and started walking. I found some very interesting places thanks to my handy dandy map, which I try not to take out too much in the efforts of not looking too much like a tourist. Because I'm not! I'm a resident! Although I do get asked if I am enjoying my holiday in England all the time, and I always politely explain, I'm not on holiday I just have a lisp. 😊

Back to what I was saying... I'm going to try to do this on Wednesdays that I don't have anything to do otherwise. I did this trip last Wednesday, but probably won't get to do one this week because I have to go to a museum for one of my classes. So, essentially this is like my very first travel show, or series if you will. Hopefully it will catch on, I'll get a crew, and episodes will be airing on the travel channel ... every Wednesday.

I walked out the door a little before noon and got on the tube at my local station, the one on Tottenham Court Road. I took the Northern line south to Embankment, but instead of getting off here, I decided to change for the District line and ride it to Victoria Station. I understand that it probably would have been less complicated for me to go the 'Central to Victoria' route, but it's the same price so the only thing it wasted was time and I wasn't really in a hurry. I understand that all this description of my travelling may mean nothing to most, but if you have been here before it may be interesting to look it up on a tube map. Regardless, I got off at Victoria station, in an area known as Belgravia. It is a very quiet area, quiet at least for central London and is mostly (very fancy) white colonial style terraced residences. I also noticed that there were tonnes of embassies in the area. I went down many beautiful streets before I stumbled upon No. 22B Ebury street... my first treasure! There was a plaque outside that said that Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond once lived here. If you look closely you can tell that it used to be a church and I suppose this may be why Flemming was attracted to it. What better place to practice all your gallivanting bachelor pastimes? While I tried to be sneaky and slip out my camera while no one was looking, I was caught by two construction workers. "Oi, what you takin a piture of?" When I explained to them who Ian Flemming was they looked surprised, they said that they had been working in the area for over a year and didn't know it. One of them immediately ran up to it and started knocking on the door. This made me laugh because I thought he was being funny, but he genuinely thought Ian Flemming still lived there and was adamant on talking 'wiv' him, bright yellow construction vest and all. I left them there, staring up at the house, not wanting to be around when someone did answer the door.

The Plumber's Arms is a cute pub that I found almost immediately after on Lower Belgrave Street. It was built in the 1820's and is central to the infamous stories of Earl of Lucan from the 1970's. He killed his children's nanny and tried to attack his wife when she escaped and went screaming down the street and burst into this pub. There are old newspaper articles of the incident all over the walls inside. Apparently this story is a big deal in the area, the Earl escaped and he was never heard from, although there have been many reports of sightings of him from all around the world. My next mission? Find the house from which she ran.

I learned that it was No. 46 on the very same street. So I started walking in what I hoped was the right direction, but the numbers were progressing to my favour. It was not that far from the pub at all, but if I was her, I would have banged on a neighbours house first, as she obviously passed dozens of them along the way. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good picture of the house because it is currently covered in wood scaffolding, they must be renovating it. But this was even better because if you walked behind the scaffold you could see that the
front doorfront doorfront door

with iron eagle
door was wide open and you could see strait into the house. There were workers there, so I had to loop a few times and sneak a picture. There was this very eerie large iron eagle near the front door, the picture doesn't do it justice, but it is very creepy and it gave me the chills. I hope the Earl doesn't google himself and find I mentioned him in the blog and then hunt me down. Well, now that I've given him the idea, I'm surely a goner. How do you adjust the privacy settings again?

I kept walking in the same direction, though it must have been only five minutes before I came across the lovely St. Peter's church. I thought I might pop in for a look, people at churches are always friendly, and they are always beautiful inside. I stood for quite sometime starring at the large red doors, wondering if I was supposed to try and open these. I noticed there were several cars around and that every once and a while someone would walk by. They were all walking to the side of the church, I thought maybe there was an entrance on the side. I followed some people down a staircase to a door that supposedly led to the crypt. I asked one of the ladies if the church was open, she said she had no idea because she had never been here herself. I waited with her at the door until someone came to open it. I went into the main room, which was more like a meeting hall than a crypt, which was filled with people. Everyone was sitting in chairs chattering away and I wondered what I should do. I walked up to another woman who was standing toward the front and looked like she may be in charge. I asked her if the church was open and she told me again, that she had no idea, they were all there for a 'meeting.' She paused before the word meeting, and maybe I was imagining it but she also seemed to glare a little. What kind of meeting did I stumble upon? Who has 'meetings' in the crypt of the church? I was a little shocked, and probably more scared than I should have been. Suddenly it felt like everyone was watching me. The only thing I could think to say was 'thank you.' Even though that probably made no sense and heading back out the door, which took what seemed like years for me to open. I walked, almost ran, back to the front of the church and out through the gates. I don't know why I was so on edge. It must have been a satanic cult meeting of some sort, they were in a crypt and all, meeting there unknown to the church itself. But what was so satanic about a dozen or so, large, mostly women, dressed in bright colours and cheerful floral patterns, wearing perfume that reeks of great-aunt. Turning around for my last look at the building that I was so eager to escape, I saw my answer. In large, bold lettering, a sign, chained to the iron gates read: 'Weight Watchers Meeting Today! In the crypt.' I had to laugh. I laughed for quite a long time. I'm sure several people thought, what is that crazy girl doing laughing at the church? It was just absurd how quickly my mind jumped to the extreme and the dramatic. I'll never forget it. But I still never got inside the church.

I left the church yard, took a few other twists and turns and ended up on Groom Street. This is where the mews and stables were located where all the aristocrats that lived in the area used to house their horses, also where the groomsmen lived. Now they are all posh flats. I went down more pituresque twisty turny roads and saw a cute cafe, the kitchen upstairs, there was a man cooking in entire chefs garb. I tried to take a picture of him, but couldn't do it in a way that wouldn't be entirely obvious. Finally, after walking a bit more, found a real driving road again. It was almost like stumbling upon civilization all over again. I ran right into No. 24 Chapel Street. Sound familiar to anyone? It was once the home of Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles. Many fancy show biz parties were held here, some attended by the Beatles themselves. Brain also died here, found dead of an overdose in his bedroom. I think was societal pressures, and all he had to go through being gay in the 60's, even in England.

Walking for a few minutes more I was lucky to find this treasure; The Spiritualist Association of Great Britain. I went in, just to see what it was about. The woman at the counter gave me a pamphlet and said I could come back for a seance or clairvoyant demonstration. That sounds quite exciting so I may take her up on that. Of course, on my way out, I embarrassed myself by trying to go out the emergency exit door.

I started to develop a pattern of choosing to go down the smallest roads I could find. Pretty soon I felt like I was the only person in the world. I ran across this brightly painted pub, The Grenadier. It was in a very awkward residential cul-de-sac. Must be hard to keep the noise down in the evenings. But the Duke of Wellington's regiment was said to have hung out here often. I looked it up, and apparently it is 'haunted' by a soldier that was flogged to death outside after he was caught cheating at cards.

Since I was at a dead end, and I didn't want to back track where I had gone I noticed there was a street behind a large red gate next to the Grenadier. So, I went in. There was a stone there that was once used as a horse mount, reputedly by the Duke of Wellington himself (late 1700's to early 1800's). I kept walking down these beautiful narrow streets for a while and ended up behind some factory where they keep all their dumpsters. It was surreal how quickly my surroundings changed. Finally I saw something I recognized, Hyde Park. I found the Hyde Park Corner tube station, there a man was selling poppies for remembrance day. I made a donation for my little paper poppy, which I displayed proudly next to my 'I voted' sticker.

observation: You can never be sure whether to walk on the right or the left, you just have to follow the crowd.




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Belgravia


14th November 2008

?
What is a poppy? That church thing made me LOL :)
17th September 2009

Wrong flag
hey sorry but that flag isn't the irish flag its the ivory coast i think, as its the reverse of the Irish Tricolour!!!
24th November 2009

Ivory coast
wow. Didn't realize that was the Ivory Coast, thanks for letting me know!

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