I don't want to sound obsessive about this - though it's probably a bit late in the day to say this given my previous form - but I have just come upon conclusive evidence that the BBC occupants of soon-to-be-vacated Bush House are heirs to the scurrilous pamphleteers and print makers of nineteenth century Holywell Street.
My colleague Paul Coletti has posted his own tribute to Bush House, exploring the story behind a plaque in memory of Andrew Young ('first valuer to the London County Council') which rests on our outer walls. He has borrowed from Peter Berthoud's excellent Discovering London site a plan overlaying the current street map of the Aldwych area on the Victorian one. Here it is:
It's a bewitching map - and you can see Holywell Street to the north of the Strand as it runs east of St Mary-le-Strand (there's a close-up below). And yes, my old, now deserted office, lay exactly on the line of that ancient, disreputable, rather wondrous street.
Much of the fire of Holywell Street's original pamphleteers was about holding those in authority to account - that too was the purpose of the radical print makers with their bawdy lampoons of the Regent and his courtiers - and isn't that, in a sense, what the more recent BBC occupiers of this space have been doing so well over the past 71 years?
Jonathon Green has written a wonderful account of Holywell Street in its least reputable phase on his website The Dabbler - complete with a range of marvellous images. I've lifted the photograph below from there - Holywell Street being brought down in 1902. All things must pass!
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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