The Philpot Lane Mice

How is it possible to miss a sculpture in the middle of the City for over 100 years? For many, many years, no one, apparently, knew London’s smallest outside sculpture was there at all, until somebody noticed a white plaster blob halfway up a nondescript Victorian building wasn’t just a sloppy bit of cornicing. It’s actually a…

Tea & Tattle

The delightfully-named Arthur Probsthain opened his oriental and African bookshop in Great Russell Street exactly 110 years ago. Upstairs it’s still family business as usual. A few years ago, however, the latest generation, Tim and Chris, cleared out the bulging cellar and turned it into a tiny tearoom. It’s turned into a favourite haunt of…

The Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court

When ‘food’ is mentioned in the same sentence as ‘Hampton Court’ what generally springs to mind are Henry VIII’s massive Tudor kitchens, groaning with hogs heads, venison and enough pies to satisfy an army. An army that when not actually fighting potential invaders, spent much of its time playing at it, jousting in the tilt-yards…

Les Liasions Dangereuses

When Les Liaisons Dangereuses first opened in the West End many, many years ago, I smashed my piggy bank to go and was stunned by Christopher Hampton’s sparkling interpretation of Laclose’s original novel. Ever since, whenever it’s revived (it was later filmed as Dangerous Liaisons with John Malkovitch and Glenn Close) I am staggered by how…

The Secret Bunker under the Secret Bunker

There’s a strange little trap door as you enter the Churchill War Rooms. Most visitors walk straight past – or even over – its dusty glass window. For those who stop to look, a set of wooden steps lead to darkness. Beyond that, who knows. On the wall an unremarkable black and white photograph holds…