Above Ground on the London Underground–Day 34: From Leicester Square to 84 Charing Cross Road



image via 84CharingCrossRoad.com

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the days that came before.  We're following the Piccadilly Line, this is Day 34.

Last week I got a little sentimental about my dad, sharing a photograph of the two of us taken in Hayes, on the outskirts of London when I was a toddler. I'm back on track this week, still at Leicester Square, right in the thick of things, so close to so many points of interest. 


Checking my map I see the National Gallery is just a few minutes away down Charing Cross Road. Charing Cross Road! I can't go anywhere until I see 84 Charing Cross Road, the site made famous in the book 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, which in turn became a play, then a film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. If you follow me on my other blog, Chapter1-Take1, I'll be sharing a bit more about the film tomorrow for my weekly Saturday Matinee post.



The book is the story of the author's real life correspondence with Frank Doel, the buyer of London bookseller Marks & Co Antiquarian Books, located for years at the 84 Charing Cross address. Hanff and Doell had a rich, lovely, lively dialogue which took place over many years. By the time the author gets herself to London in person, Doell has died and the store closed. Anyone who loves books would want to make the trek to see the site—just as I can't wait to find the setting for Hugh Grant's travel bookstore in Notting Hill—so of course I'll take the short walk up to #84 Charing Cross Road. 

image via LondonMembers.com

Oh! There it is—or rather there it was—the bookstore is long gone, in its stead, a bronze plaque marks the spot. Seeing the establishment that sits in the same brick and mortar footprint, I can't help but feel like I've been slapped in the face. Is it another book shop? No. A record shop? Hah! There are no record stores any more, silly girl. A chocolate shop? Well, wouldn't that be loverly! Ah, I know, it's a Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee shop is everywhere. No. Worse. It's worse than that. In the site of the old bookshop, where old books were the specialty, sits a ....

image via 84CharingCrossRoad.com

... McDonald's. That has got to be a major disappointment to book lovers making their literary tour of London! I know it is to me.

I'm so furious—a McDonald's of all things!—I turn on my heels and head in the direction of the National Gallery. I'll save the actual trip to the Gallery and Trafalgar Square—one of London's most famous destinations—for next week's post. In the meantime I'll work off my ire by circling the very big block until I meet my Fitbit 10,000 steps a day goal!
McDonalds indeed! 




Counting the Fitbit steps



Day 1-33:                                                                              
 239,190 steps/107 miles      


Day 34:  Leicester Square  to National Gallery             10,000 steps /4.25 miles    
                                                           

Total Imaginary Miles to Date                                         249,190 steps/111.50 miles 





Days 1 —33

Every Friday I link up with Joy Weese Moll for 

British Isles Fridays

Comments

  1. That is a disappointment. The sheer Britishness of Trafalgar Square will make up for it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think a literary tour would be so much fun. What an enormous disappointment to find the bookshop closed and yes, you are right in your outrage, a McDonalds in its place. That's crushing.
    The book and movie are wonderful. I remember loving every minute of Anthony Holkins performance and how I loved the care packages sent to them when they we're on rations.

    ReplyDelete

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