Today I scanned the next batch of colour slides from my Streets of London Series. These were all produced in September 2004.

Shaftesbury Avenue W1 9.04

When, in ‘Meandering Through Soho’, I stated that the musical had opened when we were living in Horse and Dolphin Yard, my memory was playing tricks with me. Les Misérables has enjoyed so long a presence in Shaftesbury Avenue W1 that I thought it had been in residence at Queens Theatre during our time there. In fact we left in 1980 and the production began in 1985. Here is an extract from the official website:


Seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe, it is still breaking box-office records everywhere. The original London production celebrated its 30th anniversary on 8 October 2015.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.

Ex-convict Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

Featuring the songs “I Dreamed A Dream”, “Bring Him Home”, “One Day More” and “On My Own” – Les Misérables is the show of shows.’


Regent Street W1 9.04

My memory also fails me in attempting to recollect the name of the kindly gentleman who was my boss during my brief employment at the Yorkshire Insurance company in Leadenhall Street in about 1962/3. I do, however remember that he bought all his staff ties or other similar birthday gifts from Austin Reed, the upmarket outfitters on Regent Street,

Brewer Street W1 9.04

visible from this corner of Brewer Street. I took this practice to heart, and, when I became a Social Services manager myself, gave everyone a birthday card. Since the staff numbers ran closer to three figures, that’s all I could afford.

Essendine Road W9 9.04

Both Essendine Road W9

Morshead Road W9 9.04

and its neighbour Morshead Road were in the patch for which I was responsible.

Edgware Road W2 9.04

Church Street, forming this junction with Edgware Road remains the location of a thriving multicultural general  market. The far end of Church Street is home to a number of antique shops.

Ham Yard W1 9.04

I wonder if anyone has yet built on this corner plot in Ham Yard W1, a very short walk from Piccadilly Circus, or whether acrobats have continued to cover the beams and walls with graffiti;

Bridle Lane W1 9.04

 why was this gentleman standing guard over the entrance to Bridle Lane;

Devonshire Place Mews W1 9.04

 does this gentleman passing Devonshire Place Mews still smoke;

Sutherland Avenue W9 9.04

 is the baby in the buggy being pushed along Sutherland Avenue W9, like Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole now aged thirteen and three quarters, and about to publish a best-selling diary;

Elgin Avenue W9

and were this couple resting the bench visitors to or residents of Elgin Avenue W9.

This series does often raise a series of questions on which to speculate.

This evening we dined, with usual excellent, friendly, service at Lal Quilla in Lymington. Jackie enjoyed her Lal Quilla special, as did I my chicken jalfrezi. We shared special fried rice and a garlic naan. We both drank Kingfisher.



43 responses to “Questions”

  1. It is a wonderful thing to muse on when you see people you don’t know at all in photos – all good questions to use as prompts for aspiring writers I would think………. I hope you’ve fixed your random header issue because I’m about to tell you I love this one!! Is Jackie just sitting, enjoying and basking in her creation – or is her head full of jobs to be done or plans for next year?

  2. Hello Derrick 😀 I sure do admire all the interesting architecture in London. There’s no where’s quite like it. I love the idea of musing about the what and where of the people in your photo’s Maybe that baby grews up to be the Prime Minister one day? Having been in London for my birthday last year at this same time, I’m saddened by the recent happenings and wonder how things will go from now on. Extra vigilant but never too frightening to “not live a full life”, I think is the way forward. Take good care x Boomdee

  3. You can’t remember your boss, but I want to know who was in Les Mis! Also, the best fried rice is with kimchee. Has Jackie ever made it with kimchee?

    • I don’t think Jackie has used kimchee. I ‘ll let her know. Here’s the cast: Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean
      Roger Allam as Javert
      Patti LuPone as Fantine
      Alun Armstrong as Thénardier
      Susan Jane Tanner as Mme. Thénardier
      Frances Ruffelle as Éponine
      Ian Tucker as Gavroche
      Michael Ball as Marius
      David Burt as Enjolras
      Rebecca Caine as Cosette
      Zoë Hart as Little Cosette

      Thanks, Luanne

      • I am trying to imagine Patti LuPone as Fantine. Chewing up the scenery . . . . That strikes me as the worst possible actor for that role.

  4. It is a fascinating series, Derrick. I remember foolishly offering you advise about reading Bryan Peterson. You need not refer to anyone about your photography –it is impeccable.

    You must have a capable scanner. May I ask which make is that apparatus of yours? One last thing about Les Miserables (and War and Peace): I have no more illusions of reading these books in this life. Hindu scriptures hold that a spirit will be born into 84,00,000 species before he has a chance of being human. I am not sure if I’ll get another​ stint at being human after all the wickedness, or London will still be there after all that time, but I’d surely want to be there next time around.

  5. I loved the photograph of the insurance company building (I assume this was where you worked briefly?) I love “Les Miserables” and the songs. I haven’t seen it on stage but have heard on the Tony awards shows as well as liked the film. When people disparage films they must realize the lowest price for a “nose bleed” seat in a Broadway travelling play is $75 in the Columbus, Ohio venue and around $200 or more in New York City. The commoners appreciate a $5 ticket (any age) to a movie here in my small town ($7 for a senior deal of medium pop and popcorn plus ticket!) I watched “Les Mis” first week the movie came out and felt acting wise was beautiful, but the singing was only fantastic by Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman were fine at acting as characters, in 2012 film.

    • Many thanks, Robin. The insurance building in which I worked was in the city – Lloyd’s of London. The picture in the shot was where my boss did his shopping 🙂 I haven’t seen that film, although I did see the original stage version.

      • Oh, I thought I reread the post but must have missed this. Thanks for letting me know this, Derrick.
        It was certainly special to have seen the original stage version of “Les Miserables.” 🙂

    • This is coming from a Les Mis fan whose first full experience of Les Mis from the movie. So the movie gives people more access to the musical. The movie still is wonderful in the fact that it was what had me fall in love with such an incredible musical

      • Thank you for saying this in a meaningful way and we agree on this! 👏 I am glad to hear this. 🎭
        I know it isn’t the same thing but I feel music is special, not everyone can afford a ticket to a concert but the radio is free! 🙂 🎶

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