Walking along Piccadilly at lunchtime today I was shocked to see a huge gap surrounded by hoardings where an attractive group of Victorian buildings once stood - the whole block down to Jermyn Street has gone; the shops had been shut for some time but I thought they were going to be refurbished, not totally demolished. The alleyway on the west side was very atmospheric, with its old-fashioned tocacconist and newsagent. The most significant loss is the building at No.213 which was once the very first Lyons teashop - see my books London's Coffee Houses and Decadent London - it opened on 20 September 1894. The distinctive fascia has been long gone, but it's a shame nevertheless that another piece of London's past has vanished.
On a similar note, Phil Baker tells me that No.124 Victoria Street, formerly the temple and headquarters of Aleister Crowley's A.A. Order is also about to disappear - I must get down there to take a photo before it's too late.
David Byrne's Free European Lecture Tour
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