Churchill had a flat on the ground floor, but the blast wall wasn’t for him. It was to protect the Cabinet War Rooms in the basement. Top secret at the time, the Map Room and 70 adjacent windowless cubicles lay at the epicentre of Britain’s war effort against the Nazis.
This was where all the signals, cables and messages arrived from all over the world. The Map Room was manned around the clock from August 1939 until August 1945, when Japan surrendered. In all that time, the lights in the underground room were never once switched off.
In the summer of 1764, a German musician and his family spent a few weeks in Ebury Street, at a house just beyond the tree on the left (see next photo for a frontal view). They had been living in Soho during their London stay, but the musician had become seriously ill and had been brought to Ebury Street to recover.
With his wife, son and daughter around him, the man slowly regained his strength. He wrote home on 9 August:
‘I am now in a spot outside the town, where I have been carried in a sedan chair, in order to get more appetite and fresh strength from the good air. It has one of the most beautiful views in the world. Wherever I look, I see only gardens and in the distance the finest castles; and the house in which I am living has a lovely garden.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 34. Pimlico’s planners have spoiled the view, but the musician’s 8-year-old son later became a world-famous composer. Who was he?
‘Scintillating’ – Literary Review
‘Sets an example that will be hard to equal’ – Daily Mail
Waterstone’s recommendation of the month