Manette Street Artwork
Foyles bookshop and nearby buildings get a dollop of art
(Photos/words © urban75, 19th Oct, 2008)
Wandering past Soho, we were surprised to see the buildings along the short stretch of Manette Street (off Charing Cross in Central London) having giant photocopies of people's faces slapped all over them.
The work is by paste-up supremo JR and features photos of women
from Morro da Providencia, Rio de Janeiro, "for whom crime, violent loss of loved ones and arbitrary repression are part of everyday life."
You'd never know it to look at it now, but Manette Street has longstanding historic links with anarchism radicalism.
Perviously known as Rose Street, the street adopted its current name in 1895 named after a 'Doctor Manette' character in Charles Dickens' hugely popular, 'The Tale of Two Cities' book.
Here's Dickens'words: "In a building at the back, attainable by a courtyard where a plane tree rustled its green leaves, church organs claimed to be made, and likewise gold to be beaten by some mysterious giant who had a golden arm starting out of the wall... as if he had beaten himself precious."
The 'golden arm' now resides at The Dickens House Museum but you can see a a modern replica sticking out of the wall near the Pillars of Hercules pub at the western end (see below).
Just to the right is Orange Yard, which hosts the Borderline music venue.
I saw Spinal Tap do a 'secret' gig there once, and I've played there in several bands over the years.
One time we urgently needed a central London showcase gig and the promoter wasn't sure - so we came down and flyposted every inch of the wall and he relented the next day!
Centre Point in the background.
A replica of the 'Golden Arm' mentioned in Dickens','A Tale of Two Cities.'