A Literary Café

September 28, 2011

Could anything be more banal than a chain café?   In this case it’s a Caffè Nero, though you might notice that the surroundings of this branch look a bit distinguished. It has a story.

It’s in St Martin’s Lane, near Trafalgar Square in London, and I’ve passed this café many many times without realising its history.

A century ago, this was the St George’s Cafe, and poets used to meet regularly on an upper floor (the entrance to which was via that side door). It was here that Edward Thomas first met Robert Frost,  with tremendous consequences for both poets. Why isn’t there a blue plaque?

The ornamental building nect door is the Coliseum Theatre, currently the home of English National Opera, but once  dedicated to the glories of spectacle and variety. When very young I saw the pantomime of Cinderella here, with Tommy Steele as Buttons, Yana as Cinders, Jimmy Edwards as the King, and Kenneth Williams and Ted Rogers as Ugly Sisters. Ah, memories, memories…

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One Response to “A Literary Café”

  1. Sheila Hamilton Says:

    I love finding out about literary haunts. This will be going on my Things to See list for my next trip to London. Thank you, George.


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