6 for the price of 2

Everyone loves a freebie, right? Well, I was in Freebie Central just a few hours ago. Having bailed out on a morning run in favour of a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea….

bacon

….my work colleague suggested I do an after-work run to make up for it. What. On. Earth. But I never run after work. I do it in the morning. Always in the morning. Not after work. Not in the evening. Never. And I’ll tell you why.

Because I just don’t, alright?!

It didn’t take a master interrogator for this defence to rapidly fall apart when questioned. Reluctantly, I got my stretchy running pants on when work finished, put my backpack on and grumbled my way out of the building. It made sense because there are SO MANY blue plaques around the Hyde Park area and I comforted myself with the thought that I wouldn’t even have to go that far to see some. Obviously, I then went into a daydream while running on the horse track bit and missed the one I’d been intending to see so kept going as I knew the next ones weren’t too far away.

It was so worth it. As if passing by the huge gold Albert statue and the Royal Albert Hall weren’t enough of an amazing setting to be running in, as I turned down Hyde Park Gate to see two blue plaques I knew would be there, I was greeted by a sea of blue blobs on houses down the road. Awesome! I got snapping.

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Number 1 today was pretty impressive – Chief Scout of the World! Of the WORLD! That’s a title and a half, isn’t it? So there he is, Mr. Baden-Powell. I’m trusting most of you know who he is already so I won’t explain him.

As I headed down the road to find my next blue plaque, I saw a ridiculously luxurious house, different from all the other houses for it’s size and the huge white pillars either side of the door. This has got to be the one I’m looking for, I thought.

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It turns out that it was not! It is, instead, the house of Enid Bagnold……

Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of her either. Google has shamed me into realising that I certainly should have heard of her. She was an author and playwright who wrote 21 works during her life, mostly referring to WWI, when she served as a nurse and driver. Elizabeth Taylor played the lead in the film adaption of her novel, National Velvet, the story for which she is most well-known. She is also, as an aside, the great-grandmother of Samantha Cameron (the PM’s wife).

That’s what I’m enjoying about the Blue Plaque Runs I’ve done so far (all two of them!), that it teaches me about interesting historic figures who I would never have heard of otherwise and see the places where they spent their time. It also helps me to appreciate the historic context of the spaces I move around in every day.

Anyway, next up, the second big name I had originally come to see.

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Sir Winston Churchill! Boom! He’s a biggie, in terms of Blue Plaques. Nice house, Sir. Nice house.

Then I went off to see what the other blue blobs were about and found this little trio.

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Let’s get a closer look at this lot.

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These are the numerous famous names associated with one family who lived here. Sir Leslie Stephen was the father of this family, a writer and scholar of the Eton and Cambridge variety. He first married the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray but she died and it is from his second marriage that Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf resulted. Vanessa Bell, a member of the ‘Bloomsbury set’ (which also included Aldous Huxley) was a painter and interior designer. And Virginia Woolf needs little explanation but if you do want some, head over to the post about my first Blue Plaque Run, as it included another of her houses in Richmond!

So now a total of the runs I’ve so far done –

TOTAL DISTANCE – 6.56 miles

NO. OF BLUE PLAQUES VISITED – 12

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2 responses to this post.

  1. That’s so cool, Laura! If I ever get London, I’ll have to bring my running shoes and check out Hyde Park!

    Reply

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