Tag Archives: Victoria and Albert Museum

chasing Walter’s ghost through London (no scone left unturned)




It’s my last day of this English sojourn, appropriately spent in a number of Walter’s haunts, or at least as I fancy them, places that he still haunts.  Started at the architectural drawings study room of the V & A to see the watercolor renderings that Walter presented to the RIBA when he arrived in London in 1838 at the start of a four-month European tour.  Will conclude the day in a few hours’ time at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields to  hear a concert with the Academy conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.  Walter had no time for concerts and had interest in neither the Anglican service housed within the church nor its Baroque vessel.  But he did stay at Morley’s Hotel, immediately adjacent, so he could have hardly missed it.  I’m currently writing from the location of his great reception into British architectural professional society, as on his first night in London he attended the RIBA, then housed in rooms on Conduit Street.  It’s now the home of Sketch, a very swish cafe where I have just consumed an extraordinary cream tea.  I came with reservations that any cream tea should cost £10.50, but am happy to report if any are worth that sum, especially given the current dreadful exchange rate, that was the one.  Even so, I am sure my architect would be scandalized by the indulgence, even more so by the behavior around me, with people drinking champagne in the middle of the afternoon.  No, perhaps I would be more scandalous yet: a lone woman, in public, hatless and even baring my ankles.

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