Saturday, 23 February 2013

Tottenham Court Road, London

Tottenham Court Road is a major road in central London, running from St Giles Circus (the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road) north to Euston Road, near the border of the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, a distance of about three-quarters of a mile. It has for many years been a one-way street: all three lanes are northbound only, the equivalent southbound traffic using the parallel Gower Street. It is generally regarded as marking the boundary between Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, linking Somers Town with Soho at either end. Read more on Wikipedia

Lowry makes reference to the road in the 1940 Under The Volcano; Peering at nothing with a telescope, save the Tottenham Court Road, counting the waves.." (Pg. 75).

Lowry makes reference to the road in Chapter 2 of his novel Under The Volcano; "very good on the bridge of a British Q-ship — peering at the Tottenham Court Road through a telescope, only figuratively speaking of course, day in and day out, counting the waves...." (Pg. 64) and again in Chapter 6;  "What about the way you treated poor old Bolowski,the music publisher, remember his shabby little shop in Old Compton Street, off the Tottenham Court Road?" (Pg. 157) and "He had not played one, and Hugh could play almost any kind of guitar, for four or fiveyears, and his numerous instruments declined with his books in basements or attics in Londonor Paris, in Wardour Street night-clubs or behind the bar of the Marquis of Granby or the oldAstoria in Greek Street, long since become a convent and his bill still unpaid there, in pawnshops in Tithebarn Street or the Tottenham Court Road....." (Pg. 158)

Lowry also refers to the road in a letter to Jan Gabrial; "“My darlingest Janl…I write this about half an hour after leaving you, eating a steak pie with your half crown in a thieves’ kitchen. It is only to say that I love you and that I shall never love anybody else. Outside, the fiends of Tottenham Court Road are howling in the blackness, imprisoned in the crewless winds.There is comfort in just speaking your name…” (Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 36)

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