Postcards from Persephone

Foundling Hospital, Brunswick Square

It was one of those lovely sunny Spring evenings, when you really feel that winter is over. The sort of evening just made for a stroll down Lamb’s Conduit Street, and into my favourite bookshop.

Persephone Books is more than just a bookshop. I was after a copy of the latest Dorothy Whipple novel, High Wages. You won’t find it in Waterstones. Persephone is first and foremost a publisher, dedicated to republishing those gems from the 20th century that have fallen out of print.

Russell Square tube

As I chatted to the sales assistant about the latest Persephone news (sadly, they’re planning to close their Notting Hill branch), a table of postcards caught my eye. Persephone Postcards, to be precise. Persephone commissioned artist Ann Usborne to produce these charming watercolours of local scenes, from bustling red-brick Russell Square tube station to the elegant Foundling Hospital on Brunswick Square.

The Foundling Hospital (now museum) is a drop of Bloomsbury history that touches the heart. It was founded by sea captain Thomas Coram in 1739, to care for the hordes of unwanted London children who would otherwise have faced a very uncertain fate. The charity established by Captain Coram still exists today, known simply as Coram. The charity supports local families, and my walk past the Coram playground this

Rugby Street, corner with Lambs Conduit Street

evening was punctuated by the happy sound of children’s laughter, as families came to collect their children. What a difference 300 years makes…

Rugby Street is just round the corner from Persephone, on Lambs Conduit Street. It boasts a nice Italian restaurant on the corner, and leads down to Great John Street, where thriller writer Dorothy L Sayers lived and wrote her stories of detective Lord Peter Wimsey.

Bedford Square is in the heart of Bloomsbury Set Bloomsbury, and is now home to hordes of academics and students from University College London, many of whom were out enjoying the sunshine, stretching out on the rather damp grass with the insoucience of youth. I liked the bicycles in the postcard; in real life the railings are punctuated by dire warnings that bikes will be removed and destroyed.

Bedford Square

Naturally, I bought a set of the postcards, and asked if I could display them on my blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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3 Comments

Filed under Books, London Life

3 responses to “Postcards from Persephone

  1. Bloomsbury Bluestocking

    Thanks for your comment, Kay. I’ve had a trot round Bloomsbury looking for statues of either, but had no luck. You probably know about the joint statue of them in Bond Street: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/785572.
    You might have more luck on this website of London statues – let me know if you find them! http://www.freefoto.com/browse/31-20-0?ffid=31-20-0

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  3. Kay

    Thank you for sharing the lovely postcards. Question: Is there a statue of Churchill and one of Eisenhower (not together but in the same area) in a park-like setting near the British Museum? I caught a glimpse of the statues while traveling in a packed tour bus and have always wished I could go back for a closer look. Alas, it is doubtful I will ever be in London again, so just wondering…thanks in advance if you have info.

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