The tabloids seem to be mixing up Marylebone and Fitzrovia recently. The Evening Standard seems to be to blame when it ran a photo story in December about the model Caprice stepping our of a bar in Cavendish Square. “Caprice almost wears a birthday suit”, it announced, as she “celebrated her birthday with some celeb pals in Fitzrovia”. Cavendish Square is in Marylebone.

The Mirror then decided that everything west of Portland Place is also in Fitzrovia. It reported that police “were searching a flat in Mansfield Street in Fitzrovia” where the so-called syringe-bomber had been living. Mansfield Street is in Marylebone.

Perhaps journalists can be helped out by the new Legible London street signs that are being piloted in and around the West End. Ham Life and other blogs reported that the new signs, two of them to be placed in the lower part of Tottenham Court Road, are designed to make it easier for people to find their way around on foot. But resolving boundary issues like “where does Fitzrovia end and Bloomsbury start?” is still a problem under discussion, apparently. Likewise the problem of developers trying to rebrand parts of Fitzrovia as Noho was raised by Tom Roper in his blog. No wonder there’s confusion.

Adding to the pea soup is another attempt at trying to re-brand an area with a name nobody likes. LondonNet and the Evening Standard reported that InHolborn, a business-led group, is trying to collect St Giles, Bloomsbury and Holborn under one name: Midtown. Excuse me while I throw up. These cynical money-grubbers want to promote Fitzrovia’s eastern neighbours as a “commercial destination of choice” with increased visitors, and no doubt increased licensing hours and increased disturbance for residents. Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles have identity and history if you care to examine it. Try reading Dickens.

I wonder what the chair of the Bloomsbury Association, Jim Murray, makes of all this? On the one hand Mr Murray likes to oppose extensions to commercial activity in Bloomsbury, but then wanders over to Fitzrovia and into Charlotte Street to do the exact opposite. Keep Bloomsbury clean: dump your rubbish in Fitzrovia! Mr Murray also takes some of the credit, along with the Fitzrovia Partnership, for the fairy lights in the rat- and pigeon-infested Whitfield Gardens, and outside Gaucho and Charlotte Street Blues. The Fitzrovia Partnership’s company secretary, Gary Reeves, is also a consultant to InHolborn. There’s a pattern emerging here.

Meanwhile dear ol’ Fitzrovia has morphed into Fitzgrovia where a rather slow-moving, online discussion is under way about the proposed temporary allotments along Riding House Street. One of the things reported there is the electoral fraud that took place during an online poll to decide a name for the gardening project in the former Middlesex Hospital demolition crater. Apparently someone was spamming the server with multiple votes for their favourite name, according to web weaver Snowy Raphael. Snowy also had to move swiftly to delete the postings of some potential gardeners who were rather too keen on a naturist reserve on the hospital site. Not wishing to be caught with his pants down Snowy redressed the website, but not before the voyeurs at Fitzrovia News had worked themselves into a heightened state of arousal and saved the contents to their hard drives for a rainy day. Snowy is also a recording artist and so is very media-savvy. His servers are now fully hardened. Fitzrovia News was wondering how you go about spoiling your ballot paper on an online poll.

3 replies on “Fitzrovia – Political Geography”

  1. You say…..“I wonder what the chair of the Bloomsbury Association (BA) makes of all this?”

    In terms of Fitzrovia as a place, the BA would simply describe Fitzrovia as the area roughly within Great Portland Street to the West, Euston Road to the North, Oxford Street to the South and Tottenham Court Road to the East.

    Political ward boundary changes have not helped in maintaining the identity of our historic central London districts but have confused them – as have some of the more ridiculous efforts of developers, estate agents and Business Improvement Districts to re-brand districts. NoHo and Midtown are prime examples of misguided attempts at re-branding and it’s no wonder they are ridiculed by everyone with one iota of common sense, including the Bloomsbury Association and myself.

    You say….”Mr Murray likes to oppose extensions to commercial activity in Bloomsbury, but then wanders over to Fitzrovia to do exactly the opposite”.
    Could you please explain what you mean by that?

    Similarly with your remark – “Keep Bloomsbury clean: dump your rubbish in Fitzrovia!” Could you please explain that?

    As for your reference to the tree lighting – I am happy to accept some of the credit for helping to supply a little Christmas Cheer to the area, as I’m sure are the businesses that helped fund them, but NOT for the rat and pigeon infestation you refer to in Whitfield Gardens – Perhaps you should get that sorted out?

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