In the last quarter of the 19th century Charlotte Street and the surrounding area became home to many of those who had fled Paris after the defeat of the Commune. Today writer Lydia Syson will do a book signing and lead a guided walk as part of the Fitzrovia Festival visiting the sites of the Paris Commune in exile.

Front of Georgian building.
Prime central London property is theft! The anarchist International School was founded by Louise Michel at 19 Fitzroy Square in the later 19th century. Next door was another anarchist household. (This is probably the wrong building. See editorial footnote.)

Syson is the author of Liberty’s Fire, a fictional account of the lives of four young people caught up in the events of 1871 in Paris.

Her interest in the events of the Commune came through a family connection with the International School in Fitzroy Square set up by Louise Michel.

Cover of book.
Liberty’s Fire, by Lydia Syson. Published by Hot Key Books.

“My great-great grandmother Nannie Dryhurst volunteered there with her lover, the war correspondent Henry Nevinson. Discovering this, and the fact that Louise Michel spent her last years in my own neighbourhood of East Dulwich, led me to write my new novel Liberty’s Fire,” she says.

The Anarchist Free School in Fitzrovia: A guided walk and talk — 12pm Saturday 20 June 2015. Meet outside Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre, 39 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RX. Free. The walk will last about an hour. Afterwards Lydia Syson will do a book signing of Liberty’s Fire. See full listing of Fitzrovia Festival events.

Group of people on guided walk.
Lydia Syson (centre with red flag) and group of walkers. (Pictured added after original publication).

Editorial note, 3pm 20 June 2015: During the walk Lydia Syson pointed out that 19 Fitzroy Square is the incorrect address for the International School. The actual address from historical records reads: “19 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square.” During the walk Fitzrovia News editors and Lydia Syson also had a discussion about a premises at 30 Goodge Street, believed to be a site of a 19th century anarchist bookshop. But according to one historical record the address was “Little Goodge Street”, later renamed as Goodge Place. Many London streets have been renamed and it is a common source of confusion.