My name is Marc Haynes and this site is dedicated to the off-beat history, stories and sights of London and its inhabitants.

Darkest London takes it’s name from In Darkest London (1926), a book in which one Mrs. Cecil Chesterton went undercover to report on the conditions of London’s outcasts. It’s really worth a read. You’re bound to find a cheap copy on Abebooks.

Submissions are warmly welcomed, but please be aware this site does not publish fiction and there is no payment for contributions.

This site is non-profit making. It’s done out of love. As such, I’d ask you not to take big chunks out of it to use for your own ends, and the same goes for the photos here. If you only speak business-talk, then here’s my copyright thingy.

© Marc Haynes 2010-2014. Unauthorized use or duplication of this material without written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Marc Haynes or with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There you go.

If you wish to tell me I’ve got something wrong, want to add to what’s already there, ask me to remove something, have any copyright concerns, would like to reprint anything from this site, or just want to say hello (I’d like that), please contact me either through this page, or via


16 Responses to “About Darkest London”

  1. Hi Marc, I just came across darkest London and wanted to say I really enjoyed it. All the best,

    • Hi Jeane! How nice to hear from you – thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m glad you like the site! I enjoyed yours very much and how nice to see your photo with the Highgate Ponds dog! All the best, Marc

  2. Cecilia said

    We stumbled across your website during some researches on London, for a University project, we love it, it’s great!!! Keep on writing, please! Cecilia, Esther and Kat.

  3. Nik said

    Watched the ‘London Nobody Knows’ and from that checked your website for some more on its filming-Congatson your piece on it
    I think might be the strangest Documentary I have ever watched….


  4. Dee said

    I spent a whole morning reading everything on your blog. So wonderful. I’ve never been to England and probably never will, but I’ve a huge Anglofetish and feed it every chance I get. Thanks you. 🙂

  5. maria said

    brilliant work, please check out the killing in a cafe come bar at the Angel in the sixties, early I believe, think it was called the blue something

  6. rudy2shoes said

    Don’t suppose you have a digital copy of ‘In Darkest London’… can’t find it in any libraries!


  7. Phil said

    Just came across your site and have enjoyed reading the articles very much – the pubs ones grabbed me despite never really being a pub person (the history though was fascinating). I would argue that the squares around Tavistock Square are not as quiet as you portray (I walk through that area every day to and from Euston as I work at the Uni of London) but I guess its relative – I live out in the sticks so anywhere in London is noisy to me. 🙂

    Just started blogging myself (very much a latecomer, clearly) and already know how nice it is to get comments, so thought I’d write. Fascinating facts I’ve found on here, really fascinating. All the best!

  8. Thank you, Marc. I identified with your descriptions of all those grotesque glass monstrosities. I went last Friday to walk the area of Keats’s young childhood (I am a Keats scholar and working on a book about him) – and wanted to weep. The area around the London Wall and Old Street are even worse than when you described the devastation of the pubs here. The Old Street roundabout is an example of the worst of modern day ‘planning’. The hideous towers which lurk over it look ridiculous in their immediate environment. Hundreds of people rush about the roundabout, but there is no sense of the human being here. It is a soulless desert.

    Everything I went looking for has vanished beneath the monsters that rise from their ashes. Apart from the Globe pub. The Keats at the Globe now sits beneath a modern structure. Next to it is a old three story building and next to that is a huge void that is yet another building site. The little street behind the Globe is abutted by a HUGE glass thing. The street is only half there now, and blocked off because behind the huge glass thing is yet another enormous void with cranes and development site stuff. There is no sense of scale and decorum in any of this development – as with all the other areas of central London.
    Sorry for rant. I am KICKING myself for not doing this visit 5, 10 years ago before the worst damage was done. Even Corsham Street, which was called Craven Street in Keats’s day has NO old buildings. By the way, we do know that the Keats family lived in Craven for a few years before relocating back to the Swan and Hoop.
    Thanks for reading – if, indeed, you have!
    And thanks again for the post. All the best, Pauline

  9. Lina Waterplas said

    I just stumbled upon your story about the short tragic life of Allegra Byron. Informative and heart-wrenching. Thank you! I will definitely be back to read more!

  10. janneke said

    Thank you, Marc, for the enlightening, detailed information on Allegra Byron!

  11. Phil said

    Hi Marc,

    I’ve been researching The Cogers pub today, following up from research I did last year. It was referred to as Little Australia during WW2 because Australian airmen drank there in large numbers. By the end of the war 7 volumes of visitor books had been signed by Australian servicemen for a total of about 8,500 individuals – those volumes are now kept at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The AWM also has a photo of the front of The Cogens, which actually appears to be at the back end of the Luytens building. The facade is basically the same if you compare the photo to the current shot on Google Maps. In the AWM photo you can observe the pub sign hanging from the facade of the building:

  12. john hodges said

    Hello Marc,

    Just found yr site whilst trying to track down the old pubs on London Wall, where I am currently based. Having worked/ drunk in the City for the past 41 years, I would be v happy to provide any updates should you require them.

    Re the Stirling Castle and the plaque that reads ‘SCS 1886’, if noone else has been in touch, it is an old Parish boundary, indicating the extent of the long gone St Stephens, Coleman Street. I guess the WAH 1799 refers to All Hallows, further along London Wall, but will pop in to confirm next time I see the church open.

    Having worked in the City for the past 41 years and frequented almost all the establishments in Part 5, I would be v happy to provide any updates should you require them.

    Many thanks,

    John H

  13. Brendan S Casey said

    Marc, like so many I’m sure, came upon your site via Guardian obit on Christopher Plummer & Peter Cook reference. As a native Londoner who grew up above a Bass Charrington house in Marylebone Lane through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s ( I was a v late developer) I loved all your exquisite detail on The Establishment, never went there,too young, bit much shopping & carousing in Berwick St & environs later.
    Thank you for doing, let us know of any more, can’t seem to find anything recent.
    All the Best, Brendan

  14. Kevan said

    About to give you a link from one of my pub history blogs, probably as I was looking for some pubs listed in 1983 by pigsear, and started searching telephone directories on ancestry and then came across your 1973 guide. Brilliant.

  15. Mike S said

    In your piece “City of London Pubs (1973): Forty Years On – Part 3” you have identified the wrong site for the White Hart in Giltspur Street. The property you show is the neighbouring building. The White Hart stood on the plot to the north and was demolished in its entirety and replaced with a modern office building. The history of the site can be traced on Google Street View looking at historic images from 2008 (when the White Hart still existed) through 2012 when it had been demolished.

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