Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mysterious London: The Mews

London is a fabulous place filled with hidden history and adventure. Kerry Hammond is here today to tell us what she discovered on her recent trip. 

I started reading British mysteries at a young age, mostly Agatha Christie novels that my Mom had lying around. Whenever I would come across a word I was unfamiliar with, I would ask my Mom what it meant (there was no internet for me to search Google or Wikipedia). I remember having to ask what in the world a perambulator was—for some reason that one sticks in my memory.

As an adult, I was recently re-reading Agatha Christie’s Murder in the Mews, a short story published in 1937 in which Poirot investigates the apparent suicide of Barbara Allen, who had a house in Bardsley Garden Mews. What in the world are Mews? I asked myself. By this time, I was able to consult the Internet to find out more. Webster’s definition of Mews is a street or area with buildings that were once horse stables but that have been made into houses.

According to Wiki, the Mews went from stables to homes sometime in the beginning of the 20th Century, when cars started to become more popular, and horse carriages less so. I love that London has kept such an historic feature.

On my visit to London, I was struck by how many signs for Mews I came across without even searching. Also according to Wiki, a survey was conducted in 2015 to find out how many Mews were still in existence in London. The answer: 433. This may explain the quantity of signs I saw.

None of the Mews I found were the Beardsley Garden Mews, but maybe Christie made that one up.

Come back next week when Kerry shows us the book shops of Charing Cross Road in London. See her previous London posts: the Sherlock Holmes Museum and the Pubs of LondonHer trip to Ireland last year was full of literary and non-literary adventures, including a Poison Garden on the grounds of Blarney Castle.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Kerry! I learned something, I now know what a mews is.