London Oddities # 10: Audley Square Spy Lamp post

lamp post

This is the box at the back of the lamp post where the message was picked up.

Number 2 Audley Square in South Audley Street has a tale to tell of spying and secret services. For it is here that the Russian spy's of the mid 50's would leave and collect secret messages from inside the lamppost (photographed). The little trap door at the side of the lamppost was the perfect place to leave coded messages.

Amazingly while all this was going on, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were in their office next door at number 3, working on the James Bond film Dr No and considered various actors for the roll before choosing Sean Connery.

3 audley square
Number 3 Audley Square, the birthplace of James Bond films.

London Oddities # 11: The Watch House

The Watch House, 10 Giltspur Street London EC1

Overlooking the graveyard of St. Sepulchre's in Guiltspur Street, Holborn, is this old watch-house. This was built with the increase of body snatching that was an epidemic in the 17th century. The price for bodies that were bought by students of medical science for dissection was high. The only legal bodies that could be obtained were that of murderers, so with more students than bodies, supply and demand put the price at about 50 - a fortune in those times. Inside the watch-house, a watchman could keep an eye on the graveyard to stop newly interred bodies being dug up and sold.

London Oddities # 12: The German Dogs Grave


Hidden behind some railings in Carlton House Terrace and difficult to find is the terrier Giro's tombstone. The German ambassador Leopold von Hoesch, who resided at the German Embassy at number 7 Carlton House Terrace, had his dogs remains - after getting electrocuted in 1934 - buried in the gardens behind his house the memorial stone reads 'A true friend'!

London Oddities # 13: The Cornhill Devils

cornhill devils

High above the rooftop by St Peter's Church, Cornhill, are the three angry devils who pour scorn on anyone entering the said church. The story behind them is thus, during the building of the office block next door to the church, the builders stole a foot of the church ground. This act was noted by the rector, the building plans were put back and the architect was made to re-plan his works. So bitter was the architect that he engrossed the rectors face upon one of the devils and set three devils upon the roof to add curses to anyone whom entered the church.

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