Friday, 27 May 2011
Malc in Fitzrovia 1932
In the summer of 1932, Lowry went to live in London firstly at the Kenilworth Hotel in Great Russell Street which was then a temperance hotel run by Cranstons described by León Ó Broin 'that home of saddle-bag atrocities and Presbyterian principles'. He began to frequent the Fitzrovia pubs around Charlotte Street in Bloomsbury including the Marquis of Granby, The Plough, The Duke of York and the most famous - the Fitzroy Tavern.
Fitzrovia is probably named after the Fitzroy Tavern, a public house situated on the corner of Charlotte Street and Windmill Street within the district. The name was adopted during the inter-war years initially by and later in recognition of the artistic and bohemian community habitually found at the public house. (The name Fitzroy derives from the Norman-French for "son of the king", although it usually implies the original holder was the bastard son of a king)
The name Fitzrovia was recorded in print for the first time by Tom Driberg MP in the William Hickey gossip column of the Daily Express in 1940.
The writer and dandy Julian Maclaren-Ross recalled in his Memoirs of the Forties that Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu aka "Tambi" editor of Poetry London had used the name Fitzrovia. Tambi had apparently claimed to have coined the name Fitzrovia. By the time Julian Maclaren-Ross met Tambimuttu and Dylan Thomas in the early 1940s this literary group had moved away from the Fitzroy Tavern, which had become a victim of its own success, and were hanging out in the lesser-known Wheatsheaf and others in Rathbone Place and Gresse Street. Maclaren-Ross recalls Tambimuttu saying: "Now we go to the Black Horse, the Burglar's Rest, the Marquess of Granby, The Wheatsheaf... in Fitzrovia." Maclaren-Ross replied: "I know the Fitzroy" to which Tambimuttu said: "Ah, that was in the Thirties, now they go to other places. Wait and see." Tambimuttu then took him on a pub crawl. Read more on Wikipedia
You can read more about this period of Malc's life in Gordon Bowker's Pursued By Furies: A Life Of Malcolm Lowry Pgs. 139-149.
Below is a video called Viva Fitzrovia about the area.
Viva Fitzrovia by FitzroviaTV
You can read more about the literary connections and pubs at Pear Shaped Comedy