“that may be alright for Will Self or one of those fellas”
June 4, 2020 9:55 AM   Subscribe

An Occult Psychogeography of Hawksmoor’s London Churches
There was a time when I used to hate London. I thought of it as a compound of tourist hotspots, rude locals and (admittedly quite useful) airports. Back then, I didn’t have much interest in graphic novels, either. My opinion on both has since reversed, and it’s in no small part due to the incomparable work of speculative historical fiction that is From Hell; written by Alan Moore, and brought vividly to life through the artwork of Eddie Campbell. The following tour of London was inspired by the book – a gruelling 45-mile route visiting lesser known occult locations spread across the British capital, and connecting in its path a whole world of mythologies from Queen Boadicea to Jack the Ripper. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably… this won’t be a short post.
posted by the man of twists and turns (8 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
In other (unrelated) Hawksmoor news: The Hawksmoore steak house in Seven Dials is very good and definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in the Covent Garden part of London.

Now to read the articles and see what my favorite London steak house has to do with the occult....
posted by sideshow at 10:41 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]

Did you put Iain Sinclair in? He was always considered the king of This Sort of Thing, at least when I was younger.

Mind you, one day someone will mention to Iain Sinclair that there's a whole bunch of London west of St Pauls and his head will explode. I don't know that anyone could ever get him to believe that it continues on the other side of the river, though.
posted by Grangousier at 11:02 AM on June 4 [8 favorites]

(TIL:) I find it wholly appropriate and just that the Imperial War Museum is built atop the site of the old Bedlam hospital. Really no more fitting place for a war museum than Bedlam.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 11:46 AM on June 4 [3 favorites]

Awesome post. That long psychogeographical section of From Hell left a vivid impression on me, but I can't remember if I read it before or after getting into Iain Sinclair, whom I learned about when Radon Daughters (what a title) was mentioned in a William Gibson interview.

The coolest part of this post so far has to be English Heretic. I'm gonna listen to the hell out of this. Much obliged!
posted by heteronym at 1:00 PM on June 4

In other (unrelated) Hawksmoor news: The Hawksmoore steak house in Seven Dials is very good and definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in the Covent Garden part of London.

The one on Air Street off Piccadilly Circus is fantastic, but the Edinburgh location was quite disappointing. Sample size of one each, so YMMV.

I was going to say I've only been to Christ Church at Spitalfields (not inside), and it's quite impressive, but I didn't know Hawksmoor was involved with St. Paul's too.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 2:37 PM on June 4

Props for the Father Ted reference. Every time Will Self’s name pops up I think of it and smile.
posted by adrianhon at 3:30 PM on June 4

That was one hell of an entertaining read! I'm so glad you posted, thank you!
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on June 4

This is great! I've had lunch under the obelisk of St. Luke's many times and now, once the lockdown lifts, I'll need to pay closer attention to it.

There must be an occult walking tour of London available...
posted by slimepuppy at 8:55 AM on June 5

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