To Orwell Today,
re: 1984 CHESTNUT TREE CAFE ROYAL
Good morning Jackie,
I have been undertaking some research for a photographic project that I hope to start in the next few months. This project involves photographing film locations and of course 1984 was an obvious choice as I live quite close to London.
During this research I came across your website. Really fantastic source for both this and future projects. Your mention of the Chestnut Tree Cafe actually representing the Cafe Royal certainly made me lose track of my original research intentions. I then began thinking about other locations mentioned in 1984.
Do you have a definitive list of London locations mentioned in 1984 including those that were subtly renamed like the Cafe Royal?
I've never gone through the book with the specific goal of looking for and listing all the real-life London places Orwell used in 1984 and I don't think such a list exists (although in answering your email one is beginning).
In a booklet I own -- THE WORLD OF THE NOVEL: A STUDENT GUIDE TO GEORGE ORWELL'S NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR -- I came across a couple maps that name and locate some of the London places Orwell used in 1984.
- VICTORY MANSIONS = compilation of LANGFORD COURT, St John's Wood & CANONBURY SQUARE, Islington
- Ministry of Peace...
- Ministry of Plenty...
- Ministry of Love...
- MINISTRY OF TRUTH = compilation of SENATE HOUSE, Malet Street & BBC, 200 Oxford Street
- VICTORY SQUARE = TRAFALGAR SQUARE
- BIG BROTHER STATUE = NELSON'S COLUMN in Trafalgar Square
- OLIVER CROMWELL STATUE (mistakenly labelled Ogilvy's statue on map) = KING GEORGE IV ON HORSEBACK STATUE in Trafalgar Square
- MUSEUM OF WAR PROPAGANDA = ST MARTIN'S IN-THE-FIELDS CHURCH in Trafalgar Square
- UPPER CLASS HOUSES (flat where Inner-Party member O'Brien lived) = compilation of flats near Regent's Park
- CHARRINGTON'S SHOP (and Winston's & Julia's rented room) = compilation of second-hand shops in London
- PROLE PUB = compilation of working class pubs including ORWELL'S LOCAL in North London
- CHESTNUT TREE CAFE = CAFE ROYAL on Regent Street near Fleet Street
- JULIA & WINSTON'S MEETING PLACE = PADDINGTON TUBE STATION starting point
- WINSTON'S PATH/POND WITH FISH = compilation of countryside places Orwell hiked/birdwatched
I hope the above list (a work in progress) helps toward your perceived project of photographing ORWELL'S 1984 LONDON LOCATIONS -- I think it's a great idea.
All the best,
To Orwell Today,
Good evening Jackie,
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for me, I am very grateful.
The places you have listed already will keep me busy for quite a while. I will send you updates as this project progresses and I also hope that upon completion it would be great to share the images with a wider audience.
So glad the list will be of help and yes, please do send updates and photos to share with ORWELL TODAY readers -- it will be a valuable contribution toward everyone's understanding and appreciation of Orwell and his masterpiece.
All the best,
WINSTON & JULIA WOODS LOCATION
Trafalgar Square, drink coaster
DIANA ST MARTIN'S BELLE (...'St Martin's, that's still standing. It's in Victory Square, alongside the picture gallery. A building with a kind of a triangular porch and pillars in front, and a big flight of steps.'... Winston knew the place well. It was a museum used for propaganda displays of various kinds — scale models of rocket bombs and Floating Fortresses, waxwork tableaux illustrating enemy atrocities, and the like...
Winston was in Victory Square before the appointed time. He wandered round the base of the enormous fluted column, at the top of which Big Brother's statue gazed southward towards the skies where he had vanquished the Eurasian aeroplanes (the Eastasian aeroplanes, it had been, a few years ago) in the Battle of Airstrip One. In the street in front of it there was a statue of a man on horseback which was supposed to represent Oliver Cromwell... He walked slowly up to the north side of the square and got a sort of pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St Martin's Church, whose bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You owe me three farthings.'...
London Trafalgar Square, a short history
Trafalgar Square was created to commemorate Lord Nelson's victory over the French Fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar off the southern coast of Spain on the 21st of October 1805. One particularily famous signal sent out to the fleet by Nelson during the battle was "ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY". In the end, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson was to perform the ultimate duty as he was fatally wounded by a French marksman while his flagship, Victory, was locked in close combat with the French ship Retoubtable. Today, Trafalgar Square has become one of London's greatest landmarks and gathering places for people.... If you arrange a meeting in Trafalgar Square, specify a specific place like the steps of Saint Martin's as the Square itself is fairly large and almost always filled with people...
REAL MINISTRY OF TRUTH (...After leaving University College Hospital we walked the short distance to the University of London Senate House on Malet Street. During World War Two this building was used as the Ministry of Information and is undoubtedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in 1984: "Four buildings towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. They were startingly different from any other objects in sight. They were enormous pyramidical structures of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously... The Ministry of Truth, Winston's place of work, contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below."
ORWELL 1984 FLAT FOR SALE (...This is at the very beginning of "1984" when we are first introduced to Winston as he arrives at his block of flats, Victory Mansions, during his lunch break from the Ministry of Truth. His description of the building and the flat is a combination of Langford Court in St John's Wood and the block of flats in Canonbury Square, Islington....)
ORWELL 1984 LANGFORD FLAT (...The views are spectacular and no doubt those which inspired Orwell....The block is in a fantastic position - on the corner of Langford Place and the world famous Abbey Road. The flat is 5 mins walk from the Abbey Road Studios and Lords Cricket Ground and ten mins from Regents Park!...)
1984 CHESTNUT TREE CAFE ROYAL (...Unlike the others Orwell did not haunt the Cafe Royal in Regent Street....Orwell regularly referred to the group as 'that Cafe Royal set', and that on one of the few occasions when he was lured there his plain-speaking in discussions caused a row....)
ORWELL'S LOCAL PUB (...After leaving Orwell's flat in Canonbury Square we were introduced to Peter Powell who lives in the flat next door. He, like myself, considers himself a bit of an Orwell connoisseur. He conducts Sunday strolls to places in Islington that George Orwell frequented. We arranged to meet in half-an hour at Orwell's local pub....A short time later Peter Powell and his friend John Dunne arrived. They'd just come from the Community Centre where they'd been rehearsing a play John had written and in which Peter had a major role. Peter is an actor and a singer who lived in Liverpool when the Beatles were first getting together. Ringo Star had played drums for him one time. Peter is a walking encyclopedia of information about the literary history of London and specifically the Islington area. He has lived in this area for thirty-two years and has been giving Sunday Walks for the past eighteen years. He calls them ANGEL WALKS. He had many stories to tell us about George Orwell, the kind of stuff you don't hear about anywhere else. He has personally met many of Orwell's friends and sat in this very pub, at this very table, listening to them tell stories about Orwell... Another interesting fact that Peter told us was that "Room 101" from 1984 got its name from Room 101 in the BBC building where Orwell's Department used to hold its weekly meetings....)
ORWELL'S PUBS & RESTAURANTS (...On Monday our homage began with a visit to three of the pubs and one of the restaurants Orwell frequented during his second and third periods in London from 1934 to 1936 and from 1940 to 1947. As busy as he was during these times with his writing and his journalism and his war work and his broadcasting and his family life he always made time to socialize with his acquaintances and friends....)
ORWELL PARLIAMENT HILL FLAT (...At the time she met her future husband, Eileen was living at 24 Croom's Hill, which borders Greenwich Park. The house belonged to her brother and his wife, Gwen, who was also a doctor. It was a Georgian house with elegant bay windows on two of its three floors, and was originally the home of an astronomer at the Royal Observatory.... During the summer of 1935 Orwell and Eileen spent many weekends together, staying in Greenwich or making excursions into the countryside....
ORWELL CANONBURY FLAT PHOTOS (...It was a thrilling experience to be retracing Orwell's footsteps up the six-flights of stairs I'd read so much about. "It was not easy for a tubercular invalid who often had to carry groceries, coal buckets and a heavy infant...Friends noticed that Orwell was wheezing and gasping for breath by the time he reached the door". In 1984 Winston always 'went slowly, resting several times on the way.'...)
HOMAGE TO ORWELL & PILGRIMAGE TO ORWELL
26. Julia & Rebellion (...Already a dense mass of people was blocking the south side of the square....He was next to the girl. They were shoulder to shoulder, both staring fixedly in front of them.... The girl's shoulder, and her arm right down to the elbow, were pressed against his. Her cheek was almost near enough for him to feel its warmth.... She began speaking in the same expressionless voice as before, with lips barely moving, a mere murmur easily drowned by the din of voices and the rumbling of the trucks.
'Can you hear me?' 'Yes.' 'Can you get Sunday afternoon off?' 'Yes.' 'Then listen carefully. You'll have to remember this. Go to Paddington Station -' With a sort of military precision that astonished him, she outlined the route that he was to follow. A half-hour railway journey; turn left outside the station; two kilometres along the road: a gate with the top bar missing; a path across a field; a grass-grown lane; a track between bushes; a dead tree with moss on it. It was as though she had a map inside her head. 'Can you remember all that?' she murmured finally. 'Yes.' 'You turn left, then right, then left again. And the gate's got no top bar.' 'Yes. What time?' 'About fifteen. You may have to wait. I'll get there by another way. Are you sure you remember everything?' 'Yes.' 'Then get away from me as quick as you can.'...)
29.Risking Renting Room (...Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always difficult to determine the age of a London building.... One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets -- anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered...
4.Old World Destruction (...Winston was struggling to think his way backward into the dim period of his early childhood. It was extraordinarily difficult. Beyond the late 'fifties everything faded. Everything had been different then. Even the names of countries, and their shapes on the map had been different. Airstrip One, for instance, had not been so called in those days: it had been called England or Britain, though London, he felt fairly certain, had always been called London....
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