Meard Street in Soho is a small street named after John Meard Jnr, the man who developed the thoroughfare. At first glance there is nothing more to see than a few nice buildings. But take a closer look and you will find a couple of interesting artistic quirks.
A note on one of the doors in Meard Street is not quite what it seems. It is not a sign put up to deter pesky would-be punters who have happened upon the wrong door. It is in fact the former home of dandy artist Sebastian Horsley. Horsley died in 2010 but the sign remains on the door. Horsley was best known for undergoing a crucifixion. All in the name of art of course.
The second curiosity of Meard Street is only noticeable if you happen to look up. On one of the walls you will see a nose poking out of the brickwork. The plaster of paris nose is part of an art installation created in 1997. Originally there were 35 noses attached to buildings but now there are said to be only ten remaining. There are allegedly seven noses to be found in Soho. An urban myth that says good luck will come to those who find all seven. It may be a myth but can you find the others?
Other interesting facts about Meard Street? Well, it could claim to be birthplace of the goth subculture. Opening in 1982, The Batcave was a nightclub frequented by goths as well as many musicians such as Robert Smith, Marc Almond, Siouxsie Sioux and Nick Cave. Below is a clip of the club in action from Danish television.
It is not the only club of note to find a home on Meard Street though. From 1925 to 1978, the Gargoyle Club was housed in what is now the Dean Street Townhouse (69 Dean Street).
The property sits on the corner of Meard Street and Dean Street. This club also had members of note including the Duke of Windsor, Fred Astaire, Dylan Thomas, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. The building has also been home to Viscount Castlecomer, Sir Thomas Bell and the famous musical Novello family. A plaque can be found on the wall which gives a bit more information about the history of the street.
Going back much further in time, the first occupants of the newly created Meard Street included a harpsichord maker, a Reverend, a writer, a painter, a composer and a drunk. It seems as though Meard Street has always attracted eclectic and artistic residents.
If you know of a curiosity that you think should be featured, then drop us an email with a picture and a few words to email@example.com. If you’ve spotted a quirky building, unusual architectural feature or some other random object on your travels around the UK then we want to hear from you!
Excellent article, I loved going down Meard Street and spotting all of the interesting quirks that it had to offer. One thing that you haven’t mentioned was the discrete piece of artwork by Invader, maybe you could include it in a future article as I’ve seen loads of his art around the city (and the world!)