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The Place

This is the UK’s busiest dance theatre, home to London Contemporary Dance School, Richard Alston Dance Company and the Robin Howard Dance Theatre.  Founder Robin Howard, who lost both legs in World War II, was the grandson of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

17 Duke's Road WC1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7121 1000
www.theplace.org.uk

King’s Cross took its name in the 1830s from a monument to King George IV which stood near where the station now is. In the 19th century, the area was one of London’s poorest districts and the haunt of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Tube: King’s Cross

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

King’s Cross

The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Hospital was London’s first home for abandoned babies and a former pupil, John Brownlow, was the inspiration for Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The museum tells its history, with a poignant collection of loving tokens left by mothers forced to give up their infants.

40 Brunswick Square WC1
Tel:  +44 (0)20 7841 3600
www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

London Canal Museum

Even if you’re not interested in canals, you’ll enjoy the history of ice cream told in this former ice warehouse. Ice was only one of the unusual cargoes carried by canal boat, and you can learn more about the boats, the people and their horses in this remarkable museum.

12-13 New Wharf Road N1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7713 0836
www.canalmuseum.org.uk

St Pancras Parish Church

The present church dates to 1822 and was the most expensive in London after St Paul’s Cathedral. The design is based on the Temple of the Erectheum on the Acropolis in Athens but the caryatids guarding the crypt were made too high and had to be cut at the waist – giving an odd look.

Euston Road NW1
www.stpancraschurch.org

The Wellcome Collection

Sir Henry Wellcome made his fortune in pharmaceuticals and founded a museum of medicine, with almost one million objects. You can see Napoleon's toothbrush or George III's hair, a Victorian chastity belt or a whale’s heart. And the stylish cafeteria is a real find in itself.

183 Euston Road NW1
Tel:  +44 (0)20 7611 2222
www.wellcomecollection.org

Camley Street Natural Park

The last thing you expect amid the industrial heritage of King’s Cross is this 0.8 hectare (two-acre) wildlife reserve on the banks of the Regent’s Canal. Ponds and woods shelter birds and butterflies, several species of mammals and a wide range of plants.

Camley Street NW1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7833 2311

Website

Gagosian Art Gallery

Art dealer Larry Gagosian (Jeff Koons and Rachel Whiteread are among those he represents) opened his second London gallery here in 2004. His other galleries range from Moscow to Beverly Hills, with the latest opening being in Rome.

6-24 Britannia Street WC1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 9960
www.gagosian.com

King’s Cross

Once the haunt of Oliver Twist, the area’s most famous boy now is Harry Potter who left for Hogwarts from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. You might think the platform is in an oddly out-of-the-way spot. That’s because author JK Rowling actually had Euston Station in mind when she wrote the book.

King’s Cross Station WC1

Grimaldi’s Grave

Joseph Grimaldi, the king of the clowns, was born in 1778. A fixture at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden by 1806, he earned an incredible (for then) £3 a week. His memoirs were edited by Charles Dickens and all clowns are called Joeys because of him. He was buried in 1837 in the churchyard of St James; although the church itself is now demolished.

Grimaldi Park, Pentonville Rd N1

John Cartwright

Major Cartwright (1740-1824) was an outspoken reformer, in favour of universal suffrage and secret ballots, and against slavery. He was nicknamed the ‘Father of Reform’, and was still being arrested for his speeches at the age of 80. His younger brother Edmund invented the power loom.

Cartwright Gardens WC1

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