Moving west, get on to Goodge Street where it crosses Charlotte Street; you are on the only through axis of the area, leading straight through Wigmorc Street and across to Edgware Road, a mile and a quarter west. As far as Portland Place there is little other than depression north of this axis. Goodge Street becomes Mortimer Street, and you can glance southwards down Newman Street and Berners Street towards Oxford Street. These two roads in the early nineteenth century were also artistic settlements but Berners Street saw also more sinister inhabitants and eventsthe curiously named Fauntleroy, certainly no spiritual relation of 236
Little Lord, Uved at No. 6; banker and forger, he cost the Bank England Â£360,000. The entry of Berners Street into Engluh mythology however was assured by Theodore Hook in 1810 when he perpetrated the strange outrage on a Mrs. Tottingham that has passed down as a classic instance of English humour, heaven help us all. Hook invented the hoax in which the fun consists of sending out some hundred orders to tradesmen to call more or less simultaneously with spectacular and unwanted orders on the victim; goods delivered to Mrs. Tottingham included a hearse. At the top of Berners Street is the Middlesex Hospital; the original foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Northumberland in 1755 (the building was reconstructed Â£.1930), and there is a huge and magic portrait of him in the Board Room, if you can wangle your way in, the masterpiece miles above form of the obscure painter R. E. Pine.
Farther west, down Mortimer Street, turn left (south) through Wells Street to Margaret Street, where is All Saints’, a church which, however allergic to Victorian Gothic you may bc, must nevertheless be experienced. Built by Butterfield, 1849 59, a formidable and ruthless soul bashing statement in harsh red brick, with relentless decoration in carving, mosaic, gilt, and glass; you may not like but you cannot ignore it. Emerging, continue westwards (northwards the prospcct is still drear); across Titchfield Street, where cluster the wholesale furriers, cross Great Portland Street where cluster the motor car dealers, wholesale dress shops, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, and if you want, a splendid shop devoted to the ritual clothing in black leather of the motor cycling cult. Crossfor the momentUpper Regent Street, and come through to Cavendish Square.