Mount Street

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Mount Street

Postby DrBiggles » 05 Aug 2015, 18:49

Had a few days holiday in London with the family and yesterday we happened to be walking up Park Lane and went past the Dorcester.

Just after that is Mount Street, going up into Mayfair, where Biggles "lived". Very posh. And expensive.

Did Johns ever tell us the number of Biggles flat?
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Aug 2015, 18:53

DrBiggles wrote:Had a few days holiday in London with the family and yesterday we happened to be walking up Park Lane and went past the Dorcester.

Just after that is Mount Street, going up into Mayfair, where Biggles "lived". Very posh. And expensive.

Did Johns ever tell us the number of Biggles flat?


How lucky for you!

To my knowledge, he does not. I've always been partial to the red and white candy-cane stripey ones with the bay windows, so I like to think Biggles lived there. (79 to about 82 Mount Street, if you do Google Street View.)
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 05 Aug 2015, 18:56

Unfortunately not. There is also not enough information to locate it anywhere in particular on Mount St. I think we are told that there is a street view in Big Game and that's about it.

There are sometimes pictures of Mount St flats for sale on the Internet if you want a virtual tour of the inside of a couple.

My daughter's boyfriend spends time wandering up and down Mount St at weekends to see the expensive cars. I suppose it's cheaper than going to the pub in London.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Aug 2015, 19:15

This one's got a nice set of photographs and a floorplan.

Two bedrooms, ultra-modern furnishings. If, you know, you have a spare 5 million pounds. :shock: :shock:

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/detail ... aLs9Uvd.97

Here's another that's about the same price, but with a more cozy, traditional feel:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for ... 35061.html
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Aug 2015, 19:17

And this one's even more expensive. Holy Pumpkins. Pardon me, I need some smelling salts.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for ... 730A27F632\\

It's got a wicked strange floorplan though.... I don't think I'd like that.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Frecks » 05 Aug 2015, 19:26

Biggles' flat must have had a strange floor plan itself judging from the different descriptions in the books. It always seems odd to me that Biggles could afford to live in such a posh area just after WWI. The flat must have been quite big to accommodate all four of the team and the occasional guest. There are loads of big expensive hotels and very upmarket shops in Mayfair but I do not think Biggles and the others would really appreciate them. I went to Mount Street when I was about 10 or 11 but I cannot remember much about it - it was over 50 years ago now. It is a shame WEJ did not ever mention a house number - after all everyone knows where Sherlock Holmes lived :lol:
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Aug 2015, 19:30

If he had, can you imagine the annoyance of the people who actually lived there! Lol. Their bell would be buzzing all the time.

Maybe Biggles inherited the flat from some unnamed relation who died in the war.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby J349 » 05 Aug 2015, 20:40

We should club together and buy a property in Mount Street and set it up as a Biggles museum. Or failing that, pop a plaque up somewhere along the road, "Biggles lived here." :D
I need to make a pilgrimage to Mt. St. sometime!
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 05 Aug 2015, 20:51

They've all got peculiar floor plans. But I love looking at houses and it's more fun if you can say you prefer what you have!

I think that Biggles bought a second two bedroom flat adjacent to his first to turn his flat from two to four bedrooms. The bedrooms aren't really big enough to divide into two, and the living room wouldn't really exist if you took most of the floor space of another two bedrooms from it.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Aug 2015, 21:10

J349 wrote:We should club together and buy a property in Mount Street and set it up as a Biggles museum. Or failing that, pop a plaque up somewhere along the road, "Biggles lived here." :D
I need to make a pilgrimage to Mt. St. sometime!


This is the best idea! I love it.

Biggles got rather a large haul out of the pirate treasure. He could have bought an adjacent one and remodeled.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Frecks » 06 Aug 2015, 08:16

Biggles does DIY :?: That sounds a very good idea. Perhaps the bedroom accessed direct from the living room mentioned in Hunts Big Game was in the remodelled flat>
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 07 Aug 2015, 09:33

But surely everything can't have been two bedrooms back when Biggles moved in?
Is it big houses that have been turned into flats and all two bedrooms or was it built as flats from the start?
Could it have been divided into bigger flats from the start, like maybe five bedrooms in Biggles' (guestroom), and later divided as prices soared even higher?? :faint:


:?: :?: :?: :?:
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 07 Aug 2015, 12:48

HostileCacti wrote:But surely everything can't have been two bedrooms back when Biggles moved in?
Is it big houses that have been turned into flats and all two bedrooms or was it built as flats from the start?
Could it have been divided into bigger flats from the start, like maybe five bedrooms in Biggles' (guestroom), and later divided as prices soared even higher?? :faint:


:?: :?: :?: :?:



Mount St was a fairly new build. The whole street, just about, was built in the 1880s and 1890s as a row of shops with flats above. If you really want the detail of what was built when:


http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey ... /pp326-329

There's a floor plan for one block of flats, and nearly everything is two bedroomed.

In England at that time, flats were for single people or newly married couples. They were not family homes. Especially at the top end of the market, they were for people who didn't want the inconvenience of a big house with lots of servants.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Frecks » 07 Aug 2015, 13:16

Some upper class flats had restaurants attached so you did not need to cook in your own flat. In some very posh areas there were blocks of small flats for servants to live in rather than in the main block of flats with the "posh" people. In the early days WEJ refers to Biggles' "rooms" rather than a self contained flat.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 07 Aug 2015, 21:08

Thank you! I really appreciate everything I learn here! :aflower:
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Re: Mount Street

Postby tiffinata » 07 Aug 2015, 23:29

To my thinking 'rooms' would mean he was living as a tenant in a larger house, with other single men and a domestic to look after them. I wonder if he moved into a flat/divided house after the Wall Street crash? Surely that must have had some effect on property prices and availability?
Also we never hear any more about the silver mine in South America.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 08 Aug 2015, 00:05

I agree that rooms could well refer to the scenario you're describing, Tiff. I've given the matter some thought and never managed to find a detailed enough social history to answer whether the term 'rooms' was used when referring to a flat or not.
Contextually in some old books I've read, it would appear so, but I've never managed to get a definitive answer.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby tiffinata » 08 Aug 2015, 00:26

Been getting stuck into Georgette Heyer again recently, which stimulated this round of thought.

Are there ads in newspapers of the time along the lines of 'Room to let'? Are there any free searchable British newspapers online?
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 08 Aug 2015, 00:36

The difficulty, for me, is that very similar wording, could refer to quite different situations depending on social class, income, location etc. I am not in the 'know' enough to recognise the key terms and phrases which would distinguish one situation from another and to pick up on the small nuances.
I would really like to read a decent social history of housing which has a decent amount of information on flat life at the turn of the century but the ones I've flicked through seem to concentrate on big houses.

Yes, there are free searchable newspapers and such adverts. They're just not furthering my knowledge. I need an informed commentary.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Frecks » 08 Aug 2015, 08:02

Yes I would love to know more about their living conditions. How often were Algy's rooms mentioned?
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Re: Mount Street

Postby tiffinata » 08 Aug 2015, 08:37

I can recall end of Black Peril. Baker Street?
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Tracer » 08 Aug 2015, 09:45

If you check contemporary writing, such as Sherlock Holmes and P. G. Wodehouse stories and a bit later Agatha Christie, you find that there were 'serviced flats' in plenty. The flats were self-contained, there was a communal front door and hall, and a staffed kitchen so meals could be ordered. Laundry, cleaning etc. was also part of the service. It was far more usual to eat out then than later in the 20th century, and most gentlemen had a series of clubs to choose from for lunch or their evening meal if they didn't feel like eating at home. I remember reading - would that I could remember where - that a bachelor could live comfortably on £100 a year this way. There were not the servants to be had after the wars to live as people had before them, nor the men to marry, and so many women made a respectable living as Mrs. Symes did.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Frecks » 08 Aug 2015, 13:08

That is very interesting. We have speculated before as to whether Mrs. Symes worked exclusively for Biggles or whether she worked for other people in the block of flats. The same question could arise with regard to Sherlock Holmes and his housekeeper. Hercule Poirot had a manservant who would probably just have worked for him and Lord Peter Wimsey had Bunter again a manservant and then of course there was Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. They all lived in blocks of flats in the early to mid 20th Century.

It is much easier to work out how Ginger would have lived as a child in a mining village in the north of England than the upper classes in London.

I wonder what sort of life Algy had as a boy and indeed Bertie - they both seem to have lived in upper class country houses with servants and in Bertie's case gamekeepers.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Tracer » 09 Aug 2015, 09:52

The manservant was much more a 'gentleman's gentleman' and though he could (and did) cook when required, his main task was to smooth the everyday life of his employer. He would not be involved in housework, for instance, and while he could sponge and press clothes, most laundry would be sent out. Jeeves once told Bertie Wooster that he preferred to work in a bachelor establishment (when Bertie was on the verge of being married and to his horror Jeeves gave in his notice) whereas Bunter made the tricky change from batman/manservant to his bachelor employer to staying with him in the same capacity upon his marriage, a delicate matter involving the utmost integrity of all concerned, especially Mrs. Wimsey.

I knew (and know) many people who grew up as Bertie and Algy did. Relationships with parents could be amiable or distant - or amiably distant - children were expected to have good manners and consideration for others especially the staff, all either had tutors/governesses or were sent away to school, were expected to help out in some form during the holidays (hence the enduring friendships with grooms, gamekeepers and so on) and although from the outside it might have seemed a life of privilege, in reality there was far more freedom for the Gingers of the time.
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 09 Aug 2015, 10:04

Kismet wrote:The difficulty, for me, is that very similar wording, could refer to quite different situations depending on social class, income, location etc. I am not in the 'know' enough to recognise the key terms and phrases which would distinguish one situation from another and to pick up on the small nuances.
I would really like to read a decent social history of housing which has a decent amount of information on flat life at the turn of the century but the ones I've flicked through seem to concentrate on big houses.

Yes, there are free searchable newspapers and such adverts. They're just not furthering my knowledge. I need an informed commentary.



This probably isn't very useful and I'm sure you have thought of this before:
but have you asked a university lecturer/teacher/professor whatever the proper term is? It would probably be difficult to find a Biggles-obsessed one, but there must be many who knows these things? I don't know which subjects would apply, but social history, literary analysis (covers everything :P ), ethnology, anthropology or whatever uni subjects you got in the English speaking world ;)
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Re: Mount Street

Postby Kismet » 09 Aug 2015, 12:12

This probably isn't very useful and I'm sure you have thought of this before:
but have you asked a university lecturer/teacher/professor whatever the proper term is? It would probably be difficult to find a Biggles-obsessed one, but there must be many who knows these things? I don't know which subjects would apply, but social history, literary analysis (covers everything :P ), ethnology, anthropology or whatever uni subjects you got in the English speaking world ;)
Most academics are of course busy but many are also obsessed :twisted: and love to share their knowledge! (sharing is caring)


That's a good idea. Unfortunately I'm not in commuting distance of a University (the nearest is an hour away but is brand new and only does subjects of interest to the Energy Coast on which I live ie nuclear engineering and teaching). I'm a couple of hours away from universities where there would be history professors.

I had a look through the history section in St John's library (Oxford) but even the social history books tended to the political. They were all much more concerned with the rise of the trade unions than how people lived.

That seems to be the problem. I can find serious history books which look at global politics and wars, or I can find ditsy little pages saying 'In the 1930s lots more people got indoor plumbing. Look at our retro 1930s inspired wash basin.' I need the Time Team guide to living conditions of all social classes.

I'm not looking in an obsessive manner. Occasionally I Google some terms and see if anything comes up. I only want to read something. I don't want to pay money!
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 10 Aug 2015, 10:09

I had a look through the history section in St John's library (Oxford) but even the social history books tended to the political. They were all much more concerned with the rise of the trade unions than how people lived.

That seems to be the problem. I can find serious history books which look at global politics and wars, or I can find ditsy little pages saying 'In the 1930s lots more people got indoor plumbing. Look at our retro 1930s inspired wash basin.' I need the Time Team guide to living conditions of all social classes.

I'm not looking in an obsessive manner. Occasionally I Google some terms and see if anything comes up. I only want to read something. I don't want to pay money!


The thing is that the info you want isn't strange, it has to be out there :shock: The problem is figuring out the proper search term. :think:

When I studied English at uni in Sweden I did some literary analysis (but as I have been told: it's not proper literary analysis) and that kind of info about how people lived is exactly the kind of thing I could need to know in order to analyse a text. The trick is to figure out possible key words/terms to use when searching for secondary sources :think:
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 10 Aug 2015, 11:24

Silly, silly me!!! :crazy:

When you are looking for a book (and finding it isn't part of the assignment ;) ) you ask a librarian! I don't have any real experience with British librarians but I know that here they take a lot of pride in locating books for people, the stranger the better!! :twisted:
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Re: Mount Street

Postby kylie_koyote » 10 Aug 2015, 11:26

I've learned a lot of daily minutia recently from reading memoirs, rather than historical fiction. My grandfather was very specific in his memoir of how the house was set up, how the furnace worked, etc. We just need to find the right one.

I realized the other day that Rip and Thirty go to a the Fortymore Townhouse, which is also in Mayfair. In American English, a "townhouse" means it is at least two floors. Is that the same in England?
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Re: Mount Street

Postby HostileCacti » 10 Aug 2015, 11:32

Look Kismet, I found the people to ask:

https://youtu.be/YwCUtpbUWgk
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