Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hello Lenin!

Passing through Percy Circus.
I visited Profile Books in Holford Yard, Bevin Way, London WC1 the other day.  Profile publish several of my books, including The Templars: History and Myth, The Tragedy of the Templars, The Quest for Mary Magdalene, and The Durrells of Corfu, and it is always a good idea to check that they are still in business.
Lenin at Percy Circus in 1902.

Also Profile are near two spots where Vladimir Ilyich Lenin lived before the 1917 revolution that made him master of Russia and the creator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  One of these places is Percy Circus where Lenin lived in 1905; the other was in Holford Square in 1902, but the entire square was destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War.

A modernist housing project designed by a Russian architect called Berthold Lubetkin was built over the ruins of Holford square and was at first called Lenin Court but once the Cold War got into full swing in the late 1940s its name was changed to Bevin Court after the strongly anti-Communist Labour foreign secretary Ernest Bevin.  It was Lenin/Bevin Court I was particularly keen to see.

Bevin Court
The central staircase had a social purpose, to make people mix and to run them together.  Fortunately there are also lifts for the socially incorrect.

Lubetkin also created a memorial to Lenin on this site but it was constantly attacked and he buried it beneath the central core of the staircase at garden level. But if you want to see Lenin himself, and not tulips, you will have to visit his mummified corpse in Moscow's Red Square, abutting the wall of the Kremlin and opposite the delightful GUM department store which is a thriving monument to the vitality of pre- and post-communist Russia.

For more of Lenin in London, click here.