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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th March 1969 Fashion designer Alexander McQueen was born in Lewisham, London.
17th March 1954 Born today: Lesley-Anne Down, London, actress (A Little Night Music, Moonraker)
17th March 1954 Born today: Wally Stocker, London, rock vocalist/guitarist (Babys-Missing You)
17th March 1931 Born today: Eunice Gayson, London England, actress (Dr No, From Russia With Love)
17th March 1928 The first James Bond girl, from Dr No, actress Eunice Gayson was born in Croydon.
17th March 1921 Dr Marie Stopes opens Britain's 1st birth control clinic (London)
17th March 1904 The Daily Mirror's Handcuff challenge to Harry Houdini at the Alhambra Theatre.
17th March 1845 Rubber band patented by Stephen Perry of London
17th March 1789 Born today: Edmund Kean, London England, tragic actor (Shylock)
Barn Elms Kit Cat House
This is where the old Barn Elms House once stood.
Location: Barn Elms, Putney, London
Description: This is where the old Barn Elms house used to be, before it burned down and was demolished in 1949. The Kit-Cat Club met here, when publisher Jacob Tonson was living here and he built a room specially for the club here.
The club originally consisted of thirty-nine, afterwards of forty-eight members, and included among others the duke of Marlborough, Lords Halifax and Somers, Sir Robert Walpole, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Steele and Addison. The portraits of many of the members were painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, himself a member, of a uniform size suited to the height of the Barn Elms room in which the club dined. The canvas, 36 X 28 in., admitted of less than a half-length portrait but was sufficiently long to include a hand, and this is known as the kit-cat size.
Now the open space is a natural and sporting haven within the northern bend of the river.
In the 1770s the formal lake was enlarged and made into a serpentine formation in the Capability Brown style. Some large Plane trees remain from the late 17th century - one of exceptional size is mentioned in Alan Mitchells Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. It takes six people to reach around the trunk!