Love Letters to London: #1 Mrs Dalloway

Was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June


Join film photographer Lauren Keim and me as we step into the footsteps of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway as she walks from Westminster to Bond Street on an errand to buy flowers for her party on a summer morning in June 1923.

Quote: The leaden circles dissolved in the air and the suspense, the pause before big ben strikes,  etc…

From the leaden circles of Big Ben (sadly currently closed for renovations) to the flags flying on Bond Street, seeing this world through Mrs Dalloway’s eyes you will realise how little this part of London has changed in a hundred years. It’s easy to imagine Buckingham Palace, St James’ Park, Piccadilly and Bond Street as they were in the 1920s, as if we have peeled away a hundred years of layers to expose the stories beneath.

Lauren and I both read Mrs Dalloway most recently as part of our book clubs (her in Virginia, USA, and me in London) and when we found our book club met on the exact same day we knew we had to create this special walk on Lauren’s next trip to London. 

Quote: I love walking in London’, said Mrs Dalloway. “Really it’s better than walking in the country’

As a Londoner I was thrilled to read Mrs Dalloway and find that so many of the places Virginia Woolf uses in the book are still in existence and I could picture so many of them immediately in my head. In contrast Lauren, not knowing London so well, carries around the imagery rather than the actual places and uses these images to inspire her beautiful photography. Over lunch after our walk we will be discussing Mrs Dalloway, a book that has inspired both of us so much, with you and talking about our different approaches to falling deeper in love with London.

One of the things that has really inspired me about Lauren is how she takes quotes from books with her on her photo walks. She uses the imagery created in literature to inspire her own image taking, to give it extra depth and meaning. On this walk Lauren will be bringing with her favourite quotes from Mrs Dalloway and showing us how we can use these to deepen our connection to our walk, both on the day and in the future.

Whether you want to take photographs, immerse yourself in the world of Mrs Dalloway, deepen your love for London or simply wish to have a Springtime wander through a pretty part of London and have a delicious lunch afterwards, this unique London amble will reinvigorate your creative spirit and introduce you to like minded people.

Our walk begins near to the Palace of Westminster at 11am on Saturday 23rd March (exact location to be confirmed) and ends with a delicious lunch at the wonderful Thomas’s at Burberry on Regent Street.

This wander is the very first in my new series Love Letters to London. This series is designed to deepen your love for London’s streets by seeing it through the eyes of writers who loved London as much as we do. You can read more about this series in my blog post here.