Saturday, November 17, 2012


  The night before the lights went out, Victor Legg was the loneliest man in London.  He clocked off in the early hours of the first day of September1939, but he did not go home.  Instead, he walked.  He went east, past Fortnum & Mason, where the windows were already crossed with sticky tape and the walls banked with sandbags.  He struck out across Piccadilly Circus, through the insomniac streets of Soho and into
Covent Garden, where he found an all-night Italian café;  one of those places where signs on the walls warned customers that they were not permitted to sleep on the premises.  He sat.  He smoked.  He ordered bacon sandwiches and coffee.  And he waited for the world to know what he knew. 

NOTE:  If this excerpt from the introduction of The West End Front, The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels, by Matthew Sweet, grabs you, you should pick up the book. (London, Faber & Faber, 2011.)  

It's terrific and highly enjoyable.


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