Samuel Charters was a London based American writer on the Blues and ethnic music. He was also a poet and on Sunday, February 11, 1973 he decided to publicise his latest book of poetry with a treasure hunt around London where people found the various poems. This is a transcription of the leaflet he distributed about the hunt. In the case of Speaker's Corner he writes 'I'll be near fence by Park Lane from 11 to 2. I won't be arguing with anybody and will be wearing poems. If it's really raining I'll leave about 1.' At the end of the day Charters would be at the Holly Bush pub in Hampstead from 7:30 onwards with extra copies of poems. A merry enterprise, one wonders how it went...London has changed a bit since then.
"FROM A LONDON NOTEBOOK"
Instructions for the treasure hunt
Most of these poems were written while I was going from place to another place in London over the last year and a half. Sometimes I finally got there, sometimes I just stood around looking at something else and never got there at all, Sometimes I was just getting out of a pub or just going to a pub. Somewhere early in the time this started I bought a notebook in a stationer's in Camden Town, and the poems were scribbled into it as I went along. Since I wrote the poems in so many parts of London it seemed most natural to publish them by scattering them back across London again, in the places where I'd written them, The place where they were written and the poems themselves, in a way, were too closely bound together to be separated.
The poems will be in the places described in London on Sunday, February 11, 1973. The copies will be in boxes on doorways, fences, against walls and under bridges. Since there's no way to leave poems around at Speakers' Corner at Marble Arch I'll be there with copies of the sixth poem for part of the day. The poems and I will be there even if it's raining. I don't know if anybody will get around to all of the places - or even want to. It will take a while, but it will be good exercise and you'll see a lot of London,
If anybody does do it - or goes around to find any of the poems why don't we all meet later? The last place I've described is a pub in Hampstead - and I'll be there in the evening with extra copies of poems that anybody couldn't find, If anybody does find all of them I'll cheerfully buy him or her a drink.
This will be the only publication of "From A London Notebook."
The Poems -
There are fifteen of them - this is where you look to find them.
Great Windmill Street, up to the left two blocks to
Brewer Street, Hertz Car Rental at head of street) turn
right and cross over to 18 Brewer Street - behind Lina
Stores in Green Court - poem on doorway of Calder and Boyars.
2. On Charing Cross Road just down from Shaftesbury Avenue - on east side of road across from Dobell's - there's an entrance to Sandringham flats No. 75-169, Go through gate, turn left, go to four steps in corner, and on fence to the left.just beyond them. The lettering's still half visible on the first turning of the stairs.
3. Where Charing Cross Road run's into Oxford Street there's a big empty office building on the south-east corner. Go under sign saying "Clearance 7'9" " and poem will be on metal gate to left of double wooden doors. Wrong season of year, but the place is right. Great corner in summer.
4. On the Embankment to the left of the Charing Cross Station (Underground) about 100 yards down is the Obelisk. Beside Obelisk go down stairs at right to the river wall, and poems will be in an olden wooden rack where a life bouy used to be.
5. Back through Charing Cross Station you'll find yourself on Villiers Street. Go up about sixty yards toward the Strand, and on the right is the entrance to the Victoria Embankment Gardens. About fifty steps in you look down to the left and there's a big white stone triumphal gateway. Poem is on iron grating on window on the far side of it.
6. Speakers' Corner. I'll be near fence by Park Lane from 11 to 2. I won't be arguing with anybody and will be wearing poems. If it's really raining I'll leave about 1.
7. Go down path by Park Lane from Speakers' corner. There's a round shelter with benches just beyond the snack bar, Poem's on side away from path and high up.
8. James Street - which is off Oxford Street - begins across Oxford Street and about thirty yards west of Bond Street Station. Poem is in entrance to building site opposite Rosedell at 50 James Street.
9, Warren Street Station (Northern Line) - on south side of Warren Street about 30 yards from Tottenham Court Road, hanging on metal grating of doorway.
10. You have to walk a little from Hammersmith Station - but worth it. Cross over Hammersmith Bridge to Arundel Terrace - not far on left. Turn left and poem's on fence to left of entrance to Regatta Bar. Pub in poem is the one in front.
11. Path goes down to towpath under Hammersmith Bridge on south bank - look on the fence under the bridge.
12. The Sainsbury's is down the street, but the poem is in the doorway of 86 Marylebone High Street.. You can keep walking up from James Street, or come to Marylebone High Street from Baker Street Station. Never have decided which is shorter.
13. Camden Town - Compendium Book Shop - 240 Camden High Street. On door.
14. In Camden Town still. Go back toward the Underground Station and turn right into Inverness Street. Poem is on door of Rank Leisure Services, 11/15 Inverness - on south side of street not far from the corner.
15. Not far from it - across Camden High Street to Buck Street. Poem's on south side of street, on wall opposite Leo Cafe Andy.
(If poem's should be running low leave the last one. so next one coming along will have something to read at least.)
Almost as important as all of this - a pub to meet in later. The Holly Bush in Hampstead. Go across Heath Street from the Hampstead station (Northern Line) and walk Holly Hill. Stay on right side and turn right on Holly Mount about 150 Yards up* The pub's right there. I'll be there from 7:30 onwards with extra copies of poems, copies of the cover, etc.
*If all of this is confusing, or there's something you need to put the poems all together ask Nick Kimberley at Compendium. [PORTENTS 23]