Psychogeography means the influence of the geographical environment on the mind. Flâneur is French for an idle man about town. After ten weeks of lockdown, Twickenham flâneurs can be forgiven for indulging in a little frivolous psychogeography and enjoying the artistic sights in Twickenham.
The Rolling Stones are synonymous with Richmond and Twickenham. Strollers can soak up the atmosphere on Eel Pie Island where the Stones played on 19 June 1963 and wander by the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, where the Stones were house band in the early 1960s, which is commemorated by a blue plague.
Flâneurs can drink in eccentric Twickenham: Strawberry Hill House, which is the home of Horace Walpole and the unique architectural style known as Strawberry Hill Gothic. Walpole wrote the first Gothic novel here, The Castle of Otranto (1764). Kilmorey House is nearby in St Margaret’s, this Egyptian mausoleum was built in the 1850s by the Earl of Kilmorey for his mistress. The most stunning psychogeography of all is King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park where St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen through a historically protected tree-lined tunnel.
While strolling in Twickenham and Richmond these physical sites from the past stimulate enjoyment in the present and optimism for the future. On a walk through Twickenham’s history we look far back to look far forward.
Dr Richard Mills is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Popular Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
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