Recently in Charing Cross Road Category

Charing Cross Road: Cambridge Circus to Centre Point

| | Comments (1)

Go further north up Charing Cross Road and cross over Cambridge Circus - be careful and obey the Pelican crossings - Shaftesbury Avenue is very busy with traffic and the pavements can be very crowded, so there have been numerous pedestrian traffic accidents here over the years.


Charing Cross Road Cambridge Circus to Centre Point - map via

On your right you will see the distinctive blue livery of Blackwell's bookshop, which is organising the "Evening with William Gibson" event, You should be able to get tickets there @ £7 (£5 concessions).


Across the Charing Cross Road from Blackwell's is the Montagu Pyke pub, which occupies most of the site of the former Marquee Club music venue (circa 1988 to 1995). The pub itself is very large inside, with (relatively) cheap drinks and food (remember that this is the West End of London), so it is a candidate for the William Gibson Board posse pub crawl.


Folyes bookshop at 113-119 Charing Cross Road


and the former US chain Borders bookshop at 120 Charing Cross Road {N.B. this closed in December 2009]


are almost on opposite sides of the Charing Cross Road from each other.

Borders is on the corner of Denmark Street, which is full of music industry related instrument shops, studios, former printed sheet music publishers etc. which gave it the nickname of Britain's "Tin Pan Alley". In the 18th and 19th centuries it was part of the notorious slum the Rookery in the parish of St. Giles church (at the far end of Denmark Street), infamously depicted by WIlliam Hogarth in his Gin Lane engraving.

As will become clearer, not that much has changed over the years !

Denmark Street is also mentioned by William Gibson in Spook Country


Cambridge Circus - John le Carré's "the Circus"

| | Comments (3)

Cambridge Circus is the cross roads of the Charing Cross Road (north south) with Shaftesbury Avenue (east west). It is also the widely assumed fictional setting of "the Circus" - the headquarters buildings of "British Intelligence", as portrayed in the espionage thriller novels (and their resulting films and TV series) by John le Carré, e.g. Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People etc.


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:47 ( 51.513116 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:44 ( -0.128802 )

See also this semi-live BBC Jam cam traffic camera image (usually updated every few minutes, unless there is actually some interesting incident, when the feed is censored) from the Charing Cross Road / Cambridge Circus camera, which usually points west along Shaftesbury Avenue towards Chinatown on the left.

N.B. it does not appear that "British Intelligence", certainly not the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, was ever really based at Cambridge Circus.

However, passages from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, perhaps point to a more likely candidate building, just north of the actual Cambridge Circus cross roads itself:

Allowing for some artistic licence, and the author's natural caution and espionage tradecraft, there do not seem to be any buildings actually on the crossroads of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road which fit the descriptions in the novel, which makes several references to the "fifth floor", where the senior members of the organisation had their offices.

[via Microsoft]

Orbital Comics - Great Newport Street


Just off the Charing Cross Road, one block north of Leicester Square Tube station is Great Newport Street.

What used to be The Photographer's Gallery, is the new location of Orbital Comics, which has dozens of boxes of US Marvel and DC comics (and a few independents) in plastic storage bags for collectors.

The former art gallery extends quite far back from the main road, and is much more spacious than their old basement premises, in the now demolished block near Centre Point.


8 Gt Newport Street
London WC2H 7JA
Tel: 0207 2400591


Latitude: N51:30:43 (51.511995)
Longitude: W0:07:40 (-0.127825)

Near to Foyles and Borders (closed in December 2009), opposite the junction of Charing Cross road with Denmark Street, is a curious, advertising campaign funded ,Temporary Autonomous Zone

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite preview

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is Japan's most popular video game and with multiplayer games being played all over the streets of Japan, the game has even been described by some as a phenomenon. According to Capcom, in Japan this PSP game is bigger than Pokemon and Wii Fit!

Now Capcom, with the help of a very large advertising campaign hope to replicate that success in the UK


In London there are many places where you would not want to answer your mobile phone in public, let alone get your PSP our for a 20 minute gaming session. To kickstart online Gameplay in the UK, Capcom have setup a 'Gathering Hall', a kind of Monster Hunter drop in center where players can meet and play Monster Hunter together. They can also download exclusive quests, attend tutorial nights and maybe even meet some of the game's developers.

London Gathering Hall for Monster Hunter players

The Gathering Hall, open 7 days a week from the 3rd of July, is located in a three story building, just one minutes walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station on Charing Cross Road. Entrance is free (and exclusive) to anyone with a PSP and a copy of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.

121 Charing Cross Road


Google StreetView / Map map:


Latitude: N51:30:54 (51.515038)
Longitude: W0:07:49 (-0.130337)

It is very strange to see half a dozen "gamers" (all male, not teenagers but 20 - 30 year olds) lounging in multi-coloured armchairs, playing this Sony PSP game over WiFi, for free on the Charing Cross Road.

Do all three floors get filled with people playing this game ?

This is not even a "cyber café" - no beverages seem to be on offer.

How long will this last ?

UPDATE 10th November 2009 - the premises now seem to have reverted to a "normal" shop:


Charing Cross Road - Mocha Cafe Patisserie and Internet Cafe


Between Leicester Square Tube and Cambridge Circus is the Mocha Cafe Patisserie and Internet Café at
62 Charing Cross Road, on the edge of Chinatown. There is usually with a low paid (illegal ?) immigrant holding a sign advertising the Internet access on the pavement outside.


Inside there are about a hundred internet PCs, for which they charge£1 per hour. The usual warnings apply, - hold on tight to your bags and mobile phones etc. as these are targets of opportunistic sneak thieves, who are not deterred by the CCTV surveillance cameras.

Although there is anti-virus software etc. installed, unlike EasyInternetCafes, the software is not rebuilt after each customer session, so the risk of password sniffers etc. is greater.


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:43 ( 51.512051 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:07:45 ( -0.129076 )

North from Leicester Square Tube up Charing Cross Road


Exit from Leicester Square Tube station, on the Covent Garden side of Charing Cross Road, heading to the Cambridge Circus junction with Shaftesbury Avenue.


See also this semi-live BBC Jam cam traffic camera image (usually updated every few minutes, unless there is actually some interesting incident, when the feed is censored) from the Charing Cross Road / Cranbourne Street camera.

Charing Cross Road between Leicester SquareTube and Cambridge Circus - map via


If you are interested in punk / goth / rock / metal badges, bracelets, jewellery, piercings etc. Strange Stuff (?) at 68 Charing Cross Road is worth a look (occupies the shop under the "Health Centre" sign) -

Across the road is the Mocha Cafe Patisserie and Internet Café
62 Charing Cross Road, usually with a low paid (illegal ?) immigrant holding a sign advertising the Internet access on the pavement outside.

Chinatown and its restaurants, Mah Jong gambling dens is behind this row of shops.

This row of shops was the home to the Murder One crime thriller and (former) science fiction bookshop, but they were forced to move into the much smaller former Sliver Moon women's bookshop, due to the rapacious demands of the property developers, dropping their science fiction books in the process.

Murder One bookshop is now located at 76-78 Charing Cross Road, i.e. on the eastern (Covent Garden) side of the road.


Cambridge Circus is the cross roads of the Charing Cross Road (north south) with Shaftesbury Avenue (east west). It is also the fictional setting of "the Circus" - the headquarters buildings of "British Intelligence", as portrayed in the novels (and their resulting films and TV series) of John le Carré, such as the "KGB mole hunt" in Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy


Email Contact

email: blog @ CyberPunk [dot] org [dot] uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g.

Zero history blog

Zero History blog -

- documenting and analysing William Gibson's current novel in progress, with some London / UK locations already.

Spook Country blog

Spook Country blog - htpp://

This documents and analyses William Gibson's novel Spook Country which has some London locations, and from which this London CyberPunk Tourist Guide was spawned.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Recent Comments

  • Memetic Engineer: BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera's magazine article prompted by the read more
  • Patrick: I started frequenting the Greyhound at the start of the read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ A Genower - the dusty corridor and the old read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ Saba - why is your cousin not applying for read more
  • Saba: hii i wonder if you can help me my uncel read more
  • Memetic Engineer: @ Nigel - from the Google Street View images, it read more
  • Nigel: Funny thing... if you visit Bywater Street in Google Maps read more
  • A Genower: I was a salesman for IBM office products (largely electric read more
  • me:,-0.147307&sspn=0.008349,0.016179&ie=UTF8&ll=51.498685,-0.140505&spn=0.009097,0.027251&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.498602,-0.140564&panoid=a6ppV5N-mC2PeZ2sJuIxnQ&cbp=12,56.53,,0,25.21 read more
  • me: "On the original TV series the door colour was white" read more