CyberPunk Tourist Guide to London - Introduction

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As promised on the Hacking the Gibson, in London! discussion thread, here is my personal guide to some of the "CyberPunk" and other locations of interest to me in Central London.

I hope it will be was of some use to the readers of the official William Gibson Books discussion board,, and to any readers of this Spook Country blog, who are were swarming to London for the William Gibson Spook Country book promotional events this in August 2007, and into the future:

  • "Evening with William Gibson" event - book signing, reading, questions and answers etc. on Tuesday 28th August 2007, 7pm at the Trades Union Congress conference centre in Great Russell Street (tickets £7 via Blackwell's Bookshop - telephone line +44(0)845 456 9876 Mon - Fri, 9.30am to 6.00pm)

  • Thereis was also a book signing event to be held at the Forbidden Planet Megastore bookshop, at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, the next day, Wednesday 29th August 2007, from 1pm to 2pm.

These London book signing venues have been used for previous William Gibson novel promotions as well and are also likely for the forthcoming Zero History, due to be published on 7th September 2010. - see the blog for more details as they become available.

Hopefully people will find this little guide an interesting and useful adjunct to the normal maps and tourist guides - please email with any corrections or suggestions, or else leave a (moderated) comment on the blog entries.

Like all great cities, London is in a constant state of flux, so some of the more ephemeral locations of shops or cafes etc. may now be of just historical interest - check on the date of the blog entries.

N.B.If you feel like disclosing any secrets, then you can use this published public PGP encryption key. or look it up on a public PGP keyserver.

If you doubt that we live in a Surveillance Society, then start counting the vast number of Closed Circuit Television spy cameras visible on the streets and buildings and on public transport in London. Then ask why yourself why there is still so much crime and such an apparent threat from terrorists.

Table of Contents


Trompe l'oeil /graffiti street art style mural for a Locksmith / Safe shop in Bethnall Green Road, Shoreditch


On the other side of Bethnall Green Road from Boxpark, just past the corner with Ebor Street.


#guardiancoffee - The Guardian newspaper, coffee & Apple iPads


Can there be anything more "New Meedja" than a "pop up" cyber café run by the politically left of centre The Guardian newspaper (one of the few left which actually investigates the establishment power elites), serving coffee etc. with Apple iPad tablet computers at some of the tables ?

Note the use of a Twitter hashtag #guardiancoffee for the name.



Units 1,2,3,
Box Park,
2-10, Bethnal Green Rd,
London E1 6GY


The location is alongside Shoreditch High Street Tube Station.


The Vape Lab: e-cigarettes & coffee & WiFi


London's first e-cigarette coffee shop opens its doors to capital's 'vapers'


The Vape Lab

232 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6PJ



The £99 electronic cigarette gizmos could be mistaken for Dr. Who style sonic screwdrivers or they could easily be used straight off, or slightly adapted, as SteamPunk fashion accessories.


The Old Shoreditch Station - first BitCoin ATM in London


Shoreditch is an increasingly gentrified inner city area adjacent to the City of London, which is in the process of what William Gibson described as regooding

The disused Shoreditch Railway Station has become a cafe, bar, art gallery clothing & shoes store etc:- The Old Shoreditch Station

The cafe / bar is the first place in the UK to have a public BitCoin ATM (made by Lamassu) which allows you to convert real banknotes into BitCoin cryptocurrency with reasonable convenience (limit £1000 with 8% commission) and some anonymity.




Britain's First Bitcoin ATM Arrives in London Cafe

The cafe / bar also accepts BitCoin as payment.

The Old Shoreditch Station

1 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London E2 8DA


SAT 10AM - 1AM
SUN 10AM - 11PM


Google UK offices via Google Street View etc.


Many CyberPunk Tourists to London will pass through or near to Victoria Station via mainline railway, underground Tube, Bus or Coach etc.

Just opposite the south western side of the Victoria Station complex is the London office of Google UK, so it is interesting that you can see its location via Google Street View etc., which now offers even a "3D" viewing effect - one step closer to immersive cyberpunk augmented reality

Google UK Ltd
Belgrave House
76 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1W 9TQ
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)20-7031-3000
Fax: +44 (0)20-7031-3001

Google London@51.495238,-0.146663

These Latitude and Longitude coordinates imply that the Google Office are in the north west of the part of the Belgrave House office block.

Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, looking towards Victoria Station on the top right:


Belgrave House main entrance looking south from the direction of Victoria Station:


Eccleston Place - Belgrave House rear entrance and vehicle loading bay:


Microsoft Bing Maps Birds Eye aerial view of Belgrave House opposite Victoria Station, London:


Technically, the western side of the Buckingham Palace Road is the edge of Belgravia, rather than the Victoria district of of London.

How much do Google UK, or their US parent company Google Inc, know about you and your online activities ?

Who do they sell or give this information to, with or without, your prior, informed, individual consent ?

Charing Cross Road: Cambridge Circus to Centre Point

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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"

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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]

Heywood Hill and Trumper's - Curzon Street


In John Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the chief protagonist George Smiley on his way to Heywood Hill antiquarian bookshop at Number 10 Curzon Street, Mayfiar, bumps into Roddy Martingdale, coming out of "Trumper's" (Geo.F.Trumper) the gentleman's barber's next door at Number 9.


Latitude: N51:30:26 (51.507087)
Longitude: W0:08:48 (-0.146673)

9 and 10 Bywater Street, Chelsea - George Smiley's flat

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In the classic fictional espionage novel and TV series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John le Carré, the central character George Smiley, has a London flat at Number 9 Bywater Street, just off the King's Road, Chelsea, which features in several important parts of the story. The neighbouring Number 10, was actually used in the filming of the BBC TV series (source:


Latitude: N51:29:25 (51.490249)
Longitude: W0:09:51 (-0.164137)

From the summer of 2009 onwards, a couple of the places mentioned in the original London CyberPunk Tourist Guide have been demolished as part of the re-development of Tottenham Court Road Tube Station


Between Denmark Street and St. Giles Circus, which is where the Charing Cross Road meets Oxford Street and becomes the Tottenham Court Road, there is was a cheap Internet Lounge at 138 Charing Cross Road

This offers offered cheap internet access, and mobile phone unlocking and accessories, and cheap long distance phone calls. Be very careful with your bags, mobile phones,purses, wallets etc, as these are a target for the local thieves. The internet PCs are also rife with various bits of spyware and password sniffers, so do not log into something sensitive or valuable. The internet traffic also appears to be "known to the Police"


Note one of the local "stinkies" peering into the window.

Go past the Internet Lounge, past a locked courtyard entrance marked "Sin" (the main entrance to which is round the corner) and you will pass a basement Comic shop called Orbital Comics at 148 Charing Cross Road,


The subway on the corner, leads into the Tottenham Court Road Tube station, and is ok during the day time, but this whole corner of Andrew Bordes Street is somewhere to avoid if you are on your own at night, as the "Stinkies", crackheads, drunks , and other addicts, trend to gather, just as their ancestors did during the time of William Hogarth.

Opposite the subway is the Astoria music venue, which also has a rich musical history of live performances by famous or soon to be famous bands.


However the whole of the block between Andrew Bordes Street and the Denmark Place alley on the east side of Charing Cross Road in the shadow of Centre Point, and the whole of the block of the Astoria Theatre punk /rock / other music venue on the western side have been demolished.

A couple of views from 10th November 2009:


Internet Lounge demolished.


Andrew Borde Street to Denmark Place alley.


Where the Astoria Theatre used to be.

The Tesco Extra superstore in Southall / Hayes, Middlesex, just north east of Heathrow Airport, has a couple of high tech waste re-cycling machines from the Norwegian company Tomra S.A.. which claims to crush or shred and sort metal cans and glass and plastic bottles and jars etc.

They resemble bank Automated Teller Machines, but with loud verbal as well as visual instructions, and multiple CCTV surveillance cameras - the prevention of "fly tipping" seems to require extraordinary technological security measures.

Southall Hayes Bulls Bridge Extra
Bulls Bridge Industrial Estate
Greater London


Latitude: N51:29:56 (51.498821)
Longitude: W0:24:19 (-0.405272)


This installation appears to have cost Tesco around £150,000.


A proximity sensor triggers loud audible instructions and warnings as you approach these machines.


Note the row of CCTV surveillance cameras along the top of this installation.

Croydon: Maplin Electronics by West Croydon station



Latitude: N51:22:42 (51.378301)
Longitude: W0:06:10 (-0.102663)

Turn left out of the exit from the West Croydon railway station and Maplin Electronics is immediately on the corner of North End and Station Road.


This is a normal sized Maplin store, with the usual range of computer, radio, hi fi etc, equipment, tools, spares, components and technical gadgets.

Croydon: Forbidden Planet opposite West Croydon station



Latitude: N51:22:40 (51.377822)
Longitude: W0:06:11 (-0.103071)

The Forbidden Planet comics and sci-fi bookshop is on the opposite corner of North End and Derby Road, from the Maplins electronics store, next to the West Croydon railway station exit.

175 North End
CR0 1T


This is a much smaller shop than the Forbidden Planet Megastore at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue in central London, which hosts most of the CyberPunk and Sci-Fi author signing events.

Croydon: High Speed Access internet cafe near West Croydon station



Latitude: N51:22:43 (51.378522)
Longitude: W0:06:11 (-0.102941)

The High Speed Access Internet Cafe is just a couple of doors along at

170 North End,

when you turn left out of the main exit from the West Croydon railway station


The front of the shop sells music CDs etc. with a few secluded PCs well out of public view in the back, however with plenty of CCTV and web cameras.

A couple of doors south is the Maplin Electronics store and the Forbidden Planet sci-fi and comics store is across the main road from that.

Further north up the London Road, and especially south down the pedestrianised North End are several mobile phone unlocking / second hand mobile phone concessions counters / stalls within other shops (as well as multiple official mobile phone shops)

Croydon: Time*Bomb emo, punk, goth fashion clothing and accessories



Time*Bomb - "Emo, Punk and Rock Clothing, Gothic Emo Punk Rock Clothes & Accessories."

31 High Street

This seem to be the place to get your cyber-goth accessories such as day-glo "womble fur" leggings and also the now notorious Shag Bands.


Latitude: N51:22:22 (51.372702)
Longitude: W0:06:00 (-0.100050)

Croydon: Lunar House and Apollo House - UK Border Agency

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The dual carriageway east of the main Centrale and Whitgift Centre shopping malls in the centre of Croydon, is Wellesley Road, which is the location for several large office buildings, including those occupied by the Home Office's UK Borders Agency

This is where the government bureaucrats who process asylum seekers and legal immigrants to the United Kingdom, as well as those who try to hunt down illegal immigrants, are based.

Asylum seekers, who dare not complain about the UK Government, are the test subjects for various compulsory Identity Card and Biometric technology schemes, which the Home Office is trying to inflict on the entire United Kingdom population, and on that of the rest of the European Union as well.

View north from Electric House, 3 Wellesley Road, towards Apollo House and Lunar House, the 22 story buildings flying the Union Jack flag.


Apollo House

40 Wellesley Road


This is where the more senior civil service mandarins and managers in the UK Borders Agency have their offices.

Crossing over Sydenham Road, you come to the nearby

Lunar House

36 Wellesley Road

This used to be notorious for long queues of Asylum Seekers and other Immigrants, snaking out of the building, waiting for appointments with the bureaucrats within, but these have now disappeared.

This is still the main Asylum processing centre in the UK, and, like Electric House, has a privately run short term holding facility, for people waiting to be transferred to private Immigration Detention Centres.




Latitude: N51:22:41 (51.377920)
Longitude: W0:05:57 (-0.099115)

Croydon: Electric House - Home Office UK Border Agency

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The dual carriageway east of the main Centrale and Whitgift Centre shopping malls in the centre of Croydon, is Wellesley Road, which is the location for several large office buildings, including those occupied by the Home Office's UK Border Agency

This is where the government bureaucrats who process asylum seekers and legal immigrants to the United Kingdom, as well as those who try to hunt down illegal immigrants, are based.

Asylum seekers, who dare not complain about the UK Government, are the test subjects for various compulsory Identity Card and Biometric technology schemes, which the Home Office is trying to inflict on the entire United Kingdom population, and on that of the rest of the European Union as well.

Home Office
UK Border Agency

Electric House
3 Wellesley Road


Electric House is a "reporting centre" for asylum seekers and "failed" asylum seekers, who are frequently interviewed, and then arrested here and then transferred to privately run Immigration Detention Centres, before, eventually being deported.


Croydon: Greyhound / Blue Orchid - defunct punk rock venue

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Croydon played an important part in the history of Punk Rock, but the most famous music venues have shut down and are now only of interest to urban explorers and cultural archaeologists.

The Greyhound, later the Blue Oyster Orchid - defunct punk rock venue on Park Lane, opposite the Fairfield Halls and Croydon College.




Latitude: N51:22:23 (51.373030)
Longitude: W0:05:49 (-0.097005)

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