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Home House Club, Portman Square

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At the north west corner of Portman Square, where it meets the southern end of Gloucester Place are three 18th Century town houses, which have been converted into a luxurious private members club.

The Home House Club (pronounced "hume", after the Scottish / Berwickshire aristocratic clan, to whom at least one British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home was a related) occupies Numbers 21, 20 and 19 Portman Square. The entrance to Number 21 is on the western, Gloucester Place side of the block, and Numbers 20 and 19 are on the main Portman Square façade.

This real life club, may have influenced the fragment of cyberpunk literary author William Gibson's next novel, mentioning as it does the character of Inchmale, who appeared in Spook Country

See some discussion on the official William Gibson board discussion forum
Inchmale's club in Portman Square, which speculates on a fragment of text (which may, or may not actually end up in a novel) released by the author on his blog on 1st January 2009.


Inchmale's club, in Portman Square, was called Cabinet. It was a peculiarly narrow place, apparently occupying half of the vertical volume of a townhouse whose expensively forgettable façade reminded her of a sleeping face.


Apart from a futuristic architect designed House bar at Number 21,


the interior decoration evokes 18th Century aristocratic opulence, including

Anthony Blunt Bedroom

Named after a former resident of House No 20 who had an apartment here after the Second World War during his tenure as Master of the Queen's Art Collection.



This blurb conveniently forgets to mention Anthony Blunt's espionage career as a KGB spook, linked to the notorious Philby, Maclean and Burgess spy scandals, which rocked the British intelligence services in the 1950s and 1960s, and which was covered up by the establishment for many years, and which led to the stripping of his knighthood, when it was eventually made public. The treachery of the Cambridge Five spy ring has been hugely influential on British spy fiction, drama, tv and films.


Latitude: N51:30:59 (51.516433)
Longitude: W0:09:24 (-0.156541)



More images of 21, 20, 19 Portman Square:

Chinese Embassy


Embassy of the People's Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place (western corner with Weymouth Street)


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:31:16 ( 51.521120 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:08:45 ( -0.145800 )


Note the large array of various types of radio antennas on the roof.

There is a permanent Free Tibet demonstration in support of the occupied and oppressed country of Tibet (which was invaded by Communist China in 1950) , on the other side of Portland Place, outside the the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The Free Tibet campaign has been subjected to Chinese "cyber warfare" over the years.

Blue Plaque: Sir Charles Wheatstone


Blue Plaque: Charles Babbage


Charles Babbage

1a Dorset Street, Marylebone, W1U 4EE

Mathematician, Cryptographer and Inventor of mechanical computing devices including the Analytical Engine and the Difference Engine (see the Science Museum entry)

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote a “SteamPunk” novel based on this The Difference Engine.




GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:31:12 ( 51.519876 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:09:17 ( -0.154759 )

Polonium-210: 1 Cavendish Place


Not in Mayfair but opposite the Langham Hotel near the BBC Broadcasting House and the Chinese Embassy.

1 Cavendish Place


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:31:02 ( 51.517092 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:08:37 ( -0.143542 )

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Zero history blog

Zero History blog -

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

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