One day, I took a tour called "Darkest Victorian London," which brought us to the south side of the Thames and into the areas most "celebrated" by Dickens. Here in the Southwark borough, you could just imagine dirty-faced little Oliver Twists running through the alleys. Now, it's a "regenerated" area, meaning there's a lot of effort to clean everything up. Still, you can see tiny hints of the disease and poverty that defined this area during Victorian times (one of them can be found in the first picture below).
Naturally, I decided Southwark would be the perfect place to set one of my most important locations in the new trilogy. Can't tell you what it is, because doing so would give you too much information about the unreleased books two and three of the Vampire Babylon series, but I'll show you a picture that has already inspired me.
If you were to take a guess at what you're looking at, you might suppose it's some kind of memorial, what with the ribbons and items tied to the iron gates. You're partially correct. This is actually the Cross Bones Graveyard, and my "important location" will pretty much be across the street. This graveyard struck me because it's got a real feel to it: the place looks like a mere cement slab, neglected and sad, but beneath it all, layers upon layers of buried bodies were found when the Jublilee tube line was built at the end of the 20th century. Cross Bones is a community grave that dates back to medieval times and was closed in the mid 1800s due to overcrowding. At first, "Winchester Geese" were tossed in this unconsecrated ground (the nickname served to describe prostitutes). Later, paupers were piled in here. These days, there's talk of turning the grounds into office buildings or something, but resistance seems considerable. As a matter of fact, all those ribbons signify the care of locals who come by to pay respects to the dead. I hear that on every 23rd day of the month, there's a candlelight procession and nondenominational ritual honoring the inhabitants.
I love this next picture, too, and if you read MIDNIGHT REIGN come February, you'll find an homage to this address in one of the Master's scenes....
This is known as one of the most haunted places in London--50 Berkley Square. I've always been fascinated by this place, first and foremost, because there was something about it on IN SEARCH OF... that I watched when I was little and it freaked me the hell out. It's said that a "presence" lurks in the upper room. Check out these fun tales...especially the one about the two sailors (then see if you notice any vague similarities with that MIDNIGHT REIGN scene when the book comes out). Nowadays, an uppercrust bookstore resides here, and things seem pretty chill.
Lastly, here's a photo I took during the "Hampstead Village" tour.
Yes, another cemetery! But I won't be using this one in my books, mostly because I'll make fine use of different graveyards at other points. However, horror fans should note that the Hampstead cemetery plays a part in Bram Stoker's DRACULA (Lucy is seen here after she turns vampy).
At any rate, this is somewhere I'd return on another trip, just so I could sit on a bench and take in the surroundings at my leisure. Hampstead itself is where I'd move if I were ever lucky enough to get super rich and move to London. It's a gorgeous, serene village north of the city, just like Highgate, where the air is also fresh.
Gosh, looking at these makes me want to go back for more!
Until tomorrow's HEROES, have a great one!