Hidden London: the streets they didn’t want you to see.

Hanway Street. It hides out the back of Primark where young staff loiter puffing their lives away on bad cigarettes, drugs, and a lifetime of depression … Oh that’s someone else’s tune!

We always think about the London that impresses. The cool fuss of Soho, the ecstatic pleasure of Regent street, Berkeley square, Whitehall, Pall Mall. But we all know it’s those scruffy back streets with puddles of bodily fluids that get the juices going. Well, we don’t exactly try to avoid them. Often they provide The Fastest Possible Route. And sometimes we even look at them. Some would decry them as foul, dirty places in need of a good scrub. Others would eulogize their worth.

Hanway Street leads to Hanway Place

Hanway Street leads to Hanway Place

Hanway place, a narrow road that leads round in a circle. And Hakkasan.

Hanway place, a narrow road that leads round in a circle. And Hakkasan.

Hanway6 Hanway3

I always think of the Hanways (as I would like to call them) as streets that go nowhere. Well, they actually do go somewhere but if you wanted to use them as a short cut to Charlotte Street forget about it. Denied access!

What the Hanways do provide is a sort of mythical London. Streets that go round in circles. Oddly angled ways. Dens of iniquity. Shady characters. With the knowledge that you will never, ever get your feet dirty (this is the West End after all).

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