Spies route

Leave Swiss Cottage station at Barclays Bank exit and you will see the

Odeon cinema

which was built by Oscar Deutsch, millionaire uncle of spymaster Arnold Deutsch who recruited the Cambridge spies., Philby, Maclean and Burgess.  ( It opened in 1937 and was the No 1 cinema on the Odeon circuit. The name Odeon stood for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation. )

Turn left along the Finchley Road towards Waitrose, and either turn left down Goldhurst Terrace, bear right into Greencroft Gardens   and  turn left into Priory Road and right into  into Acol Road

or board  a  C11 bus  behind Waitrose  FP to F stop.  Get off at Priory  Road (2 stops) On the right is

18 Acol Road, home of Kim Philby

where in 1934 Donald Maclean came to supper  and they planned a future as communist spies for Russia.

Cross the road  and turn left into Wavel Mews  which was built in 1879  and named after Thomas Wavel, a local landowner .   It provided 10 stables, which have now been converted to residences. Several new houses were built in  the 1960s.   Walk through to Priory Road, turn right  to  stop  G  just before the church.  Take a 139  (towards Waterloo) or 189 bus  (towards Marble Arch) three stops to S bus stop at Carlton Hill , turn left until you reach Blenheim Road on the left     or turn left  at the church into Abbey Road  and  walk  along until you reach Blenheim Road on the left .  Turn left  up Blenheim Road until you reach Loudoun Road, turn right and on your right is

15 Loudoun Road, home of poet Stephen Spender

who had politically committed left wing sympathies and was a friend of poet W H Auden, an intellectual communist, who often stayed there and whom spy Guy Burgess tried to contact when he decided to flee to Russia.

Keep walking along Loudoun Road, turn left at Grove End Road and right down the Finchley Road, right into Circus Road and left into Cavendish Avenue. turn left into Wellington Place

Wellington Place, home of Guy Burgess (No 10) and Louis MacNeice (No 6)

10 Wellington Place was demolished to make way for the Wellington Hospital but No 6 remains.  MacNeice had “sympathies  with the Left but not my heart or guts” – at school he had shared a study with spy Anthony Blunt who knew MacNeice was “an irredeemable heterosexual” and gave up hope of recruiting him.

Retrace steps to Circus Road, turn left  and then right   You will see Grove End Gardens flats where Grove End Road swings away to the right by the statue.

12 Grove End Gardens, home of Edith Tudor Hart

She was a communist from Vienna who married an English (communist) doctor  and fled to England where she ran a photographic business and  was named as the “grandmother” of all the Cambridge spies by Blunt.  She  suggested Philby amongst others  to Deutsch as a possible spy,

Continue along Abbey Road until you reach Abbey Gardens and turn left past

36 Abbey Gardens, home of Olivia Manning, novelist, and her husband Reggie Smith,  a communist sympathiser

It was their friend and lodger, actor Tony Richardson, who provided the funds for George Blake’s escape to East Germany- Blake was the first MI5  officer  to betray his fellow workers.

Continue along Abbey Gardens, turn left at Violet Hill and right at Abercorn Place and you will see

St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace where anti nuclear left wing Rev John Papworth was assistant vicar

and provided a safe house for George Blake after his escape from prison.

Continue down Abercorn Place, crossing Hamilton Terrace and Maida Vale and along Elgin Road to Maida Vale Station or return to Abbey Road and walk up Grove End Road to St Johns Wood station,

Total time approx 1 hour 40 minutes

Length 7.1 kilometres or 4.4 miles

This page was added on 22/06/2021.

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