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Ahead of National Storytelling week, which begins on 30 January, we share our pick of the famous names in literature and film to have spun a yarn on our streets.
Just a stone’s throw from where their most memorable film character was first dreamt up, Sir Sean Connery and Roger Moore have both lived on this pretty square – at No. 7 and No. 22, respectively. As the first and second Bond actors, Connery and Moore certainly brought the story of this suave British spy to life.
Another star of the silver screen, Vivien Leigh, lived a few doors down at No. 54. There are no prizes for remembering her best known role – the atypical protagonist and southern belle Scarlett O’Hara – in the film that brought Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 romance novel, Gone with the Wind, to the masses.
Another leading lady who finds herself grappling with the niceties of high society – this time London’s Regency-era gentry – is Cecilia. Among fans of Frances Burney’s second and most popular novel was Jane Austen, who was inspired to write Pride and Prejudice after reading the phrase in the book’s closing pages. Burney, who was not only a novelist, but also a playwright and diarist, lived at No. 102 Mount Street.
Chance upon No. 24 on Chester Square and you’ll find a blue plaque paying tribute to Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. A story of mysticism and intrigue, the book was shrouded in further mystery when Shelley chose to publish it anonymously. She moved to the square in her forties, choosing it for its convenient location near Westminster Palace, not too far from London Bridge where her beloved son lived. She stayed until her death in 1851.
One of the square’s stucco terraces housed the late film director, screenwriter and producer Blake Edwards and his wife Julie Andrews in the early 1970s. This talented couple helped dramatise an impressive number of much-loved films, musicals and plays. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther are among Edwards’s most popular directorial works. While Andrews’s charming Mary Poppins will famously be remembered for gliding over streets not dissimilar to those in Mayfair, with the help of her trusty, yet talkative, parrot umbrella.