#Mysteries of Holborn: Elvis Lives (in Holborn)?

Today (16th August) sees the fortieth anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Or does it?  Over the four decades since Elvis’ demise, there have been a number of claims that the King lived beyond 1977, subsequently ekeing out a living in unlikely professions around the world.  Among the most curious of such claims must surely have come from a young Kirsty MacColl, who in 1981 maintained that There’s A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He’s Elvis.  She even set her claim to music and publicised it via the pop charts and appearances on television on music shows like Top Of The Pops.  No evidence of anyone fitting Elvis’ description and/or humming renditions of Blue Suede Shoes or Hound Dog while serving up portions of saveloy and chips to inebriates after the pubs chucked out emerged, however.

And what has this to do with Holborn or the Mysteries of Holborn, you may ask?  Is it, perhaps, another tenuous link to mysteries said to proliferate elsewhere that this reporter has co-opted to fit into his local-to-Holborn remit?  Has there, in fact, ever been a single report of anyone claiming to see Elvis alive and well in – or anywhere near – Holborn since 1977?

Well no.  Not until today, that is.  And any suspicions that such a ‘sighting’ should coincide with both the 40th anniversary of the King’s demise and your HCA hack’s need of a new Mysteries of Holborn article to pad out the blog are completely unfounded.

So where was this so-called ‘sighting’?  And who claims to have sighted it?  [Er, sighted him?; y’know, Elvis?]  Why, the answer is yet another coincidence:  For the sighter, as it were, is none other than he-who-is-short-of-a-Mysteries of Holborn-article – to whit, this reporter, of course.  The inky-fingered fool claims to have seen Elvis on his way into work this morning, in the Millman Street Centre garden.

Hmm.  Tending the hollyhocks, was he?  And what did he say, this ‘Elvis’?

Er, something along the lines of “Bless my soul,” and “What’s wrong with me?”

Did he really?  Next you’ll be telling us he was itching.  Like a man.  On a fuzzy tree…

Funny you should say that.  He did look a bit peaky and –

Enough.  And did HCA’s inglorious hack, in this day and age when almost everyone has a camera phone handy at all times to take irrefutable proof of things, take a photo to ‘prove’ his (latest) dubious claim?

No, of course, not.  However, not content with, ahem, ‘journalism’ the wretch also imagines that he can draw, and so swiftly knocked off the following sketch of ‘Elvis’ (fuzzy tree not included):


Can it be Elvis? (No.)

Well, readers, what do you think?  Uncanny likeness of King Elvis?  Or the usual Mysteries of Holborn cobblers…?


This article, while clearly poppycock, has been produced to honour the music of Elvis, and is dedicated to HCA volunteer Pat, who remains one of his biggest fans.  She gives her approval of this article.

Nonsense by Notes Smudger

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#22nd August 2017#Next Tuesday#Carers Event at Bedford House

Calling all carers!  Achtung!  Attention! ¡Atención!  Attenzione! Atenção!  Uwaga!

Next Tuesday (22nd August) there will be a Carers Event at Bedford House Community Centre.  The event occurs between 12 noon and 5pm, and offers not only a free lunch but also free Head and Shoulders massage.  It is billed as an opportunity to get the right support for you as a carer.

Bedford House Community Centre, 35 Emerald Street, London WC1N 3QW

To book your place or for further information, please contact Hanif Ahmed at:

hanif.ahmed@holborncommunity.co.uk or call 07710 092 495 or 020 7405 2370

Info and photo provided by Hanif; report (and looking up ‘Attention’ in various languages) by Notes Smudger


Posted in Activities, community, Events, Forthcoming, Free of Charge, Holborn, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Befriending Scheme at Millman Street Community Centre: Connie and Alan


Connie and Alan

Holborn Community Association’s Befriending Scheme matches isolated older people with volunteers, who offer weekly visits, friendship and an all-important link to the wider community and the outside world.

As an example of its work, the scheme has continued the pairing of volunteer Alan with long-time Millman Street Community Centre member Connie, who have been friends since 2016, when they met via the Camden Connectors scheme.

Connie is 97 and attended events at Millman Street Centre for years until ill health restricted her mobility.  Later, she was part of HCA’s Good Neighbours scheme.  Sadly, after that project ended, Connie experienced several lonely years until being paired with Alan.

Alan visits Connie twice weekly, and keeps her updated on news in her local community.  The pair also share a love of the card game cribbage.  “Before Alan’s visits I was very depressed,” Connie said.  “It has been my salvation,” she added of the Befriending Scheme.

This year, the Befriending Scheme was involved with Bloomsbury Festival’s Festival In A Box project.  The project matches artists with older people from local befriending schemes like HCA’s.  The unnamed Festival In A Box jazz band also performed at Millman Street Centre for our members recently.

Connie’s background was in dance and movement, and, via Festival In A Box, she was matched with Sarah, a choreographer.  Together, they created a seated dance, inspired by the elements air and water.  The element Water was inspired by the fountains of Granada, where Connie lived as a young woman.


Water, inspired by the Fountains of Granada

“This  was an opportunity to take part in an activity I thought I would never be able to do again,” said Connie.

Holborn Community Association’s Befriending Scheme is run by Kate Blackshaw.  “It has made all the difference in the world to me,” Connie said.  “I give it 100%,” she added.  You can’t get any better than that, both as a statement of mathematical fact and a ringing endorsement of the Befriending Scheme.

“I appreciate my visits to Connie as much as she does,” Alan said, adding: “She’s an incredible person.”


Connie with Sarah

Festival In A Box project Email: info@bloomsburyfestival.org.uk

Photos and interviews by Kate; report by Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, Befriending Scheme, community, Holborn, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Volunteering, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Mysteries of Holborn: The Football Mystery

Holborn Imperial FC-2

The mysterious Holborn Imperial FC…

To coincide with the start of the new football season, we at Mysteries of Holborn have unearthed this dubious tale from the grubby sludge vaults of the beautiful game…

Holborn Imperial FC were founded in 1884 by Sir Antrobus Snat, a somewhat eccentric former officer in the Hussars and staunch defender of Britain’s Empire, hence the club’s name.  Little is known of the club’s history, but what remains are a few splintered fragments of hearsay, conjecture and nonsense.  Yes, just like all the previous Mysteries of Holborn.

In keeping with the spirit of the age, the club played in black and white throughout its brief history.  Snat also insisted that his players travel to away matches in horse-drawn Hansom cabs, which he led on horseback, ever ready to brandish his Hussars sword to ward off the “new-fangled motor-car”.

Holborn Imperial’s players included possibly the earliest example of Nominative Determinism when they included Carruthers Goalkeeper in their squad at the start of the 1892-93 season.  He was said to have been exchanged for a “figgy pudding” and a Hierarchy of Beards* poster in time for the following Christmas.

[*actually a real thing; see end of article]

The club was nicknamed The Imps (not to be confused with Lincoln City, but funnily enough, played its home games near Lincoln’s Inn Fields).  In Tudor times, their pitch had been the site of several very gruesome public executions.  In similarly grim vein, their rivals, Tyburnia FC, played at the site of the infamous gallows which is now modern Marble Arch.

Confined to the Splendid Home Counties League for almost all of its history, other clubs that The Imps played included Euston Velocipedes (who traveled to matches on Penny Farthing bicycles), Rochester Dickensians (foppish thespians) and Walthamstow Workhouse.  An 1887 match that The Imps hosted against the latter descended into a riot after Snat denied the starving workhouse urchins the half-time oranges that Imperial’s players enjoyed.  The urchins retaliated by pelting Snat with the unpalatable gruel they were regularly fed on.  After order had been restored by local bobbies, Snat was typically unrepentant, contemptuously dismissing the Workhouse manager’s complaints and offering to settle the matter with a duel.

Another match against East End opposition – this time an 1889 FA Cup tie away to Whitechapel Fiends – ended in another fracas after Snat insulted his cockney hosts, complaining that their Pearly King kit was not only a violation of the FA’s sartorial code, but also “common as muck.”  Perhaps spurred on by this slight, the Fiends (who had trailed 1-0 at the break) went on to thrash The Imps 5-1.

It was during this match that Snat is purported to have invented football hooliganism, bellowing that “The referee’s parentage is questionable!” at the officials, and “You’re execrable, and congnisant of the fact!” to the home fans.

Holborn Imperial FC-3

Holborn Imperial’s female fans were said to be great beauties…

Snat is also credited with leading the first known pitch invasion, away to Aldwych Victoria on a foggy afternoon in 1906.  The match was abandoned – and Snat imprisoned briefly – after The Imps’ founder fired a blunderbus at the officials after losing 6-3.

Although Snat’s fellow aristocrats ensured that his time in gaol was limited to ¾ hour, thereafter the club was expelled from the Splendid Home Counties League, and permitted only to play exhibition and charity matches, and very few of those.

His dream of seeing the club lift the FA Cup would never be realised, and Sir Antrobus Snat – in his late sixties at the time of the ban – never really recovered from this humiliation, brooding on what might have been for the remainder of his life.

Willfully ignorant of current affairs, Snat also kept the team in similar darkness, which may have contributed to their fate.  Holborn Imperial FC embarked on a long-planned tour France and the low countries during the late Summer of 1914, oblivious to the outbreak of The Great War.

The last sighting of the team was somewhere around Mons on August 22nd, and it is thought that they were either captured by the Germans during the battle thereabouts, or wandered into No Man’s Land, Snat having insisted that “a few Huns” and their “beastly landmines” were not going to deter him from getting to the first match of the planned tour.

It was later claimed that Snat – having been the sole survivor of the incident – resurfaced on Christmas Day 1914 to organise the famous match between British Tommies and their pickelhaube-wearing German counterparts, though there is no evidence to support such an assertion.


In memory of Holborn Imperial Football Club, 1884-1914.  Shame it’s all a load of cobblers, eh…?


Sir Antrobus Snat before away match at Bedlam Asylum FC…


Holborn Community Association does not share any controversial views or opinion expressed in this article, and would like to distance itself from all spurious claims, libels, slanders, etc which may arise from it being posted on WordPress.

hierarchy of beards-x

Hairy blighters!

Nonsense by Notes Smudger

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#Bollywood Dancing Workshops at Millman Street Community Centre#Coming Soon


Coming soon to a Holborn near you: There will be a new workshop at Millman Street Community Centre.  Bollywood Dancing will commence on 6th September, then continue every Wednesday between 11am and 12 noon.  The workshop is presented by the South Asian Akedemi Dance Group.

Details are scant at present, but the following (cribbed from Akademi’s website) should give an idea of its aims:

“Akademi creates extraordinary experiences for audiences across the UK and beyond.  Our performances embrace the rich diversity of classical, contemporary and popular South Asian dance styles.”

Expect further reports once the Bollywood Dancing workshops are up and running. In the meantime, there’s this to attend….

bollywood dance-akademi-2

…and join Akademi and @LoveCamden for a family fun day on 25 Aug.

Contact South Asian Akedemi Dance Group at: info@akademi.co.uk

Forthcoming attraction by Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, community, Forthcoming, Free of Charge, Holborn, New Workshop, Performance, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Ceramics Workshop at CREATE


David with his creations…

Yesterday, Millman Street Community Centre members David, Helena and Rose went to another workshop hosted by the arts charity CREATE Arts, which is based at London Wall.  The workshop was again held at Liverpool Street.  There, our members created some pottery and enjoyed lunch.  The HCA group was overseen by Carmen, our Activities Coordinator, with helped from volunteer Pat.



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By the time the story reached this reporter the following day, Millman Street Community Centre luxuriated in a, ahem, ‘summer heatwave’.  See following pic:

ART-Typical August

A typical August day in London, 2017…

Holborn Community Association would like to thank CREATE for once again entertaining our members.

CREATE’s contact email is: createarts.org.uk

Pictures, picture ‘editing’ and report: Notes Smudger


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#Happy Birthday, Ann! 90 Not Out


Happy Birthday, Ann…!

Today, Millman Street Community Centre members helped Ann celebrate her 90th birthday.  After watching a Carry On film after lunch, members gathered to watch the birthday girl cut the cake before slices were handed round.  She was also given a birthday card signed by members, staff and volunteers.


The birthday girl attracted a vampire…

Ann shares her birthday with actress Myrna Loy (born 1905), diplomat Shimon Peres (1923), globe-trotting documentary maker Alan Wicker (1925), actor Peter O’Toole (1932), ex-footballer Sammy McIlroy (1954) and Kevin Smith (1970), director of Clerks, Mall Rats and Dogma.  None of them could make it, so it was left to the Millman Street Community Centre regulars to sing Happy Birthday and Never Been 21 Before in Ann’s honour.

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Holborn Community Association wishes Ann all the best, and of course many more birthdays.

Photos and report: Notes Smudger


Posted in Activities, Atmospheric, Birthday Bash, community, Free of Charge, Holborn, Party, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment