Author: ljspencer

Secret Histories

How the Doomed Soviet Concorde Created a French Ghost Town

The setting could be any small village in France: winding lanes filled with teal shuttered cottages, a charming main square with a small school, café and boulangerie, and a church whose bells have beckoned the villagers to Mass for over seven hundred years. The only thing missing are people. We’re […]

Cocktail Hour

The Sherlock Holmes Pub

The Sherlock Holmes pub on Northumberland Street near London’s Trafalgar Square, is much like many of the countless other pubs in the capital. That is until you venture upstairs! Where in the dining room, you’ll find yourself magically transported to 221b, Baker Street and a life sized replica of the […]

Cocktail Hour

Jimmy’s Corner

As every local New Yorker knows, a visit to Times Square is about as appealing as a rush hour subway ride. But amidst the millions of visitors that throng here the year round, there is one tiny oasis where one can escape the maddening crowds. Hidden away on West 44th […]

Abandoned Places

The Unfinished Church

At first, the church looks like a centuries old Gothic ruin: the stained glass windows are missing, as are the roof and spire. Left open to the elements, a fine layer of grass covers the floor where the aisle, pews and pulpit would have once been. You’d think you’d stepped […]

Abandoned Places

Manhattan’s Lost Avenue

In the Society Archives the other day, we were looking at a map of New York City from 1909, and noticed something unusual. The familiar Avenues ran up and down the island, from 1st to 12th, including some of the most famous streets in the world – Madison, Park, Fifth. […]

Cocktail Hour

Dicke Wirtin, das Alt Berliner

In a city that has seen such tumultuous upheaval, it is always enjoyable to find an authentic taste of the old Berlin. In Charlottenburg there is just such a place: a charming, old fashioned bar & restaurant called Dicke Wirtin, that’s been serving pork knuckles, pilsner & schnapps since the […]

Adventure Travel

A Prison Island from the Civil War

This week, we’re setting sail for a little known island, home to an abandoned Civil War prison, and links to the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. Far flung desert islands often capture the imagination as idyllic places to escape to. But there is an island the Gulf of Mexico that is so […]

Adventure Travel

Exploring World War One’s Deadly Iron Harvest

Beneath the surface of the old Western Front lurks a lethal menace. Even though it ended over a century ago, the Great War is somehow still killing people every year. For lurking underneath the old battlefields of the Western Front, lie millions of unexploded shells. Farmers tending the still battle […]

Cocktail Hour

Auerbachs Keller – Goethe’s Favourite Bar

Here at the SGE, we always enjoy bars that have a literary twist. So when we were exploring Leipzig recently, we were delighted to find nothing less than Goethe’s favourite bar! The Auerbachs Keller is the second oldest establishment in the grand old city, and has been serving fine wines […]

Secret Histories

The Forgotten Embassy of the Republic of Texas

There is an obscure alleyway in London that has a small brass plaque mounted on the wall. Hidden away off busy St. James’s Street, the plaque is rarely ever seen or known about. But it is all that remains of what was once a vast country — a Republic over […]