Since Slightly Foxed was launched, its office has been comfortably sited in Canonbury, a quiet part of North London with leafy roads and literary associations: George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Louis MacNeice and Nancy Mitford are just a few of the writers who have lived in its Georgian and early Victorian houses – usually during periods when they were somewhat down on their luck. Since then Canonbury has come up in the world, but there are still many writers living nearby.
Behind the house runs the New River, piped in during the seventeenth century from springs 40 miles away in Hertfordshire to give London its first major water supply. When it reaches Islington, the river disappears under concrete, but here it still flows in the open beneath arching trees, beside a green bank full of frogs and foxes. (The whole of London, in fact, is full of foxes – one was even discovered the other day living under Platform 1 at Paddington Station. It seems it has cracked the train timetable, setting off down the line to look for food each day in quiet periods and avoiding the rush hours.)
Now Slightly Foxed is also on the move – just down the road to Clerkenwell, between Islington and the City. Clerkenwell has traditionally been a place of craftsmen and small independent businesses, and there are still many workshops and galleries tucked away in its narrow streets. It also has a monastic history, for the land around Clerkenwell Green was once part of the twelfth-century Priory of the Knights of St John. Clerkenwell was badly damaged in the Blitz, but the main gate of the Priory is still standing. In the eighteenth century it housed the offices of the Gentleman’s Magazine, and you might have bumped into Dr Johnson or Oliver Goldsmith on their way out after a visit to the editor.
Our new office is within a stone’s throw of the huge and handsome late Victorian buildings of Smithfield meat market, and has views out over St Paul’s and the Old Bailey. Smithfield is one of the few places in London where you can have a full meal and a pint of beer at 5 a.m. – appropriately for us, at the Fox and Anchor. Our new address is 67 Dickinson Court, 15 Brewhouse Yard, London ec1v 4jx (tel 020 7549 2121 / 2111): we hope you will continue to ring and write to us in the same friendly way. We greatly appreciate the support you give us, phoning us with suggestions, telling us about your local independent bookshops, and recommending us to your friends.
Perhaps this is the moment to remind you, with Christmas coming, that a subscription to Slightly Foxed might make an ideal present for literary relatives, friends who are working abroad, cousins living deep in the country, even teenagers who are keen readers. We are delighted to send out gift subscriptions with an attractive card telling the recipient who the gift is from.
We don’t just hear from our readers either. A School of Pole and Lap Dancing has obviously interpreted Slightly Foxed as ‘slightly foxy’ and sent us an invitation to come and enjoy this ‘new and exciting way to keep fit . . . Ladies will learn how to uncover and project a whole new sparkling and stimulating facet of their personality.’ Hm. Sounds tempting. Perhaps when we’ve finished working on Issue 4.