I’ve just been reading up on my old mate Eric Blair. One of these sunny days I must do a walking (or cycling) tour of his favourite London spots. He lived just round the corner from me while writing Animal Farm, at 27, Canonbury Square (now one of the poshest addresses in London – his old flat is probably inhabited by Boris Johnson or George Osbourne or some other frightful oik). His favourite pub is still going, and I’ve drunk there many a time – for peace, love, and socialism – never realising Orwell’s ghost was at my shoulder, mentally composing his essay about the ideal pub, The Moon Under Water (not based on the Wetherspoons pub of the same name, you presumptuous bastards).
The model for 1984’s Victory Mansions was his flat near Abbey Road, and he taught as an English teacher in Hayes and Uxbridge, cursing and bemoaning the growth of suburbia as he went.
And the Ministy of Truth was said to be based on London University’s Senate House. Which I’d always kind of suspected.