No shortage of great writers in the English language – and no real shortage of statues remembering them. Sadly, they don’t seem to get the sites or attention given to generals or politicians and you have to look quite hard to find many of them.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Writers 1 2

Robert Burns

The national poet of Scotland, ‘Rabbie’ Burns wrote in Scots dialect. He is celebrated worldwide every Jan 25, ‘Burns Night’, which ends with the singing of his famous ‘Auld Lang Syne’. This statue by John Steell shows him writing ‘Highland Mary’ and is a copy of the original in Central Park, New York.

Victoria Embankment SW1
Tube: Embankment

Samuel Johnson

England’s most famous writer of the 18th century, and creator of the first English dictionary, looks very cuddly and amusing company in this life-size statue hidden behind St Clement Dane's church, where Fleet Street starts. Outside his house in nearby Gough Square is a statue of Hodge, a ‘very fine cat’.

Strand WC2
Tube: Temple

William Shakespeare

This rare statue to the Bard  pays tribute to his friends, actors Henry Condell and John Heminge, who collected his works in the First Folio of 1623. It stands in the grounds of St Mary Aldermanbury, bombed in 1940, whose remains were rebuilt in 1966 Missouri, as a memorial to
Sir Winston Churchill.

Love Lane EC2
Tube: Barbican

John Bunyan

The author of Pilgrims Progress stands in a niche high on the corner of Catton Street, ignored by the many commuters using nearby Holborn Tube. This rather fine statue is by sculptor Richard Garbe RA and is dated 1953. John Bunyan died in Holborn in 1688.

Southampton Row WC1

Tube: Holborn

John Wilkes

Wilkes (1725- 1797) led a campaign for press freedom that saw him imprisoned in the Tower of London. Called ‘the ugliest man in England’, you’ll notice his statue is cross-eyed. He was a member of the notorious Hellfire Club. Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth was a distant relative.

Fetter Lane EC4
Tube: Chancery Lane

Sir Thomas More

The ‘Man for All Seasons’ has this colourful statue outside Chelsea Old Church. He coined the expression ‘Utopia’ in his book of that name (although his Utopia included slavery). He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and beheaded in 1535 for refusing to accept King Henry VIII as head of the Church.

Cheyne Walk SW3
Tube: Sloane Square


Agatha Christie

With a location in the heart of London’s Theatreland, where ‘The Mousetrap’ is the world’s longest-running play, this bust of the ‘Queen of Crime’ is by Ben Twiston-Davies. It was unveiled in 2012 on the play’s 60th anniversary. The world's bestselling writer, Christie has sold 4bn books, translated into 50 different languages.

Cranbourne Street WC2
Tube: Leicester Square


Virginia Woolf

Woolf (1882-1941) was a member of the racy Bloomsbury Group of writers and artists who lived in this area of London. Considered one of the leading writers of her generation, pioneer of the “stream of consciousness” style, she tragically drowned herself during a bout of severe depression.

Tavistock Square WC2
Tube: Russell Square