Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Harley Street

As everyone knows from reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, Harley Street is where London’s best doctors are located. It contains and is surrounded by a concentration of private medical practices and private hospitals, and is sometimes known as ‘Medical London’.  There are 1500 medical practices around the Harley Street area.

Edward Harley inherited Harley Street from his wife, Henrietta Cavendish Hollis, and developed the grid of streets around Harley Street between 1715 and 1720.  Today, Harley Street is owned by the de Walden family and the Howard de Walden Estate has been managing almost all of the 92 acres of real estate from Marylebone High Street, Portland Place and from Wigmore Street to Marylebone Road for the past 300 years.  The Estate was responsible for the redevelopment of many of the houses in 1900, which followed strict guidelines to maintain the original Georgian style architecture.

Not No. 126, but looks just the same.

On Monday I found myself in attendance at 126 Harley Street, which is indeed a handsome Georgian residence, with a shiny black front door, discreet to the point of no signage at all, a doorbell, and behind the door ,high ceilings, an eccentric receptionist and a handsome staircase. Why was I there, I hear you ask [Voices off: ‘Why were you there?’] Answer: to see a chiropractor, because of acute sciatica – back pain, folks, of the worst kind. Exacerbated – perhaps even caused – by prolonged sitting. Remember those two philosophy essays I wrote at the weekend? I had to do the second one with a 15 minute timer reminding me to get up and walk about -- not conducive to concentration. I think I might have an occupational health and safety issue here.  La vie boheme can be tough sometimes.

However, I did find a friendly Irish chiropractor in Harley Street, named Caragh (Catholic Irish, I’m presuming, since her full name is Caragh Bernadette Mary), with a brogue so think I could hardly understand her.  She did tell me at one point that ‘no pain, no gain’ was rubbish – ‘that’s just made up by the Welsh’, she said. 24 hours later her manipulations and advice on various strategies seem to have resulted in improvement – I am extremely thankful to report.

However, typing this blog also involves sitting, so I hope you will excuse me if the entries are a little shorter than usual at the moment. *She says, hobbling up the stairs to bed...*

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