The Seven Noses Of Soho
Have you heard the legend of the Seven Noses of Soho?
The story goes that to find them all brings infinite wealth, but I’m not holding my breath.
Here’s what I discovered snooping around Soho…
You may have come across a particularly great London urban myth, that a spare nose for the Nelson’s Column statue is kept under admiralty arch? Even better that when soldiers are walking through, each one is compelled to give it a tweak for good luck?
The nose appeared in 1997 without notice or apparent meaning and this story developed around it. But it wasn’t the only one. In the same year over 30 noses were fixed onto landmarks and in public places, most spotted and removed straight away, but some left for us to ponder.
Today there’s thought to be seven noses left in Soho, at; Admiralty Arch, Bateman Street, Dean Street, Meard Street, Endell Street, Great Windmill Street and D’Arbly Street.
Some are pretty easy to find, particularly the huge one on Meard Street, which is so oversized that many dismiss it as not one of the ‘original’ noses.
One claim is that it’s from a social awareness project from 2005 named ‘Living Streets’, but I couldn’t find much more information.
While you’re on Meard Street it’s worth seeking out this sign too…
The house was owned by the artist Sebastian Horseley who often wrote about his dysfunctional family, drug addiction and his reliance on prostitutes.
There’s also a curious case of the ‘fake’ nose on D’Arbly Street. I couldn’t decide whether it’s a nose or a bent nail, what do you reckon?
So, what’s the real story?
In 2011 the truth about the Soho Noses was revealed.
An artist called Rick Buckley was ‘unmasked’ by the Evening Standard and claimed he installed them as a snub against CCTV spying culture in London, seeing it as an infringement of liberty. Mostly though, he just wanted to see if he could get away with glueing 35 noses across London.
Turns out it’s pretty easy.
“I wanted to see if I could get away with it without being detected. The afterthought was that it would be great if these protrusions would become part of the structure themselves.” – Rick Buckley
Does his nose look familiar?
Buckley claims there’s still around 10 scattered across central London, one apparently affixed to the side of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, whether it’s still there I’m not sure, but I can definitely confirm the seven in Soho…
The Walls Have Ears
Not content with simply having secret noses across London, Illustrator Tim Fishlock decided to embark on his own street art project, casting his own ear and glueing them around Covent Garden.
Two can be found on Floral Street but Tim claims there’s far more across London.
Inspired to get searching across Soho? Granted, you will get some odd looks as you comb the streets in search of noses but all of them are at the 6ft mark and you can bask in the warmth of discovering a hidden gem of London…
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