In this modern world it can often feel like we are watched wherever we go, especially due to the sheer volume of CCTV following our every move. But what can we, as citizens, do to protest such an action? One inventive artist, Rick Buckley, came up with a novel idea, and began placing a number of noses across the streets of London, right under the authorities’ noses, as it were.
With their high vantage point, the honkers are positioned as a way of subtly mocking the powers that be, or at least this is one theory for their origins. I can tell you one thing for certain, these mythical conks are now known as the Seven Noses of Soho.
To hunt down all of these fabled noses, Kasha and myself joined Best LDN Walks on their Soho Noses Tour. Spanning Soho, Covent Garden and Piccadilly this comprehensive tour is packed full of London history, popular culture references and foodie spots.
I am not going to reveal the locations of said noses, because then I’ll have blown it for everyone (see what I did there?). But I will say to those looking to find them on your own, good luck. The honkers are dotted around in the most bizarre places, with some almost out of reach, while others are head-height yet tucked behind plants and some have even been removed.
One reason so many people pursue the nosey quest is because of the myth and mystery surrounding them; namely that is you touch all seven (unfortunately only five remain at point of writing) then untold riches will come your way.
What I personally loved about this unique tour, was that it was about much more than just the noses. We traversed everywhere, spotting unusual places like the colourful Neil’s Yard, London’s most famous musical street and a forgotten underground road…
Highlights for me were seeing not only the club where Jimi Hendrix performed his last gig but also learning about the importance of the 2i’s coffee shop which has a plaque reading ‘Birthplace of British Rock and Roll and the popular music industry’.
Another moment where I quite literally chortled, was learning the origins of London’s rudest street name ‘Gropecunt Lane’ which, and I promise it’s not a massive spoiler, is just as crude as it sounds. Please note, they have now changed the name of the street, for obvious reasons.
When the tour had finally finished I had seen a number of noses, an ear and some fake noses protruding from the city’s streets, with Londoners passing by completely unaware. What this tour does spectacularly well is slow you down, and open your eyes to the rich history of this metropolis that you might pass every day never see.
Excellent value, this activity offers eye-opening few hours with a fantastic guide (Charlotte you were great!) get yourself on this tour if you fancy seeing the sillier, stranger side of London you’ve always wanted to experience.
Looking for some more quirky spots in London? Check out the Cereal Killer Cafe.