Wardour Street

Even before Sir Colin Edensor becomes a client of the agency, Strike and Robin are both aware of the existence of the Universal Humanitarian Church. Robin tells Strike she was reading an article about it, and Strike replies that he had recently seen church members with collecting tins on Wardour Street (chapter 2).

Wardour Street runs between Oxford Street and Coventry Street, and a section of it goes through the heart of Chinatown, right by Rupert Court, the location of the Central Temple of the UHC.

UHC members can often be seen in Wardour Street asking for donations. Ed Edensor tells Strike and Robin that he once approached Will there, but Will ran away and went back into the Rupert Court Temple (chapter 4).

At Chapman Farm, Robin is reminded of Chinatown as the dining hall is decorated with ‘scarlet and gold paper lanterns of the kind that swung in the breeze in Wardour Street’ (chapter 35).

Later in the book, Strike has a meal of his favourite Singapore noodles in an unnamed restaurant on Wardour Street. He looks down into Wardour Street and watches members of the UHC, in their distinctive tracksuits, walk past and then turn into Rupert Court (chapter 100).

Strike was probably eating on the first floor of Gerrard’s Corner, a restaurant in which he met Robin for Singapore noodles and a case catch-up in The Ink Black Heart.

Toward the very end of the book, Robin decides to confront a member of the UHC. She waits on Wardour Street for nearly an hour, watching the entrance to Rupert Court. ‘Wardour Street was still full of people entering and leaving Chinese restaurants and supermarkets. The red and gold lanterns swung gently overhead in the breeze as the sun sank slowly behind the buildings’ (chapter 128).

Wardour Street is also featured in The Cuckoo’s Calling as it’s the street where the Chinese restaurant Wong Kei is situated. Also mentioned in The Cuckoo’s Calling is the amusement arcade Play 2 Win, opposite Wong Kei.

You can find Wardour Street on the map below: