The adventurous, wealthy and rather mysterious Phileas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, is noted in the book’s first line as living at “No. 7 Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814”.
It’s from there that he and his delightfully named French valet, Passepartout, set off on their breakneck trip around the world after Fogg, a “doubtful” Londoner who was a member of the Reform Club based nearby in Pall Mall (“and that was all” – his history was something of an unknown), makes a £20,000 bet that he can travel around the world in just 80 days – a bet which sees him travel by everything from trains to elephants and overcome all sorts of obstacles as he attempts the feat.
But back to London and Savile Row in the inner west London area of Mayfair. The Irish-born playwright and MP Richard Brinsley Sheridan did indeed live in Savile Row – but at number 14 rather than at number 7 (and he died in 1816, not 1814 as claimed in the book).
There is a plaque on the townhouse mentionig Sheridan’s residence (but not Fogg’s) which today is occupied by tailors Hardy Amies. Amies himself purchased the property, which was restored in 2009, in 1947, reportedly with the backing of Cary Grant’s ex-wife, actress Virginia Cherril.
For more on Savile Row’s history, see Henry Poole: Founders of Savile Row – The Making of a Legend.
3 thoughts on “10 fictional character addresses in London – 9. 7 Savile Row, Burlington Gardens…”
Saville Row, belonging to both famous people and fictional ones, was very impressive. I thought the historical plaques might eventually look cheap, but they have been a huge success.
Why is it “Saville” in the book and “Savile” today? When did it lose the ‘L’?