Lord Mayor’s Show

The long garage was empty. Under the neon lights the black and gold painted dragon on wheels looked like a float waiting for the Lord Mayor’s Show. It was pointing towards the sliding doors and the hatch of the armoured cabin stood open.

DR. NO Chapter 19

James Bond has just finished Dr. No’s obstacle course and disposed of the Dr, and is now, along with Honeychile Rider looking for a means to get away from the compound, which is in pure chaos at the moment. He spots Dr. No’s “dragon” and it reminds him of a float for the Lord Mayor’s Show.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest annual events in London, being 802 years old as of 2020. In 1215, King John attempted to win over the city of London to his side by appointing a mayor who would be loyal to him. According to the event’s website:

The King added a careful condition: every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to Westminster and swear loyalty to him. The Mayor has now made that journey nearly 700 times, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and pledged his or her loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

https://lordmayorsshow.london/history/origins

As the procession went up to Westminster by river, this is why to this day, vehicles used in processions are referred to as “floats.” In 1757 a magnificent State Coach was commissioned. The coach had “gilded coachwork and painted panels depicting London’s majesty, piety and global reach.” The Black and Gold dragon of Dr No brought the State Coach to Bond’s mind.

Lord Mayor’s Day 1958, during the events of Dr No.

Royal Zoological Society

“Bryce, John Bryce.”
She wrote busily. “Permanent address?”
“Care of the Royal Zoological Society, Regent’s Park, London, England.”
“Profession.”
“Ornithologist.”

Dr No, Chapter 13

Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of animals and their habitats. In 1829, King George IV gave the society a Royal Charter. 

James Bond uses the ZSL as part of his cover story in Dr No, when he and Honey Rider arrive in the reception area of the Dr’s headquarters on Crab Key. Bond lists his next-of-kin as M (using his real name), describing him as his Uncle, and giving his address as Managing Director, Universal Export, Regent’s Park, London.

Thus, the Regent’s Park location of the Zoological Society and the London zoo, is conveniently located near Bond’s office in the secret service building in Regent’s park.

A more modern look at the offices of the Zoological Society.

Hôtel Ritz Paris

When James Bond arrives in Paris, after having departed the Orient Express in Dijon, he heads to the luxurious Ritz Hotel.

Bond’s taxi pulls up to the Rue Cambon entrance of the hotel.

Ritz Hotel, Paris. Rue Cambon Street side.

He goes into the hotel, takes a left and goes into the Ritz bar, where he has a double vodka martini.

Bond feels wonderful at the moment. After finishing his martini, he goes to the concierge lodge, is given a pass-key (and a sharp look) on orders from Rene Mathis, and heads to his destination – room 204.

Here are a couple of the suites from the Ritz Paris, which has been under renovation for the last few years. These are from prior to the renovations.

It was a typical Ritz sitting-room, extremely elegant, with good Empire furniture. The walls were white and the curtains and chair covers were of a small patterned chintz of red roses on white. The carpet was wine-red and close-fitted.

In a pool of sunshine, in a low-armed chair beside a Directoire writing desk, a little old woman sat knitting.


The novel From Russia With Love ends inside this room 204 of the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

All Orient Express Stations In From Russia With Love

For the last few months, we’ve been taking a deep-dive into the journey on board the Orient Express during the events of From Russia With Love.

While doing this, I’ve plotted the course on the new Google My Maps feature, and I’m pleased to show it to you here:

The map is interactive – you can zoom in and out, open it full screen, and click on any of the markers for photographs and links to the posts about that station.

Here are the stations in order of the events from the novel:

Istanbul (Turkey)

Uzunkopru (Turkey)

Alexandropolis and Pithion (Greece)

Thessaloniki (Greece)

Idomeni (Greece)

Belgrade (Yugoslavia – Serbia)

Vincovci and Brod  (Yugoslavia – Croatia)

Zagreb (Yugoslavia – Croatia)

Ljubljana (Yugoslavia – Slovenia)

Sezana (Yugoslvia – Slovenia)

Poggioreale (Italy)

Maestre, Venice, Padua, Vicenza and Verona (Italy)

Domodossola (Italy)

Iselle (Italy) and Brig (Switzerland)

Lausanne and Vallorbe (Switzerland)

Dijon (France)

 

 

 

Domodossola Train Station (Italy)

James Bond is in the midst of an intense talk with Captain Nash when he senses change.

The train began to slow down.

Domodossola. The Italian frontier. But what about customs? But Bond remembered. There were no formalities for the through carriages until they got to France, to the frontier, Vallorbes.

The station of Domodossola is another in the series of 19th century train stations still in use today, having opened in 1888.

Lausanne and Vallorbe

After departing the station of Brig, Switzerland, James Bond has some cleaning up to do in his compartment on board the Orient Express.

Tatiana Romanova is sleeping and Bond does not wake her while he tidied up. When he does attempt to wake her, they are nearly to the station of Lausanne.

Then an hour later, they reach the French frontier of Vallorbe. Bond waits in the corridor, lest the officials see the mess he made of his compartment.

Then they are in France and on the home stretch.

Dijon Railway Station

In From Russia With Love, after James Bond has a disagreement with Captain Nash, he decides to take Tatiana and leave the train at Dijon. (Gare de Dijon-Ville)

At last they were down the steps and on to the hard, wonderful, motionless platform. A blue-smocked porter took their luggage.

The sun was beginning to rise. At that hour of the morning there were very few passengers awake. Only a handful in the third class, who had ridden ‘hard’ through the night, saw a young man help a young girl away from the dusty carriage with the romantic names on its side toward the drab door that said ‘SORTIE’.

They make their own way to Paris.

Platform at Dijon, late 1950’s.

Dijon Station, 1945

The station in Dijon was opened in 1849 and remains in operation to this day. By the way, SORTIE is just a designation for an exit.

Simplon Tunnel

In From Russia With Love, the Simplon Tunnel is the planned killing ground for Red Grant/Captain Nash to do away with James Bond and Tatiana Romanova, completing the SMERSH plan to embarrass the British Secret Service and eliminate Bond, who has been a thorn in their side.

Nash took a quick glance at his wrist watch. ‘In about twenty minutes we go into the Simplon tunnel. That’s where they want it done. More drama for the papers. One bullet for you. As we go into the tunnel. Just one in the heart. The noise of the tunnel will help in case you’re a noisy dier – rattle and so forth. Then one in the back of the neck for here – with your gun- and out the window she goes.

A few moments later, Nash explains the appeal for the press:

Old man, the story’s got everything. Orient Express. Beautiful Russian spy murdered in Simplon tunnel.

Bond then knows that he’s walked right into the trap.

The Simplon Tunnel is 12 miles (20km) long and connects Italy with Switzerland through the Alps. The first tunnel was completed in 1905 and the second in 1921. This allowed the Orient Express to get through to Italy while avoiding pro-German territory.

Italian Side of Simplon Tunnel.

Swiss Side of Simplon Tunnel.

The station on the Italian side of the tunnel is the Stazione di Iselle di Trasquera. After passing through the tunnel, the train arrives in the Brig Railway Station in Switzerland.

Brig Station, 1950.

Maestre, Venice, Padua, Vicenza and Verona

After meeting up with Captain Nash at Trieste, James Bond is relieved to have some help, and an opportunity to eat and spend some time with Tatiana.

After eating dinner in the restaurant car – tagliatelli verdi (Green, narrow ribbons of pasta) and an escalope (slice of meat pounded thin and breaded) they retire to their berth. It is just as they are pulling into Mestre – which is the mainland station of Venice.

After Mestre, they head to Venice, Bond asks Tatiana if she’d like to see the station, but she says it’s just another station, and she has something else she wants to do with Bond at the moment.

Venezia Santa Lucia station. (Venice)

They then fall asleep, continuing to sleep as they pass through Padua (Padova):

La stazione di Padova (Padua)

And then Vicenza:

There was then a “fabulous sunset over Verona.”

Verona

After passing through Verona, Bond awakes as the sun is going down. He looks out over the Lombardy Plain. He’s feeling good.

That is soon to change.

Trieste Centrale station, Italy

After Poggioreale, the Orient Express is fully into Italy, and James Bond is feeling a bit better about things.

We’ve made it, thought Bond. I really think we’ve made it. He thrust the memory of the last three days away from him. Tatiana saw the tense lines in his face relax. She reached over and took his hand. He moved and sat close to her. They looked out at the gay villas on the Corniche* and at the sailing boats and the people water-skiing.

The train clanged across some points and slid quietly into the gleaming station of Trieste.

The station in Trieste opened in 1857, and was in its centennial year when the events of From Russia With Love took place. In the post-WWII years, Trieste was something of a political hotbed, with both Italy and Yugoslavia claiming territorial rights. from 1947-1954 the city was under UN protection, in two zones, one for each nation.

In Bond’s view, things may be looking up, but that will quickly change with the arrival of an unannounced agent.

Fleming notes that “The sun shone through the tall clean windows of the station in golden shafts.”

*A “Corniche” is a cliff-side road, many times overlooking a body of water.