A very unusual walk around the lesser-known corners of Holborn and Bloomsbury, interwoven with mysteries from the stories of Arthur Machen (1863-1947), a foremost pioneer of ‘folk horror’. Machen’s stories teem with sinister ancient horrors – troglodyte races and malevolent fauns – that lurk just beneath the surface of modern life. Yet they also contain a positive theology that invite the visionary to step through the veil of illusion into another world; a magical world. Sometimes the lifting of the veil occurs on ancient tumuli in the Welsh countryside of his childhood; often it can be found in a back street of London.
The Thin Veil of London combines a history tour with theatrical elements, taking in the deeply atmospheric places off Theobalds Road – Coram’s Fields, Conway Hall, Great Ormond Street – to create a vivid journey into the worlds of faery and science, madness and ecstasy, and what Machen called ‘the eternal beauty hidden beneath the crust of common and commonplace things; hidden and yet burning and glowing continually if you care to look with purged eyes’.
‘The best guided walk I’ve ever been on. A surprise round every corner’ – Matt Brown, Londonist
‘A daring, fascinating and witty exploration of the concepts of madness and childhood, a look at the pagan history of London, a brief debate about the philosophy of material objects and a piece of performance art. The narrative arc is probably better than most of the books I’ve ever read, and Robert is a brilliantly erudite and impish guide. I definitely recommend joining them on their adventures.’ – Mike Shallcross, journalist
‘On this fantastical dusk walk around Holborn and Bloomsbury, Rich Cochrane and Robert Kingham seamlessly entwine centuries of history, myth, philosophy and literature to weave a wholly engrossing journey (with a couple of pub stops) that will completely change how you see the city.’ ★★★★★ – James Drury, Londonist
‘I can heartily recommend the latest venture from Robert Kingham and Rich Cochrane … a cross between a literary walk, a pub crawl, a history lesson, a multi-media investigation of madness, a ghost story, and a psychogeographic voyage through Victorian and Edwardian London. It’s loosely based on the writings of Arthur Machen but even if, like me, you’ve never read anything by him, it’s still a tremendous and fascinating experience. Go book your tickets now.’ – John Lewis, journalist
Our companion book expands upon the stories and personalities from the part of London we explore on the walk, and plunges into the deep well of philosophies, theories and wild beliefs that Machen draws on in his writing. We have reprinted a limited run of The Thin Veil of London (paperback, 140pp) for 2023 which is available for £12.00, either on the walks or by mail order (plus P&P). Send us your address via the ‘Contact us’ page and we will send you bank transfer details.
‘A great adventure! I really enjoyed the whole experience’ | ‘What a fantastic afternoon’ | ‘A superb piece of informed entertainment’ | ‘I loved every minute’ | ‘Alice is simply brilliant’ | ‘Each production better than the last’
Robert Kingham explores the rich cultural history of one of London’s most colourful, creative and dangerous quarters, with Alice Merivale as Nell Gwyn.
We promise you a bawdy, boozy bacchanal, bursting with everything you have come to expect from us: obscure factlets, dramatic sweeps of history, dark mysteriousness, musical protrusions and theatrical surprises.
Squalor, crime, politics and plague provide the scenery for a teeming cast of rakes and poets, actors and gamblers, playwrights and pickpockets, Freemasons and highwaymen, engravers and compositors, gunpowder plotters and pornographers, butchers and beadles, judges and jail-breakers, suffragettes and whores, in a story that stretches from Anglo-Saxon settlers on the shores of the Thames to the starched pomp of the British Empire.
Alice Merivale grew up in Liverpool and trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, before plunging into a world of Shakespeare, musicals, and immersive theatre (Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds). During the pandemic, she made the eminently sensible decision to train as a primary school teacher. She enjoys wine, Johnny Cash, and spending money she does not have on hardback feminist retellings of Greek myths.
The truth may never be known about the incidents that took place in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980. They have since begun to drift into the mists of folklore, and the mythological fog of war, and have been described as ‘Britain’s Roswell’.
But something truly unusual did happen. A large number of United States Air Force personnel from the nearby twin bases at RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters witnessed phenomena that none of them have ever been able to explain. The official memo spoke of ‘unexplained lights’ – UFOs was too emotive a term – but, as later emerged, there was much more to it than that.
We have created an experience that takes you on a trip from London to the silent beauty of the Suffolk woods, from the present day to the height of the Cold War, from the everyday to the uncanny. Whether you want to believe, or you are resolutely sceptical, within the remarkable events we find a story of our own fears and compulsions.
Click on ‘Book tickets’ above for more details about the event.
A Fragment of Life
A Fragment of Life is our new four-part, three-and-a-half hour, full-cast audio drama, adapted from Arthur Machen’s short novel from 1906.
Arthur Machen (1863-1947) uniquely blends folk horror, psychogeography and spiritual discovery. A Fragment of Life weaves these around a love story: a young husband and wife who begin to notice weird, dark forces crowding around their banal 1890s suburban existence, forcing them to question whether there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy.
A Fragment of Life features some new voices as well as veteran Minimum Labyrinth collaborators. Click here for full cast and music credits. Thank you to one and all of our Kickstarter backers who made this possible.
A burglar shot dead; an unaccountable tragedy on the train tracks; and the remnants of Cold War of psychological experiments. A writer and his student probe the curious history of a remote English village.
Bluebird has been made possible by the wonderful backers of our successful Kickstarter campaign. Bluebird features a magnificent array of actors and voice artists (with The Archers, Eastenders and Coronation Street to their credits), some phenomenally talented young actors just embarking on their careers, and some veteran Minimum Labyrinth collaborators. Click on the link to see full cast and credits.
A fantastic mix of Twin Peaks, British rural hauntology, The X-Files, contemporary true crime drama and the psychogeographic world of Minimum Labyrinth.
Magnificent, unpredictable, and a masterclass in restrained eccentricity.
I can’t recommend this enough. Wonderful weird and poignant writing. Conspiracy theories meet British eccentricity, with elements of Sebald, Aickman, and Machen. An incredibly compelling dark and intricate story.
…an absolute masterpiece… just superb (but then everything you and Rich put together invariably is). I’ve never really listened to audio dramas… thought they weren’t really my cuppa… but this one’s turned me on to the genre.
The Pantheon of Pancras
Sign up to our mailing list (see top of web page) to hear about upcoming dates. Want to arrange a private performance for groups of 10+?Drop us a note here.
The Pantheon of Pancras is a guided walk around the old Parish of St Pancras. It is home to one of the earliest sites of Christian worship in London, and the largest single biomedical laboratory in Europe. It is the location of one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe; and it has had a long and notorious relationship with the oldest profession. It is the place where Eurostar passengers first breathe the London air, and it has been home to many other Europeans fleeing revolutions and wars.
St Pancras exists on what was the edge of London. It also has attracted those on the edge of society: outsiders who have disrupted time, and space, and the way we see the world. On this walk through Georgian squares, down secluded footpaths and along canal towpaths, you will hear about some of these people, together with the old and new gods that they have deemed worthy of worship.
‘A wonderfully fantastic journey’ – Reverend Mark Lawson-Jones
‘A tremendous flair for storytelling’ – Rachael Heaton-Armstrong
‘If you like your history hardcore, granular, absorbing, this is the one for you. Tour leader Robert is a complete natural’ – London Historians
‘If you want to find traces of the old gods in London – and offer a few pints as libation – I highly recommend a walk with Minimum Labyrinth’ – Sue Jones
’Amazing new walk… I heartily recommend Minimum Labyrinth’s latest offering… nearly five hours (including pub stops) of esoteric layers and cross-references linking in odd but pleasing ways’ – Sophie Campbell
The Unburied Corner of London
Sign up to our mailing list (see top of web page) to hear about upcoming dates. Want to arrange a private walk for groups of 10+?Drop us a note here.
When the Museum of London moves to its new home in Smithfield, the existing 1970s building on London Wall will be redeveloped. In 2021, Contemporary Art Society, on behalf of the Corporation of London, commissioned us to lead a new walk delving into its layers of history. The walk does not go into the Museum itself, but rather around and under it: and the stories, buildings, archaeology, and people whose lives it has touched are every bit as rich and effusive as the collections within.
On this walk you will encounter the lost alleys of Barnaby Rudge, the Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor Afflicted with Diseases of the Rectum, modernist dreamers, the brimstone doctrine of the Aldersgate meeting houses, the sieges of London, the well-water that cures drunkenness, the biggest fire between 1666 and 1940, the hermit of Cripplegate, and the oldest Jewish cemetery in England.
A twelve-part documentary film series exploring London’s historical, mythical and contemporary pagan connections, in collaboration with the award-winning film-maker Jeremiah Quinn. Click on each episode to watch on the Londonist YouTube channel, or watch all twelve.
Rich and Robert first began to write London Baroque in 2010, as a walk under the triumphal arches erected for the procession of King James I through the streets of London. Since then it has grown in a myriad of ways, encrusting itself with myth and fact, adorning itself with pieces of coral, silver, ivory, mahogany, marble, tortoiseshell, amber, and mother-of-pearl.
We published London Baroque in 2018. It is a collection of stories that wander uninvited through seventeenth-century London, weaving in and out of fact and fiction, processional arches, witch-woods, moon-prisons, West End squares and other geometries, in a hunt for Baroque thought.
We have printed a limited edition of 100 beautifully-bound hardback copies and are selling these for £20 + P&P. Contact us for payment details.
Visit our YouTube channel for audiobooks of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Arthur Machen’s ‘N’, a mysterious short story from 1934, and Rich Cochrane’s ‘Blackwood House’, a short ghost story inspired by Algernon Blackwood.
We are moving content to YouTube but until then you can also visit Soundcloud for Arthur in the Underworld, a BBC Radio 4 interview with Robert about Arthur Machen and the making of The Grey Soul of London.
‘He who cannot find wonder, mystery, awe, the sense of a new world and an undiscovered realm in the places by the Gray’s Inn Road will never find those secrets elsewhere.’ – Arthur Machen
The Grey Soul of London was originally commissioned for the Museum of London’s Urban Myths season in 2011. Robert takes a walk across the worn and hollowed stones of London in search of places that inspired the writer Arthur Machen.