Texans Can Find Roots at this Location in London
Did you know that London was once home to an Embassy for the Republic of Texas?
Monday was my first day back at work after my husband and I celebrated our Honeymoon in London and Paris. While in London, I failed to find the lasting evidence of Texas as an independent nation. Yes, Texas, had an embassy in London.
A friend of mine traveled to London recently, and shared her photo with me, because I failed to find it. I did look it up, but when I had the opportunity to go - on Texas Independence Day - it would have required a long walk on a dark, foggy, chilly night. My husband and I decided it was best not to make the trek.
I did however look up the history. From 1836-1845, the Embassy of Texas was located a famous wine shop, Barry Brothers and Rudd - est. 1698.
Texas declared independence on March 2, 1836. In 1841, Texas President Sam Houston sent his Secretary of State, Dr. Ashbel Smith, to establish diplomatic relationships with Great Britain and France. Outside No. 3 St. James Place is where you will find the marker erected by the Anglo-Texan society.
The society was established in 1953 with author Graham Greene as the founding president. According to the Texas State Historical Association,
"...[Greene] suggested that friendly relations between the two realms could best be promoted by sponsoring cultural exchanges and generally looking after any Texan who finds his way to London."
The society met a few times a year, with their gatherings generally centered around having a good time. Prominent Texans and Brits with ties to Texas convened and occasionally enjoyed imported Mexican Food from Texas. The group erected the plaque that still hangs since 1963.
In 1963, on the initiative of Alfred Bossom, the Anglo-Texan Society erected a brass plaque at the corner of No. 3 St. James's Place to mark the location of the Texas Legation in Great Britain during the final years of the Republic of Texas, 1842–45. The plaque, unveiled by Texas governor Price Daniel, Sr., is now the only monument to the existence of the Anglo-Texan Society.
On March 2, my husband and I found ourselves in London enjoying dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. I was scrolling through emails when I remembered it was Texas Independence Day, and hoped we could go find the Texas Legation Plaque. Although it was not more than a couple of miles away, we didn't have transportation and it was quite late. I may not have seen it first hand, but I've certainly enjoyed learning more about the Republic of Texas as result.
I was fascinated to learn that President Houston had established diplomatic ties with strong countries in Europe so soon after his election. You can learn a great deal more about it by visiting the Texas State Historical Association's website.
In fact there is still a French Legation in the Lone Star State. You won't be surprised to learn it's in the capital city of Austin.