Hi, I’m Vinny, and I lead the Mayfair Unseen Tour.
I was homeless in Mayfair from 2003 – 2006, both rough sleeping and squatting, although I previously had a very different experience of the area, having worked as a trainee chef in one of the exclusive members’ clubs there in the 1990s.
Both when I was working in Mayfair and later when I was homeless there, I liked the area and took the time to get to know it. I found it had a really interesting history, especially as I got to see the two sides of it – the riches and the poverty. I preferred sleeping there to the West End, where you can sometimes feel quite vulnerable as there are drunk and dangerous people around. But in Mayfair it was quiet and peaceful, and I slept in doorways near some galleries, which I always enjoyed looking into. I never had any trouble there.
I first got to know about Unseen Tours from Henri who runs the Shoreditch Unseen Tour, as I’ve recently been re-housed in the East End. I then contacted the tours team and asked if I could join and share my experiences of Mayfair – I thought the tours would be a really good way of helping me get back on my feet and stopping me from falling into bad old habits. They immediately said yes, and here I am today, well in the swing of it!
I hope you can come and enjoy my tour, and learn about this fascinating area.