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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Top five of 2011
Thursday, 29 December 2011
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Smithfield Market trains
The building for the market covers an area of 620 feet by 240 feet, and beneath the floor of this large building there is a world of railways, and sidings, and cranes, and lifts, designed to facilitate the supply of the market with its thousands of tons of meat and poultry. The Metropolitan Railway will provide access to this market for the meat-laden trains of the Great Western, Midland, Great Northern, South-Western, and Chatham and Dover Lines; and by this system of underground communication will relieve to a great extent the street traffic. ... Of the area below the market one half - the northern - belongs to the Metropolitan Railway Company, and the southern half to the Great Western, which has the right of passing over the rails of the Metropolitan.
The Great Northern's deliveries consist of large consignments of prime beef, which start from Aberdeen, now, in fact, one of the London abattoirs. The northern counties of Scotland add to the contributions of beef as the train proceeds southwards. In the Lothians and Lowland counties of Scotland, mutton is added by tons; and onwards in England, through the northern, midland, and home counties, the load keeps constantly increasing with beef, mutton, pork, and veal. The loads of the Great Western, smaller in aggregate quantity, are higher in relative value, including, as they do, a large proportion of the finest quality of hams and bacon from Ireland and Wiltshire. The Midland brings in a large quantity of meat and poultry from Scotland, the North of Ireland, and the midland counties. The London, Chatham, and Dover brings about 20 tons of game and poultry per week. The quantity of meat brought into London last year by railways is close upon 100,000 tons, and nearly the whole of this will, on the opening of the New Meat Market, be delivered from the railways below the level of the new building.
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Friday, 23 December 2011
- Test your knowledge. London Reconnections' annual Christmas Quiz is back, with appropriately transport-themed prizes including books and a set of Herrenknecht TBM Cutting Head fridge magnets. Be warned, it's not easy!
- Enjoy some seasonal nostalgia. Turnip Rail has fascinating accounts of Christmas on the railways, here, here and here. Oh, for the days of trains running on Christmas Day...
- Listen to Londonist Out Loud's day with London Air Ambulance.
- Plan an outing to walk off the festive fare with the Ramblers Association Festival of Winter Walks. IanVisits has produced a handy crib sheet for London.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
St Katharine by the Tower
Monday, 19 December 2011
London to Hove
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Romilly in Russell Square
Monday, 12 December 2011
Sunday, 11 December 2011
Thursday, 8 December 2011
London Christmas lights
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Ratcliffe Highway Murders
Monday, 5 December 2011
Frederic David Mocatta, Victorian philanthropist
In honoured memory of Frederic David Mocatta, in recognition of a benevolent life, January 16th 1905.
Saturday, 3 December 2011
Tull of Fenchurch Street
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Seasonal London gifts
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
High street Victoriana
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Sunday, 27 November 2011
On toast sandwiches
To make dry toast properly, a great deal of attention is required; much more, indeed, than people generally suppose. Never use new bread for making any kind of toast, as it eats heavy, and, besides, is very extravagant. Procure a loaf of household bread about two days old; cut off as many slices as may be required, not quite 1/4 inch in thickness; trim off the crusts and ragged edges, put the bread on a toasting fork, and hold it before a very clear fire. Move it backwards and forwards until the bread is nicely coloured; then turn it and toast the other side, and do not place it so near the fire that it blackens. Dry toast should be more gradually made than buttered toast, as its great beauty consists in its crispness, and this cannot be attained unless the process is slow and the bread is allowed gradually to colour. It should never be made long before it is wanted, as it soon becomes tough, unless placed on the fender in front of the fire. As soon as each piece is ready, it should be put into a rack, or stood upon its edges, and sent quickly to table.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Dr Salter's Daydream stolen
The man is Dr Alfred Salter, born in Greenwich in 1873. A doctor trained at Guy's Hospital, he first visited and then moved to Bermondsey and took practical action to address the poverty there. Not only did he provide consultations for sixpence (or even free), but he also set up a health insurance scheme and Sunday morning adult education classes. Through his efforts, the area had a local health service long before the establishment of the NHS. He also became a local Liberal councillor before moving to the Independent Labour Party.
Dr Salter married and had a daughter, who was educated locally. However, she died of scarlet fever aged only 8: this is the girl depicted in his daydream. After her death, his work for local people continued. He bought a house in Kent which was turned into a convalescent home for Bermondsey people, and in 1922 became MP for Bermondsey. The returning officer who declared him elected was the mayor - his wife Ada, a successful activist in her own right and the first woman mayor in London and first Labour mayor in Britain. He served as MP until 1945, when he stood down on health grounds. Dr Salter died later that year.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Mystery object - for the birds
Monday, 21 November 2011
Swine and other profanation
This wall was made at ye charges of ye right honourable and trulie pious Lorde Francis Russell Earle of Bedford oute of true zeale and care for ye keeping of this churchyard and ye wardrobe of Goddes saintes, whose bodies lay therein buryed from violating of swine and other profanation so witnesseth William Walker, v.1623’ Rebuilt in 1831: refaced in 1884.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Hogarth in Chiswick
Friday, 18 November 2011
Thursday, 17 November 2011
London Remembers relaunched
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Random statue 12: Robert Milligan
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Thursday, 10 November 2011
By the nineteenth century, such systems had become standard in larger households. They were familiar enough to Victorian readers for a bell-pull to play a key role in the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
The board of labelled bells pictured here is in Tyntesfield, a Victorian mansion in North Somerset. As electrical systems progressed, more modern systems would have smaller boards indicating which bell had been rung and a discreet button instead of a bell pull.
While such a system may seem the height of luxury to us, the New York Times of 1894 disagreed. In an article on Englishmen's dining rooms, it observed:
Such a convenience as a table bell is an unknown article of furnishing. Should the servant by any chance be wanted when out of the room, even at dinner, the mistress will rise from her chair and cross to the mantel, by the side of which is an electric button or bell pull communicating with the kitchen.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
This institution was opened in 1846, in a small room in the above locality, at first as an evening school for boys of the ragged class.
In 1849 a refuge and reformatory for boys was opened, accommodation having been made for 25. 209 have been admitted; of these, 62 have been sent to Australia; 34 to Canada; 55 have entered the royal navy; 36 the merchant service; and 10 various kinds of service at home. Total, 197.
Monday, 7 November 2011
From the archives: London to Brighton Run
All pre-1905, they were commemorating a special event in British motoring history: the Emancipation Run which celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on the Highway Act 1896. Before the Act was passed, cars were restricted by a speed limit of 4mph and - even more restrictively - the need to be preceded by a man walking with a red flag. The law had been targeted at steam traction engines, but a test case in 1895 had confirmed that cars were treated as locomotives rather than (horseless) carriages. A campaign for reform met with reasonably prompt success, and vehicles under three tons were exempted from the restrictions. Now, they could speed across the country at a racy 14mph. How better to celebrate than with a trip to the seaside?
The original London to Brighton run is recreated annually, preceded by the Saturday show. A mixture of Regent Street shoppers and vintage car enthusiasts crowded around these fascinating vehicles. Given the number of people, it made sense to photograph details rather than 'portraits' of the cars. I particularly like the diversity of designs - the steering wheel, for example, had not yet become standard - and the features clearly borrowed from the horse-drawn carriages these cars would eventually replace.
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Herons, pelicans and pigeons
The waterfowl here are natives of almost every climate in the world, and the Zoological Society itself has scarcely a finer or more varied collection. Those which are not foreign are mostly descendants of the ducks which Charles II. took such pleasure in feeding with his own royal hands. ... It is almost needless to add that the banks of the "canal," and the bridge which spans it, are the haunt of children and their nurses, and the pieces of bread and biscuit which are given daily to the ducks, geese, and swans would well-nigh feed the inmates of a workhouse.
Friday, 4 November 2011
Thursday, 3 November 2011
Pudding from the past
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Deptford murals (3): Douglas Square
Sunday, 30 October 2011
From the archives: London advice to sightseers
Related post: London sightseeing, when did it get so slow?
1. Before starting on your holiday spend two hours in studying a good guide-book and mapping out a programme for each day of your stay in London. Note that some institutions, as the British Museum, are open free every day; some, as the National Gallery, are open free on certain days and for a fee on others; some, as the Mint and Woolwich Arsenal, are open on specified days and under stringent conditions. These things should be ascertained from the guide-book before leaving home, and your programme modified accordingly.
['Enquire' is never afraid to be prescriptive - take two hours precisely! - or to state the obvious.]
2. Group the sights so as to economize your time. For example, avoid such a programme for a day's doings as this - the Tower; Tate Gallery; Madame Tussaud's; Greenwich Hospital; Hyde Park. To "do" these sights in a day would put a great deal of time to waste.
[To do these sights in a day would require you to sprint non-stop and skip lunch! Perhaps you should have spent more than two hours with the guide book.]
3. Ask your way of a policeman, postman, telegraph boy, or shopkeeper. If you are in a residential quarter, you will be compelled to resort to the courtesy of the casual wayfarer; but in that case take the direction from him and then pass on.
[This is the start of an obsession with not chatting to Londoners, but you might rebel and pause to say thank you.]
4. If you feel that you are taking the wrong road, do not proceed farther until you have ascertained whether you are right or wrong. You have a civil tongue; do not hesitate to use it.
[But only in accordance with (3) - remember not to stand around chatting. A pity you weren't advised to get a map.]
5. If a stranger get into conversation with you in a gallery, or church, or the street, make himself particularly affable, claim that he thinks he has met you before or that he comes from the same town or district as yourself, be on your guard instantly. If further he be joined, apparently by chance, by a friend or two and propose to adjourn for a drink or a meal, and then talk of his prospects and the money he has, and ask you to lend him, for a short while, your purse, or an article of value, merely to show your confidence in him - he having already shown his confidence in them by handing some article to his confederates - be sure you are in the company of "confidence trick" rogues and leave them at once. If you happen on a policeman near by, describe the men to him and tell him where you left them. The information may be useful to him. Avoid all talk with undesirable or promiscuous folk whose appearance and manner you do not care for on acquaintance.
[Londoners will apparently only talk to you in order to rob you, while non-Londoners are incredibly gullible; more surprising to the modern reader is the idea that you might expect to happen on a policeman.]
6. As to tips, at many establishments where only a light repast is served "no gratuities" is the rule. Otherwise the custom is to tip the waiter on the scale of 1dfor every shilling of your bill. Thus if your dinner cost 2s. 6d., the waiter's tip would be 2d. or 3d., whichever you please.
[And how do you solve the twopence/threepence dilemma? After so many precise instructions, 'Enquire' has suddenly left us high and dry!]
7. For a short stay it will answer your convenience and save time to put up at a comfortable central hotel rather than lodge in a suburb.
[But if you couldn't work that out for yourself, you're probably still pondering the twopence/threepence quandary.]
8. Arrange your programme so as to leave the evenings free for the theatre, or music hall, or concert, or the fireworks at the Crystal Palace.
[Assuming you are not just too tired and penniless having sprinted from one end of London to the other, handed your wallet to a new 'friend' for no obvious reason, offended the waiter with your mean tip and then had to travel back to your hotel in the outer suburbs...]