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Most of us think of East London when we think of the London slums of yesteryear, however the capital’s most wealthy boro...
21/02/2020

Most of us think of East London when we think of the London slums of yesteryear, however the capital’s most wealthy borough was no stranger to Victorian poverty.

In the photo above a crowd of slum inhabitants pose in an early photograph of Market Court on the south side of Kensington High Street, three years before the site was demolished, circa 1865

Behind the facade of the old Port of London Authority building on Charterhouse Street is a hidden £26m powerstarion, Cit...
09/02/2020

Behind the facade of the old Port of London Authority building on Charterhouse Street is a hidden £26m powerstarion, Citigen run by E.ON.

The unique heat and power plant generates enough power for 11,300 homes and distributes the byproduct heat to buildings in the City of London via a network of tunnels. It also provides chilled water, which is used for cooling in several properties’ air conditioning systems.

From Smithfield, the network leads underground for 4 miles of heating and 2.7 miles of chill, taking in Guildhall to the south-east and the Barbican Centre to the east.

Swipe right to see a peak underneath the existing building and for a shot of the PLA cold store photographed in July 1915. It was opened in 1914 as additional storage for 78,000 chilled carcasses. Wagons brought imported meat from the docks to this PLA store.
@ Smithfield, London

Founded by Jonathan Miles in Exchange Alley around 1680. In 1698 John Castaing posted a list of prices for stocks and co...
02/02/2020

Founded by Jonathan Miles in Exchange Alley around 1680. In 1698 John Castaing posted a list of prices for stocks and commodities. Traders who were expelled from the Royal Exchange used Jonathan Coffee House as a meeting place. It burnt down and was rebuilt in 1748. In 1773 the traders built the bigger 'New Jonathan's" in Sweeting's Alley (about where Royal Exchange Buildings meets Threadneedle Street now) but it soon became known as the Stock Exchange and evolved into the LSE that we have today. The original Jonathan's succumbed to the flames for a second and final time in 1778. @ Exchange Alley

We take it for granted now: huge glass shopfronts, brightly lit displays, door numbers, and the literacy to read the sig...
02/02/2020

We take it for granted now: huge glass shopfronts, brightly lit displays, door numbers, and the literacy to read the signage.

However, it wasn’t so easy for the citizens living in the City of London under Charles I, who changed to law to allow businesses (other than pubs) to hang signage above their entrance.

In a precursor to health and safety measures, the signage was becoming cumbersome and dangerous resulting in a 1762 commission decision that all signs should be fixed to the front of the building instead - modern day signage was created.

Just three signs types remain in common usage, the barbers’ pole (with its bloody red and white stripe recalling when barbers were also surgeons), the chemists’ pestle and mortar, and the pawnbrokers’ three balls.

Image: Lombard Street taken by William Whiffin (1878-1957). The street resurrected some of the signage to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII, and many signs remain in place today.

The month is December 1972, Britain is set to join the European Union on January 1st 1973.Edward Heath is Prime Minister...
01/02/2020

The month is December 1972, Britain is set to join the European Union on January 1st 1973.

Edward Heath is Prime Minister, actors Jude Law and Miranda Hart were born, Benny Hill was at number 1 in the charts, and the attached ticket gives you a month’s travel on London buses for £6. 🇬🇧 🇪🇺

Happy #yearoftherat #lunarnewyear #chinatown #london #china Photo: Gerrard Street Soho In London's Chinatown District, 1...
26/01/2020

Happy #yearoftherat #lunarnewyear #chinatown #london #china

Photo: Gerrard Street Soho In London's Chinatown District, 1971 © Bill Cross

Pic one: York House Watergate, in Victoria Embankment Gardens. A nearby plaque reads:InscriptionThis gateway marks the p...
19/01/2020

Pic one: York House Watergate, in Victoria Embankment Gardens. A nearby plaque reads:

Inscription
This gateway marks the position of the north bank of the River Thames before the construction of the Victoria Embankment in 1862. It was built in 1626 by Nicholas Stone, master mason, for George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, to serve as the watergate to York House which the Duke had acquired from the Archbishop of York in 1624. The arms on the river front and the motto "Fidei cotucula crux" (the cross is the touchstone of faith) on the land side, are those of the Villiers family. York House was demolished in 1675 and streets were laid out on the site. In 1893 the gate having fallen into decay, the London County Council obtained parliamentary powers to acquire and preserve it as an object of public interest.

Pic two: Until 1872, York Watergate was the Thames-side entrance to the since demolished York House (see map for comparison to today). The pre-embankment wider channel made conditions for a series of 'frost fairs' in the cold winters of preceding centuries.

Pic three: York Water Gate and the Adelphi from the River by Moonlight (c. 1850, oil on canvas) by Henry Pether. @ Victoria Embankment

On this day in 1886 modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.Pic: Scotland n...
18/01/2020

On this day in 1886 modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.

Pic: Scotland national hockey team scoring a goal against Germany, during the 1908 Summer Olympics held at White City Stadium, London.

England won the gold medal, Ireland the silver and Scotland and Wales were awarded bronze medals. All the medals were subsequently credited to Great Britain. 🏑

Listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest barbers in the world, @truefittandhill turns 215 years old this yea...
11/01/2020

Listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest barbers in the world, @truefittandhill turns 215 years old this year.

Since their early incarnation in 1805 as wigmakers and haircutters to HM King George III, Truefitt has been a part of men’s grooming routines from royal chambers to Downing Street and the dandies of theatre and cinema.

The handsome doors swept open on October 21st, just as the Battle of Trafalgar raged off the coast of Spain. @ Truefitt & Hill St. James's

Rationing of food began in Britain on this day in 1940. It continued for over fourteen years, finally ending on 30th Jun...
08/01/2020

Rationing of food began in Britain on this day in 1940. It continued for over fourteen years, finally ending on 30th June 1954 when meat “came off the ration”.

Main Image: A shop assistant cuts a coupon from a London woman�s ration book in 1940. Most food in London could be bought without a ration book if the customer has the price. But butter, sugar, bacon and ham may be bought only at a shop where the customer is registered.

Other images are a rationing campaign image and the government’s “Reasons for rationing”. @ London, United Kingdom

If you fancy attending one of London’s lesser known museums, and being catapulted back to the Victorian era, @raggedscho...
06/01/2020

If you fancy attending one of London’s lesser known museums, and being catapulted back to the Victorian era, @raggedschoolmuseum is for you.

Tucked away on the Regents Canal between Mile End and Limehouse basin, it’s easy to miss what is not only an informative look at late 19th century free education care of Dr Barnardo, but also an homage to the history of London’s East End (including the old clock from the Victoria Park Lido - pictured).

The free museum of the Ragged School (named due to the destitute kids’ raggedy clothing) is open between 10am and 5pm every Wednesday and Thursday, and between 2pm and 5pm on the first Sunday of each month when Victorian style school lessons run from 2:15pm & from 3:30pm, for 45 minutes. @ Ragged School Museum

The spot in Smithfield’s where Sir William Wallace was dragged through the city to naked by horse. In a grizzly public d...
05/01/2020

The spot in Smithfield’s where Sir William Wallace was dragged through the city to naked by horse. In a grizzly public display of torture and humiliation he was hanged, drawn and quartered (hung until almost dead, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burned before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts).

His preserved head (dipped in tar) was placed on a pike atop London Bridge.

St Bartholomew’s Gatehouse comprises of a 13th century arch, topped by a two-storey, 16th century Tudor building.Under t...
04/01/2020

St Bartholomew’s Gatehouse comprises of a 13th century arch, topped by a two-storey, 16th century Tudor building.

Under the first floor window is a coat of arms. In between the two windows on the second floor is a statue of St Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles, who the Priory and adjoining hospital were named after.

Measuring less than the length of a ruler (29.9 x 24.9 CM) this daintily sized painting of engraver Jacob de Gheyn 111 i...
04/01/2020

Measuring less than the length of a ruler (29.9 x 24.9 CM) this daintily sized painting of engraver Jacob de Gheyn 111 is known as the Takeaway Rembrandt, due its place in history as the second most stolen painting ever.

The painting has disappeared from @dulwichgallery on 4 separate occasions since 1966 and has been anonymously dropped off, or discovered by members of the public, on each occasion. Maybe the Return to Sender Rembrandt would also be a fitting title.

An integral part of the London skyline now. This is @theshardlondon #10yearchallenge for you all. Happy New Year from Lo...
31/12/2019

An integral part of the London skyline now. This is @theshardlondon #10yearchallenge for you all. Happy New Year from LondonHistorian - see you on the other side!

On the night of 29th-30th December 1940, approximately 100,000 bombs fell on London. One American correspondent claimed ...
31/12/2019

On the night of 29th-30th December 1940, approximately 100,000 bombs fell on London.

One American correspondent claimed “the second Great Fire of London has begun” as 1,500 fires burned during the night. 160 people died, 12 of whom were firefighters trying to limit the damage to the city.

St Paul's Cathedral and the immediate area was struck by 28 incendiary bombs. Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent the message that "St Paul's must be saved at all costs.

Above is the front page of the Daily Mail on this day 79 years ago. The image was taken from the roof of the Daily Mail building (Northcliffe House on Carmelite Street) by Herbert Mason, the paper’s chief photographer.

The #MilleniumDome had its big party to usher in the new millennium 20 years ago tomorrow. Were you there for the party?...
30/12/2019

The #MilleniumDome had its big party to usher in the new millennium 20 years ago tomorrow.

Were you there for the party? Did you visit the £789m “mind boggling day out” during the 365 days it was open and before it was mothballed for £1m per month ?

Wickhams Department store was built on the north side of Mile End Road in 1927. The design was created to rival the gran...
30/12/2019

Wickhams Department store was built on the north side of Mile End Road in 1927. The design was created to rival the grand facade of @theofficialselfridges on Oxford Street.

The design dip to the right of centre was due to the Spiegelhalters family refusing to move from their jewellers store, having already moved a short distance to accommodate the expanding Wickham family monopoly of the block.

Completion of the grand Wickhams design was never to be. When the era of the independent department stores waned in the 1960s, Wickhams sold up, never having acquired the awkward little shop in the middle. @ Mile End Road . East London

The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by Londoner John Callcott Horsley on the 1...
15/12/2019

The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by Londoner John Callcott Horsley on the 1st of May 1843. The central picture showed three generations of a family raising a toast to the card's recipient: on either side were scenes of charity, with food and clothing being given to the poor.

Horsley was born on Brompton Road, formerly Brompton Row. His sister Mary Elizabeth Horsley wed the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1836.

Did one Victorian publication have a prophetic, albeit idyllic, look into the future of London in the grip of climate ch...
10/12/2019

Did one Victorian publication have a prophetic, albeit idyllic, look into the future of London in the grip of climate change?

These images were first published in 1899 in London-based Harmsworth Magazine, showing the capital's best-known streets, squares and buildings submerged beneath water to create a second Venice.

The remarkable mocked-up photo project was prompted by news reports at the turn of the 19th century which described how London had subsided by 68 feet in 500 years, sparking speculation that the metropolis would eventually sink below the River Thames.

Swipe left to see:

"Canale Del Regente - one time known as Regent Street". @regentstreetw1

Piccadilly Circus becomes a network of canals in a vision of a new London.

Even @stpancrasren wasn't spared the Venitian treatment in this Victorian mockup of a London underwater.

The author considered how Hyde Park Corner would be "much improved" if it were more like Venice.

Lastly, St Paul's is renamed Piazza Di St Paul's @ London, United Kingdom

The Fleet River is probably the best known of London lost rivers. It existed relatively recently and was painted c.1750 ...
03/12/2019

The Fleet River is probably the best known of London lost rivers. It existed relatively recently and was painted c.1750 by Samuel Scott. Whilst true that the river was big enough to sail large ships down, the river (known as Fleet Ditch) was a grim place where it ran through the city on its way to the Thames from Hampstead. The image bottom left is less romanticised and a more realistic depiction of what became practically an open cesspit.
The river was covered over in the mid 19th century and the water was redirected via tunnels to an outlet in the Thames by Blackfriars Bridge.
The Fleet, after which Fleet Street is named, can be heard through a grating in Ray Street, Clerkenwell in front of the Coach and Horses pub.

For anyone who wonders why the London Underground map is not geographically accurate - THIS is why. Pictured above is th...
23/11/2019

For anyone who wonders why the London Underground map is not geographically accurate - THIS is why. Pictured above is the last geographical Tube map before the introduction of Harry Beck's digraphic design in 1933.

The first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919.Road workers in Regent Street, London, baring their heads in tribute to the...
10/11/2019

The first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919.

Road workers in Regent Street, London, baring their heads in tribute to the dead of the First World War during the 'great silence' of the first Armistice Day (PA)

The 804 year old Lord Mayor’s Show to welcome the 692nd Lord Mayor of London, William Russell.Separate to the Mayor of L...
09/11/2019

The 804 year old Lord Mayor’s Show to welcome the 692nd Lord Mayor of London, William Russell.

Separate to the Mayor of London (currently Sadiq Khan), The Lord Mayor of London is the City's mayor and the leader of the City of London Corporation. Within the City of London, the Lord Mayor is accorded precedence over all individuals except the sovereign. @ Lord Mayor Show

The 804 year old Lord Mayor’s Show to welcome the 692nd Lord Mayor of London, William Russell.Separate to the Mayor of L...
09/11/2019

The 804 year old Lord Mayor’s Show to welcome the 692nd Lord Mayor of London, William Russell.

Separate to the Mayor of London (currently Sadie Khan), The Lord Mayor of London is the City's mayor and the leader of the City of London Corporation. Within the City of London, the Lord Mayor is accorded precedence over all individuals except the sovereign. @ Lord Mayor Show

Head over to St. Andrew's Churchyard in Ham near Richmond and you'll find the grave of the biologist who gave us the wor...
06/11/2019

Head over to St. Andrew's Churchyard in Ham near Richmond and you'll find the grave of the biologist who gave us the word 'Dinosaur'. Although Dinosaurs first walked the earth over 231 million years ago, the word Dinosauria did not exist until Lancashire-born Sir Richard Owen used the name in 1841. The term derives from the Greek words for 'terrible' and 'lizard', meant more as a description of their size than a slight on their character.
Owen was instrumental in the drive to move the natural specimens from the British Museum to create the Natural History Museum in 1881. He was commemorated by the Royal Mail in 1991 with a set of special stamps, 150 years after he entered the word Dinosaur into the English language.
Born: July 20, 1804, Lancaster
Died: December 18, 1892, Richmond Park, London
🦖🦖🦖🦖

The black marble sarcophagus of Admiral Nelson was once ear-marked by Henry VIII for his own tomb. It had previously bee...
15/10/2019

The black marble sarcophagus of Admiral Nelson was once ear-marked by Henry VIII for his own tomb. It had previously been destined for Henry's best bud Cardinal Wolsey until they had a tiff (over his desired divorce of Catherine of Aragon) and Henry fancied it for himself.
Tubby Henry couldn't fit in the tomb and it was mothballed for a further 250 plus years, until someone appropriate became available for the memorial - Viscount Horatio Nelson. A breathtaking centrepiece of St. Paul's crypt, set in place in 1806.

A rare photograph of the old wooden Battersea Bridge (1771–1885). Taken by photographer James Hedderly in the 1860s. The...
09/10/2019

A rare photograph of the old wooden Battersea Bridge (1771–1885). Taken by photographer James Hedderly in the 1860s.
The original bridge was commissioned by John, Earl Spencer, the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales and was the last surviving wooden bridge on the Thames. It was replaced by the existing bridge, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, in 1890.

#PortobelloRoad in the 1950s.The road was created in the Victorian times and takes its name from the 18th century Portob...
04/10/2019

#PortobelloRoad in the 1950s.

The road was created in the Victorian times and takes its name from the 18th century Portobello Farm, itself commemorating a British victory over the Spanish in Puerto Bello (now known as Portobelo in modern-day Panama).

#tbt to Kensington in 1868.Market Court, demolished a few years later, was a slum on the southern side of Kensington Hig...
23/09/2019

#tbt to Kensington in 1868.

Market Court, demolished a few years later, was a slum on the southern side of Kensington High Street roughly where the Barkers/ Whole Foods building stands today.

The men mostly took intermittent work in the market gardens whilst their wives took in laundry or hawked wares in the High Street.

Seven Sisters: named locally after seven elm trees which were planted in a circle, around a walnut tree, on an area of c...
22/09/2019

Seven Sisters: named locally after seven elm trees which were planted in a circle, around a walnut tree, on an area of common land then known as Page Green.

Canning Town: thought to be named after the first Viceroy of India, Charles John Canning, in office following the transfer of power from the East India Company to the Crown of Queen Victoria.

Hammersmith: simply "(Place with) a hammer smithy/forge", first recorded in 1294.

Chalk Farm: recorded as Chaldecotein in 1253, meaning ‘the cold cottage(s)’ from old English, which may refer to inhospitable dwellings, the transformation of the original name of this area is simply due to phonetic changes.

Introducing the recently cleaned and restored Aldgate Pump, aka 'The Pump of Death'. It was originally erected in 1871, ...
17/09/2019

Introducing the recently cleaned and restored Aldgate Pump, aka 'The Pump of Death'. It was originally erected in 1871, at the junction where Aldgate meets Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street, but had been situated nearby since the 16th century.
Served by one of London's many underground streams it stood the test of time and was claimed by some to have healing properties.
However the introduction of new cemeteries, to serve a bulging population, led to a health and safety disaster. Hundreds of people were killed by the goo and calcium draining from dead bodies in varies graveyards between Hampstead (where the river began) and Aldgate.
Following the epidemic the pump was closed, and connected to the mains in 1876. The pump clawed back its previous held reputation, retaining its place as the symbolic start of East London. The brass wolf head is said to symbolically mark the place that the last wolf was shot in London.

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For anyone interested in the East End and Fish Island -