When will Britain face up to its crimes against humanity? | News | The Guardian

slaveryOn 3 August 1835, somewhere in the City of London, two of Europe’s most famous bankers came to an agreement with the chancellor of the exchequer. Two years earlier, the British government had passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which outlawed slavery in most parts of the empire. Now it was taking out one of the largest loans in history, to finance the slave compensation package required by the 1833 act. Nathan Mayer Rothschild and his brother-in-law Moses Montefiore agreed to…

via When will Britain face up to its crimes against humanity? | News | The Guardian

Ely Place: a street in central London that used to be part of Cambridgeshire | Flickering Lamps

The heart of London is full of strange old places with unusual names and odd stories, but there is one place that for a very long time was not a true part of London at all.  Ely Place, just to the …

Source: Ely Place: a street in central London that used to be part of Cambridgeshire | Flickering Lamps

Vanishing London | Spitalfields Life

Williamson’s Hotel, New Court, City of London

In 1906, F G Hilton Price, Vice President of the London Topographical Society opened his speech to the members at the annual meeting with these words – ‘We are all familiar with the hackneyed expression ‘Vanishing London’ but it is nevertheless an appropriate one for – as a matter of fact – there is very little remaining in the City which might be called old London … During the last sixty years or more there have been enormous changes, the topography has been…

Source: Vanishing London | Spitalfields Life

“The Anatomizer’s Ground” – Uncovering the history of St Olave’s, Silver Street | Flickering Lamps

The City of London is home to many curious little green spaces, gardens that today are often teeming with office workers enjoying their lunch on a sunny day. The little garden pictured below is just one of them, a small space nestled between office blocks and the busy thoroughfare of London Wall.  In the introduction to his 1901 book The Churches and Chapels of Old London, J G White notes that “the sites of old churches are very plainly indicated in most instances by little green spots, formerly church-yards, now changed into pleasant gardens and resting places.”  The subject of today’s post is the “green spot” on the site of the church of St Olave, Silver Street.

Many of the City’s churches were closed and demolished as the area’s population began to decrease in the 19th Century, and more were destroyed in the Blitz and never rebuilt.  St Olave’s was situated in a part of the Square Mile that was particularly heavily hit by aerial bombardment during the Second World War – it lies just south of London Wall and the Barbican complex, an area devastated by the Luftwaffe.  Silver Street, where William Shakespeare once lived, is no longer on London’s maps, utterly wiped out by the devastation of…

Source: “The Anatomizer’s Ground” – Uncovering the history of St Olave’s, Silver Street | Flickering Lamps

100 Years On: An Oasis in a World Gone Crazy

London Historians' Blog

pessimists100 years ago on the Western Front, the now-legendary army padre Philip “Tubby” Clayton and his colleague padre Neville Talbot recognised the urgent need for a soldiers’ club where the troops could hang out and relax with their comrades when behind the lines. A two storey house in Poperinge (“Pop”) was procured and named after Talbot’s brother, Gilbert, who was killed at Ypres on 30 July, aged 23. Talbot House was born.

The top floor became a chapel, using a carpenter’s bench for an altar. Tubby estimated over 100,000 attended there during the war, whether for public service or private prayer. The ground floor was a lounge, library and tea room. Alcohol was not served. Talbot House was for all ranks, indeed all were considered equal, hence it was known as Every-Man’s Club. It was an immediate success and continued until the immediate area became too dangerous towards the end of the conflict…

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300 Years of Doggett’s Coat and Badge

London Historians' Blog

doggett1_2501 August 1715 was the first instance of Doggett’s Coat and Badge rowing race between newly-qualified watermen, up the Thames from London Bridge to Chelsea. Unlike today, there were no further bridges to pass under and the river was almost entirely unembanked, hence considerably wider than today. Once past Westminster, the vista would have been comparatively sparce of buildings on both banks. The boats are notably different too. The original participants raced in the craft of their craft: a wherry, the London cab of its day.  Today, the racers are more fortunate, using modern Olympic class single skulls. This race has been competed almost every year since, making it the longest continuously-run sporting event in the world. Yet compared with the much newer Boat Race (1829), it is hardly known. The prize for the winner is a handsome scarlet coat decorated with a solid silver sleeve badge. It comes with a dinky matching…

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A Brief History Of Bishopsgate Goodsyard | Spitalfields Life

Originally posted on Spitalfields Life.

There are many continuities that run through time in Spitalfields, yet the most disturbing is the history of brutal change which has been wreaked upon the neighbourhood over centuries.

The Hospital of the Priory of St Mary – from which the name Spitalfields is derived – was established in the eleventh century as a refuge for the homeless, conveniently one mile north from the City of London which sought to expel vagabond and beggars. Then Henry VIII destroyed this Priory in the sixteenth century and seized the ‘Spital fields which he turned over to usage as his Artillery Ground.

In the eighteen-thirties, the Eastern Counties Railway, cut across the north of Spitalfields to construct Bishopsgate Station on Shoreditch High St, pushing families from their homes to seek new accommodation in the surrounding streets. The overcrowded area to the north became known as the Nichol, notorious for…

via A Brief History Of Bishopsgate Goodsyard | Spitalfields Life.

Great Plague Of London Explored In New Exhibition | Londonist

Originally posted on the Londonist.

The Square Mile’s Guildhall Library has mounted a small but informative exhibition about the Great Plague. The visitation of 1665 killed an estimated 100,000 Londoners — around a quarter of the population.

The display presents original documents and publications from the time, all drawn from the library’s unrivalled holdings. Visitors can inspect…

via Great Plague Of London Explored In New Exhibition | Londonist.

White Horse Street, hill figures, and a dragon

thestreetnames

John Rocque, one of London’s most famous cartographers, had a print shop near White Horse Street in Mayfair. The street takes its name from a royal emblem used in tavern signs; this was from the royal house of Hanover, which adopted a galloping white horse, dating from the accession of George I in 1714. The sign itself, however, was in use long before that as the emblem of ancient Saxons and, later, the emblem of Kent.

There are several chalk figures – mainly horses – in the UK, carved into hillsides; although they are not uncommon, only a handful have been dated before 1700. One of the oldest (possibly the oldest) and most famous is in the Vale of the White Horse at Uffington in Oxfordshire.

The age of this horse is uncertain: it was once said to commemorate the victory of King Alfred over the Danes in 871, but…

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