Spitalfields, Gravesend, Venice & London 1842 directory

Lots to report in this new post. I took a short trip to Venice, the Italian version, and had a wonderful break for a few days. During this time, I started to read a rather brilliant historical book by Dan Cruickshanks on Spitalfields. I had a book token to use, and this book took my fancy! It is rather excellent so far, and more.

I did not know that Spital comes from the word hospital, apparently it does. The book on Spitalfields is quite heavy reading, and more a textbook rather than a light read. That’s OK, it is pretty brilliant so far, after about the first few chapters. Interestingly, amongst the credits are a favourite of mine, Sarah Wise; and also the Spitalfields Life website and many more.

A quick aside, my wife and I had a long, drawn out discussion about the words utmost & upmost; we both use different words, as we were both unaware of the other word. Look these words up if you want to know the general outcome!

Once home from a break, I answered an interesting email on Gravesend. It took me two days of my research time to update Gravesend pub history in about 1851. For the record, Gravesend is not in London, it is fairly near, but in Kent on the southern borders of the River Thames. It made a splash in the news recently because of a Beluga whale from the Arctic spending some time here.

Finally, I am back to updating the London street directory for 1842 / 1832 etc. By tomorrow, all of the letter B should be complete with 1842 street directory images, e.g. Brook street, Ratcliff.




Bethnal Green and other early pub history

A quick blog on todays merits on my London history site. Well, actually the last few days. Being retired ought to bring relief in getting things done! Well, I am massively busy, and I suppose I am catching up on many other tasks, like two trips to the local rubbish tip, and lots more.

In the meantime, regulars keep posting updates for the amazing pub history site, e.g. Ian McInnes is updating my Dulwich pages, a few at a time; Vincent O’Loughlin is sending a vast array of imagery for Battersea and much more, including modern pictures, 1970s film shots and 1880 to 1920 photographs, mostly pubs.

And Ewan, who runs the amazing pubology site, regularly sends me updates for a specific post code, the latest being Bethnal Green. I have been adding this update for the last four days so far – some updates are minor, others are amazing lists of pre-1830 licensees for a specific Bethnal Green pub, etc.

A few additions were noted in Church street, Bethnal Green; and I have just added the 1832 Robsons street directory and the 1842 Robsons directory images for this street. This is part of my requirement to list an entire street directory of 1832 in London. It is getting there fairly quickly.

A brief word on Bethnal Green. In the Victorian era, and probably earlier, this was probably the poorest part of London, along with a brilliant read of Sarah Wise, and “the Blackest streets”, which I read whilst on holiday recently.

Sarah Wise is an amazing historian, and author who takes you into a world, almost like a modern day Charles Dickens. I will not tell you more, read it, it will absorb your entire life for the days that you are reading this astounding life of  the rich and church alike, charging exorbitant rents to those in severe poverty; and their many struggles.

Not much changes there, and the masses who have bought their cheap council houses and cheap privatisation shares still vote in their numbers for a Tory Government totally devoid of any form of human empathy. Read Maslows ‘levels of needs’ if you want to understand any of this.



Sarah Wise – The Blackest streets – of London

I am quite excited. I have a new book by Sarah Wise to read. I have not even read anything about it, even though I do have this new book in my hand.

I have read a previous book by her,  the Italian Boy. I will tell you more about this in a minute. I have also read a second book, Lunacy, Liberty, Mad Doctors  … which I did not even realise was by her! Call me simple, I have this book on my desk, and only just realised my complete ignorance, what a wally I am!

Back to the Italian Boy, this book I have read twice. I was first introduced to it by a young doctor who wrote about the Anatomy Act of 1832  as part of their degree course. My interest was the numbers of old London pubs visited during the story telling, and I love a story about Old London, as I said, I like to keep things simple.

I am very excited to read her (Sarah wise) new book on my holidays shortly. I will post some feedback at a later stage. I can already predict it being absolutely brilliant.