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Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

History - Archive Articles

Latest news articles about London’s long history.

Photos of the Early Printing Presses at Fleet Street
Photos of the Early Printing Presses at Fleet Street

Photos of the Early Printing Presses at Fleet Street

Fleet Street may have been known as the traditional heart of London’s newspapers, but in fact, many of the newspapers were situated not on Fleet Street proper, but on side streets around it. One such property was the Associated Newspapers

Dec
12
2010

The underground crypt in the City of London

Lurking in a tiny side alley on  a small side street near Fleet Street in the City of London lies one of the city’s less well known bits of heritage – the remains of the Whitefriar’s Crypt. To find the

Dec
07
2010
The Nature Study Museum in Stepney
The Nature Study Museum in Stepney

The Nature Study Museum in Stepney

The Nature Study Museum, near Shadwell DLR station was very notable when it opened as it was the first in London to feature live exhibits to show to local residents who might not otherwise see living exotic animals and was

Dec
04
2010

The Isle of Dogs Declares Independence from the UK

Following on from the rather dubious Mayoral election yesterday in Tower Hamlets, some people living on the Isle of Dogs (well, probably just me) might be wondering if we can be cut free from the rest of the Borough and

Oct
22
2010
An early drawing of Tower Bridge
An early drawing of Tower Bridge

An early drawing of Tower Bridge

The below drawing might not look that unusual, albeit fairly obviously from an older time when the riverside was still a major port and industrial centre, but at the time it was printed - in 1886 - it was quite radical.

Oct
17
2010

The Aldwych Tube Station Blitz Experience

First things first, as they say. Tickets to this event sold out yonks ago. However, if you don’t mind the risk of getting nothing after a day of hanging around, and consuming vast quantities of coffee while you wait, then

Sep
24
2010

Visiting The Conservative Club in St James

The exterior may look suitably anonymous to the average passer-by, but inside number 74 St James lurks not only an impressive interior, but also hosts an important aspect of the history of the modern Tory Party. The building was the

Sep
19
2010
Visiting Roman ruins hidden under a London street
Visiting Roman ruins hidden under a London street

Visiting Roman ruins hidden under a London street

Hidden away from sight in a side room next to an underground car park is one of the more important remains of the old London Wall that actually dates from before the wall was built.

Aug
20
2010

The Destruction of London’s Newgate Prison

We are at war with the Catholics, we have always been at war with the Catholics. In a move which would impress George Orwell, the politicians of 1780 were seeking to change the above statement so that the British were

Jun
01
2010
The Queen’s Speech and a Coalition Government – of 1854
The Queen’s Speech and a Coalition Government – of 1854

The Queen’s Speech and a Coalition Government – of 1854

On this day, marking the first Queen’s Speech delivered by a coalition government to Queen Elizabeth II, I take time to reflect on an earlier Queen’s Speech, when there was not so much a Coalition Government as a single-party state.

May
25
2010
A Panorama of New York City in 1855
A Panorama of New York City in 1855

A Panorama of New York City in 1855

Accepting that this isn’t really about my usual topic of London, I still think the below panorama drawing of New York City as it was in 1855 is still rather impressive to look at. Whether, as predicted in the news

May
21
2010
The Wellington Testimonial Clock-Tower in Southwark
The Wellington Testimonial Clock-Tower in Southwark

The Wellington Testimonial Clock-Tower in Southwark

In 1854, the good peoples of Southwark wished to demonstrate their appreciation towards the Duke of Wellington, who had died only a few years earlier, and chose to construct some form of memorial to him. As detailed below, an original

May
16
2010

Job vacancy – an Ale Taster for Spitalfields market

London’s Old Spitalfields Market has announced it’s looking for a candidate to resurrect the ancient role of Ale Taster – a revival of one of the earliest forms of consumer protection to check that the ales sold by inns were

May
14
2010
A New Asylum for Idiots
A New Asylum for Idiots

A New Asylum for Idiots

Another snippet from my collection of the Illustrated London News – this time of March 1854 detailing the fund raising efforts of an educational charity that wanted to offer specialised education to “idiots”, or those we would today tend to

May
12
2010

The Victorian Panopticon in London’s Leicester-Square

In the days prior to the development of the mass-market cinema, one of the most popular forms of morally suitable entertainment was to visit a site of ephemeral entertainments in the cities. These “fun fairs” would promote themselves as displays

May
08
2010
A Declaration of War
A Declaration of War

A Declaration of War

You may recall that just a few weeks ago I attended the formal reading of the Proclamation for the Dissolution of Parliament as it was read on the steps of the Royal Exchange in the City of London. Such a

May
05
2010
Repairing the Fleet Sewer
Repairing the Fleet Sewer

Repairing the Fleet Sewer

Probably the most famous of the “lost rivers” under London is the river Fleet, an increasingly polluted river through the City which was slowly buried to hide its contents from surface dwelling folk as its contents became increasingly putrid. I

May
04
2010
When there were icebergs in the River Thames
When there were icebergs in the River Thames

When there were icebergs in the River Thames

Although most readers will be familiar with the tales of the Frost Fairs, when the River Thames was completely frozen over, changes to the climate and river structures made such an event almost impossible in the 19th century – and

May
03
2010
Croydon’s Experimental Atmospheric Railway
Croydon’s Experimental Atmospheric Railway

Croydon’s Experimental Atmospheric Railway

Long term readers may recall my on/off researches into a tube railway that would have linked

Apr
30
2010
A Destructive Fire at East Greenwich
A Destructive Fire at East Greenwich

A Destructive Fire at East Greenwich

Another snippet from my collection of the Illustrated London News – this time from 8th March 1845, detailing a conflagration that nearly destroyed a major factory in what we would probably today more commonly refer to as the Greenwich Peninsula.

Apr
21
2010
Pictures of the Digging of the Fleet Sewer
Pictures of the Digging of the Fleet Sewer

Pictures of the Digging of the Fleet Sewer

Another extract from my collection of the Illustrated London News of 1845 – this time a short item on the enlargement of the earlier sewer system running under Fleet Street. As subterranean structures are a long running passion of mine,

Apr
16
2010
The Proclamation for the Dissolution of the Present Parliament
The Proclamation for the Dissolution of the Present Parliament

The Proclamation for the Dissolution of the Present Parliament

With the traditional cry of Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!, the Cryer read out the formal document, written in that wonderfully old fashioned language that never changes.

Apr
12
2010
The Myth of Wren’s Masterplan for London
The Myth of Wren’s Masterplan for London

The Myth of Wren’s Masterplan for London

I recently had the great pleasure of acquiring a copy of a report commissioned by the City of London in 1944 for ideas about the rebuilding of the City when the war eventually finished. Although very speculative in ideas as

Apr
11
2010
The Original Hungerford Bridge
The Original Hungerford Bridge

The Original Hungerford Bridge

When the Millennium (aka, Wobbly) Bridge was opened by the Tate Modern, it was heralded as marvel partly for its construction, but also for being devoted solely to pedestrians. This was not the first pedestrian only bridge over the Thames

Apr
09
2010