History - Latest news and reviews

London in the 1950s – archive film footage

A heads up that the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square is showing archive films of London in the 1950s as part of a free event later this month. The official fluff reads: Take a trip back in time to

Ghosts on the London Underground

Considering the dark dark corners, strange noises and abandoned tunnels that litter the soil under London, it is possibly no surprise that stories of hauntings have emerged over the years. On Wednesday, a couple of authors who have recently written

Charles Dickens’s England – A Documentary

Wandered over to the Genesis Cinema in Mile End last night to see a showing of a lengthy documentary about Charles Dickens – specifically the places he lived in and how they influenced his writings. Narrated by Derek Jacobi, the

An Old Napoleonic Bollard in Wapping?

A few months ago, The Greenwich Phantom made me aware of the fact that early bollards used on pavements came from cannons captured during the Napoleonic war. The cannons were apparently stuck in the ground with a cannon ball on

London’s Lost Tunnel

While tunnel affectionados will be familiar with the “Mail Rail” that runs under London, fewer know that it was in fact the second such system, and an earlier tunnel had been built to carry mail from the Post Office’s national

How London Bridge Fell Down

Tomorrow (Sat) will mark either the laying of the foundation stone, or the completion of the construction of the first London Bridge – the date seems a bit confused. Now, a new study at the University of Leicester has uncovered

Gosh and Golly – its a tidal mill

Dan Cruickshank, the softly spoken mutterer of goshes and gollys on BBC2’s various history and architecture programs has been roped in to front a fund raising campaign for the Tidal Mills at Bow. I was there the other month for

A Horn Fair Procession From Rotherhithe to Charlton

As much as a admire the Victorians for many achievements, they did have two rather annoying habits. One was to rewrite, or at least censor ancient history when they discovered the supposedly enlightened folk were rather keen on Bacchanalian propensities.

Drive Sheep Over London Bridge

If you came here looking for details about the sheep drive on Wed 21st Sept 2011, it’s been cancelled by the organisers. Sorry. Fancy acting like a Freeman of the City of London and drive some sheep over London Bridge?

London’s Tidal Mill

Lurking round the corner from a gigantic Tesco in Bow, East London is what is thought to be the world’s largest remaining tidal mill and thanks to the failure of the aforementioned Tesco to turn it into a car park,

The arrival of Big Ben at Westminster in 1858

I have a small hobby of collecting old copies of the Illustrated London News – a venerable newspaper which was first published n 1842. I acquired a few more copies last week and scanning through the collection this weekend, came

150 Years of Clean Drinking Water

One hundred and fifty years ago this very day, London’s first free public water fountain that guaranteed clean drinking water was unveiled to much applause. Somewhat less than 150 years ago, I wrote about it – so rather than recaping

The Tudors – special preview screening of Series 3

A note about an event that needs booking tickets for as the British Library is hosting a special preview screening of the first episode of series 3 of the TV series, The Tudors. This season sees Henry VIII increasingly in

Supper, Restoration Diaries and a Hymn

I wandered along to a lecture this evening which was due to discuss the relationship between two of the great Diarists of the English Restoration period, being Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn. It was billed as Supper and a Lecture,

The DLR’s Brief History of The Docklands

Somehow missed this, but the DLR has published A Brief History of Time the Docklands as a station by station guide. The booklet, some 28 pages long gives 2-3 paragraphs to the history of the area which each station is