Tuesday, 30 January 2007
A reader inquires whether I can supply a print copy of the 1895 Reynolds Map of London. The short answer is no; but anyone on the look-out for print maps of Victorian London should try
1. www.abebooks.com ... search under "London" and "Map" or "atlas" in the title and limit years ... this will find lots of Victorian London street maps (often rather expensive, as some are collectors items)
2. www.motco.com sell print reproductions of sections of the incredible 1862 Stanford map.
3. The LSE Archive sell print reproductions of sections of the 1898-9 Booth Poverty Maps.
4. An extensive 1888 Bacon map has been reprinted in book form.
5. www.oldhousebooks.co.uk also sell a reprint of an 1840s map, and Baedecker guides from the end of the century.
I'd be interested to know of other reprints, if anyone has come across them.
Looking into the Holborn Casino again, I stumble across another instance of men appearing as women in Victorian night-spots (see here) ... the defence when prosecuted was invariably that it was done "for a wager" or "for a lark". Women dressing as men seems to have been a little rarer, but not unheard of. The general response in court seems to have been as much wry amusement and simple confusion, as anything else. For fictional treatment, of course, see Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet.
Monday, 29 January 2007
Saturday, 27 January 2007
A reader inquires about the location of the Holborn Casino, an infamous dance-hall/night-club of the 1860s/1870s which features in my third novel, The Welfare of the Dead. It was replaced by the Holborn Restaurant and was located in the area opposite today's Holborn tube station. The map attached shows Holborn in 1899 ... Kingsway was not yet built, with slums still around Great Wild Street and Clare Market in the south. Also a lost theatre, the Jodrell; two lost music halls, the Royal and the seemingly tiny Middlesex. Plus, if you look closely, an intimation of the British Museum Station on the new central line, which would appear in mid 1900. For the rest of the Pocket Map of London (very good on theatres) see my site.
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
Sunday, 21 January 2007
Saturday, 20 January 2007
Victorian enthusiasts may be interested in this lecture series which provides an introduction to various architects who most influenced the modern capital. In particular, Charles Barry and George Gilbert Scott are included. I may well attend the latter - I'm a great admirer of his work, as I live in sight of one of Scott's great achievements, trifling in comparison to St. Pancras, but stunningly beautiful.
Friday, 19 January 2007
Cruikshank's Comic Almanack includes, amongst a lot of Victorian humorous prose (which doesn't generally seem very funny today) a cartoon for each month of the year, which I do tend to find fascinating ... not so much for their humour as the marvellous detail. My favourite for humour is, however, November 1838's 'Guys in Council', presaging Larson's "Far Side" et al. To browse all the months from 1835-1838, see the page I've created, as promised below.
Thursday, 18 January 2007
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
A site after my own heart is MAPCO and, of course, the London section. I've just noticed that there's three new Victorian maps on there, since I last looked, and have added them to my own list. These include a beautifully detailed map of all parish boundaries in 1877 - great stuff!
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
Just a quick note to say that the audio cassette version of The Last Pleasure Garden is now available. You can order the cassettes or listen to a snippet online. I'm told that digital audio/mp3 versions of my books (and others by the same publisher) will be released in due course but, until then, if you want to hear me on the bus, drop your Ipod and retrieve your 1980s Walkman from the cupboard. [well, I still have mine ...]
Monday, 15 January 2007
The premier site for these fascinating calling-cards used by middle and upper class Victorians is here, but my friend Ken Page has graciously donated 13 digitised cartes of his own to the Victorian Dictionary. Enjoy!
Sunday, 14 January 2007
A quick note to say that I will be 'appearing' at Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge (UK) as part of their Crime through Time evening on February 22nd 2007. It's an annual event (there is a parallel general crime night 'Bodies in the Bookshop' in the summer) where 'historical crime' writers gather, chat and mingle with anyone who turns up. There's normally two dozen writers there, often overwhelming the public, signing books and talking shop. I fear, in fact, that the authors enjoy it more than anyone else ... but do come along!
Saturday, 13 January 2007
A teaser for forthcoming pics on www.victorianlondon.org ... a complete set of the 'months' in the great cartoonist's Almanack, 1835-38, and some other selections. What I love about Cruikshank is the level of painterly detail that goes into every cartoon. Above is April 1835 (on the theme of April showers) - note the "Umbrella Depot" ... certainly Victorian shops were commonly called "Warehouses" (eg. "Jay's Mourning Warehouse") and I suspect "Depot" was commonplace too.
Friday, 12 January 2007
Thursday, 11 January 2007
A reader directs me to an interesting anthology of Dickens's writing on France and the French.
"Dickens on France brings together short stories, extracts from novels and travel writing. Among its journalistic highlights are accounts of a train journey from London to Paris, a rough Channel crossing, the pleasures of Boulogne, and Parisian life in the 1850s and 1860s. Extracts from the travelogue Pictures from Italy take us by coach from Paris to Marseille. The selected short stories include “His Boots”, a section of “Mrs Lirriper’s Legacy” and “The Boy at Mugby”, and there are extracts from A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit, Dombey and Son, Nicholas Nickleby, and Our Mutual Friend."
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Mystic London by Charles Maurice Davies (1828-1910) - a bizarre study of London life, with a good deal on spiritualism (viewed with a mixture of skepticism and interest) but also, for example, covering emigration to Canada, a lady mesmerist, a visit to the home of a murderer and much more. Also the author of 'Unorthodox London: Or, Phases of Religious Life in the Metropolis'. According to the DNB Davies was a priest who abandoned holy orders in the 1880s.
William Powell Frith : Painting the Victorian Age (until 4 March 2007)
An exhibition of the great painter at the Guildhall Art Gallery.