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A Walk In Long Forgotten London

May 6, 2017
by the gentle author

If you got lost in the six volumes of Walter Thornbury’s London Old & New you might never find your way out again. Published in the eighteen-seventies, they recall a London which had already vanished, in atmospheric engravings enticing the viewer to visit the dirty, shabby, narrow labyrinthine streets leading to Thieving Lane, by way of Butcher’s Row and Bleeding Heart Yard.

Butcher’s Row, Fleet St, 1800

The Old Fish Shop by Temple Bar, 1846

Exeter Change Menagerie in the Strand, 1826

Hungerford Bridge with Hungerford Market, 1850

At the Panopticon in Leicester Sq, 1854

Holbein Gateway in Whitehall, 1739

Thieving Lane in Westminster, 1808

Old London Bridge, 1796

Black Bull Inn, Gray’s Inn Lane

Cold Harbour, Upper Thames St, City of London

Billingsgate, 1820

Bedford Head Tavern,  Covent Garden

Coal Exchange, City of London, 1876

The Cock & Magpie, Drury Lane

Roman remains discovered at Bilingsgate

Hick’s Hall in Clerkenwell,  1730

Former church of St James Clerkenwell

Door of Newgate Prison

Fleet Market

Bleeding Heart Yard in Hatton Garden

Prince Henry’s House in the Barbican

Fortune Theatre, Whitecross St, 1811

Coldbath House in Clerkenwell, 1811

Milford Lane, off the Strand, 1820

St Martin’s-Le-Grand, 1760

Old Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam), Moorfields, in 1750

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jim McDermott permalink
    May 6, 2017

    My head tells me: poor diet, parlous health, hideous dentistry, awful odours (and no sanitation), heart-breaking poverty and casual cruelty to man and beast alike. My heart says something else entirely.

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    May 6, 2017

    The constant of London is perpetual change

  3. Eddie Johnson permalink
    May 6, 2017

    So grateful for a look at London’s past. Lovely pictures, incidentally the shelters on the old London Bridge can still be seen in Victoria Park, as a baby I lived in Cadogan Terrace and they were among my first memories.

  4. May 6, 2017

    The illustrations/plates indicate an organised society for that time. The buildings shown were largely stone structures, a lesson ‘well learnt’ after the great Fire of London Sep 1666. Read Sam Pepys Diary he tells us all about that. He was the king of the firebreaks and first to tell the King that’s good PR. All the houses then were wooden structures. The old medieval city including Pudding Lane and old St Paul’s Cathedral were burnt out. Thank you GA for showing us 18th C London. Poet John

  5. Peter Holford permalink
    May 6, 2017

    What great pictures, so detailed that the lack of photography in that era scarcely seems to matter. I could study these for hours and may well do over the next few days. More please!

  6. Sally Bernard permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Isnt Prince Henry’s house still there? Or am I muddled up. Great photos.

  7. Colin Allen permalink
    May 7, 2017

    You’ve done it to me again!
    So taken was I with this blog (as others in the past) I have managed to track down and purchase all six volumes.
    I cannot thank you enough for bringing this edition to my attention.
    Keep up your excellent work
    Kind regards

  8. Shawdian permalink
    May 9, 2017

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THESE ! Help with a course I am doing right now on the History of London. WHAT A GREAT CITY ❤️ Thank you Gentle Author.

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