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The Reopening Of Columbia Rd Market

July 12, 2020
by the gentle author

Carl Grover, Herb Seller

When people asked me what I missed most during the lockdown, Columbia Rd Market was always top of the list. So you can imagine my delight now it has re-opened. Photographer Andrew Baker went along before dawn last Sunday to create this photoessay, recording the historic moment when London’s best-loved flower and plant market reawakened after slumbering since March.

It is a different world now and the market has been reconfigured to permit social distancing, with stalls further apart and all on one side of the street, and a one way system from the west to east. As the flower sellers met for the first time in months, many mourned the loss of George Gladwell and Lou Burridge to the Coronavirus – both highly respected market seniors who had traded in Columbia Rd their whole lives.

My friend Carl Grover, the herb seller whose family have been in East End markets for generations, was there with his father in a new spot where Columbia Rd meets Barnet Grove. “We were on our old pitch for forty-seven years,” he confided to me with a nostalgic grin, “Yet I understand that the council have to make changes to accommodate for social distancing. I remember the days before the pitches were marked out in the eighties, we all knew where we were by the cracks in the pavement.”

Then his mood lifted, admitting, “We thought, ‘We have to make the best of it.’ And as soon as we had set up, somebody bought some herbs and Dad said, ‘We’ve broken the ice, we’ve cracked it!’ It seemed like a new beginning. Then more customers arrived and they were rolling off lists of what that they wanted. Someone said to me, ‘Your herbs kept me going during the lockdown.’ We were quite pleased. I think people will be growing their own vegetables more now, even if it means keeping pots of herbs on their window sills. Next week we are going to have aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers and chilli peppers on sale.”

When I revealed to Carl that Barnet Grove was where the flower market began as a place for weavers to exchange plants in the eighteenth century and where – famously – a rare tulip bulb was sold for £200 in 1820, his face broke into a wide smile and he declared, “We’re going to be selling tulips next year!”

The hustle and bustle of the old market has been replaced by a Sunday calm, although plenty of East Enders turned out to carry off a bunch of flowers to brighten their homes after the long months of lockdown. Many were grateful that the hordes of tourists who come to take photographs were absent. As with the Borough Market, this ancient gardeners’ market has returned to its origins as a source of produce for Londoners, at least for the time being.

After half a century on the corner of Ezra St, Carl Grover has moved to a new pitch on the corner of Barnet Grove where the market began in the eighteenth century

Photographs copyright © Andrew Baker

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So Long, George Gladwell

Adam Dant At Sandys Row Synagogue

July 11, 2020
by the gentle author


Click on this image to enlarge

Several years ago, Adam Dant drew a Map of Huguenot Spitalfields and more than two hundred people got in touch to add their ancestors. Now Adam has created this plan of Sandys Row Synagogue, London’s oldest Ashkenhazi Synagogue, we are seeking readers whose ancestors who were part of the shul. The synagogue is launching Our Roots project to collect the stories of members of the congregation since it was founded in 1854, when fifty families formed the Society for Comfort of the Mourners, Kindness, & Truth.

Email admin@sandysrowsynagogue.org if you have stories, photographs or any other information about your ancestors that would like to contribute.

All are welcome to join the launch event on Zoom on Wednesday 22nd July at 7:45pm to learn more about the project and the history of Sandys Row Synagogue.

Click here to sign up for free

Photograph of Sandys Row by Morley Von Sternberg

Click here to learn more about the OUR ROOTS project

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At Sandys Row Synagogue

Inside The Model Of St Paul’s

July 10, 2020
by the gentle author

Simon Carter, Keeper of Collections at St Paul’s

In a hidden chamber within the roof of St Paul’s sits Christopher Wren’s 1:25 model of the cathedral, looking for all the world like the largest jelly mould you ever saw. When Charles II examined it in the Chapter House of old St Paul’s, he was so captivated by Wren’s imagination as manifest in this visionary prototype that he awarded him the job of constructing the new cathedral.

More than three hundred years later, Wren’s model still works its magic upon the spectator, as I discovered last week when I was granted the rare privilege of climbing inside to glimpse the view that held the King spellbound. While there is an austere splendour to the exterior of the model, I discovered the interior contains a heart-stopping visual device which was surely the coup that persuaded Charles II of Wren’s genius.

Yet when I entered the chamber in the triforium at St Paul’s to view the vast wooden model, I had no idea of the surprise that awaited me inside. Almost all the paint has gone from the exterior now, giving the dark wooden model the look of an absurdly-outsized piece of furniture but, originally, it was stone-coloured with a grey roof to represent the lead.

At once, you are aware of significant differences between this prototype and the cathedral that Wren built. To put it bluntly, the model looks like a dog’s dinner of pieces of Roman architecture, with a vast portico stuck on the front of the dome of St Peter’s in the manner of those neo-Georgian porches on Barratt Houses. Imagine a fervent hobbyist chopping up models of relics of classical antiquity and rearranging them, and this is the result. It is unlikely that this design would even have stood up if it had been built, so fanciful is the conception. Yet the long process of designing a viable structure, once he had been given instruction by Charles II, permitted Wren to reconcile all the architectural elements into the satisfying whole that we know today.

I had been tempted to visit the cathedral by an invitation to go inside the model but – studying it – I could not imagine how that could be possible. I could not see a way in. ‘Perhaps one end has hinges and Charles II crawled in on his hands and knees like a child entering a Wendy House?,‘ I was thinking, when Simon Carter, Keeper of Collections opened a door in the plinth and disappeared inside, gesturing me to follow. In blind faith, I dipped my head and walked inside.

When I stood up, I was beneath the dome with the floor of the cathedral at my chest height. There was just room for two people to stand together and I imagined the unexpected moment of intimacy between the Monarch and his architect, yet I believe Wren was quietly confident because he had a trick up his sleeve. From the inside, the drama of the architecture is palpable, with intersecting spaces leading off in different directions, and – as your eyes accustom to the gloom – you grow aware of the myriad refractions of light within this intricately-imagined interior.

Just as Wren directed Charles II, Simon Carter told me to walk to the far end of the model and sit on the bench placed there to bring my eye level down to the point of view of someone entering through the great west door. Then Simon left me there inside, just as I believe Wren left Charles II within the model, to appreciate the full effect.

I have no doubt the King was thrilled by this immersive experience, which quickly takes on a convincing reality of its own once you are alone. Charles II discovered himself confronted by a glorious vision of the future in which he was responsible for the first and greatest classically-designed church in this country, with the largest dome ever built. Such is the nature of the consciousness-filling reverie induced by sitting inside the model that the outside world recedes entirely.

How astonishing, once you have accustomed to the scale of the model, when a giant face appears filling the east window. I could not resist a gasp of wonder when I saw it and neither – I suggest – could Charles II when Christopher Wren’s smiling face appeared, grinning at him from the opposite end of the nave, apparently enlarged to twenty-five times its human scale.

In these unforgettable circumstances, the King could not avoid the realisation that Wren was a colossus among architects and – unquestionably – the man for the job of building the new St Paul’s Cathedral. The model worked its spell.

Behold, the largest jelly mould in the world!

The belfry that was never built

The single portico that was replaced by a two storey version

Just a few fragments of paintwork remain upon the exterior

Original paintwork can be seen inside the model

Charles II’s point of view from inside the model

 

You may like to read my other stories of St Paul’s

Maurice Sills, Cathedral Treasure

The Broderers of St Paul’s

Relics of Old St Paul’s in New St Paul’s

The Microcosm Of London

July 9, 2020
by the gentle author

Billingsgate Market

(click on this plate or any of the others to enlarge and examine the details)

In 1897, Charles Gosse, Archivist at the Bishopsgate Institute, was lucky enough to buy a handsome 1809 edition of Thomas Rowlandson & Augustus Pugin’s ‘Microcosm of London’ from Quaritch booksellers in Piccadilly with just one plate missing, yet it took him until 1939 to track down a replacement to fill the gap and complete his copy – and the single plate cost him more in 1939 than the entire three volumes in 1897. Then the volumes were stolen in the nineteen-eighties but, thankfully, returned to the Bishopsgate years later as part of Operation Bumblebee, tracking art thefts back to their owners – and just waiting there for me to come upon them.

Augustus Charles Pugin, the architectural draftsman (and father of Augustus Welby Pugin who designed the Palace of Westminster) had the idea to create a lavish compendium of views of London life but it was the contribution of his collaborator Thomas Rowlandson who brought another dimension, elevating these images above the commonplace. While Pugin created expansive and refined architectural views, Rowlandson peopled them with an idiosyncratic bunch of Londoners who take possession of these spaces and who, in many cases, exist in pitifully unsentimental contrast to the refinement of their architectural surroundings.

How very pleasant it is to be a tourist in the metropolis of 1809, thanks to the magnificent plates of the ‘Microcosm of London.’ Here are the wonders of the capital, so appealingly coloured and so satisfyingly organised within the elegant classical architecture that frames most social activity, while also conveniently ignoring the domestic reality of the greater majority of the populace.

In only a few plates – such as Carlton House and the House of Commons – does Thomas Rowlandson submit to the requirement of peopling these spaces with slim well-dressed aspirational types that we recognise today from those familiar mock-ups used to sell bad architecture to the gullible. Yet the most fascinating plates are those where he has peopled these rationally conceived public spaces with the more characterful and less willowy individuals who illustrate the true diversity of the human form, and he satisfies our voyeuristic tendencies by celebrating the grotesque and the theatrical. In Billingsgate Market, Rowlandson takes a composition worthy of Claude and peoples it with fishwives fighting, revealing affectionate delight in the all-too familiar contrast exemplified by aspirational architecture and the fallibility which makes us human.

While the first impression is of harmony and everyone in their place – whether it be church, masquerade, asylum, theatre, prison or lecture hall – examining these pictures close-up reveals the genius of Thomas Rowlandson which is unable to resist introducing grotesque human drama or adding comic specimens of humanity to these idealised urban visions. Just like an early nineteenth century version of ‘Where’s Wally?’, Rowlandson implicitly invites us to seek the clowns.

Even if in some plates, such as the Drawing Room in St James, he appears to acquiesce to a notion of mannequin-like debutantes, Rowlandson more than makes up for it at the Bank of England where – surprise, surprise – the buffoons take centre stage. Spot the duffer in a stripy waistcoat with a girl on each arm in Vauxhall Gardens, or the dolts all robed up in coats of arms at Herald’s College, or the Masquerade where – as characters from Commedia dell’Arte – the funsters seem most in their element.

Meanwhile at the Post Office, in cubicles not so different from those in call centres of our own day, clerks are at work in identical red uniforms which deny them the individuality that is the vain prerogative of the rich in this vision of London. Equally, at the asylum nobody gets to assert themselves, while the prison inmates are diminished both in size and colour by their environment.

In the ‘Microcosm of London,’ Augustus Pugin portrayed an architect’s fantasy vision of a city of business, of politics, of religion, of education, of entertainment, of punishment and reward, but – thankfully – Thomas Rowlandson populated it with life.

Fire in London – the dreadful fire which took place on 3rd March 1791 at the Albion Mills on the Surrey side of Blackfriars Bridge. We have selected this from many objects of a similar nature which frequently occur in this great metropolis, because the representation afforded an opportunity of a more picturesque effect, the termination of the bridge in front and St Paul’s in the background contribute interesting parts to a representation which is altogether great and awful.

Pillory, Charing Cross. A place chosen very frequently for this kind of punishment, probably on account of its being so public a situation. An offender thus exposed to public view is thereafter considered infamous. There are certain offences which are supposed to irritate the feelings of the lower classes more than others, in which case a punishment by Pillory becomes very serious.

Guildhall. Examination of a bankrupt before his creditors, Court of King’s Bench Walk. The laws of England, cautious of encouraging prodigality and extravagance allow the benefits of the bankruptcy laws to none but the traders. If a trader is unable to pay his debts it is misfortune and not a fault.

Leaden Hall Market is a large and extensive building of considerable antiquity, purchased by the great Whittington in 1408 and by him presented to the City.

Astley’s Amphitheatre. Mr Rowlandson’s figures are here, as indeed they invariably are, exact delineations of the sort of company who frequent public spectacles of this description. With respect to teaching horses to perform country dances, how far thus accomplishing such an animal renders him more happy or a more valuable member of the horse community is a question I leave to be discussed by the sapient philosophers.

Bartholomew Fair, a spirited representation of this British Saturnalia. To be pleased in their own way, is the object of all. Some hugging, some fighting, others dancing, while many are enjoying the felicity of being borne along with the full stream of the mob.

Bow St Office,  giving an accurate representation of this celebrated office at the time of an examination. The police of this country has hitherto been very imperfect, until Henry Fielding, by his abilities, contributed the security of the public, by the detection and prevention of crimes.

Covent Garden Market. The plate represents the bustle of an election for Westminster. The fruit and vegetable market certainly diminishes the beauty and effect of this place as a square, but perhaps the world does not furnish another instance of another metropolis supplied with these articles in equal goodness and profusion.

Christie’s Auction Room. The various effect which the lot – A Venus – has on the company is delineated with great ability and humour. The auctioneer, animated by his subject, seems to be rapidly pouring forth such a string of eloquence as cannot fail to operate on the feelings of his auditors.

The House of Commons is plainly and neatly fitted up, and accommodated with galleries, supported by slender iron capitals adorned with Corinthian capitals, from the ceiling hangs a handsome branch.

Drawing from life at the Royal Academy, Somerset House

The College of Physicians. There is nothing remarkable in the interior of the building except the library and the great hall – which is handsomely represented in this print is a handsome well-proportioned room. The eager disputatious attitude of the figure which is represented as leaning forward in the act of interrogating the candidate, is finely contrasted with two figures on the right hand, one of whom seems to have gathered up his features in supercilious indifference.

Exhibition Room, Somerset House. It would not be easy to find ay other artist, except Mr Rowlandson who was capable of displaying so much separate manner in the delineations placed upon the walls and such an infinite variety of small figures, contrasted with each other in a way so peculiarly happy. To point out any number of figures as peculiarly entitled to attention, would be an insult to the spectator, as very many would necessarily be left out of the catalogue, and everyone of taste will discern them at a glance.

Pass-Room, Bridewell. An interesting and accurate view of this abode of wretchedness. It was provided that paupers, claiming settlement in distant parts of the kingdom should be confined for seven days, prior to being sent of their respective parishes. This is the room apportioned by the magistrate for one class of miserable females.

Royal Cock Pit. It is impossible to examine this picture with any degree of attention, and not enjoy the highest degree of satisfaction at this successful exertion of the artists’ abilities. The regular confusion which this picture exhibits, tells a tale that no combination of words could possibly have done so well.

The Hall, Carlton House. Conceived with classic elegance that does honour to the genius of the late Mr Holland who as the architect, the tout-ensemble is striking and impressive.

The Custom House, in the uppermost of which is a magnificent room running the whole length of the building. On this spot is a busy concourse of nations who pay their tribute towards the support of Great Britain. In front of this building, ships of three hundred and fifty tons burthen can lie and discharge their cargoes.

The Post Office

The Royal Circus

The Great Hall, Bank of England

Dining Room, Asylum

Royal Geographic Society

Drawing Room, St James

St Martin in the Fields

Pantheon Masquerade

King’s Bench Prison

Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Coal Exchange

Herald’s College

Surrey Institution

Fleet Prison

Watercolour Exhibition, Old Bond St

Drury Lane Theatre

Coldbath Prison

Hall and Staircase, British Museum

Common Council Chamber, Guildhall

Vauxhall Gardens

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

John Claridge’s View From A Dinghy

July 8, 2020
by the gentle author

Ship maintenance, 1964

Take a trip down the Thames at a relaxed pace with Photographer John Claridge, in his tiny inflatable dinghy with outboard motor attached. The journey begins in 1961 when the London Docks were still working and ends in the nineteen eighties once they were closed for ever. This set of photographs are some of the views to be seen on that voyage.

Setting out at dawn, John’s photographic adventures led him through smog and smoke, through early morning mist, through winter fog and haze upon the river, all filtering and refracting the light to create infinite luminous effects upon the water. In the previous century, Joseph Mallord William Turner and James McNeill Whistler had attempted to evoke the distinctive quality of Thames light upon canvas, but in the mid-twentieth century it was John Claridge, kid photographer from Plaistow, who came drifting out of the London fog, alone in his dinghy with camera and long lens in hand to capture his visions of the river on film.

Look, there is a man scraping an entire boat by hand, balanced precariously over the water. Listen, there is the sound of the gulls echoing in the lonely dock. “It smells like it should,” said John, contemplating these pictures and reliving his escapades on the Thames, half a century later, “it has the atmosphere and feeling of what it was like.”

“You still had industry which created a lot of pollution, even after the Clean Air Act,” he recalled, “People still put their washing out and the dirt was hanging in the air. My mum used to say, ‘Bloody soot on my clean clothes again!'” But in a location characterised by industry, John was fascinated by the calm and quiet of the Thames. “I was in the drink, right in the middle of the river,” John remembered fondly, speaking of his trips in the dinghy, “it was somewhere you’d like to be.” John climbed onto bridges and into cranes to photograph the dock lands from every angle, and he did it all with an insider’s eye.

Generations of men in John’s family were dock workers or sailors, so John’s journey down the Thames in his dinghy became a voyage into a world of collective memory, where big ships always waited inviting him to depart for distant shores. Yet John’s little dinghy became his personal lifeboat, sailing on beyond Tower Bridge where in 1964, at nineteen years old, he opened his first photographic studio near St Paul’s Cathedral. John found a way to fulfil his wanderlust through a professional career that included photographic assignments in every corner of the globe, but these early pictures exist as a record of his maiden voyage on the Thames.

Across the River, 1965

Gulls, 1961

Quiet Evening, 1963

Smog, 1964

At Berth, 1962 – “It wills you to get on board and go somewhere.”

Three Cranes, 1968

Skyline, 1966 – “I climbed up into a crane and there was a ghostly noise that came out of it, from the pigeons roosting there.”

Steps, 1967

Crane & Chimney Stack, 1962

Spars, 1964

Barges, 1969

After the Rain, 1961

Capstan, 1968

From the Bridge, 1962

Across the River, 1965

Wapping Shoreline, 1961 – “I got terribly muddy, covered in it, sinking into it, and it smelled bad.”

Thames Barrier, 1982

At Daybreak, 1982

Warehouses, 1972

Photographs copyright © John Claridge

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John Claridge’s East End

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This was my Landscape

John Claridge’s Spent Moments

Signs, Posters, Typography & Graphics

Working People & a Dog

Invasion Of The Monoliths

Time Out With John Claridge

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The Barbers Of Spitalfields

July 7, 2020
by the gentle author

Spitalfields is full of barbers, though you might not realise it at first because there are only a couple on Brick Lane – where, coincidentally, Sweeney Todd was born at number 85 in 1756. A foray into the sidestreets reveals more, and a stroll over towards Bethnal Green or down to Whitechapel will discover others nestling in alleys and appropriating unexpected spaces.

Thankfully, most barbers remain resolute as small personal enterprises that speak of the diverse personalities of their owners and the culture of their clientele. I am fascinated by these rare places where men are constantly going to be shaved and trimmed and where, almost uniquely, it is acceptable for men to allow themselves to be vulnerable in a public place, as they submit themselves to the barbers for intimate grooming rituals. Above all, these are masculine spaces, designed for the comfort of men, run by men for men and where women rarely venture. They are utilitarian in appearance by contrast with the decoration of women’s salons, yet I surmise that men are the more frequent visitors to their barbers.

It seems paradoxical that barbers have such large windows – although obviously good light is required for shaving with a cut-throat razor – when the activity inside is of such a private nature, possibly accounting for the predominance of barbers in side streets.

On the day I set out with photographer Sarah Ainslie to visit some barbers, we could not see into many because the windows were steamed up, creating a visible manifestation on the exterior of the emotional intensity within. Yet I had reason to question my own enthusiasm as we set out on an especially grey afternoon. However, on each occasion as we stepped from the street into the warm humidity of the salon, we were met graciously by the barbers and their clients, who even consented to permit a woman to photograph them in their moment of exposure, as long as a certain distance was maintained.

As I observed the men facing up to Sarah’s lens, I realised that there was an element of display involved, an element of masculine pride, even an element of vanity. Now I knew why barbers have huge windows, the expanse of glass creates a theatre where customers become protagonists in a drama enacted for the audience on the street. My assumption was confirmed when we arrived at a salon where the window was entirely free of condensation and the barber was shaving a handsome young man in the seat next to the window onto a busy street, as if to advertise the prowess of his masculine clientele, implying that any passerby could join this rank of heroes simply by coming in for a trim.

Starting in Brick Lane, Sarah and I wove our way through the sidestreets on our bizarre pilgrimage, drifting down through Whitechapel and further South as far as Commercial Rd in the damp. We visited big salons and tiny salons, full salons and empty salons, sleek new salons and crumby old parlours. And every one secured a different place in my heart because each possessed a different poetry – a poetry that celebrates human life and hopes – equally containing the mundane need to be tidy alongside the aspiration to be be your best. The humble barbers shop is an oasis of peace and reflection, where cares are shorn away to allow a fresh start. This is where men go to get renewed.

We were told to go in search of Charlie, a legendary barber in Stepney, and eventually we found him exactly where we were told he would be, except his name was actually Michael, but we were still delighted to encounter this genial Turkish barber, who without a doubt was the afternoon’s star turn. To the uninitiated, Michael Gent’s Hair Stylists at 345 Commercial Rd is the most unremarkable barber’s shop you could imagine, but this modest salon has been in operation for over a century. Michael, a sprightly garrulous mustachioed gentleman in a neat blue overall jacket, who has been cutting hair here for thirty-two years, told me he took over from Maurice Pem, a Jewish barber, who was here for thirty-six years and whose unknown predecessor cut hair for at least forty years before that.

“All the time, I miss Istanbul,” revealed Michael striking a pensive note, mid-haircut, gazing out at the low cloud in Stepney, as if he could see the towers of the Blue Mosque emerging from the haze, “The city is like a dream.” A moment of nostalgia that led us into a discussion of the work of Orhan Pamuk, before Michael declared himself an Anglophile, “I love this country, the democracy – the country of equality and opportunities.” he said. Then, without a break in our conversation, he completed the haircut, unsheathing a ferocious cut-throat razor and tidying up the edges automatically before instructing his amiable teenage son to lather up the young man swathed in a red towel, prior to a shave.

I could but admire the faith of this fellow in the chair, who never even blinked when Michael casually suggested his son might like to have go with the razor to practise his shaving technique. I did not like to ask if it was appropriate to practise on the customers with a cut-throat razor. If the young man had flinched, he might have lost his nose, and I could barely draw breath as Michael berated his son’s clumsy attempts at scraping the stubble, causing the unfortunate apprentice to redden with frustration.

Michael is too much of a professional to expose his customers to any risk and although the young man kept his cool, I believe it was a great relief to all concerned when Michael took over from his son, flashing a professional smile and gripping the young man’s face firmly in one hand while using the other to skim the razor over his jaw with bold strokes – demonstrating, as if to an invisible lecture theatre, exactly how it should be done.

With a skill his son will master one day, Michael achieved results almost instantly, pinching the customer’s face and caressing his tender skin proudly. “Look at that, as smooth as a baby’s bottom!” he announced in unselfconscious triumph to the entire salon with a smirk, patting the young man’s cheek in proprietorial affection.

Sarah Ainslie’s photographs were taken before the lockdown

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

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The Pubs Of Old London

July 6, 2020
by the gentle author

The Vine Tavern, Mile End

I cannot deny I enjoy a drink, especially if there is an old pub with its door wide open to the street inviting custom, like this one in Mile End. In such circumstances, it would be affront to civility if one were not to walk in and order a round. Naturally, my undying loyalty is to The Golden Heart in Commercial St, as the hub of our existence here in Spitalfields and the centre of the known universe. But I have been known to wander over to The Carpenters’ Arms in Cheshire St, The George Tavern in Commercial Rd and The Marksman in Hackney Rd when the fancy takes me.

So you can imagine my excitement – especially now the pubs have re-opened – to discover all these thirst-inspiring images of the pubs of old London among the thousands of glass slides left over from the days of the magic lantern shows given by the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society at the Bishopsgate Institute a century ago. It did set me puzzling over the precise nature of these magic lantern lectures. How is it that among the worthy images of historic landmarks, of celebrated ruins, of interesting holes in the ground, of significant trenches and important church monuments in the City of London, there are so many pictures of public houses? I can only wonder how it came about that the members of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society photographed such a lot of pubs, and why they should choose to include these images in their edifying public discourse.

Speaking for myself, I could not resist lingering over these loving portraits of the pubs of old London and I found myself intoxicated without even lifting a glass. Join me in the cosy barroom of The Vine Tavern that once stood in the middle of the Mile End Rd. You will recognise me because I shall be the one sitting in front of the empty bottle. Bring your children, bring your dog and enjoy a smoke with your drink, all are permitted in the pubs of old London – but no-one gets to go home until we have visited every one.

The Saracen’s Head, Aldgate

The Grapes, Limehouse

George & Vulture, City of London

The Green Dragon, Highgate

The Grenadier, Old Barrack Yard

The London Apprentice, Isleworth

Mitre Tavern, Hatton Garden

The Old Tabard, Borough High St

The Three Compasses, Hornsey

The White Hart, Lewisham

The famous buns hanging over the bar at The Widow’s Son, Bow

The World’s End, Chelsea, with the Salvation Army next door.

The Angel Inn, Highgate

The Archway Tavern, Highgate

The Bull, Highgate

The Castle, Battersea

The Old Cheshire Cheese, Fleet St

The Old Dick Whittington, Cloth Fair, Smithfield

Fox & Crowns, Highgate

The Fox, Shooter’s Hill

The Albion, Barnesbury

The Anchor, Bankside

The George, Borough High St

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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