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The Alphabet Of London

March 8, 2016
by the gentle author

Although this Alphabet of London in the archive at the Bishopsgate Institute dates from more than one hundred and fifty years ago, it is remarkable how many of the landmarks illustrated are still with us. The original facade of newly-opened ‘Northern Station’ which is now newly-uncovered after recent renovations – at the terminus we know as ‘King’s Cross’ – reveals that this alphabet was produced in the eighteen fifties. The Houses of Parliament which were begun in 1840 and took thirty years to complete were still under construction then and, consequently, Big Ben is represented by an undersized artist’s impression of how it was expected to look. Naturally, I was especially intrigued by – “O’s the market for Oranges, eastward a long way. If you first ask for Houndsditch you won’t take the wrong way.” I wonder which East East market this could refer to?

Pictures courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

12 Responses leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    March 8, 2016

    I love this!

  2. March 8, 2016

    Fantastic collection! Valerie

  3. Emma Matthews permalink
    March 8, 2016

    I love this Gentle Author. Modern Londonists will also note the old Bank of England was much more elegant, Somerset House is no longer on the River, Smithfield no longer a live meat market, Buckingham Palace was “The Queen’s Palace” and had a prettier facade, and Wellington is no longer on his arch – instead we have Peace descending on the Quadriga (four horses). Thanks again for what you do.

  4. Dave Barrington permalink
    March 8, 2016

    Another fine installment.

    I read an article on Houndsditch and the surrounding areas including a piece on the old Pickford’s Company and it’s stables based in Broadgate (where the ice rink stands now).
    In this article the “Orange Market” was mentioned and said to be located just off of Mitre Square.
    The Mitre Square of The Whitechapel Murders.

    Keep up the good work and best regards.

  5. Victoria Thomas permalink
    March 8, 2016

    Love this and everything you post! Would like to know if you have a Pinterest page.

    Great work!

  6. March 8, 2016

    A fine post as usual!

    Love & Peace

  7. Rosemary Hoffman permalink
    March 8, 2016

    Astonished how many of thee landmarks survive !

  8. gkbowood permalink
    March 8, 2016

    I like this!! I want it in poster form to hang!! Thanks very much for sharing.

  9. Dave Barrington permalink
    March 9, 2016

    Now that is a very good idea !!
    I would buy one too !!

  10. March 9, 2016


  11. pauline taylor permalink
    March 9, 2016

    Sorry to be late with my appreciation of this alphabet, it is lovely and yet another treat that most of us would never have seen otherwise, so many thanks again GA.

  12. Pamela Traves permalink
    December 9, 2016

    That is Amazing! I Love It!

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