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In Long Forgotten London

May 11, 2020
by the gentle author

The six volumes of Walter Thornbury’s London Old & New, filled with richly detailed engravings, prove irresistible to me for compelling visions of a city I barely recognise. Published in the eighteen-seventies, they evoke a London that had passed away at the beginning of the century and contrast this with the recent wonders of the Victorian age which prefigure the city we know today.

Entrance to the Clerkenwell tunnel

Hackney, looking towards the church in 1840

Columbia Market, Bethnal Green

Crown & Sceptre Inn, Greenwich

St Dunstan-in-the-East

Kensington High St in 1860

Primrose Hill in 1780

The Tower subway under the Thames

Bunhill Fields

Red Cow Inn, Hammersmith

Chelsea Bun House in 1810

River Fleet at St Pancras in 1825

Rotunda in Blackfriars Rd, 1820

Somers Town Dust Heaps in 1836

The Old Cock Tavern, Westminster

Seven Sisters in 1830

Highgate Cemetery

Magnetic Clock at Greenwich

Great Equatorial Telescope in the Dome at Greenwich

Searle’s Boatyard at Bankside, 1830

Bridgefoot, Southwark in 1810

Sights of old Hackney 1. Brook House 1765 2.  Barber’s Barn 1750 3. Shore Place 1736

Izaak Walton’s River Lea 1.  Ferry House 2. Tottenham Church from the Lea 3. Tumbling Weir 4. Fishing Cottage 5. Tottenham Lock

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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11 Responses leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    May 11, 2020

    These engravings are wonderfully evocative. I imagine Dickens visiting the Somers Town dust heaps while writing Our Mutual Friend.

  2. Kevin farrow permalink
    May 11, 2020

    I love your blog… I look forward to the pictures of old London
    Thank you for hours of happy reading

  3. Greg Tingey permalink
    May 11, 2020

    The very first illustration makes one wonder as to how accurate any of the rest are.
    There was never, ever a locomotive like the one shown in the bottom of that picture….

  4. Gilbert O’Brien permalink
    May 11, 2020

    These are fab – especially the architectural drawings – and new to me. More please.

  5. Mary permalink
    May 11, 2020

    Wonderful images that really convey the fact that modern London is made from many small villages. Primrose Hill looks as if it really was a primrose covered hill. The only image that we would recognise today is Highgate cemetery.

  6. Annie S permalink
    May 11, 2020

    Beautiful engravings.
    The seven trees from where the name for the Seven Sisters area comes from – lovely, I have never seen a picture before.

  7. paul loften permalink
    May 11, 2020

    I know so many of these places. Sadly no longer so inspiring. Who is brave enough to set about restoring them to what they once were? Alright maybe with a few mobile phone masts here and there. Just a passing thought.

  8. Sonia Murray permalink
    May 11, 2020

    Thank you for these wonderful images! I wish the artists of our great-grandparents’ time could know how much pleasure their work is giving, so many years later. Interesting that Seven Sisters was named for those seven beautiful oaks – I never knew. Please give us more of these lovely engravings!

  9. Pauline Taylor permalink
    May 11, 2020

    Wonderful, wonderful books, nothing would make me part with mine. I love the illustrations and the text is a mine of historical information about every aspect of London life at the time. They are a treasure trove indeed and I shall be getting mine out and reading more while I am forced to stay at home, thank you GA for reminding me.

  10. May 11, 2020

    Thank You for these Beautiful Paintings of the Vintage Time. I Love Them!!???????

  11. May 12, 2020

    I could look at these forever…so amazing and helpful for me imagining where my ancestors lived….thanks so much for sharing! Will have to explore the book for myself as well as keep visiting your site 🙂

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