Skip to content

Lost In Long Forgotten London

November 16, 2023
by the gentle author

Jonathan Pryce will read my short story ‘On Christmas Day’ at the launch at Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston on Thursday 23rd November at 6:30pm.




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 that entice 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

6 Responses leave one →
  1. November 16, 2023

    I do love these old engravings. Thank you GA for stimulating my vivid imagination to transport me back to the London of my great great grandparents. I can visualise the buildings and people, hear the sounds of horses hooves and shouts of those selling their wares, the smell of the stinking, overpopulated areas with limited sanitation.
    I was rather tickled by Thieving Lane being situated in Westminster!

  2. Jim Keltz permalink
    November 16, 2023

    These are just wonderful

  3. Eve permalink
    November 16, 2023

    captivating views of London past, warts n’all..

  4. November 16, 2023

    Do you know when the Panoptikon was demolished? It looks marvellous!

  5. Cherub permalink
    November 16, 2023

    I love the engraving of St Martin’s Le Grand, I worked there for a short time in the early 90s when the company I was with at Monument took over the old Post Office buildings as their offices.

    Thieving Lane, what a great name, makes me wonder what went on there!

  6. mehmet meran pakel permalink
    February 12, 2024

    how interesting to see
    its like a time machine taking back to reality
    thanks for your works

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS