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The London Alphabet

February 12, 2024
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 uncovered again – 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

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    February 12, 2024

    A great start to the day .
    Thank you Gentle Author .
    Andy x

  2. February 12, 2024

    It is incredible that so many of these buildings have survived when more lowly ones have been swept aside. I had to look up the Duke of York’s tower but yes, that’s still there too ( I have probably walked past it many times and just not looked up!)

  3. Severine permalink
    February 13, 2024

    I think O is referring to Old Spitalfields Market for fruit and veg.
    The wording of X, ‘properly placed’ is quite uncomfortable.

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