Category: Curiosities

Respectable Widows in Little Sodom

In this post I examine the remarkable survival of St Giles-in-the-Fields almshouses, sited in what was for centuries one of the most deprived neighbourhoods of London.

Noxious niffs, nauseous nickers & blue-billy? It’s the City Gasworks

For more than half a century the few blocks between Blackfriars and Whitefriars in the City's south western corner were dominated by the City of London Gas Light and Coke Company.

Protests, Petitions & Poverty: The Fellowship Porters’ Chaotic Fall

The centuries-old Fellowship of Free Porters couldn't survive the seismic changes of the Victorian era. I chart its chaotic and tragic collapse mainly through the eyes of newspaper journalists.

Dancing with the Devil: The Life and Times of Bleeding Heart Yard

A small courtyard just north of Ely Place in Holborn seems to have collected more than its fair share of fascinating myths and legends.

Getting Dolled Up On The East Side

The Belle Époque produced some extraordinary London hotels. In this post I briefly consider the life and times of two of them - near neighbours in Bloomsbury.

Balloons, Gin & Sensible Knickers: The Story of the Pantheon

Why does a branch of Marks & Spencer have such a strange name? The answer can be found 250 years ago ...

The Everyday Story of a City Wharf

The everyday story of the last surviving Thameside warehouse in the Square Mile, featuring tea, Frankenstein, arson, frost fairs, John the pony and Timothy West.

Anyone for (Real) Tennis?

The heyday of real tennis was in the 16th and 17th centuries. I take a look at its physical history, and what there is of a physical present in London.

Ten Ways to Name a Church

How the citizens of the City of London created unique identifiers to help differentiate the 100+ churches in the Square Mile.

Every Dog Must Have His Day

Having earlier written a post based entirely on architecture related to cars, I've now tried my hand at something similar for man's best friend.