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Samuel Pepys
Elizabeth I
London's Underworld
Fleet Marriages.
The Cries of London

"Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all hues and odours seem to tell
What street they sail'd from, by their sight and smell ...
Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drown'd puppies, shaking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood."

-- Jonathan Swift (describing the Fleet River)

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London's Lost Department Stores: Gamages
Posted by Bill McCann on (4881 Reads)
Most of London's Department Stores began life as small drapers' shops in the 19th century. Many of them went on to become household names and some even became internationally known. However, the developments of the late 20th century brought changes that proved too much for some and names such as Swan & Edgar or Derry & Toms are now but fading memories. In this short series we will present a brief history of the more famous of these, starting with the original cut-price emporium Gamages of Holborn.

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Central Hall and the Royal Aquarium
Posted by Bill McCann on (1151 Reads)
Methodist Central Hall in Westminster is today the venue for a wide range of public activities including concerts, protest meetings, political debates and films as well as religious services. It also famously hosted the first United Nations Assembly in 1946. The site, however, had a rather interesting history. It had been home to the fabulous (for all the wrong reasons) Royal Aquarium in the last twenty-five years of the Victorian era.

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The National Gallery
Posted by Anonymous on (1501 Reads)
The British Government have always been more than willing to look a gift horse in the mouth. They did it with Tate when he offered them a new gallery for English Art - well, I suppose he WAS in Trade, sugar you know. However, by then they had had some practice. In the early 19th century they were offered sixteen important paintings to form the nucleus of a national art collection - and they sniffed. The King pointed out that this was a good idea and that they should also consider purchasing an even bigger collection soon to come on the market. They sniffed even more at that - it had been collected by a Russian merchant. Support for their stand came from the artistic world which was apparently afraid of foreign competition. In the end, George IV twisted enough arms and the deed was finally done. It is now one of the greatest art collections in the world and this is a brief synopsis of its story so far.

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