Page 178. " Cholera had arrived in the Acre "
The Broadwick Street Pump, with the John Snow pub in the background
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Broadwick Street Pump, with the John Snow pub in the background - Credit: Justinc

 Cholera is a highly infectious disease which kills its victims through dehydration. Its main symptoms are severe diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain; a sufferer can lose many litres of fluid a day. It is known as a disease of poor sanitation. During the first half of the nineteenth century, London was an extremely unhealthy place to live (see bookmark to Page 356, " the open sewer of the Thames ") and cholera epidemics were frequent.

In 1854 the cholera outbreak around Broad Street, Soho, led to over 500 deaths, but resulted in a breakthrough in the understanding of the spread of the disease. Dr John Snow traced the source of the outbreak to the Broad Street pump. Although he could not explain exactly why the pump was to blame, he persuaded the authorities to disable it, preventing the further spread of the disease. It was later discovered that the pump had been dug only three feet from a cesspit which was leaking contaminated water. A memorial pump stands on Broad Street, now called Broadwick Street, in honour of John Snow's discovery.

Page 185. " Let's go across the road to Tattersall's "


Tattersall's is the leading horse auctioneers in the United Kingdom. During the nineteenth century its premises in Hyde Park Corner became a popular place for members of the upper classes to socialise and make contacts. It was founded by Richard Tattersall in 1766.

Page 190. " A great cheer sounded over at the base of Nelson's Column "
Nelson's Column
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNelson's Column - Credit: Diliff

 Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square was built between 1840 and 1843 to commemorate Admiral Nelson's victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is 151 feet tall, with an 18 foot statue of Nelson on top, facing south towards where HMS Victory is docked in Portsmouth. The column was designed by William Railton, and the statue was sculpted by E.H. Baily.

Page 190. " towards the main pediment of the National Gallery "
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe National Gallery, Trafalgar Square - Credit: Mike Peel


The National Gallery in London dates from 1824. The present building dates from 1832-8, and houses over two thousand works of art, spanning a period from c.1250-1900. Before it moved to Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery was housed in a small townhouse in Pall Mall, which was a source of national embarrassment. Its new, far grander building was designed by William Wilkins, though it has been frequently expanded and altered since it was built.

Page 191. " A Goneril. A Medusa. "


Goneril is one of the king's daughters in Shakespeare’s King Lear. In the play, she and her sister Regan inherit their father's kingdom while he is still alive, and then proceed to treat him abysmally.

Medusa is a creature from Greek mythology, one of three Gorgon sisters with snakes for hair. Anyone who looked directly at her would be turned to stone, but Perseus managed to behead her by guiding himself with a mirrored shield.

Page 198. " about fifty yards from the Royal Observatory "



The Royal Observatory at Greenwich dates from 1675, when it was commissioned by King Charles II to advance the science of astronomy, primarily in order to solve the problem of longitude. The original building, Flamsteed House, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The site of the observatory has lent its name to Greenwich Mean Time, used by navigators to calculate longitude.

Longitude on Book Drum