Sheep’s trotters, once common, are now harder to find as butcher’s shops tend to get their meat delivered rather than killing the animals themselves. The best places to find them are Halal or Kosher butcher’s shops, where sheep are still killed according to particular rules. Before eating, the sheep’s trotters have to be skinned, cleaned and boiled. They are still commonly used in some African, Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, such as nahari, a curry of sheep’s trotters.
The Piazza is the main square in Covent Garden, designed and built in 1630 by Inigo Jones. He based his designs on modern town squares in Italy and France. Originally an open square bounded by low railings, it was the first of its kind in London. The covered market hall which stands today was built in 1830.
A market has existed at Covent Garden since 1654. It was originally a fruit and vegetable market; in 1904 the Jubilee Market building was added to accommodate imported flowers. Today, the Piazza buildings contain shops, cafes, bars and market stalls, and are known for their street performers, ranging from acrobats and magicians to opera singers.
emigration of Irish people to England, Scotland and Wales due to the close links between the countries. It is estimated that around six million people in rest of the UK today have an Irish grandparent.
The nineteenth century saw a particular influx of Irish emigrants to Britain – the country’s main industry was agriculture and wages were low, as most of the land was held by English noblemen. 6,000 Irish sailed to America in 1816 where they could earn around five times as much as at home, and many others emigrated to England where they had chance of finding regular employment in the large cities. The biggest wave of all, however, came in the late 1840s when the Great Famine struck in Ireland – blight on the potatoes, on which the majority of the population was dependent, caused 1,500,000 people to lose their lives to hunger and disease between 1845 and 1850. During and after this period around one million people emigrated: England was often a stopping-place on the way to America, Canada or Australia which were more attractive options. A further wave of immigration also occurred between the 1930s and 1950s.
Fashion Street is a road in the Spitalfields area of London, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. It runs west-east between Commercial Road and Brick Lane.
This could refer to the Gay Gordons, a Scottish country dance which was very popular at social dances in the 19th and early 20th centuries and still features today at céilidhs. It was named after a Scottish regiment, the Gordon Highlanders. All couples dance the same steps, usually in a circle around the room, to the tune of upbeat march-style music.
Switzerland is a small, landlocked country in the centre of Western Europe with a population of 7.9 million. Spreading across the Alps, the Jura mountains and the Central Plateau which is bordered by the Lakes Geneva and Constance, Switzerland has a diverse range of landscapes and also people; the highest concentration of the population is on the Plateau. The country is divided into three parts: German-speaking (the majority), French-speaking and Italian-speaking, and there are also some areas where Romansh is spoken. The capital city is Bern, but Zurich and Geneva are major cities which are also central to the worldwide financial industry. One of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per person, Switzerland’s cities are also consistently ranked as having some of the world’s highest qualities of life. The country is famously neutral – it has not taken part in an international conflict since 1815, although it is still influential on the world political stage as part of peace-making processes as home to the second-largest UN headquarters; the Red Cross was also founded in Switzerland. Famous for its watches, cuckoo clocks, fresh Alpine air, diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes, Switzerland has long been very popular with tourists who come in the winter for snow sports and the summer for hiking and mild weather in the cosmopolitan cities.
The Strand is one of central London’s major roads, running for three-quarters of a mile from Trafalgar Square to Temple Bar, where it joins Fleet Street. The name comes from the Old English ‘strand’ meaning beach, as the road used to follow the shore of the River Thames when it was wider and shallower.
Used as early as Roman times, the Strand was part of a main route between the City of London and the Royal Palace of Westminster. Between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries it was home to England’s aristocracy, with fine mansions and palaces lining both sides – all now gone except for Somerset House. In the eighteenth century, with the nobles departed for the West End, the Strand suffered something of a setback, becoming known for its coffee houses, bawdy taverns and prostitutes. However, in the nineteenth century it was gradually redeveloped with the building of the Victoria Embankmentwhich pushed the river away. It became the
favourite haunt of the literary and philosophical world – Dickens, Carlyle, Thackeray and John Stuart Mill were all regulars, and it was also the heart of Victorian theatre land. The only surviving theatres today are the Adelphi, Savoy and Vaudeville. Though not as much at the hub of the city as in Victorian times, the Strand is still a notable London street. The Strand is one of the red streets on a standard London Monopoly board.
The Mall is the road in central London which runs from Trafalgar Square (where it meets the Strand) to Buckingham Palace. Created as a ceremonial road in the early 20th century, the road is coloured red, which gives the effect of a long red carpet leading up to the Palace. It is closed to traffic on Sundays, public holiday and ceremonial occasions, and the regular scene of celebrations involving the royal family, when crowds throng the street in front of the Palace.
Twickenham is a suburban town on the River Thames to the south-east of London. Mentioned in records as early as 704AD, it was farmed for centuries and developed mostly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a number of fine houses being built for people of ‘Fashion and Distinction’. Twickenham today has a population of around 20,000 and is most famous for being home to the headquarters of the Rugby Football Union and the world’s largest rugby stadium.
Chiswick, St James’s and Richmond all have individual comments earlier on in the Bookmarks section.
Cross Street is a road in the Borough of Islington, in North London, running between Essex Road and Upper Street.
This is a reference to gelatine, a translucent, flavourless substance derived from animals’ skin and bones. Collagen – a tissue in the connective joints of animals – is extracted by boiling bones and hide, forming a colourless gel which is brittle when dried. Gelatine is sold in powder, granules or sheets and is used as a gelling agent in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and cooking, creating foodstuffs such as gummy sweets, jams, yoghurts, trifles and jellies.
The most common source of gelatine in the nineteenth century was calves’ feet. Today it is the hide and bones that are used, usually those of cattle.
See a list of gelatine dessert recipes, including jellies, pies and chewy sweets.
A Ladies’ Society was a group of upper-class women who would organise charitable events or services, which were popular during the nineteenth century. As well as attempting to help the impoverished or needy, it was also very much a social opportunity for the ladies. In Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz, a series of short portraits of Londoners and scenes of daily life, there is an episode entitled ‘The Ladies’ Societies’.
In Victorian times the practice of buying and selling hair was much more common than it is now. Hairstyles were very important to the Victorian woman; not only intricate chignon, but a growing trend for loose, flowing hair meant that wigs and hairpieces were often used to add length and volume. Hair was also used in jewellery and artwork – rings, necklaces, mourning wreaths and much more were made using real human hair. Probably the most famous literary instance of hair-selling is in Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, when the tomboyish Jo March cuts off all her hair to earn some money for her family, causing an outbreak of weeping from the four sisters.
Knightsbridge is a road in the west of central London, which runs along the south side of Hyde Park. Named after a bridge which once crossed the area of water now known as the Serpentine in Hyde Park, it also gives its name to the residential area between Hyde Park and Chelsea, one of the world’s most expensive places to live. Once a known haunt for highwaymen who used to hold up coaches on their way out of London, in the nineteenth century Knightsbridge was transformed into the exclusive area it is today. A large number of upmarket shops, restaurants, bars and private banks are located here, not least the department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols. The world’s most expensive apartment, at One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, sold for £100 million in 2007.