Page 76. " the Fox and Grapes at the end of Greek Street "

The Coach and Horses, Greek Street
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Coach and Horses, Greek Street - Credit: Fin Fahey
 Greek Street is a street in Soho, running between Soho Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. It is famous today for its restaurants and bars, including the Coach and Horses, a pub which has been on the corner of the street since the early eighteenth century and claims to be the 'best known pub in the West End'. There is no actual ‘Fox and Grapes’ on Greek Street. In the nineteenth century Soho was a very unrespectable area, populated by music halls, public houses, cheap eateries and prostitutes.

Page 76. " walking along Liverpool Street "

Liverpool Street is a relatively short road in central London, off Bishopsgate. It was named for Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister from 1812-1827 and is home to Liverpool Street Station, one of London’s busiest rail terminals.

Page 76. " to see the Outdoor Magicians playing near Chapel Hill Church "

Chapel Hill is a street in the London Borough of Barnet. Magicians were a popular form of entertainment in Victorian times, the most common form of performance associated with the Egyptian Hall. Ghost conjuring, mesmerism and communicating with spirits were also extremely well-attended – Victorian crowds enjoyed the thrill of the spectacle! The most famous magician of the nineteenth century was the American escapologist, Harry Houdini. The Prestige, a 2006 film adapted from Christopher Priest’s novel, is about the rivalry of two magicians in late-nineteenth century London.

Page 78. " They called out, ‘Lady Muck.’ "

‘Lady Muck’ is an idiom used to refer to a woman who thinks she is of higher status and class than those around her, when in fact she is anything but.

Page 78. " up Old Street, then turned up Rufus Street into Hoxton Square "

Banksy Graffiti in Shoreditch
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBanksy Graffiti in Shoreditch - Credit: Justinc
Old Street is a road in east London, beginning at Goswell Road in Islington and ending at a junction with Shoreditch High Street, Kingsland Road and Hackney Road in the London Borough of Hackney. Formerly called ‘Eald Street’, it takes its name from the old Roman road which used to run from Colchester to Silchester, of which it formed part. In recent times Old Street has become known as a favourite haunt of graffiti artists such as Banksy.

Rufus Street links Old Street with Hoxton Square and is the location for the White Cube art gallery which stands on the corner of the square. See the bookmark on page 59 for more detail on Hoxton Square.

Page 81. " Coram Fields "

The title of the chapter takes its name from Thomas Coram, founder of the Foundling Hospital which Catherine visits in this section of the book. A modern-day charity, an offspring from the original Foundling Hospital, is called Coram’s Fields (see bookmark below on the Foundling Hospital for more information).

Page 82. " my copy of Camilla "

Camilla, or, A Picture of Youth is a novel by Frances Burney. Published in 1796, it was a huge success and continued to be very popular into the nineteenth century. The novel’s characters include Camilla Tyrold, the heroine, her suitor Edgar Mandlebert and her sisters and cousin, and the events follow their largely romantic trials and tribulations.

Page 82. " you may visit the Foundling Hospital "

Founded in 1741 by sea captain Thomas Coram, the Foundling Hospital was a London institution designed to take in orphaned or abandoned children, care for them and prepare them for an apprenticeship as a servant or tradesman. Left at the gates, the babies were sent to wet nurses in the countryside before returning to the city at the age of five. Apprenticeships (the girls in domestic service, the boys in trade) lasted between four and seven years and adults were also recipients of a benevolent fund.

The Foundling Hospital was originally in temporary accommodation, but in 1745 moved to a specially-built site in Bloomsbury, near Great Ormond Street. It was London’s most popular charity in the nineteenth century, patronised by the upper classes who donated money or came to offer their ‘help’ as visitors. In the 1920s the hospital moved to countryside locations in Surrey and then Hertfordshire, and due to changes in the British law towards orphaned children ceased operation in the 1950s. Its legacy, the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children is one of London’s largest children’s charities and another charity, Coram’s Fields, maintains a playground for patients of Great Ormond Street Hospital on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. The Foundling Museum, examining the history of the Hospital and housing its art collection, is also located here.

Page 89. " I had not seen cats’ meat-sellers for weeks "

The cats’ meat man was a common British phenomenon from the 17th century, when people began to keep domesticated pets, until the early 20th century when packaged pet food became widely available. With a wheelbarrow full of horsemeat which was unfit for human consumption (and sometimes too rotten even for pets) the cats’ meat man would hawk his wares around the streets of the city, a trail of cats and dogs in his wake.

For more on the life of a cats’ meat man, including the perils it sometimes entailed, see here.

Page 96. " Virginia Street "

Virginia Street is a small road in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, East London. It joins The Highway to Pennington Street.

Page 96. " Thursday was washday and Mrs Letts came to knead our clothes "

A glass washboard
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA glass washboard - Credit: Yannick Trottier
In the Victorian era, it was usual to have a week-long program for the washing of clothes, with each day set aside for a particular laundry-related task. Whilst the majority of housewives had to contend with their own washing, those from the upper classes either used the services of a laundry or a washerwoman (laundries, although more expensive, were more popular as washerwomen, who often lived in slum areas, were notorious for spreading diseases). The dirty laundry was soaked overnight then washed the following day in a large copper tub full of soap and boiling water. Washboards and dollies were used to knead the clothes in the water, which were then removed with tongs, fed through a mangle and hung out to dry. Folding, starching, ironing and airing took place on the following days and then the cycle could commence again.

Page 97. " north past Bethnal Green Road "

Bethnal Green Road is a long road in the East End of London, running through the Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. It begins in the west at Shoreditch High Street and end in the east at Cambridge Heath Road. It takes its name from Bethnal Green, the area around its eastern end, which was once a small hamlet on the outskirts of London (see bookmark page 336).

Page 98. " 98 forging coins in acid "
Ancient British gold coins
Public DomainAncient British gold coins - Credit: Swiss Banker

Forging coins was one of the many activities undertaken by the gangs of child workers employed by criminals in the slums of London – as well as beggars and pickpockets, some were put to work making fake gold coins. Coins are usually forged by painting the fake or melting down shavings of real coins to cast into a new one. The acid usually comes into the process as a mechanism for testing if the coin is real or not – gold coins will not corrode when dipped in sulphur or nitric acid, whereas fake ones will.

Page 99. " no watchman on Princes Street "

A Victorian Policeman, replacers of the Nightwatchmen
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA Victorian Policeman, replacers of the Nightwatchmen - Credit: Antony McCallum
Watchmen existed in Britain since the early thirteenth century and were one of the earliest forms of the country’s police force (after the establishment of a regular police force in the 1800s, the practice died out). On duty usually in cities at night, the watchman was armed with a lantern, drum or rattle and sometimes a truncheon-type weapon, and was responsible for keeping the peace in his neighbourhood.

Page 99. " left by the Red Man, went quickly past the Three Bells "
The Ten Bells
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Ten Bells - Credit: Wordspotandsmith

Neither the Red Man nor the Three Bells exist, but there is a famous pub in Spitalfields called the Ten Bells. Standing on the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street since around 1750, it is notable for being frequented by at least two of the victims of Jack the Ripper. Between 1976 and 1988 it was called The Jack The Ripper, before being returned to its original name. The Ten Bells in the name are a reference to the number of bells in the peal at nearby Christ Church.

Page 99. " swiftly along Church Street "

23 Fournier Street, one of the preserved Georgian houses
Public Domain23 Fournier Street, one of the preserved Georgian houses - Credit: MaharishiLondon
Church Street, now Fournier Street, is in the Borough of Tower Hamlets and links Commercial Street with Brick Lane. The houses along the road were built for the Huguenot silk weavers in the 1720s and remain in original condition, one of the most important collections of preserved Georgian housing in Britain. Currently, it is also famous for being the home of the artists Gilbert and George, who have lived and worked in Fournier Street for many years.

Page 100. " up to Redchurch Street "

Redchurch Street is a road in the east London Borough of Hackney. It runs west-east between Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road and would once have been part of the Old Nichol Slum. Now it is home to various bars and art galleries, including the exhibition space The Gallery in Redchurch Street.