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