This map plots the settings and references in The Pleasures of Men
To start exploring, click a red pin
Spitalfields Market has existed in Spitalfields, East London, since 1638. The current buildings were built in 1887 to house a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, and are now known as Old Spitalfields Market. The wholesalers moved in 1991 to New Spitalfields Market, but the old market, complete with restored Victorian buildings, remains one of London’s most popular – open seven days a week but especially popular on Sundays, it is renowned for its fashion, food and vintage stalls and a tourist attraction in its own right.
Long Acre is a street near Covent Garden in central London. It starts at St Martin’s Lane and ends at Drury Lane, and in the nineteenth century was famous for its coach makers. It is currently home to many high street shops and Stanfords, one of the oldest and largest map shops in Britain.
Kingsway is one of the broadest streets in Central London and runs from Holborn in the north to Aldwych in the south. It was not actually built until 1900 – a part of the area redevelopment which cut through the former maze of small streets in Holborn – and had a tunnel for a tram system running underneath it. The original buildings were built between 1903 and 1905 and include offices such as the Civil Aviation Authority and buildings belonging to the London School of Economics.
High Holborn is a road in the area of Holborn, Central London. It runs west to east, from St Giles Circus to Gray’s Inn Road. Its most famous building is Staple Inn, a legal chambers and one of London’s surviving original Tudor buildings. The road has a claim to fame in Adrian Mitchell’s poem, ‘Celia, Celia’:
‘When I am sad and weary
When I think all hope has gone
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on.’
Holborn has always been a centre for London's lawyers and contains many famous legal chambers. The area was also a known haunt for prostitutes in the poverty-stricken nineteenth century and earlier still, in 1726, made the headlines as being home to London's most prominent gay brothel.
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks on London. Situated on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, a cathedral has been there since around 604 AD, dedicated to Paul the Apostle. The current building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and consecrated in 1705 after the Great Fire of London destroyed its predecessor. The dome is one of the highest in the world at 365 feet (111 metres) and until 1962 it was the highest building in London.
St Paul’s has played host to a myriad of important services – the funerals of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill, jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria and the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, among others. It received iconic status as a symbol of London and Britain as a whole when propaganda pictures were released featuring the dome rising tall amongst the smoke and ashes of bombed London during the Blitz.
London Wall was built by the Romans as a defence around the city of London and was maintained until the 18th century. It was roughly 3 miles long and contained seven gates to roads leading out of the city. Since demolition work in the 18th and 19th centuries and damage caused during the Blitz it has been a road running along part of the former course of the wall. Some fragments of the wall can still be seen at locations including the Museum of London, Barbican Estate and Tower Hill. In 1984 the Museum of London set up a self-guided walk of the wall from the museum to the Tower of London which can still be followed in part.
Bishopsgate is a ward and street in northeast London. It was named for one of the gates built in the London Wall by the Romans which led onto the Old North Road out of the city. The gate itself, demolished in 1760, often used to display the heads of executed criminals on pikes as a deterrent to further crime.
Today, Bishopsgate is a busy thoroughfare home to the London offices of several major world banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland. It also features a number of skyscrapers, such as Tower 42 and Heron Tower (the City’s tallest building). The ward of Bishopsgate has a working population of 46,000 but only 48 residents.
Shoreditch High Street is the old main road of Shoreditch in the north of London. It runs between Norton Folgate and Kingsland Road and forms part of the old Roman Ermine Street, a road which connected London to York. In the nineteenth century it was home to the famous National Standard Theatre, which became one of the city’s largest theatres before its closure in 1926, and the Shoreditch Empire (also known as The London Music Hall).
St Magnus the Martyr is a Church of England church in Lower Thames Street, near London Bridge. Evidence suggests that a church has been on the site since the eleventh century, but the current baroque-style building was completed in 1687 to a design of Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London destroyed the previous church. St Magnus was the Earl of Orkney, who died in a political struggle in the early twelfth century. The church was dedicated to him officially by the Bishop of London in 1926.
Boundary Street is a small road in east London, running north to south between Calvert Avenue and Redchurch Street.
Princelet Street in Spitalfields, east London, was formerly known as Princes Street. It links Wilkes Street in the west with Spelman Street in the east, crossing Brick Lane at its centre. At number 19 is a restored Huguenot master silk weaver’s home, open occasionally to the public with exhibitions about the area’s past as a major centre of silk production.
Bath is a small city in the south-west of England, in the county of Somerset, with a population of around 84,000. Home to naturally occurring hot springs it was founded as a spa by the Romans in 43AD and given the name Aquae Sulis (‘waters of Sulis’ – as early as the Iron Age the area had been dedicated to a goddess named Sulis). The Roman Baths (though much reconstructed) still exist today and have led to the city being granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Much of the town was built up in the Georgian period when it was an incredibly popular spa town and a key feature on the fashionable circuit. Royal Crescent, Landsdown Crescent and other iconic residential areas date from this time, as do many of Bath’s theatres and art galleries. Bath’s main industry today remains tourism, with around 3.8 million day visitors each year who come for the ancient baths, elegant architecture and beautiful countryside surrounding the city.
Rome, the capital of Italy, is no exception to the rule. Major art galleries include the Galleria Borghese, the Galleria Colonna, Barberini Palace and National Museum of Antique Art, the Gallery of the National Academy of St Luca and the Musei Capitolini. Between them, the museums and galleries house works of art from the world’s most influential painters throughout the ages, ranging from Etruscan to Modernist art. A full list of Roman art galleries can be found here.
Covent Garden is an area to the eastern edge of the West End of London, and is also the name of the famous square and market at its centre which gives the area its name. Partly settled in 1200, some of the fields in the area were walled off and given to Westminster Abbey for use as orchards and gardens: ‘the garden of the Abbey and Convent’ gradually
Mali is a landlocked republic in Western Africa, and despite great economic growth in recent years is one of the poorest countries in the world. Home to around 14.5 million people, it was under control of the French during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and its population is made up of numerous ethnic groups, the largest of which is the Bambara, and who are mostly rural. Mali has many ancient customs and traditions and is particularly famous for its music and dance.
Damascus is the oldest still-inhabited city in the world, the capital of Syria. Settled in the 3rd millennium BC, the city in the Levant’s political power has somewhat waned since its founding, but it is still an important religious and cultural
The City of London is a small area just over one mile square at the very heart of London; the original settlement around which the city grew. London was founded by the Romans around 47AD and by the end of the first century was the largest settlement in Britain. In the Middle Ages the City was the entire extent of London, but since then it has been expanding ever-outwards, particularly in the eighteenth century when the Industrial Revolution occurred and Britain began to build the Empire of which London was the centre.
The original boundaries of the City have not changed since Medieval Times, and it is often referred to as ‘The Square Mile’ or ‘The City’ because of this. The population is 11,000, but around 330,000 people work there as it is the centre of London’s financial, business and legal centre. ‘The City’ also refers then to Great Britain’s financial industry, which was the world’s leader in the nineteenth century and today is ranked number one alongside New York. The London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England are both in the City of London, along with 500 banks’ offices and the headquarters of a number of major international organisations. The architecture of the City varies from historical buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Mansion House to the financial sector’s skyscrapers such as Tower 42 and Heron Tower.
Hyde Park is a Royal Park in central London and one of the largest in the city. Adjoining Kensington Gardens, the two together form the largest green space in central London but are separate entities. Hyde Park spreads over 350 acres and is divided in two by the Serpentine, a snaking recreational lake created in 1730. Hyde Park was acquired from Westminster Abbey in 1536 by Henry VIII and was originally a private deer park for hunting, but opened to the public during Charles I’s reign in 1637. The first landscaping took place in the 1730s, designed by Charles Bridgeman, and additions were made in later years including the Grand Entrance in 1824-5. The most important event of the 19th century was the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was held in the Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park and today the park is used for many public events including concerts, an annual ‘Winter Wonderland’ and demonstrations. Speakers’ Corner, on the north-east corner, is a spot where public speaking, preaching or debate is allowed, as long as the speeches are lawful, a tradition which has been in place since the late 1800s.
Lancashire is a county on the north-west coast of England which dates back to the 12th century. The population today is around 1,500,000 and the county town, from which it derives its name, is Lancaster. Its most famous symbol is the Red Rose of Lancaster, dating back to the fifteenth century Wars of the Roses, the civil wars in which the House of Lancaster and the House of York (a white rose) fought over the throne of England. In the 19th century, Lancashire was a major centre of industry, in particular due to its wealth of cotton mills – in the 1830s, 85% of all cotton manufactured across the world was produced in Lancashire. Blackpool was also a popular seaside resort for holiday-makers from the mill towns. Increasingly urbanised during the 20th century, Lancashire’s population almost trebled between 1871 and the present day, and it remains a largely industrial county, although also experiences tourism due to its rich cultural traditions and historical heritage.
The British Museum has one of the world’s largest and finest collections on human history and culture. With over eight million works from across the world in its permanent collection, the museum owns a total of 13 million objects at the main site, 70 million at the Natural History Museum and 150 million at the British Library. Departments are dedicated to Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Greece and Rome, Prehistory and Europe, Prints and Drawings, Coins and Medals and more. The museum is also a centre for archives and research.
As a national institution, the British Museum is free and has the most visitors of any museum in the country and the second most of any in the world. The current director is Neil MacGregor.
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.
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).
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.
Oxford Street is a major street in central London, running from Marble Arch to the intersection at Tottenham Court Road. It follows the route of the Roman road, the Via Trinobantina, which became a major route in and out of the city. Once known as Oxford Road, between the 12th and 18th centuries it linked London to Oxford, beginning at Newgate, one of the exits from the city. The street and those surrounding it were developed in the late eighteenth century and it became popular for street entertainers, theatres and concert halls. In the nineteenth century the shops moved in, and it is now Europe’s busiest shopping street. Although not the most expensive shopping street in London, it has several major department stores including Selfridges, the flagship stores for a large number of high street chains and hundreds of smaller shops and restaurants. Along with Regent Street and Bond Street, Oxford Street helps to form London’s primary shopping area. All three streets are coloured green on a standard London Monopoly board.
Charing Cross is a road junction in central London where the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street all meet. Once a small hamlet simply called Charing, it takes its name from the Eleanor Cross, a monument built by King Edward I in 1291-94 in memory of his wife, Eleanor of Castile. Pulled down by the government in 1674 at the time of the civil war, the spot where the cross stood is now marked by a statue of King Charles I on a horse, as well as a Victorian replacement cross, built in 1865. It is this point that is generally accepted as the centre of London for measuring distances. Charing Cross has always been an important thoroughfare: Charing Cross station, opened in 1864, serves trains from the southeast of England and throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries coaches from Dover, Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Holyhead and York used to arrive at and depart from the Golden Cross Inn which stood at the junction until it was demolished to make way for the building of Trafalgar Square.
Silk Street is a road in the City of London, beginning at the junction with Beech Street, Whitecross Street and Chiswell Street and ending at Moor Lane. It is home to the Barbican Centre, Europe’s largest performing arts venue, which holds concerts, theatre productions, art exhibitions, film screenings and conferences, as well as being the base of the London Symphony Orchestra. The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is also located in Silk Street.
Chiswick is a suburb of London, located on a meander bend of the River Thames in the west of the city. The name is from Old English and means ‘Cheese Farm’ – until the 18thcentury a cheese fair was held annually in the meadows by the river. Originally a fishing and farming village, by the early nineteenth century trade was beginning to wane as the pollution of the River Thames meant it could no longer be successfully fished. As Chiswick was easily accessible it had often been used as a country
retreat, and during the nineteenth century it was one of the places turned to by the population moving out of over-crowded London. The population grew almost tenfold during the 1800s and into the twentieth century; it was officially made a municipal borough in 1932. Chiswick is also known as the home of the Palladian villa Chiswick House and the 350-year-old brewery Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C., and it was the site of the Royal Horticultural Society’s first flower shows and school, before they moved to Wisley in 1904.
Oxford, county town of Oxfordshire, is a city in central southern England and most famous as the home of the world-renowned Oxford University. Around 50 miles (80km) northwest of London, the city was settled in Saxon times and gained importance under the reign of Henry II when it and its inhabitants were granted the same privileges as the city of London - due to its proximity to the capital, some parliament sessions were even held here. The collegiate university was established in the 12th century, making it the oldest in the English-speaking world, and its beautiful buildings have made Oxford come to be known as ‘the city of dreaming spires’. In the twentieth century car-manufacturing came to Oxford and since then it has been a city of two halves: the industrial to the east and the university to the west. As well as the university college buildings, other attractions in Oxford include the Bodleian Library, Carfax Tower and Oxford Castle: the city plays host to many tourists all year round.
Calvert Street and Paisley Street are listed in a Victorian street index, but do not exist today. Most likely they have become Calvert Avenue and Palissy Street – two roads leading into the Boundary Estate, a housing project built on the site of the former Old Nichol Slum and opened in 1900.
St Sepulchre was an old parish, half within and half outside London. The inner half was abolished in 1907 and the outer half, which became part of Finsbury, in 1915. St-Sepulchre-without-Newgate, as the inner part of the parish was officially known, is an Anglican church which is now in Holborn. The largest parish church in London, it was founded in Saxon times but has been rebuilt and remodelled several times during its life. Just opposite the Old Bailey (formerly Newgate Prison), the church bell would ring to mark the execution of a prisoner on the prison gallows. This led it to be christened ‘the bells of Old Bailey’, as one of the ‘Cockney bells’ of London in the rhyme Oranges and Lemons:
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
The Pyramids are Ancient Egyptian burial mounds, built on the west bank of the River Nile – the land of the setting sun and therefore the realm of the dead. The final resting place of the pharaohs, the Pyramids were highly complex structures, containing labyrinths of narrow passages and chambers inside them for the mummified body of the deceased, as well as their worldly belongings which would accompany them to the afterlife. It is not exactly clear why the Pyramids were shaped as they are – many believe that they point towards the heavens and would therefore help to direct the pharaoh’s soul there.
The Pyramids are Egypt’s most famous attraction, particularly those just outside Cairo at Giza (view on PyramidCam). The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the oldest and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing. Some of the Pyramids are amongst the largest structures in the world – it took teams of up to 100,000 men years to build them. 139 Pyramids have been discovered in Egypt to this date, some standing for more than 4,500 years: all of them marvels of engineering and human perseverance.
Surrey is a county in the south-east of England, bordering London, Kent, Hampshire, East and West Sussex, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It is the 12th largest county with a population of 1,127,300 and the county town is the historic city of Guildford. Surrey was settled by the Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries and took its name from the word ‘Suthrige’, meaning ‘southern region’.
Surrey today is the most affluent county in England, due in part to its close ties to London. A huge number of company headquarters are based in Surrey; it is also popular for visitors due to its areas of natural beauty, gardens, parks and stately homes.
There are a large number of independent schools in Surrey, at which the upper classes from Victorian London would have been educated. They include the famous Charterhouse School, which was one of the original nine public schools in Britain.
Wapping takes it name from the Saxon tribes which settled there - Wæppa's people. Developing along a narrow stretch of the Thames embankment, it was populated with sailors, boat-builders, dock-workers and many more who supported the seafaring trade, giving it a strong maritime character. Wapping was also the site of Execution Dock, where pirates and maritime criminals were hanged as late as 1830. In the 19th century, however, the population dropped by a drastic 60% as the nearby London Docks were developed and many houses destroyed or abandoned. The area became isolated from London and suffered extensive bomb damage during the Second World War; however, from the 1970s it became the subject of a regeneration programme and is now part of London’s lively Docklands area. Famous landmarks include the Wapping Stairs and the Prospect of Whitby, thought to be London’s oldest riverside pub.
St Katharine Docks were once one of London’s commercial ports, situated on the north of the Thames in the modern Borough of Tower Hamlets. From the 12th century onwards a hospital stood here, St Katharine by the Tower – the docks are just along from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The area gradually built up into a slum, where dock workers and immigrants lived. In 1827, however, 1,250 of these houses were demolished, as part of a renovation plan designed by Thomas Telford. St Katharine Docks, built on the cleared land and comprising warehouses on the quayside and two basins, were opened in October 1828. Not quite large enough, they were incorporated with the London Docks nearby, but never a great success, and the area built up again with cramped workers’ housing.
In the 1970s redevelopment of the area began. The warehouses were replaced by residential and commercial buildings; the docks became a marina. Now regarded as a prime example of urban regeneration, the luxury housing, offices, hotel, restaurants (including the famous 18th century Dickens Inn), recreational facilities and yachting marina are a popular residential area and leisure destination.
St Katharine's Way is the road which links the two basins and leads into and out of the marina. St Katharine’s Pier nearby is a stopping-point for London River Services boats, on their routes to and from Westminster and Greenwich.
A report on St Katharine Docks from a survey of London in 1878.
Portsmouth is a city on the south coast of England and was once the United Kingdom’s most significant naval port. Situated largely on an island connected to the mainland by bridges, the city has a population of 207,100 and is the mostly densely populated city in the country. Settled since before Roman times, Portsmouth was used as a dock since the late 12th century and is home today to the world’s largest dry dock still in use. Commercial ships used the port but it was primarily the launching pad for the Royal Navy, which still has a major base there. The Historic Dockyard houses some of the world’s most famous naval ships including HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s ship, and is a popular visitor attraction. Although not as busy as in its heyday, Portsmouth’s main economy is the dockyard – a tenth of the city’s workforce is employed there. Due to bombardment in World War II, much of the city had to be rebuilt and there are several major housing developments on the outskirts, as well as a new waterfront development at Gunwharf Quays of shops, restaurants, houses and the Spinnaker Tower.
Vauxhall Gardens was a privately-operated pleasure garden open between 1729 and 1859. Admission was charged and attractions included tightrope walkers, fireworks, hot air balloons and concerts. There were various pavilions and walkways, popular meeting points for romantic assignations. Food and drink were available, and crowds of 60,000 or more could be accommodated. The Gardens were popular amongst all classes.
The lease was eventually sold to developers and the land was divided into 300 building plots. However the site was cleared in the 20th century, and now holds a small park and a city farm.
Trafalgar Square, in central London, commemorates Britain’s victory over France in the naval Battle of Trafalgar (1805), part of the Napoleonic Wars. Until the early nineteenth century, the area was occupied by the King’s Mews – the blocks where the royal horses and carriages were stabled. In the 1820s, John Nash was commissioned by George IV to clear the area, as the Mews had been transferred. He drew plans to leave the whole area open, except for one building which was to be the Royal Academy. Work was slow and a new plan was drawn up in 1840 by Sir Charles Barry, including terraces and fountains. The square was opened to the public in May 1844, although work continued for some time afterwards.
Nelson’s Column was a separate initiative, which Barry did not approve of. Admiral Horatio Nelson, naval commander, had died at the Battle of Trafalgar and a memorial committee constructed the column between 1840 and 1843. 169 ft 3 ins (51.59m) tall, the column is of granite, topped with a statue of Nelson and decorated with four bronze relief panels. Four golden lions surround the base, sculpted by Sir Edward Landseer.
Trafalgar Square is one of London’s icons, a popular tourist attraction and a space much used for public demonstrations, exhibitions and celebrations.
Windsor is a suburban town to the east of London, on the south bank of the River Thames. The first settlement was at Old Windsor, a village three miles from the town, and the first Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror after the Norman conquest of 1066. The current castle was used from King Henry I’s reign onwards, and is the oldest occupied castle in Europe. A significant town in the Medieval Ages, due to the royal presence there, the town stagnated in the 16th and 17th centuries. George III reoccupied the castle from 1804 and two army barracks were built there which increased the population. A favourite of Queen Victoria, from 1840 the castle was much in use and with the introduction of a railway line in 1849, Windsor’s fortune was made. Now an extremely affluent town and the Queen’s favourite weekend residence, Windsor has some of the most expensive housing in the United Kingdom, a major royal presence and other notable inhabitants. The castle and old town are a popular tourist attraction, and it is a common mooring point for private boats travelling along the River Thames.
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.
Dover is a town on the south-east coast of England, in the county of Kent. The town has a population of just over 28,000 and dates back to the Stone Age. Due to its position, facing France across the English Channel, Dover was important as a point of communication and defence between Britain and France, and relics show a maritime influence as early as the Bronze Age. Its name derives from the River Dour which flows through the town, but it also held the ancient name of Albion, meaning ‘white’, due to the iconic chalk cliffs. The ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ have been voted Britain’s most popular stretch of coastline and were the subject of Vera Lynn’s popular World War II song.
One of the Medieval Cinque Ports (five south-east coast ports which were instrumental in Britain’s overseas trade and military action), it was a notable defence during the Napoleonic Wars and World War II. In the nineteenth century, the population of the town grew by 600% and it attempted to establish itself as a seaside resort to rival popular holiday destinations like Chatham. After the heavy defences built during the war, however, Dover was destined to remain a commercial and military port – the barracks closed finally in 2007. The Port of Dover provides many cross-channel ferry services to France and is the town’s main employer, although tourism also plays a part in the town’s economy.
Kent is a county in south-east England, bordering East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. It also has a border with Essex in the middle of the River Thames and a nominal border with France halfway through the Channel Tunnel. With an estimated population of 1,684,200 a large amount of Kent is within the London commuter belt, but the south of the county relies on agriculture and tourism. Due to its proximity to France (which can be seen from Dover and
Folkestone on the coast), Kent has always been important to Britain in terms of a link to and defence from continental Europe. Much of the Battle of Britain was fought in its skies in World War II, and the dockyards at Chatham, Dover, Hythe, Sandwich and New Romney were used to build and launch warships since the twelfth century. Away from its naval coastline and transport links to France including the Channel Tunnel and ferry services from Dover, Kent is famous for its abundance of beautiful hop gardens and orchards, which have led it to be known as ‘The Garden of England’.
Calais is a town on the north-west coast of France, a major port and the closest town to England, to which it is linked by the Dover-Calais ferry service (the two towns are only 21 miles apart). Uncertain as to when exactly it was founded, Calais definitely existed in Roman times and was used to launch attacks on Britain. Between 1347 and 1558 it in fact belonged to Britain and became known as ‘the brightest jewel in the English crown’ as the port through which the important tin, lead, cloth and wool trades passed. Recaptured by the French in 1558, Calais has also served as an important military base as well as commercial port – on the front line in the Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II. During World War II much of the town was flattened by German bombing raids, but the historical Old Town has been rebuilt and some original buildings survive, including the Église Notre-Dame, Hôtel de Ville and old British defensive forts. Once a major centre of wool and cloth production, Calais still contains two large lace factories but its economy is mostly directed through the port: more than 10 million people pass through the town every year.
A ‘packet’ is a small boat used in the 18th and 19th centuries which was originally used for post but then later on also for freight and passenger transportation over short distances. The services ran fairly regularly: the forerunner of today’s passenger ferry services.
Paris is the capital city of France and one of the world’s leading cities. Situated on the River Seine, Paris has a population of around 2,211,297 and between the 16th and 19th centuries was the largest city in the world. Famed for its cultural influences, particularly on art, literature and fashion, Paris is one of the most expensive and the most visited city in the world and contains some of the most famous buildings including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Gallery and Notre Dame Cathedral – to name just three of its 38,000 historical monuments.
More on Paris, including tourist information, can be found here.
Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and the largest city in the country as well as in Scandinavia. Originally founded in the early 13th century, what is currently the Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built on an island next to the Helgeandsholmen islet on the south-east coast of Sweden as a defence. Its location meant that it quickly became important in terms of trade and maritime defence, and as the Swedish Empire grew in power so did Stockholm. The city now comprises urban areas on fourteen islands around the central Old Town and is an important economic, political and cultural centre. Technologically advanced and efficient, Stockholm has a reputation for being a ‘modern city’ due to the rapid expansion which took place in the late 20th century and saw the construction of many modernist buildings. However, the city contains many important historical buildings and palaces, especially in the Old Town, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Royal Palace Drottningholm and the Skogskyrkogården (Woodland Cemetery). Stockholm was Europe’s first ‘green city’ and remains Sweden’s financial capital. It is also famous for its beautiful parks, open spaces and waterways and sometimes referred to as ‘The Venice of the North’.
Tyburn was a medieval village which stood at the end of what is now Oxford Street, near Marble Arch. Its name comes from the Tyburn, a tributary of the River Thames, which is now completely covered over. The spring there supplied the first piped water supply to London in 1236. Tyburn is notorious as the location of the London gallows, also known as the ‘Tyburn Tree’ between 1196 and 1783, after which time the executions were carried out at Newgate Prison. Prisoners were traditionally marched to their deaths, from Newgate Prison down the length of Oxford Street; the executions were very popular public spectacles and drew huge crowds – apprentices were given the day off and a public holiday atmosphere ensued, with the convicts expected to dress up and provide a ‘good dying’ to be cheered by the crowds. On one occasion the spectator stands collapsed, killing and injuring hundreds, but not even that proved a deterrent. The gallows are now commemorated with a plaque at the junction of Edgware Road and Bayswater Road. Tyburn is today the point at which Edgware Road begins. It is also marked by Tyburn Convent, in memory of the many Christian martyrs who met their deaths there.