Omnibus, Upper Richmond Road, London, 1895:
Aside from the adverts on the side of this ‘bus, the most striking thing for me about this photograph is the state of the road - I doubt roads on construction sites are as bad as this these days.
On the side of the bus, on the top board, can be seen an advert for Thomas Tilling. Thomas Tilling started business in 1846, buying horses and buses, along with the rights to operate certain London routes with them.
By the mid 1850’s he had 70 vehicles, and by the time of his death in 1893 he had a stable of some four thousand horses.
Update: Grays Inn Road; Then & Now:
After an appeal on Twitter to determine the precise location on Grays Inn Road where the photograph in the previous post on this blog was taken, we finally have an answer thanks to Steve Nichols (@Steve_Sub)
He discovered that the parade of shops in the 1880’s photo (bottom left) is today 100 Grays Inn Road. As you can see in the bottom right photo, these Victorian shops are now Pret a Manger.
Using a large and rather crude red ‘X’ I’ve marked on the modern photograph the spot in which the man with his hands on his hips is standing.
Whilst the rickety old buildings have gone, the walkthrough remains.
Even more remarkable is the top photograph, which shows the window the 1880 photograph was most likely taken from, which I’ve highlighted in yellow. The two gates at the bottom of the 1880 photograph are still there, and even the ‘shed’ remains (see the red arrow)
I held out little hope of this location being identified due to the certainty of the main buildings in the photo having been demolished, but i doff my cap to Steve for his detective work!
Proof that if you look closely enough, the Victorians are still almost everywhere in London, and we largely live and work in their city still.
Grays Inn Road, London, 1880
Its difficult to say with any degree of certainty whereabouts on Grays Inn Road this is, but it is, nevertheless, a beautiful shot of an 1880’s London street.
Zooming in we can see a few shops;
On the far left, with half of its sign out of shot, a sign on which its quite difficult to make out the words, but it looks like it could be W. Lamb. There are pictures on the sign which look a little like plants in buckets with feet, but I can’t make them out either.
The shop next door is a ‘Hat and Cap Stores’, but frustratingly I can’t quite see the name of the shop, but it looks a little like ‘Crown’ and something else.
Next door to that is quite a big shop with an umbrella hanging on the wall outside of it, and a proud shop worker / owner stood in the doorway. There also appears to be a chap stood with his hands on his hips to the right of the shop, but at second glance his proportions don’t quite seem ‘right’ - he could be a very well-dressed dummy, but more likely a large fellow.
Above the shops is accommodation, and by the looks of it this photograph was taken on a warm day, as all the windows (looking resplendent with plants and flowers on the sills) are open.
This photo appears to have been taken from the window of a shop opposite; at the bottom you can see what looks like a yard, containing a shed of some sorts, all protected by a gate.
The usual beautiful cobbled streets can also be seen on the road outside, and wonderful chimneys on those rickety roofs.
If anyone has any idea where this is I’d love to know; I know Grays Inn Road still has a few old brick buildings on it, and whilst the main subjects of this photo are long gone, perhaps the building on the far right can be identified?
Sherbert Seller, London, 1884:
Another example (following on from the previous photograph of a toy seller) of a Victorian street seller, this time a lady selling sherbert, which was basically lemonade. The recipe was, I think, as follows:
1 lb. of carbonate of soda
1 lb. cream of tartar,
1 lb. of loaf-sugar,
essence of lemon,
This made a powder which would be spooned into a cup to which water was added (kept in the metal jar the seller above has her hand on - if you look closely you can see a tap on the front, roughly halfway down)
I’m not sure where exactly this photo was taken but I think it is somewhere in Greenwich. The boy enjoying the sherbert is bare-footed - a sadly common state in the nineteenth century.
Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, 1870:
The ever-affluent Cheyne Walk, which, until the Embankments were finished fronted the river has been home to numerous celebrities past and present, from Lloyd George and Marc and Isambard Brunel, to Keith Richards and George Best.
In this photograph well-dressed gentlemen can be seen chatting and promenading.
Toy Seller, king William Street, London, 1884
A lovely photograph of a street hawker selling toys from a wooden barrow in the 1880’s. Victorian town and city streets were full of such characters selling everything from music, baked potatoes, oysters, matches, fruit and vegetables to offering services such as fixing furniture and sharpening knives.
Entrance to Necropolis Station, Waterloo, London, 1890:
Just outside Woking, in Surrey, is Brookwood Cemetery (also known as the London Necropolis)
The cemetery was opened by the London Necropolis Company in 1854 as an out-of-town cemetery; London was struggling to accommodate the dead in its inner city graveyards, and so this vast space (500 acres) was acquired.
The dead of London would reach the cemetery via a special train station, the London Necropolis Railway Station, which was next to Waterloo.
The photograph above shown the entrance to the Necropolis Station, with its beautifully ornate gates, waiting to welcome the dead on their last journey.
Description of Great Wild Street, by Blanchard Jerrold, 1884:
Take Great Wild Street, behind Drury Lane, leading to Drury Lane by an alley or two not surpassable, even in London, for the density of their noisy, ragged, hopeless, and helpless population. Is it possible to pass through this irregular, squalid thoroughfare, full of accidental corners, where the gutter children eddy in the stream of pauperism, without a heart-ache? As I turned into it from the street wherein so many of our imposing charity dinners are given, a little cripple, leaning upon a greasy crutch, barred the way, with three or four wrangling companions about him, quite ready to take advantage of his lameness should they lose in the argument about an end of whipcord. The street was as full of life as a shrimper’s basket. The road, the pavements, the doorsteps, the windows, teemed with population. They were of all sizes, and degrees of distress. There were the low-brewed Irish women greasing the walls with their backs - one and all in the colourless rags of London streets - the younger with just a riband stuck amid the dirt, and having about the effect produced by a flower thrown into a dust-cart. Some carried babies with immense dangling heads; others held their arms akimbo, to keep the cold out. In the doorways children of ten or twelve, or younger, were nursing bundles of dirty clothes, from which constant wailing escaped. A little girl, with matted hair, was sitting in the doorway of a toy-shop (a study for the teacher in itself), nursing a lump of wood encompassed by a lag, for a doll. Barrel-bands served the turn of hoops; splintered egg-chests were promoted to the rank of battledores. Every scrap of the gutter, all the refuse of the shops, served for playthings. And then the stories told in the clothes! The boys in the rent garments of men, the girls in the wrecks of their mothers’ bonnets; the patches, tears, contrivances, and ludicrous anomalies! Bare black feet, as black as the hands and face; shapeless boots, ungartered hose falling over the instep; brimless hats, low-looking eared caps drawn athwart the wickedest little faces it is possible to imagine; lads in torn shirts, and with trousers held up across one shoulder by a rope brace.
The coming, the adult, and the leaving generations are all out in the fog and atmosphere, flavoured with a sickening odour, compounded of tan, tallow, fish and garbage generally. The mothers lean against the walls wrangling and laughing; the fathers - costermongers, navvies, and varieties of the unclassed - are lounging in and out of the public houses, jesting with the idle women, or quarrelling, or indulging in horse-play among themselves. The lads of twenty are leering or swearing in groups, their hands deep in their dog-eared pockets. The boys of fifteen are playing at push-penny or pitch-and-toss, and swearing over every hit or miss. The younger boys have tops or marbles, and the girls shuttlecocks. Even the fowls have a beggared appearance, and must be in a perpetual moulting season. The lanes to the right and left show only a blurred perspective of Great Wild Street in little. What can become of these heavy-headed babies, surrounded by sisters and brothers, and fathers and mothers, and air and houses like these?