Routledge’s Guide to London

Today I had a great find in a charity shop near to where I had a meeting.  I’m just so pleased with my purchase of Routledge’s Guide to London, even if it’s not in pristine condition.  In fact, you have to be very careful when you open it, otherwise all the pages will drop out!

The title page inside has three black & white, pen & ink illustrations opposite. The first is of the new meat market at Smithfield, the second is the Holborn Viaduct and the third is the Thames Embankment at Waterloo Bridge.  There’s even a poem by Byron on the title page ~

A mighty mass of brick and smoke, and shipping : Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye : Can reach …

….. Amidst the forestry : Of masts, a wilderness of steeples peeping – A huge dun cupola, like a foolscap crown : On a fool’s head – And there is London Town.  ~  Byron

The date of publication is 1883!

The population of London is shown for each decade from 1801, when it was just 864,845 to 1871, when it had rocketed to 3,300,000.  It continues to say that according to income-tax returns some people earned £300 a year but the great mass was on less than £100 per year.  ‘Obviously that doesn’t include those people living in the palatial mansions in the suburbs, particularly Brompton, Kensington, St John’s Wood, Bayswater and Hampstead.’

Hackney fares are shown in full – such as Baker Street to Victoria Station for one shilling and sixpence.

I’d love to put all 235 pages on here but will limit it to snippets of interest to our industry!  There are places to go and see, hotels, banks, etc.

‘There is now free admission to view the Tower of London and its curiosities on Saturdays and Mondays.  The Tower is open daily from 10.30 to 4 o’clock.  A warder is in attendance every half hour to conduct parties in waiting.  Admission to the armouries, 6d per person. to the Crown Jewels, 6d.  ….  The royal jewels are especially worthy examination.  They are said to be worth three millions sterling.’

The central Hotels quoted in a list are : ‘Golden Cross, 452 Strand : Charing Cross Hotel, Terminus, Charing Cross : Viaduct, Holborn Viaduct : Inns of Court and Great Central, 269 High Holborn : Euston and Victoria, Euston Grove, Euston Square : Great Northern, Terminus, King’s Cross : Horseshoe, 264 Tottenham Court Road : Imperial Hotel, Holborn Viaduct : Peele’s, 177 & 178 Fleet Street : Craven, 45 Carven Street, Strand : Morley’s, Trafalgar Square : Adelphi, John Street, Adelphi : Mitre, 155 Chancery Lane : Bedford, Evan’s, Richardson’s, Tavistock, all in Covent Garden (Market) : Anderton’s, 164 Fleet Street (and Dining-rooms) : Southampton, Southampton Buildings : Haxell’s Royal Exeter, 370-375 Strand : Queen’s, St. Martin’s-le-Grand : Manchester, corner of Aldersgate-street (near Smithfield) : Salisbury (Agricultural), Salisbury-square, Fleet Street : Cannon-street Terminus : Cathedral, 48 St. Paul’s Churchyard : Castle and Falcon, 5 Aldersgate-street : Bridge House, London Bridge : De Keyser’s New Royal Hotel, Embankment, Bridge-street, Blackfriars : Dolly’s, Queen’s Head Passage, Newgate Street : Edinburgh, Finsbury Square : Kennan’s, Crown-court, Cheapside (and Dining Rooms) : Seyd’s, Finsbury Square : Yorkshire Grey, 53 Lower Thames Street.’

I haven’t had time to research any of them, but would love to find out more.  Especially, Cathedral, 48 St. Paul’s Churchyard and Castle and Falcon, 5 Aldersgate-street : Bridge House, London Bridge.

Also –  ‘Many excellent hotels and taverns have a luncheon-bar, at which during the day you may have a chop, or a snack for sixpence, or a plate of hot meat, with vegetables and bread, for about eightpence.’

There is just so much fascinating information, I just lost the last two hours scanning through!

Oh yes, just discovered the national debt in 1883  was ‘the enormous sum of 800,000,000l.’   The l stands for pounds!

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