Dictionary of Victorian London

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This fascinating site has a wealth of interesting info.
Created and maintained by Lee Jackson  check out...

The Dictionary of Victorian London

From the site:

... a vast website - it would run to thousands of pages in print - containing primary sources covering the social history of Victorian London. This includes extracts from Victorian newspapers, diaries, journalism, memoirs, maps, advertisements &c. and the full text of several dozen books. These sources are arranged by subject area and can be browsed and searched at will.
The site has been used extensively by scholars, genealogists, authors, and the general public for the last decade - it was most recently cited by Anthony Horowitz, as a key research resource for his Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk.
In addition to the Dictionary itself  Lee also has a companion blog:

The Cat's Meat Shop is a blog containing pieces of source material from my current research, pending updates to the Dictionary of Victorian London, reports of visits to buildings in London — recent visits have included the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel and The Royal Society of Arts — and anything else that catches my eye. 
A recent blog entry contained this gem from  1892:

Train of Rubbish

One day last week a friend of mine walked down Piccadilly behind a lady who was wearing a dress fitted with the long train now in vogue. Opposite St. James's Club she got into a cab. She consequently left behind her on the pavement all the rubbish which her skirt had collected as it swept down Piccadilly. My friend, being of a scientific turn, proceeded to make an inventory of the collection, and he has been good enough to send it to me for publication. I give it below. In the days when germs and microbes play such an important part in social life, I question very much whether these trains should be permitted by law. This lady left her street sweepings on the curb-stone; but it might be remembered that many convey them into their own or their friends' houses:-

2 cigar ends.
9 cigarette do.
A portion of pork pie.
4 toothpicks.
2 hairpins.
1 stem of a clay pipe.
3 fragments of orange peel.
1 slice of cat's meat.
Half a sole of a boot.
1 plug of tobacco (chewed).
Straw, mud, scraps of paper, and miscellaneous street refuse, ad.lib.

Lady F.W. Harberton, "Symposium on Dress," Arena, vol. 6. New York, 1892, p. 334.
A highly recommended site for Victoriana, quirky, entertaining and informative.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.


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