An early 19th century visitor to London on business decides on a leisurely excursion from his Holborn coaching inn. His destination is Copenhagen House, where he and others can enjoy their refreshments, the views and the entertainment. The two and a half mile walk to his destination takes him up Gray's Inn Lane, through Battle Bridge and along Maiden Lane (image courtesy of Islington Local History Centre).
The fringes of the rapidly expanding metropolis 200 years ago are observed with a lightness appropriate to a Sunday stroll. Yet their features reflect concerns that would later be raised by Charles Dickens, some still strikingly familiar today: of housing and deprivation; health and environment; transport and industry; crime and punishment; leisure and recreation; and class oppression and the mobilisation of the masses. Hear about the Fleet River, dust heaps, tile kilns and brick fields, pleasure gardens, the Smallpox Hospital, gas manufacture, Belle Isle and rookeries, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and the origin of the game of fives.
Peter Darley is Secretary of the Camden Railway Heritage Trust, which he founded in 2007.
As this is our Christmas meeting, the talk will be preceded by mince pies and wine/fruit juice from 7pm.
Price: Free to members. Non-members welcome (£1 at the door).