On a bright Sunday morning seventy-five years ago today the East End became a battlefield in the continental struggle between Fascism and democracy that would engulf the world three years later. The Battle of Cable Street (external link) now rightly enjoys legendary status. Looking at the grainy images of the day’s events is a powerful reminder of a time when so much was at stake and how an East London conflict could have global resonance. On October 4th 1936 Oswald Mosley intended to commemorate the fourth founding anniversary of his British Union of Fascists by marching around 3000 ‘Blackshirts’ into the heart […]
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
Miss Levy’s Wedding Dress
This whole thing started a few years ago when a wedding dress came up at auction. Not being a wedding dress swooner I could nevertheless think of quite a few (entirely rational) reasons why the museum should acquire this particular example. For one thing it was made by Victor Stiebel, one of my favourite London couturiers. Secondly, we do not have enough of his creations (one never does) and they do not come up at auction very often. The dress also had an intriguing mystery inscription. We will get to that in a moment.
London Street Views 1840
New to London? Here for business or perhaps a little shopping? Looking for a specific building? These days we might use the internet or our smartphones to find the right places and navigate around the city, technology of which the Victorian visitor to London could only dream.