I am probably one of the last people on earth to come across James Hardy Vaux. He is a most fantastic source of information about the contents of men’s pockets in the late 18th/early 19th century. Why? Because he was not only a pickpocket, but a pickpocket who wrote his memoirs including very detailed accounts of his work practices and spoils. Vaux was born in 1782 in Surrey, the son of a butler/house steward and the daughter of an attorney and, ironically, deputy warden of Fleet prison. From the age of 14 he started to hang out with bad company […]
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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.
Looking after London’s ghosts…
When I first started working at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive I was told there was a ghost in our metal store. More Casper than Blair Witch, the ghost allegedly helped you find objects that had been ‘misplaced’. Sadly, I’ve never seen this ghost, but with 200,000 boxes containing millions of fragments of London’s history, I think it fair to say the ghosts of London’s past sit on our shelves.
Infographic: The Great Fire of London
Nearly 350 years ago the City of London faced one of its most famous disasters. To mark this occasion we’ve put together a handy infographic with some of the topline facts and figures – discover even more at the Museum of London’s free ‘War, Plague and Fire’ gallery!