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.
Sherlock Holmes trailer: You saw, but did you observe?
With only one week to go until our Sherlock Holmes exhibition opens to the public, we wanted to take a closer inspection at our trailer to reveal a few hidden clues as to what visitors might expect… you saw, but did you observe?
A starring role for the Suffragette collection
As curator of the museum’s wonderful Suffragette collection I often welcome ‘important’ visitors to the archive, captivated by the story of the women who endured imprisonment, hunger-strike and even force-feeding in their battle to win the vote.