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.
I Love You…I Love You Not: Victorian Valentine’s Day cards
When the Uniform penny post rocked up in 1840, it completely revolutionised the way in which people communicated. Sending letters and cards, such as those celebrating Valentine’s Day, became easier and cheaper and as a result a thriving business developed in central London.
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.