On 25 January 1909 The Times published a lengthy review of a ‘New Musical Play, in Two Acts’, that had premiered at the Gaiety Theatre two days earlier. Part of the reason why the article was so long was the comedy’s complicated, if not very original, plot. When the play moved to the Knickerbocker Theatre in New York the following year, one critic described it as the ‘familiar he-fell-in-love-with-one-who-was-beneath-him-in-station type’ (The New York Times, 30 August 1910). Similarly, Richard Traubner in his guide to operetta (Routledge 2003) thought it was a show of the ‘typical department-store-salesgirl-meets-disguised-rich-earl-spurns-and-finally-accepts-him variety’. Gertie Millar played […]
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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.
The case of the missing Sherlock Holmes film
Sherlock Holmes, the most famous fictional Londoner of all time, is also one of the most portrayed characters in film and television history. He has appeared onscreen for over a century, with the role assumed by countless actors – from William Gillette to Benedict Cumberbatch. As the Museum of London prepares for the largest temporary exhibition on the super sleuth for over sixty years, there remains a mystery unsolved regarding one such film.
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.