Gobbets of the Week #32

It is now a month since The Boss of Bethnal Green was published, and for the first time there seems some space to reflect. The weeks have flown by. The book seems to be selling – there have been exciting sightings in far-flung bookshops and some lovely emails from people who have read it.

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There have been two hugely enjoyable launch parties, I’ve made a small publicity video, been interviewed on the radio by Robert Elms (link here, from 38.00) and given talks to diverse audiences at Waterstones Piccadilly, the East End History Society and the Society Club. On top of that I have written pieces for Spitalfields Life and London Historians. And importantly, I found time to dust off the blog and make it shipshape for all the activity I’m intending to deliver over the coming months.

So it’s been a very busy year. I’m now going to unwind a bit and let it all sink in. I have one more big event to do – the lunchtime lecture at the National Portrait Gallery on 15th December (do please sign up!) and then I’m going to drop down a few gears until the New Year.

With that, here are my favourite 10 gobbets of London history this week:

  1. The big news in the last couple of days has been the shock announcement of the closure of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing company. See link to the Guardian. It has brought forth the republication of some eulogistic pieces:
  2. …from Spitalfields Life…
  3. …from Peter Watts, on The Great Wen…
  4. …and from the Foundry’s own website, an account of its history.

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    Image courtesy Spitalfields Life

  5. Another nice pair of gobbets: from the London Historians blog, a post on specialist London book dealer Hawk Norton
  6. …and a marvellous piece by Hawk himself on Victorian Childrens’ Books.
  7. With the definite arrival of winter weather, The Gentle Author was as usual spot on with his George Cruikshank’s London in Winter.
  8. From ‘Exploring London’: Where’s London’s oldest…public clock (with a minute hand)? I particularly liked this, because my photo of said clock (see below) was used in Dominic Reid’s lovely book on the Lord Mayor’s Show last year).giants-at-st-dunstan-in-the-west
  9. Charles Booth’s Poverty Maps are now online in a new interactive version. See also this explanatory article from Londonist.
  10. How did Finchley’s Tally Ho Corner get its name?

The Boss of Bethnal Green: Joseph Merceron, the Godfather of Regency London is published by Spitalfields Books and available to buy here.

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