From the Guardian: Chilling discovery: ice house found under London street.
For the well to-do residents of Georgian London, serving chilled drinks at a festive party was a more complicated process than today. In the absence of electricity to make ice cubes and keep them frozen, they had to source their ice from elsewhere.
For the most discerning hosts, that meant using blocks of purest frozen Norwegian fjord, which was shipped to London’s docks and then carefully stored until required to be chipped into glasses and clinked.
Archaeologists have now uncovered a link to the capital’s lost ice trade with the rediscovery, under one of London’s most prestigious addresses, of an enormous 18th-century ice store, the existence of which had been almost entirely forgotten. [continue]
From Heritage Daily: MOLA excavations at Crossrail Farringdon site reveal secrets of Tudor Life.
Excavations carried out by MOLA at the Crossrail site at Farringdon have revealed fascinating insights into daily life in Tudor London in recently published findings.
The site in the heart of the capital has already provided remarkable information about the Black Death in London, but now analysis of artefacts extracted from the re-discovered Faggeswell brook, that flowed past Charterhouse Square, revealed more about the people living in the area during the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Due to the wet ground conditions in the area of the brook, MOLA archaeologists were able to recover rarely found Tudor textiles, leather and plant remains all preserved in excellent condition. It is very rare that textiles and leather survive in the ground, and it is only because of the damp conditions which stopped oxygen form decaying the organic materials that there is such an invaluable insight into the lives of ordinary Londoners and the gentry.
Tudor leather shoes: 22 shoes made of thick cattle leather range from unisex slip-on shoes, similar to modern-day shoes, to styles [continue]
Ha! There’s the most interesting bit, at least for me. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with minimalist / handmade / historical footwear ever since 2008 when I pointed you to an article about how shoes hurt our feet.
Anyway, the Heritage Daily article has a good photo of one of the shoes they found.
From the Beeb Doctors confirm 200-year-old diagnosis.
Doctors have confirmed a diagnosis made more than 200 years ago by one of medicine’s most influential surgeons.
John Hunter had diagnosed a patient in 1786 with a “tumour as hard as bone”.
Royal Marsden Hospital doctors analysed patient samples and case notes, which were preserved at the museum named after him – the Hunterian in London.
As well as confirming the diagnosis, the cancer team believe Mr Hunter’s centuries-old samples may give clues as to how cancer is changing over time. [continue]
Perhaps I’ll stop by the Hunterian Museum next time I’m in London.
Wow! From the BBC: London ‘alight’ for Great Fire retelling.
A giant wooden replica of 17th century London has been set ablaze on the River Thames in a retelling of the Great Fire of London 350 years ago.
Crowds gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch the 120-metre long model go up in flames. [continue]
This is spectacular. You’ve got to go see the photos!
From The Guardian: How Uber conquered London.
Every week in London, 30,000 people download Uber to their phones and order a car for the first time. The technology company, which is worth $60bn, calls this moment “conversion”. Uber has deployed its ride-hailing platform in 400 cities around the world since its launch in San Francisco on 31 May 2010, which means that it enters a new market every five days and eight hours. It sets great store on the first time you use its service, in the same way that Apple pays attention to your first encounter with one of their devices. With Uber, the feeling should be of plenty, and of assurance: there will always be a driver when you need one.
When you open the app, Uber’s logo flaps briefly before disappearing to reveal the city streets around you, and the grey, yet promising shapes of vehicles nurdling nearby. The sense of abundance that this invokes can make you think that Uber has always been here, that its presence in your neighbourhood is somehow natural and ordained. But that is not the case. To take over a city, Uber flies in a small team, known as “launchers” and hires its first local employee, whose job it is to find drivers and recruit riders. In London, that was a young Scottish banker named Richard Howard. [continue]
This is a long and comprehensive article; a good read altogether. There are even interesting historical notes!
Do you take Uber? It doesn’t exist in my neck of the woods, though I did try it in London. And I must say, it was just wonderful.
In case you still feel like reading, here’s another, quite different, article about Uber: Capitalism Without the Das Capital: Welcome to Uber’s Gig Economy. That’s from WeMeantWell.com.
From The Public Domain Review: The Nightwalker and the Nocturnal Picaresque.
At the end of the seventeenth century a new literary genre or subgenre emerged in England, one that might be characterized as the nocturnal picaresque. Its authors, who were moralists or satirists or social tourists, or all of these at the same time, and who were almost invariably male, purported to recount their episodic adventures as pedestrians patrolling the streets of the metropolis at night.
These narratives, which often provided detailed portraits of particular places, especially ones with corrupt reputations, also paid close attention to the precise times when more or less nefarious activities unfolded in the streets. As distinct from diaries, they were noctuaries (in his Dictionary of the English Language , Samuel Johnson defined a “noctuary” simply as “an account of what passes at night”).1 These apparently unmediated, more or less diaristic accounts of what happened during the course of the night on the street embodied either a tragic or a comic parable of the city, depending on whether their authors intended to celebrate its nightlife or condemn it as satanic.
The nocturnal picaresque, composed more often in prose than verse, was a distinctively modern, metropolitan form that, like several other literary genres that emerged in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, comprised [continue]
From discovery.com: Earliest Londoners Arrived Earlier, Had Wealth.
London’s Covent Garden district, formerly the Anglo Saxon city of Lundenwic, is at least 100 years older than previously thought, based on analysis of skeletons and objects found in the region’s oldest Anglo Saxon cemetery, which was recently discovered.
Instead of being founded in 650 A.D., as was earlier believed, archaeologists now think Lundenwic dates to 550 A.D. or earlier, according to a report published today in British Archaeology.
Lundenwic also appears to have been relatively wealthy and cosmopolitan from its first days, based on the quality of artifacts found in the graves.
"These were not elite or royal individuals, but they would have been middle to high class, as their objects were quite nice," Melissa Melikian, who worked on the project, told Discovery News.
"In the grave of an adult woman, for example, we found [continue]