Category Archives: London history

The origins of fire insurance (& ‘lusty able body’d firemen’)

The Great Fire of London, 1666 by Jan Griffier, the Elder

The Great Fire of London (1666) destroyed more than 13,000 houses and displaced about 100,000 people but it took a couple of decades for its embers to spark the first blaze of the fire insurance business. Nicholas Barbon was probably the first … Continue reading

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‘What to do with the Crystal Palace?’

What better time to appreciate second chances than at the the beginning of a new year. The Crystal Palace [a name of fairy tale splendour, if ever I heard one] sparkled as the stage for Britain’s Great Exhibition of 1851 but … Continue reading

Posted in London history, Parks & gardens, Victorian park estates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

House tales: The brothers Letts

  Following on from my earlier post ‘A brief history of park villa estates’, I’ve been devoting a number of blog posts to a park villa I previously had the pleasure of living in on the Crystal Palace Park Estate. … Continue reading

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The beginnings of an obsession

Several years back, before children and a lectureship at Lancaster University beckoned, I bought a flat in London on Crystal Palace Park Road. It was a neo-gothic, red brick villa and its garden backed onto Crystal Palace Park (of dinosaur … Continue reading

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Whitechapel’s Angel Alley: prostitutes and property

Large scale migration to nineteenth-century cities created a pressing need for suitable lodgings and by 1871, some 1,401 lodging houses were listed in the London Post Office Directory. HoweverVictorian London’s lodging houses varied considerably in size and character.Distinguished guests crossed … Continue reading

Posted in Landlordism & the property business, London history | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A gentleman wishes to LET

CRYSTAL PALACE, near Sydenham Entrance – A gentleman wishes to LET, for six or twelve months, his nicely FURNISHED villa, overlooking well timbered park-like grounds. Five bedroom, dressing room, drawing and dining rooms, usual offices; garden and croquet lawn. Rent, … Continue reading

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