Marie Duval was one of the most unusual, pioneering and boisterous cartoonists of the nineteenth century. As a groundbreaking female cartoonist depicting a long-overlooked urban, often working-class milieu, the wide range and quantity of her work has been forgotten. A new website showcases her work for the comic magazine Judy, including her most famous creation, the working-class anti-hero Ally Sloper, 'the first comics superstar'. [more inside]
April 2015: The vault at the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit of London's Diamond district is ransacked by thieves. They score an estimated £14 to £35 million in cash, jewels and other valuables. The media calls it "the greatest heist in British history" and speculates about the acrobatic feats the gang must have used. London’s newspapers are filled with artists’ renderings of the heist, featuring hard-bodied burglars in black turtlenecks doing superhuman things. Experts insist that a foreign team of navy-SEAL-like professionals must have masterminded the theft. Nope. [more inside]
Architectures is a youtube playlist of 53 short (1/2 hour) architectural videos of buildings around the world, mainly Europe.
The Jihadis Next Door follows a small cadre of British born extremists, including a bouncy castle salesman turned alleged Daesh executioner and a part time bus driver who moonlights as an online theological superstar. Documentary maker Jamie Roberts, who spent two years filming the cell, was ambivalent about giving fundamentalists a platform, but as the film makes clear, this is not what mainstream Muslim Britain wants. [more inside]
Syracuse, ancient and late classical era. Pompeii's Last Day. Hadrian's Villa: reconstruction and current state and virtual walkthrough. Virtual exploration of Corinth, 2nd century C.E. Rome circa 320 C.E. Flyby of Tenochtitlan. A 3-D walkthrough of Paris in the 18th century. Paris in 1896 and today. London in 1927 and 2013, side by side. A portal into 1924 London through 2014. [more inside]
Crossrail needs to rename its stations. Crossrail is a big new railway right through the middle of London. Whilst a nice new railway affords a lot of opportunities for improvement apparently naming stations is not one of those areas.
My dentist tells me that I grind my teeth at night. He says this is a very bad thing and needs to be remedied. Apparently the problem is tension, brought on by stress. Clearly I need less stress in my life. To make this happen I have decided to use this column to address all the things about restaurants that I truly hate; the atrocities I hope to see disappear in 2016.The 12 things that restaurants must stop doing in 2016. [Single-link Jay Rayner] [more inside]
St Paul's Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, lies at the centre of London. At 365 feet high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 until 1962, and dominated the London skyline. Since the 1960s London has seen multiple high-rise developments, which could crowd out the cathedral. However, views of St Paul's from multiple places in and around the City are preserved by law. This protects St Paul's both from having tall buildings built in front of it, and also behind it in ways that would spoil the silhouette on the horizon. The 'Cheesegrater' for instance, slopes back to protect one such view. Some explanations and demonstrations from Tom Scott, Londonist, and The Guardian. [more inside]
Controversial magician Derren Brown gave commuters a rush-hour shock with these two chilling Victorian sisters. [more inside]
How crazy is the London property market? So crazy that reporter Max Hastings and his wife had their house stolen.
Friends call Constable Collins Rain Man or Yoda or simply The Oracle. But to Scotland Yard, London’s metropolitan police force, he is known as a “super recognizer.” He has a special gift of facial recall powers that enables him to match even low-quality and partial imagery to a face he has seen before, on the street or in a database and possibly years earlier.[slNYT]
Thurston Hopkins was a British photojournalist. Here is his black-and-white photo essay from the 1950's called Cats of London.
...a net positive. We often hear about how much strike will cost the economy, however new research suggests the London underground train strike of early 2014 may have positive effects as it forced commuters to find different routes to work, many of which they stuck with. Researchers were able to access 200 million data points from the Oyster Card system that allows access to the London transport system to conclude about 5% of travellers switched their route after finding a new route during the strike, suggesting a lack of experimentation concerning the available options. Short paper here.
This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a bronchial spasm. That is, at least, according to William Delisle Hay’s 1880 novella The Doom of the Great City. It imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog. The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later as he recalls “the greatest calamity that perhaps this earth has ever witnessed” at what was, for Hay’s first readers, the distant future date of 1942. -- Brett Beasley in the Public Domain review on one of the first modern urban apocalypse stories.
"The way to kill a complex city is to chase out all the poor people – and their food" "When greed makes a place like New York, London or San Francisco unaffordable, the non-wealthy leave, and the city loses the smells and tastes that made it great." [SLGuardian]
Dreadpunk feels like a perfectly natural term for the recent trend in Gothic-inspired horror and fantasy. Typified by the popular series Penny Dreadful, the word implies a subversive take on fog-drenched Victoriana, tales of the supernatural mixed with late 19th-century aesthetics, and the recent wave of Gothic horror like The Woman In Black and Crimson Peak.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, Transport for London have released a geogrphically-accurate map of the tube. [PDF] [more inside]
Growing out of the 2002 NTK Festival of Inappropriate Technology, Opentech is a one-day conference in London on the topic of open source and open data in its broadest sense. Speakers have included Danny O’Brien (of NTK fame), Bill Thompson, Suw Charman-Anderson and many others, and the conference has launched or promoted several important UK tech organisations and campaigns including the Open Rights Group and Ada Lovelace Day. [more inside]
Just over a hundred years ago, Frederick Jury lost his brass luggage tag. A few days ago Nicola White, a mudlark, found it on the Thames foreshore. Through Twitter, Nicola, and a bunch of local and family historians, were able to put together his story. [more inside]
Createdigitalmusic collects together 11+ documentaries on the history of electronic music. Ranging from 2 on Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (1 previously), to EMS (previously), to detroit, acid house, rave (previously), tresor, and more. Plus one news report an the early days of Chicago house that's a documentary in and of itself.
Squeeze - Take Me I'm Yours (2012) | Squeeze - Bands Reunited (2003). Previously: Up the Clapham Junction
Breakfast -- Eating the World Every Morning is a series of dispatches about breakfast around the world. [more inside]
While many in print media are moving their focus to the web, London Reconnections is doing the opposite and launching as bi-monthly* magazine! Brought to us by master of online long form, mefi's own Lapsed Historian garius, London Reconnections digs into the least known aspects of London's transportation history as well as keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest issues facing the worlds oldest undergound. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
The (in)famous Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies, or, Man of Pleasure's Kalender (the 1788 edition on Project Gutenberg) catalogued, often with some of the worst puns and double entendres imaginable, the names and locations of the London prostitutes. The website Romantic London has mapped 93 of the entries. As Romantic London reports:
Harris’s List is lewd and frequently misogynistic, romanticising prostitution while largely silencing the women involved. It commonly fails to account for (and occasionally seems uncomfortably to relish) the suffering and exploitation of those whose histories it affects to encompass. It is sometimes compelling as a composition, but its main use for modern audiences is as a record both of a deeply unpleasant side of eighteenth-century London and of the social attitudes which fostered the kinds of commerce and objectification which it embodies.
- 100 Years of Fashion in 2 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Fashion in 3 Minutes
- 100 Years of Men's Swimwear in 3 Minutes (women's)
- 100 Years of Fitness in 100 Seconds
- 100 Years of Female Dance
- 100 Years of Music
- AFI's 100 Years ... (youtube playlist from American Film Institute)
- 100 Years of Black Beauty
- 100 Years of History in 2 Minutes
Axonometric diagrams of every London Underground station Glorious, glorious tube station diagrams (not to scale) from Transport for London that will make fans of David Macaulay, Stephen Biesty, or Kate Ascher swoon. From the rather simple Bethnal Green to the much more complex Bank/Monument, enjoy a perspective of stations quite different from the daily commuter's view. (Previously from the same website.)
A new London accent strikingly different from Cockney has emerged in the last few years. Linguists call it "Multicultural London English" (or MLE) and although it has obvious roots in the London black community it's now displacing Cockney to become a universal accent for working class London youth, regardless of race. Change is spreading so fast that London teens often have radically different accents from their own parents. [more inside]
Exhausting a Crowd is an interactive video you can annotate yourself, using footage from a London street. It was commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of their All of This Belongs to You exhibition.
Would you like A black felt bicorne hat, worn by the Emperor Napoleon, or a lock of Hair from the Mane of Buonaparte's favourite white Charger, or perhaps an Original hand blown bottle … with a crowned 'N' enclosed in laurel wreath, no label, level of liquid is 8 in. (20 cm) below base of cork? Well, you just missed your chance.
There was a thought that there weren’t enough bands with guitars that were exciting in the same way as the bands we cared about so we had the thought let’s try and do it better ourselves ... What I wanted that was something post-punk or whatever you want to call it but with songs. There was a while there where I wasn’t hearing any songs.Formed in 2013, North London band Desperate Journalist take their name from an obscure 1979 beef between The Cure and the NME's Paul Morley. Together, they make jangly, intense indie pop, redolent of faded seaside resorts, cramped book-filled bedsits, and English winter chill. Their debut album, Desperate Journalist [Spotify], appeared earlier this year. [Youtube.] [more inside]
Ten years ago, four suicide bombers carrying rucksacks packed with explosives attacked central London, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds more. It was the worst single terrorist atrocity on UK soil. [more inside]
It starts with a vanguard class of young creative types reclaiming zones of social and economic dereliction, setting up what Ehrenhalt sardonically describes as “projects through which a small coterie of local artists seek to display their sheer edginess to one another”. The hipster pioneers are followed by young couples with bourgeois-bohemian sensibilities – what the French call “bobo” – who breed and fill the pavements with space-age prams. I was that cliché once, wheeling my daughters around Hackney in the gentrificational transition between murder rates falling and Foxtons arriving on the high street. Then come the really wealthy types who like urban edge fully blunted by waves of demographic change. Before you know it a draughty three-bedroom Victorian terraced house in what was once a slum costs more than £1m. [more inside]
The introduction of street lighting to 17th-century London saw an explosion of nocturnal activity in the capital, most of it centring around the selling of sex.
• 1.47 Gigapixel panorama of Barack Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address • 4-Gigapixel panorama of the surface of Mars • 34-Gigapixel panorama of Prague • 152-Gigapixel panorama of Rio de Janiero taken from Sugarloaf • 272-Gigapixel panorama of Shanghai • 320-Gigapixel panorama of London • Currently the largest: this 365-Gigapixel panorama of Mont Blanc. [story] • GigaPan has a wide variety of panoramas in their gallery. • Blakeway Gigapixel specializes in sports stadiums in full attendance (where you can tag people you recognize) and National Parks sites like the Grand Canyon
Crossrail is a 70 ish mile railway currently being built right through the centre of London. Take drone flight through some of the tunnels and watch the giant mechanical Shai Halud chomp through walls.
When the refurbishment is complete, Witanhurst will have about ninety thousand square feet of interior space, making it the second-largest mansion in the city, after Buckingham Palace. It will likely become the most expensive house in London. In 2006, the Qatari royal family bought Dudley House, on Park Lane, for about forty million pounds; after a renovation, its estimated resale value is two hundred and fifty million pounds. Real-estate agents expect that the completed Witanhurst will be worth three hundred million pounds—about four hundred and fifty million dollars.
And no one knows who owns it.
And no one knows who owns it.
Harry Beck's original London Underground Tube Map was a design classic. The latest Transport For London version... Not so much.
'Beneath those houses,' the butler said, 'you should see what goes on. No one suspects the half of it. The whole earth is dug out. Spaciousness beneath. The panic room is seven times the size of this one. The whole of London can fall down around them and yet their freezer is fully stocked. All showers are multi-jet steam cabinets, plus the kitchen has coffee machine built in, ice machine, temperature-controlled cabinet for wine storage, sous vide machine with vacuum sealer, and an air filtration system that is suitable for allergy sufferers.' [TW: rape]
"So what does this curious tale of a mediocre restaurant prove? It proves that in London’s modern restaurant business, the combination of furiously high costs, reputations and big egos can be explosive. Indeed only one thing is clear to me. Right now the people really making money out of Jinjuu are the lawyers." Guardian restaurant critic Jay Raynor reviews Jinjuu - and the ensuing legal storm he accidentally provoked.
"Neill was hosting a special flower show at his shop called 'Passion for Peonies' as part of Chelsea Fringe. The Peonies he had on display were absolutely breathtaking ~ take a look." [more inside]
Globalization is a brutal phenomenon. It brings us mass displacement, wars, terrorism, unchecked financial capitalism, inequality, xenophobia, climate change. But if globalization is capable of holding out any fundamental promise to us, any temptation to go along with its havoc, then surely that promise ought to be this: we will be more free to invent ourselves. In that country, this city, in Lahore, in New York, in London, that factory, this office, in those clothes, that occupation, in wherever it is we long for, we will be liberated to be what we choose to be.- Discontent and Its Civilizations (excerpt), by Mohsin Hamid (previously); reviewed [more inside]
In 1977, John Goto made this series of photographic portraits of young British African-Caribbeans at Lewisham Youth Centre, South London, where he taught evening classes in photography. It was not until 2013, however, that circumstances allowed him to first exhibit and publish the work.
Douglas Starr, in Blood, quotes the British Secretary of War, asked in 1937 what the nation proposed to do about a mass blood supply. The secretary was dismissive. Blood could not be stored for long or in great quantities, he said. On the hoof was better. “It was more satisfactory to store our blood in our people.” Janet Vaughan did not agree, and Janet Vaughan did something about it. Her medical director gave her £100, and she sent off her assistants in taxis to find all the tubing that London shops could provide.Longreads profiles Janet Vaughan, a British scientist who found better treatments for anemia than arsenic using herself as a test subject, was a major force in creating London's first blood banks using cheap tubing and ice cream trucks, studied emergency nutrition in a post-liberation concentration Nazi death camp, and continued active research into blood and radiation into her eighties, while occasionally serving as a model for Virginia Woolf characters.
"Despite scant funding and resources, London’s Feminist Library is turning their 40th year into a celebration of storytelling, history – and, hopefully, sofas." Stephanie Boland at The New Statesman, 'She blinded me with library science': why the Feminist Library is more vital than ever. [more inside]