23 February 2017 | 7 °C

Monday Miscellanea

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 105 months ago
Monday Miscellanea
Graffiti quoting Shakespeare's Sonnet XIV

This Week In London’s History

  • Monday19th May 2004: Security at the House of Commons is breached, as two protesters from the ‘Fathers 4 Justice’ campaign group throw condoms filled with purple flour at Prime Minister Tony Blair as he addresses the House.
  • Tuesday20th May 1609: London publisher Thomas Thorpe publishes Shakespeare’s Sonnets for the first time, possibly without The Bard’s permission. Wednesday21st May 1853: The Aquatic Vivarium, the world’s first public aquarium, is opened in Regent’s Park. Thursday22nd May 1897: The Blackwall Tunnel is officially opened by the Prince of Wales, becoming the longest underwater tunnel in the world (at the time). The original tunnel now forms the western (northbound) carriageway – the adjacent tunnel that houses the eastern (southbound) carriageway was opened in 1967. Friday23rd May 1701: Captain Kidd is hanged in Wapping, East London, following his conviction for piracy and murder.

    Random London Fact Of The Week

    William Fitzstephen, a servant of Thomas Becket, wrote a fascinating (if somewhat elevated) account of 12th-century London as a part of a biography of his patron. In it, he describes what sounds very much like an early fast food takeaway:

    ... there is in London, on the river bank amidst the ships, the wine for sale, and the storerooms for wine, a public cookshop. On a daily basis there, depending on the season, can be found fried or boiled foods and dishes, fish large and small, meat – lower quality for the poor, finer cuts for the wealthy – game and fowl (large and small). If friends arrive unexpectedly at the home of some citizen and they, tired and hungry after their journey, prefer not to wait until food may be got in and cooked, or "till servants bring water for hands and bread", they can in the meantime pay a quick visit to the riverside, where anything they might desire is immediately available. No matter how great the number of soldiers or travellers coming in or going out of the city, at whatever hour of day or night, so that those arriving do not have to go without a meal for too long or those departing leave on empty stomachs, they can choose to detour there and take whatever refreshment each needs.

    This sounds to us like an excellent candidate for a Takeout Stakeout. Or at least it would, if the establishment hadn’t likely ceased trading some 800 years ago.

    Fitzstephen’s account of life in the capital has been translated and published as an essay in its own right, under the apt title A Description of London. It’s fascinating reading, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    London’s Weather This Week

    The forecasters seem to think that the sunshine will return as the week progresses. It probably won’t be as warm as it was a couple of weeks ago, but it won’t be too cold either, and there’s thankfully not much talk of rain. We live in hope.

    Graffiti quoting Shakespeare’s Sonnet XIV taken from Niecieden’s Flickr Photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 licence.

    Last Updated 19 May 2008