London had its fair share of prisons located very centrally and one of them was the Fleet – where debtors were flung. The location is quite hard to imagine now but it would have been roughly where Limeburner Lane and Fleet Place are today – bordered by Ludgate Hill, Old Bailey and what is now […]

If you’ve ever been to Wong kei in London’s Chinatown, you may have experienced the joy of being shouted at by the waiters – it had the reputation for years of being the rudest restaurant in London. I understand that as of last year, they’ve refurbished the place and decided to tone down the bad […]

Temple Bar

There’s a monument that many office workers pass under every day that they’d never realise has a ghoulish past. It’s an innocuous old gateway that leads from the front of St Paul’s cathedral into Paternoster Square. A lovely old thing with two statues on either side. What’s not to like? Only you have to imagine […]

On the 30th January, 1649, king Charles I stepped out of a first floor window of the Banqueting House in Whitehall (a building you can still see today though much restored) and on to a wooden scaffold. In front of a great crowd, the king’s head was chopped off. This was the culmination of the […]

1862 saw a new crime trend hit the streets of London. ┬áThe criminals robbed well-to-do people while an accomplice gripped the victim by the throat from behind. ┬áThis outbreak of “garroting” horrified the great and the powerful – especially when a member of parliament fell victim. In 1863, an indignant Lord Norton demanded that the […]

Newgate prison

Another blog post in my current series on Newgate prison – demolished over a hundred years ago and replaced by the Old Bailey court building By the end of the nineteenth century, if you committed a murder north of the Thames – you would face the hangman at Newgate. If you committed it south of […]