THE BEARDY HISTORIAN – Tony McMahon – as seen on TV!
Join me on YouTube: @tonymcmahon_historybear
People make cities. In this blog, I’m going to introduce you to centuries of Londoners – villains, heroes, kings and paupers – who made London what it is today. As a former journalist and inveterate gossip, I love finding out juicy morsels about people. They don’t have to be famous – just the events in their lives should command your attention.
So where do I find my material? This blog brings together stories and anecdotes from my large collection of antiquarian books on London going back to the 17th century. Most of them were bought on e-bay and some at antiques fairs. I also collect vintage newspapers so some future stories will be picked up from those sources.
The people you will meet in London Ghosts will date all the way back to pre-Roman times through to recent decades. Their one common characteristic is that they’ll all be very dead. Some will have died peacefully but let’s face it, you’d rather read about the ones who met a gruesome fate. I know what you’re like!
I won’t always attribute sources as this isn’t an academic blog – just some fun for lovers of London. But if you want me to note a source on a blog post – just ask and I’ll post it. All stories are to the best of my knowledge, true. And you can add your own stories of Londoners long gone. I’m happy for this to be a collaborative process where we share tales.
Regarding visuals – many of the photographs I’ll be using come from my own camera lens but there will be plenty of photos, engravings, graphics and videos from other hands. I do check for copyright clearance and as a published author and former journalist understand the need to respect other people’s intellectual property. Do please flag up if you think I’ve not respected somebody’s artistic rights.
Other London blogs and websites look primarily at buildings – which is great. But I want to see the faces and hear the voices of those who’ve lived, worked and died here. My own house near the Thames dates to 1830. I often wonder – who lived here? What did they do? What tragedies befell them? Etc. So – without further ado – let’s go find some dead Londoners!