Books
Biography
Archive
Feedback
Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity,
History, Culture and the Arts--
and anything else that comes to mind.
Victoria and Albert
Sherlock Holmes
Jack the Ripper
Victorian London
August 2012
Recent events--Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee and the
Olympics--have made us all aware of the city of London.  As an
English literature major with a minor in English history, I have been
for some time.

Before Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, the only British
monarch to reign sixty years was
Victoria (1837-1901).  The
Opening Ceremony of the Olympics began with the watershed
event of her reign, the
Industrial Revolution, the period when
England, and the world, moved from the country to the city, from
pastoral to industrial life.

The income gap between those living in the slums and those
benefitting from industrialization was of the sort that inspired
today's
Occupy Movement in the U.S.

Victorian London was the first world city, the city of our
dreams--and nightmares.  It was the city of Peter Pan, of Sherlock
Holmes--and of Jack the Ripper.   It was a city of overpopulation
and pollution.

Four million people lived in the space of several square miles,
swept with the cold weather and frequent rain that characterize
London.

At the time, the use of coal fires in every household cloaked the
city in its famous
fogs. Gaslights, an advancement of the period,
cast their mellow glow, and the stench of sewage poured into the
Thames.

That, with the sound of horses' hooves on cobblestones, completes
our sensual image of Victorian London.

The efforts of three individuals helped change Victorian London
into today's city.
Joseph Bazalgette, an engineer, built tunnels and
pipes to divert sewage outside the city, reducing death rates from
cholera.

Architect
John Nash opened up the city by designing broad
avenues, including Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.

And
Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police or Scotland
Yard, who became known as "Bobbies" in his honor.

Additional articles in this website include
Victoria and Albert,
Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper.

Let me know your thoughts about Victorian London or any of the
people or events associated with it at
b.silvey@sbcglobal.net.
September, 2012