Category: Changing London

Lost world of the Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was “the most remarkable work of its kind the world has ever witnessed, appealing to appreciation of the wonderful with a force unknown in this country, and unrivalled in any other,” noted Bradshaw’s guide to London. Officially opened by Queen Victoria in Penge Park, next […]

How Arsenal FC defines Islington’s character

Islington on Arsenal match days becomes a chaotic place. Tube stations are closed, or at the very least passengers are shepherded by police out through specific exits. Supporters spill out of pubs onto the pavements and traditional cafés roll-out record numbers of full English breakfasts. Sadly, as recent […]

St Mary Spital’s Charnel House

Take a look any map of medieval London and you can’t miss the 30 or so religious complexes dotted around the City and suburbs, housing the likes of monasteries, schools and hospitals. Surrounded by stone walls with secure entrances through gate houses, these private precincts grew into thriving […]

In search of Georgian Gin craze

William Hogarth’s infamous depiction of Gin Lane has for a long time fascinated me. Issued in 1751, the print portrays the supposed evils of consuming the addictive spirit. In a busy scene, Hogarth has captured, the poverty and despair of a community dependent on gin. In the foreground […]

England’s Jerusalem – Jews in London

After a short break, Pastinthepresent.net returns. In my last post I was in Israel so, now back in London, it’s appropriate that I kick things off again today by tracing Jewish heritage across the capital. I’ve had a fascinating day visiting the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe, exploring […]