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Sōseki Natsume, or, The Loneliness of a Japanese Writer in London

Many a fine phrase has been spun about old and new London, capturing its bustling spirit, its metropolitan beauty and its romantic heart.  But not all those who have lived and breathed the life of the city have such wonderful words to share with us.  For some it is not solely a centre of great history, art and culture: it …

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Almost Home, or, Death on Hackney Marshes 

I find depictions of London in art a constant source of fascination, and I very much like the work of the nineteenth-century painter John Thomas Wilson.  The Victoria and Albert Museum has eight watercolours Wilson executed between the years 1868 and 1871, and a ninth which was very much earlier, painted in about 1830.  They have as a common theme …

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Flying Flowerpots, or, The Strange Story of the Camberwell Ghost

The report on the Surrey Sessions printed in the South London Press on Saturday the 7th December 1872 makes fascinating reading.  The venue was the Sessions House in Newington Causeway, and the forty-five cases were tried by William Hardman and a supporting cast of fellow magistrates.  Forty-four of the prisoners were charged with felony, and one with misdemeanour.  Only three could …

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The Line of Duty: Part Two

If you read the first part of this story, which can be accessed by following this link to the London Overlooked website, you will remember that George Johnson was a police constable living and working in South London at the outbreak of the Great War in July 1914.  In these traumatic times the deteriorating state of relations in Europe had …

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The Line of Duty: Part One

In a churchyard in South London there is an unassuming headstone bearing the name of a certain George Johnson.  We are told that George Johnson was a police constable, and that he was a member of the “W” or Clapham Division, with warrant number 202.   He died “through injuries received in the execution of his duty” on the 17th …

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The Churchyard Cur, or, A Tale of Loyalty and Love

Readers of London Overlooked may find that Edward Jesse is a name that rings a bell.  Jesse was a man of many parts, and his varied career, which spanned the first half of the nineteenth century, embraced such diverse employments as government clerk, secretary to a president of the Board of Control, and commissioner of hackney coaches.  He also published …

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The Good Doctor: Part Three

If you have been following the story of Louisa Nathalie, which can be accessed on the London Overlooked website by following links to Part One and Part Two, you will remember that she was the victim of a callous ex-army officer by the name of Arthur Robert Willoughby Wade.  She was a young German woman residing in the Strand Union …

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The Good Doctor: Part Two

If you read my most recent article, which can be accessed on the London Overlooked website by following this link, you will remember that in 1863 a young woman from the St Giles workhouse, Bridget Corrigan, was preyed on by a scurrilous army officer who gave his name, falsely, as James Smith, and his occupation, also falsely, as a hospital …

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The Good Doctor: Part One

Joseph Rogers, M.D., is a name that may well be unfamiliar to readers.  The fact is, though, that Dr Rogers was a very remarkable man.  Principally, he was a workhouse medical officer, and he devoted his energies to the care of some of the poorest members of Victorian society.  In doing so he forfeited the social advancement and financial rewards …

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The Man Who Stole a Knighthood

One of the strangest stories in the long history of investiture must be the knighting of Francis Columbine Daniel early in the reign of George IV.  The occasion was marked with the usual pomp and ceremony, and was widely reported in the newspapers.  However, not everything was quite what it seemed, and not everyone was impressed. So who was the …