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Lottie Stafford, Artist’s Model of Paradise Walk in Chelsea: Part One

This story starts with a painting called Lotty and a Lady in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.  It was painted in London in 1906 by the Australian artist George Washington Lambert, and it depicts two women—a servant and an elegantly dressed “lady”— sitting in a kitchen.  Initially I assumed that the same woman had modelled for both figures—they …

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The Murderer’s Wife: Part Two

If you read Part One of the story of the murderer’s wife, which I published on the London Overlooked website last week, and which can be accessed by following this link, you will remember that the murderer of the title was a man by the name of Alfred Eldridge, and that in 1863 he was accused of a heinous crime …

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The Murderer’s Wife: Part One

If you read my recent article on Joseph Rogers, of which the first part can be accessed on the London Overlooked website by following this link, you will no doubt have formed a very favourable impression of the man.  He was a doctor, and, as well as campaigning for improvements in public health provision, he worked as medical officer in …

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A Wife on Both Sides of the River, or, A Brush with a Bigamist

Regular readers of London Overlooked will recall our tribute to the “German siffleur”, the remarkable whistler who entertained certain quarters of nineteenth-century London with his imitations of birds and animals.  He was of, course, the celebrated David von Joel.  And it will be remembered that London could not quite decide what to make of him.  The reviews that he received …

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A Vision of Beauty, or, William Henry Hudson in Kensington Gardens

There is a curious link between Charles Dickens and rooks.  Well, perhaps what I should say is that the great writer had a distant association with rooks, for when he was still only fifteen he worked in Gray’s Inn, where there was a famous rookery.  Just to spell this out: Dickens was employed in 1827 as a junior clerk at the …

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The Shoemaker’s Son: Part Three

If you have been following the story of Robert Collier on the London Overlooked website, you will remember that Part One explored his difficult life as a poor boy from the slums of St Pancras, while Part Two investigated his fraught relationship with his father.  You will also remember that he was encouraged to make something of himself by Martin …

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The Shoemaker’s Son: Part Two

If you read Part One of the story of the shoemaker’s son, which can be accessed the London Overlooked website by following this link, you will remember that the central character is a boy by the name of Robert Collier.  We can discover a great deal about Robert through the journals of Martin Ware, a teacher at the Brunswick Street …

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The Shoemaker’s Son: Part One

Time for another of my occasional pieces on the boys of the Shoeblack Society.  They have a common theme, in that their young subjects were without exception born into great poverty in some of the most deprived streets of the capital, but fell under the watchful gaze of Martin Ware, whose timely interventions made a significant difference to their lives.  …

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The Girl on the Tricycle in Streatham Cemetery: Coral Grace Bradburn

It was while hunting for another grave in Streatham Cemetery in Tooting that I came across a gravestone bearing a relief carving of a little girl riding a tricycle.  The child smiles proudly.  She wears a short-sleeved summer dress, ankle socks and T-bar shoes.  Wavy or curly hair peeps out from under what is either a peaked cap or a …

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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 …