Tag london

The Brainiest Club in the World

Michael Wheeler— When John Wilson Croker, First Secretary to the Admiralty, wrote to Sir Humphry Davy, the leading British scientist of the day, on March 12, 1823, he continued an earlier conversation with him: “I will take this opportunity of repeating the proposition I have before made to you about

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Migration, Disease, and the Making of London Life

Panikos Panayi— On March 24, 2020, Luca Di Nicola, a nineteen-year-old Italian-born chef working in London, died at the North Middlesex Hospital, one of the many thousands of people falling victim to coronavirus in London, Britain, and the world beyond. Luca had moved to work in the city’s massive service

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Orphans in Eighteenth-Century London

Stella Tillyard— On a bleak spring evening in 1741 a crowd gathered in a dark, narrow London street. At its edge well-to-do City merchants on their way westward through Hatton Garden mingled with the wretched and curious poor, washed up from tenements to the north, east, and south, looking for

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Ep. 33 – Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858

The summer of 1858 was hot and stinky in London and filled with stories and scandals.

Disraeli, de Rothschild, and the Struggle to Admit Jews to Parliament

Rosemary Ashton— What was it like to live in London through one of the hottest summers on record, with the River Thames emitting a sickening smell as a result of the sewage of over two million inhabitants being discharged into the river and floating up and down with the tide, never

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Indigenous Peoples in the Heart of Empire

Coll Thrush— London might seem like a strange place to find Indigenous history. When most people think of Indigenous history, they think of traditional homelands, reservations, and perhaps urban communities. But the center of empire? As it turns out, London saw hundreds of Indigenous people visit from territories that became

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Why Was Victorian London So Dirty?

Lee Jackson— In 1899, the Chinese ambassador was asked his opinion of Victorian London at the zenith of its imperial grandeur. He replied, laconically, ‘too dirty’. He was only stating the obvious. Thoroughfares were swamped with black mud, composed principally of horse dung, forming a tenacious, glutinous paste; the air

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Dancing on the Dead: George Walker and Dirty Old London

Lee Jackson, author of Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth, wrote a series of posts for the Yale University Press London Blog to explain how the inventors of ‘sanitary science’ nevertheless lived in what remained a notoriously filthy city. Some of these entries will be appearing here on the

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London 2012: Ancient Olympic Boxing, A Sickening Spectacle

Were the ancient Olympic Games anything like the competitions we know today? Neil Faulkner’s A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics transports us to the games of 388 B.C., providing a lively guided tour of the ancient Greek Olympics and bringing to life the sights and sounds (and smells) of the competition—which were

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London Olympics 2012: Whose Games Are They Anyway?

Neil Faulkner is the author of A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics, now available from Yale University Press. With only 30 days left before the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games,  we thought to share some insight into the side of the Games you won’t see, even those as

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