Author Archives: Bob Jones - The Lost City of London

About Bob Jones - The Lost City of London

My name is Bob Jones and I am a writer on the history of London.

Medieval London, Pt. II – Social History

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

Social History

Everyday life in London in Medieval times would have revolved around the requirement and search for sustenance for body and soul. The lives of almost all women – other than those from the “higher” strata of society, that is, the aristocracy and clergy, including ordained clergy - revolved around the “daily grind” of managing their households, and providing food for, and caring for, their families, and they would have had little time for extraneous activities or interests. Moreover, they would have enjoyed less freedom under the Law than in Saxon times. Indeed, under the Medieval Law of Coverture, a married woman, or femme covert, had no legal rights whatsoever independent of her husband…

View original post 12,495 more words

Medieval London, Pt. I – History

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

MEDIEVAL LONDON (1066-1485)

History

The Medieval period was one of historical, political, religious and social transformation, not to say turmoil, over four hundred years, and under four royal houses; of historical events that determined the then-future destiny of the country of England and its capital city (Map 3). It was a time of conquest and oppression; of crusade and pilgrimage; of pestilence and penitence; of fanfare and plainsong. And of war, unending war: war between the English and the Scots, and the French, and the Welsh; and, when there was no-one else willing to fight, war among the English, in “The Anarchy” of the twelfth century, the Barons’ Wars of the thirteenth, and the Wars of…

View original post 8,577 more words

Dark Age (Saxon and Viking) London, Pt. II – Building Works and Surviving Structures

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

Map 2.  Dark Age (Saxon and Viking) London.  1 – St Paul’s  Cathedral; 2 – (St) Paul’s Cross, St Paul’s Churchyard (site of folkmoot); 3 – Cheapside; 4 – St Alban Wood Street; 5 – Aldermanbury; 6 – Guildhall, Guildhall Yard (site of husting); 7 – St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street; 8 – St Olave Jewry, Ironmonger Lane; 9 – St Mary Aldermary, Watling Street; 10 – Queenhithe; 11 – Old London Bridge (and Port of London); 12 – St Magnus the Martyr, Thames Street; 13 – Eastcheap; 14 – St Dunstan-in-the-East, St Dunstan’s Hill (off Great Tower Street); 15 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street; 16 – St Olave Hart Street.

Building Works

Within the…

View original post 2,072 more words

Dark Age (Saxon and Viking) London, Pt. I – History and Social History

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

History

Map 2.  Dark Age (Saxon and Viking) London.  1 – St Paul’s  Cathedral; 2 – (St) Paul’s Cross, St Paul’s Churchyard (site of folkmoot); 3 – Cheapside; 4 – St Alban Wood Street; 5 – Aldermanbury; 6 – Guildhall, Guildhall Yard (site of husting); 7 – St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street; 8 – St Olave Jewry, Ironmonger Lane; 9 – St Mary Aldermary, Watling Street; 10 – Queenhithe; 11 – Old London Bridge (and Port of London); 12 – St Magnus the Martyr, Thames Street; 13 – Eastcheap; 14 – St Dunstan-in-the-East, St Dunstan’s Hill (off Great Tower Street); 15 – All Hallows Barking, Byward Street; 16 – St Olave Hart Street.

Considerably less is…

View original post 2,656 more words

Roman London, Pt. 2 – Building Works and Surviving Structures

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

Building Works

Map 1 – Roman London.  1 – Blackfriars; 2 – Ludgate; 3 – Central Criminal Court Building, Old Bailey (section of wall); 4 – Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Building, Giltspur Street (section of wall); 5 – Watling Street; 6 – Newgate; 7 – St Vedast-alias-Foster, Foster Lane (fragment of tessellated pavement); 8 – Remains of Cripplegate Fort, Noble Street; 9 – St Alphage Gardens/Salters’ Hall Gardens, London Wall (section of wall); 10 – Remains of Amphitheatre, Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard; 11 – Gresham Street; 12 – Moorgate and Princes Street (line of Walbrook stream); 13 – Poultry and Walbrook (“The Pompeii of the North”); 14 – Remains of Temple of Mithras, Bloomberg Building…

View original post 2,405 more words

Roman London, Pt. I – History and Social History

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

Another in the series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

History

Map 1 – Roman London. 1 – Blackfriars; 2 – Ludgate; 3 – Central Criminal Court Building, Old Bailey (section of wall); 4 – Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Building, Giltspur Street (section of wall); 5 – Watling Street; 6 – Newgate; 7 – St Vedast-alias-Foster, Foster Lane (fragment of tessellated pavement); 8 – Remains of Cripplegate Fort, Noble Street; 9 – St Alphage Gardens/Salters’ Hall Gardens, London Wall (section of wall); 10 – Remains of Amphitheatre, Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard; 11 – Gresham Street; 12 – Moorgate and Princes Street (line of Walbrook stream); 13 – Poultry and Walbrook (“The Pompeii of the North”); 14 – Remains of Temple of Mithras, Bloomberg Building, Walbrook…

View original post 2,138 more words

Prehistoric London

The Lost City of London - Before the Great Fire of 1666

The first in a series on the history of London up to the time of the Great Fire of 1666, largely taken from my book, “The Flower Of All Cities” (Amberley, 2019) …

Stone Age London

There is – albeit sparse  – archaeological evidence from Stratford to the east of London, Southwark to the south, Hounslow and Uxbridge to the west, and Hampstead to the north, for hunting and gathering activity in the Late Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age); and for woodland clearance and farming in the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) and Neolithic (New Stone Age), between the eighth and fourth centuries BC/BCE.  There are also the remains of a Mesolithic flint-tool manufactory at North Woolwich, and a Mesolithic timber structure of as yet undetermined function  at Vauxhall.  And of a Neolithic henge at Hackney Wells, and a reportedly Neolithic barrow-burial at  what is now known as “King Henry’s…

View original post 840 more words

“The Exile’s Silent Lament” – London’s Connection to the Welsh Revolt (1400-1415)

Catrin Glyndwr memorial

The Welsh freedom-fighter Owain Glyndwr’s daughter Catrin and her children were captured by the English at the Siege of Harlech in 1409.    They  were  then brought to London and imprisoned in the Tower, and at least most if not all of them died there in 1413, under circumstances best described as “mysterious” The children had a claim to the English throne through their late father Edmund Mortimer (who was descended from Edward III).  Some suspect that they were done to death so as to prevent them from making any such claim.

Surviving records indicate that Catrin and two of her daughters were buried not in the Tower but in the churchyard of St Swithin London Stone on the other side of the city (there are no records of what became of her other daughter or of her son Lionel).

A modern Gelligaer bluestone sculpture by Nic Stradlyn-John and Richard Renshaw, inscribed with a Welsh englyn by Menna Elfyn, marks the spot.  Freely (by me) rendered into English, the  englyn reads: “In the Tower, now her home,|Her heart-song turns to longing:|The exile’s silent lament”.

New Book Announcement – “Soldiers and Sportsmen All … “

I am delighted to announce that my latest book, “Soldiers and Sportsmen All … ” has just been published by Amazon, priced at £4.99 for the electronic format or £8.99 for a print-on-demand paper version (link below).

Contained within is the Great War story of the 24th (2nd  Sportsmen’s) Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (The City of London Regiment). The Battalion served on the Western Front  for over three years, fighting in the Battles of the Somme  in 1916, in  the Battles  of Arras and Cambrai in 1917, and finally in the   First and Second Battles of the Somme, 1918, the   Battles of the Hindenburg Line, and the Final Advance in Picardy, in 1918.  It suffered just over eighteen hundred  casualties over the course of the war, including just under  six hundred fatalities.  Even those   who  survived the war  are also  now  long-dead; the war  itself, no longer  living memory but   history.

The story is  one of  ordinary  men, of diverse origins, living and dying in the midst of an extraordinary time in  history.   It   is told from the viewpoint of an ordinary  soldier in a trench somewhere in France.  It features  photographic images and/or at least brief biographical sketches  of a sample of over two hundred   such men   from the 24th Battalion.   

One of the men who served in the 24th Battalion in the Great War was  Private Charles Reuben Clements from Hammersmith in what was then Middlesex and is now London, a former shop assistant – and the author’s  maternal grandfather.

The Second Great Fire of London

The Second Great Fire of London (image: Herbert Mason)

On the night of 29th/30th December, 1940, during the Second World War, an air raid by the German Luftwaffe resulted in the so-called “Second Great Fire of London”. Tens of thousands of incendiary bombs were dropped, and the small individual fires that they set off soon coalesced into a great conflagration that threatened the entire city centre. 

Painting by Leonard Rosoman of a house collapsing on two firemen on Shoe Lane (image: Imperial War Museum)
Memorial to Sidney Alfred Holder

Around two hundred civilians were killed across London that night – and perhaps as many as thirty thousand over the entire course of the war. Among them was Auxiliary Fireman Sidney Alfred Holder, who was crushed by a collapsing building on Shoe Lane.

“Bomb Damage Map” of the area around St Paul’s. Magenta shading indicates seriously damaged buildings; violet, those damaged beyond repair.

Damage to property was on a then unprecedented scale.  The area around St Paul’s was essentially razed to the ground, although the cathedral  itself miraculously survived essentially intact, thanks to the heroic actions of the firefighters of the St Paul’s Watch, who put out no fewer than twenty-eight individual incendiary-bomb fires inside the building.   

Ten other  Wren churches were struck by bombs, namely, Christ Church Newgate Street, St Alban Wood Street, St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, St Anne & St Agnes, St Augustine-by-St-Paul’s, St Lawrence Jewry, St Mary Aldermanbury, St Mary-le-Bow, St Stephen Coleman Street and St Vedast-alias-Foster.

The surviving tower of Christ Church Newgate Street (now a private residence)
Christ Church Newgate Street – or Christ Church Greyfriars – plaque
The tower of St Alban Wood Street (also now a private residence)
A broken Gothic arch on the tower of St Alban Wood Street

Of these, Christ Church Newgate Street and St Alban Wood Street were substantially destroyed, with only their towers  remaining intact.

Site of St Mary Aldermanbury
St Stephen Coleman Street plaque

And St Mary Aldermanbury and St Stephen Coleman Street were essentially completely destroyed.

The reconstructed St Mary Aldermanbury

Remarkably, St Mary Aldermanbury was rebuilt, out of salvaged material, and according to Wren’s original design, in Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 1966 (as a memorial to Winston Churchill, who had made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech there in 1946).

Brewers’ Hall plaque
Coopers’ Hall plaque

A number of historic Livery Company Halls were also destroyed, including those of the Brewers and the Coopers (barrel makers).

The shell of the Banqueting Hall at the Guildhall (image: London Fire Brigade). Somewhere among the wreckage lie the statues of Gog and Magog, the mythical guardians of London.

And the Medieval Guildhall, which had survived the Great Fire of 1666, was seriously damaged, although mercifully not irreparably so.