Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Claiming London, Part Two

Sometimes YouTube gets a pretty loopy idea of what videos I'd like to see. If I click on something by accident, or out of curiosity, I get bombarded with offerings, some of them downright weird or disturbing. Thank goodness that this isn't usually the case. I had been exploring videos by Polly Hudson Design, because some of them illustrate changes in London over years and centuries. I posted one of them a couple of weeks ago

As a result, the video below showed up in my recommendations last week. It's a creation of Brighton animators "Persistent Peril" and is based on an essay by Peter Ackroyd. (I read his London: the Autobiography about seven years ago, if "read" is the proper word.)

The animation is delightfully detailed; watch for what happens in the insets, and pay attention to the tiny figures that scamper across both Cripplegate Without and Cripplegate Within. (You may want to view this on YouTube and enlarge it.) I particularly like the stork that drops a bundle down a chimney -- which turns out to be the infant Thomas More!

I have a connection with Cripplegate - but not in the time-frames described in detail in the video. My great-great-grandfather claimed to have been born there in his entry on the 1871 census -- his 1859 admission to the Freedom of the City showed him as being born on Hackney Road, which is considerably to the east and outside the City of London itself.
Clicking on the map should enlarge it.
However, I do know that my great-great-great-grandparents lived near where the Barbican Centre is now, and I'm including a detail of one of my family history Google Maps. They ran an inn in Bridgewater Square (the pink marker with a halo around it - you can click on the picture to make it large) in 1817. Later, they moved to Jerusalem Passage in Islington (the pink marker in the top left-hand corner), then to Butcher Hall Lane in Smithfield (pink marker just to the north of St Paul's Cathedral) in the early 1830s. I tracked them through the christenings of their children and my great-great-great-great-grandmother's 1833 will.

The Resident Fan Boy has a Barbican connection as well. The little green house with a flag denotes what I believe to be the location of the White Cross Street Prison, where one of my husband's great-great-grandfathers, a struggling solicitor, was imprisoned for debt in 1846. When a boy, he lost two young brothers, who were both buried on April 19th, 1823 at St Stephen Coleman Street, the gold house-shape on Old Jewry Street (the church was at the north end), south of London Wall. As you might expect from the video, St Stephen was destroyed, just as most of Cripplegate was, in 1940 by German bombers.

The purple marker is about where I figured Shakespeare was living during his London years, judging from books on the subject and a podcast of the Shakespeare London Walk tour. The video suggests that he lived north of the London Wall -- perhaps he moved!

At the bottom, south of Cripplegate Within, we see three blue markers and a pink one. The first blue is the location of the leather goods shop on Godliman Street, the longtime business of one of the Resident Fan Boy's great-grandfathers; he ran it until his death in 1894. Just to the east, the approximate address on Cannon Street where the same great-grandfather lived with his sister in 1861; both had just arrived from Berlin. Further along on Bucklersbury, the solicitor's office where the RFB's great-great-grandfather articled with his uncle -- some years before both went bankrupt. Finally, in the bottom right-hand corner, the Lombard Street office where my great-great-grandfather printed The Daily News from the 1850s to the 1870s. He was the one who had claimed to be born in Cripplegate -- but, in all likelihood, had not.

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