Monday, 11 April 2016

Claiming London

Both the Resident Fan Boy and I have London roots, mine on my paternal side, his on three or four branches of his father's and at least one branch of his mother's.  This is probably why I find this video eerily beautiful.

 London first appears as a knot at the centre of the Thames, then bulges and spreads, surrounded by satellites of the farms and settlements that would become villages in Middlesex, Essex, Kent, and Surrey before morphing into Greater London neighbourhoods.

My husband's and my London ancestors first made their appearances in the city during the eighteenth century.  The earliest record for the RFB is the marriage of his Huguenot great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents in Blackfriars in 1717 - three years into the reign of George I,  when the music first changes in the video.  The earliest record of my ancestors in London is the 1769 apprenticeship record of my Worcester-born great-great-great-great-grandfather, then fourteen, in Aldgate -- George III had been on the throne for nine years.

It makes sense that our forebears should appear in London with the sudden burgeoning of the capital in the Georgian era.  By the mid-twentieth century, no one in either of our direct lines remained in England's capital city.

As much as I like to imagine an ancestor attending a Shakespearean play at the Globe or the Rose, or walking the same streets as Geoffrey Chaucer, so far it seems that those of our great-grandparents who put down roots in London, came to the great city with millions of others in the eighteenth century.
"The Enraged Musician" (1741) - William Hogarth

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