Avoid like the plague

Royal rat catcher

The brown rat arrived in England during the 18th century and quickly supplanted the native black rat. By the end of the 19th century these creatures were swarming around the sewers and cellars of Victorian London. [...]

Toilet trivia

The more observant among you might have seen that recently I’ve been reading The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis by Stephen Halliday. In it the author paints [...]

A Festival of Plague

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the last great plague to arrive in London. By the year’s end nearly 100,000 people were dead most from infection while many ‘natural’ deaths were probably unreported plague victims. As the [...]

Ten cheap alternatives to Uber

Today Uber is seen as one of the hippest forms of transport in London, and is building a reputation for being cutting edge and a cheaper alternative to taxis. But are people actually forgetting many of [...]

A bitter pill

Once was the time that every Londoner knew who Doctor Butler was, and the alleged restorative properties of his famous brew. Such was his fame a number of London pubs carried his name. Alas all but [...]

Scratching Fanny in Cock Lane

Cock Lane, an inconspicuous narrow thoroughfare in Smithfield, in 1762 suddenly acquired international fame, or notoriety, when a house became one of London’s best known haunting. The spirit of Fanny Lynes accused someone of her own [...]

Penny Licks

John Hammond got it right, when faced with his imminent demise in Jurassic Park the entrepreneur played by Richard Attenborough, expecting to be eaten by dinosaurs – due to a power cut unlocking their cages – [...]

Smutty Streets

It is reputedly the talk around the table of every Islington dinner party – house prices. That might be so but the residents of one N1 street are probably less willing to discuss their good fortune. [...]

Mole Man resurfaces

It has all the ingredients of a Grand Designs programme for Channel 4, Kevin McCloud walking through the rubble and telling viewers that the restoration of 121 Mortimer Road poses problems not seen before and unlikely [...]

“Can I bring my budgie?”

. . . and other bizarre requests made of London Cabbies Cabbies in London get to see all walks of life. In fact, you never quite know who you’ll get in the back of your cab [...]