No. 830: Terrapin Road, SW17
Terrapin Road, London, SW17. Photo © Roger Dean 2011
London Up to Date – George Augustus Sala, 1895:
TEN A.M. AT GREAT GRUBBY STREET POLICE COURT.
If Chancy Lightfingers, popularly known in swell-mob circles as “Nickemquick,” is arrested for picking pockets in a Congregational Chapel during the sermon, his first proceeding, after declaring that he is as innocent as a babe unborn of the offence imputed to him, is to secure the services of Mr. Crafton Foxifum; and if Bill Bludgeon has been “run in” for about the fifteenth time for savagely beating his wife, it is very often the poor bruised, but still loving woman herself who waits as early in the morning as she can on Mr. Weasel Wideawake, at his office in Great Grubby Street, and instructs him, weeping and sobbing, to come up and speak for the ferocious brute, her husband, who, she plaintively declares, is very good to her when the drink is not in him.
But pray do not think that pickpockets and wife-beaters are the only clients who bring their painfully gathered moneys to Mr. Foxifum or Mr. Wideawake. A London police-court is a sieve through which pass in the course of every year all sorts and conditions of men – ay, and of women and children too. Peers of the realm, officers of high rank in both services, schoolmasters, ladies of fashion, clergymen, actresses, country squires, tourists from the Continent or from America, may all have occasion to seek the services of one of the two solicitors who impartially divide their attention between their noble or fashionable clients and the thieves and swindlers, and scamps of every grade, who stand in need of legal assistance. Not unfrequently the case to be heard at Great Grubby Street is of such importance that some very distinguished solicitor indeed – say Sir George Findout – comes down in person to conduct either the prosecution or the defence; nay, even such forensic grandees as Mr. Blatant, Q.C., or Mr. Tally Kikeron may be retained in some unusually prominent cause. The bulk of the legal business, however, at Great Grubby Street falls to the share of Mr. Crafton Foxifum and Mr. Weasel Wideawake.
The two solicitors, although rivals in business, are excellent friends in private life. They are both members of the Betterton Club, and frequently lunch there at 1 P.M. Foxifum has a beautiful villa at Dulwich, where, in the bosom of a smiling family, he grows orchids; and Wideawake, who is a bachelor, is noted for the elegant paté de foie gras sandwiches and strawberry-and-cream high teas, for ladies only, which he gives during the season at his elegant flat in Screech Owl Street.