Lambs Conduit Street, London, WC1. Photo ©RogerDean 2012
The Mysteries in London – George W. M. Reynolds, 1844:
ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S DAY
It was the 1st of January, 1840.
Another New Year’s Day – commemorated with feasting by those who had no reason to repine, but marked as the opening of another weary epoch of care and sorrow by those who had nothing for which to be grateful, either to heaven or to man!
The first day of January, 1840, was inclement and severe. The air was piercing cold, and the rain fell in torrents. The streets of the great metropolis [of London] were swept by a wintery wind that chased the poor houseless wanderers beneath the coverings of arches and doorways, and sent the shivering mendicants to implore an asylum at the workhouse.
It was evening; and the lamps diffused but an uncertain light in the great thoroughfares. The courts and alleys of the poor neighbourhoods were enveloped in almost total darkness; for every shutter was closed, and where there were no shutters, blinds were drawn down, or rags were stretched across the windows, to expel the bitter cold.
[The whole of the story Another New Year’s Day can be found at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]