Chisenhale Road, London, E3. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
Curiosities of London Life: Or, Phases, Physiological And Social, Of The Great Metropolis – Charles Manby Smith, 1853:
HOW LONDON GROWS.
A drop of ink from our pen, falling upon the pad of blotting – paper upon which it is our custom to lay the narrow strips of “cream-laid” upon which we write, suggests no inappropriate figure of the subject we are going to write about. A round, well-defined drop at first, it gradually dilates and expands in size, and assumes a ruggedness of outline as it enlarges, the little ridges flying off in every direction, radiating still farther and farther from the centre, just as the circle of London grows bigger and wider by stretching away on all sides from the original confines of the city. The comparison holds good so long as any moisture remains to be absorbed; but soon the ink dries up, and there is an end of it-which cannot be said of the bricks and mortar, the sum and substance of our theme.