Lothbury, London, EC2. Photo ©RogerDean 2015
London Fogs – Hon. R.Russell, 1880:
Haziness, if not fog, prevails in London on nearly every day in the year. London haze is quite a different thing from that which occurs naturally in the country, though at times very similar to it in appearance. It is absent only during part of the night and early morning. Every one who has seen the metropolis in the small hours of a fine morning knows the totally changed and unfamiliar appearance of the town when nothing interrupts the vision. On fine, hot, breezy Sundays in summer, when factories are stopped and fires not so much used for cooking, the clearness is so unusual that prominent objects such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Albert Hall may be seen from distant suburbs. In the daytime, a sightseer on Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath, even if he be a poet, will be fortunate if more than a small number of “distant spires” reveals itself to his gaze.
Smoke-haze is bluish, dirty-grey, or brown in colour, may be smelt if thick, and renders the outlines of clouds murky and ill-defined. The last distinction is the best, and if clouds are overhead, the peculiar grey dirtiness of smoke blurring their edges is almost unmistakable. The dweller in the distant suburbs only rejoices in these town-fogs and town-hazes during the prevalence of certain winds or currents. Generally he may assume coal-smoke to be present when unusual darkness of a peculiar yellowish or brown tint prevails. This darkness is caused by the minute particles of carbon, a substance which, unlike the water particles which compose a pure fog, is incapable of reflecting and transmitting light.