Esoteric London

No. 572: Kentish Town Road, NW5

Posted in Architectural, Housing by esotericlondon on May 8, 2012

Kentish Town Road, London, NW5. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Saunterings in and about London – Max Schlesinger, 1853:

At the first step a German makes in one of the London streets, he must understand that life in England is very different from life in Germany. Not only are the walls of the houses black and smoky, but the houses do not stand on a level with the pavement. A London street is in a manner like a German high road, which is skirted on either side with a deep ditch. In the streets of London the houses on either side rise out of deep side areas. These dry ditches are generally of the depth of from six to ten feet, and that part of the house, which with us would form the lower story, is here from ten to twelve feet underground. This moat is uncovered, but it is railed in, and the communication between the house door and the street is effected by a bridge neatly formed of masonry.
Every English house has its fence, its iron stockade and its doorway bridge. To observe the additional fortifications which every Englishman invents for the greater security of his house is quite amusing. It is exactly as if Louis Napoleon was expected to effect a landing daily between luncheon and dinner, while every individual Englishman is prepared to defend his household goods to the last drop of porter.
You may see iron railings, massive and high, like unto the columns which crushed the Philistines in their fall; each bar has its spear-head, and each spear-head is conscientiously kept in good and sharp condition.

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