No. 906: Upper Street, N1
Islington Green, Upper Street, London, N1. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Toilers in London – One of the Crowd, [c.1883]:
Amidst the deafening clatter of wheels and horses’ hoofs, and the unceasing bustle and excitement of the pavement, there in the recess seats of the bridge, and within three yards of all the hubbub and uproar, half-a-dozen of the London vagabond community may generally be seen, with their chickweed and groundsel baskets, or relying solely on their squalor and shrivering semi-nakedness to excite compassion.
They seat themselves on the granite ledges, as though they were reclining on a grassy bank, and the noises about them were no more than the chirp of grasshoppers and the drowsy hum of bees and beetles. Tattered as scarecrows, uncombed, unshaven, and ingrained with grime, they sit there, or even lie at full length with their hands under their heads, and their ragged caps tilted forward to screen their eyes, with the afternoon sun blazing down on their ugly outlines, which show on the clear grey stone as distinctly in all their parts as insects that are impaled on pins in the specimen case of the naturalist.
[ The statue kneeling on the granite ledge in the photograph above is not of one of the ‘London vagabond community’ but is one of two putti on the pedestal of the Sir Hugh Myddelton statue on Islington Green. Disfigured by weather and pollution and supporting urns that no longer spout water they make quite a forlorn pair.
To see the Sicilian marble Sir Hugh who towers above them take a look at Post No. 821.
The full text from which the above excerpt was taken can be read at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]