Esoteric London

No. 910: Houndsditch, EC3

Posted in London Places by esotericlondon on August 23, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_9623 copy

Houndsditch, London, EC3. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

The Criminal Prisons of London and Scenes of Prison Life – Henry Mayhew and John Binny, 1862:

The antipodes to the fashionable world is Petticoat Lane, which is, as it were, the capital of the unfashionable empire – the metropolis of the bas-ton. It is to the East End what Regent Street is to the West.
Proceeding up the Lane from Aldgate, the locality seems to be hardly different from other byeways in the same district; indeed it has much the character of the entry to Leather Lane out of Holborn, being narrow and dark, and flanked by shops which evidently depend little upon display for their trade. The small strip of roadway as you turn into the Lane is generally blocked up by some costermonger’s barrow, with its flat projecting tray on the top, littered with little hard knubbly-looking pears, scarcely bigger than turnip-radishes, and which is brought to a dead halt every dozen paces, while the corduroyed proprietor pauses to turn round, and roar, “Sixteen a penny, lumping pears!”
As you worm your way along, you pass little slits of blind alleys, with old sheets and patchwork counterpanes, like large fancy chess-boards, stretched to dry across the court, and hanging so still and straight that you see at a glance how stagnant the air is in these dismal quarters.

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