Esoteric London

No. 926: Sicilian Avenue, WC1

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Street Furniture by esotericlondon on September 16, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4138 copy

Sicilian Avenue, London, WC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

Twice Round the Clock; or The Hours of the Day and Night in London – George Augustus Sala, 1862:

When the hour of departure arrives, you see the pavement and carriage-way of Bow Street studded with a choice assemblage of the raggedry, ruffianry, felonry, misery, drunkardry, and drabbery, whom the infamous hundred of Drury, and the scarcely less infamous tithing of Covent, have cast out into a thoroughfare which, two hours hence, will be re-echoing to the wheels of carriages bearing noble lords and ladies to listen to the delicious Bosio (alas!) in the ” Traviata,” or the enchanting notes of Tamberlik in “Otello.” London is full of violent contrasts; but this is the grimmest in the whole strange catalogue. See, the warder in the watch-box has descended from his perch, and with a patent key opened the portal of the van, revealing a second janitor inside. And now the passengers destined for the lugubrious journey come tumbling out of the court door, and down the steps towards the van. Some handcuffed, some with their arms folded, or their hands thrust in their pockets in sullen defiance; some hiding their faces in their grimy palms for very shame. There are women as well as men, starved sempstresses, and brazen courtezans in tawdry finery. There are wicked graybeards, and children on whose angel faces the devil has already set his indelible brand.

[The angels face in the photograph above is one of four that helps hold up each of the street lamps in Sicilian Avenue. R.D.]

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