Esoteric London

No. 1014: Drayton Gardens, SW10

Posted in Lettering, Transport by esotericlondon on January 16, 2014

©Roger Dean RED_5614 copy

Drayton Gardens, London, SW10. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

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

It is noon, high noon, in the City of London. Why did not the incautious cabman drive down Cannon Street, the broad and unimpeded? or why did he not seek his destination by crossing Waterloo Bridge – he of the red whiskers would have paid the toll cheerfully – and tread the mazes of Union Street, Borough? Perhaps he was an inexperienced cabman, new to its dædalian ways. Perhaps he was a prejudiced and conservative cabman, adhering to the old Poultry as the corporation adhered to the old Smithfield, and detesting newfangled thoroughfares. Perhaps he was a misanthropic cabman, whose chief delight was to make travellers lose trains. If such be the case, he has his wicked will now; and the red-whiskered gentleman, sulkily alighting, scowlingly pays him his legal fare, leaves him grumbling, and retires himself moodily muttering, conscious that he has nearly two hours before him through which to kick his heels, and not knowing what on earth to do with himself. Be of good cheer, red-whiskered, shipwrecked one. Comfort ye, for I am here, the wanderer of the clock-face, and the dweller on the threshold of time. I will show you brave sights, and make your heart dance with mulligatawny soup and Amontillado sherry at the ” Cock,” in Threadneedle Street. You are not hungry yet? Well, we will stroll into the Stereoscopic Company’s magnificent emporium in Cheapside, and mock our seven senses with the delusions of that delightful toy, which, if Sir David Brewster didn’t invent, he should properly have invented. You care not for the arts? Shall we cross by King Street, and have a stare at Guildhall, with Gog and Magog, and the monument that commemorates Beckford’s stern resolve to “stand no nonsense” from George III.? Or we may stroll into Garraway’s, and mark how the sale of sandwiches and sherry-cobblers may be combined with the transfer of land and the vending of freehold houses.

[The photograph above is of one of two stones on the exterior walls of Primrose Cottages, 93 – 95 Drayton Gardens, both of which bear the same inscription. R.D.]

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