Esoteric London

No. 1040: Bastion Highwalk, EC2

Posted in London Types, Sport by esotericlondon on February 21, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_7066 copy

Bastion Highwalk, London, EC2. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

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

Tattersall’s is a curious sight at all times, and has something pervading it quite sui generis. Even when the ring is deserted by the gentleman turfites, and when no sales by auction of race-horses, hunters, carriage-horses, carriages, or fox-hounds, are proceeding in the court-yard (the auctioneer’s rostrum is close to the king-crowned, fox-decorated temple), there is ample food for observation and amusement in the contemplation of the extraordinary array of hangers-on, who, at all times and seasons, summer and winter, are to be found about the purlieus of the Corner. I do not so much speak of the mere grooms, stable-boys, coachmen, and helpers, who have horses to mind or carriages to look after. You may find their prototypes down every mews, and in every livery-stable. The originals to whom I allude are to be seen only here, and on race-courses, hanging about the grand-stand and the weighing-house. They are entirely different to the nonchalant individuals who, in short coats, and a straw in their mouths, haunt the avenues of Aldridge’s Repository, in St. Martin’s Lane. They would appertain, seemingly, to a superior class; but from top to toe – laterally, horizontally, vertically, and diagonally – they are unmistakeably horse-flesh loving, and by horse-flesh living, men. It is not but you will find white neckcloths and black broadcloth in their attire, but there is a cut to the coat, a tie to the neckcloth, that prevents the possibility of error as to their vocation. They are sporting men all over. Hard-featured, serious-looking, spare-limbed men mostly, much given to burying their hands in their coat-pockets (never in their trousers), and peaceably addicted to the wearing of broad-brimmed hats.

[Tattersalls, or “Old Tatt” as it became known, was founded in 1766 by Richard Tattersall. The first premises were just near Hyde Park Corner, which was then on the outskirts of London. R.D.]

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