Esoteric London

No. 1076: Holborn Viaduct, EC1

Posted in London Types, Transport by esotericlondon on April 14, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_2421 copy

Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1. Photo ©RogerDean 2012

The Business of Pleasure – Edmund Yates, 1879:

[…] I am picked up by a train all blossoming with male and female specimens of “Sunday out,” and, after making a circuitous journey, calling at Kentish Town and Hampstead Heath, dallying in that Utopia the Camden Road, flitting from Kingsland to Hackney, glancing at Victoria Park, and getting a glimpse of distant masts at Stepney, I am landed at Fenchurch Street, scud rapidly down Billiter Street and St. Mary Axe, and, opposite Bishopsgate Church, into which are crowding the denizens of the neighbourhood, find my intended companions awaiting my arrival. Two in number are my companions; one, Oppenhardt, my friend, whose innate patrician feelings were outraged by having allowed himself to come east of Temple Bar, and who was standing, with an acute expression of hurt dignity in every feature, contemplating the back of Inspector Wells, who was to be our guide in the trial of Jewry which we were about to make. As I crossed the road, I looked at those two men, and mused, for twenty seconds by the clock, upon the falsity of appearances. There was Oppenhardt – whose paternal grandfather was, I believe, a worthy German sugar-baker at Hamburg – looking, with his blue greatcoat, and his black beard, and his perpetual expansion of nostril, like a peer of the realm at the very least; and there was Inspector Wells, a pallid round-faced man, with a light fringe of whisker, and a sleepy boiled eye, and a stout idle figure; and yet I believe the Custom House possesses no clerk having a more acute knowledge of drawback and rebate, of allowances and landing dues, than Oppenhardt; nor has the City of London Police an officer so sharp and pains-taking, so unweary and intelligent, as Inspector Wells. With very few words I make my companions known to each other; and then, obedient to the inspector’s suggestion, we cross the road and prepare for our plunge. “It’s going with the stream, gentlemen,” says our guide, “and taking the rough with the smooth. […].

[The whole of The Business of Pleasure can be read at www.victorianlondon.org. R.D.]

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