Hampden Road, London, N8. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
Lights And Shadows Of London Life – [James Payn], 1867:
Upon entering Kensington Gardens from the north-east in severe frost, the most striking peculiarity in the foreground is the mass of persons collected around Negretti and Zambra’s huge thermometer. I imagine the British public believes that this instrument possesses the power of imparting heat; for they spread their hands in front of it, and speak of it with much the same sort of awe with which a Parsee might allude to the Sun.
“What do it say now, Bob ?” inquired one unscientific fellow-countryman of another within my hearing.
“Don’t know,” replied the friend appealed to; “and what’s more, I never do know. I thinks you must rattle him and tap him before you get him to say anything; and you see one can’t do that, because he’s caged up.”
“Ay, so he is,” assented the first speaker, rather approvingly, as if such an instrument might be dangerous if at large. “And what’s that other thing, Bob, with a nob of glass at the end of him?”
“Well, I don’t know which is which,” responded Bob, with the tone of a man who has got some information to impart at last; ” but I can tell you this: one on ’em’s a barometer, and the other’s a thermometer. The difference between ’em is, I believe, scarcely worth naming, being about the same as between a crocodile and a halligator.”