6 breathtaking scenes from the state funeral of the Duke of Wellington, London 1852

Above: Fleet Street – The Civic Authorities in the procession

On 18 November 1852, The Duke of Wellington, was laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral. He died on 14 September, aged 83. Over a million lined the route of Wellington’s funeral cortege which ran through the City to St Paul’s.

The preparation of St Paul’s took six weeks. Scaffold-borne tiered seating increased its capacity to over 13,000 as the cathedral was festooned in black crepe. The service was delayed by an hour owing to the slow progress of the vast cortege through the streets of London. Eventually, the Duke’s coffin was lowered into the crypt of the cathedral where it remains to this day in a Cornish porphyry sarcophagus.

This image shows the incredible detail in the Illustrated London News illustrations.

The New Law Courts 1882 (The Royal Courts of Justice) and 2015

The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a court building in London which houses both the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Designed by George Edmund Street, who died before it was completed, it is a large grey stone edifice in the Victorian Gothic style built in the 1870s and opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. It is one of the largest courts in Europe. It is located on the Strand within the City of Westminster, near the border with the City of London (Temple Bar). It is surrounded by the four Inns of Court, King’s College London and the London School of Economics.

Scanned from ‘Old and New London – Its History, its people and its places’, published by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.

18th Century London Watchman

The streets in London were dark and had the shortage and poor quality of artificial light. It had been recognized for centuries that the coming of darkness to the unlit streets of a town brought a heightened threat of danger, and that the night provided cover to the disorderly and immoral, and to those bent on robbery or burglary or who in other ways threatened physical harm to people in the streets and in their houses.

The anxieties that darkness gave rise to had been met by the formation of a night watch in the 13th century, and by the rules about who could use the streets after dark. These rules had for long been underpinned in London and other towns by the curfew, the time (announced by the ringing of a bell) at which the gates closed and the streets were cleared. Only people with good reason to be abroad could then travel through the City. Anyone outside at night without reason or permission was suspicious and potentially criminal.

Allowances were usually made for people who had some social status on their side. Lord Fielding clearly expected to pass through London’s streets untroubled at 1 am one night in 1641, and he quickly became piqued when his coach was stopped by the watch, shouting huffily that it was a ‘disgrace’ to stop someone of such high standing as he, and telling the constable in charge of the watch that he would box him on the ears if he did not let his coach carry on back to his house. ‘It is impossible’ to ‘distinguish a lord from another man by the outside of a coach’, the constable said later in his defence, ‘especially at unreasonable times’.

Illustration of Sadler’s Wells Theatre

The image shown here depicts the theatre in the early 19th century, at a time when the theatrical business was booming. In the 1780s German tourist Sophie Van La Roche described a visit to Sadler’s Wells in colourful detail. Over an astonishing three-hour performance she witnessed nine different acts , including ballet, comedy, a pantomime, rope-walking and even a strong man, while the audience around her partook of drinks, pasties and sandwiches while noisily enjoying the performance.

1865 – A Thaw in the Streets of London

The frequent and sudden changes of temperature in the last few weeks have made an extraordinary difference in the aspects of London street-traffic from day to day. We lately gave an illustration of the effects of a hard frost; our present subject is a companion picture to that Engraving; it shows the state of things occasioned by a thaw. The discomfort of walking in such mud as melted snow leaves upon our much-trodden thoroughfares is far worse than the danger of sliding when the pavement is glazed with ice. London mud is always disagreeable; and we believe there is no city in Europe where so little care is taken to abate this nuisance, or where the convenience of foot-passengers is so entirely disregarded by the legal custodians of the public highways. To go no further than the large provincial towns of England—it would not be endured; for instance, in Manchester that any of the streets should be left for twelve hours in so foul a condition as that of the Strand during many days of the last fortnight; when it might have been cleansed without difficulty, either by sweepers employed at night, or by the use of Whitworth’s machine—a mud-cart furnished with a revolving brush and scraper behind, which travels along the road, causing no interruption to the daily traffic. In this department, it must be confessed, the municipal administration of London is greatly at fault; and it would be instructive to reckon the enormous cost of its neglect in the matter of street mud. Such a calculation would include—first, the cost of boots and shoes, of stockings, trousers, and crinolines, sacrificed by the unhappy pedestrians who venture abroad at this season; secondly, the loss of health, and sometimes of life, from the catarrhs, coughs, and rheumatisms which wet feet are apt to engender; thirdly, the damage to horses and carriages; and, lastly, the waste of an immense quantity of material which should be almost as valuable as the sewage itself for the purpose of agricultural manure. In addition to these ills, we have reason to believe that the mischief done by neglected street mud to the sanitary condition of London extends also to those who never walk out in bad weather, for it keeps up a general dampness of the atmosphere, attracts and retains the fogs, and, after the dry winds of March or the heat of sunny days shall have caused the last vestige of mud to disappear, it will then be converted into dust, which, as it contains minute particles of stone from the roads, mixed with the noxious atoms of decomposed animal matter, is a most unwholesome compound to be inhaled by the throats of men and women. Thus much we have felt it our duty to say of the remoter and more general injuries occasioned by the utter lock of provision for the removal of the metropolitan mud. The miseries depicted on our next page are indeed the immediate consequence of a visitation of nature which is a common incident; of this season in a climate so uncertain as ours; but these miseries would very soon be abated if we bad a proper system of cleansing the streets. The poor mendicant sweeper at the crossing should be relieved of an office which ought to be more efficiently performed by an apparatus under the direction of the Metropolitan Board of Works.