In the hallway about an hour ago I found a parcel in a clear plastic bag. With it was a hand-written note, in pencil, on a scrap of paper. It read:
Mr Paterson. Sorry I forgot your Newsletter. I shall post it. Ric.
This item had been hand-delivered. The contents were
- Seven lovely plans of the Old Palace of Westminster
- Book 1: The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux, 1712-13 by Paul Holden
- Book 2: The Palace of Westminster, surveyed on the eve of the Conflagration, 1834 by MH Port
All of these items are published by the London Topographical Society. I am a recent joiner of the LTS, but I was pretty sure that I had not ordered any of their excellent publications yet. So, a bit of a mystery. Not wanting to be the undeserving recipient of something not intended for me, I phoned them up, only to be told: no, that is correct, it is part of your annual members’ pack.
I am deeply impressed.
One of my key interests in London history is to do with topography: the rivers, the canals, the streets, bridges, railways, sewers, tunnels, architecture etc. Yes, people too, of course. But for me the changing landscape of the city is particularly fascinating. So I had been meaning to join LTS for almost a year, but simply not got around to it. I met some fellows on their stand at the London Maze at the Guildhall some months ago, promising to join and yet still I let things slide (anyone thinking of joining London Historians who are reading this please don’t follow my slack example!). Finally, during some idle time a few weeks ago, I got my act together and signed up.
To join LTS you have to download a form from their web site, print it out, fill it in and send them a cheque. Their web site does look rather old fashioned. And now this business with the parcel. The London Topographical Society is very old school. I had thought for a while that they should buck up and join the 21st Century.
But who am I to say? I’d love for us to be able to do this for our members. One day we will, but we are still a very young organisation, and that will come. After all, the London Topographical Society was founded in 1880.
I now think they should stay exactly as they are. I’m very happy to be a member and I’d warmly recommend that you should be one too. Annual membership is £20. Furthermore, we shall include LTS members as eligible for £10 discount to London Historians, as we do for the Georgian Group and the Victorian Society. If that’s you, contact us to find out how.