History in the Pub: Fire
Once again this event packed out completely the upstairs room at The Bell pub in Middlesex Street. Our speakers were retired firefighter and London Firebrigade Museum volunteer, David Rogers, who told us how the brigade emerged as a unified organisation in the mid 19C. After the recharge-your-glasses break, Caroline Shenton spoke about the 1834 fire which destroyed most of the old Houses of Parliament, paving the way for the world famous buildings we know today. I reviewed Caroline’s book here. She is talking at the National Archives in Kew on Thursday afternoon (I’m going!). David meantime, is running a project to restore the London Fire Brigade boat Massey Shaw to its former glory and return it to the Thames next year. Follow this worthy enterprise here. Our thanks to Matt Brown once again for hosting the evening and setting demanding quiz questions.
Next History in the Pub is Tuesday 30 October. The topic is Sickness, Health and Medicine. LH members Free, guests £3. There are some places still available at time of writing. Details here.
Oddities of the Strand with Peter Berthoud
The other Saturday London Historians member Pete Berthoud (one of well over a dozen of our members who are qualified guides) took a group of us from Covent Garden down the lesser-known spots in, around and near the Strand. And we ended up at the pub, surprise surprise, but it was a lovely occasion. Pete goes the extra mile, dishing out the Quality Street and lovely bananas. To find out why you must book yourself onto his next Strand walk (web site below). My favourite bits included: the last remaining evidence of the Adams’s Adelphi, a very dangerous rat-run for cab drivers and other motorists in the know; Davenports historic magic emporium, under Charing Cross Station, the shop where all the top magicians get their supplies.
If you’d like to join one of Peter Berthoud’s walks or to book your group, his web site is here.
Behind the Scenes at LAARC (London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre)
Most museums are like icebergs with just a small percentage of their collections on show. The rest has to be kept in storage. Museum of London is no different. Last Wednesday we visited Mortimer Wheeler House, a large facility where the museum stores many centuries of history. We were mainly guided around the 19th and 20th Century stores. Miles and miles of rack shelving loaded with the most amazing treasure. So, in the best Generation Game tradition, we saw: phones and telecomms equipment including Buckingham Palace switchboard; toys; street lighting and other misc urban furniture; painted advertising; packaging; bicycles and carriages; workshop tools and paraphernalia from glassworkers, engravers, watchmakers; public clocks; and on and on it went, seemingly endless. Our thanks to Andrew Marcus and Alex Werner of the Museum of London for taking us around. If you’d like to organise your own group tour of the LAARC , contact the museum.