The Seven Dials

Terry Trainor By Terry Trainor, 18th Feb 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3rxdfxkg/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

A vert difficult piece to write, and I am sure the whole of the concept has been lost through boredom or lack of understanding. If anyone has the knowledge to grind this analogy into the ground, then let them speak. It is hard to write over anyone's head. Especially when they claim the throne of God. Try and do a favour to this site and pretend you knew it all along and mark the piece accordingly.

Music to read by.

Jethro Tull sings us through the post. I hope you all enjoy the music. I understand there are earlier versions of music that are more authentic, but I thought a contemporary accompaniment would bring it to life.

The real Story Starts Around 1650.

The book starts from around the 1650’s into the end of Victorian London 1901. This started off as a pleasant little year book for the year 1864. The reason for that date was because the central part of the book was to going to be Carpenders Park Manor about sixteen miles north of London. I still do have the part about the manor but I am using it as a quintisential perception of Victorian life. There were poems, stanza’s and prose to highlight the beautiful fields, meadows and meads that surrounded the Manor. It has a family the Carews who made their money from sugar crops across the globe.
Ironically the sugar they made their money from was used to make rum which was imported into England and allowed a picture of a family in the evening taking a glass of sweetened rum onto their patio on a summer evening and enjoying all they survay. I am a historian and understand what went on and when over time. What I did not expect was a smack in the mouth from the research it led me into. As soon as the layers were wrenched off the little poems and wonderful scenery seemed unimportant.
But as I sat down and reviewed everything over I found the the year book could be used as a yard stick. It enabled me to measure the different life styles of the diferent classes. As England became rulers of the world their own back garden was a disgrace. The people that helped to build this mighty Kingdom were thrown away when they were no longer needed. After they had been squeezed and used they were dispised for their poverty. The greed and the sociopathic upperclasses saw them as sewerage something to get rid of on the first opportunity. As millions of working class people were living in slums the dispare and utter disgust at the way they lived turned towards drink. Drunkeness was the only way they could get away from the filth and the diseases that plagued their daily lives. I have already touched on the London slums in my book,’ From the Slums of London to South

Since the Dawn of Man Alchol has Coused Many Wars.

Since the dawn of man alcohol has caused wars, poverty, crime, murder and eventually death by excess. It has always been a comodity that everybody wanted there was always a ready market. One market was for people who could afford to drink. This sort of social drinking was seen as polite and being invited to party’s was a level of your standing in polite society. It seems odd on one hand it was a measure of how popular a person was. Not to be invited to a party was a snub at a persons status or they had fallen out of fashion. The other was to give anything to get the money for a drink and in the late 1700’s onwards it was gin. Because of its popularity Backroom distilleries soon sprang up everywhere, dripping out various noxious liquors at a feverish pace. Paramount among these homegrown spirits was gin, or, as she was commonly known, "Madam Geneva." Flavored with juniper berries and packing a wallop, Madam Geneva seamlessly supplanted brandy in the public memory, and gin drinking soon became the favorite pastime of the damned and downtrodden. Lower-class English life in the early 18th century was nasty, brutish, and short. Dubious sanitation, stifling debt laws, and a general sense of squalor combined to make the prospect of getting "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence" remarkably attractive. In a world where the conspicuous disparity between rich and poor was inescapable, people welcomed every chance they had to forget their problems. Dillon ably describes the speed with which inexpensive and widely available gin became "the avenging angel of the slums, and the comforter of the poor; she was the curse of London and the friend of market-women." This dichotomy between aristocratic and lower-class London is central to Dillon's thesis: that London's gin craze, viewed through the woozy lens of alcohol abuse, was really about class struggle. "The thing conservatives hated most about drink," he argues, "was the transformation it offered; the way it broke down traditional barriers. That was what they hated most about the entire age." So it's not altogether surprising that, soon after its arrival, conservatives began working to outlaw gin, arguing that its evils were "so many, so great, so destructive to the lower, poorer sort of people" Dillon presents his case well, seamlessly integrating his extensive research into the broader narrative. But the volume of evidence he marshals occasionally works against him. As the accounts of gin-induced crimes and deaths pile up, it's hard not to suspect that Madam Geneva's well-heeled opponents may have been motivated as much by the reasonable wish not to have to step over dead bodies in London's gutters as by any desire to oppress the lower classes. The lower classes of Londen mainly lived in the Seven Dials areas, some say the nearest thing to a village Central London had.
The Seven Dials refers to the layout of the cobbled streets in this London ‘village,’ which includes Monmouth Street, Earlham Street and Mercer Street. The seven streets radiate out from the central sundial Looking closely you'll see the dial only has only six faces; this is due to an earlier urban planning drawn up by Thomas Neale in the 17th century who devised the characteristic seven dials street layout to maximize the number of houses that could be built on the site so maximizing his profit. His aim was to create an affluent, upper class area similar to Covent Garden Piazza. He didn't exactly succeed. By the 1700s it was home to shops selling second and third hand goods, Charles Dickens Junior noted the shops stocking "every rarity of pigeon, fowl and rabbit, together with rare Birds such as hawks, owls and parrots, love birds and other species native and foreign". In 1690, William III granted Thomas Neale, 'the Street Proprietor', freehold of the land known as 'Marshland' or 'Cock and Pye Fields' (named after a public house on the site) in return for his raising large sums of money for the Crown. However, Neale had to purchase the remainder of the lease (which expired in 1731), for £4000, and continue to pay ground rents of £800 per annum for buildings on the land. These were very substantial financial commitments and Neale's problem was how to lay out a development which would show a profit. His solution was imaginative, financially ingenious, and still stands today in the unique street layout of Seven Dials. By adopting a star shaped plan with six radiating streets (subsequently seven were laid out), he dramatically increased the number of houses which could be built on the site; plans submitted in 1692 to Sir Christopher Wren, the Surveyor-General, for a building license showed at least 311 houses and an estate church. Construction began in March 1693 and most of the surviving building leases are dated 1694. As soon as the streets had been laid out, sewers installed and the initial corners developed, the Sundial Pillar was designed; the Pillar was topped by six sundial faces (the seventh "style" being the column itself). Neale chose Edward Pierce to build the Sundial Pillar because he was the greatest carver of his generation, working in stone, wood and marble. The first inhabitants were respectable, if not aristocratic, comprising of gentlemen, lawyers and prosperous tradesmen. However, in 1695, Neale disposed of his interest in the site and the rest of the development was carried out by individual builders over the next 15 years. Today, his involvement is recorded only by two street names - Neal Street and Neal's Yard. In the 1730's, the then owner, James Joyce, broke up the freehold, selling off the triangular sections separately. In the absence of a single freeholder, there was no-one to enforce Neale's restrictive covenants. The area became increasingly commercialized as the houses were sub-divided and converted into shops, lodgings and factories.

Woodyard Brewery

The Woodyard Brewery was started in 1740 and during the next hundred years spread over most of the southern part of Seven Dials. Comyn Ching, the architectural ironmongers, were in business in Shelton Street from before 1723, and elsewhere there were woodcarvers, straw hat manufacturers, pork butchers, watch repairers, wigmakers and booksellers, as well as several public houses. Though not as notorious as the St. Giles 'rookery' (slum) to the north, there were numerous incidents of mob violence in Seven Dials. In the 1790s, there was considerable re-facing or reconstruction as leases were renewed, and the façades of many of the older houses are now of that date, as are several of the painted timber shop fronts installed at the same time. The area was particularly favored by printers of ballads, political tracts and pamphlets, who occupied many of the buildings in and around Monmouth Street. By the middle of the 18th century, the area had 'declined' to the extent that 39 night-watchmen were needed to keep the peace. By the early 19th century the area became famous, together with St. Giles to the north, as the most notorious rookery in London. Shaftsbury Avenue was cut through along the north-west side of Seven Dials in 1889 as a combined work of traffic improvement and slum clearance. The Woodyard Brewery closed in 1905 and its old premises were converted into box, fruit and vegetable warehouses serving Covent Garden Market. Covent Garden Market moved out in the 1970s, which led to many changes of ownership and uses and dereliction. Seven Dials was declared a Conservation Area in 1974 and since the mid-1970s much restoration has been carried out within the parameters of the former GLC Covent Garden Action Area Plan, one aim of which was to safeguard and improve the existing physical character and fabric of the area. The reconstruction of the Sundial Pillar is a symbol of the regeneration of this area. The earliest known sundial is an Egyptian one of around 1500 BC and they were also well known in Roman times, as demonstrated in the writings of Plautus and Vitrivius. Such dials would have divided the hours of daylight into 12 'temporal' hours. The length of each hour would have changed seasonally, being longer in summer than in winter. It was an Arabian astronomer, Muhammad Ibn Jabir Al-Battani, around the middle of the ninth century, who first solved a spherical triangle, given two sides and the included angle. It was another Arabian, Ali Ibn Omar Abul-Hassan al-Marrakushi, who lived at the beginning of the 13th century, who introduced the idea of "equal hours", making all the hours of equal length. This idea did not become well established until the 14th century. After the time of the Crusades, sundials with gnomons parallel to the Earth's axis were to be found all over Europe. The mathematical knowledge necessary to construct accurate sundials, whether trigonometrical or the geometry of projection was part of the rediscovery in Renaissance Europe of ancient mathematics. This coincided with an upsurge of interest in recreational mathematics, and an everyday need for reliable public timepieces. Sundials were often erected in public places to regulate the growing number of clocks, which though popular were unreliable and inaccurate. This piece in the Athenian Mercury of 1692/3 the year before the erection of the Sundial Pillar, provides a graphic illustration of the need for sundials:
"I was walking in Covent Garden where the clock struck two, when I cam to Somerset-house by that it wanted a quarter of two, when I came to St Clements it was half past two, when I came to St Dunstans it wanted a quarter of two, by Mr. Knib's Dyal in Fleet-street is was just two, when I cam to Ludgate it was half an hour past one, when I came to Bow Church it wanted a quarter of two, by the Dyal near Stocks Market it was a quarter part two, and when I came to the Royal Exchange it wanted a quarter of two: This I aver for a Truth, and desire to know how long I was walking from Covent Garden to the Royal Exchange?" The Sundial at Seven Dials is illustrative of a common phenomenon of the time. A visitor to London in the late 17th century might have walked from Whitehall up to Seven Dials and would have passed approximately twenty

The Seven Dials

Neale was an MP for 30 years, Master of the Mint and the Transfer Office, Groom Porter, gambler and entrepreneur. His projects ranged from the development of Seven Dials, Shadwell, East Smithfield and Tunbridge Wells, to land drainage, steel and papermaking, mining in Maryland and Virginia, raising shipwrecks, to developing a dice to check on cheating at gaming. He was also the author of numerous tracts on coinage and fund-raising, and was involved in the idea of a National Land Bank, the precursor of the Bank of England. He was one of the most influential figures of late Stuart England and one of the least chronicled. He used his many contacts garnered via family, court and county connections, to act as middleman between men of money, the Court, other parties, fellow MPs and the general public. His Venetian Lottery in 1694 became the talk of the town, as did his marriage to England's richest widow and he became known as 'Golden Neal'. From 1688, Neale developed his interests as a Member of Parliament, sitting on 62 committees. In February 1678, he was appointed Groom Porter to Charles II, a post which he also held under James II and William III. In July 1678, Neale was granted the office of Master of the Mint for life but didn't take up the appointment until July 1686.

Pierce the sculptor and Christophes Wren

Pierce was a leading sculptor, architect and stonemason of his generation. He became well known as a sculptor and was 'much employed by Sir Christopher Wren in his carvings and designs' after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Pierce's best known works, as a sculptor, are the carved busts of Oliver Cromwell and Christopher Wren - both in the Ashmoleum Museum in Oxford. He was also employed by Wren for masonry work and design for many of the City churches and St. Paul’s Cathedral. He executed wooden carving at various churches, including the wooden model for the copper dragon weathervane on the steeple of St Mary-le-Bow. His greatest work as an architect was the Bishop's Palace at Lichfield, built under his supervision and to his designs 1686-7. He died in 1695 at Surrey Street near the Thames and was buried at St Clement Danes. He left behind him an important collection of books, prints and drawings, and the original drawing of the Seven Dials Monument, now held in the British Museum, may have come from this collection. Thomas Neale, Edward Pierce and Seven Dials

The Dials

Neale's development at Seven Dials arose from his connections at Court and his services to the Crown. In return for raising large sums of money through the Venetian Lottery, William III granted Neale freehold of the land knows as 'Marshland' or 'Cock and Pye Fields' (named after a public house on the site) in 1690. However, he had to purchase the remainder of the lease, which expired in 1731, for £4000, and continue to pay ground rents of £800 per annum for buildings on the land. These were very substantial financial commitments and Neale's problem was how to lay out a development which would show a profit. His solution was imaginative, financially ingenious, and still stands today in the unique street layout of Seven Dials. By adopting a star shaped plan with six radiating streets (subsequently seven were laid out), he dramatically increased the number of houses (and thus frontages) which could be built on the site. Plans showing no less that 311 houses and an estate church were submitted. In 1692 to Sir Christopher Wren, Surveyor-General applied for a building license. At that time rental values were based on the frontage, and not on the square footage. As soon as the streets had been laid out, sewers installed and the initial corners developed, the Sundial Pillar was designed. Neale chose Pierce to build the Sundial Pillar because he was the greatest carver of his generation, working in stone, wood and marble. In 1695, Neale disposed of his interest in the site and the rest of the development was carried out by individual builders over the next 15 years. Today, his involvement is recorded only by two street names - Neal Street and Neal's

Backroom Distilleries and a plan of the Dials

Backroom distilleries soon sprang up everywhere, dripping out various noxious liquors at a feverish pace. Paramount among these homegrown spirits was gin, or, as she was commonly known, "Madam Geneva." Flavored with juniper berries and packing a wallop, Madam Geneva seamlessly supplanted brandy in the public memory, and gin drinking soon became the favorite pastime of the damned and downtrodden. Lower-class English life in the early 18th century was nasty, brutish, and short. Dubious sanitation, stifling debt laws, and a general sense of squalor combined to make the prospect of getting "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence" remarkably attractive. In a world where the conspicuous disparity between rich and poor was inescapable, people welcomed every chance they had to forget their problems. Dillon ably describes the speed with which inexpensive and widely available gin became "the avenging angel of the slums, and the comforter of the poor; she was the curse of London and the friend of market-women." This dichotomy between aristocratic and lower-class London is central to Dillon's thesis: that London's gin craze, viewed through the woozy lens of alcohol abuse, was really about class struggle. "The thing conservatives hated most about drink," he argues, "was the transformation it offered; the way it broke down traditional barriers. That was what they hated most about the entire age." So it's not altogether surprising that, soon after its arrival, conservatives began working to outlaw gin, arguing that its evils were "so many, so great, so destructive to the lower, poorer sort of people" Dillon presents his case well, seamlessly integrating his extensive research into the broader narrative. But the volume of evidence he marshals occasionally works against him. As the accounts of gin-induced crimes and deaths pile up, it's hard not to suspect that Madam Geneva's well-heeled opponents may have been motivated as much by the reasonable wish not to have to step over dead bodies in London's gutters as by any desire to oppress the lower classes. Even so, when public drunkenness reached epidemic proportions, the laws passed treated the common man much more harshly than the country-estate tippler. Certainly gin advocates recognized this disparity, claiming that the laws specifically targeted the poor and dirty, while Sir Drink-A-Lot and Lord Sousebury went unpunished. When personal rights are abridged in the name of the public good, conflict usually ensues, and gin-soaked London was no exception. Every time the government attempted to regulate the gin trade, plebeians rioted in the streets, preachers thundered in pulpits and pamphlets, and, in back-alley dram shops, things continued much as they had before. Eventually, though, all crazes end. By the late 1750s, Londoners had apparently had enough, and gin drinking ceased to be a public menace. Dillon attributes this to wiser governmental policies (read: supply-side taxation), and the rise of the middle class. A spate of public reforms had unexpectedly rendered London livable, giving rise to a new class of people who saved their money rather than spent it and preferred sober entertainments, such as prayer. With the decline of the vice-addled populace, writes Dillon, Madam Geneva became the benign lady we know and enjoy today. So was the gin craze a function of urban decay? Dillon suggests that it was, and that it has implications for modern times. He draws a largely convincing parallel with the war on drugs. After all, both crazes featured rampant substance abuse and impotent governmental attempts at curtailing it. But Dillon's analysis is hobbled by a few unresolved issues. Gin drinking was much more unabashedly mainstream than drug use is, as were its proponents, which rendered gin advocacy more socially acceptable than, say, marijuana advocacy. Madam Geneva boasted Daniel Defoe and several powerful lobbying groups among her supporters, respected voices that Parliament could not ignore and that could speak freely without fear of being marginalized. The best that drug war opponents can muster up, however, is Snoop Dogg--one reason why their cause has not been embraced by the mainstream. But that debate may be academic. Dillon makes the point that, once the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, it can't be legislated back in--though that hasn't stopped people from trying throughout the centuries. As long as pedants and public moralists feel compelled to impose behavioral standards on the poor and disenfranchised, there will be gin laws, well-intentioned but ineffective; and as long as people require an escape from the toil of everyday life, there will be gin. Drawn from the past, applied to the present, this is the lesson of Dillon's fine book. It is history as it should be: entertaining without being glib, informative without being didactic. Gin might not be as harmful as its spirituous namesake, but it is certainly just as addictive.

A severe Gin Crises

The gin crisis was genuinely severe. From 1689 onward, the English government had encouraged the industry of distilling, as it helped prop up grain prices, which were then low, and increase trade, particularly with HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Empire" colonial possessions. Imports of French wine and spirits were banned to encourage the industry at home. Indeed, HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Defoe" Daniel Defoe and HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Davenant" Charles Davenant, among others, particularly HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Whig_Party" Whig economists, had seen distilling as one of the pillars of British prosperity in the balance of trade. (Both later changed their minds—by 1703 Davenant was warning that, "Tis a growing fad among the common people and may in time prevail as much as opium with the Turks", while by 1727 Defoe was arguing in support of anti-gin legislation.) In the heyday of the industry there was no quality control whatsoever (gin was frequently mixed with turpentine), and licences for distilling required only the application. When it became apparent that copious gin consumption was causing social problems, efforts were made to control the production of the spirit. The Gin Act 1736 imposed high taxes on sales of gin, forbade the sale of the spirit in quantities of less than two gallons, and required an annual payment of £50 for a retail licence. It had little effect beyond increasing smuggling and driving the distilling trade underground. Various loopholes were exploited to avoid the taxes, including selling gin under pseudonyms such as "Ladies' Delight", "Bob", "Cuckold's Delight" and the none-too-subtle "Parliament gin". The prohibitive duty was gradually reduced and finally abolished in 1743. Francis Place later wrote that enjoyments for the poor of this time were limited: they had often had only two, "sexual intercourse and drinking", and that "drunkenness is by far the most desired" as it was cheaper and its effects more enduring. By 1750, over a quarter of all residences in St Giles parish in London were gin shops, and most of these also operated as receivers of stolen goods and coordinating spots for prostitution. Set in the parish of St Giles, a notorious slum district which Hogarth used in several of his works around this time, Gin Lane depicts the squalor and despair of a community raised on gin. Desperation, death and decay pervade the scene. The only businesses that flourish are those which serve the gin industry: gin sellers; distillers (the aptly named Kilman); the pawnbroker where the avaricious Mr. Gripe greedily takes the vital possessions (the carpenter offers his saw and the housewife her cooking utensils) of the alcoholic residents of the street in return for a few pennies to feed their habit; and the undertaker, for whom Hogarth implies at least a handful of new customers from this scene alone. Most shockingly, the focus of the picture is a woman in the foreground, who, addled by gin and driven to prostitution by her habit —as evidenced by the syphilitic sores on her legs— lets her baby slip unheeded from her arms and plunge to its death in the stairwell of the gin cellar below. Half-naked, she has no concern for anything other than a pinch of snuff. This mother was not such an exaggeration as she might appear: in 1734, Judith Dufour reclaimed her two-year-old child from the workhouse where it had been given a new set of clothes; she then strangled it and left the infant's body in a ditch so that she could sell the clothes (for 1s. 4d.) to buy gin. In another case, an elderly woman, Mary Estwick, let a toddler burn to death while she slept in a gin-induced stupor. Such cases provided a focus for anti-gin campaigners such as the indefatigable Thomas Wilson and the image of the neglectful mother became increasingly central to anti-gin propaganda. Sir John Gonson, whom Hogarth featured in his earlier A Harlot's Progress, turned his attention from prostitution to gin and began prosecuting gin-related crimes with severity.
The gin cellar, "Gin Royal", below advertises its wares with the slogan:
Drunk for a penny
Dead drunk for twopence
Clean straw for nothing
Other images of despair and madness fill the scene: a lunatic cavorts in the street beating himself over the head with a pair of bellows while holding a baby impaled on a spike the dead child's frantic mother rushes from the house screaming in horror; a barber has taken his own life in the dilapidated attic of his barber-shop, ruined because nobody can afford a haircut or shave; on the steps, below the woman who has let her baby fall, a skeletal pamphlet-seller rests, perhaps dead of starvation, as the unsold moralising pamphlet on the evils of gin-drinking, The Downfall of Mrs Gin, slips from his basket. An ex-soldier, he has pawned most of his clothes to buy the gin which shares space in his basket with the pamphlet which denounces it. Next to him sits a black dog, a symbol of despair and depression. Outside the distiller's a fight has broken out, and a crazed cripple raises his crutch to strike his blind compatriot. Images of children on the path to destruction also litter the scene: aside from the dead baby on the spike and the child falling to its death, a baby is quieted by its mother with a cup of gin, and in the background of the scene an orphaned infant bawls naked on the floor as the body of its mother is loaded into a coffin on orders of the beadle. Two young girls who are wards of the parish of St Giles indicated by the badge on the arm of one of the girls each take a glass. Hogarth also chose the slum of St Giles as setting for the first scene of The Four Stages of Cruelty which he issued almost simultaneously with Beer Street and Gin Lane. Tom Nero, the central character of the Cruelty series wears an identical arm badge. In front of the pawnbroker's door, a starving boy and a dog fight over a bone, while next to them a girl has fallen asleep; approaching her is a snail, emblematic of the sin of sloth. In the rear of the picture the church of St. George's Church, Bloomsbury can be seen, but it is a faint and distant image, and the picture is composed so it is the pawnbroker's sign which forms a huge corrupted cross for the steeple: the people of Gin Lane have chosen to worship elsewhere.
Chapter 7 Beer Street

Joyful Hoplessness

The first and second states of Beer Street featured the blacksmith lifting a Frenchman with one hand. The 1759 reissue replaced him with a joint of meat and added the pavior and housemaid. In comparison to the sickly hopeless denizens of Gin Lane, the happy people of Beer Street sparkle with robust health and bonhomie. "Here is all is joyous and thriving. Industry and jollity go hand in hand". The only business that is in trouble is the pawnbroker: Mr Pinch lives in the one poorly-maintained, crumbling building in the picture. In contrast his Gin Lane counterpart, the prosperous Gripe, who displays expensive-looking cups in his upper window (a sign of his flourishing business), Pinch displays only a wooden contraption, perhaps a mousetrap, in his upper window, while he is forced to take his beer through a window in the door, which suggests his business is so unprofitable as to put the man in fear of being seized for debt. The sign-painter is also shown in rags, but his role in the image is unclear. The rest of the scene is populated with doughty and good-humoured English workers. It is George II's birthday (30 October) (indicated by the flag flying on the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in the background) and the inhabitants of the scene are no doubt toasting his health.

Beer Barrel hangs from a rope.

Under the sign of the "Barley Mow", a blacksmith or cooper sits with a foaming tankard in one hand and a leg of ham in the other. Together with a butcher-his steel hangs at his side-they laugh with the pavior (sometimes identified as a drayman) as he distracts a housemaid from her errand. Ronald Paulson suggests a parallel between the trinity of signs of ill-omen in Gin Lane, the pawnbroker, distiller, and undertaker, and the trinity of English "worthies" here, the blacksmith, pavior, and butcher. Close by a pair of fish-sellers rest with a pint and a porter sets down his load to refresh himself. In the background, two men carrying a sedan chair pause for drink, while the passenger remains wedged inside, her large hoop skirt pinning her in place. On the roof, the builders, who are working on the publican's house above the "Sun" tavern share a toast with the master of a tailor's workshop.

In this image it is a barrel of beer that hangs from a rope above the street, in contrast to the body of the barber in Gin Lane. The inhabitants of both Beer Street and Gin Lane are drinking rather than working, but in Beer Street the workers are resting after their labours—all those depicted are in their place of work or have their wares or the tools of their trade about them-while in Gin Lane the people drink instead of working. Exceptions to this rule come, most obviously, in the form of those who profit from the vice in Gin Lane, but in Beer Street Hogarth takes the opportunity to make another satirical statement.

The workers in the Picture.

Aside from the enigmatic sign-painter, the only others engaged in work in the scene are the tailors in an attic. The wages of journeyman tailors was the subject of an ongoing dispute, which was finally settled by arbitration at the 1751 July Quarter sessions (in the journeymen's favour). Here Hogarth shows them continuing to toil while all the other inhabitants of the street, including their master, pause to refresh themselves. Hogarth also takes the opportunity to comment on artistic pretensions. Tied up together in a basket and destined for use as scrap at the trunk-maker are George Turnbull's On Ancient Painting, Hill on Royal Societies, Modern Tragedies, Polticks vol. 9999 and William Lauder's Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns in His "Paradise Lost", all examples, real and imagined, of the type of literature that in Hogarth's opinion fabricated connections between art and politics and sought out aesthetic connections that did not exist.

Hogarth

Lauder's work was an outright hoax which painted Milton as a plagiarist. Hogarth intended Beer Street to be viewed first to make Gin Lane more shocking but it is also a celebration of Englishness and depicts of the benefits of being nourished by the native beer. No foreign influences pollute what is a fiercely nationalistic image. An early impression showed a scrawny Frenchman being ejected from the scene by the burly blacksmith who in later prints holds aloft a leg of mutton or ham (Paulson suggests the Frenchman was removed to prevent confusion with the ragged sign-painter). There is a celebration of English industriousness in the midst of the jollity: the two fish-sellers sing the New Ballad on the Herring Fishery (by Hogarth's friend, the poet John Lockman), while their overflowing baskets bear witness to the success of the revived industry; the King's speech displayed on the table makes reference to the "Advancement of Our Commerce and the cultivating Art of Peace"; and although the workers have paused for a break, it is clear they are not idle. The builders have not left their workplace to drink; the master tailor toasts them from his window but does not leave the attic; the men gathered around the table in the foreground have not laid their tools aside. Townley's patriotic verses make further reference to the contrast between England and France: Paulson sees the images as working on different levels for different classes. The middle classes would have seen the pictures as a straight comparison of "good" and "evil" while the lower classes would have seen the connection between the prosperity of Beer Street and the poverty of Gin Lane. He focuses on the well-fed woman wedged into the sedan chair at the rear of Beer Street as a cause of the ruin of the gin-addled woman who is the principal focus of Gin Lane. The free-market economy espoused in the King's address and practised in Beer Street leaves the exponents prosperous and corpulent but at the same time makes the poor poorer. For Paulson the two prints are a depiction of the results of a move away from a paternalistic state towards an unregulated market economy. Further, more direct, contrasts are made with the woman in the sedan chair and those in Gin Lane: the woman fed gin as she is wheeled home in a barrow and the dead woman being lifted into her coffin are both mirror images of the hoop-skirted woman reduced to
Paulson suggests that sign-painter's stance forms what Hogarth called the "Line of Beauty"

The Sign Painter.

The sign-painter is the most difficult figure of the two images to characterise. In preliminary sketches he appeared as another jolly fat archetype of Beer Street, but by the time of the first print Hogarth had transformed him into a threadbare, scrawny, and somewhat dreamy character who has more in common with the inhabitants of Gin Lane than those who populate the scene below him. Most simply he may be a subtle aside on the artist's status in society he carries the palette that Hogarth had made his trademark and which can be seen in several of his self-portraits. However he is painting a sign advertising gin, so his ragged appearance could equally reflect the rejection of the spirit by the people of Beer Street. He may be also be a resident of Gin Lane, and Hogarth includes him as a connection to the other scene, and as a suggestion that the government's initial policy of encouraging the distillation of gin may be the cause of both Gin Lane's ruin and Beer Street's prosperity. He is ignored by the inhabitants of Beer Street as they ignore the misery of Gin Lane itself. Paulson suggests that he is the lone "beautiful" figure in the scene. The corpulent types that populate Beer Street would later feature as representations of ugliness in Hogarth's The Analysis of Beauty, while the painter, as he leans back to admire his work, forms the serpentine shape that Hogarth identified as the "Line of Beauty". Thomas Clerk, in his 1812 The Works of William Hogarth, writes that the sign-painter has been suggested as a satire on Jean-Étienne Liotard (called John Stephen by Clerk), a Swiss portrait painter and enameller whom Horace Walpole praised for his attention to detail and realism, mentioning he was "Devoid of imagination, and one would think memory, he could render nothing but what he saw before his eyes". In his notes in Walpole's Anecdotes of painting in England, James Dallaway adds a footnote to this statement about Liotard claiming "Hogarth has introduced him, in several instances, alluding to this want of genius".
Influences
Beer Street and Gin Lane with their depictions of the deprivation of the wasted gin-drinkers and the corpulent good health of the beer-drinkers, owe a debt to Pieter Bruegel the Elder's La Maigre Cuisine and La Grasse Cuisine engraved by Pieter van der Heyden in 1563, which shows two meals, one of which overflows with food and is populated by fat diners, while in the other the emaciated guests squabble over a few meagre scraps. Brueghel's compositions are also mirrored in the layers of detail in Hogarth's two images.HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Street_and_Gin_Lane" \l "ite_note-24%23cite_note-24" Inspiration for these two prints and The Four Stages of Cruelty probably came from his friend Fielding: Hogarth turned from the satirical wit of Marriage à-la-mode in favour of a more cutting examination of crime and punishment with these prints and Industry and Idleness at the same time that Fielding was approaching the subject in literature. Paulson thinks it likely that they planned the literature and the imagery together as a campaign.

Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb picked out this detail of a funeral procession in Gin Lane as a mark of Hogarth's skill: "extending of the interest beyond the bounds of the subject could only have been conceived by a great genius". Charles Knight said that in Beer Street Hogarth had been "rapt beyond himself" and given the characters depicted in the scene an air of "tipsy jollity". Charles Lamb considered Gin Lane to be "sublime", and focused on the almost invisible funeral procession that Hogarth had added beyond the broken-down wall at the rear of the scene as mark of his genius. His comments on Gin Lane formed the centre of his argument to rebut those who considered Hogarth a vulgar artist because of his choice of vulgar subjects: There is more of imagination in it-that power which draws all things to one,-which makes things animate and inanimate, beings with their attributes, subjects and their accessories, take one colour, and serve to one effect. Every thing in the print, to use a vulgar expression. Every part is full of "strange images of death." It is perfectly amazing and astounding to look at. Both John Nichols and Samuel Felton felt that the inclusion of Turnbull's work in the pile of scrap books was harsh, Felton going as far as to suggest Hogarth should have read it before condemning it. After the Tate Britain's 2007 exhibition of Hogarth's works, the art critic Brian Sewell commented that "Hogarth saw it all and saw it straight, without Rowlandson's gloss of puerile humour and without Gainsborough's gloss of sentimentality", but in a piece entitled "Hogarth the Ham-fisted" condemned his heavy-handedness and lack of subtlety which made every of his images an "over-emphatic rant in his crude insistence on excessive and repetitive detail to reinforce a point". The reception by the general public is difficult to gauge. Certainly one shilling put the prints out of reach for the poorest people, and those who were pawning their clothes for gin money would not be tempted to buy a print, but there is evidence that Hogarth's prints were in wide circulation even among those that would have regarded them as a luxury, and there are records from the 18th century indicating that his works were used for moral instruction by schoolmasters. At any rate, the Gin Act passed in no small measure as the result of Fielding and Hogarth's propaganda was considered a success: gin production fell from 7 million imperial gallons (32,000,000 L) in 1751 to 4.25 million imperial gallons (19,300,000 L) in 1752, the lowest level for twenty years. By 1757, George Burrington reported, "We do not see the hundreth part of poor wretches drunk in the street". Social changes, quite apart from the Gin Act (among them the increase in the price of grain after a series of bad harvests) were reducing the dependence of the poor on gin, but the problem did not disappear completely: in 1836, Charles Dickens still felt it an important enough issue to echo Hogarth's observations in Sketches by Boz. Like Hogarth, Dickens noted that poverty rather than gin itself was the cause of the misery: A later engraving of Beer Street by Samuel Davenport (probably for Trusler's Hogarth Moralized) had slight variations from all of the Hogarth states. Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt are a greater; and until you improve the homes of the poor, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance which, divided among his family, would furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendour. The vast numbers of prints of Beer Street and Gin Lane and The Four Stages of Cruelty may have generated profits for Hogarth, but the wide availability of the prints meant that individual examples did not generally command high prices. While there were no paintings of the two images to sell, and Hogarth did not sell the plates in his lifetime, variations and rare impressions existed and fetched decent prices when offered at auction. The first (proof) and second states of Beer Street were issued with the image of the Frenchman being lifted by the blacksmith, this was substituted in 1759 by the more commonly seen third state in which the Frenchman was replaced by the pavior or drayman fondling the housemaid, and a wall added behind the sign-painter. Prints in the first state sold at George Baker's sale in 1825 for £2.10s, but a unique proof of Gin Lane with many variations, particularly a blank area under the roof of Kilman's, sold for £15.15s. at the same sale. Other minor variations on Gin Lane exist - the second state gives the falling child an older face, perhaps in an attempt to diminish the horror, but these too were widely available and thus inexpensive. Copies of the originals by other engravers, such as Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen, Samuel Davenport and Henry Adlard were also in wide circulation in the 19th century.
Chapter 8 Newgate Prison
The Gaol by Kelly Grovier
"Hell itself, in comparison, cannot be such a place" suggested an unfortunate resident of Newgate Prison in 1662. Kelly Grovier's pacy account of the institution from its founding in 1188 by Henry II through its renovation by Richard Whittington in the 15th century, its various reconstructions following fires, to demolition in 1902 examines the horror of the place with relish: "The mingled stench of disease and faeces and the cacophonous din of wailing and screeching in the maze of unventilated wards was unutterably horrifying."
The prison was attacked and burnt down during the Gordon riots in 1780 and, while it did not loom so large in the minds of the locals as did the Bastille for Parisians sacked only a few years later - it was a potent symbol. It would be possible to write its history by simply looking at the novels, plays, pamphlets, images and ballads that it has inspired. Ben Jonson spent time there, as did Christopher Marlowe, who included the prison into his later plays; Daniel Defoe wrote biographies of two celebrated inmates, before fictionalising the prison in Moll Flanders; John Gay's savagely satirical The Beggar's Opera was initially called "The Newgate Opera"; William Hogarth and Gustave Doré illustrated the miserable place; and Dickens returned to the scene near-obsessively, including it almost as an extra character in Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist. Yet, as Grovier makes clear, Newgate was also a place of performance and self-fashioning, where prisoners could become celebrities for a brief time. Those who spent time in Newgate's various manifestations (the jail was rebuilt at least three times) include Jack Shephard, a serial absconder, who received more than a thousand visitors when he was rearrested after his fourth escape, and Claude Duval, whose execution in 1670 was, according to a contemporary account, attended by "a great company of ladies...their cheeks blubber'd with tears". These examples are far from unusual. Plunkett and MacLaine, Anne Askew, Captain Kidd, James Hind, Wat Tyler and Elizabeth Brownrigg all spent time in Newgate. The accounts of their deeds - in pamphlet form, in pulp biographies, and in the massively popular Newgate Calendar - took hold in the public imagination and created a demand that stirred the writings of Defoe and Dickens. The prison also contributed to the developing cultural importance and visibility of crime, with ballads, woodcuts and songs representing the famed criminals to the populace. The prison is a repository of hundreds of stories and Grovier retells them with some vim. The source materials allow him to encompass all manner of subjects: from the reforming work of Samuel Johnson, Elizabeth Fry and Jeremy Bentham, to accounts of the prison as an institution, with its own economy, vocabulary ("Newgate Cant") and social organisation. Grovier's treatment of the material organisation of the place is excellent, ranging from its physical layout to the design of the gallows, from the class implications of the renovations, to the role of the various corrupt officers in administering "justice" ("Garnish, Captain, garnish" shouts Gay's keeper Lockit, asking for a fee to make Macheath's stay more comfortable). These stories are not new - Stephen Halliday's Newgate: London's Prototype of Hell (2006) mined a similar seam of sensation and social history - but they remain gripping. Newgate's role in the evolution of London, in the creation of crime in the public imagination, in the development of the concept of the prison, is unmatched, and Grovier relates it compellingly.

Newgate Prison

It is not possible to determine when Newgate first became a prison or when exactly the new gatehouse itself was originally built. Newgate was to be London's 5th gate into the city. There are reliable records going back to 1218 of it being used to house criminals. It was finally demolished in 1904 having been rebuilt at least twice along the way.
A new prison at Newgate was begun in 1770 and proceeded slowly. Before it could be finished, the building was badly damaged by fire during the Gordon riots of 1780 and it was not finally completed until 1785. This building was then used in that form until 1856 when it was remodelled internally to reflect the new perceptions of what a prison should be like. London's Millbank and Pentonville prisons had been designed to be the first modern prison and to practice the new "penitentiary system." This rebuild was very short lived as the building was very badly damaged, again by fire in 1877, and had to be largely rebuilt. As a result of the Prisons Act of 1877, Newgate ceased to be an ordinary prison in 1882 and was used only for those awaiting trial and prisoners sentenced to death awaiting execution. Newgate had the great advantage, from the authorities' point of view at least, of being next door to the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) which was the trial venue for all of London's most serious criminals. It saved the cost and security risk of transporting prisoners by horse drawn van from other prisons for their trial. The Central Criminal Court Act of 1856 permitted prisoners from anywhere in the country accused of a very serious offence to be tried at the Old Bailey. The Act was passed to allow for poisoner, William Palmer (from Rugeley in Staffordshire), to get a fair trial free from local prejudice. The advent of an efficient railway system had made it possible to transport prisoners over considerable distances. Palmer was returned to Stafford prison for his execution. Similarly, Maria and Frederick Manning and Kate Webster were kept at Newgate during their trials and then returned to the Surrey county gaol at Horsemonger Lane for execution. Newgate closed for good in late May 1902 so that the new Central Criminal Court which opened in 1907 (always known as the Old Bailey) could be built on the site. Here is a picture of Newgate just before demolition. The Debtor's door through which the condemned prisoners exited in the days of public hangings and the site of the gallows at that time are marked. Up to 1877, in its several incarnations, Newgate was the principal prison for London and Middlesex and housed all manner of prisoners of both sexes, including those remanded in custody and prisoners awaiting transportation or execution and those imprisoned for debt. When Newgate closed, its male prisoners and indeed its gallows were transferred to Pentonville while the female prisoners were moved to Holloway prison, which had been recently renovated and turned into London's first women's prison. Conditions in Newgate in the early part of the 19th century were appalling and led to great efforts by early prison reformers such as John Howard and Elizabeth Fry to improve things. Elizabeth Fry was deeply shocked by the conditions that women were detained under, in the Female Quarter as the women's area was known, when she visited the prison in 1816. She found the place crowded with half naked women and their children. The women were typically waiting for transfer to the prison ships that would take them to the Colonies. Women were brought to Newgate from county prisons in the south of England to await transportation and kept there for weeks or months until a ship was available. Many of the ordinary women prisoners were drunk, due to the availability of cheap gin, and some were clearly deranged. They were kept in leg irons if they could not afford to pay the Keeper of Newgate for "easement." Fry formed an "Association for the improvement of the female prisoners in Newgate" and as part of that, set up a school within the prison for the younger children in 1817. The following year, she gave evidence to Parliamentary Committee on her findings. She was able to get a proper Matron appointed to look after the women in 1817 and conditions slowly improved. Prisoners under sentence of death were kept shackled and apart from other prisoners and in the case of murderers, fed on bread and water for the final 2-3 days of their miserable lives before meeting the hangman. Their only permitted visitors were prison staff and the Ordinary (prison chaplain). Conditions improved after 1834, condemned prisoners spending around 2-3 weeks awaiting execution after the law was changed to allow three clear Sundays to pass before they were hanged. They were no longer kept in irons and were given better food than the ordinary prisoners. They were also permitted visits by their families and friends. As London was the crime capital of England, so it was that Newgate was the execution capital and between 1783 and 1902, a total of 1,169 people were put to death there or nearby (12 or 13 hangings being carried out at other locations prior to 1834). The total comprised 1,120 men and 49 women. The last remnants of the "Bloody Code" as it was known remained in force up to 1836. Over 200 felonies were punishable by death in 1800, although in practice people were only executed for about 20 of them. See analysis below. Those convicted of the more minor ones, although sentenced to death, typically had their punishment reduced to transportation. The concept of imprisonment as a punishment only really came in after 1840. Transportation ended around 1888. Public executions were carried outside Newgate in the lane known as the Old Bailey from the 9th of December 1783 (following the ending of hangings at Tyburn). It is unclear where the gallows was erected before 1809 - contemporary reports talking of “outside Newgate” and “in the Old Bailey.” After 1809, almost all hangings took place on the portable gallows in front of the Debtors’ Door and continued here up to the 25th of May 1868, when Michael Barrett became the last to hang for the Clerkenwell bomb outrage that killed seven people. Three women were burned at the stake in the Old Bailey, for the crime of coining which was deemed to be high treason. They were Phoebe Harris, Margaret Sullivan and Catherine Murphy. In all three cases, they were first hanged until they were dead and then their bodies burnt. Similarly, the Cato Street conspirators who had also been convicted of high treason were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered there (the male punishment for high treason), but in fact were hanged and then beheaded. There were to be 567 public hangings, including those of 25 women, between January 1800 and May 1868. These drew huge crowds, especially if one of the prisoners was notorious. From 1752 to 1832, the bodies of those executed for murder were taken to Surgeon's Hall in the Old Bailey where they were publicly anatomised. Up to 1834, the bodies of persons executed for crimes other than murder could be returned to relatives for a fee. There were only two confirmed executions at Newgate in the years 1834-1836, those of John Smith and James Pratt, who were hanged for buggery on the 27th of November 1835. After 1836, only murderers were to be hanged at Newgate and their bodies were buried in unmarked graves within the walls. Ninety nine men and eight women were to suffer for this crime between 1837 and 1902. Of this total, 58 men and five women were executed in private between the 8th of September 1868 and the 6th of May 1902 when George Wolfe became the last person to be executed here. There were four double hangings, a treble and a quadruple hanging during this period.
Chapter 9 Executions and executioners at Newgate

Edward Dennis

From around 1771 to September 1786, when he died, Edward Dennis was the official executioner and carried out 201 hangings and the three burnings at Newgate. He had previously officiated at Tyburn from 1771. On Tuesday, the 9th of December 1783, he and William Brunskill hanged nine men and one woman (Frances Warren) side by side on the "New Drop" at Newgate’s first execution (see picture). Note that they all have white nightcaps drawn over their heads. Sessions, as trials at the Old Bailey were known at that time, were held eight times a year by then and it was normal to sentence those found guilty of crimes other than murder in groups at the end of the trial day. Murderers were sentenced at the end of their individual trials. Those sentenced to death for felony and not “respited” (commuted to transportation) were also hanged in groups - men and women together. Multiple executions were the norm at this time and took place normally around six weeks after the Sessions finished and the Recorder of the Old Bailey had prepared and presented his report indicating which prisoners were recommended for reprieve and which were to be executed. From July 1752 onwards, murderers had to be hanged within two days of their sentence, unless this would have been a Sunday, which meant that they were typically hanged on a Monday and therefore usually separately from ordinary felons, this day continuing to be used at Newgate for murderers up to 1880. Ordinary criminals could be hanged on any day of the week, Wednesdays being the most common one. Prisoners were led from the "Condemned hold" into the Press yard where their leg irons were removed and their wrists and arms tied. They were attended by the Ordinary and when they had all been prepared, were led across the yard to the Lodge and out through the Debtor's Door and up a short flight of steps onto the gallows. Dennis hanged 95 men and one woman (HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/taylor.html" Elizabeth Taylor for burglary) between February and December of 1785 at Newgate, with 20 men being hanged on one day alone (Wednesday, the 2nd of February). Dennis was often assisted at these marathons by the man who was to become his successor, William Brunskill, who went on to hang an amazing 537 people outside Newgate as principal hangman. He also executed a further 68 at Horsemonger Lane Gaol in the County of Surrey between 1800 (when it opened) and 1814. John Langley took over from him in 1814 and hanged 37 men and three women in his three years in office, including Eliza Fenning. HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/eliza.html" Click here for her story. He died in April 1817 and was succeeded by James Botting who was known as “Jemmy”. Botting hanged 42 men and two women during his two year tenure, during which in 1818, shoplifting was removed from the list of capital crimes at the instigation of Sir Samuel Romilly. The gallows used by Dennis, Brunskill and Botting had two parallel beams from which a maximum of a dozen criminals could be hanged at once. (HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/newgat1.jpg" see picture)

The dimensions of the 'Drop'

The platform was 10 feet long by 8 feet wide and was released by moving the lever or "pin" acting on a drawbar under the drop. The condemned were given a drop of between one and two feet so death was hardly ever "instantaneous." On one occasion, presumably because the mechanism had failed a simple beam and cart was used to get the prisoners suspended, as had been done at Tyburn. This was for the execution of HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/hurle.html" Ann Hurle and Methuselah Spalding in February 1804. This lapse attracted severe criticism in the press. In July 1819, James Foxen assumed the position having previously assisted Botting, and hanged 207 men and six women over the next 11 years. The five Cato Street conspirators became the last to suffer hanging and beheading on Monday, May 1st, 1820, for conspiring to murder several members of the Cabinet. Foxen was assisted by Thomas Cheshire for this high profile execution and an unnamed and secret person who actually cut off the traitor's heads. (HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/cato.jpg" see picture). In view of their crime, their bodies were the property of the Crown and were buried within Newgate.
Thomas Cheshire, or Old Cheese as he was known, officiated as principal at a quadruple hanging on the 24th of March 1829 of three highway robbers and one man convicted of stealing in a dwelling house. These were Cheshire’s only executions as principal at Newgate. The gallows was now modified, from then on, having only one beam with capacity for six persons. In 1820, there were 42 executions on seven “hanging days” at Newgate, all carried out by James Foxen. Not one of these was for murder. Twelve were for "uttering" forged notes, 12 for robbery or burglary, and five for highway robbery. At this time, murderers, rapists, arsonists, forgers, coiners and highwaymen were virtually always executed and were seldom offered transportation. The largest multiple execution in

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author avatar Mariah
19th Feb 2016 (#)

Well Mr T...have you been busy or what!..so glad to see you writing again and what a post!..if we think life can be tough in this day and age, it's a bloody walk in the park compared to this 'dreadful' historic period..great work my friend x

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author avatar Terry Trainor
20th Feb 2016 (#)

Give me the biggest kiss you can Mariah, and then some

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author avatar Mariah
20th Feb 2016 (#)

Okay..comin right up ha ha X xxx

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author avatar Terry Trainor
27th Feb 2016 (#)

Thank you.

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