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EXHIBITING THE MOST
RARE AND REMARKABLE OBJECTS OF INTEREST IN
Sixty years' Personal Recollections.
BY JOHN TIMBS, F.S.A.
"I'll see these Things!-They're rare and passing curious."-OLD PLAY.
"I walked up to the window in my dusty black coat, and looking through the glass, saw
In "the wonderful extent and variety of London, men of curious inquiry may see such
"The man that is tired of London is tired of existence."-JOHNSON.
A NEW EDITION, CORRECTED AND ENLARGED.
LONGMANS, GREEN, READER, AND DYER.
T is not without considerable anxiety that I submit to the public this enlarged edition of a Work in which are garnered many of the labours of a long life, for the most part passed amidst the localities and characteristics which it is the aim of this volume to focus and portray. The cause of the above anxiety lies chiefly in the changeful nature of the subject; for at no period in the existence of the Metropolis have so many changes been wrought in its "scarred face," and its modern aspect, as in the Twelve Years that have elapsed since the publication of the first edition of this Work.
The "CURIOSITIES OF LONDON" originally appeared in the Spring of 1855, in a small octavo volume of 800 pages, when it was received by the Critical Press with almost unanimous approval; or, in some respects, an inclination to take the word for the deed, and in others to kindly regard the difficulties of the labour. In either case I am bound to be grateful. The edition, over 3000 copies, was sold within a comparatively short period, considering the character of the work, then regarded as almost exclusively antiquarian; although the above reception induces the belief that "the Present has its Curiosities as well as the Past." The book remained for several years entirely out of print, and second-hand could only be rarely obtained by advertisement. I then resolved upon its revision, and its reproduction, enlarged and more perfect in its details than hitherto; and the present volume of library size, 880 pages, is the result; improved, it is hoped, in the value of its contents, as well as increased in bulk.
The plan and arrangement of this edition are essentially the same as those of its predecessor. The type is somewhat enlarged, and more readable; in the quotations and descriptive details, the small but clear letter has been adhered to, so as to comprise an additional amount of exact and authorized illustrative information. Meanwhile, the extent of the more important articles has been considerably augmented, though with the requisite attention to conciseness and facility of reference. Several new articles have been added; others have been re-written and enlarged. Correctness has been the cardinal point throughout the Work; although the many thousand facts, names, and dates contained in this large volume will, it is hoped, be taken into account.
The Preface to the First Edition has been reprinted for the sake of its explanation of the design, which I have here amplified, improved, and rendered more trustworthy as well as entertaining, by the best means and opportunities at my disposal, venerating the injunction of the old poet
"Up into the watch-tower get,
And see all things despoiled of fallacies."
The Annals of a great City are ofttimes to be traced in the history of its Public Edifices. In the ancient and modern Cathedral, the venerable Minster, and the picturesque Churches of the Metropolis, we not only read the history of its Architecture, but in their "solemn paths of Fame" we trace countless records of our country's greatness.
The Birthplaces and Abodes of eminent Londoners are so many hallowed sites to those who love to cherish the memories of great men. The palace-prison of "the Tower" bears upon its very walls an index to most stirring events in our history.
The Civic Halls of London are stored with memorials of past ages illustrating curious glimpses of manners and artistic skill in their Pictures, Plate, and Painted Glass.
To trace the growth of great centres of population, from the village in the fields to a city of palaces, part of the Great Town itself, leads us through many vivid contrasts of life and manners :-from the times when Southwark was a Roman suburb; Lambeth and Chelsea were Saxon villages; Westminster was a "Thorny Island;" St. Marylebone, a hamlet on the brook; St. Panoras, in the fields; and Finsbury, a swampy moor: all lying around the focus of Roman civilization, the City itself.
Certain localities bear names which "make us seek in our walks the