Johnson’s London Dictionary: Knowledge, The

KNOWLEDGE, THE (n.) An accumulation of local information which doth give one granted the illusion of superior powers and wisdom

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

We Blog

Blog: (n.)(v.) (A truncation of weblog) A website on which an individual or group of users produce an ongoing regular narrative, displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears at the top, often written in an informal or conversational style.

A blog’s entomology

This inelegant word is derived from Weblog, or should that be we-blog (see the previous paragraph). Blog, its ugly orphan, created by the unholy conjoining of the word log, pertaining to a formal account, to the orphaned B from the word Web, thus ‘Web-Log’ becomes ‘Blog’. Coined by programmer Peter Merholz, incredibly in 2004 the American dictionary-publishing firm Merriam-Webster proclaimed it ‘Word of the Year’.

If it had been invented today, it would have been described as: ‘record on the cloud’ – or reloud.

A blog’s purpose

I’m well aware that most blogs – with, of course, the exception of CabbieBlog – are egocentric areas where tragic people waffle on and on with their dull scribblings because they genuinely believe the reader is interested in their extremist political views, uninspired recipes or some dull apparel they are wearing. This is usually because the author believes that the person who reads ‘his/her blog’ actually wants to find out more about them, when in fact the vast majority of viewers have just stumbled into their corner of cyberspace looking for cute kittens or young ladies showing parts of their anatomy.

A blog’s timeline

When is the optimum time or day to post? For getting backlinks for your blog posts, the study by Kissmetrics suggests that Monday and Thursday are the best days. It further went on to reveal that publishing early morning on these two days around 7 am will increase your chances of getting the most inbound links.

The more observant reader will have noticed that CabbieBlog posts long-form pieces on Tuesday and Friday at 1.50 pm, close to those time-slots, but not those optimum time slots.

A blog’s length

In the last five years, the average time for writing a post has steadily grown from 2:24 hours to 3:28 hours. The blog post length for the same period rose accordingly, from 808 to 1,151 words on average.

There are roughly 1.9 billion web pages at this moment making one trillion, nine hundred billion words out there to be read. With 2 million posts uploaded daily, we will be hitting 2 billion posts in less than a year. Who knows, this post could be the one to hit that milestone, also adding an additional 425 words.


London in Quotations: Louise Closser Hale

London is like a woman with too many years to encourage confession.

Louise Closser Hale (1872-1933), We Discover New England

London Trivia: First parking ticket

On 19 September 1960, the very first parking ticket was issued to Dr Creighton, who was answering an emergency call to a suspected heart attack at a West End hotel, 343 others received fines that day.

On 19 September 1887 Lillie Bridge Stadium was burnt down by rioters after 2 heavily backed sprinters, bribed to lose, failed to race

For some crimes the guilty were locked in the pillory then had their ears nailed to the frame, upon release were forced to leave them behind

King Street, St James’s is named after Charles II, King Street, Covent Garden is named after Charles I and Kingsway after Edward VII

The American talk show host Jerry Springer was born at Highgate during the Second World War: his mother had taken shelter in the station from an air raid

Trafalgar Square was to have been called ‘King William the Fourth’s Square’; however, George Ledwell Taylor suggested Trafalgar Square

It was at 9A Denmark Street (Tin Pan Alley), then La Gioconda, where David Jones (Bowie) and his first backing band – Lower Third – met

The Sanderson Hotel, Berners Street was a showroom for Sandersons wallpaper, the listed sign meant the hotel could have no other name

The oldest (and possibly most bizarre) medal winner was John Copley who won Silver in the London 1948 Olympics for an etching he was 73 at the time, drawing was in the Olympics until 1948

Charles Pearson, MP and Solicitor to the City of London, is credited with successfully campaigning for the introduction of the Underground. He died in 1862 shortly before the first train ran

During the war, some stations (now mostly disused) were converted into government offices: a station called Down Street was used for meetings of the Railway Executive Committee

Brydges Place named after Catherine Brydges daughter of 3rd Baron Chandos at 15 inches at its narrowest point is London’s tightest alley

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

Maggie Blake’s Cause

Maggie Blake’s Cause is a small alleyway connecting the Victorian cobblestoned Shad Thames with the riverfront alongside Butler’s Wharf.

So who was Maggie Blake and what, or when, was her cause?

Butler’s Wharf was a large Victorian warehouse complex built in the early 1870s, so successful at the time it earned the sobriquet: London’s Larder. I can remember the area, before gentrification, still smelling of the spices stored in its warehouses.

Containerisation and the development of large, deep-water docks downriver at Tilbury spelt the end of London’s wharves and warehouses, including those at Butler’s Wharf. The last cargo ship sailed away from Butler’s Wharf in 1972.

The warehouses became empty and partly derelict until Sir Terence Conran and his backers won planning permission in 1981 to redevelop them into restaurants and apartments by the London Docklands Development Corporation, with their plans sealing off the riverside frontage, making more space for their restaurants.

As with all these developments for the rich exclusivity was demanded.

Enter Maggie Blake a local community activist who, together with other Bermondsey residents, successfully campaigned to retain access to the riverfront for both locals and visitors.

There is one oddity though, early documents call it Maggie Blake’s Causeway, while today it seems to have dropped the ‘way’.

In a way, that makes the causeway better named, as it was the cause that she fought for.

Featured Image: The Thames Path near Butler’s Wharf Pier by Tim Heaton (CC BY-SA 2.0). This part of the Path’s access to the Thames was made possible by Maggie Blake and other local residents: Developers of the derelict warehouses along Butler’s Wharf “… wanted to limit riverfront access to the owners, occupiers and guests of Butler’s Wharf [new] restaurants and apartments. Maggie Blake and her supporters thought otherwise. They fought a spirited and eventually successful campaign which saved the historic riverfront and its wonderful views of Tower Bridge for ordinary folk”.

Maggie Blake’s Cause by Steve Daniels (CC BY-SA 2.0). Alley that connects Shad Thames with the waterfront. Maggie Blake, along with other activists wanted to ensure that local people and the general public could walk freely along the south bank of the Thames.