Category Archives: Puppydog tails

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Shard, The

SHARD, THE (n.) Transparent phallic edifice erected near bridge’s vicinity. Upon proffering a fee one can be conveyed by ascending carriage to the summit to observe London’s panorama

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

Ghost Signs: An essential reference

Dotted around our cities are ephemeral signs, a reminder of advertising before commercial broadcasting with its blanket coverage urging one to buy.

This beautifully produced volume is a reminder of those early days when the most effective way of promoting your product was to have it painted on the side of a wall.

This work, the result of over 15 years’ research by Sam Roberts, who is the recognised authority on London’s Ghost Signs, accompanied by Roy Reed’s photos who has a lifetime’s experience photographing the urban landscape, gives us a fascinating reminder of our past way of life.

Nichè publisher, Išola Press, should be congratulated on allowing Eve Izaak to break traditional conventions of book design, its use of Moderat typeface, small folios and running headings, with expanded sub-heads, was a brave decision which was the perfect choice for this publication.

The book has numerous cross-references, clearly highlighted and key symbols giving the illustration’s their historical background. While confusing at first, once mastered, makes for a much clearer understanding of the book’s subject.

Sam was running a successful website and Twitter @GhostSigns filled with ghost sign sightings, and even gave tours of his well-researched subject. Using Kickstarter for seed finance coupled with Sam’s enthusiasm gives us a never bettered London book on the subject.

Edwardian London must have been a colourful time, with brightly painted adverts adorning so many walls, Sam Roberts explains in plenty of detail how this came about.

Many books containing 150 photos of London fall into the trap of becoming ‘coffee table’ publications, beautiful to peruse, but rarely of any use to the London aficionado having too little detail.

Ghost Signs has great illustrations: Peterkin custard, Gillette razors, Hovis bread, but the information contained within its covers will have you reaching up to your bookshelf time and again as a source of reference.

Thank you Išola Press for the opportunity to review Ghost Signs.

CabbieBlog-cabThis is not a sponsored post. The publication reviewed has been kindly donated by the author or publisher. CabbieBlog has not received any payment for writing this review and the opinions stated above are solely his own. All links here conform with guidelines set out in Write a Post.

Test Your Knowledge: January 2022

At the start of the year, here’s another 10 questions for your delectation. As with the previous Quizzes, the correct answer will turn green when it’s clicked upon and expanded to give more information. The incorrect answers will turn red giving the correct explanation.

1. What is the earliest known image of London?
A gold arras medallion
CORRECT In 286 AD Marcus Aurelius Mausæus Carausius provincial governor rebelled against his masters and declared himself emperor of Roman Britain. He had a woman kneeling at Londinium’s gate represented on a medallion, struck to commemorate the restoration of Roman rule from Frankish mercenaries. Marcus lasted 7 years before his murder.
A painting in Chislehurst Caves
WRONG In 286 AD Marcus Aurelius Mausæus Carausius provincial governor rebelled against his masters and declared himself emperor of Roman Britain. He had a woman kneeling at Londinium’s gate represented on a medallion, struck to commemorate the restoration of Roman rule from Frankish mercenaries. Marcus lasted 7 years before his murder.
On a Viking shield
WRONG In 286 AD Marcus Aurelius Mausæus Carausius provincial governor rebelled against his masters and declared himself emperor of Roman Britain. He had a woman kneeling at Londinium’s gate represented on a medallion, struck to commemorate the restoration of Roman rule from Frankish mercenaries. Marcus lasted 7 years before his murder.
2. How big does a boat have to be for Tower Bridge to be raised?
19ft
WRONG Once constructed, when much of London’s trade came up the Thames, the steam-powered carriageway was raised up to 50 times a day. Nowadays only 800 vessels a year with masts or superstructures exceeding 29ft necessitate a raising.
29ft
CORRECT Once constructed, when much of London’s trade came up the Thames, the steam-powered carriageway was raised up to 50 times a day. Nowadays only 800 vessels a year with masts or superstructures exceeding 29ft necessitate a raising.
39ft
WRONG Once constructed, when much of London’s trade came up the Thames, the steam-powered carriageway was raised up to 50 times a day. Nowadays only 800 vessels a year with masts or superstructures exceeding 29ft necessitate a raising.
3. Who gets a 101-gun salute?
A crowned monarch
CORRECT A monarch traditionally gets a 21-gun salute. A curious and incautious James II of Scotland stood too close for safety ‘and was unhappely slane with ane gun’. As the country’s oldest military body, the Honourable Artillery Company gets the honour to fire a 101-gun salute from the Tower of London when the crown is first placed upon the head of a new sovereign.
The Queen
WRONG A monarch traditionally gets a 21-gun salute. A curious and incautious James II of Scotland stood too close for safety ‘and was unhappely slane with ane gun’. As the country’s oldest military body, the Honourable Artillery Company gets the honour to fire a 101-gun salute from the Tower of London when the crown is first placed upon the head of a new sovereign.
The death of the king
WRONG A monarch traditionally gets a 21-gun salute. A curious and incautious James II of Scotland stood too close for safety ‘and was unhappely slane with ane gun’. As the country’s oldest military body, the Honourable Artillery Company gets the honour to fire a 101-gun salute from the Tower of London when the crown is first placed upon the head of a new sovereign.
4. Where is London’s oldest shop?
Hatter James Lock & Co.
CORRECT New boy perfumer Floris has shop fittings built for the 1851 Great Exhibition, while Berry Bros has been around since 1698 when it started supplying coffee. Established in 1676 after inheriting from his father-in-law, Lock & Co. is the oldest hat shop in the world, the oldest shop in London it has graced the heads of some of the greatest figures in history. Admiral Lord Nelson wore their bicorne with a bespoke built-in eye-shade into the Battle of Trafalgar.
Perfumer J. Floris
WRONG New boy perfumer Floris has shop fittings built for the 1851 Great Exhibition, while Berry Bros has been around since 1698 when it started supplying coffee. Established in 1676 after inheriting from his father-in-law, Lock & Co. is the oldest hat shop in the world, the oldest shop in London it has graced the heads of some of the greatest figures in history. Admiral Lord Nelson wore their bicorne with a bespoke built-in eye-shade into the Battle of Trafalgar.
Wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd
WRONG New boy perfumer Floris has shop fittings built for the 1851 Great Exhibition, while Berry Bros has been around since 1698 when it started supplying coffee. Established in 1676 after inheriting from his father-in-law, Lock & Co. is the oldest hat shop in the world, the oldest shop in London it has graced the heads of some of the greatest figures in history. Admiral Lord Nelson wore their bicorne with a bespoke built-in eye-shade into the Battle of Trafalgar.
5. Which is London’s oldest statue?
Sotheby’s Sekhmet
CORRECT The oldest freestanding statue in London is King Alfred the Great. With ‘1586’ carved into the base, St Dunstan-in-the-West has the only remaining statue of Queen Elizabeth I carved in her lifetime. At the entrance to Sotheby’s auction house in New Bond Street, the Ancient Egyptian Sekhmet surveys all who enter. Sold in the 1880s for £40 but never collected, the bust of Sekhmet, carved in black basalt and depicting the goddess as a lioness, dates to around 1320 BC and graces the entrance to Southeby’s in New Bond Street.
Alfred the Great in Trinity Church Square
WRONG The oldest freestanding statue in London is King Alfred the Great. With ‘1586’ carved into the base, St Dunstan-in-the-West has the only remaining statue of Queen Elizabeth I carved in her lifetime. At the entrance to Sotheby’s auction house in New Bond Street, the Ancient Egyptian Sekhmet surveys all who enter. Sold in the 1880s for £40 but never collected, the bust of Sekhmet, carved in black basalt and depicting the goddess as a lioness, dates to around 1320 BC and graces the entrance to Southeby’s in New Bond Street.
Queen Elizabeth I outside St Dunstan-in-the-West
WRONG The oldest freestanding statue in London is King Alfred the Great. With ‘1586’ carved into the base, St Dunstan-in-the-West has the only remaining statue of Queen Elizabeth I carved in her lifetime. At the entrance to Sotheby’s auction house in New Bond Street, the Ancient Egyptian Sekhmet surveys all who enter. Sold in the 1880s for £40 but never collected, the bust of Sekhmet, carved in black basalt and depicting the goddess as a lioness, dates to around 1320 BC and graces the entrance to Southeby’s in New Bond Street.
6. Where’s the best suntan spot in London?
Heathrow
WRONG Friday, 31st July 2020 saw the temperature reach a sweltering 97°F at Heathrow. While on 25th September 1885 snow was reported to have fallen at London and Wallington in Surrey making it the earliest fall of snow on the capital. But for the sun you cannot beat Kew when in June and August 1976 were recorded 829 hours of sunshine when the average was 600.
Kew
CORRECT Friday, 31st July 2020 saw the temperature reach a sweltering 97°F at Heathrow. While on 25th September 1885 snow was reported to have fallen at London and Wallington in Surrey making it the earliest fall of snow on the capital. But for the sun you cannot beat Kew when in June and August 1976 were recorded 829 hours of sunshine when the average was 600.
Camden Square
WRONG Friday, 31st July 2020 saw the temperature reach a sweltering 97°F at Heathrow. While on 25th September 1885 snow was reported to have fallen at London and Wallington in Surrey making it the earliest fall of snow on the capital. But for the sun you cannot beat Kew when in June and August 1976 were recorded 829 hours of sunshine when the average was 600.
7. Where is the world’s largest collection of Victoria Crosses?
National Army Museum
WRONG There are more than 60 holders of the Victoria Cross buried in London, including cabbie Frederick Hitch. As a schoolboy Lord Ashcroft of Chichester decided if he ever had the money he would buy a Victoria Cross, something he achieved 1986. Donating £5 million for a gallery in his name at the Imperial War Museum it was opened in November 2010. His VC collection now stands at more than 180 decorations and includes awards from all the major conflicts from the Crimean War to the Falklands. The collection also includes the unique and iconic VC and Bar, or double VC, of the Great War awarded to Captain Noel Chavasse.
British Museum
WRONGThere are more than 60 holders of the Victoria Cross buried in London, including cabbie Frederick Hitch. As a schoolboy Lord Ashcroft of Chichester decided if he ever had the money he would buy a Victoria Cross, something he achieved 1986. Donating £5 million for a gallery in his name at the Imperial War Museum it was opened in November 2010. His VC collection now stands at more than 180 decorations and includes awards from all the major conflicts from the Crimean War to the Falklands. The collection also includes the unique and iconic VC and Bar, or double VC, of the Great War awarded to Captain Noel Chavasse.
Imperial War Museum
CORRECT There are more than 60 holders of the Victoria Cross buried in London, including cabbie Frederick Hitch. As a schoolboy Lord Ashcroft of Chichester decided if he ever had the money he would buy a Victoria Cross, something he achieved 1986. Donating £5 million for a gallery in his name at the Imperial War Museum it was opened in November 2010. His VC collection now stands at more than 180 decorations and includes awards from all the major conflicts from the Crimean War to the Falklands. The collection also includes the unique and iconic VC and Bar, or double VC, of the Great War awarded to Captain Noel Chavasse.
8. What is London’s most shoplifted book?
Steal This book
WRONG You’d think to Steal This Book by social activist Abbie Hoffman, giving tips on shoplifting and setting up a pirate radio station would be popular with criminals. Embarrassment at discovering new sexual positions could lead to the Kama Sutra being purloined. But it’s the handy eminently useful, definitive and handily pocket-sized London A-Z that traditionally has been the most shoplifted book in the capital.
Kama Sutra
WRONG You’d think to Steal This Book by social activist Abbie Hoffman, giving tips on shoplifting and setting up a pirate radio station would be popular with criminals. Embarrassment at discovering new sexual positions could lead to the Kama Sutra being purloined. But it’s the handy eminently useful, definitive and handily pocket-sized London A-Z that traditionally has been the most shoplifted book in the capital.
Geographers’ A-Z
CORRECT You’d think to Steal This Book by social activist Abbie Hoffman, giving tips on shoplifting and setting up a pirate radio station would be popular with criminals. Embarrassment at discovering new sexual positions could lead to the Kama Sutra being purloined. But it’s the handy eminently useful, definitive and handily pocket-sized London A-Z that traditionally has been the most shoplifted book in the capital.
9. Where is London’s largest swimming pool?
Tooting Bec Lido
CORRECT Zaha Hadid’s beautiful undulating Aquatics Centre might be Olympic size at 100 m by 25 m wide, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre’s being a contender at 50m x 22m, but both pale in size to Tooting Bec Lido, the largest freshwater swimming pool by surface area in the UK, is 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide.
London Aquatics Centre
WRONG Zaha Hadid’s beautiful undulating Aquatics Centre might be Olympic size at 100 m by 25 m wide, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre’s being a contender at 50m x 22m, but both pale in size to Tooting Bec Lido, the largest freshwater swimming pool by surface area in the UK, is 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide.
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
WRONG Zaha Hadid’s beautiful undulating Aquatics Centre might be Olympic size at 100 m by 25 m wide, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre’s being a contender at 50m x 22m, but both pale in size to Tooting Bec Lido, the largest freshwater swimming pool by surface area in the UK, is 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide.
10. How many towers are there in the Tower of London?
2
WRONG The White Tower is the largest and oldest part of William the Conqueror’s fortress. Over time a further 21 have been added: Beauchamp, Bell, Bloody, Bowyer, Brick, Broad, Byward, Constable, Cradle, Develin, Devereux, Flint, Lanthorn, Lion, Martin (or Jewel Tower), Middle, St. Thomas’s, Salt, Wakefield, Wardrobe and Well Towers.
22
CORRECT The White Tower is the largest and oldest part of William the Conqueror’s fortress. Over time a further 21 have been added: Beauchamp, Bell, Bloody, Bowyer, Brick, Broad, Byward, Constable, Cradle, Develin, Devereux, Flint, Lanthorn, Lion, Martin (or Jewel Tower), Middle, St. Thomas’s, Salt, Wakefield, Wardrobe and Well Towers.
12
WRONG The White Tower is the largest and oldest part of William the Conqueror’s fortress. Over time a further 21 have been added: Beauchamp, Bell, Bloody, Bowyer, Brick, Broad, Byward, Constable, Cradle, Develin, Devereux, Flint, Lanthorn, Lion, Martin (or Jewel Tower), Middle, St. Thomas’s, Salt, Wakefield, Wardrobe and Well Towers.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Speakers’ Corner

SPEAKERS’ CORNER (n.) Refuge from Park Lane bridleway enabling pseudo intelectuals to congregate and harangue those so inclined to listen mainly on religion and politics

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

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Tik-Tok

TIK-TOK (n.) Electronik contrivance designed by Orientals to maketh the vain publik

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