A list of South East London Chartists

Chartist Ancestors is an excellent ongoing project aiming to document participants in the Chartist movement, arguably the first modern mass working class political movement in the UK, which fought to extend the vote  during the mid-19th century.  As part of its work, Chartist Ancestors makes freely available a databank (excel spreadsheet) which currently includes details ...

Feeding the poor at Christmas in Victorian New Cross

Charitable appeals from Victorian New Cross:'Poor Children's Dinners Sir, —The time is drawing very near when it is  customary to give the poor little destitute children a Christmas dinner of roast beef and plum-pudding, also weekly dinners during the succeeding three or four months. May I be permitted to invite the attention of your readers to ...

An Easter tragedy – drowned on the Bromley Road pond 1887

A sad tale from 1887 (South Wales Daily News, 14 April 1887): Mysterious case of drowning - On Tuesday morning, between six and seven o'clock, the body of a young lady of respectable appearance, and apparently about eighteen years of age, was dragged out of the mill-pond, Southend, near Beckenham... The young woman, in company with ...

Deptford & Rotherhithe: ‘The Eastern Part of London’ (1852)

'Katharine Beresford; Or, The Shade and Sunshine of Woman's Life: A Romantic Story' by Hannah Maria Jones Lowndes  is a novel from 1852. Not particularly remarkable but browsing through it I noticed that some of the action takes place at the St Helena Tea Gardens, the pleasure gardens which stood on the Lower Road from ...

Viictorian New Cross Studio Photographs

Some more vintage studio photos from the New Cross area.Frustratingly there is no detail about the subjects, but they tell us plenty about London hair and clothes styles in late Victorian London.The first  few were taken at R.F. Barnes's studio, Mortham House, Lewisham High Road, New Cross. According to Photo London, the full address was ...

‘Mutiny at Woolwich Dockyard’ (1802) – attempted escape by hulk prisoners

During the 18th and 19th centuries, many ships no longer fit to sail the seas were converted into floating prisons. In the London area these 'prison hulks' were located in the Thames by Woolwich and Deptford.This account of an  'Mutiny at Woolwich Dock Yard' (Morning Post, 2 August 1802) describes an attempted escape by prisoners ...

Goldsmiths Sayes Court Institute: for ‘bona fide artizans and working people’ only (1896)

In the late 19th century, the Goldsmiths Institute in New Cross had a satellite 'Sayes Court Institute' in Evelyn Street, Deptford. According to the 1896 Goldsmiths handbook (a copy of which is in the Special Collections archive in Goldsmiths library), the building (pictured)  included a gymnasium hall, reading room/games room and four classrooms.Membership was restricted ...

The transpontine people in Exile (1846)

Here's some more 19th century uses of the word 'transpontine' in a South London context. Interestingly two of them feature Westminster Bridge. If the word literally means something like 'over the bridge', we should remember that Westminster Bridge was the only the third bridge to be built over the Thames in London, after London Bridge ...

Hatcham Liberal Club 1891: New Cross Meeting for Jailed Union Leader

From the Evening Express, 9 April 1891, a report of a public meeting held at the Hatcham Liberal Club, New Cross Road in support of Joseph Havelock Wilson (1859-1929), secretary of the Seamen and Firemen's Union. J H Wilson had been nominated as the Liberal parliamentary candidate for Deptford, but was unable to attend this ...

South London marches on Westminster – John Henry Mackay on the World Metropolis in 1880s

John Henry Mackay (1864-1933) was a Scottish-born, German-raised individualist anarchist. His novel, 'The Anarchists: A Picture of Civilization at the Close of the Nineteenth Century' was written in German and published in English translation by Benjamin Tucker in Boston in 1891.The novel draws on the author's time in London in 1887, and includes some great ...