Sunday, July 20, 2014

The London Crowd

This is a wonderful overview of many of the places Sebastian visits in London. And it's especially interesting because we see both the way it was and the way it is now--everything from Smithfield and Newgate to Covent Garden, Bow Street, and St. Giles. The focus is the 18th century, but it hadn't really changed that much by 1812.

Has anyone seen this entire series? I'm going to have to track it down,


Susan J. said...

I do remember seeing this series some years ago on TV(unless Peter Ackroyd has made another since). I remember really enjoying it at the time, Peter Ackroyd had such a presence and really gave a feeling of the dangerous side to London. I seem to remember it had good background music that added to the atmosphere. It was certainly better than the usual run of the mill documentaries. There have also been a series of different programmes all on a Georgian theme over the last few months on BBC, which you might like, with historians like Lucy Worsley and Amanda Vickery, both brilliant presenters. Lucy Worsley also did one on the Regency, where she got to dress up as a man about town and also examined the Regent's coronation robe which is in storage at a museum! I love her sense of humour.

Charles Gramlich said...

Amazing the things you can find on line!

Anonymous said...

C- I watched the whole thing and the most fascinating part--- was how much i already knew. because of my reading. so much of it was just like a Sebastian story. I kept thinking of Yates in Newgate and him paying his jailers. And in the video they did mention that people did that. i also read a story that featured the Gin problem and how devastating it was to the poor. those stories are really sad. thanks for passing this one. best,Ali

cs harris said...

Susan, the BBC does these things soooo much better than American television. These are actually informative rather than just annoying.

Charles, indeed!

Ali, I loved his calling gin the "crack cocaine" of their day. Very apt.

Lynne said..., wait...I like my gin and tonic. But seriously, this was fascinating and I wish we could see more of the series, too. If you find it, Candy, let us know. The copyright date was 2004. It gave a very dark view of London but such great history. And I loved seeing some familiar acting faces doing the readings, including Jim Carter from Downton Abbey. Those different historical faces made it all the more interesting. I always wish that we could get more UK productions - they do such great documentaries, particularly on history. And Susan, don't tantalize me... the programs sound sooo good.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Dare I mention the bottle of Tanqueray my husband gave me for Christmas last year? (The bottle isn't empty ...) Love these BBC series! History is so cool. I laughed to see the guy in a Yankees tee in the Crowd. It's quite interesting that Henry Fielding, a novelist, was also a magistrate and started the Bow Street Runners. Thanks!

cs harris said...

Lynne, I went looking and found myself distracted by a wonderful program on the Black Death. You Tube is dangerous.

Barbara, yes, I find Fielding's real-life role fascinating. He recognized that if something wasn't done, the city would become unlivable. Institutions designed for a village could not cope with a million people.

Susan J. said...

I couldn't believe it when I read Barbara's comment. I just got back from a short break at a hotel in Suffolk where I got introduced to Tanqueray gin! They had a promotion for a double serving with tonic and a slice of lemon. I've fallen in love, it has such a great flavour! Must get a bottle but it won't be lasting me until Christmas!
Speaking of Fielding and his blind brother, who was also a magistrate, there was a drama series about them a few years ago on TV. Not sure if it was the BBC or one of the commercial stations. His blind brother was able to recognise the voices of about 2000 criminals apparently.

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