Saturday, July 18, 2015

The London of Sebastian St. Cyr: Guildhall and St. Paul's, then and now

These "then and now" comparisons are kinda fun. The first is London's Guildhall,  a 15th century great hall still used as the ceremonial center of the City of London.




And this, of course, is St. Paul's Cathedral:




33 comments:

paz said...

These comparisons are fun! It is always amazing to me how these buildings have survived such hugely tumultuous times, and even those bombings!!!The stuff of legends.

cs harris said...

Paz, they really are fun. To look at them, you'd think I deliberately took the modern photograph to echo the old print, but I didn't. It was actually a shock to look for a corresponding print in my files and realize how similar some of the angles were to what I had taken. I have a whole slew of these to come.

Anonymous said...

Love the comparisons. So fun to see. Sabena

Lynne said...

You can post any pictures of Sebastian's London or contemporary London - it won't matter. I love London in any form! Great photos!!

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, such wonderful comparisons. Such history

Susan J. said...

I always think of St Paul's as a symbol of freedom and how Hitler tried his best to destroy it to lower British morale during World War II. There is a wonderful documentary about how on the terrible night of the fire storms, when he unleashed his worst attack on London and people fought all night to stop the fire spreading to engulf St Paul's and ordinary Londoners saught sanctuary in its crypt. My cousin researched part of our family and found that some of them lived in a street called Gunpowder Alley, back in the 19th century, which stood in the shadow of St Paul's. It is no longer there and I wonder if it was destroyed in the bombing.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Wow! Thank you. The stuff that dreams are made of, and the best stories around.

Anonymous said...

candy Those are great photo comparisons. And amazing how they still look so similar even today - minus some cobblestones, and carriages. i love the old photos. it really helps to imagine life in Sebastian's day. best. ali

cs harris said...

Sabena, they are amazing.

Lynne, I do have a ton planned.

Charles, London is such a modern city, it's wonderful to catch these glimpses of the past.

Susan, yes, it's amazing it survived. So much was lost. Although I do think some "shock doctrine" tactics were used, as well.

Barbara, thanks.

Ali, it is amazing how they echo the old prints.

JustWingingIt said...

Ooh, I always love these comparison posts. It's amazing how much still remains. May it always be so.

Veronica

Suzanne said...

Susan, so many of the famous old streets of the City Of London have gone, along with a good deal of the east end. They took a real beating in the blitz but most of them finally vanished in the slum clearances after the war. Not only were the buildings destroyed (as they should have been, so many had been condemned since Victorian times and people were still living in them in appalling conditions)but many of the streets were replanned. You will notice on Jack The Ripper documentaries that many of the relevant streets in Whitechapel are gone too.

On a happier note, I love seeing old pictures of St Paul's because one of my ancestors, Sir Christopher Wren, built it. It is amazing the people you find in your family tree if you are able to go back far enough. On the Wren side we were able to go back centuries. On the other hand it also means we are related to one of Melbourne's most notorious organised crime figures of the early 20th century, John Wren (he was my Great, Great Grandmother's first cousin), but one can't have everything.

Susan J. said...

Suzanne: How wonderful to find out that you have Sir Christopher Wren for an ancestor! I don't think my cousin found anybody special, although she did find out that we are not as closely related to Sir Joseph Paxton (Victorian gardener and architect who was befriended by the Duke of Devonshire and travelled with him collecting rare plants and was knighted after he designed the Crystal Palace to house the 1851 Great Exhibition) as we imagined, a very tenuous link at best. Sometimes family myths can be blown away with research, as well as finding exciting things, as in your case! I'm glad we found nobody above lower middle class though, at least that means no slave owners, I would hate that!

cs harris said...

Veronica, I was stunned by how much of the Roman wall is there. I may do a post on it.

Suzanne, I'm impressed you have Wren on your family tree! Three-fourths of mine are endless centuries of stodgy German and Belgian bourgeois, and the remaining quarter consists largely of Native Americans mixed with people I do not admire.

Susan, I know what you mean about exploding family myths. My Tennessee grandmother was always so proud of her Southern heritage--evidently no one told her that her mother's four half-brothers all fought for the Union!

R.T. said...

I am impressed! I like the "then and now" perspectives. I must plan a London trip soon. Your books (as well as those by Colin Dexter, Martin Edwards, and others) will have me scouring the entire country for familiar sites. But until that trip, I must content myself with vicarious adventures, some of which get noted in my blog, Crimes in the Library (and -- BTW -- the door is always open to visitors).

Lynne said...

Suzanne and Susan - your stories are great! Who knew? Candy's comment about endless centuries of bourgeois Germans would be my story, along with quite a few bourgeois Italians as well. You girls each have great stories to share.

Suzanne said...

Susan, I am sure if you were able to trace your family tree way, way back you would find all sorts of famous people. In fact if you go back far enough we are probably related as one branch of my family come from Northern England too. In that area by the time the population were massacred first by William The Conqueror then Henry VIII, then had half of them wiped out by the plague in the 13th or 14th century the gene pool is pretty limited. Then there is the thing that the well to do had a higher survival rating as they tended to not lose whole families in famines and bad harvests.

There had always been the legend in Dad's family that we were descended from Sir Francis Drake. When Mum tracked the family tree it took ages to either prove or disprove that one. As it turned out we are descended from one of his brothers, so it was partly right. We had no idea about then Wrens until Mum and one of her Wren cousins managed to go back further than they thought they would be able to and found we are direct descendants. That was a huge surprise! There were some other not pleasant surprises as well but I guess that is part of the journey.

Susan J. said...

Suzanne: Sir Francis Drake as well, my goodness! Perhaps if I went back far enough I might find somebody famous. I was amazed when watching on TV the recent burial of Richard III's remains at Leicester Cathedral, that there were several Plantagenet descendents from all over the English speaking world there, including the Canadian carpenter they used to check the DNA against and who also crafted the beautiful coffin to hold the remains. What an amazing descovery that was, to find Richard in a Leicester car park!
Candy: I would be very proud to have Native American ancestors, do you know which tribe or tribes they were? I love reading about their spiritual practices, they seem to have much in common with the original Tibetan religion, before Buddhism, which has been incorporated into Tibetan Buddism.
Lynne: What's wrong with bourgeois Germans and Italians? My husband has German and Irish blood and I had a great grandmother who was Irish but had a Palentine name (the Palentine Germans were given land in Ireland in the late 17th century) so I may have a tiny bit of German blood also.

cs harris said...

RT, thank you. Some of the then and nows really are amazing

Lynne, I am actually amazed, given how far back my family has been traced (I have a cousin in Belgium who is a professional genealogist, and the same in Germany), that there was NO ONE of any interest in those lines. Lots of famous people in my grandmother's family tree, but no one cool I want to claim. They all make me go, Oh, no! I can't believe I'm descended from HIM/HER!

Suzanne, I think one thing genealogy teaches us is how related we all are. I'm always amazed at the way my family trees loops back around (which is a polite way of saying inbred). One of my couples were cousins more than a hundred times over. Yikes.

Susan, my grandmother's family were Cherokee, but I know very little about them because it was kept as a deep, dark secret. If your family has ties to the Palatinate, check out this site: http://www.birkenhoerdt.net/extra_pages/faq_english.php
They aim to document the genealogy of the Southern Palatinate and Bas-Rhin. They go into the churches, copy christening, birth, wedding, and death rolls, and have assembled a huge detailed database that is unusually accurate.

Lynne said...

The most fascinating thing in my maternal family tree is a great-great-great grandmother that we believe was the mistress of a duke and who lived with him as his housekeeper and had a few children, one from which my grandmother descended. That's the Italian side. No one on Dad's side ever did any genealogy but since my last name is Hess, which is just about the most common last name in Germany, it would be pretty tricky.
Susan - nothing wrong at all, just not terribly exciting. I am mostly Italian because I never knew my dad's family well and was raised with my Italian grandma near by. I love my Italian roots and am very much like my mom and grandma!

Suzanne said...

Lynne, we had the same problem tracking Mum's father's side. They are Irish and not only have a very common name but we aren't even sure that really is their name. They were illiterate when they came here back in the 1830s and it has several different spellings in the Australian records. Back in Ireland we got nowhere trying to trace them. It doesn't help that so many official records have been destroyed in various uprisings. On one of the other Irish branches we had success because they were rather notorious for nearly causing a breakup of the Irish Catholic church. My Great Aunt Mary would be turning in her grave if we had discovered that during her lifetime.

Susan, that doco about Richard III was really good. It just goes to show that with England's progeniture laws if you are come from the younger son of a younger son of a daughter and so on you can go from the aristocracy to the bourgeoise or the proletariat in a few centuries very easily. Rather like my lot did between the middle ages and the 19th century. That was why it was so surprising to find so many amazing historical figures in the family tree.

We have some native American Indians too. One of my father's great uncle's married into a family of Indian heritage from Canada. Isn't that amazing, we are all getting closer and closer!

Susan J. said...

Candy: How exciting to have Cherokee ancestry but how sad that your relatives felt the need to hide it. I read a book about a woman whose mother was Cherokee and she speaks of her mother's anguish when she went into a shop to be served and the man behind the counter looked at her with hatred. What a disgrace, when America has been her country, for generations, unlike the white upstart who dared to look down on her. It made my blood boil.
Thank you for the Palantine site details, I'll check it out, although so many records were destroyed in Ireland, I may not get anywhere.

Suzanne: I just remembered that I may have Australian relatives somewhere, I have a World War I photograph of my grandmother's cousins from Australia when they visited her during World War I. They're dressed in the uniform Australians wore then, with the wide hats and are standing near the Bishop's Palace gardens in Peterborough, Cambs. A place I ended up living in years later, strangely. I think their name was Beasley, I'll have to look into that!

Lynne: I love Italians, we had several lovely holidays there. I love the food, I often cook pasta meals with lashings of sun dried tomatoes and garlic, yummy!

Lynne said...

Susan, you're a good woman! Any pasta makes me happy! And the joke in my house when growing up was "Is there anything garlic can't be served with?" Well, maybe a few things...but not much.
Suzanne, I like the sound of the Irish side - lots of character!

cs harris said...

Lynne, how very neat about your daring greats-grandma! The only Italian I have is way, way back.

Suzanne, I have a lot of dead ends on my dad's side. What can you do with a "Jenny Smith"?! It's so frustrating.

Susan, I guess that's why they hid it. It's hard for us to understand now. I didn't discover it until after my father was dead, and I know he'd have been thrilled.

Susan J. said...

Lynne: Not sure if I'm very good! When we went to Italy, they had a lovely liquour called Strega which I loved. I like to cook pasta sauces in the slow cooker, so they really steep in the flavour and then re-heat next day, which seems to improve the flavour even more so.
Candy: What a shame your father never knew about his Cherokee roots.

Suzanne said...

Susan, I do that too. When I make soups, stews or pasta sauce I always cook it, then put the pot in the fridge for 24 hours before I either eat or freeze it. It makes so much difference to the flavour. It is also a good trick when you have guests because you can make the main course the day before when you have the time. I always do a desert that can be made the day before too. It really cuts down on stress. Last minute efficiency isn't something I do well, especially if people are hanging about in the kitchen talking to me.

Susan J. said...

Suzanne: Yes, I don't know why but re-heating next day always seems to improve pot meals.

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