Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone is having a bright and shiny January!
Back in the day, when I lived in Berkeley, California and did not have children or a car, I was within walking distance of some of the finest bookstores in the world. Meaning, Moe’s, Cody’s, Shakespeare and Company, the University of California Press, and the Holmes Bookstore (in Oakland.) Of those, Moe’s is, I believe, still open. Holmes was actually not really walking distance, it being about 1o miles from my house but I was poor and sometimes walked there on a weekend. Holmes was three stories of books, new on the ground floor, used on all the others. You can imagine the heaven that was.
I was able to pick up some very interesting, odd and useful books for my research library. And I made it a habit to always buy one (used) book about which I knew absolutely nothing. That’s where the odd portion of my library comes into play.
There’s a confession I need to make. A deep dark secret about Carolyn. I love me some weird sh*t. Vacation pictures. I LOVE looking at people’s vacation pictures. Old family photos, even if they’re not my family. The older the better. I get into looking at the way people are sitting, where they’re looking, how they’re arranged, the background, what they’re wearing etc and I love ephemera of all sorts. Give me a crate of really old papers and I am a happy girl.
My mind slips back to the past. What were the people saying right before they sat for that photo?
Please don’t let Uncle John smile like a dork.
Does this bustle make my butt look fat?
Are we done yet?
I wonder if I hid the ax well enough?
At any rate, one of my books is London City, Its History, Streets, Traffic, Buildings, People by W.J. Loftie, BA, FSA illustrated by W. Luker, Jr, from original drawings, engraved by Ch. Guillaume et Cie, Paris. The publication date is 1891.
One of the very interesting things about this book is the many many pages in the back that make up a List of Subscribers. Beginning with Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India.
I find I am fascinated by the way the Queen’s title is denoted. Another fascinating one is Field Marshall His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge
So many fascinating names, streets and locations:
Abbott, Saunders, Major-General, 2 Petersham Terrace, Queen’s Gate, S.W.
Abethell, Mrs. John, Muswell Hill, Horsney, N.
Abrahams, Joseph H., 93 The Grove, Camberwell, S.E.
Here’s a great name:
Angier, Theo. V.S., Walsingham House, Piccadilly, W.; The Woodlands, Thames Ditton; and 118 Bishopsgate Street Within, E.C.
Seriously. Angier. Is that a great name or what? And check out his addresses! Bishopsgate Street Within. Within sounds so completely dreamy. Like you would call on this guy and be admitted into this whole amazing house — within. With hidden stairs and desks with secret drawers.
Blanchworth Poultry Farm Company, Dursley, Gloustershire.
Brand, H. Shelley, Foochow Club, Foochow China.
Now tell me, Harry Potter aside, don’t you agree Dursley is a great name for a village?
How about this one:
Dadwell, Deputy F., C.C. 51 Bishopsgate Street Without, E.C.
Perhaps Deputy F. Dadwell stands guard over the Angiers Within? And here’s two addresses that should be familiar to Regency England:
Hubbard, Henry Lainson, 76 Upper Berkeley Street, Portman Square, W.
James, Coram, 45 Wigmore Street, Cavendish Square, W. I had a character in a book of mine who lived almost exactly here! Mr. Coram James had some serious money.
Croix, Madam La, Lymington
Ah, Madam La Croix! Just what are you up to?
Who, pray tell, is C.W. Dalbiac, Swandean, Kent.? That last name is teh awesome.
Jacob, Charles J., The Library, Basingstoke. He lives in a library?
Rothschild, Lord, Tring Park, Tring. Oooh. That just freaking gives me chills.
Here’s a name to make you think: Rubenstein, Mrs. Belle, 56 West Cromwell Road, South Kensington, S.W.
Just down the street from Mr. Angier:
S.S. “Scot,” Union Line, Cape of Good Hope, Natal, and East African Royal Mail Steamer; Offices, South African House, 94-96 Bishopsgate Street Within, E.C.
Scott, Miss, 30 Cumberland Terrace, Regent’s Park, N.W.
Scott, Sydney C., Hatherleigh, The Avenue, Gipsy Hill, S.E.
Thonger, Charles W., 22 De Grey Road, Leeds. De Gray Road. Imagine living on De Gray Road.
Threfall, Thomas, 19 Holland Park, W.
Wardleworth, T.R., 18 and 18A Brown Street, Manchester
Welter, H., 59 Rue Bonaparte, Paris.
Winfield, Samuel Henry, The Hall, Stoke Ferry, Norfolk
The sad thing is (for you guys) is I could peruse this list all night long.
Still, I do believe it’s aimless trolling like this that gives a writer’s brain ideas. Addresses that have just the right flavor. Names that aren’t so obviously ENGLISH that you want to cringe, and yet, English.
It’s a sickness. But I don’t mind much.