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.
These are way too much fun. I might not have the family photo bug but I could look at these names for hours. Bishopsgate Street Within is my favorite. It’s so unexpected but something you’d never see over here.
It might not be quite what you prefer in the way of family photography, but have you ever checked out Awkward Family Photos?
I am so glad you didn’t tell me I’m hopeless! It’s nice to know I have company in my . . . er, hobby?
I wonder about the guy at the Foochow Club, too.
And yes, I have seen Awkward Family Photos. They are very very awkward. Hoo boy yes.
I think you might like this book:
It’s Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistelton Dyer (what a great name). There are a few cheaper versions, but this is what came up first.
I love that. I could have gone on with you all night. I think I want to live within. It’s kind of like a big secret. What is going within? At least you now know you aren’t alone in your oddness.
I *knew* I liked you, Carolyn! How I wish to be swept back in time to meet one Deputy of Hatherleigh, and he could spirit me away on the East African Royal Mail Steamer for a grand adventure. (I’d wear an *awesome* hat.)
I love that most people in England still name their houses. And the name gets to be their official address! So many of my friends over there have cool addresses. Town and village names can be amazing as well. One of my favorites, in Dorchester, is a village called Ryme Intrinsica. I want to live there just for the name!
That is very cool. Like you, I like looking at addresses and names and things.
I want to move to Tring.
Told you all that Carolyn would give you a creative blog!!
Oh, hear hear for awesome hats!
@JaneAusten: The book you mention is free for the Kindle App so I snatched it up. Wowza. That’s a fascinating book. Thanks for the link!
Yes, I would like to live at Tring, too. If I had to marry a Rothschild to do so, well, I would. In the name of science. Or something.
Glad I’m not the only one who likes looking at people’s vacation pics! I also enjoy looking at names in the phone book. I guess I’m easily amused.
And I wanna live in a house with a name! Maybe I need to find one for my place…
I got my copy for free for my Kindle, but didn’t know if you had the computer version or a kindle so didn’t link to it. Luckily the amazon page does. I do think it’s pretty neat. I have heard that during Victorian times people went through their families’ papers and blacked out the items they thought were too scandalous or perhaps too mundane. There’s a term for it, but I forget what it is.
It’s on Kindle, Jane???? Oh, HOORAY.
I love obscure stuff like this! I could sit and read it for hours. Some of my best inspiration has come from little known books and odd pieces of English history.
This is lovely stuff. I think I’ll give my house a name… no, names that fluctuate with the seasons, perhaps. The Icebox right now and The Bakehouse in the summer. Otherwise, I’d just have to call it The Catastrophe.
I like reading dictionaries, too. And the thesaurus. Also, there was a great list of smugglers and their occupations (other than smuggling) in a book I read a while ago.
Thanks for sharing your weird “stuff.”
I’m so sad I know that blacking out the names on documents is calle ‘redacting’.
Alison, I do know about redacting and I’m not sure if that’s what I’m thinking about. The term I was thinking about referred specifically to Victorian’s editing their family histories and papers. I learned it in an archive class and now just can’t remember it. But it could be redacting and I’m just making things up now 🙂
‘Within’ and ‘without’ just mean that the address was either inside or outside the old boundary of the city.
Anon: Thanks for the clarification. I figured it would be something like that.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by all the people who like reading through obscure things. Figure’s they’d be hanging out at a cool place like the Riskies.