Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The Victorian Photographic Society That Tried to Preserve ‘Old London’

Atlas Obscura: “In 1875, Alfred Marks learned he was about to lose an old friend. The Oxford Arms, north of St. Paul’s Cathedral, had spent centuries as a coaching inn, a place for travelers to stay while heading into or out of London. Then it had become a tenement house. It was, as Marks later wrote, “an excellent example of the galleried Inns”—rooming houses with interior balconies, so that visitors could take in stage shows and other entertainment—“now becoming every year more scarce.” Now, it was to be knocked down in order to make room for the expanding grounds of the Old Bailey courts next door. It’s a feeling familiar to contemporary city-dwellers: a beloved building bites the dust. Who hasn’t walked past a nearby edifice, learned that it’s doomed by construction, and mourned their changing environs? The next step is often to snap a photo, for whenever that shiny new condo takes its place. Back in the 1870s, Marks had a similar instinct. He lacked an iPhone, but his era provided its own resources: commercial photographers, long-lasting carbon-based ink, and—most importantly—a city full of potential subjects, structures that might soon suffer the same fate as the Oxford Arms…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.