“Don’t swear, Jerry, and don’t bleed in the sink…”*

*Penelope Keith’s Margo, in the TV comedy The Good Life, written by Bob Larbey and John Esmonde.

Al Pacino as Shylock, John Sessions as Salerio, Gregor Fisher as Solanio, in the 2004 film of The Merchant of Venice.

From William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (1600):

Act 3 Scene 1:


Why, I am sure if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh. What’s that good for?


To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what’s the reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example?Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”

…the essence of vulnerability. (In the UK, the Department of Health considers a person vulnerable if they are unable to look after themselves, protect themselves from harm or exploitation or are unable to report abuse.)

In the USA, Brené Brown now attracts the epithet of “vulnerable leadership advocate”, and her hugely popular TEDx talk on “the power of vulnerability” is used in corporate trainings. To my ear, the expression carries a tone of “barefoot doctor/wounded healer/servant king”.

I turned to the webpage Indeed for employers for its “7 Examples of Vulnerable Leadership”:

1. Apologize when you’re wrong 2. Share new or different ideas 3. Discuss sensitive matters 4. Set and respect boundaries 5. Don’t expect perfection 6. Get to know your employees 7. Call out inappropriate behavior.

They give as an example of a boundary (quite literally, in this example, a door), “asking employees to knock before entering”. I think you can even buy a sign.

Under “Get to know your employees” is this gem:

“If you notice an employee has a photo on their desk, offer a genuine compliment, such as, “I’m impressed that you managed to get three kids to look at the camera at once. My kids never seem to do that!” Bring in cake for the office if you just got engaged, or show off pics of your new grandbaby when your team isn’t busy.”

For some reason, a moment from Father Ted (written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews) comes to mind:

Father Ted: Dougal, you know you can praise God in other ways.
Father Dougal: Oh yeah, like that time you told me I could praise him just by leaving the room.
Father Ted: Yes, that was a good one all right.”

The Crown, 116 Cloudesley Road, Islington, London N1

From: Clerkenwell & Islington Pubs (2017), by Johnny Homer:

“Plans for the development of the Cloudesley Estate, named after Tudor mover and shaker Richard Cloudesley, who once owned much land locally, were first mooted in 1812. Cloudesley Place came first with Cloudesley Square laid out in 1825, dominated by Sir James Barry’s Holy Trinity Church, which owes more than a passing nod to King’s College, Cambridge, and does rather overshadow all around it.

“Cloudesley Square was begun in 1825 by carpenter John Emmett, who leased land from the Cloudesley Estate and built along the Liverpool Road from 1824 to 1826. A hexagonal railed garden at the centre of the square surrounds Holy Trinity Church by Sir Charles Barry, built 1826-29, the third of his Islington churches. The square is named after 16th-century landowner Richard Cloudesley, who gave land to the church. The church’s stained glass east window of 1828 shows Cloudesley kneeling. Holy Trinity was the district church until the 1850s, when it was replaced by St Andrew’s at Thornhill Crescent.” (London Gardens Trust) https://www.cloudesleycentre.org

Cloudesley Road followed a little later and there are records of a hostelry, probably where today’s Crown is sited, certainly as early as 1837. The current building dates from the late nineteenth century. It’s a modest but elegant affair and one of north London’s finest surviving examples of a largely intact late Victorian public house. It was Grade II listed in 1994.”

From the Historic England entry:

“Public house. Late C19. Yellow brick set in Flemish bond with dressings of red brick, stone and terracotta; roof obscured by parapet. Three storeys over basement, four windows to Cloudesley Road and three to Cloudesley Square, which are the principal fronts. In the ‘Queen Anne’ style. Ground-floor pub frontage framed by Corinthian pilasters of grey and pink polished granite. Two entrances in Cloudesley Square, flat-arched with small scrolled pediments over, that to the right no longer used, that to the left having panelled doors and glass engraved ‘SALOON BAR’;

chamfered corner entrance with scrolled pediment

“a corner entry door under a decorative chamfer, which offers protection for the doorway while negotiating the full corner above” (Coleman Architecture)

and double panelled doors engraved ‘THE CROWN’; entrance in Cloudesley Road altered; flat-arched windows between above panelled plinth, the lower panels of the windows and small toplights having engraved glass; fascia and dentil cornice; red brick quoins to upper floors; first-floor windows segmental-arched with heads of gauged red brick under a linking cornice, while those to the second floor have aprons, sill band and flat-arched heads all of gauged red brick; frieze of gauged red brick with festoons in terracotta panels; dentil cornice; external stack to Cloudesley Square with ogee profile and panels of red herringbone brick; parapet.

The interior has features which could be of late C19 or early C20 date, notably panelled dado, panels and frieze of moulded and glazed tile, relief-moulded ceiling,

island bar front

and glazed screens;

but they may be replacement designs in whole or part.”

“it relies upon the experiential process of art rather than upon statement; its strategy is primarily imaginative”

Image: “Author Christopher L. Hodapp asserts in his book The Templar Code for Dummies that Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, is one of the possible locations of the Holy Grail, because it is close to the monastery that housed the Nanteos Cup.(Wikipedia)

From: Signs for the Times – Symbolic Realism in the Mid-Victorian World (1984), by Chris Brooks:

“For both Dickens and Carlyle, symbolic realism was not only a way of representing the world but, simultaneously, also a way of guaranteeing the imaginative authority of such a representation. By asserting the presence of a semantic scheme in the very stuff of experienced reality Carlyle and Dickens sought to obviate the subjective basis of their interpretative models. Meaning was not, as it was for the Romantics, an interpretative structure generated from the self’s engagement with the non-self, but a structure that had objective existence in, and on the same terms as, material reality. The quest for an authority beyond the self, for the healing magic of certitude, was a constant element in the development of Victorian thought. The most obvious form in which it expressed itself was religious: Newman’s progress from the liberal theology of Oriel under Whately, to the High Anglicanism of the Oxford Movement, to the principium et fons of authority, Rome itself, is paradigmatic. Precisely the same quest could find the Grail totally elsewhere, in the narrow fundamentalism of Protestant dissent, in the no less dogmatic atheism of a man like Charles Bradlaugh. The need for spiritual authority has secular parallels, in the doctrinaire formulations of Utilitarianism and political economists: Coketown is all ‘fact’; how reassuringly final is the Iron Law of Wages!…

[“According to Alexander Gray, Ferdinand Lassalle “gets the credit of having invented” the phrase the “iron law of wages”, as Lassalle wrote about “das eiserne und grausame Gesetz” (the iron and cruel law). According to Lassalle, wages cannot fall below subsistence wage level because without subsistence, laborers will be unable to work. However, competition among laborers for employment will drive wages down to this minimal level. This follows from Malthus’ demographic theory, according to which population rises when wages are above the “subsistence wage” and falls when wages are below subsistence.” (Wikipedia)]

…The quest for authority finds aesthetic expression, as subsequent chapters will show, in the work of Ruskin and in the architectural theories of Pugin and the Ecclesiologists. Ironically – and inevitably – the proliferation of final solutions rendered the quest simultaneously more urgent and more impossible of resolution. “The age was learning, but it had not mastered, the lesson that truth lies not in the statement but in the process: it had a childlike craving for certitude, as if the natural end of every refuted dogma was to be replaced by another dogma.” (G.M. Young, 1934). The symbolic realism of Carlyle and, even more, of Dickens retains its currency for us where other Victorian solutions to doubt do not precisely because it relies upon the experiential process of art rather than upon statement; its strategy is primarily imaginative, remaking the very world that it also seeks to explain. As conscious as his contemporaries of the need for answers to doubt and confusion, Matthew Arnold adopted a different strategy, but one that gives an important perspective upon symbolic realism and – because of the terms upon which, it seems to me, it fails – serves to highlight the particular achievement of Carlyle’s and Dickens’s fusion of the real and the symbolic.”

“decorative elements, such as the coats of arms of the provincial cities where the Prudential had its offices, were not inspired by Gothic”

Above: Holborn Bars, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1, built between 1876 and 1901.

*from: “A Sense of Security: 150 Years of Prudential” (1998), by Laurie Dennett

“The Tudor rose was adopted by Henry VII as England’s emblem of peace at the end of the War of the Roses, the civil wars between the royal house of Lancashire, who wore a red rose, and the royal house of York, who wore white.” (Funny How Flowers Do That)
“The crest (on the badge below) is from the 1899 Anglo-Australia team although this name is slightly misleading as the team was in fact a British representative side that toured Australia…The final logo at the bottom of the badge is a pair of crossed leeks, a national emblem of Wales.” (World Rugby Museum) “Although the daffodil has been associated with Wales since the 19th century, the leek pre-dates it as a national symbol by thousands of years.” (History Extra)
“Ireland’s association with the shamrock grew from the 18th century onwards, in a similar way to other associations like a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland and a daffodil for Wales. It is said that, as part of his missionary work, Saint Patrick used a shamrock. Explaining the Holy Trinity – where God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one god – Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a metaphor – which has three leaves in one leaf.” (Europeana)
“The thistle was adopted as the Emblem of Scotland during the reign of Alexander III (1249 – 1286).” (Susanna Moodie)

Parish boundary markers on the former Clark’s Place, Islington, London N1

From the Running the Northern Heights blog:

“…a building originally known as No. 1 Clark’s Place (it is now No. 1 Upper Street) that was built in 1784. There is a small plaque to this effect between the first and second floors facing Islington High Street…

“CLARK’S PLACE, Islington High St. Also Clarke’s Place. Changed to part of Upper Street between 1856 and 1859. After then, nos 1-7 Upper Street.” (Streets with a Story)

…You may also notice the words ‘Halifax Building Society’ (see main image) engraved at the top of this building – these were added at some point in the 20th century as it was a pawn shop until the early 20th century.

The distinctive roofline of No. 1 Clark’s Place can be recognised in old pictures of the toll booth that stood nearby…This toll booth used to control the traffic passing between Islington High Street and Upper Street/ Liverpool Road. As one of the final sections of the Great North Road, this section of road has been a major thoroughfare for centuries. It is now cars and lorries, but in days gone by cattle drovers coming down Liverpool Road en route to Smithfield market would have mixed with coaches coming up and down Upper Street to and from the City…”

From the website Caroline’s Miscellany:

“This St Mary Islington parish marker, near the junction of Upper Street and Liverpool Road, is unusual for listing the churchwardens who placed it there. One of these made his mark on the local landscape in other ways, too.

James Wagstaff was a local property developer, involved in building projects around Canonbury and Highbury Crescent. He lived in Highbury Lodge and, despite his role in shaping the area, was listed in several sources as ‘gentleman’ or ‘esquire’. However, a more realistic insight into his professional life is given by an 1847 theft case. As the victim, he gave evidence of how

I am a surveyor—I live in Albion-terrace, Canonbury-square, lslington—I have a yard at the back of my premises, where I keep building materials—I know this kitchen range, it is mine—I lost it from my yard three or four days before I was before the magistrate, which was on the 19th of Feb.—my yard is enclosed by a wall—the gates are kept locked…

His fellow churchwardens have left less obvious trace, although John Shadgett lived in Liverpool Road and was also a ‘gentleman’.Their appointment as churchwardens was itself a confirmation of their social status.”

“The French Revolution began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799.” (Wikipedia)

Image: “Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and statesman who became one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage and the abolition of both clerical celibacy and slavery.”

From: Signs for the Times – Symbolic Realism in the Mid-Victorian World (1984), by Chris Brooks:

“The Source for A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is, as Dickens’s preface acknowledges, Carlyle’s The French Revolution, and the indebtedness goes deeper than narrative incident or historical detail. Carlyle’s transcendental reading of history and his subsequent typological method jointly lie behind the imaginative strategies employed in Dickens’s novel. In A Tale of Two Cities, as in most historical novels, actual past events are integrated with a fictional plot, but, unlike most historical novels, the resultant narrative is presented as a semantic structure, symbolic in nature and divine in content. The parallel with Carlyle’s interpretation of the French Revolution is striking. Far more than simply adventitious, however, Dickens’s adoption – and, as will become evident, adaption of a Carlylean method is a logical outcome of his whole imaginative evolution. With the development I have traced through the novels – from symbolic realism, through exemplification, to the Christian transcendentalism and symbolism of fabric in Little Dorrit – it seems inevitable that A Tale of Two Cities should depict the world in terms of two distinct though interpenetrating levels of reality. The one level is mundane, man as the creature of society and history; the other is transcendental, man under the regimen of the divine. The historically real and fictionally realist episodes of the novel are set within an eschatological frame: human time, “these days when it is mostly winter in fallen latitudes’ (I, 10, p. 123), is bracketed between “the days when it was always summer in Eden’ (ibid.) and the day when “the ocean is…to give up its dead’ (II, 2, p. 59). Just as, for the Christian, the central fact of history is Christ, so also the narrative of A Tale of Two Cities is governed by a Christological myth: Dickens’s historico-realist novel about the French Revolution is also, and co-extensively, a symbolic novel about resurrection.”

“In my paper Mary Wollstonecraft’s Principles Mirrored in Dickens’s Great Expectations, I describe how Mary Wollstonecraft’s feminist principles from A Vindication of the Rights of Women are evident in Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations. Despite being published almost seventy years after Vindication, Great Expectations is filled with examples of how issues brought up in Wollstonecraft’s treatise were still relevant in the mid-Victorian period. Described as the “quintessential Victorian novelist” Dickens published Great Expectations during a time when feminist issues were gaining traction, and the novel is especially well placed to reflect the attitudes and issues of the time. In my paper, I explore feminist issues in education, economic activity, and marriage relationships as reflected in the female characters of Great Expectations. I particularly focus on how the characters of Miss Havisham, Estella, and Mrs. Gargery show the consequences of maintaining traditional female stereotypes and standards. In contrast, the character of Biddy portrays the positive effects of improved female education. These depictions of women in Dickens’s novel illustrate that Wollstonecraft’s principles and theories had been incorporated in British culture and reflect their relevance in Victorian times.” (David M. Runnells)

“A tough little man, who had carried a cutthroat razor in his top pocket while building his fairground and exhibition business before the war”*

*Andrew Marr, in “A History of Modern Britain” (2009).

Image: Grey seals only started breeding on the Lincolnshire coast in the 1970s.

From Wikipedia:

“In 1914, Billy Butlin was living in Toronto with his mother and stepfather, when he left school and began working for Eatons department store. According to Butlin, one of the best aspects of working for the company was that he was able to visit their summer camp which gave him an idea of what was to become a very big part of his life.

The onset of World War I led to his leaving Eatons and enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force serving in Europe, but seeing little if any action. After the war, Butlin returned to England where he used some of his last £5 (2011:£189.00) to purchase a stall in his uncle Marshall Hill’s travelling fair.

As a showman, Butlin ultimately created his own travelling fair. Butlin soon had fixed fairground sites as well as his travelling fair – the first was at Olympia in London outside Bertram Mills’ Circus. In 1925, he opened a set of fairground stalls in Barry Island, Wales where he observed the way landladies in seaside resorts would (sometimes literally) push families out of the lodgings between meals, and began to nurture the idea of a holiday camp similar to the one he had attended whilst an employee at Eatons.

In 1927, Butlin leased a piece of land from the Earl of Scarbrough by the seaside town of Skegness, where he set up an amusement park with hoopla stalls, a tower slide, a haunted house ride and, in 1928, a miniature railway and Dodgem cars—these were the first bumper cars in Britain, as Butlin had an exclusive license to import them.

During the early 1930s, Butlin joined the board of Harry Warner’s holiday camp company (now Warner Leisure Hotels) and in 1935 he observed the construction of Warner’s holiday camp in Seaton, Devon. Butlin learned from the experience of Warner, and employed the workers who had constructed the Seaton camp to come to Lincolnshire to build his new camp at Skegness.

One of Butlin’s original chalets preserved and listed in Skegness
Construction began on 4 September 1935; the local paper reported the first sod had been turned. Butlin designed the camp himself and said of the camp, “my plans were for 1,000 people in 600 chalets with electricity, running water, 250 bathrooms, dining and recreational halls. A theatre, a gymnasium, a rhododendron bordered swimming pool with cascades at both ends and a boating lake.” However, Butlin hired the architect Harold Ridley Hooper, to draw up the formal plans for the camp buildings. In the camp’s landscaped grounds, there were to be tennis courts, bowling and putting greens and cricket pitches. The total cost of the project was £100,000 (2011:£5.7 million) and despite having suffered a financial shortfall during construction, the camp opened on schedule in 1936. One of the original 1936 chalet accommodation units is still present and is now a grade II listed building, recognising its historical significance.

He opened his camp on 11 April 1936 (Easter Even). It was officially opened by Amy Johnson from Hull, who had been the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. An advertisement costing £500 (2011:£28,000) was placed in the Daily Express, announcing the opening of the camp and inviting the public to book for a week’s holiday. The advertisement offered holidays with three meals a day and free entertainment with a week’s full board, at a cost of between 35 shillings (£1.75) and £3 (2011:£167.00), according to the time of year. The advert proved successful, and over the first summer season the capacity of the camp had to be increased from 500 to 2,000, to cope with the demand.

When the camp opened, Butlin realised that his guests were not engaging with activities in the way he had envisioned, as most kept to themselves, and others looked bored. He asked Norman Bradford (who was engaged as an engineer constructing the camp) to take on the duty of entertaining the guests which he did with a series of ice breakers and jokes. By the end of the night, the camp was buzzing. From that point on, entertainment was the most significant element of Butlin’s and Bradford became the first of the Butlin’s Redcoats. That night Butlin decided that for his camp to work he would require an army of people to carry out the same job as Bradford, and the role of Redcoat was created.

In 1938, Butlin gained the contract to supply amusements to the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow. After the exhibition was complete, Butlin returned with some of the infrastructure. His Clacton camp and Sheerness amusement park each received miniature railways, while Skegness received a building in the shape of the “Butlin theatre” which was later renamed the “Gaiety”.

Butlin continued to increase the capacity of the camp until 3 September 1939 when the Second World War was declared. The next morning, the campers were sent home and the site was taken over by the Royal Navy for use as a training facility.

Once the Navy took over, the camp became known as HMS Royal Arthur and was used to train sailors for the war effort. In order to operate as a military base, many of the bright external colours were overpainted, the dance hall became an armoury, and the rose beds were dug up, to become sites for air raid shelters.

While the outside was repainted, much of the interior décor continued unchanged. Speaking of his time there, George Melly reported that Royal Arthur had “a certain architectural frivolity inappropriate to a Royal Navy Shore Establishment.” Melly mentioned how the main reception still had a sky scene with clouds painted on the ceiling and a large artificial (though realistic) tree in the centre of it. He also observed that their meals were served from an approximation of an Elizabethan inn named “Ye Olde Pigge and Whistle”.

By the end of the conflict, the camp had survived in a condition requiring only 6 weeks for wartime damage to be repaired and enabled Butlin to reopen the camp to the public on 11 May 1946. After reopening, some signs of military occupation remained with it being observed the blankets supplied to campers still had the insignia of HMS Royal Arthur.”

“(Presenter EA) hosted The Eamonn Andrews Show on ITV for five years. He was known for coming up with off-the-cuff linkings that did not work, such as: “Speaking of cheese sandwiches, have you come far?” This was parodied by the character Seamus Android on Round the Horne in the 1960s, performed by Bill Pertwee.”

“all the nerves and tentacles of his mind began to stir again”

From: The Shrimp and the Anemone (1944), by L.P. Hartley:

“Eustace gave an automatic smile. His quandary had eaten so far into him that it seemed to have passed out of reach of his conscious mind: and the notion of telling anyone about it no longer occurred to him. As well might a person with cancer hope to obtain relief by discussing it with his friends.

This paralysis of the emotions had one beneficial result–it gave Eustace an excellent night, but next day, the dreaded Wednesday, it relaxed its frozen hold, and all the nerves and tentacles of his mind began to stir again, causing him the most exquisite discomfort. Lessons were some help; he could not give his mind to them, but they exacted from him a certain amount of mechanical concentration. At midday he was free. He walked down to the beach without speaking to Hilda; he felt that she was someone else’s sister. Meanwhile a dialogue began to take place within him. There was a prosecutor and an apologist, and the subject of their argument was Eustace’s case. He listened. The apologist spoke first- indeed, he spoke most of the time.

“Eustace has always been a very good boy. He doesn’t steal or tell lies, and he nearly always does what he is told. He is helpful and unselfish. For instance, he took Miss Fothergill for a ride though he didn’t want to, and she asked him to tea, so of course he said he would go, though he was rather frightened.” “He must be a bit of a funk,” said the prosecutor, “to be afraid of a poor old lady.” “Oh no, not really. You see she was nearly half a lion, and a witch as well, and mad too, so really it was very brave of him to say he would go. But it kept him awake at night and he didn’t complain and bore it like a hero…” “What about his sister?” said the prosecutor. “Didn’t he ask her to come to bed early, because he was frightened? That wasn’t very brave.” “Oh, but she always thinks of what’s good for him, so naturally she didn’t want him to be frightened. Then he went to the dancing class and danced with a girl called Nancy Steptoe because she asked him to, though she is very pretty and all the boys wanted her to dance with them. And he danced very well and then they talked and she said Miss Fothergill was a witch and not quite all there, and tried to frighten him. And at last she asked him to go with her for a paper-chase instead of having tea with Miss Fothergill. But he said, ‘No, I have given my promise.’ He was an extremely brave boy to resist temptation like that. And Nancy said, ‘Then I shan’t speak to you again’, and he said ‘I don’t care’.”

At this point the prosecutor intervened violently, but Eustace contrived not to hear what he said. He was conscious of a kind of mental scuffle, in the course of which the prosecution seemed to be worsted and beaten off the field, for the apologist took up his tale uninterrupted.

“Of course Eustace could never have broken a promise because it is wrong to, besides Hilda wouldn’t like it. Naturally he was sorry to disappoint Nancy, especially as she said she was relying on him and the paper-chase couldn’t happen without him. But if he had gone he would have had to deceive Hilda and Minney and everyone, and that would have been very wicked. Eustace may have made mistakes but he has never done anything wrong and doesn’t mean to. And now he’s not afraid of going to see Miss Fothergill: as he walks to her house with Minney he’ll feel very glad he isn’t being a hare with Nancy. For one thing he is delicate and it would have been a strain on his heart.

“When he got to Miss Fothergill he told her about Nancy and she said ‘I’m so glad you came here instead. I like little boys who
keep their word and don’t tell lies and don’t deceive those who
love them. If you come a little nearer, Eustace, I’ll let you see my
hand–no one has ever seen it before–I’m going to show it to you
because I like you so much. Don’t be frightened…”

The reverie ceased abruptly. Eustace looked round, they had reached the site of the pond. It was a glorious day, though there was a bank of cloud hanging over the Lincolnshire coast.”

From http://www.nhs.uk:

“Symptoms of dissociative disorder can vary but may include:

  • feeling disconnected from yourself and the world around you
  • forgetting about certain time periods, events and personal information
  • feeling uncertain about who you are
  • having multiple distinct identities
  • feeling little or no physical pain

Dissociation is a way the mind copes with too much stress.

Periods of dissociation can last for a relatively short time (hours or days) or for much longer (weeks or months).

It can sometimes last for years, but usually if a person has other dissociative disorders.

Many people with a dissociative disorder have had a traumatic event during childhood.

They may dissociate and avoid dealing with it as a way of coping with it.”

81–84 Clapham Common West Side, London SW4

From a Draft Chapter 17 of the Survey of London:

“81–84 Clapham Common West Side (with Beechwood and Maisonette, demolished)
This is the only group of late-Georgian houses to have survived on the west side of the common, and as such is an important reminder of the area’s heyday as a high-class suburb. All four were built in the 1790s on land belonging to the family of Thomas Bond (d.1776), the Lambeth timber merchant who had built himself a large residence here around 1766. He seems to have had no family connection with Benjamin Bond (d.1783), the prosperous Turkey merchant who lived in a mansion on the common’s south side at about the same time.

In 1765 Bond took a lease of a house with about nine acres of ground at the common’s north-west corner, promising to spend £500 on building a new one. This was the mansion later known as Front Hall or Maisonette, where Bond resided until December 1775, shortly before his death, when he leased it to William Vassall, newly arrived with his large family from Boston. A West Indian by birth, from an old East London family of adventurers and settlers, Vassall had been forced to flee Massachusetts on the outbreak of war with England in order to maintain communication with his Jamaican sugar plantations, his sole source of income. His new house was well-appointed, fitted up with statuary and chimneypieces of Sienna marble. Vassall thought it ‘very comfortable desent & Commodious’, and, though homesick, seemed happy with life at Clapham Common except for the high cost of food—‘it is the most expensive & excessively dear place to live in that is in the whole World’, he wrote.

In 1792 Bond’s descendants agreed with the builder-developer James Burton and William Hughes of Clapham to let the remaining ground south of Maisonette for building. Burton had recently become familiar with the area, having taken lodgings here in 1791 in the hope of improving the poor health of his daughter Emily (she died shortly afterwards), and by the next year had bought a ‘cottage’ at Wandsworth Common, which he altered for his own use at considerable expense. Hughes was also involved in property on the south side of Clapham Common. He and Burton had collaborated some four or five years earlier, building houses on the north side of Newgate Street in the City, in 1787–8, on part of the site of the old gate and prison.

Together they were responsible for erecting the present 81–84 Clapham Common West Side between about 1792 and 1796, though Burton seems to have withdrawn from the partnership by 1794 in order to concentrate his resources on developing the Foundling Hospital estate in Bloomsbury, leaving Hughes to complete the contract. Given its close relationship to the other four, a larger, detached house at the south end of Bond’s land, first occupied c.1795–6 by George Pinder and later known as Beechwood, may also have been by Burton and Hughes.

Though style and planning vary between the four surviving houses, it is evident that they were built as a speculative group. All are faced in the same pale golden-brown stock brick, with minimal dressings, and all have prominent double-height bows or bays at the rear, to afford views over the long gardens. Also, shared pedimented coach-houses and stable- blocks were built spanning the boundary walls between Beechwood and No. 81,

and between Nos 82 and 83, the latter surviving.

No. 84, being the fifth house in the sequence, missed out, and so had its own neoclassical stable- block built at the end of the rear garden (which also survives), with a driveway ranged along the side of the plot.

Two of the houses (Nos 81 & 82) were built as a semi-detached pair,

the others as detached residences, and generally were of two storeys, with basements and dormers (though the attics at No. 82 have since been made into a third floor). No. 83, a larger, three-storey house, may once have been similar; but if its full upper storey is an addition, it cannot be much later in date, going by the roof structure above. This is also the only house to have a veranda to the rear—a picturesque addition of cast iron with a tented canopy. A little movement was given to the otherwise plain elevations: Nos 81 & 82 share a central recess, whereas at No. 83 the centre breaks forward. Nos 81–83 seem always to have had their entrance doors and hallways ranged to one side, though the present Ionic porches are later additions, probably of the 1840s or 50s, when alterations are known to have been made to several of the West Side houses.

The staircase balustrade at No. 83, though Georgian in style, is probably of similar vintage.

No. 84 is the only one of the group always to have had a more symmetrical plan with a central entrance and hall, which retains some original decoration. Its northernmost bay and semi-circular ground-floor window are later additions, also of the mid nineteenth century.

No. 83 was the first to be completed, in 1793–4, while Burton was still actively involved, and must have been the ‘neat modern built House and Offices’ at Clapham Common ‘now finishing’ that he advertised in the press in March 1793. By April 1794 it was in the occupation of James Jopp, a Lombard Street merchant with connections to the Jamaica trade through a related company there (Bagle & Jopp). Jopp remained until 1796 or 1798, and was followed, from c.1799, by George Hyde Wollaston, a merchant and banker formerly based in Genoa. He and his wife resided at No. 83 until their return to Italy in 1802, though they came back to Clapham Common shortly afterwards, to live at Beechwood.

The pair at Nos 81 & 82 was first occupied around 1796–7. No. 82 was later the London home of Sir Charles Trevelyan, the colonial administrator, in 1841–3, then recently appointed assistant secretary to the Treasury. Trevelyan was connected to the Clapham Sect milieu through his wife, Hannah More Macaulay, daughter of Zachary Macaulay. He then moved to No. 84 and was succeeded at No. 82 from c.1847 to c.1869 by Sarah and Mary Anne Hibbert, daughters of William Hibbert and nieces of George Hibbert, slave factors and West India merchants, both of whom resided at Clapham Common; George especially was an active and vocal opponent of Wilberforce’s reforms.

During their stay the Misses Hibbert built the Hibbert almshouses in Wandsworth Road (1859), in memory of their father. No. 84 was the last house to be finished and occupied, in 1798.

Other residents include: Beechwood, G. H. Wollaston (c.1804–40); Field Marshal Sir George Pollock (1854–72), hero of the Khyber Pass and relief of Jalalabad; No. 81, Adelina Patti, opera singer (1875); Herbert Shelley Bevington, leather and fur merchant (1896–1926); No. 82, Charles Andreae, German cotton merchant (1869–89), who gave it the name Frankfort House; No. 83, Thomas Wood, City merchant, stockbroker and auctioneer (c.1803–33); Edward I’Anson, architect (c.1845–7); Sir William Augustus Fraser, Bart, MP, politician and author (c.1878–98), who named it Leannach Lodge; No. 84, Richard Thornton, wealthy Baltic trader (c.1815–28); Sir James Mackintosh, historian and statesman (c.1829–31); Charles Trevelyan (1843–7); Maisonette, John Peter Gaubert, merchant, director of the Ouglitch Paper Mill, Upper Volga (c.1850–8); Cam Sykes, husband of Emily Thornton, Marianne Thornton’s niece (1859–61).

Beechwood was demolished c.1899 for new housing in and around Culmstock Road; Maisonette was purchased in 1858 by Henry Sykes Thornton of Battersea Rise House, with which it was demolished in 1908. Encroaching lower middle-class development robbed the surviving large houses of their allure, and after 1900 most succumbed to institutional use; doctors’ surgeries were popular in the early 1900s. In 1907 No. 83 became Carlyle College, a private preparatory music school for girls (also later at Glenelg, see below), and was subsequently converted to flats. No. 84, also known as Western Lodge, has been in use as a hostel for homeless poor men since 1931. A chapel was added in 1932, to designs by Elgood & Hastie.

No. 81 was converted to a motor garage (West Side Garage) at about the same time, and until relatively recently had unsightly lock-ups strewn about its rear garden.

But since the mid 1990s the area has experienced an influx of wealth and renewed interest in such properties as single-family residences, and Nos 81–83 have been restored with some sensitivity. The re-conversion at No. 83, the biggest of the sites, was carried out in 2009–11 by the classical experts Robert Adam Architects for the multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist Michael Hintze, and includes a new garage at the front of the house (in a style intended to complement the original stable blocks) and an indoor swimming-pool and gymnasium block in the rear grounds.”

“Circa 1796 with alterations. Three storeys and basement. Three windows wide. Grey brick with stone bands between the floors, stone cornice and blocking course. Centre bay projects and has tripartite windows. Rendered closed Doric porch, above stone steps between abutments. Garden elevation has centre 3-window splayed bay and raised ground floor verandah with iron balustrade and tented canopy. Interior has some contemporary features. Brick pedimented coach house on south boundary, now altered, connected to house.” (Historic England)