London History

.’. Cholera outbreak in Soho .’.

The 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak was a severe outbreak of cholera that occurred near Broad Street (now renamed Broadwick Street) in Soho district of London, England in 1854. This outbreak is best known for John Snow’s study of the outbreak and his discovery that cholera is spread by contaminated water.

In the mid-19th century, the Soho district of London had a serious problem with filth due to the large influx of people and a lack of proper sanitary services. Many cellars (basements) had cesspools of nightsoil underneath their floorboards. Since the cesspools were overrunning, the London government decided to dump the waste into the River Thames. This action contaminated the water supply, leading to the cholera outbreak.

On 31 August 1854, after several other outbreaks had already occurred elsewhere in the city, a major outbreak of cholera struck Soho. John Snow, the physician who linked the outbreak to contaminated water, later called it “the most terrible outbreak of cholera which ever occurred in the United Kingdom.”

Over the next three days 127 people on or near Broad Street died. In the next week, three quarters of the residents had fled the area. By 10 September, 500 people had died and the mortality rate was 12.8 percent in some parts of the city. By the end of the outbreak 616 people had died.

By talking to local residents (with the help of Reverend Henry Whitehead), he identified the source of the outbreak as the public water pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street).[1] Although Snow’s chemical and microscope examination of a sample of the Broad Street pump water was not able to conclusively prove its danger, his studies of the pattern of the disease were convincing enough to persuade the local council to disable the well pump by removing its handle. Although this action has been popularly reported as ending the outbreak, the epidemic may have already been in rapid decline, as explained by Snow himself:

There is no doubt that the mortality was much diminished, as I said before, by the flight of the population, which commenced soon after the outbreak; but the attacks had so far diminished before the use of the water was stopped, that it is impossible to decide whether the well still contained the cholera poison in an active state, or whether, from some cause, the water had become free from it.


London History

.’. Jeremy Bentham .’.

Known for many years as the “Lord Wellington” it is still frequently referred to as the “Welly Bar” by many of the academics and local residents. Renamed in October 1982 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Jeremy Bentham who is recognized as the spiritual founder of the University College London. The myth that he was the founder is sustained in a bizarre manner by the College.

Jeremy Bentham was born in 1748 at Spitalfields, London and was reportedly as a child prodigy, as a toddler he read a multi-volume of the history of England and at the age of three he began to study Latin.
He attended Westimenster School and, in 1760 at age 12, was sent by his father to The Queen’s College Oxford where he took his Bachelor’s degree in 1763 and his Master’s degree in 1766.

As requested in his will, Bentham’s body was dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture. Afterward, the skeleton and head were preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet called the “Auto-icon” and it is normally kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the college.

His “Auto-Icon” as he called it, is in fact his skeleton, dressed in his own clothes and topped with wax model of his head.

His actual head is mummified and kept in the College vaults. It is brought out for meetings of the College council and he is recorded as being present but not voting. Above the bar can be seen a copy of the wax head, made by students at the College. In renaming the pub after him we are reminded of his greatest ideal. “The greatest happiness of the greatest numbers.”


London History


This Watch House was built in 1761, to keep guard over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s graveyard, which was then much larger and extended across the road. A night watchman was employed here to stop recently buried corpses from being stolen by ‘ressurection men’ (body snatchers).

In the late 18th Century, the field of medical science was growing. In the past, the corpses of executed murderers had been used for teaching and medical dissection.

Now, however, as there were more surgeons and students than before, there were, not enough of these corpses available. As a result, gangs of ‘ressurrection man’ started to dig up bodies, which had just been burried, and sell them to hospitals. As well as being gruesome, body snatching was not easy – the most usual technique was to dig down six feet, late at night, making a single hole in the lid of the coffin and pulling the body out with a rope. The body snatchers often knew where to find the grave they wanted to plunder, because they had actually attended the funeral of the deceased.

Bodies stolen at this graveyard would usually be taken to an inn on the opposite side of the road, where the landloard would tie the name of a doctor or student, who had paid for the body, on the body’s toe. Then the doctor, from a nearby hospital, such as St Bartholomew’s Hospital, would visit the pub, and pay the landloard for the body. The students who bought the bodies used them to practice surgical techniques. It will come as no surprise then, to find that the Physiology Department of St Batholomew’s Hospital is directly opposite the graveyard. The ressurrection men could make a good profit and body snatching became a problem. The practice only stopped when some of the body snatchers (such as Bishop and Williams) turned to murder.


London History

.’. The Magpie and Stump Public House .’.

This Pub has stood at the corner of Bishops Court for over 300 years. When Newgate Prison stood opposite and public executions took place outsite it, the upper rooms of the Pub, overlooking the street and the gallows below, were rented out to wealthy people, who wanted to watch the public executions.

While the lower classes were crammed into the street below, the rich were able to get a good view of the proceedings, while enjoying a “hanging breakfast” for a cost of 10 pounds or more.

When the crowd of spectators below stampeded on one occasion, the Pub acted as a temporary hospital for many of the injured. The landlord is said to have collected several cartloads of discarded items of clothing from the street after the tragedy.

The Pub also supplied condemned prisoners with their very last pint of ale. The ale was taken across the road to the prisoners, in their condemned cells, on the morning of their executions.

The Pub has changed name, now “Firefly Lounge Bar” it doesn’t look nothing like a real one.


London History


Also known as the Church of St Sepulchre-Without-Newgate, this Church is famous for many reasons.
Knights leaving for the Crusades in the 12th Century would set out from the Church, which was originally founded in 1137. Rebuilt in 1450, the Church was damaged in the Fire of London, but still retains its gothic tower, porch and external walls. There is a well-known Musician’s Chapel, and Captain John Smith, one of the founders of Virginia, (who was saved by the Native American Indian Princess, Pocahontas) was buried here in 1631. The bells of this Church, are “the Bells of Old Bailey” in the famous nursery rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons”.

But the Church also has more gruesome associations. In the time of Newgate Prison, one of the Church bells (the tenor one) would toll when prisoners were being taken to Tyburn for executions; the procession to the gallows would stop outside the Church so that prisoners, traveling in an open cart, could be given nosegays and a blessing.
Later, when executions took place outside the Prison, the Church bell would slowly toll when an execution was about to take place. On the night before the execution of a notorious criminal, hundreds of people would sleep on the church steps; many would later watch the hanging from outside the Church. At times, when the crowd of spectators stampeded, the dead or injured would be brought inside.

There was once an underground tunnel, which let from the Church to the condemned cell at Newgate Prison. Although this is now bricked up, its entrance in the Church can still be seen. From 1605, on the night before an execution, a priest, taking a hand-bell with him, would visit the condemned prisoners. The priest would ring the bell 12 times and chant:

     ” All you that in the condemned hole do lie,
      Prepare you for tomorrow you shall die;
      Watch all and pray: the hour is drawing near
      That you before the Almighty must appear;
      Examine well yourselves in time repent,
      That you may not to eternal flames be sent.
      And when St. Sepulchre’s Bell in the morning tolls
      The Lord above have mercy on your soul.”

The hand bell used for this ancient tradition can still be seen today, hanging next to the bricked up tunnel. In 1554, John Rogers, the Vicar of the church, was imprisoned at Newgate Prison, and the following year he became the first Protestant martyr to be burn at Smithfield by Queen Mary I (also known as Bloody Mary) he is buried in the Church.
According to history they took the Vicar out of the Church and dragged and burned him alive while his wife and daughter watched.
People were a little bitter at that time!!



London History

.’. Central Criminal Court .’.

On the top of the Central Criminal Court (commonly known as the “Old Bailey”) stands a statue of Justice, who carries the balance of justice in one hand and the sword of retribution in the other. The area outside the “Old Bailey” is one of London’s most haunted. Over the years, there have been many reports of ghostly apparitions, and strange, unexplained noises that have been heard, especially at night.
The reason for all this supernatural activity is that the infamous Newgate Prison once stood on this side. Although the Prison, which stood here from the12th Century until1902, underwent changes and reforms during its lifetime, it always maintained its reputation for being a place of horror, misery and death. The Prison features in the works of Dickens and Defoe, amongst others. Newgate Prison was associated with Hell.

Conditions inside the Prison were notoriously bad in many ways, leading to the death of many inmates. There was violence, both from other prisoners and from keepers, and also torture – prisoners who would not enter a plea or refused to confess were often “pressed” (sometimes to death) by having heavy weights placed on their bodies until they submitted. Prisoners also often had to suffer hunger and in 1537, 10 Catholic monks from Charterhouse were left chained up to starve to death – and endure cramped, dark and unsanitary conditions.

The filth, contaminated drinking water and lack of ventilation all contributed to the spread of diseases, including the often-deadly “goal fever”. which was a form of typhoid. The stench of the Prison was so revolting and strong, at one time, that it could be smelt throughout the neighborhood. The walls of the Prison were washed down with vinegar, as were prisoners who were due to go to court, in order to try to combat the awful smell and prevent infection.
The last public hanging outside Newgate took place in 1868; after this time, executions continued to take place inside the Prison walls, until 1902, when Newgate Prison was demolished.
The Central Criminal Court was then built on the side of the Prison, using many of the original “deathlike” stones from the Prison itself. The ground floor walls are the original stones.


London History

.’. The Bell, Book and Candle .’.

This pub belonged to the Eerie Pub Company chain of horror-themed pubs, but now the Punch Taverns changed the name for Ye Old London.

A bell, a book and a candle are the tree items, which are needed for an exorcism to drive out evil spirits from possessed person or place.

The Pub claims it sits upon ancient Roman foundations and that, over the years, this site has housed a sanatorium, a church crypt, a workhouse and a debtor’s prison.

The Pub’s gruesome links with suffering and brutality, combined with its spooky designed interior and “graveyard garden”, make it an ideal place to stop for a drink.