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An evocation of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn

An excerpt from the 1914 guide to London restaurants, “The Gourmet’s Guide to London”, in which the author gives a detailed description of the interior of the Cheshire Cheese pub, unchanged since at least the 18th century, as thought in the company of the great 18th century personality, Dr Johnson. Including a mouthwatering remembrance of the pub’s own ‘pudding’ – a big, savory pie-like dish concocted from various meats and other ingredients.

Ambergris: or, The Stinking Monarch

An excerpt from “Leviathon or, The Whale”, by Philip Hoare, in which we learn about the precious, pungent substance ambergris; its source-place in the body of the sperm whale and its unlikely use in the coronations of British monarchs in Westminster Abbey.

The poet Swinburne in Putney

An excerpt from “Rings of Saturn”, by W. G. Sebald, in which the author gives a portrait of the Victorian poet Swinburne, the narrative winding and weaving, and ending with a vivid description of his final, decades-long retirement in a villa in Putney, south-west London, with his companion, Theodore Watts-Dunton.

Crime on the Regent’s Canal

An account – given to Iain Sinclair in 1992 and written up in his 2009 book “Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire” – by Tony Lambrianou, East End criminal and associate of the Kray twins, about the role of the Regent’s Canal in the murder of Jack McVitie in 1967, and in East End crime more widely.

Edward Thomas’s “Adlestrop”

An excerpt from a biography of the British poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917), who died in the Great War, this viewpoint introduces his most famous poem, Adlestrop, followed by the poem itself. Adlestrop is a village in Gloucestershire, England, which used to have its own railway station, depicted in the poem. The station has disappeared; the poem lives on.