Monday, 2 January 2012

London Peculiar's treasure box ( part 1 )

We have a treasure box,a proper treasure box! Although, I should add that the contents aren't particularly valuable in monetary terms but in historic terms, well, priceless I think.

So, during the past year , having recieved my Thames foreshore permit, I have when weather permits and tide allows, been snooping around the foreshore for 'things'.

I think I've done quite well really, being a novice and all, so by the end of the year I had all sorts of little boxes with bits and bob in and no difinitive place to keep them.

I put in a request to the powers that be at London Peculiar and, viola, I have a bespoke antique treasure box made from a poor old broken Victorian writing slope and various bits of walnut hiding in the studio.Perfect, not least because we found a use for a broken but beautiful piece of small furniture.

So, to the contents of our treasure box...
It's been hard knowing how to 'curate' the box. Should it be in date order or type of item, ceramics, bone, pipes, coins..?

The top layer is currently housing these foreshore finds :

1) A piece of 17th century Staffordshire pottery
2) A piece of German pottery from the mid 1500's
3) Some Roman 'fineware' pottery
4) Musket balls of various sizes
5) 2 Tudor thimbles
6) 1 tudor comb (found last week)
7) 4 Boar tusks
8) A small piece of the old London Bridge as issued by John Mowlem Ltd, makers of the new London Bridge (this one I didn't find on the foreshore by the way)
9) Bellermine Beardman head from the famous 'Devils' drinking vessel of the 1500-1700's

I have three more layers to decide what to put in...tokens,coins, pipes, bits of bone...I'll let you know!

All the best to you,
Pepys the Pigeon

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A very peculiar year

Well, we are now 1 year old and my goodness it's flown by (no pigeon reference intended).
We've come across a lot of little gems in our year...The Ordinary of Newgate 1733, detailing those who were executed at Tyburn on Oct 6th. We also found a first edition Newgate Calender in 5 beautiful volumes with fabulous, if a little macarbe illustrations.We also got our hands on a Blickensderfer Typewriter from 1911, which has been carefully restored to its former (100 year ago) glory and last but not least our beautifully leather bound Johnsons dictionary from 1805, still true to the original and full of wonderful words like  'fancy monger' and 'bellygod'!

We applied for our foreshore license and with that spent many summers dawns nosing around the foreshore finding tokens, lead seals, 17th century clay pipes and musket balls!

Then of course, our Map of London Peculiars....completed and selling like hot cakes.
We have a lot of plans for next year, not least to get more stuff on the site which we've been hoarding...and to get on with our nextmap (top secret)!
Merry christmas everyone and here's to another peculiar year ahead

All the best

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dr Johnson's Dictionary

So I am a bit beside myself, having found 4 perfect volumes of Dr Johnson's dictionary, printed in 1805 and true to the original.Complete with descriptives of each word and a sentence to show you how to use the word.
I'm going through it slowly and finding words we no longer use and what they meant.
Today was Bellygod and Benting time
Bellygod: (from the belly of god)  A glutton, one who makes a god of his belly.! and
Benting time: the time when pigeons feed on bents before peas are ripe. Of course!

These books are wonderful and I think I may well be blogging more words I find that we no longer use.!

G'night eveyone
Pepys the pigeon

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Map of London Peculiars

Hello everyone,

Well, as some of you may have noticed we've just finished and had published our Map of London Peculiars, which is now available to buy for a snip at £3.50 (inc P&P) via our site

It's taken quite some time to get this map onto paper and I can tell you, we've walked for miles and miles in the research and making of it.
It all started when , whilst wandering around the outside of St Pauls, we came across this beauty, carved into the wall...

A lovely piece of 18th century graffiti, most to likely to have been done by one of Wrens builders!
So we thought, what other magical, curious little secrets are sitting around our city waiting to be spotted ?
So the map of London Peculiars was born.

Through out the whole of the summer we'd set off at the crack of dawn, often before, to walk the streets between Soho and the Tower.

Early (6am) at St Pauls one morning, whilst studying more graffiti on the walls, I was spotted by one of the cleaners waiting to go she watched me with my face up close to the walls she asked what I was up to, so I showed amazed was she that after working there for many years hadn't spotted the wonderful carvings on the church of peoples names and dates from the 1700's.

We'll be filling you in as to how we found some the curious things on the map over the next few weeks,
but in the meantime, enjoy the wonderful late summer sun and nab yourself a copy of the map and have a wander!
A very proud

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Richard Turpin, executed for horse stealing.

Hello all,

We are very excited here at London Peculiar this week as we finally have all 6 volumes of the Newgate Calender from the early 1800's.
Needless to say there is a lot to read, but I went striaght to the Richard Turpin page and I must say learnt quite a lot.

His early career was house breaking.He and his friends would knock on the door of someone they knew had something of worth to steal and , whilst two held or distracted the owners, the other would raid the house.
On one occassion, Turpin put a lady onto the fire to 'compel her to reveal her treasure'! Nasty.

The gang raided and ransacked many houses until finally they were reported and a reward of £50 was placed on Turpins head, the King guaranteed freedom to any gang member willing to reveal his whereabouts.
No one came forward and Turpin and gang continued robbing and terrorising people in their homes.

The reward was raised to £100 for his capture and at this point, around 1737 he became a highway robber.
He was becoming more notorious and more wanted than ever.
In May 1737 he committed murder for the first time (the second he actually killed his companion,who after being shot by Turpin cried out..'Dick you have killd me'!).shooting dead one of the keepers of Epping Forest.
Again the reward was raised to £200, and a promise of a pardon to any accomplicies that shall discover him!

There were many attempts to take Mr Turpin into custody, but they all failed.
Turpin had now fled to Suffolk where he changed his name to John Palmer and stole some horses.
The magistrates caught up with 'John Palmer' and imprisoned him in York for sheep and horse stealing.
Turpin/Palmer, after four months being imprisoned , wrote a letter to his brother asking for help..Unfortunatly the letter had no stamp and Turpins brother would not pay the postage, so, it was returned to the post office, and was seen by a once school master of Turpin...who, although the letter was signed 'John Palmer' recognised the hand immediatly as Richard Turpins...! Oh dear.

Once word got out that Turpin was inprisoned in York, people flocked from all parts to take a view.
On April 10th 1739, Dick Turpin was executed in York for horse stealing, although he had commited two murders and many many robberies as well!

Poor Dick Turpin...and poor old woman on the fire too!
Bye for now


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Seven noses of Soho mystery...

Hello all,

I've been looking for the alleged 7 noses of Soho for some time now and today I am very happy to say I have found them all...
It is also alleged that you recieve infinite wealth if you find them, so I'm hoping for a huge bag of seeds any day soon!
There is a but though...I've actually found 8 noses.They are all proper noses but they are two different styles...some big, some I'm wondering just how many there could be and what is the story behind them...
I shall keep hunting for more and keep you all posted if anything else comes up nose wise!
All the best and happy Sunday..


Friday, 27 May 2011

weird and wonderful London street names.

Hello all,
Just a quick one, as I have some friends to meet on Nelsons column, but, during my travles around London I do noticed some very strange street names.
All the wat up in N3 there's a road called Crokked Usage, for example.
There's also Quaggy Walk in Blackheath and of course tiny little Tweezers Alley just off the Strand.

Houndsditch , a very well known road and it is believed was named after the ditch where often all sorts of stuff, including dead dogs, were thrown.
Soho, as we all know was once a hunting ground, and the Square, originally Kings Square, was named after a hunting cry.
The Aldwych is a Saxon word meaning Old Village and Crutched Friars derived from Crossed Friars, a Roman catholic religious order from the 13th century.
There's many more,but thats start..if you have any interesting ones do send me a message.

Bye for now