London Societies

Thinking of visiting London in 1879 (which is, according to The Murder of Mary Russell, the year Sherlock Holmes met Mrs Hudson)? You might want to take along some hand sanitizer (along with water purifier and a huge bottle of antibiotics and…) but other than health matters, you probably should keep an eye out for groups of similar-minded individuals to offer you some support. Surely you can find a group of sympathetic friends among the societies listed by Charles Dickens Jr in his guide to London? (Also, see here.)photo 2

Perhaps amongst his list of Philanthropic Societies:

AGED PILGRIMS’ FRIEND SOCIETY and AGED PILGRIMS’ ASYLUMS

ANGLO-ORIENTAL SOCIETY FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF THE OPIUM TRADE

BRITISH LADIES’ FEMALE EMIGRANT SOCIETY FOR PROVIDING MATRONS, BOOKS, AND EMPLOYMENT FOR EMIGRANTS DURING THEIR VOYAGE

CITY OF LONDON TRUSS SOCIETY

DECORATIVE NEEDLEWORK SOCIETY

EARLY CLOSING ASSOCIATION

EAST LONDON (BLUE) SHOEBLACK HOME AND BRIGADE FOR DESTITUTE BOYS

FEMALE MISSION TO THE FALLEN

GREEENWICH SOCIETY FOR THE ACQUISITION AND DIFFUSION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE

MIDNIGHT MEETING (For the rescue of fallen women)

NATIONAL TRUSS SOCIETY

PURE LITERATURE SOCIETY

SHIPWRECKED MARINERS’ SOCIETY

SHOEBLACKS’ HOME

SOCIETY FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF NECISSITOUS GENTLEWOMEN (For the tuition and employment of gentlewomen in the arts of printing, engraving, bookbinding, relief stamping in colours, music printing, &c.)

Now, I’m positive you can find some friends within that list, right? People with whom you can share your thoughts about trusses, or your life as a shoeblack (blue or otherwise)? And there’s always opportunity for a vigorous debate on the evils of opium, impure literature, or the late closing hours of public houses…

Welcome to London!

(From Dickens’s Dictionary of London 1879, An Unconventional Handbook, by Charles Dickens [Jr.]–online here.)

22-199x300 murder of mary russell UK

The Murder of Mary Russell, which publishes April 5, may be pre-ordered as:

A signed US hardback from Bookshop Santa Cruz or Poisoned Pen Books

An unsigned hardback or ebook from B&N/Nook or Amazon/Kindle

A UK hardback from Waterstones or hard/ebook from Amazon UK.

Comments

  1. And a face mask for the smog

  2. Teresa Pitman says:

    I’m for the Early Closing Association. Do we just wander the streets telling stores to close early?

    • Laurie King says:

      I imagine it was for the public houses..?

      • Their only chance at a form of ‘temperance’ — you wouldn’t find making alcohol illegal possible in countries that remember when all the people drank was ale, mead or wine (a very mild ale for children, too). 😉

  3. Merrily Taylor says:

    I personally want to take advantage of the Society for Aged Pilgrims. And I have to wonder what the Truss Societies actually DID.
    I’ve often thought that if one could be swept back magically to London in that period, the stench alone would probably knock one over. Imagine all that horse dung in the streets !

  4. This is making me lose my appetite for the Russell era, and her tales!

    • Laurie King says:

      Well, those societies date to the 19th century, I’m sure that (even in England…) many of those societies would have died out by the modern era, i.e., 1925.

      • Truth is, I love Mary’s spunk. I don’t think there’s much that would keep me from a good Russell yarn!

  5. I wondered what the Pure Literature Society was about (imagining it had something to do with halting the spread of the publishing of erotic works) but couldn’t easily find it. I did find this: http://www.pure-english.com/society-pure-english-early-20th-century-england And that society makes a lot of sense to me. Having lived in London, I had to deal with my American word being corrected into “proper English” far too frequently. That Mary Russell lived in England as a child made it easier for her to find it a natural ‘second language’ LOL.
    I have a particularly vivid memory of my English fiancé (never married him, and instead returned to the States) trying to correct my pronunciation of Rod Stewart’s last name. Not as easy as you might think. LOL I guess I’ll have to go with the Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society! 🙂

    • Laurie King says:

      Stewart: Stieu-art. I’ve been corrected a fair amount, since I have a family member by that name.

  6. I think I would go with the Greenwich Society for the Acquisition and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It would be a treat to discover what was considered useful knowledge. However, I would first make sure I was up to date on my shots, and bring my own bottled water along with my antibiotics and hand sanitizer.

  7. Margaret Wood says:

    My husband’s family had immigrated from London in 1923 when he was 12. When reel to reel tapes became common his parents exchanged tape letters with British relatives. I had returned to teaching to help support them when eye problems (day long smoker) forced my father-in-law to retire from business auditing. They took care of our sons by day. The oldest was 8 when this began. The 5 year old and 2 year old picked up their British speech. One return tape remarked that “the younger boys spoke quite nicely but the oldest had a dreadful American accent”.

  8. Mary Achor says:

    What the heck would the Early Closing folks be? Realtors? Teetotallers?

    • I could be wrong — I so frequently am — but I think it was likely women who want their men to come home instead of drinking up their paycheck in the pub.

      • I’m sure it had to do with the pubs. I’m preparing myself for a new Mary Russell book by rereading all my Ed McBains. Carella’s wife, Tedd,y is as spunky as Mary, and she gets around her inability to hear or speak very well.

  9. Thanks to the great lead to the book archive. Can’t wait til April 5th!

    JT

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