The Marble Arch, Final Project


The Marble Arch is a profound London landmark  designed by John Nash in 1827. It was originally designed to be the entrance to the cour d’honneur of Buckingham Palace. The arch was relocated however in 1851 by Thomas Cubitt to the North East corner of Hyde Park at Cumberland Gate.  The design of the arch was inspired by the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris. (The fact that the design was inspired by other countries’ works,  reminds me of Dorian Grey’s fascination with beauty and his collection of beautiful items, all from other parts of the world, like the design of the Arch.) This regal arch marked one of six entrances into Hyde Park, a Park where many nobility and important people of the Victorian Era went for downtime. Our beauty obsessed characters, Dorian and Henry, both enjoyed the Park as a place to watch beauty alive in front of them, and the arch marked the entrance and exit of the place they adored.

The Marble Arch then


The Marble Arch today

We see the Marble Arch for the first time in the novel in Chapter 5. Sybil and James Vane had just gone to Hyde Park for a walk. (Both had had to change to be presentable enough to be in the park.) They finished their walk and by the Marble Arch “they hailed an omnibus” to take them back to their “shabby home” 2 miles away on Euston Road. Here the arch can be seen as a symbol of change. As one enters the Park through the Arch they are in a beautiful world, full of beautiful people and the elite. As one exits the Park through the Arch they are back to the real London where they must go back to their own homes (possibly one that is too “shabby” to be near the Park itself.

The Marble Arch is mentioned in chapter 19 by Lord Henry when he is talking to Dorian. Henry had been walking through Hyde Park on a Sunday and noticed by the Marble Arch “a little crowd of shabby-looking people listening to some vulgar street-preacher.” As seen earlier in the novel, seeing shabby people in the park was very unlikely, so this would strike Lord Henry. He hears the preacher say “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Henry is asking Dorian to answer the question at first he then goes on to say how it “struck him”. He heard the question and thought it to be dramatic. He says that “London is very rich in curious effects of that kind” Henry paints us a picture of the preacher in a rain coat surrounded by “sickly white faces.” The dramatic phrase is thrown into the air as the beautiful arch looms over them.

marble arch

If we saw this scene through the eyes of Henry, we would see lower class Londoners huddled around a shrill preacher against the beautiful arch inspired by foreign pieces of beauty. We would hear the question of the preacher, almost in shock that such a question could come out of someone not as beautiful as the question itself. Henry is tempted to tell the preacher that “art had a soul but that man had not.” This line is crucial in the novel being an absolute allusion to Dorian’s painting that now has the soul of Dorian, taking on all of the pain and suffering that he has gone through.

When Henry asks Dorian this question that he heard about the Marble Arch, we see Dorian become suspicious that Lord Henry knows something about Dorian and the painting. This arch can represent a turning point in the relationship between Henry and Dorian at this point of the novel.














The Park (Hyde Park), Final Project





Hyde Park, one of the must see sites in London. Being one of the only places in London full of lush green as far as the eye can see it was a get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


The Park was first meant to be a private hunting ground for Henry VIII. In 1637 the Park was opened to the public by Charles I. During the Victorian Era, the Park was a place of leisure for the “fashionable world”. You could be at leisure in Hyde Park but not for long. According to W.S. Gilbert, one was to be on their toes in the Park where there was action on every corner. He says, “in the inner mind you must be observant, prepared to enjoy either the solitude of the crowd, or to catch the quick glance, the silvery music of momentary merriment, then have a few seconds of rapid, acute dialogue, or perhaps be beckoned into a carriage by a friend with space to spare.” A time in the Park was a social gathering of the most fashionable in London, including Queen Victoria herself. She hated London but loved to be in the Park (R.D.Blumenfeld). Max Schlesinger says” By far more interesting, and indeed unrivalled, is Rotten-row, the long broad road for horsemen, where, on fine summer evenings, all the youth, beauty, celebrity, and wealth of London may be seen on horse-back.” Hyde Park was inhabited by the beautiful people of London and it was readily seen by all who went there.

hydepark poverty map
Hyde Park was surrounded by Upper Class, Upper Middle, and Middle Class


In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray, the Park is talked about a few times. Lord Henry brings up the Park first in chapter three. Dorian begs the Lord to allow him to go with him as he wants to listen to him talk some more. Lord Henry responds:

“Ah! I have talked quite enough for to-day,” said Lord Henry, smiling. “All I want now is to look at life. You may come and look at it with me, if you care to.”

Readers of the Victorian era would make the connection to the active social area that was Hyde Park. Lord Henry, who had a view of life that fascinated Dorian Gray, wanted to observe the life that would inevitably be happening in the Park.

The Park is mentioned again in chapter four.Dorian is talking to Lord Henry again and mentions how the Lord has inspired Dorian to observe those in the Park, as he did in the chapter before. He also mentions the Park when he is talking about his new found love, an Actress named Sibyl Vane. He describes her as an extraordinary woman, different than those fashionable women who “ride in the park in the morning and chatter at tea-parties in the afternoon”. Lord Henry and Dorian believe that beauty is what one needs to strive for in life. The ever changing beauty of the actress night to night appeals to Dorian more than the fashionable and traditional women who socialize in Hyde Park.

The Park is mentioned another time in chapter five. Sibyl and her brother James are planning to go for walk. Sibyl suggests a walk in Hyde Park but James says “I am too shabby,” he answered, frowning. “Only swell people go to the park.” Hyde Park’s reputation and normal visitors would be known by the reader and this line would ring true to them. The line also lends itself to an overwhelming theme of the importance of beauty in the novel. It is important to multiple characters to look their best and to stay that way, including the park.

In chapter 11 the Park is brought up again. Basil had just been question Dorian about his morals and how much he has changed. He talks about a past liaison of Dorian’s named Lady Gwendolen. Lady Gwendolen was an upstanding citizen until Dorian. Now not ” a single decent woman in London now who would drive with her in the park” (chapter 11). Dorian has apparently influenced this woman so much that she would not be able to be in the upstanding place that is Hyde Park. Basil saying these words and with what we know about Hyde Park, we know that Lady Gwendolen must have changed in a way that made her unfashionable and not suitable for the Park.
Dorian is back in the Park in chapter 18. He has joined a shooting-party with some elites of London. As they were shooting a hare had run in front of them into a bush where Sir Geoffrey Clouston then decided to shoot. When the shot rang out there were two screams, the one of the hare and the other of a man. In the end of the chapter we find out the man is none other then James Vane. James Vane had been stalking Dorian to get revenge for his sister death.When the hare had run past and Geoffrey Clouston readied himself to shoot at it, Dorian tried to get Geoffrey to not shoot at it. He had appreciated the look of the hare and did not want that to be taken away. When Clouston thought that to be ridiculous and shot anyway we are reminded that Dorian’s appreciation for beauty is much different then many others in the story. Vane himself had mentioned earlier in the story that he was too “shabby” to be in the Park. In a way it’s as if the Park has taken an extreme measure to retain it’s beauty when the “shabby” Vane is shot and killed instantly. 
In chapter 19 Lord Henry brings up the Park again when speaking to Dorian. In the end of the chapter Dorian is obviously not himself and Henry invites him to lunch and a visit to the Park the next day. Dorian does not want to go and asks if he must. Henry comes back and says of course he must, because “the Park is quite lovely this time of year” (chapter 19). Instead of saying something perhaps about spending time together or meeting with old friends it’s about seeing the beauty in the park because that is the only reason Henry wants to be there, to take in the natural beauty of the Park. 
The Park meant a lot to Dorian and Lord Henry alike. Mostly because the beauty that was there. Not only was the park naturally full of beautiful sights but only the beautiful people of London were there and both of our beauty obsessed characters knew that. They spent their time there to appreciate as much beauty as they could within England. 


Work Cited

Blumenfeld, R.D.B. “Diary: June 27, 1887”. Victorian London. Lee Jackson. Web. 17 December 2015.


The Man with the Twisted Lip and London Bridge

Photographer unknown, 1890s London Bridge

london bridge

The London Bridge, the first stone bridge to be built in England across the Thames from the city of London to Southwark. The bridge has been rebuilt numerous times over the years it has been around (Victorian Web).




Although many versions of this bridge have been built, the bridge designed by John Rennie and built by his sons John and George Rennie would have been the one that was mentioned in Sir Authur Conan Doyle’s work (Victorian Web).

london bridge


In the particular story, The Man with the Twisted Lip , we see the London Bridge when Watson is in search for one of his patients in an Opium Den. When Victorians read this story they would have known that around the London Bridge, Opium Dens would be present. Opium was always associated with people of the east (from Asia) and sailors. Surrounding London Bridge were many docks. Opium Dens popped up around these docks because of the association of opium and sailors/Asians. Doyle makes it ironic in the fact that the man out of his mind in the opium den is an “upstanding” patient of Dr.Watson.

Opium dens were perfectly legal at this time however  “good” men were known to get lost in them. These men changed as soon as they stepped into the den. For instance Mr. Neville St. Claire who has “disappeared” has actually changed his whole persona into a beggar. The reader can then see the London Bridge as a turning point. Once the men have crossed that bridge and made their way to the dens, they are changed themselves.

Another inference that could be made is the bridge is a symbol. The bridge, as said before, has changed numerous times.From tinder to stone to being moved a few yards.. Although Victorians may have not seen the recent changes, they would have known of a few that have happened over time and  may have witnessed one themselves. The characters are crossing a bridge that has changed numerous, to be “changed” themselves.





Chancery Lane- “A Lost Masterpiece”

chancery lane1
Chancery Lane, Victorian Google Map


Using online resources such as the Charles Booth Online Archive and British Histories I was able to find out a few key characteristics about the historic road that is Chancery Lane. Chancery lane, located on the south end of Fleet Street, was once home of the Domus Conversorum. The Domus Conversum was the home and chapel of  “forced” converted Jews around 1233. These Jews were forced to convert to Christianity at this time due to the terrible anti-semetic actions that were common in London at this point in time (Thornburry, Fleet Street).

As time passed on and the Domus Conversorum was broken up Chancery Lane became the home to London’s “inns of court”(Thornburry, Holborn). The “inns of court” are the  four institutions where all lawyers are trained and are members of. Some included in the article specifically on Chancery Lane were the Lincoln’s Inn and the Gray’s Inn (Holborn).

Because of the roads location (west end of London) and the profession associated with the lane, it was considered a well off neighborhood.

Chancery Lane, Charles Booth Archive

According to the map above from the Charles Booth Archive,  Chancery Lane was home to the middle-class and well to do of his time period. This was again due to it’s location in London and the predominant profession associated with that lane, Law.

In “A Lost Masterpiece” by George Egerton, Chancery Lane is where the narrator has been interrupted. The narrator at this point thinks they have an idea for a piece  that would change the literary world forever. However when a fast paced woman is walking by their bus they are distracted by her and continue to blame the woman for making the narrator lose their track of thought. Knowing where this woman is walking, Chancery Lane, helps the reader really picture the woman. If the woman was on that street where the middle class stayed mostly, she would look the part. The narrator becomes obsessed as well with how fast she is moving, keeping up with their bus. This could one be a symbol of how fast paced the profession of Law is. The narrator also makes a direct connection with the history of the Lane as well;

“Is she a feminine presentment of the wandering Jew, a living
embodiment of the ghoul-like spirit that haunts the city and
murders fancy? (Egerton)”

The narrator knows about this dark time in the city of London and the horrific treatment of Jews back then. Maybe the narrator sees the sins of London, such as the treatment of Jews,  keeping London from becoming as wonderful and bright as it could be. The woman or the “presentmant of the wandering Jew” is that sin come to life to interrupt London in it’s growth.





Egerton, George [Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright]. “A Lost Masterpiece.” The Yellow Book 1 (Apr. 1894): 189-96.The Yellow Nineties Online. Ed. Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra. Ryerson University, 2010. Web. [Date of access].

Thornbury, Walter. ‘Fleet Street: Northern tributaries – Chancery Lane.’ Old and New London: Volume 1. London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1878. 76-92. British History Online. Web. 10 September 2015.

Thornbury, Walter. ‘Holborn: Inns of Court and Chancery.’ Old and New London: Volume 2. London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1878. 553-576. British History Online. Web. 10 September 2015.

Kinder Garden in Victorian London

Upon reading “The Kinder Garden” ( an extract from the book Dirty Old London) I was pleasantly surprised with the Kinder Garden of the victorian era. The article starts by pointing out that it was realized how smart children are at such young ages. They mention children being fascinated with constructing and deconstructing (Jackson). I was fascinated to see the philosophy of learning through play was  implemented during these times. When learning about these same philosophies in my classes about education, I though they were a more modern idea then one that started in the Victorian Era. The article mentions numerous ways the teacher was able to teach through play. For instance the children were in charge of their lessons. They were given options of toys to use and were in charge of their own learning (Jackson).  The teacher even went off of children’s interests and used them to their advantage. For instance children liked to use scissors and cut things The teacher used this to their advantage by having the children make mathematical figures out of paper and then use their scissors to cut through the paper. This would create a pattern and would teach the child about the mathematical concept (Jackson). The article even mentions song and dance that was taught in the kinder garden that helped children’s large and small motor skills grow as well (Jackson). The article concludes that every child was happy and busy in the kinder garden. Instead of dreading school, children were interested and happy to be there. This victorian idea is one that teachers and teacher candidates (like myself) believe in to this day. It was interesting to find out that learning through play was not a new idea but one that everyone has known all along.

Introductory Post

Hello all! My name is Elizabeth Gruhl, I’m a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in English.  This past summer I was fortunate enough to spend a month studying abroad in London. I was even able to take a course about literature in London and was able to take field trips to many of London’s great writers’ houses and places of inspiration (i.e. Dicken’s house and 221b Baker Street from Sherlock). I am so excited to go even more in depth into Victorian London and the literature that came from the time period.

From the readings I have learned that Victorian London was a continuously growing place. The city grew outwards from the Thames taking over bits of countryside and making them into a booming city. London was under continuous construction with new buildings and technology being added constantly. The unprecedented train system of London was born. These additions to London changed it forever.

Along with London’s growth out and up, the growth between the rich and the poor grew larger. As people with even some money moved into the city, the poorest of the poor were left in the slums with a reputation of violence and crime.