Euston Road- Final Project

The Vane family (Sibyl, James, and their mother) lives on the residential street, Euston Road. Their apartment is in close proximity to the Euston Station. According to the Charles Booth Online Archive, the area surrounding Euston Square is mixed. The majority of residents are Middle Class, well-to-do, and the rest are split between comfortable and poor and Upper class and wealthy.

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The poverty maps are very important in understanding the life of Sibyl Vane. Mrs. Vane brought up her children with the intentions of bettering their lives. She does this through upgrading them in appearances. When James is leaving for Australia and remarks how he will be leaving London hopefully for good, Mrs. Vane objects his disdain. When he returns she hopes he will make a name for himself in London and become a gentleman. Mrs. Vane’s approval of Dorian stems from exactly that;

“Of course, if this gentleman is wealthy, there is no reason why she should not contract an alliance with him. I trust he is one of the aristocracy. He has all the appearance of it, I must say. It might be a most brilliant marriage for Sibyl. They would make a charming couple. His good looks are really quite remarkable; everybody notices them” (Chapter 5).

Her lack of familiarity with Dorian is erased by the fact he is established in society. This is the reasoning behind the location of their apartment. Mrs. Vane is indebted to Mr. Isaac yet they still live in an area with easy access to affluence. Euston Square is within walking distance and King’s Cross Station is nearby as well. residential Euston Road. Sibyl and James have access to all of London from their location. Therefore, she increases the opportunities for her family.

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Euston Road, originally named New Road was constructed by the Metropolitan Railway Company. Tracks covered Euston Road entirely which, in turn, tore up the road. After completely the railway whilst simultaneously destroying the roadway, the company re-made the road, turning it into one of the finest in London. It was sanctioned by Act of Parliament in 1756 (Euston Road and Hempstead Road). The buildings on Euston Road had rather large yards with shrubbery in front to maintain a residential atmosphere. Euston Road was designed to accommodate the growing population of London. Although there were wealthy families living in the area, there was a represented lower class population, such as the Vane family.
The crime is abundant in the area. There are cases of stealing from one’s master, manslaughter, forgery, theft, deception, killing and disturbing of peace. From the information on Old Bailey Online, it is evident that there was a fair amount of criminal activity in the neighborhood. This is suggestive of the types of citizens who live in the area. Although there are parks nearby and Euston Square, there are still people there who are struggling to make ends meet. Euston Road is described as dreary in Picture of Dorian Gray, but the park is described as a place for swell people.
Thus, drab and fabulous are juxtaposed next to each other in Sibyl’s neighborhood. James walking with his sister on Euston Road is a “common gardener walking with a rose” (Chapter 5). Sibyl’s beauty contrasts her surroundings suggesting that she does not belong there and a place that better suits her is nearby (Euston Square/ Dorian Gray).

Works Cited
“Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Results. The Proceedings of Old Bailey. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Walford, Edward. ‘Euston Road and Hampstead Road.’ Old and New London: Volume 5. London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1878. 301-309. British History Online. Web. 9 December 2015.

The Grosvenor Gallery- Final Project

The Grosvenor Gallery

The Grosvenor Gallery is mentioned only once in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. However, the history on the building is plentiful. It is referred to in the first chapter of the book by Lord Henry. Lord Henry enters the studio where Basil is admiring his greatest work on an easel and says,

“It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done,” said Lord Henry languidly. “You must certainly send it next year to the Grosvenor. The Academy is too large and too vulgar. Whenever I have gone there, there have been either so many people that I have not been able to see the pictures, which was dreadful, or so many pictures that I have not been able to see the people, which was worse. The Grosvenor is really the only place.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.55.29 PM(Plate 35: No. 19 Grosvenor Square, Gallery, staircase and stables in 1919).

Lord Henry is referring to The Royal Academy of Arts or Burlington House in Piccadilly, London when he says “The Academy.” According to Lord Henry, The Grosvenor Gallery is better suited to display the painting of Dorian by Basil. This is very important to the theme of the book of how art is displayed. Dorian believes artwork, including people, should be appropriately displayed. He believes Sibyl Vane is a work of art in human form and should be displayed as his wife (until he discovers she can no longer act). He also believes Shakespearian works should not be shown in an unworthy theater, such as The Royal Theater, where Sibyl performs.

“I must admit that I was rather annoyed at the idea of seeing Shakespeare done in such a wretched hole of a place” (Chapter 5).

Lord Henry believes that Basil’s painting of Dorian should be displayed in the Grosvenor Gallery where people who will truly appreciate it would see it.

The Grosvenor Gallery was founded by Sir Coutts Lindsay and his wife, Lady Blanche Lindsay as an alternative venue to view art to The Royal Academy. The gallery displayed the work of progressive artists who’s work was ignored due to its lack of adherence to traditional tastes. “The Lindsays’ innovative approach to art, audiences, and exhibition display made the gallery an influential force not only in Victorian art and society but also in the evolution of modern-day museum practice” (Yale University Press).

Previously occupied by Lord Grosvenor until June of 1808, The Grosvenor House was “thrown open to the ‘Fashionable world’” (Old Grosvenor House). The gallery was home to an eclectic collection of art described by The Morning Post as such;

“‘truly magnificent’ chandeliers and Grecian lamps, the vast and beautiful mirrors, the grand staircase, ‘superbly illuminated’ and ‘adorned with the most rare specimens in the art of sculpture’, and the richly gilded ornamental ceilings and cornices…Not everybody was enthusiastic however: Lord Lonsdale, who visited the house in the company of the architect Robert Smirke, found it ‘most expensively furnished, but in a bad taste'”(Old Grosvenor House).

The gallery provided a space for a collection of atypical works of art. It showcased aesthetic art otherwise dismissed by 19th century British standards. It began as a display room for a collection of beautiful things. Similar to Dorian’s aim in life, the gallery was a home for all things pleasing.

Works cited

‘Old Grosvenor House.’ Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Ed. F H W Sheppard. London: London County Council, 1980. 239-250. British History Online. Web. 15 December 2015.

‘Plate 35: No. 19 Grosvenor Square, Gallery, staircase and stables in 1919.’ Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Ed. F H W Sheppard. London: London County Council, 1980. British History Online. Web. 17 December 2015.
“The Grosvenor Gallery: A Palace of Art in Victorian London.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Print.

Wilde, Oscar. “The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)/Chapter 1.” Wikisource, the Free Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web.10 Dec. 2015.

Selby Royal, Nottinghamshire

Selby Royal is the fictional country estate where Dorian hosts a house party where the Duke and Duchess of Monmouth, Lord Henry, Lady Naraborough, and other distinguished guests gather.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.55.33 PM  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.56.30 PM(Victorian Google Maps image on right, Fictional depiction of Selby Royal on left)

The guests are gathered in the conservatory of the Selby Royal enjoying tea, cakes, and the company of the other twelve guests around them. At the house-party Dorian is whispering in the ear of the Duchess of Monmouth in front of her elderly husband is present who is “a jaded-looking man of sixty” (Chapter 17). The Duchess and Dorian continue in conversation about the value of beauty, love, and life experiences. Later on at the party, Dorian claims he sees the face of James Vane in the window and is terrorized for the remainder of the evening.

The country house is in Nottinghamshire, far from London, but its description reveals that the West End of London’s wealth is represented in the activities and the decor. The plates are fine china and silver, the wicker chair is draped in silk, and the lamp is covered in lace. In the beautiful countryside home, the Duke speaks of his latest Beetle for his collection exemplifying the wealthy’s appreciation of nature. The furnishings are high end and this nature is morphed into valuables with the Duke’s immortalization of the Brazilian Beetle.

“On a peach-coloured divan sat Lady Narborough, pretending to listen to the duke’s description of the last Brazilian beetle that he had added to his collection.”

The crime in the area is relatively non-violent.  Crimes consisted of mainly theft and deception. According to the Proceedings of Old Bailey, the most interesting  instance of theft was when someone stole another’s horse. The offender was found not guilty.

The wealth of the area was relatively well to do middle class. Some of the people in the area were poor but the majority were living comfortably or very comfortably like Dorian. This area of the country was a place for the upper middle class to have nice homes close to nature with neighbors of similar wealth. The country allowed them to seek the peace of nature without forfeiting their comfortable lifestyles.

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Works cited

“Booth Poverty Map. Charles Booth Online Archive. New Bond Street.  Web. 1 Dec. 2015.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) Chapter 17.” – Wikisource, the Free Online Library. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.
“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Results. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


Cannon Street

Cannon Street does not play a large role in the “The Man with The Twisted Lip” except for serving as the center of Neville St. Clair’s  ventures. The train station is how he gets to and from opium. Before he was a wealthy, employed, respected Englishman, he would travel into town and return via Cannon Street at 5.14 each day due to his interest in companies in that area. This establishes St. Clair as an honest hardworking London citizen who spent long hours in town looking for work until he attained his objectives. In contrast to Mr. St. Clair’s 37 year old self, who spends time near Fresno Street and Upper Swandam Lane at opium dens, he was driven as a young man. Ironically, St. Clair establishes himself in the neighborhood near Cannon Street and this is also the neighborhood of his downfall.

Booth Poverty Map
Booth Poverty Map

According to the Charles Booth Online Archive the area surrounding Cannon Street was chronically poor and struggling.Old Bailey Online records that the majority of crimes were theft, peace disturbance, and deception. Deception is particularly relevant to “The Man with the Twisted Lip” because in the same way that St. Clair adjusted to the business district as a young man is the same way in which he disguised himself in the crowds of East London and opium dens except this instance was deceitful and harmful.

Chelsea- “A Lost Masterpiece”


In “A Lost Masterpiece” Chelsea is where the speaker boards a river steamer heading towards London Bridge. Surrounding the Chelsea Bridge Street according to the Charles Booth Online Archive are “middle class, well-to-do” neighborhoods. The speaker also describes his sentiments whilst he is riding the steamer. The steamer ride starts with the speaker in the countryside and then eventually he sees the brick buildings and warehouses covered in a grey soot overtone. The Thames wanders through “fertile meads and beside pleasant banks” as well as “homely villages, retired cottages, palatial dwellings, and populous cities and towns; boats and barges, and the sea-craft of a hundred nations” (Hall), therefore the speaker begins his journey to London in idilic familiar scenery and ends up passing through the area surrounding the river heavily influenced by the industrial revolution.

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The importance of Chelsea to the story’s plot and theme is very evident when the character transitions. He boards a river steamer in Chelsea in order to take London Bridge.
The water in the area was polluted and muddy. The speaker says he expects some creature to be washed up on the thick banks of the Thames River. The buildings lining the water are warehouses and made of brick. The speakers describes them to create a chilling imagery of “monster chimneys” as a backdrop for the river ride. The memory of being in the countryside in Chelsea is not forgotten when he reaches London; this sets up the contrast between the two places. Thus, traveling from one place to another could mean leaving one completely different environment to experience a new one—country to city within miles. In addition, The young ladies to the right of the speaker on the steamer shamelessly pick on the speaker and giggle at his appearance and therefore represent the snobbish upperclass society of the area. Clearly there is a stark separation of welfare.
The theme of “A Lost Masterpiece” is that the pace of the city seems superficial and over the top to those from the outside. The woman rushing truly bothers the speaker. His point of contention with her is her pace. For what reason in the world could she be rushing along so feverishly? The speakers has plans to write about his relaxed mentality and the flowers and music in his head so the city dwellers can read it and relax their minds. Nonetheless, the little speeding woman is compared to a wandering Jew or a ghost and it ruins his train of thought and sends his mind into a dark place void of poetry and flowers.


Works Cited:

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. [09 Sept. 2015].

Hall, Samuel Carter, and A. M. Hall. The Book of the Thames. London, Vertue, 1859.

“The Charles Booth Online Archive.” Results. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2015


Assignment #2- Afternoon Tea Taking

Most people are familiar with the significance of tea to the Victorian Era culture. However, the afternoon tea was not always a tradition and developed as a result of a change in the time of a fashionable dinner.

In the 1830’s afternoon tea drinking was not part of the daily agenda. Ten years later it was ingrained into the schedule when women of fashionable houses wrote about their days that included a luncheon of tea. For example, the famous Actress Fanny Kemble wrote about her afternoon tea taken whilst staying at the Belvoir. She brought this practice with her Woburn and Belgrave Square. Some resistance was met for it was considered indulgent by Paget the old Marquess of Anglesey, of Waterloo fame, who refused to let his daughters participate. Meanwhile they continued to enjoy tea; they slid it under the sofa when they heard his approach. Ultimately afternoon tea eventually took the place of cake and wine.

The shift in the time of the dinner party occurred in the second half of the period. Dinner was first served for the working class at six or seven o’clock. For the second half of the period, dinner was fixed at seven thirty to echo the program of homes of fashion. At the respectable dinner party, dinner was served at approximately seven o’clock. Then, between nine and ten tea was served. Between ten and eleven goodbyes were said and women went off to prepare for bed and men continued the evening with smoking and drinking whiskey.

Victorian London – Houses and Housing – ‘Homes and Habits’ by Mrs. C. S. Peel from Early Victorian England, 1830-1865, ed. G.M.Young, 1934.

Introductory Post

My name is Sloane Lipshie. I am a junior and an English major and political science minor. I had the privilege of traveling to London this January and the reading from BBC history mentioned a few of the places I visited. It was an incredible experience but knowing the city’s history would have been advantageous beforehand. I rode the tube to the Piccadilly circus stop as well as Sloane Square in Chelsea. Sloane Square was a clearly affluent area and all the shopping was high end or souvenir shops for those who could only afford to look in the windows and purchase snow globes (me). The influence of the past is evident. In the Tower of London there was a torture device exhibit which correlates to the heavy emphasis on crime and punishment in the Victorian Era. The past’s connections to the the present and how things developed to what they are today is what makes history worth studying. I was unaware of the directional separation of the city before but it is clear when traveling. I stayed in Sutton and traveled to London at night and I felt as though I was in another country thirty minutes away. Places developed at various rates due to the transportation and demographic and it is evident even if it the history was unknown to the traveler.