Covent Garden, Final Project

Covent Garden

Covent Garden, a market resurrected in 1656, is where Dorian finds himself wandering around after he ends his relationship with Sibyl. At first he walks through unnamed streets that are described as “evil-looking,” “dimly lit” and “grotesque.” The description of these streets is only a few lines, while the description of Covent Garden is almost an entire page, again showing how Dorian doesn’t wish to spend time in places he doesn’t consider beautiful. Covent Garden was known for its flower, fruit, and vegetable market and Dorian arrives there at daybreak, finding an aesthetic comfort in this setting. “The air was heavy with the perfume of flowers, and their beauty seemed to bring him an anodyne for his pain” (93). After all the ugliness that he’s just witnessed with Sibyl’s acting and her reaction to being broken up with, Dorian finds peace in a beautiful place not yet open for business. Dorian finds the market beautiful so he takes his time in it before calling a cab home. Charles Dickens also wrote of Covent Garden in a similarly romantic manner in Martin Chuzzlewit, The Victorian Web including a passage of Ruth and Tom Pinch walking around London. The phrase repeated throughout the passage is “many a pleasant stroll” were taken in the market, and the two characters are described taking in the surrounding market with “the perfume of the fruits and flowers” in the air.


Looking at two major works from this time shows its popularity among writers and how romantic a place it was for Londoners. It was a place of community, a small area of green in an otherwise dark and concrete city. The fact that Dorian goes there alone adds to the gloominess of how he’s feeling about his current situation; he’s all alone in an otherwise bustling part of London, coming to terms with the ugliness of the world. As Charles Dickens, again, wrote in Night Walks, “Covent-garden Market, when it was market morning, was wonderful company.” So perhaps the market was all the company Dorian wanted. Seeing as it was an area of commerce and everyday shopping, much of the crime in or near Covent Garden was theft according to the Old Bailey, although often much less violent thievery than seen on Rupert Street.

Works Cited (Both Locations):

“Booth Poverty Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty      Map & Modern Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec.  2015.

“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Browse. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

“Covent Garden.” The Dictionary of Victorian London. Web. Dec.   2015.

“Covent Garden.” Victorian Web. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New YorkBarnes & Nobles Classics, 2003. Print

Rupert Street, Final Project

Rupert Street

Rupert Street is mentioned only once in the novel, in Chapter 6, with the footnote, “In London’s SoHo neighborhood; location of many inexpensive European restaurants” (80). Rupert Street is where Dorian goes to eat at an Italian restaurant before going to see Sibyl, the actress he is infatuated with, act in a play. Dorian mentions the street in passing, almost in a rushed manner, as he breathlessly recounts for Harry his encounter with Sibyl. Rupert Street is in the center of London and was home to many middle-class, well-to-do people, which shows the general wealth of Dorian and his friends for being able to eat there, as well as how Dorian is able to attend the theater multiple nights in a row. The Booth Poverty Map also shows some area of blue, however, indicating that some concentrated parts were very poor. The  fact that the footnote cites the area they’re in as the home to many “inexpensive European restaurants” also speaks to the idea that there are a lot of different kinds of people around where Dorian is at this moment in the book, some well off, some less so. Dorian likes to think very highly of himself and how he spends his time but London is an extremely varied place with all kinds of different people, as we’ve seen in other texts from this semester, and it’s hard to completely ignore that you’re not always surrounded by inherent beauty. Dorian, however, glosses over Rupert Street as a location for this very reason. It’s not entirely beautiful which is off-putting to him. He would rather take the time to describe Sibyl herself in her “moss-colored velvet jerkin with cinnamon sleeves, slim brown cross-gartered hose, a dainty little green cap with a hawk’s feather caught in a jewel, and a hooded cloak lined with dull red” (80). He takes great care to describe the beautiful, but never to describe the ugly.


The Old Bailey showed that much of the crime in the area was pretty serious, the majority of incidents on Rupert Street were grand larceny and there were also a couple instances of murder. The amount of crime, the nature of these crimes, and the footnote are interesting because Dorian eating on Rupert Street before going to the play is a kind of quiet turning point of the play. Up until now Dorian has been able to surround himself with the beautiful and while he’s still showing off his wealth, in the next chapter, much of the beauty begins to fade when he leaves Sibyl, appalled with her lackluster performance, and Sibyl subsequently kills herself. Rupert Street may have been outwardly fashionable, but it also contains poverty and decay, just like Dorian himself.

Bond Street in The Romance of a Shop


In Chapter 9 of The Romance of A Shop, Bond Street is mentioned in relation to Sidney Darrell, an influential artist at the Royal Academy. The Royal Academy was a society in Victorian London dedicated to the arts and improving on previous artistic styles. The fact that the sisters are at the Royal Academy in this chapter is a main plot point as it shows the kind of people they have connections to, and how their business may be about to take off.

The sisters grew up in comfortable, I guessed high middle class, surroundings. When their father dies they are forced to come up with a new way to support themselves and they decide to open up their own photography studio. Many of the other characters object to this occupation as suitable for young women, but they do it anyway. I was somewhat surprised when they settled on Baker Street because I already knew from our last exercise that it was in a fairly wealthy part of London, and the sisters seemed to not have much money between the four of them. However, one of the other characters notes that they have to pay up in order to succeed and attract the right kind of loyal cliental among all the other photography studios. Many locations are mentioned several times throughout the first nine chapters, but Bond Street is only mentioned once as being the location of Darrell’s gallery; my book notes that it is an “area of fashionable shops and galleries (114). Looking at the Charles Booth poverty map confirmed that Bond Street was an area for the upper class:


There wasn’t that much information available on Bond Street other than that it was a mostly commercial area near the Royal Academy and that it was split into “New Bond Street” and “Old Bond Street.” I actually found more information on it in the introductory materials in the front of the book, one being from a chronology of Amy Levy’s life. In 1887, “The University Club for Ladies opens in New Bond Street.” A little more flipping through this introductory material found that Amy Levy was an early member of the club and wrote an essay on women’s clubs as an “established fact of the contemporary cityscape, and as a meeting-ground for old and young, intellectual and fashionable, traditional and modern women” (25). Having the four sisters in the book around people who have their business in Bond Street, I think, is a nod to the progressive part of society that Amy Levy was trying to advocate and push for and shows what kind of people the sisters are. They are new women, Fanny a little more begrudgingly, and they want to have their own stake in the world even if everyone tells them that they shouldn’t, that they’re not allowed. Bond Street is mentioned once so far but it’s a strong statement for Amy Levy to make that women would be known as professionals in that area of Victorian London.

Levy, Amy. The Romance of a Shop. Broadview Press, 2006. Print.

The Charles Booth Online Archive. October 28, 2015. Web.

Edgware Road in “Scandal in Bohemia”

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“’Drive like the devil,’ he shouted, ‘first to Gross & Hankey’s in Regent-street, and then to the Church of St. Monica in the Edgware road. Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes!’”

The only mention of Edgware road in “Scandal in Bohemia” is spoken by a character we barely meet, Godfrey Norton, the future husband of Irene Adler. Holmes, disguised as a homeless man, goes to Adler’s house to see if he can get a visual on the picture or of Adler herself, and instead finds out that she’s had a gentleman caller each day. Holmes isn’t there long when Norton comes out of the house, seeming flustered, and yells to the cabby to take him to the Church of St. Monica in Edgware road. Soon after, Adler comes out demanding the same location.

Although this road is only mentioned once, it holds a lot of significance, especially in relation to Irene Adler as a character. Irene is a well-to-do woman, which is alluded to when Holmes gets her address in St. John’s Wood, a ritzy area of London. When I looked up Edgware road on the Charles Booth Archive, I saw that it had all red, even some yellow, surrounding it, pointing to a well-to-do middle to upper class area.


To get married in such a nice area follows the thread that Irene is a wealthy woman and is going to be married in a wealthy part of London. I had Regent Street for the last assignment so when it was mentioned in relation to Edgware road I knew that it would be along the same vain. I looked up Gross & Hankey’s, and found that it was most likely a fictional jeweler, which also reflects Godfrey Norton’s level of wealth.

Looking through the various online sources, there wasn’t a lot of information available on Edgware road individually, but I did find that it wasn’t far from the Marble Arch. The Historical Eye puts it in relation to Hyde Park Place: “Hyde Park Place is the name given to a row of mansions overlooking the park and built on the right and left of the entrance to Great Cumberland Place. On turning round the corner into the Edgware Road, almost opposite the Marble Arch…” The Marble Arch was originally used as the entrance for the royal family into Buckingham Palace. Over time, this has changed obviously, but the arch definitely has royal origins. It’s a small detail, but I found the connotation with royalty in the area important in relation to Irene Adler and the kind of woman she is in the story.

I think it’s important that Edgware road is a real place and not fictional. Irene Adler is a larger than life woman so she’s put in real places where real wealth resided in London at this time. Arthur Conan Doyle puts Irene in a real place that readers can recognize and contextualize its meaning in relation to her as a fictional character about to be married in a well-to-do neighborhood.

“Adventure I. – A Scandal in Bohemia.” The Strand Magazine: Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Vol. 1. Stanford: Stanford U, 2006. N. pag. The Strand Magazine. Stanford University, 27 Jan. 2006. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

“Charles Booth Online Archive.” Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

“Marble Arch.” The Victorian Web. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

“Marble Arch and Kensington Gardens.” The Historical Eye. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

Regent Street: “New London”

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“Then he turned up into Regent Street and made a cross cut through the slums that lie on the borders of Soho” (Sharp, 186).

So reads the only mention of Regent Street in the short story “In Dull Brown” by Evelyn Sharp. After finishing the story and realizing that the street was only mentioned once, I didn’t have very high expectations about where it might be located in London. But after consulting the Historical Eye site as well as the British History Online I learned that it was in fact quite a nice area to be in. It was considered “as one of the great show-places of fashionable London” (Historical Eye). After reading more about it and looking at it on a map, it became very clear to me why it was only mentioned once in the text. Regent Street is a long street that runs down in between two different parts of London. It’s a connecting street, and at the time it was a fairly new concept as a part of the city. Designed by John Nash in the early 1800s, Regent Street was one of the first attempts to make London more continuous and have more of a focus on long-lasting architectural style. As Edward Walford wrote in 1878 in Old and New London, “It belongs to “new,” and not to “old” London” (British History). In the story, Tom is described as turning “up into Regent Street” and crossing “through the slums that lie on the borders of SoHo” (Sharp.) He passes through Regent Street for a moment, only needing it to connect to Oxford Street to run into Jean. It is a pleasant detour, a street at the time that people had grown accustomed to enough that they didn’t necessarily need to stop and admire it, or mention it more than once in a short story. Especially if the characters in question are rather well off and used to walking through pleasant streets with people similar to them, it would not have been anything novel.

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With this idea of “new” in mind, another connection I made is the newness to Regent Street and how Jean was a “new woman” at the time. Jean is an unconventional female protagonist for the time; she’s intelligent, she works for a living, and she is unmarried. She goes against everything that society deemed desirable during this era. The way she talks to Tom is very blunt and unapologetic which was also a very new idea, the idea that women could be equal to men in intellect. The frank conversations Tom has with Jean make him almost uncomfortable and it is noted in the text that Tom prefers “domesticated women,” which Jean is certainly not. He is intrigued by Jean but not necessarily capable of loving her and the end of the story shows him fawning over Jean’s sister Nancy, who much better fits the idea of womanhood at the time.

Regent Street is a small part of “In Dull Brown” but it does connect to the story in a very noted way. It shows the transition London was in the middle of making from old to new, from medieval to modern. Jean also represents this transition from old to new but Sharp is careful to point out that despite the city’s improvements, women were still largely stuck with medieval concepts of what it meant to be a woman. Today, Regent Street is a kind of equivalent to Time’s Square in New York and is “home to branches of the most famous and most expensive shops in the world” (Historical Eye). For what is now an attraction for mostly tourists, it’s interesting to think about its place in Victorian London and what it represented for its citizens.


Edward Walford, ‘Regent Street and Piccadilly’, in Old and New London: Volume 4 (London, 1878), pp. 246-262 [accessed 10 September 2015].

Sharp, Evelyn.  “In Dull Brown.” The Yellow Book 8 (January 1896): 181-200. The Yellow Nineties Online. Ed. Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra. Ryerson University, 2012. Web.

“The Historical Eye.” Web. September 10, 2015.

The Victorian Dictionary Blog Post

I had a tough time finding a single topic on “The Victorian Dictionary” and certainly spent more time than I realized perusing the wealth of information on the site. I’ve always been interested in women’s history and their roles throughout various periods so I knew that I wanted to choose something having to do with that when I finally landed on an excerpt from London and Londoners in the Eighteen-Fifties and Sixties by Alfred Rosling Bennett. In a chapter that seems to just be about women’s fashion of the time, I noticed several pieces of information that are actually so much more than they appear and really allow us to examine culture in London at this time.

After reading the entire excerpt I understood that the fashion of the time was in direct opposition with itself. Bennett describes how extraordinary the giant hoop skirts of the time were and how each woman commanded a presence because of it. Even in day-to-day activities like riding the bus, women in these skirts were hard to ignore. Bennett emphasizes that this style was worn “by all classes alike, the extra-ordinary fascination afflicting maid as markedly as mistress” (Bennett); a point I think is worth looking at. After reading the first article for the introductory blog it was made very clear that London was a city very much divided by class. The fact that a fashion style was able to transcend such rigid divisions and become accessible to all women was very interesting to me, as it seems to go against many other social structures of the time.

I also noted how despite the extravagant clothing choices, women of this time did not wear make-up, seeing it as an unnecessary indulgence. A line that stood out to me in particular was “maneuvers of the kind were considered essentially French and unworthy of English womanhood” (Bennett). Having been to France I found this assertion humorous because a very popular French cliché is how the women are very fashionable and done up… I had never thought how this stereotype would affect other European cultures either positively or negatively. He also points out that this intolerance of makeup was also due to the fact that “the vast majority disdained such trickeries” (Bennett). This line also stood out to me because it is important to remember that women were still considered as second-class citizens and were victims of many societal pressures and practices. The fact that makeup was thought as “trickery” reminds the reader that although it is possible that many women did in fact believe that make up was an indulgence, the underlying theme is that they were not allowed to regardless.

After reading this excerpt, I definitely began to think more about fashion and what it can tell us about a woman’s life at the time in which she lives in. Although I really enjoy women’s studies I had never really read a lot about fashion so I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to glean so much new and thought-provoking information.


Bennett, Alfred Rosling. London and Londoners in the Eighteen-Fifties and Sixties. 1924.




Intro Blog

My name is Dea Barbieri and I’m a senior majoring in English and French. I studied abroad in France last semester and was able to make it to London for a week, but I definitely felt like I didn’t see as much as I wanted to and that I didn’t get a true feeling for the city. So I am looking forward to learning more about the city’s history and hopefully be able to contextualize a little more the few places I was able to get to while I was there.

I really enjoyed this article because it gave such a broad overview of the evolution of London as the “first global city”. I’ve taken classes on medieval studies so I liked that the article used the medieval era as a jumping point to begin the conversation on how and when London began evolving; in my head I can clearly see medieval homes and ways of life and how ready people were to industrialize and leave that part of history behind. I thought the article did a good job geographically describing how London changed and how the different classes organized themselves into North, South, East, and West and what each section was known for. I thought it was interesting that even very early on South London had a reputation for being dicey and less-than the other, more affluent, parts of the city.

I also found the history of the railways very interesting and crucial for understanding London’s development. For example the railways were able to completely revolutionize working life by allowing middle-class workers to commute to work and live in the suburbs instead of the more dangerous parts of the city where they were previously forced to live. It is reminiscent of how middle-class people live today, many choosing to live in a suburban town with a train station and have the ability to commute to the city for work every day. This point connected with me the most and definitely helped me connect more to this period of history when so much was changing.