Russell & Allen (Old Bond Street)

Russell & Allen appears in Amy Levy’s The Romance of a Shop on page 79, as an elite dressmaker and supply shop where Constance, as a newly engaged women, tries on a ball dress. (pg. 79)

Unfortunately, while looking for more information on Russell & Allen’s shop, including what the storefront may have looked like, I could find no surviving images, as it would appear the store disappeared sometime in the late 1890s to early 1900s. The most information I could find on the store came from the footnotes on page 79 of The Romance of a Shop: “Messrs. Russell and Allen, Old Bond Street, London, W.” was an exclusive dress designer and supplier shop, according to photographs on the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum.” (pg. 79)

However, I did manage to find photos of preserved clothing that were made and sold via Russell & Allen’s shop, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert museum website.

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It’s clear to see that Russell & Allen made many high quality outfits, and it’s interesting that Amy Levy chose to include Constance’s engagement with the fact that she is trying a dress there. Perhaps she meant to express that Constance would only spend the money required for a Russell & Allen dress for an extremely special occasion, such as an engagement.

According to the Charles Booth Poverty Map, Russell & Allen, located on Old Bond Street, was surrounded by middle-class and upper middle-class dwellings, which seems obvious since Russell & Allen was a very expensive store. Only the upper middle class could afford to shop there, or have custom-made outfits made there. Even today, Old Bond Street is home to many expensive stores housing designer artifacts, such as Gucci outfits, who supply goods to the British Royal Family.


The only crime I could find being committed in the vicinity of Russell & Allen was a case of fraud, in which the defendant was found guilty. A man by the name of Adolf Beck appears to have tried to trade stolen jewelry for forged checks, one of which was made out to Russell & Allen.


Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), February 1896, trial of ADOLF BECK, Unlawfully (t18960224-277).

Booth, Charles. “Old Bond Street.” Charles Booth Online Archive. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

“Bond Street.” Shops and Art Galleries in New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, London. Street Sensation, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.

“Wedding Dress: Russell & Allen.” Victoria & Albert. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.
Levy, Amy. The Romance of a Shop. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2006. Print.


Baker Street Station

Present in Amy Levy’s The Romance of a Shop for only a brief period of time, Baker Street Station is where the Lorimer sisters part after a day spent shopping and walking around in the area of Baker Street. Phyllis in particular actually goes underground into the station, while Gertrude boards an omnibus above ground outside of the Station. (pg. 80) In reality, the Baker Street tube station is one of the oldest surviving stations in the London Underground, and still transports people to this day. Baker Street Station, because of its proximity to the famed 221b Baker Street of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, is also currently decorated with Sherlock Holmes artwork, to celebrate the area’s perhaps most famed (although fictional) resident.

According to the Charles Booth Poverty Map, the area of Baker Street Station is colored red, meaning the area is mostly middle-class, which makes sense as tourist attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are located nearby. However, on the 1898-99 map, it’s interesting to note that there is also a spot of dark blue, where Booth has it marked as “very poor, chronic want.” The area over which this poverty lies is marked as St. Cyprian’s Church, which makes me think the church may have been housing destitute and/or homeless individuals out of charity, and it is possible the church could certainly afford to do so because of the middle-class area it is located in.

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On the Old Bailey Proceedings website, Baker Street Station, while seemingly in a well-to-do area, also seems like a prime spot for thievery to occur. A man was pick-pocketed of his watch outside Baker Street Station, but this seems to be the most intense crime that took place at the station. To add to Baker Street Station’s reputation of being in a well-to-do area, the alleged pick-pocketer was later declared “Not guilty.”


Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), August 1886, trial of IKE KENNEDY (70) (t18860803-848).

Pinchen, Liz. “Sherlock Holmes Tiles At Baker Street Tube Station.” Fine Art America. 20 Mar. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Booth, Charles. “Baker Street Station.” Charles Booth Online Archive. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Levy, Amy. The Romance of a Shop. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2006. Print.

“Prime Metro Properties.” The History Of Baker Street. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>.

Waterloo Place in “The Romance of a Shop.”

In Amy Levy’s novel The Romance of a Shop, Waterloo Place is mentioned when talking about The Waterloo Gazette, a newspaper created in the area. Although the women in the story do not visit Waterloo Place, Gertrude turns down an interview with the magazine about her family’s photography shop and her career in general. The text also states, however, that later on “some unauthorised person wrote a little account of the Lorimers’ studio in one of the society papers…” (Levy 135)

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As it is clear to see from the map above, courtesy of the London OS Town Plan, Waterloo Place is surrounded by a plethora of clubs, most likely meeting places for upper class citizens, and is also populated by war monuments and artistic statues, including a memorial to commemorate the Crimean War. One of the clubs visible on the map, the Athenaeum Club, was a clubhouse for gentlemen of the upper middle class, who enjoyed the arts, science, and were known for their artistic accomplishments. It was only in 2002 that the club, which still operates to this day, began to admit female members.


According to the Charles Booth Poverty Map as well, it is obvious that Waterloo Square is in a very wealthy area of London, as if the various sculptures and clubs in the area are not proof enough. On Booth’s charts, both red and orange represent middle class and upper middle class establishments being present, and the overwhelming amount of both colors suggest that Waterloo Place was in the center of a very affluent area. Its close proximity to Piccadilly Circus and the Royal Academy of the Arts also backs up this claim. However, it is interesting to note that on the left side of St. James Square, there is a row of blue dwellings, which indicates that was a smattering of poor families living in the area as well.

Works Cited

Levy, Amy. The Romance of a Shop. Ed. Susan David Bernstein. Canada: Broadview Editions, 2006. p. 135. Print.

Charles Booth Online Archive. Booth Poverty Map and Modern Map. Web. 30 October 2015.,180350,1,large,0

London – OS Town Plan 1893-6. Web. 30 October 2015.


Baker Street in “Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia”

For this assignment, I decided to focus on what could possibly be the most important setting in a Sherlock Holmes tale, the West End location of Sherlock Holmes’ home, Baker Street.

Frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle or his works, and all I know about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is that they are detectives, and their headquarters were located at 221B Baker Street in London. It is for this reason I decided to dig a little deeper into its history, and find out exactly what kind of area it was to live in.

First off, it is seen almost immediately in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” as the tale opens with John Watson paying Holmes a visit at his residence on Baker Street, before they are interrupted by a visitor, who turns out to be the King of Bohemia in disguise, looking for the detective’s assistance in foiling a plot by his vengeful mistress, Irene Adler. Judging by the fact that a king could walk down Baker Street (albeit wearing a mask) at night without being accosted by burglars or the like, this gave me the assumption that Baker Street was not a particularly risky place to live.

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As you can see from the above map from the 1890s, Baker Street was surrounded by many hotels on nearby streets, giving the impression that it was located in an upper class area that was prime for travelers to stay in. There was also a tube station on the street in later years, and was located close to a fire station, which would have made the residents of Baker Street a priority for the fire brigade if there were ever an emergency, judging by their close proximity. There was also the large Baker Street Bazaar, a shopping area where people came to buy food, clothing, and see exhibits, such as an early version of the famed Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. This backs my belief that Baker Street was in a well-to-do area of London, populated by the middle class and the wealthy and with little crime.


Above: The Baker Street Bazaar, as seen in 1845 for a cattle show.

Truth be told, while searching the Old Bailey Proceedings for news of crimes committed on Baker Street, I could find only victims and other witnesses that gave their addresses as Baker Street, and no crimes that were actually committed there. I thought I may have found an animal theft occurring on Baker Street in an account describing the arrest of one George Welldon, but it turns out that the defendant lived on Lloyd Baker Street in Clerkenwell.

Overall, Baker Street seemed to be located in a safe, upper class community, and today is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located, not surprisingly, at 221B. The legacy of Sherlock Holmes and his living place on Baker Street continues to shape the street’s fame and economic value even today.

“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. 17 Oct. 2015. <>.

“London – OS Town Plan 1893-6: Baker Street, London.” Google Maps Engine: Map View. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <>.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2, 17 October 2015), October 1768, trial of George Welldon (t17681019-34).

The Sherlock Holmes Museum. Digital image. The Fussiest Eater. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <>.

Jackson, Lee. Baker Street Bazaar. Digital image. Victorian London. Nassau Steam Press, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. <>.

Green Park in Evelyn Sharp’s “In Dull Brown”

Green Park

As it is plain to see from the above map, which shows Green Park as it was from 1893 to 1896, this expanse of land was located directly behind Buckingham Palace, the primary homestead of the British Royal Family, and extended a ways north, so close to royal ground that the Palace Gardens actually bisect the land. One has to wonder if this was planned on purpose, as to give the common folk a taste of the landscape that greeted the British Royals every morning.

In Evelyn Sharp’s short story “In Dull Brown,” Green Park is featured momentarily as Jean and Nancy pass by at morning in an omnibus. Jean momentarily takes herself out of her melancholy state to gaze upon the Green Park, commenting: ‘” Just imagine missing that glorious effect,” she thought to herself, as they rumbled along the edge of the Green Park where the mist was slowly yielding to the warmth of the sun and allowing
itself to be coaxed out of growing into a fog.” (Sharp, 182) The beauty of the land was enough to warrant its own passage, even though the characters were only passing by and not spending a significant amount of time inside.




Above is a modern view of Green Park, taken by George P. Landow for “The Victorian Web.” This pathway, which is described by Landow as “walking from the Buckingham Palace gates toward Oxford Street,” may do as well to remind one of the Central Park Mall in Manhattan’s Central Park. According to William Atkinson’s account from The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, taken on the 11th of April, 1749, fireworks were also shown in Green Park from time to time, as he was present at one of these events.

However, even though the Green Park seemed to be in a safe area because of its close proximity to Buckingham Palace and its gorgeous scenery, it was also the scene of many crimes, ranging from robbery to even sexual assault. For example, a man named John Alders was indicted on the charges of highway robbery that occurred in the Green Park on the 24th of February, 1768.

Green Park, London, United Kingdom. Digital image. London – OS Town Plan 1893-6. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2015. <>.

Landow, George P. Green Park, London. Digital image. The Victorian Web. 12 July 2001. Web. 7 Sept. 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. 7 September 2015.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2, 07 September 2015), April 1749, trial of Susannah Plymouth (t17490411-49).

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2, 07 September 2015), February 1768, trial of John Alders (t17680224-39).




Dictionary of Victorian London: Prisons – Carly Silk

While traversing the Dictionary of Victorian London online, I decided to take a further look at the Victorian prison system, specifically how crime was dealt with by the public, and how prisoners themselves were treated.

I found it very interesting that seemingly very extreme lengths were taken by the public to ensure that they did not run afoul of criminals, to the point where advertisements were made which displayed such clothing articles as the “Patent Antigarotte Collar,” a device placed around the neck to prevent one from being strangled.


While the use or even invention of this device may seem comical at first, it’s quite alarming to imagine a person walking the streets wearing this, or that criminals choking people was apparently as commonplace to even warrant this invention. I also took a look at the recorded ages of prisoners in London prisons, and was surprised to find that most were between the ages of fifteen and twenty, and that there was a single prisoner being held who was between the ages of five and ten. One can only wonder what a small child did to warrant being arrested and imprisoned. Lastly, I decided to research if there were any rehabilitation programs available to prisoners who were awaiting release, and discovered that there was a program for boys between the ages of thirteen and fifteen who were of sound mind and in prison for three years or less, called the “Cornwall Training Ship.” Whether or not this reformatory taught young men how to become sailors or work on ships I could not discover, but it would appear that not much help was given to adult prisoners after their release, as I could find nothing except the issuing of parole tickets. Interestingly, I couldn’t find any information on female prisoners, meaning that nothing on them was documented, or that there were so few female prisoners that it did not make it into this dictionary.

All information taken from “The Victorian Dictionary.” Jackson, Lee. Web. 26 August 2015.

Introduction – Carly Silk

Hello, my name is Carly Silk. I am a senior and an English major, with a minor in creative writing. Although I initially did not know much about Victorian London when I first signed up for this class, I have discovered several interesting facts about the city during my readings.

For example, although I knew through common knowledge that the River Thames was always a natural barrier separating factions of London from others, I did not know that the South Bank was reserved for the “less desirable” industries, such as soap-making and vinegar factories. I also did not know that South London was, at the time, famous for its taverns and prison complexes, which makes me wonder whether this decision to move the smellier, less pretty aspects of the city into an already downtrodden area was a choice propagated by Victorian London’s aristocratic society. I find it telling that industries in which working class citizens were more likely to work were seemingly lumped together with pubs and prisons. I also find it interesting and accurate that Robinson refers to Victorian London as a “modern Babylon,” seeing as though this era in the city’s history, considering both the uprising of modern architecture and the booming industrial complex that included factories and trains, seemed to crop up almost overnight by historical standards. I also was aware of the filthy conditions of the London streets, but didn’t know that there was an effort to put “slum clearance” into effect. I also was not aware of the fact that the working poor’s homes were destroyed in this move, another insight to how dominant the upper class was in London’s expansion.

Information gathered from Bruce Robinson’s “London: ‘A Modern Babylon’” BBC News. BBC, 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.