Waterloo Place

Katelynn Vyas


In the article entitled, “Waterloo Place and Her Majesty’s Theatre” by Edward Walford, from the “British History”, Waterloo Place was as complex as Victorian life itself.  The layout of Waterloo Place was designed by architect Mr. Nash.  It intersects at Pall Mall and is conjoined with Regent Street.  Around the year 1815 “low and mean houses” or “filthy dwellings” were demolished to create an area that would later come to be referred to as Waterloo Place and Lower Regent Street.  Described as a “spacious” place in which to live and relax, Waterloo Place is perhaps most famous for being connected to Regent’s Park which is described as having “elegant villas, and as being encircled by rows of houses of noble elevation.”  It is likely Waterloo Place was a highly appointed location. It had beautiful in architect, timeless design and befitted the upper class (Walford. “British Histories”).

The significance of Waterloo Place in the story “In Dull Brown” by writer Evelyn Sharp, taken from the book entitled The Yellow Book, is Sharp’s description of her “journey” on the omnibus.  Sharp, who “is going to teach three children all sorts of things they don’t want to learn a bit”, identifies the stops along the route of the omnibus while in route to Waterloo Place, which includes Green Park and Piccadilly Circus Station.  The adjoining areas were designed to accommodate the upper class (Sharp.185).  Due in part to its unique configuration, Waterloo Place is what we would consider a “square”.  The street and those that intersect it are well appointed with five statues and two large monuments.  They include the “Guards Monument” and the “Duke of York” as situated at the end of Waterloo Place and the intersection of Carlton Garden.  The five statues depict renowned British figures.  They stand in quiet solitude and are: The Sir John Franklin Statue, The Burgoyne Statue, The Lord Lawrence Statue, The Lord Clyde Statue, and The Lord Napier of Magdala Statue (Victorian Google Maps).   Waterloo Place is also well-known for the Athenaeum Club, an erudite association that is located across from The United Service Club and a bank.
Sharp is likened herself to the setting of Waterloo Place.  Although the historical significance of the statues is recorded in time, they stand for those who refuse to acknowledge their origins as insignificant details of history.  Some individuals find them to be inconsequential and choose not to learn about them.  And like the statues who stand in quiet solitude Sharp realizes that on her daily journeys to and from her teaching assignment it is acceptable for her to assume a posture of quiet solitude among the masses with whom she mingles.Sharp is likened herself to the setting of Waterloo Place.  Although the historical significance of the statues is recorded in time, they stand for those who refuse to acknowledge their origins as insignificant details of history.  Some individuals find them to be inconsequential and choose not to learn about them.  And like the statues who stand in quiet solitude Sharp realizes that on her daily journeys to and from her teaching assignment it is acceptable for her to assume a posture of quiet solitude among the masses with whom she mingles.

far left- The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum to the far left

The Athenaeum Club, which appears to the left, is located on the corner of Waterloo Place (Ward. “Victorian Web”).  According to the “British Histories” in the article entitled “Pall Mall, South Side, Exiting Buildings: The United Service Club, The Athenaeum”, this scholarly club was established in 1815 and came to fruition in 1825.  It was conceptualized by John Wilson Croker as a gathering place for individuals known for their intellectual contributions to British society in the areas of literature, science, artistic accomplishments and who valued patrons of these endeavors.  Affiliates were best known for their: inherited prominence, distinguished social positions, and scholarly influence.  The club: both in concept and reality was highly efficacious. Other like-minded organizations succeeded the Athenaeum Club and replicated it in principal.  The United Service Club was a highly successful army and navy gentlemen’s club that serviced senior officers (“British Histories”).





Works cited

‘Pall Mall, South Side, Existing Buildings: The United Service Club, The Athenaeum.’ Survey of

London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Ed. F H W Sheppard. London: London County Council, 1960. 386-399. British History Online. Web. 3 September 2015. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp386-399.

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,

  1. Web. 7 September 2015. http://1890s.ca/HTML.aspx?s=YBV8_sharp_dull.html

“Victorian Google Maps.” Victorian GoogleMaps. Google, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2015.

Walford, Edward. ‘Waterloo Place and Her Majesty’s Theatre.’ Old and New London: Volume 4.

London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1878. 206-216. British History Online. Web. 8 September 2015. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol4/pp206-216.

Ward, Humphry. History of the Athenaeum, 1824-1925. London: Printed for the Club, 1926.

[From the Collection of Professor Ernest Chew, National University of Singapore]




Researching the Victorians: Toy Shops

          Toyland, a toy shop in Victorian London, was a popular destination for Christmas shoppers looking to purchase their son, daughter, niece, or nephew the perfect toy for the winter holiday. The toy-shopper, in this case “Uncle Jonathan,” enters the store and immediately recognizes the “shelves piled up with boxes” containing a variety of toys such as dolls, teapots, lanterns, puzzles, bats and balls (Jackson). Just as parents and older family members experience upon entering toy stores today, the shopper recognizes that toys have improved since they were a child. There is an overwhelmingly large selection of new and unfamiliar toys available to Uncle Jonathan, and he spends his time looking through what Toyland has to offer, imagining himself as a child again and considering what toys would bring him joy (Jackson).
          Toyland offers a variety of toys, all of which are targeted toward different age groups and genders. There are toys for child boys, child girls, and infants. Girls toys are typically dolls, but also include “skipping-ropes, battledores, tennis rackets, and hoops” (Jackson). The dolls are presented wrapped in tissue paper inside boxes. They are made of “wax, china, or rag” with “flaxen hair, sparkling blue eyes that open [and] shut […], a charming face, and the very pinkest of pink toes” (Jackson). Dolls are typically found as baby dolls or brides, and clothing is often made to dress the doll up:  bridal, tennis, casual, and proper dresses. Toys available to boys are “lanterns with green and red lights,” “rocking-horses,” “Tally Ho!,” “trumpets and drums,” “puzzles,” “bats and balls,” and “bows and arrows” (Jackson). Infant toys consist of “elephants, Noah’s arks, Punch and Judy, and windmills” (Jackson). If an abundance of toys were bought and could not all be carried out, the shop would deliver the excess (Jackson).
Jackson, Lee. “Dictionary of Victorian London – Victorian History – ChildhoodToys –Toy Shops.” Dictionary of Victorian London. Yale University Press, 15 Nov. 2001. Web. 26 Aug. 2015. <http://www.victorianlondon.org/index-2012.htm>

Policing London

The anonymous article from Punch titled “The Modern Police Man” is an editorial describing the behavior of the ideal police officer. From this piece I can gather that the goal of the police force was to assist the community he was assigned to for his beat. He is expected to serve the people. One passage describes the simple tasks he might do to help stating, “he rings bells the first thing in the morning, runs to fetch the doctor, helps an early coffee-stall to unpack her cups and saucers, pulls down shutters, gives “lights” to young gentlemen staggering home.” Rather than being a presence to instill fear in the population, the modern police force of England was conceived to add a comforting and neighborly presence and in doing so stop crime before it has a chance to occur.

One of the ways he might achieve this is by befriending the working classes. Justice in England until the Victorian period was a pipe-dream for anyone not of the aristocracy whose members served as judge, jury, and counselor. But a regulated police force provided hope to the lower classes. The article says that the perfect officer “is affable to the footman, and smiles to the page, but suspects the butler, and calls the French maid proud.” He makes himself an ally to the lower servants and is wary of those with a higher status, giving wronged workers a chance to stand up for themselves.

More than that, he provided a comfort to the most vulnerable of the population, children. According to the article, “he is meek to lost children, and takes them to the station-house in the most fatherly manner.” The police were not there to harass the youth for simply being young. They were there to offer aid and guidance. More than anything else, a good relationship with the children of the area could result the safety of the community.

Jackson, Lee. “Dictionary of Victorian London – Victorian History – 19th Century London –Social History.” Dictionary of Victorian London – Victorian History – 19th Century London – Social History. Yale University Press, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.<http://www.victorianlondon.org/index-2012.htm>

Katelynn Vyas Intro Post

Hello, my name is Katelynn Vyas. Please call me Katie. I am an Early Childhood Education major, with a concentration in English and a euphoric senior. I am pleased to be a member of the “Virtually London” class here at SUNY New Paltz. Although I visited Westminster Abbey as a child, watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and toured the Tower of London, I remember little. However, with my newfound knowledge I intend one day soon to be a groundling at the Globe Theater, tour the birthplaces of British authors and afterward return to Piccadilly Circus in order to savor pasties once again.

From the reading, it is extremely interesting to note that throughout the history of London prosperity and change in the monarchy brought about hardship to its inhabitants (Robinson). Ironically, as an imperialistic nation the empire was known internationally for causing the social, economic, religious and political change in the nations it conquered. It is sad to learn Londoners also lived in extreme poverty, in utter filth and with daily threats of violence while the empire did little to improve the lives of its constituents. None the less, London became a thriving seaport with a growing population and a prosperous financial center (Robinson). It was clearly poised to experience the first industrial revolution in the world. The reading clearly states the Thames River was a geographical land mass that served to delineate the north from the south, the haves from the have-nots (Robinson). In the 1700’s the south became the area in which heavy industry was located and in which the working class poor were situated. Author and social commentator Charles Dickens wrote about poverty, disease, vice and the general lack of empathy of the monarchy toward the working class poor in 19th century England (Robinson). I am looking forward to walking through Adelphi, the location of Dickens’ lodgings and where David Copperfield lived (Perdue .Map 1). Virtually visiting London’s historical stomping grounds and places such as Covent Garden (Perdue. Map: D-6), Charing Cross (Perdue.Map: E-5), and the British Museum (Perdue.Map: B-5) will greatly enhance my understanding of Victorian London.

Perdue, David. “David Perdue’s Charles Dickens Page – Dickens’ London Map.”  David Perdue’s Charles Dickens Page – Dickens’ London Map. Davd Perdue. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

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

Post #1

My name is Jordana Jampel, I am a senior and my major is English. Upon reading Bruce Robinson’s article, “London: A Modern Babylon,” I learned some facts I previously did not know about London, especially the way in which the city matured and sectioned out. I was especially interested in Robinson’s breakdown of the north, south, east, and west ends of London because I visited the city last summer and remember the different Tube stations and streets on which I traveled. During the 1700’s, the south bank of the Thames River was not as accessible as the rest of London which really surprised me because I would think that the region right along a city’s main waterway would be the most accessible location. As I read on though, I learned how during this time the development of roads was booming and people were relying on other means of transportation over water-travel. Once I learned that piece of information, I understood a bit more why people would try to avoid the slum by the water–because in order to get across the water, bridges need to be funded and built, which was eventually done.

Due to my experience on the Tube, I was really fascinated by the influence railways had on the development of London boundary-wise as well as population-wise. During the mid to late 1800’s, railways began to run all throughout London so workers may travel with more efficiency and even ease. Robinson mentions how, “Railways meant they could move to the suburbs,” which to me, explains how London reached the heavily-populated point She did during the beginning of the twentieth century (3). With Robinson’s observation in mind, I immediately considered how the Tube lines were defining factors of what was considered within the boundaries of London. London was able to expand Her city boundaries, therefore including more people within a given space part of the population. As more people moved into London and increased the population number greatly, London continued to expand, via the railway, and eventually engulf surrounding areas, which only included more people within the city limits of London. About the expansion of railways, and therefore London, Robinson writes, “But London was spreading as well as rising. By the 1860s it had swallowed Hammersmith, Wood Green, and Blackheath…The Cheap Trains Acts of 1883 helped the working class move from grim tenement blocks to ‘railway suburbs’ like West Ham and Walthamstow” (3). With the logistics of how and where London spread to in mind, I am interested in continue to explore how much London’s growing boundaries affected the overall population growth within the city–if the expansion was really significant to that population number or not.

Intro post

My name is Heather Ryan and I am a senior history major with minors in English and French. Over the years I have studied many different time periods and topics and Victorian London is one of my favorite. It is a very vibrant and diverse history encompassing dozens of different demographics. And the energy of the time period is hard to ignore. Right now I’m taking my senior seminar on the years from 1889-1929 of US history so it’s nice that I get to study the other side of the Atlantic for my English requirements.

I already had the advantage of being familiar with Victorian London but I had never thought that much about the impact of railroads on England. But reading Bruce Robinsons’ “London: A Modern Babylon” I realized the similar purpose that inexpensive public transportation served to Victorian London as cheap cars did to American cities in the 1950s. Both allowed for the working lower-middle class to move to the suburbs and commute to work. Not only did this allow workers to trade city congestion for a little more space and freedom, it kept them isolated from the truly impoverished, creating even more physical barriers between the classes. Cities like London and New York became places for the really, really rich and the really, really poor, leaving little room for anyone in between.

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