Lend me ten Pounds and I'll buy you a drink ...
For many people January is the season of moderation, and some particularly hardy souls (I’m told) even contemplate abstinence. Certain strands of the British media have coined and attempted to popularise the toe-curlingly awful term ‘Janopause’ to describe this practice, and if that’s not enough to have one reaching for a corkscrew I don’t know what is. Anyway, it seems like the perfect time to cover maps about pubs. Actually, Charles Booth’s map of London at the turn of the Twentieth Century lumps in churches and schools as well, but the truly innovative element of the map is the detailed treatment of the licensed premises, sub divided into five carefully defined categories:
And here’s the map, London 1899-1900:
Booth’s pioneering sociological work Life and Labour of the People in London is justly famous for its colour-coded ‘poverty maps’, illustrating the ‘general condition’ of Londoners on a street by street basis, from the wealthiest members of society (coloured a reassuring yellow) to those categorised by Booth as the ‘vicious, semi-criminal’ poor (coloured black). However, I find this map, tucked into a pocket in the last volume of the third series (‘religious influences’, published in 1902) to be just as interesting. Pubs do appear on earlier maps, mostly as landmarks, but despite the growth of various temperance societies in the mid nineteenth-century I’m not aware of any earlier systematic treatment of the subject on this scale. Here’s a detail of the West End - enough of the pubs, thickly clustered though they are, are still there today:
And, by way of contrast, here are the licensed premises in York in 1902:
Booth wasn’t a temperance man himself. He believed in “self control and good sense” and was critical of the “unreasonableness” of those for whom “the whole trade is an abomination”, which he felt had made it more difficult to deal with the proliferation of licensed premises in a constructive manner: “Some, and I count myself among the number, would make it their first object to improve the character of the places where alcohol is sold. They recognise wide differences for good or evil in the various forms, as well as circumstances, in which alcohol may be taken”. Pretty sound, a century later.
As it happens, I’m rather a fan of Victorian temperance tracts. A Bowl of Cherries is about a working man whose wife and children never had enough to eat because he spent his wages in his local. One day there was a bowl of ripe cherries on the bar, but when he asked if he could take one the landlady slapped his hand away. He never drank again. That night, to the amazement of his family, there was fresh bread and meat on the table. He became sober and reliable and was promoted to foreman, and eventually he was able to buy a little cottage. It’s a lovely story. I’m also fond of Owen’s Hobby, about an annoying old servant (the titular Owen, whose ‘hobby’ is, of course, temperance) who is unable to save his young masters and mistresses from terrible drink-related fates - in one instance driving a carriage over a cliff after drinking off a glass of beer. Owen is generally on hand to shake his venerable head sadly. I’ve often thought I should collect these properly.
- #but on the other hand it's a world where there are wizards who can kill you with bones and dudes who can set shit on fire with their minds
- #i'm fudging some things regarding the markets and i feel super guilty about it
- #soooooo you'll have to forgive me for still having market stalls in spitalfields
- #hollow fires
The Fuller Street Project
This is a personal project to investigate and imagine an East London street that mysteriously disappeared some time in the last century. Only a few traces remain of Fuller Street, which was once one of the poorest pockets of Victorian London. It was described by Charles Booth’s Poverty Map of 1879-9 as ‘very poor, casual, chronic want’ and ‘lowest class, vicious, semi-criminal’.
This page will bring together historic research, photographs, illustrations, maps and others sources, along with the writers own imaginings, drawings and other creations.
Changify King's Cross - our first public event
As D4SC is building the Changify platform to get public and brand backing for local ideas, improvements and projects; people-powered data gathering and rating of things you notice at street level is at the heart of what we’re about.
Going beyond top-down notions of ‘engagement’ and talk of ‘enabling’ people (as if they’re currently bereft of motivation, or lack articulate thoughts and a willingness to express them), we’re firm believers in developing a framework that surfaces, synchs with and situates real desires and needs. That requires doing stuff collaboratively from day one, shaping experiences and outcomes through the process of marrying data with action, and repeating this often… Our first such outing was on 7th November in King’s Cross.
With the Centre for Creative Collaboration #C4CC as our base, the historic and rapidly transforming King’s Cross area - that straddles Camden and Islington Council boroughs - became the setting for a night of discovery, data collection and real-time analysis…
After a quickfire summary of the forthcoming Changify platform and toolkit, plus an introduction to earlier innovations in mapping and collecting social data in London pioneered by Charles Booth and his famous Poverty Map of 1898 (collated over 12 years of assiduous data gathering!), 35 people were handed pieces of chalk and armed with these and their charged-up mobile phones set off in two groups on guided tours (with a twist) of the King’s Cross area.
During the walks, led by accredited Blue Badge guides, they gained insight into the past and current local context of the neighbourhood. One story revealed how the clean waters of the subterranean River Fleet led to the area becoming a global epicentre of public health care and medical innovation in the late Victorian era, a legacy still tangible in the numerous local hospitals and nearby Wellcome Trust and Collection headquarters.
Other more contemporary stopping points included London’s newest street and postcode, King’s Boulevard, N1C, where playful public art and restored landmark buildings with a renewed purpose sit accessibly amid what is currently the UK’s biggest building site. And Drink Shop & Do, a multi-purpose venue mixing cakes, drinks and dancing with creative classes, art and objects galore exhibited for sale all under one roof.
In turn the groups turned roving citizen-reporters. They photographed and tweeted local issues, inspirations and brands spotted en route, chalking their ratings in situ, and collating data to discuss, map and rate when everyone returned to the venue.
Piles of rubbish, classic street furniture, barbed wire fences, Pret A Manger, McDonald’s, and even a location from the Harry Potter films in Kings Cross Railway Station all came under scrutiny. Then the positives and negatives were documented, rated and weighed up afterwards, as were potential solutions and roles for brands to play in delivering them.
As a pilot outing, the event helped lay the ground for our future local events and make concrete some of the needs of the new Changify app and platform. But it also proved that turning a citizen’s eye on your locality is in equal measures mind-expanding and exciting, even whilst darker and more conflicting facts are noted.
Photos from our #Changify King’s Cross event on 7th November are on Flickr and Pinterest. Many thanks to our host partners at the Centre for Creative Collaboration for their support. And thanks of course to our dynamic crew of citizen spotters, reporters and mappers at large!
Our next event #Changify Shoreditch is being held over the weekend of 14-16th December with a special Early Bird ticket rate if you’re quick! BOOKINGS & MORE INFO HERE. Follow Changify on Twitter for more updates.