1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Victorian London

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Marcelo, Jun 25, 2010.

    Well, I'm kind of tangled up with two questions, which are the following:

    1) In what district of Victorian-era London could I locate my character's manor?

    2) Same as the above, but regarding an orphanage.

    I tried googling this, but the little information I find is vague or less than helpful.
     
  2. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    In victorian London the docks were the most successful part of the city. Anybody who was rich or successful would live in or around these parts, I don't think they would live in manors but they would live in large houses.

    I did find something about a manor house in Hackney, but that was only after a quick search.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    An orphanage would likely have been around the east end, I'd try reading the text of The Begger's Opera, it might help you set the tone and mood, and might give you some discription of life in the poorer areas of London too.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first docks were built after the The West India Dock Act of 1799, and there was another Act in 1800. The Royal Victoria Dock didn't open until 1855. The docks were situated in Wapping, and south of the river. Tilbury Docks was not completed until 1886. Take it from me, NO person with any money or pretension to fashion would live there in Victorian times. It was a boggy and unhealthy place to live. The area of the docks were for business premises, warehouses, dosshouses and the like.

    If you are looking for a 'manor', you want to research the area of Chelsea. It backs onto the river, and Cheyne Walk is still one of the most beautiful and exclusive areas of Central London. Because it was on the river, right up until the end of the 19th Century there were many old mansions and manor houses there dating back as far as Elizabethan times. Many were modernised, and some were remodelled in late Victorian times for use as hospitals. There were also colleges, hospitals and retirement homes built there, e.g. The Royal Hospital, Chelsea was completed at the end of the 18th Century. It is perfectly feasible that an orphanage would be situated there.

    Just because there tended to be poor orphans in the East End, it doesn't actually follow that many orphanages were situated there. Patrons often liked to see their money spent on substantial, stylish buildings in accessible locations--there were less of the grim 'Jane Eyre' style orphanage in London--As you know, Loward (sp?) was in Yorkshire.

    The Victorian Web is a useful site, and I suggest you Google 'plans of Chelsea' (or Hampstead, perhaps, another likely area but less fashionable)--you can find street-by-street old architects drawings and descriptions of the shops and houses. I've just spent the last month doing some extra research myself as background to the historical novel I'm working on--I know that particular area well of London (at least, I did before I left the UK 25 yrs ago!)

    Don't forget that modern London is much more spacious and certain areas have changed a great deal as a result of the Blitz in WWII.

    Edit: Just looked on The Victorian Web--there is a great description of an orphanage at Haverstock Hill, in Camden, near Chalk Farm.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Good info Madhoca! And I must say, it was a pleasure to read.
     
  6. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Yes, indeed! Thanks a lot!! :D
     

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