London Quotes

Brilliant Lunatics!

“I love London society! 

I think it has immensely improved.

It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics.

Just what Society should be.”

Oscar Wilde, in Act 1 of ‘An Ideal Husband’

And for those who live or have lived in London….which one are you?

A beautiful idiot? Or a brillaint lunatic?


Probably a combination of both 😉


Post, Parcels & Passengers

For an audio version of this legend, click on the link below:

Post, Parcels & Passengers

The Cross Keys are the symbol of St Peter, the keeper of the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a common name for a pub in England, as pubs were always named after something that was important to the local community. As religion often dominated all aspects of daily life in Old England, the Cross Keys was a logical choice for a name of an inn or a public house.

The Cross Keys on Wood Street, in the City of London, was a posting inn where coaches terminated their journeys from the countryside, bringing post, parcels and passengers to the City.

This is also the inn where Charles Dickens arrived from Rochester as a boy, when his family embarked on a new life in London.

Later, in Great Expectations, Dickens tells the story of an orphan Pip, who travels to London to seek adventure. He arrives in the City here at the Cross Keys:

The journey from our town to the metropolis was a journey of about five hours. It was a little past midday when the four–horse stage–coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood Street, Cheapside, London.

And so, along with many others, great journeys did not end at the Cross Keys…they merely began…

Dawn Denton©

Pea Soup & Coats

1906 – John Betjeman (who became Poet Laureate in 1972) was born, an earthquake of 7.8 hit San Francisco, Paul Cezanne (French Post-Impressionist painter) died and the liberals won a landslide victory in the governmental elections in Britain.

Edward VII summons the new cabinet ministers to meet with him at Buckingham Palace, but the London Fog had settled over the city. The fog, it was believed was due to the poor drainage in the city and on the surrounding farms, stagnant pools of water, open ditches and the marshes along the Thames.

The fog was so thick shops in Bond Street had to have their lights on at midday and Thomas Miller referred to it as ‘dilution of yellow peas-pudding’.

After being summons to see the king the cabinet ministers could not find their way to the Palace in the fog and had to feel their way past rows of horses and carriages.

The thick fog became common place in London and Henry Luttrel described it as:

“First at the dawn of lingering day,
It rises of an ashy grey;

Then deepening with a sordid stain
Of yellow, like a lion’s mane.”

Mixed in with industrial air pollution and the thousands of chimneys in the city, the fog became known as the ‘pea soup fog’ , the ‘pea souper’, the ‘black fog’ and the ‘killer fog’.

Today the London Fog is a gin based cocktail, as well as an Earl Grey Tea Latte and a coat and clothing company that made waterproof clothing for the United States Navy during World War II.

Dawn Denton©

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London as a Teen

“Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.”

John Berger (1926- )

Author and critic

Today this teenager has 21% of its residents born outside of the EU, according to the 2001 census.

Dawn Denton©

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