Ripper Street season 4

Ripper Street is back…

…and a good thing too!

Season 4 begins in 1897 with Queen Victoria celebrating her diamond jubilee. Edmund Reid (the great Matthew Macfadyen) has retired from the force and left Whitechapel for good. However he soon finds himself drawn back to Whitechapel when he discovers that his old friend Isaac Bloom (Justin Avoth, Merlin) is set to hang for a brutal murder; a murder of which Reid believes he is innocent.

Again the grimy streets of Victorian Whitechapel are well depicted and we even get the front of the notorious Newgate Prison.

Untitled 1

The actors are brilliant in this and the detail is such that is should be lauded but it is not. The second season flagged a bit but the third certainly improved and I have high hopes for this season.

It is currently on Amazon Prime…Enjoy!


TB…it’s back in the UK…

Royal Sea Bathing Victoria Ward…but did it ever go away?

World TB Day on 24 March commemorates the discovery of the causative agent of tuberculosis by Robert Koch in 1882. It aims to raise global public awareness of TB.

So…is this quote from a Victorian source or Modern Source?

‘Homelessness is a risk factor for TB, but it is also a risk factor for failure to treat and cure TB leading to an increase in suffering and expense, reduced accessibility to services, and a higher risk of community transmission’.

Sadly a modern source. In 2014:

  • There were 6,520 TB cases
  • 39% of cases were in London
  • 72% of cases were among non-UK born people
  • 10% of people with TB had at least one social risk factor for TB (a history of alcohol or drug misuse, homelessness or imprisonment)
  • 30% of people with pulmonary TB waited over four months from onset of symptoms to beginning treatment

Tuberculosis or Consumption as was known was a major disease throughout Victoria’s reign, killing one in four of its sufferers. London had the highest rate of TB admissions (15.3 per 100,000 population), with North Yorkshire and the Humber having the lowest (1.5 per 100,000 population). Among TB’s most famous victims were Emily Brontë, who succumbed to the bacterial infection in 1848, and Florence Nightingale in 1910.

I find it rather shocking that cuts in public finance are taking us back to the awful days of those awful diseases.

London 1839

This is (as far as I know) the oldest remaining image of London. I’m afraid I don’t know where it is but wow!!


Victorian Images


A variety of images from the late Victorian era, all from London…there are some lovely shots here…enjoy!

Victorian cooking…Chicken Pie Recipe

Our food today owes much to its Victorian forebears so I have decided to feature some of the recipes I have cooked and the fun of trying to figure out hoe to cook as near to the real thing.

img11216_4So this Chicken Pie recipe is from Cassell’s New Dictionary of Cookery (I have a 1910 edition but was first published in 1892) which boasts about 10,000 recipes!

I managed to pick my edition up for about £20 but you can a pdf/kindle copy here


Chicken Pie

20160102_194700Take two large chickens, (I used two large breast) and cut them into neat joints. Put the trimmings, neck, and bones of the legs into a stewpan, with some pepper and salt, a blade of mace, an onion, a bunch of savoury herbs, and a little water, or stock.


Let these simmer gently for one hour and a half. They are to make gravy. Line the edges of a pie-dish with a good crust. Put a layer of chicken at the bottom, and then a layer of ham cut in slices and over that some. (I used ham, chicken and herbs. simmered for 1.5 hours, drained and had a lovely light gravy)

Sausage-meat or forcemeat, (forcemeat is essentially Victorian stuffing and is lovely)

Forcemeat 417 (Mrs Beeton)

417. INGREDIENTS – 2 oz. of ham or lean bacon, 1/4 lb. of suet, the rind of half a lemon, 1 teaspoonful of minced parsley, 1 teaspoonful of minced sweet herbs; salt, cayenne, and pounded mace to taste; 6 oz. of bread crumbs, 2 eggs.

20160102_175411Mode – Shred the ham or bacon, chop the suet, lemon-peel, and herbs, taking particular care that all be very finely minced; add a seasoning to taste, of salt, cayenne, and mace, and blend all thoroughly together with the bread crumbs, before wetting. Now beat and strain the eggs, work these up with the other 20160102_180011ingredients, and the forcemeat will be ready for use. When it is made into balls, fry of a nice brown, in boiling lard, or put them on a tin
and bake for 1/2 hour in a moderate oven. As we have stated before, no one flavour should predominate greatly, and the forcemeat should be of sufficient body to cut with a knife, and yet not dry and heavy. For very delicate forcemeat, it is advisable to pound the ingredients together before binding with the egg; but for ordinary cooking, mincing very finely answers the purpose. Average cost, 8d.

Sufficient for a turkey, a moderate-sized fillet of veal, or a hare.

20160102_183022and some hard-boiled eggs cut in slices. Repeat until the dish is full. Pour over all a cupful of water or white stock, and place a cover on the top. Brush over it the yolk of an egg. Bake in a good oven.

When the pie has been in the oven about half an hour, place a piece of paper over the top to prevent the crust from being
frizzled before the meat is sufficiently cooked. When it is ready, raise the cover and pour in the gravy made from the bones. Put a trussing- needle into the pie to ascertain whether it is sufficiently cooked. If it goes through easily, take the pie out.


A pie made with two chickens, sufficient for six persons. Probable cost, 6s.

King William Street Station

King William Street Stations construction was difficult with regular subsidence due to the water-logged ground around the river but the tunnel and station were eventually completed on 4th November 1890 and the public service commencing on 18th December. The then Prince of Wales did the honour of opening the line.

king will

The new line was heavily used from the opening day and the station layout quickly proved unsatisfactory. To overcome this, a Bill was introduced into Parliament in 1882 to construct a new line from Borough to Moorgate Street and abandon the unsuitable terminus. The Bill received Royal Ascent in 1883 but this was for a long term solution. To alleviate the congestion problems in the short term, surface facilities were improved by taking a lease on an existing building in Arthur Street East for a Ladies Room, Parcels Room and Left Luggage Office. A plan to install a third lift was dropped because of cost.

tikWith 15,000 passengers using the station daily, improvements were also urgently required at platform level so the single line was replaced by twin lines running into an island platform which was completed by December 1895. A scissors crossing was added at the south end allowing trains to use either line but this required a shortening of the platform which could now only be used by three car trains.

February 1900; the station and the tunnels running under the Thames to Borough were abandoned. Initially no use was found for the tunnels but as early as 1901 it was suggested they could be used for cultivating mushrooms or as a bonded store. The favoured solution was to use the tunnels to carry telephone or electric cables but no user could be found.  Initially the track remained in place and was used to store empty stock.

In later years it was used as an air raid shelter.



Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

The Abominable Bride eh…!

So Sherlock and Dr Watson are in both the Victorian era and modern era.

For me it was great to see the boys in their natural setting of Victorian London…it was beautifully shot, the story line had warmth and humour along with referencing some classic story’s like ‘The Five Orange Pips’ or ‘The Final Problem’ that sees Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls fighting for their lives.


Holmes is of course in his ‘Mind Palace’ trying to figure out how Moriarty is both dead and yet seemingly alive. It made perfect sense to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it but some of the comments I have seen seem defy belief…for instance:

‘Why was Sherlock time travelling?’

‘It was rubbish…I didn’t understand it’

‘It was self indulgent rubbish’

and many more. Clearly this was a little taxing for people who didn’t really know Sherlock through his TV series or through any of Conan-Doyle’s written works which I found kind of disappointing.

Sherlock is about Sherlock, all the episodes have subtext, admittedly this one more than most but maybe people could pick up a book and read about the character, learn a few things…maybe start to tax our brains a little.