When London Became An Island

London’s northward expansion as seen by George Cruikshank

Commanders and clippers

The prospectus was certainly accurate as far as the quantities of ‘Stone, Bricks, Tiles, Slates, Timber, Lime, and all the other Materials for Building and Repairs’ were concerned. As this 1829 engraving by George Cruikshank, the London born caricaturist and illustrator, shows the northward expansion of London continued relentlessly. Much of the building material would have been carried along the Regents Canal. Click to enlarge.

The figure with pick and shovel legs and a hod for a head carries a placard which reads; This GROUND to be Lett or a building lease. Enquire of Mr Goth, Brickmaker, Bricklayers Arms, Brick Lane, Brixton and a little beyond is a sign saying; Rubbish may be shot here. One of the nearby trees cries; Oh! I’m mortarly wounded whilst another, wanting to avoid the same fate, exclaims; I must leave the field. Above the trees a curved cascade of bricks leads one running stack to advise; Hey day! come along my little cocks we must go further afield as we are losing ground here and another to complain; Confound these hot bricks They’ll fire all my hay ricks. Beyond, on the horizon, is another group of distressed trees. They too will need to retire for; Our fences, I fear will be found to be no defence against these Barbarians, who threaten to enclose to destroy us in all ‘manor’ of ways. Detachments are on the Road already.

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