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A sincere love of the subject, and a strong conviction of the importance of the preservation of such facts as I have dredged up from the Sea of Oblivion, have given me heart for my work. The gradual changes of Old London, and the progress of civilisation westward, are worth noting by all students of the social history of England. It will be found that many traits of character, many anecdotes of interest, as illustrating biography, are essentially connected with the habitations of the great men who have either been born in London, or have resorted to it as the centre of progress, art, commerce, government, learning, and culture. The fact of the residence of a poet, a painter, a lawyer, or even a rogue, at any definite date, will often serve to point out the social status he either aimed at or had acquired. It helps also to show the exact relative distinctions in fashion and popularity of different parts of London at particular epochs, and contributes to form an illustrated history of[Pg vii] London, proceeding not by mere progression of time, and dealing with the abstract city—the whole entity of London—but marching through street after street, and detailing local history by districts at a time.

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