The streets of London flourish like possibly no other city on earth, with stories from its rich history, stories of death - fire - disease, of riots, and grisly murders, but also of tales of happiness, determination and success. Behind every story and every street however, are the people who lived, worked, played, and even murdered there.
Everyone thinks they know of the legend of Dick Turpin, the gentleman highway robber, but Turpin was far from being the gentleman he was portrayed as. During one robbery, when he and his gang broke into an elderly widow’s house, Turpin hoisted the poor woman’s skirts and held her over the open fire until she screamed with pain and finally relented into telling him where her money was hidden. While this was going on, two members of his gang were raping the poor woman’s young daughter.
Another London story concerns anti-Semitism, which most people only attribute to the Nazis, but this happened in London during the 12th Century, in an area known as Old Jewry. A young man named Jonathan Fitz-John, who had heard that King Edward I had just returned from the Crusades and needed money to put an army together to subjugate Wales. Fitz-John wasted no time, in offering the King his services, in which he would personally gain from. His ‘services’ consisted of fleecing the Jews of the City of London out of all their savings and businesses, and eventually forcing them to leave London, penniless..
History isn’t just about digging up artefacts from the dim and distant past, history happens every day. It happened yesterday, and most people never even noticed it.
You might have thought you knew London, but this is the London most people never knew existed.
- Peter Thurgood, July 2011
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