Sweeney Todd Week! Tidbit #3 ~ Sweeney's London

by George Dibdin Pitt

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Endora
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Unread postby Endora » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:17 pm

Your descriptions of Newgate sound not disimilar to the prison in Shantaram.

I think most people were used to the smells. It was only the rich who were picky, remember the the Great Stink only started the change in the law to build the sewers because it stunk out parliament!
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Unread postby ThirdArm » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:34 pm

Fascinating tidbit, DitHoT. I love the historical background.

I had heard that the Temple Bar was somehow related to lawyers; but until I read an account of the history of the Knights Templar, I didn't understand the connection.

And thanks to your tidbit, I now know that Augusta used to be the name of London. Who knew? :cool:
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Unread postby Rebel » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:51 pm

In case any of you are interested the two figures who feature on the St Dunstans clock and strike the hour are called Gog and Magog. The clock was erected as a thanks giving that the church was spared by the great fire of London.

The worst thing about London back then is that it wasn't safe, nor advisable, to pass under an open window! LOL!

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:37 pm

Rebel wrote:In case any of you are interested the two figures who feature on the St Dunstans clock and strike the hour are called Gog and Magog. The clock was erected as a thanks giving that the church was spared by the great fire of London.

The worst thing about London back then is that it wasn't safe, nor advisable, to pass under an open window! LOL!


Right you are Rebel! For more information on St. Dunstans and the clock here is a link to our tidbit from the first discussion which is stored in the archives.

http://johnnydepp-zone.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=29634
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Unread postby suec » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:21 am

There's a new drama series being aired on Channel 4 in the UK later this month set in 1750s London called City of Vice. It's about crime fighting and the development of the Bow Street Runners. There's also an online interactive game based on it, but it isn't up and running yet. It does look as though it will be interesting viewing and a nice lead-in to ST.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:03 pm

I remember doing a tidbit on the Bow Street Runners during our original Sweeney Todd discussion. I can see how it would make for interesting drama.
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Unread postby Still-Rather-Timid » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:50 pm

I was out of town and away from my computer for the Sweeney Todd discussion, but right now, for a Victorian literature course I'm teaching this semester, I am reading Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor, the famous 1850 sociological work primarily made up of interviews with the street people of mid-Victorian London, and which is mentioned in many reviews of Sweeney. It's a fascinating read; in fact I find myself underlining two or three passages on every page that correspond to details of ST (when I should be underlining things that pertain to my course!). There's information on the competition between street sellers of pies and owners who sell pies on their shops, and lots of information about the various rumors of food adulteration--pies made of cats and dogs. Anyway, for anyone who has become obsessed with the world of Sweeney Todd, I recommend it highly. I'm reading a version published in paperback by Penguin, that contains the most "meaty" selections from the original 4-volume study.

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Unread postby gemini » Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:26 pm

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
gemini wrote:
In an effort to survive, whole families, including children, would work for just pennies a day in the mills and factories that had sprung up around the city.

London was certainly not a pretty picture for the underclass.
Even their lives if they were able to stay out of prison were awful. I would imagine stealing to eat was one of the most common ways to find yourself in Newgate prison.
Still a very enlightening tidbit of the times.


I doubt it was much different from any big cities in the same period throughout the world.


I am just catching up with this thread and I see everyone is commenting on the status of the underprivileged. GG, I inderstand your remark about big cities all suffering from the same type of poverty. Your post made me think of a film called "Gangs of New York" with Daniel Day Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio made in 2002. It was a movie about real people in 1863 in New York city. It was really an eye opener for me to see the infestation, disease and rampant violence that was common in New York in the late 1800s. It shows that London was certainly not alone in the poverty of its underclass.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:02 pm

Hi there, SRT! It's good to see you back here at ONBC! :wave: Are you reading Public Enemies? Mayhew's book sounds like a good companion to Sweeney Todd. Have you figured out a way to get a viewing in as part of the curriculum? ;-)

gemini, I remember that movie, it was very realistic. I always wonder how people survived in circumstances like that.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Still-Rather-Timid » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:16 pm

Hi DITHOT! I am going to try to find time to read and participate in the discussion of Public Enemies--as well as make a trip to Chicago during filming (this is the closest Johnny has ever been filming to where I live, measured in cost of air fare!). Yes, I think the film of Sweeney Todd will be perfectly justified in the curriculum of this course. Also, I notice you posted a link to the 1884-5 version of the original penny dreadful on ONBC; have you also found the original 1846-7 version and posted it on the site (I wasn't sure where to look)? The reason I ask is that I found it on line, and I'll post it if you like. My course is about Victorian ideas of filth, contamination, and corruption, so I think I will also put the original Sweeney text on the syllabus.

Have you been able to view ST with fellow Zoners?

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:22 pm

SRT our previous discussion of Sweeney is on the ONBC Archives board, basically on pages 13-15. I just skimmed and didn't see a link to the 1846-7 version so please feel free to put it up. Thanks! I think Sweeney's story will fit in quite nicely with your curriculum.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Todd with some fellow Zoners!
:cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Still-Rather-Timid » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:48 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:SRT our previous discussion of Sweeney is on the ONBC Archives board, basically on pages 13-15. I just skimmed and didn't see a link to the 1846-7 version so please feel free to put it up. Thanks! I think Sweeney's story will fit in quite nicely with your curriculum.


Here's the link. I have also ordered a copy of a paperback version of the same from Amazon for $6.98, (but it's presently out of stock).

http://www.victorianlondon.org/mysterie ... odd-01.htm

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:16 am

Thanks, srt! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:46 am

Wow! That's interesting! Thanks, SRT. And nice to see you again. :wave:
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