Some people draw what’s around them. I draw what’s underneath.
I walk the same streets as Old Simon Edy, an infamous beggar of the nineteenth century whose pitch was the Resurrection Gate of St. Giles Church. My neighbour is Jack Norris, the musical shrimp man and notorious cadger who once dwelt in the Rookery too. My friend in the local arts scene is William Wrench, the Steeple-Keeper who sold Christmas poetry and pamphlets to our local rich parishioners in the eighteenth century.
My home is the ancient parish of St. Giles. Named for the patron saint of lepers, a place the authorities wanted always to sweep under the carpet. Beggars, transients, drunks, crack dealers and the lawless have all called it home.
There’s a thirst for life here. Always has been. Once it was slaked by 17,000 gin shops. Art, rock and roll, coiners, cadging ramblers, cracksmen, theatre, love, murder, prostitution. They all have a home here.
I love to observe life and history. We live, work, sleep and die in the same places, the same contexts and the same ways as our ancestors.
Only the scenery changes.
On Friday, Sian and I were invited onto BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms Show, to talk about our Camden Archives talk, ‘Revealing the Rookery’…
Sian Anthony and I are reprising our talk on the ‘London’s Underworld Unearthed’ exhibition at Camden Archives on Tuesday [...]
Jim from the Antiswarm has just done a great interview with Peter Hince about his book,’Queen Unseen’ ….
Before our talk on the St. Giles Rookery, Sian Anthony and I dropped by BBC Radio London’s Saturday Breakfast Show…