Wednesday, 25 June 2014

1842 to 1891 at the Shaftesbury, omnibuses, strikes and disorderly mobs.

The other day @jennitpk (who you should follow if you don't already) found an 1842 watercolour of the Hornsey Road on the Museum of London website. You can see it here.*

The artist's a Robert Blemmer Schnebbelie, who specialized in likeable views of London backstreets and poor neighbourhoods. There's a building to the left that looks like a smaller precursor of the Shaftesbury and around it there's an omnibus queue.

There was still an omnibus station outside the Shaftesbury in 1891, when the employees of the London Omnibus Company went on strike. The London Daily News' and the law were, well, unsympathetic.

'Herbert Clarke, carman, was indicted yesterday at the London County Sessions, before Sir P.H. Edlin, QC, sitting at Clerkenwell, for having intimidated William James Perring, with intent to prevent him from doing that which he had a legal right to do, and also with having followed him in company with other persons in a disorderly mob with like intent.

Mr Geoghegan prosecuted on behalf of a London General Omnibus Company; Mr Besley appeared for the defendant. This was a case arising out of the recent strike by the employees of the London General Omnibus Company and the London Road Car Company.

The prosecutor was a driver in the employ of the former company, and did not join the strike. On the morning of the 7th of June, which was Sunday, he left the Holloway yard with his omnibus at a few minutes before ten o'clock for the Shaftesbury Arms, Hornsey road, where he usually began his journey to Victoria. On leaving the yard, he encountered a crowd of some 400 or 500 persons, who followed him down to the Shaftesbury Arms, shouting, hooting, hissing and using violent language. He tried to leave the Shaftesbury Arms on the way to Victoria, but was prevented from doing so, though he had the protection of ten policemen and an inspector.' [From the London Daily News dated Friday 26 June 1891]

* The Museum of London charges £229 plus VAT for one year's non-commercial internet use of the picture. The copyright on the painting expired decades ago but the UK is, as far as I know, the only country in the world where taking a photograph of an old painting creates a new copyright.

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