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STREETS OF LONDON,
Anecdotes of their more Celebrated Residents.
BY JOHN THOMAS SMITH,
LATE KEEPER OF THE PRINTS AND DRAWINGS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM ;
AUTHOR OF NOLLEKENS AND HIS TIMES,"
A BOOK FOR A RAINY DAY.”
Few persons, it may be asserted, have ever been so well qualified for the task of depicting the characteristic peculiarities, and of reviving associations, historical and anecdotical, of the more remarkable London localities, as the Author of the following Work.
Amongst other pursuits, he was engaged with zealous industry, for a very long period, in collecting materials for it, which cherished project, although nearly completed by him, he did not live to see published. The duties of his situation as Keeper of the Prints in the British Museum, while they furnished him with unusual facilities for improving and extending his design, interfered no doubt with the progress of its completion.
Residing for the greater part of his life in London, his extensive local knowledge, the result of an ardent love of antiquarian and biographical study, was constantly enriched by the communications of kindred spirits, prompted by his pleasant gossipy humour and rich fund of anecdote to aid him in this his “labour of love." His Sketches and Recollections of the Streets of London, accordingly, will be found to contain a fulness and variety of illustrative matter conveyed in an easy original style, rarely met with in similar works.
Probably no city in the world possesses such an extent and variety of interest as the inetropolis of England; yet how little is it known to the vast majority of its in-dwellers ! Most of the proud names, however, which have exalted the genius of Britain, are connected with the “Streets of London." Who can perambulate the spots made familiar by Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, Dryden, Pope, Addison, Steele, Fielding, Gay, Dr. Johnson, Goldsmith, Hogarth and Reynolds, without a keener relish, and a better appreciation of the great poets, wits, artists, and philosophers who have identified their names with these scenes ?
To readers imbued with a knowledge of English history and literature, this work, it is hoped, will prove very acceptable ; while the more numerous class of less-informed observers cannot fail to derive instruction, under the pleasant guise of entertainment, from a perisal of its pages.
London, November, 1849,