Philobiblon: 'Aliens' and hardworking barmen ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

'Aliens' and hardworking barmen ...

The date of the play Thomas More, by Shakespeare et al, which I reviewed last week, makes a lot more sense after I read this in the BL today:

In 1592, only a year before new returns of aliens in and around London were ordered, complaints about the aliens' interference with the retail trade were referred to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen. The aliens were accused, among other infringements, of failing to observe the rules of seven years' apprenticeship, and of acting like Freemen of the City. In 1593 a bill was introduced into Parliament during the course of which Sir Walter Ralegh attacked aliens vehemently, and only the dissolution of Parliament, since the bill had already been passed by the House of Commons, saved the alien communities.

Dutch Calvinists in Early Stuart London: The Dutch Church in Austin Friars 1693-1642 Ole Peter Grell, EJ Brill, Leiden, 1989, p21.

Then a delightful account from London Vanished and Vanishing, P. Norman, Adam and Charles Black, London, 1905, p. 7.
In the London Chaunticleres 1659, the tapster of an inn thus describes his morning's work:

"I have cut two dozen of toste, broacht a new barrell of ale, washt all the cups and flaggons, made a fire i' th' George, drained all the beer out of th' Half Moon the company left o' th' floore last night, wip'd down all the tables and have swept every room."

The "Half Moon", I believe, was the name of a particular room or bar in the inn.

The text itself is primarily a description of large numbers of simple paintings of old inns, houses and other structures in London that the author had made during the late 1890s. This seems to have been the chief time for the final destruction of the still quite numerous remnants of the medieval and early modern city.

What we wouldn't give to have some of these around now ... (Think of the tourist dollars, if nothing else - no need to go to Stratford!)

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