My previous post concerning the Nag's Head pub was something of a tinned herring - an appetiser intended to gently tease the readership' historical palate and leave them hungry for more. I hope it did that! Now look closely at the map above. Starting from the street outside number 137 Houndsditch, the Nag's Head, you can go through the wood ceiling-ed passage into Cock and Hoop Yard. Continuing on to the end, the number 137 appears again. This "137 Houndsditch" really is Goldner's establishment although by 1889, the date of this map, it is M'Call's Preserved Provision Warehouse. A quadrangle of buildings roughly 110 feet square, with the central courtyard covered over by a glased roof, it has by far the largest footprint of any property in the block.
The map is extracted from Insurance Plan of City of London Vol. III: sheet 71 courtesy of the British Library.
This aerial view brings home the relative proximity of Goldner's factory to the heart of the City of London. It is a sobering juxtaposition - the wealth of City institutions and individuals side by side with the grinding poverty and squalor of the poor neighbourhoods of the vicinity. A further twist is that prior to the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, the buildings which became Goldner's factory had been home to the parish workhouse of St Botolph's Aldgate. The new law allowed individual parishes to pool their resources resulting in the much larger Union workhouses with a distinctly harsher regime than the version of Christian charity previously dispensed by the parishes. Houndsditch, for all its dead-dog associations, is one of the main thoroughfares of the City so for commercial purposes the address of 137 Houndsditch has a certain cachet. To locals the address was simply "Aldgate old workhouse".
Next: A visit (or three) to Goldner's factory.
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