Newgate to Tyburn The Final Journey for the Condemned.

It is the evening of 23 October 1783, and in a secluded spot on the King’s highway John Austin and an accomplice are mercilessly beating and robbing a stranger.
This act of brutality marked the beginning of the end, not only for Austin, but for an ancient ritual that had been enacted since the 16th century. Having been sentenced to death, he became the last man to be taken in procession from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn.
For 300 years, doomed convicts had made the journey from where the Old Bailey now stands to the place of their demise, near the site of Marble Arch.
These processions, which occurred only eight times a year, were held to be among the capital’s most exciting events.
Raucous crowds gathered on the roads and in the windows of houses with a view; a clergyman accompanied the condemned; cheering and shouting vied with preaching and jeering, and during the three hours it took to cover the two miles, the spectacle of impending death would unite the metropolis in an outpouring of heightened emotion.
The spectators themselves are dead and buried, and the buildings that lined the way long since leveled. But beneath the stratum of 18th century bricks and bones, millions still trace the same path today, albeit for different reasons.
For between St Paul’s station and Marble Arch, the Central Line follows the last journey of John Austin and his innumerable doomed predecessors almost exactly.
For those hoping to evoke the procession, the modern topography of London is wonderfully supportive. Despite the devastating zeal of the Victorians, who laid waste to many of the capital’s ancient streets, the conduit that flowed from Newgate to Tyburn remains largely intact.
Newgate itself is gone, replaced by the Old Bailey, but the Church of St Sepulchre remains.
From here a clergyman would make his way through a tunnel connecting the two buildings, and ring the bell that signalled the beginning of the great event. A visit to the church reveals that the artefact itself survives, silently encased in glass.
It is perhaps the most evocative remaining fragment of a ritual characterised by its cacophony of sounds as much as its spectacle
via A Final Journey, Revisited: Newgate To Tyburn | Londonist.

Bride of Frankenstein, 1935.

While many of the profitable Universal monster movies were given sequels, Frankenstein’s first one is of particular interest.
With the success of the original picture, Universal realized it needed the director James Whale to come back and do the follow up, too. Whale, however, thought he’d done as much with the story as he could and was uninterested in working on a sequel.
He finally consented after being given full control of the picture including the script (along with a promise he could direct another film in which he was interested.
The result was one of those rare things, a motion picture sequel which is considered better than the original, similar to The Godfather Part 2.
Karloff repeated his role as the monster, while actress Elsa Lanchester took the part of the creature’s mate created by Frankenstein in order to fulfill a promise to the monster.
Lanchester also played the writer, Mary Shelley, in a flashback at the beginning of the picture.
Despite the bride only appearing for a few minutes at the end of the production, the makeup work of Jack Peirce again provided the world with an indelible image of a literary character.
via The UnMuseum – The Universal Monsters

Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts.

medieval-dragon-e1381687718600Dragons – In her book Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts, Alixe Bovey explains “the monsters of the Bible are few, but important: the first is the serpent who tempts Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, resulting in their expulsion from Paradise.
Generally interpreted to be the Devil in disguise, in several ways this serpent is the archetype for demonic monsters of the Middle Ages.
Its snaking body a kind of metaphor for opportunistic cunning, the serpent is able to prey on human weaknesses such as pride and greed.”
The dragon is the ultimate form of the serpent and can be found in many medieval tales. In bestiaries it is said that their most powerful weapon is the tail, which could be used to squeeze and suffocate their prey.
Elephants are said to be their mortal enemy, but one can also find several saints who do battle with dragons.
via Mediavalists

The Moon and the Crow by Gideon Knight, London.

“The Moon and the Crow”, Photograph by Gideon Knight of the United Kingdom, is the winner of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2016.
Knight lives near Valentines Park in London and he visits regularly in order to take photographs.
One winter evening the perfect tableau presented itself: a rising full moon set in the blue light of dusk formed the perfect backdrop for the spindly twigs of a sycamore tree upon which rested a solitary crow.
The various components of the scene “made it feel almost supernatural, like something out of a fairy tale,” said Gideon.
For the young photographer, this is one tale that’s come true.
Source: 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winners – Page 3 of 3 – WebEcoist

‘The Penny Dreadfuls’ of the 19th Century.

408px-PennydreadfulVictorian Britain experienced social changes that resulted in increased literacy rates.
With the rise of capitalism and industrialisation, people began to spend more money on entertainment, contributing to the popularisation of the novel. Improvements in printing resulted in newspapers such as Joseph Addison’s The Spectator and Richard Steele’s The Tatler, and England’s more fully recognizing the singular concept of reading as a form of leisure; it was, of itself, a new industry.
Other significant changes included industrialization and an increased capacity for travel via the invention of tracks, engines, and the corresponding railway distribution.
In accordance with these changes, the demand for literature in the mid-nineteenth century intensified dramatically.
The penny dreadfuls, named for both their cheap nature, and poor, sensational quality, erupted into existence and met the desires of the poor class.
The penny dreadfuls “became by far the most alluring and low-priced form of escapist reading available to ordinary youth, until the advent in the early 1890s of future newspaper magnate Alfred Harmsworth’s price-cutting ‘halfpenny dreadfuller’ (Springhall 568).”
The term “dreadful” was originally assumed to express societal anxiety or moral alarm over the new profitable innovation directed at the youth. In reality, the serial novels were overdramatic and sensational, but generally harmless.
If anything, the penny dreadfuls, although obviously not the most enlightening or inspiring of literary selections, resulted in increasingly literate youth in the Industrial period.


The wide circulation of this sensationalist literature, however, contributed to an ever greater fear of crime in mid-Victorian Britain.
These serials started in the 1830s, originally as a cheaper alternative to mainstream fictional part-works, such as those by Charles Dickens (which cost a shilling [twelve pennies]) for working class adults, but by the 1850s the serial stories were aimed exclusively at teenagers.
The stories themselves were reprints, or sometimes rewrites, of Gothic thrillers such as The Monk or The Castle of Otranto, as well as new stories about famous criminals.
Some of the most famous of these penny part-stories were The String of Pearls: A Romance (introducing Sweeney Todd), The Mysteries of London (inspired by the French serial The Mysteries of Paris), and Varney the Vampire.
Highwaymen were popular heroes; Black Bess or the Knight of the Road, outlining the largely imaginary exploits of real-life English highwayman Dick Turpin, continued for 254 episodes.
Working class boys who could not afford a penny a week often formed clubs that would share the cost, passing the flimsy booklets from reader to reader.
Other enterprising youngsters would collect a number of consecutive parts, then rent the volume out to friends.
In 1866, Boys of England was introduced as a new type of publication, an eight-page magazine that featured serial stories as well as articles and shorts of interest.
It was printed on the same cheap paper, though it sported a larger format than the penny parts


Numerous competitors quickly followed, with such titles as Boys’ Leisure Hour, Boys’ Standard, Young Men of Great Britain, etc.
As the price and quality of other types of fiction works were the same, these also fell under the general definition of penny dreadfuls.
Read on further via Penny dreadful – Wikipedia.

Something Grimm in Cologne, Germany.

o-GRIMM1-900by Candace Kita
Once upon a time, there lived a photographer named Kilian Schönberger – and while he is not a character from your favorite fairy tale, his very real images spin some otherworldly fantasies.
Working in Cologne, Germany, the photographer’s own backyard serves as the source for his “Brothers Grimm’s Homeland” series and captures the woodlands and waterfalls that served as a backdrop for many infamous folktales.
Schönberger – who, ironically, is color-blind – perfectly blends the misty, magical, and macabre in his intensely-atmospheric photographs.
Presenting everything from thickets full of brilliant sunlight to copses where things go bump in the night, his landscapes speak to the battles of good, evil, and everything in-between that pervade folklore tradition.
Although his images more often feature gingerbread cottages and ancient castles than human characters, Little Red Riding Hood would look perfectly natural running through them.
See more Images via There’s Something Grimm About These Photos.