My previous blog post outlined my time (and disappointment) on one of those London Jack the Ripper tours through the East End where I also promised another visual blog post on another walking tour I did, but this one was self-guided and based on my current research rather than the tired business of profiting from a serial murderer.
This pictorial jaunt through some of London’s formerly sinful locales covers a few different things I’m interested in: 1) printed pornography of the Victorian era 2) sex scandals and 3) the ever slippery Jack Saul. If you’d like a bit of a primer on this stuff, I would suggest beginning here, here, here, here, or here. I’ll provide a bit of description about each photo, though I would like you to keep in mind that this is work in progress and, therefore, woefully incomplete. The other thing is, I have not really done any work on Victorian addresses and development, so I am well aware that some of the modern addresses I visited might be entirely the wrong place. I would love it if somebody out there were interested in some of this same stuff and would like to talk about it.
A quick note on what I’ve done below. I found an excellent map of London from 1897 over at MAPCO and I have marked the addresses on the photos as compared with Google Maps. My technique is not perfect and, again, much has changed in London in the years since 1897, but this gives as good an approximation of the areas Lazenby worked and lived as I am able to at the moment. I reiterate that you, lucky reader, early adopting Graduable reader are seeing an early version of what might well become a world-famous work of academic excellence…before it was cool. Join me, won’t you, in some hipster-worthy scholarship.
Victorian Pornographic Addresses: Publisher William Lazenby
William Lazenby, a publisher of pornography in Victorian London most active in the 1870s and 1880s, was known to have lived or worked from several locations in London during his career. I don’t yet know what visiting these locations is going to accomplish as far as my research is concerned, but it gave me a good sense of some of the geographical connections and allusions in some of the works Lazenby published, most notably The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (1881).
1. Cornwall Residences.
I was quite anxious to visit this particular address of Lazenby’s because, not only was his business associated with this address near 221b Baker Street, but it is mentioned specifically in The Sins of the Cities of the Plain. The mention comes when Mr. Cambon has picked up Jack Saul and proposes a tryst:
“would you mind if we took a cab to my chambers — I live in the Cornwall Mansions, close to Baker Street Station — have a cigar and a chat with me, as I see you are evidently a fast young chap, and can put me up to a thing or two?”
2. 70 Vauxhall Grove
This is another of Lazenby’s domiciles. It’s in a lovely little street where I got some suspicious looks for taking photos of this building. The place with the red door is a B&B and the black door looks like a normal residence.
3. 142 New Kent Road
This was one of my favourite locations associated with Lazenby because it is now a tire [tyre] shop and the closest Underground station was Elephant and Castle. England is so cute, isn’t it? I really wanted to go in and talk to the people working inside the tire shop to see if they knew anything about the history of the building but then thought better of it.
4. 9 Southampton Buildings
This was the one address that I am pretty sure has changed entirely since the Victorian period. I could not see the address I was looking for, but I am sure I was in the right area.
5. 15 Norwich Street
This was just around the corner from the previous address at Southampton Buildings. This street had a plaque at the end of it stating something to the effect of its being rebuilt after World War II, as many addresses in London were, so I am pretty certain that, while the right area, the address is way off. I was pleasantly surprised to see, however, that there was an erotically-themed restaurant in the street likely near where Lazenby used to conduct business. Perhaps they will invite me for drinks next time I’m in town and we can discuss the building’s history?
I hope you found this little spree around William Lazenby’s London worthwhile. As I’ve said, I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with the location information I gather on this or any other aspect of Victorian pornographic geography. I think it is important nevertheless, even if only to have the experience of being in the same vicinity of places where important things to my research took place. I hope that, on my next trip to London, I will be able to spend more time scouting other locations.
Stay tuned for the next part of this walking tour post where I’ll post photos of important locations for Boulton and Park as well as Jack Saul. Exciting stuff indeed.