Archive for June, 2010

Book: The worst street by Fiona Rule

Posted in Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews with tags , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by echostains

The Worst st in London by Fiona Rule

Where does the time fly to?  It is a couple of weeks or so since I last posted on here.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy reading though – or watching.  I have now finished ‘The worst street in London’ by Fiona Rule.  The street in question is Dorset Street, Spitalfields London.  I was inspired to read this book after our excursion to Denis Severs House in Spitalfields (read my post on echostains a collection of time-travel experiences and atmospheres)

The olden Dorset St

Though the book has an introduction by Peter Ackroyd it’s really  nothing like Ackroyds ‘London’ or in his style. Neither is it a dry text-book nor really academic, but it is a good read, once it gets going.  Common lodging houses, Jack the Ripper and his victims, crime, vice and unsavoury characters – this was their stomping ground, where they earned their living and their bed for the night: where they drowned their sorrows and ultimately, where they died –  sometimes by violence, sometimes by dissipation and sometimes, I suspect – with blessed relief

Dorset St 1888

We have 17th century Huguenot silk weavers weaving their own strands on the loom of Dorset street and the Spitalfields area.  The immigrants, the opportunists, the lodging house proprietors.  When machinery replaced the silk workers they left the area.  The  1870’s  saw the tranformation brought about by the slum clearances which in turn made way for tenement blocks –  ruled by landlords like John McCarthy.  Jack the Ripper features strongly in this book.  Mary Kelly, the Ripper’s last victim was killed on Dorset street and Rule retells her sorry story, somehow made even more poignant  by placing Kelly in the context of her environment.

Millers court

The street was later renamed  Duvall Street, but the bricks were so well seeped with disrepute that the black marketeers, gangsters, spivs and the East End gangs are embedded in its fabric. The Kitty Ronan murder in 1909 has an eerie echo of Mary Kelly’s.  In fact the whole of the Dorset Street story relates like a cinema projection of a danse macabre – the dance never finishing and the film on continuous reel.  The book ends in a car park – but the crime continues.  A good researched and interesting read.  There’s an added bonus  at the back – a detailed walk of the Spitalfields area!

More about the book and it’s author here
image 1 Dorset st  2 Millers Court (Ripper Walks), 3 Dorset St 1888 and 4. Dorset St today (London walks)

book image here

Poem ‘Where the Root ends’

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , on June 10, 2010 by echostains

Haji Widayat Queen Of The Jungle

I wrote this free verse poem some time ago and came across it agin today.  So inspired by the William Butler Yeats poem that I have posted on echostains, and shamefaced about not posting anything on here for a while (but I am going to post a book review tomorrow) – here is the poem.  The inspiration for this poem is one of musing about what happens about the soul after we die and everlasting life really.


Where the Root ends

A root of star was broken off

Flung far away out into space

 My vehicle to get between the gaps that bridge our worlds.

I slid,

I hurtled down

Headlong down times chasms,

Bolstering my fall with lifetimes long and earnest,

Burnishing my death with dreams of everlasting life.

I slept between the waiting

For a niche in which to root

And when my time had come again,

I grasped towards the light

Sometimes my hands were feeble

My murmers barely audable

Sometimes my strength revealed itself

Outgrowing it’s brute might.

But through all those hallowed halls of time

My voice shall find an echo.

Though rootless my fragmented self

My Will shall journey home.


© Lynda M Roberts 2010


image from here