It hasn’t been a bad day at all. I spent much of it reading, From Hobbits to Hollywood continuing to fascinate, but the guys next door put some music on – loud, urban music of the boom boom boom variety – so I decided to go for a stroll. On my walk I began to ponder the history of charlton, as I often do. Despite being in the middle of one of the world’s largest and most populous cities, Charlton still feels like a village. I wondered when it became consumed by london, and when was it last a village proper – ie, surrounded by fields. Strangely, it still feels like it is. What were the boundaries of the original village.
When I came home I naturally did a little googling, but then I stumbled upon the following quote from daniel defoe, too good not to share, simply as it is a great, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, description of the village today.
[quote=”Daniel Defoe – a tour through britain”]a village famous, or rather infamous for the yearly collected rabble of mad-people, at Horn-Fair; the rudeness of which I cannot but think, is such as ought to be suppressed, and indeed in a civiliz’d well govern’d nation, it may well be said to be unsufferable. The mob indeed at that time take all kinds of liberties, and the women are especially impudent for that day; as if it was a day that justify’d the giving themselves a loose to all manner of indecency and immodesty, without any reproach, or without suffering the censure which such behaviour would deserve at another time. [/quote]
The horn fair has long since been abolished, sadly, but I can assure you the spirit behind it still lives on in the locals, and is not just confined to one day a year. A
‘collected rabble of mad-people” indeed; let me just say I have a tale or two I can tell, but would be wise not to share on a public blog. Well, good to see the place hasn’t changed since 1727; perhaps this uniqueness explains why Charlton still feels like a place unto itself, and why I have grown so fond of it.