London in the mid-to-late nineteenth century must have been an amazing place. Yes nothing i like an ext than walking roughly London Bridge and its environs; the is just like walking approximately a Dickens novel, through the romantic stays of the Marshalsea prison and also roads called after his characters such together Clennam and also Copperfield Street. There was however, one fairly unromantic facet to London life and that to be the intense and deadly pollution created from the large amount of charcoal being charred at the time.

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We speak of the smog that lie end the big cities of the modern world, Houston absolutely had one, yet they every pale in comparison to London smog; it had a very solid sulphurous smell and also a green-brown colour come it. The sunlight didn’t burn that off, however actually increase it. Hung-out washing would be visibly dirtier once it had actually dried. Thousands passed away from heart and lung problems – it was stated that a 30 2nd walk to be the tantamount of smoking cigarettes 20 cigarettes – and also rickets was widespread due the absence of sunlight. A miserable place indeed:

The fog was so thick that the shops in bond Street had lights in ~ noon. I could not see people in the street from my windows. I am tempted to ask, just how the English became great with so small daylight? It seems not to come fully out until nine in the morning, and immediately after 4 it is gone…On the 22nd of the month, crashes occurred anywhere London, from a impressive fog. Carriages ran versus each other, and also persons to be knocked under by them in ~ the crossings. The totality gang the thieves seemed to be let loose. ~ perpetrating your deeds, lock eluded detection through darting right into the fog. It to be of one opake, dingy yellow. Torches were provided as guides to carriages at mid-day, yet gave scarcely any type of light with the fog. I went the end for a few minutes. It was dismal.

Richard Rush, 1883

On number of occasions, world fell in the Thames and also drowned due to the fact that they might not watch the river best in former of them.

Victorian attach boys guide people home

through the London smog

And so, for noticeable reasons, the special London smog came to be known together a ‘pea souper’. Dried pea based soups and puddings were an extremely popular in ~ this time, specifically in the winter when there to be no couple of fresh vegetables around. The soup became known as London particular because of a line from Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House: “This is a London particular…A fog, miss”, said the young gentleman.

The expression London particular had actually been roughly for at the very least a century – the was used to define food and drink certain to London, for example London particular Madeira.

London Particular

This soup is really an ext of a potage and is very simple and cheap to make. The ideal thing about it is the wonderful share made native the addition of a pretty ham hock. You deserve to use exhilaration or unsmoked, or you might go for a pair of pig’s trotters. Either way, it shouldn’t price you an ext than 50 pence in ~ the butcher. He can even provide you them for free if friend bat her eye-lashes at him. The recipe additionally asks for 2 tablespoons the Worcestershire sauce, this could seem like a lot, yet it really deserve to take it.


1 lb dried separation peas

2 oz butter

3 rashers the smoky bacon, chopped

1 onion, sliced

1 ham knuckle, ham hock or 2 pig’s trotters



2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Have a look at the packet that peas; view if they need soaking overnight. If they space non-soak however are an especially old, you could want to soak them.

Melt the butter in a stockpot or big saucepan, add the bacon and also fry ~ above a medium warmth for 5 minutes. Include the onion and fry until softened. Drainpipe the peas and stir castle in, making sure they obtain a great covering that bacon fat and also butter. In amongst the peas, ar the hock, knuckle or trotters and cover v water. Include some pepper, yet do not include salt at this stage. Bring to a boil and skim off any kind of grey scum, then cover and simmer gently until the peas are all mushy; about 1 ½ come 2 hours. Offer the potage a line every now and then as the peas perform tend to stick, an especially towards the end of cooking.

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Take the end the meat joint and place come one side. Liquidise or mill the soup and also return it come the pan. Pick any type of meat from the joints and include to the soup. Season v salt (if needed), pepper and the Worcestershire sauce.