Little slices of London's history

Jane Austen, Oliver Cromwell, and a notorious pickpocket

16 December in London’s history: Jane Austen was born on this day in 1775. One of the most widely-read authors in English history, Austen spent her early life in Hampshire, moving to Bath and later Southampton with her family.

Austen did, however, visit London on occasion to visit her brother Henry, who was also her literary agent. One of the places she would have stayed was Henry’s residence in Hans Place, Knightsbridge. Hans Place was named after Hans Sloane, who founded the British Museum and also brought cocoa to England.

Also on this day in London’s history, Oliver Cromwell was appointed as appointed as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland. There are many London associations with Cromwell, including Whitehall and Long Acre, where he lived; Cripplegate, where he was married; Tyburn, where his body underwent a mock execution on the 12th anniversary of the beheading of Charles I; and Red Lion Square, where his remains were reputed have been interred briefly before that mock execution.

Other Cromwell connections include Horseferry Road, where he is supposed to have taken the ferry; and Fleet Street, where the pickpocket Moll Cutpurse targeted Cromwell supporters.

4 responses to “Jane Austen, Oliver Cromwell, and a notorious pickpocket”

  1. Great to see you back!
    And with Cromwell too…As a member of the Cromwell Association, and great advocate of Republicanism, I feel that I should point out that Cromwell was not executed. He died from a combination of illnesses in a house in Whitehall, London, and received an elaborate funeral, worthy of his position at the time.
    Almost three years later, his body was dug up and it hung from chains at Tyburn, before being unceremoniously thrown into a pit. The severed head was displayed outside Westminster Hall for some years after.
    Moll Cutpurse is a great name, and so descriptive of her occupation too.
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

    1. Thanks, Pete! And thanks for the Cromwell info – I’ll make sure to update my text.

    2. Sorry to be one of those ‘blog nigglers’, but I was sure that you would want to know.

      1. Indeed! All nighling welcome.

About Me (and my Obsession)

My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
– Elizabeth


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