Delve a Bit Deeper

Season 1 – Covent Garden

Most of HappenedHere’s stories in Season One are situated in Covent Garden.
There are many resources to find out about the history of and life in Covent Garden.
Here are some we’ve found useful:

Covent Garden Memories has a great collection of local community memories past and present

The Covent Gardener is a magazine with interesting facts and articles about the area (and HappenedHere has an article in a forthcoming issue)

British History Online Is a great source of primary and secondary content Britain-wide.

The Dictionary of Victorian London does what it says on the tin and offers some very useful primary sources from that period.

Project Gutenberg has copies of many out of copyright books, including those of Henry Mayhew, a journalist and reformer who interviewed and wrote about London’s Victorian poor, many of whom could be found on the streets of Covent Garden.

The Curtain Rises on Covent Garden: The Body, The Diva and The Bankrupt

A builder finds a body, Charles II restores Theatre in England, A black nurse is made bankrupt

London is Missing

Read from Transactions of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. London the Biography by Peter Ackroyd, published by Chatto and Windus in 2000, is another good source.

A Theatrical Diva Reflects on Her Life

See a picture of a Tudor Theatre and compare it to the Drury Lane Theatre in the 18th Century.

Then I returned Bankrupt in Fortune

A portrait of Mary Seacole can be found in the National Portrait Gallery.

Ebullient Covent Garden: Cableknits, Courts and Condoms

Eddie Izzard practices her craft, an LGBTQ nightclub owner is in court, a condom maker is welcomed back to Covent Garden

Giant Haystacks meets Giant Cableknit

Watch Eddie Izzard’s Death Star Canteen Sketch.

The Trial of Iron Foot Jack

Read about Jack’s night club, and the police raid on it.

Sheep’s Bladders and Pink Ribbons

Mrs Phillips’ shop can be found in this book, A Guide to Health Beauty Riches and Honour, published in 1776.

Artistic Covent Garden: Dance, Dracula and Pride & Prejudice

21st Century Ballet, Victorian Gothic and Regency romps

Black Swans

Find out more about Ballet Black.

Theatre of Blood

Read Dracula by Bram Stoker. First published in 1897 Read the full poem Henry Irving read in this story.

Jane Austen Sees a Portrait

Several scholars write about speculation that Mrs Quentin (known as Georgina and sometimes Harriet) was the inspiration for Jane Bennet.

Jocelyn Harris’s book Satire, Celebrity, & Politics in Jane Austen (Bucknell University Press, 2017) is a great starting point for more information on this story. As well as Mrs Quentin, Harris also suggests another of George IVs mistresses as a possible reference for Jane Bennet.

There are many reviews of the book online too.

You can find the William Blake etching of Georgina (also known as Harriet) Quentin in the British Museum.

Read about Georgiana/Harriet Quentin in Memoirs of the Life of the Celebrated Mrs Q.

Read Jane’s letter to Cassandra (24 May 1815, letter No:44 or XLIV) at eg or

A History of Covent Garden Piazza: Colonnades and Cabbages

The Piazza at three different periods of its development

These books were very useful in the research for these stories:

Covent Garden Market: Its History and Restoration by Robert Thorne. Published by Architectural Press 1980

Covent Garden : Mud-Salad Market by Ronald Webber. Published by Dent & Sons 1969

Concrete Garden Anyone?

See the plaque remembering the people of Covent Garden Market.

Loveable Rogues

Claude Duval

Wikipedia has a good painting of Claude Duval dancing with a lady on the highway.

Jenny Diver

Hanged in 1741, Jenny Diver was a pickpocket famed for stashing her loot in a fake pregnancy belly. Immortalised in Gay’s ‘Beggar’s Opera’ and ‘Mack the Knife’. The Georgian Underworld has an account of Jenny Diver, and her wonderful ‘cant’ vocabulary, and you can read more about her life and death at Capital Punishment UK.

Jack Sheppard

You can find Jack’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.

Three Bobs

A singer, a busker, a … hairdo?

Bob Marley

Bob Marley and the Wailers LIVE! vinyl album was recorded in the Lyceum (Ballroom) Theatre on 18th July in 1975. It’s 45 minutes long, and was released by Islands Records. The producers were Bob Marley and the Wailers, Steve Smith and Chris Blackwell. Wikipedia has a photo of its iconic album cover.

Bob the Cat

A Street Cat Named Bob, written by busker James Bowen, was first published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2012, and later in paperback editions. Information about the film Bob the Cat can be found on imdb. The Big Issue published a photo of Bob’s statue.

The Bob That Changed the World

In the newspaper The Guardian Mary Quant remembers Vidal Sassoon. Getty Images have a photo of Sassoon cutting Quant’s hair.

Anglo Saxon Covent Garden

These Anglo Saxon stories have similar sources which would all provide good extra reading for those interested. The London and Middlesex Archeological society Home ( has information on the digs mentioned.

These books offer insights into Lundenwic – Anglo-Saxon London

  • Peter Ackroyd – London the Biography – Vintage 2001
  • Brian Bates – The Real Middle Earth – Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages Pan Books 2002
  • Brian Bates – The Way of Wyrd – Hay House Publishers – 2004

The Lay of 9 Herbs

The Lacnunga healing chant in this story can be found in the British Library.

Famous in their Time

The Diva and her Diamonds

YouTube has a recording of Adelina Patti from 1905, when she is past her prime. Find out about Patti’s Welsh castle. The National Portrait Gallery has many photographs of Patti.

Not a Page in Petticoats

The British Library has an article about women actors coming to the stage for the first time in Restoration London. ArtUK has a portrait of Anne Marshall.

‘I have been a slave. I know what slaves feel.’

The Gutenberg Project has a free copy of Mary Prince’s autobiography available to download or read online.

There is a blue plaque for Mary Prince at the Senate House, Malet Street, WC1, built on the site of 4 Keppel Street, where she had found work as a servant after escaping slave owner John Wood and before working for Thomas Pringle at his house in Pentonville.

University College London has a map showing the slave owners of Bloomsbury.

Oscar Wilde

Intrigue for Intrigue’s Sake

Goodyear’s Florist provided flowers to the Royal Court as well as the general public (and Oscar Wilde). It was one of the original companies to set up store in The Royal Arcade, which opened in 1879 and still maintains its original Victorian glass-covered shopping experience today.

The green carnations were worn at the opening of Wilde’s play, Lady Windemere’s Fan, which premiered in February 1982 at the St James’s Theatre, London. The British Library has a copy of the programme.

Read The Guardian newspaper’s review of the premiere.

Still the Sight to See in London

Robert Hichens wrote The Green Carnation, published by Heinemann, 1894. It is a satire based on the relationship between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, and infuriated Douglas’ father, the Marquis of Queensberry. Read it at Project Gutenberg.

Read for yourself the controversial card the Marquis of Queensberry left for Oscar Wilde at his club (the Albemarle Club). Opinions vary as to the exact wording on the rest of the card, but sodomite is misspelt “somdomite.”

Famous Trials has a cartoon from a newspaper of the infamous trial.

From Gaol to Exile

Reading (a town in England, pronounced ‘Redding’) Museum has pictures and information about Reading Gaol, built in the Victorian era (modern/US spelling: gaol=jail), some from the time of Wilde’s incarceration.

Project Gutenberg also has downloadable/online copies of De Profundis, the ‘letter’ Wilde wrote to Douglas while in gaol, and his poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, written after his incarceration, during his exile in France.

Wikipedia can introduce you to the Rev Stewart Headlam, the controversial reforming priest who helped to bail Wilde.

Eighteenth Century Black London

An Enslaved Child and His Two Inheritances (Francis Barber)

A contemporary picture, “probably of Francis Barber,” is owned by the Tate Gallery, London, but is not always on display. Dr Johnson’s house in Gough Square is now a museum. has a copy of his will in which Barber was a legatee.

A Genius in Bondage (Phillis Wheatley)

Wikipedia has a copy of the frontispiece of Wheatley’s Poetry Book picturing her at a desk, quill in hand. Project Gutenberg has a free copy of the book. The Public Domain Review has an essay about the poet, including another portrait of Wheatley in evening dress.

Note that while the USA claims Wheatley as the first female African American published poet, she is also the first female black African published poet. There is a blue plaque for Wheatley at 9 Aldgate High St, the site of her first publishers’s offices. The plaque reads: On this site in September 1773 A.Bell Booksellers published a volume of poems by Phillis Wheatley 1753-1784 the first work of an African American female writer published in English.

Wikipedia and The Poetry Foundation have biographies of Wheatley which include more detail of her later life. The menagerie at The Tower of London has been called ‘London’s First Zoo.

Beethoven Could not Believe His ears (George Bridgetower)

The British Museum has a graphite portrait of Bridgetower. The British Library has the tuning fork Beethoven gave to Bridgetower and The Beethoven House Museum, at his birthplace in Bonn, Germany, has the original manuscript with Beethoven’s dedication to Bridgetower.

Bridgetower studied at Trinity Hall College, The University of Cambridge, and received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1811.

Season 2 – Covent Garden

Most of HappenedHere’s stories in Season Two also take place in and around Covent Garden.

Eighteenth Century Vice Industry

Dan Cruikshank’s book The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital published by Random House, 2009, is useful further reading for this episode. Hallie Rubenhold’s The Covent Garden Ladies, Black Swan, 2020, which inspired the BBC’s Harlots series, is also an important resource.

Haddock, Hogarth and Harlots

The British Library has a set of Hogarth’s Harlot’s Progress prints.

Mrs Jenkins’ Flogging House

Rictor Norton has an article about ‘The English Vice’. has a copy of the poem used in this story, which came from Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies.

Carnal Pleasures

Exclassics has examples of pages from Harris’s List. Wikipedia has a couple of frontispieces from Harris’s Lists, and a portrait of writer/compiler Samuel Derrick. The Wellcome Collection has Harris’s 1787 edition available online. Project Gutenberg has Harris’s 1788 edition available.

Covent Garden in WW2

The Imperial War Museum has a collection of photographs of Covent Garden during WW2.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

The British Newspaper Archive has an article about dancing in WW2. Facebook has photos of the Royal Opera House as it was configured in WW2, along with dance nights.

Mrs Smith’s Coffin

Google has archived a Garden Museum photojournalism story about flower smuggling in WW2. Dawlish is an English seaside resort on the South Devon coast, offering sandy beaches. Its railway line runs directly along the coast, allowing for stunning views but making it susceptible to coastal storms and erosion.

Keeping Calm and Carrying On

The London Transport Museum has photos of people using the Covent Garden Tube Station as a bomb shelter. has more information about William Samson, the writer and member of the Auxiliary Fire Service who wrote about the rescue and the bomb itself.

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