Carlton House: a history

This history of a Leytonstone House is now available.
In hardback:
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The Dead and the Forgotten.

A few days ago, I went to Paris and the trip was bounded at each end by visits to two places of the dead, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise and the Paris Catacombs under the city. Here the bones of many ancient cemeteries were deposited after being dug up from their pits in church graveyards, the ancient population of Paris rehoused in picturesque arrangements. Femurs are tightly piled on top of each other to form walls, (a macabre dry bone walling) and the skulls lined up on top or set in patterns. A tablet fixed on each section declares the church from which they came. The skulls gave off a brown sheen; look closely and on each could be seen the pattern of the cranium plates; many were broken, many were small, most indistinguishable from each other. Once the beginning of the ossuary was reached, the bone barriers snaked around for hundreds of metres; only the churches changed. The initial pathos of seeing them wore off after a while, another path, another wall of the dead. Sometimes an appropriate aphorism in Latin or French would add some interest to the journey.

A Letter from a Soldier of Caffreland. Preston Guardian, 1852

“Dear Father.-I received your letter, which I had long expected, on the fourth of this month, whilst in the camp of Yellow Woods, just under the Waterkloof, for it happens that I am one General Cathcart’s cohort and I have been with him on all his visits to the different military posts in this country, and therefore was with him when I received your kind letter. We had marched from Fort Beaufort that morning. The General went to see with his own eyes the attack made on the great Waterkloof where so many brave officers and men of our army fell.

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