Read Constable & Toop Online

Authors: Gareth P. Jones

Constable & Toop (33 page)

On a cold January day, I wandered into Drury Lane Theatre and explained to the man on the door that I was looking for an old haunted theatre. He informed me that Drury Lane was not only the oldest theatre in London, but the most haunted in the world. Later that day a tour guide, actor and writer by the name of David Kerby-Kendall took me on a tour and told me about many of these ghosts, but it was the story of the Man in Grey which instantly grabbed me.

The ghost of Paddy O'Twain was an invention of my own but the location of his pub came from the discovery of a plaque outside The Tipperary on Fleet Street, detailing the pub's history and giving its original name, The Boar's Head.

St Paul's of Shadwell has been a favourite church of mine since I used to live in the area. It boasts the graves of seventy-five sea captains and has links with Captain Cook himself. When I went to look around, a pastor by the name of Andrew Sercombe was kind enough to let me in. A list inside revealed the name of the rector in 1884, although I was entirely responsible for Rector Bray's dubious character and for the story of the unfortunate bell-ringer.

On buses and trains, in coffee shops and pubs, I wrote this book, while London's history bled into the pages. My daily wanderings took me to many valuable places of research including the Museum of London, the Museum of Transport, Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood and the archive section of Lewisham Library.

Many of the houses, pubs and streets are of my own invention, but I hope have the ring of truth to them. I also took a number of liberties with historical details. Although this was a period of rapid suburban growth I have exaggerated the extent of that development in Honor Oak and the surrounding area. I hope that anyone who notices any of the liberties I have taken will forgive them in the name of fiction.

I also hope that I will be forgiven by those dizzied by the sheer number of characters who worked their way into this story. Following its inception in that Honor Oak coffee shop, as I wandered the streets of London with my notebook, this book grew very rapidly and spread in many unexpected directions, very much like nineteenth-century London itself.

First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Hot Key Books

Northburgh House, 10 Northburgh Street, London EC1V 0AT

Copyright © 2012 Gareth P. Jones

The moral rights of the author have been asserted.

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ebook ISBN: 978-1-4714-0012-4

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