London Foreigners

London Foreigners # 1: Giuseppe Mazzini


Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian patriot who was born 22 June 1805 in Genoa, Italy. In the year 1837 he arrived in London, and lived at the above house in Laystall Street, Clerkenwell, E.C.1 in an area that was known as Little Italy, because of the large number of Italian residents. It was here that for many months Mazzini had to carry on a hard fight with poverty and the sense of spiritual loneliness, which he described in the first volume of his “Life and Writings”. Later, when he gained a greater command of the English language, he earned a living by writing reviews, some of which have been reproduced, and are nowadays considered of high literary merit. Among them are papers on "Italian Literature since 1830”. It was from this address in London that he edited his new journal “Pensiero ed Azione”, and where he became the prophet of Italian unity.

London Foreigners # 2: Sir Hiram Maxim

Sir Hiram Maxim, Anglo-American engineer and inventor, was born in Maine, New England, U.S.A on 5 February 1840. After finishing his education in engineering, he became a coach builder with his uncle Levi Stevens in Massachusetts in 1864. After only four years he became a draughtsman at the Novelty Iron Works and Ship Builders in New York. In 1880 he came to England and devoted all his energy into developing the world's first machine gun. The first machine gun was built at this factory in Hatton Garden in 1884 and was exhibited at an underground firing range beneath it. Maxim died in London on 24 November 1916 and is buried at West Norwood Cemetery.

London Foreigners # 3: Karl Marx library

Karl Marx library

Tucked away in the quiet corner of Clerkenwell Green is what has been since 1933 the Marx Memorial Library. During 1902-1903 Lenin, while exiled in London, made use of one of the offices to produce Iskra (The Spark) the Russian Social Democratic newspaper. His office has been preserved and the 'Lenin Room' is a listed historic monument. He went on to be the leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution,

London Foreigners # 4: Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh

The Carlton Hotel was once a top London hotel at the end of Haymarket , taking its name from the nearby Carlton House Terrace. The only thing left to remind us of this fact is a blue plaque to the memory of a pastry cook named Ho Chi Minh who worked at this hotel from 1913-17. This pastry cook was later to become better known as President Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam.

London Foreigners # 5: Napoleon III

Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808-73, Emperor of the French (1852-70); son of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland; and nephew of Napoleon I. He spent his youth in exile and attempted two coups (1836 and 1840) against the French government. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he escaped to England in 1846. He lived at this King Street house, near St James's Square London. He returned to France after the February Revolution of 1848. Elected to the National Assembly, he defeated General L.E. Cavaignac in the presidential election of 1848 by a wide margin. Louis Napoleon's success was due largely to his name, which evoked French nostalgia for past Napoleonic glory. As president of the Second Republic, he consolidated powerful conservative support and instigated the coup of 3 December 1851. The legislative assembly was dissolved, and an attempted workers' uprising was brutally suppressed. Louis Napoleon gained dictatorial powers in the new constitution of January 1852, and in November a plebiscite overwhelmingly approved the establishment of the Second Empire. He became Emperor Napoleon III.

London Foreigners # 6: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The beloved Grove End Road home with renovation work being carried out.

Born 8 January 1836 in Holland, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema came to London in 1870 and spent the rest of his life living here. He became one of the most famous and highly paid artists of his time, with his incredibly detailed reconstruction paintings of ancient Rome. He was a perfectionist. In 1883 he moved to his beloved house in Grove End Road, St John's Wood, where he was to spend much of his time there decorating. One of his most famous paintings is The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888). He died in Wiesbaden, Germany on 28 June 1912 at the age of seventy-six. He is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. His name lives on in two streets that are named after him, the nearby Alma Terrace and Tadema Road, Chelsea.

London Foreigners # 7: Jenny Lind

Blue Plaque of Jenny Lind's London Home

Johanna Maria Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887) became famous as Jenny Lind, the Swedish opera singer often known as the "Swedish Nightingale".

When she was twenty-three years old, Jenny went to Dresden. Queen Victoria visited that city the following year and Lind sang at the festivals held in the queen’s honour. This opened the way to more success in other German cities. In 1847 she went to London and was enthusiastically received when she sang for the first time in a London concert.

During the same year of 1847 the London Brighton and South Coast Railway ordered a new locomotive from the E. B. Wilson Railway Foundry at Leeds. David Joy was given the task of designing what became known as the Jenny Lind.

From 1855 she took up residency at this white-fronted house in the Boltons, where she remained between her world tours until her death.

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