London in the early eighteenth century

Posted by Helen Tuesday, September 11, 2012 ,

I have been reading a book by S. K.Romanyuk, called Russian London (Русский Лондон), the only guide to the London various Russians lived in. It goes through various themes: first contacts, the royals, the church, emigrés, ambassadors and so on.

Mr Romanyuk is the complete Anglophile. To him there can be nothing wrong with Britain and if there is a dispute he takes the British side, even attempting to exonerate the British authorities in the somewhat dubious story of Nicholas II and his family to whom Britain apparently refused to give shelter. A muddled story, as Mr Romanyuk rightly says and in his opinion if anyone needs to be blamed it had better be David Lloyd George.

Naturally there are a few pages about Peter the Great and his stay in London, particularly in Deptford but in other parts as well. Bearing in mind recent comments about London being put on the map in the last couple of weeks, I was interested to read that "at the time [Peter's arrival in 1698] London was Europe's largest city: with a population of 675,000 at the beginning of the eighteenth century".

After some description of the devastation caused by the Great Fire and of the rebuilding that was going on, Mr Romanyuk adds that London was also a great sea port. In the year of Peter's arrival 13,444 ships had visited it.


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