A Walk Down Cheapside

On Cheapside, a street running through the City of London, tall, ornate, brick and brownstone buildings from after the Great Fire line either side of the road. There are signs outside of them for their businesses: a library, a stay and shirt manufacturer, a jeweller. There are lots of side streets with homes and businesses of their own, and the tall, brick buildings run in every direction. There are so many storefronts, and the buildings are full of windows out of which business owners fly advertisements for their goods. They remind the street of their vegetarian meals, teas for sale, and more. There are people, so many people, from all over, walking in and out of the different businesses, jumping into carriages, speeding in a rush toward their offices. The men wear bowler hats, the women dresses, and their modern daughters, shirtwaists and skirts.

This is a modern street. Lamp posts stand at each corner, and the intersections teem with carts and cabs and other carriages. They crowd together at the roundabouts and make Cheapside the notoriously busy street that it is. The sidewalk is wide enough for four people to walk in a row, though the area is too busy for that. The streets are also wide, and people walk there, too, deftly avoiding traffic. But the air is heavy, almost stifling, and not very clear. Smoke pours out from the chimneys and in cold weather or heavy rain, make for an oppressive atmosphere. There are so many horses, and dogs running freely through the street; the smell of their waste is inescapable. It is, after all, the busiest thoroughfare in London.

The most important sound on Cheapside is the bells. St Mary-le-Bow Church was built on one end of the street; all proper Cockneys are born within hearing range of her bells. At the other end of the street are the Mansion House and the Bank of England and its buildings. There is not much respite to be found here, no greenery and no quiet, but no one comes to Cheapside looking for either of those things.