Sunday, 7 August 2011

History in the Court

Goldsboro Books will host the first History in the Court evening on the 29th September 2011 following on from the success of Crime in the Court earlier in the year. This will become an annual event that will be an informal gathering for fans of history and historical novels to meet some of the best historical writers published today. History in the Court will take place between 5pm till 9pm.

Cecil Court may have been "fit for good inhabitants" but we have good reason to suppose that eighteenth century Cecil Court was not an especially salubrious address. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, fully searchable online, give an insight into life in the street at the time, whenever the inhabitants fell foul of the law. Residents crop up regularly in the trial transcripts, mostly for petty theft but also for highway robbery, forgery and arson. In 1735 Elizabeth Calloway, keeper of a Brandy Shop in Cecil Court where her clientele could be found "drinking, smoking, and swearing, and running up and down Stairs till one or two in the Morning" seemingly over-insured her goods and set the place alight. Her neighbours' houses were also burned to the ground while she sat smoking her pipe and drinking good Sussex beer with friends a few streets away. It was the first London address of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family (1764-5), arguably where he composed his first symphony.

Long before Cecil Court became the home for Goldsboro Books it has a history that makes it the world famous street it is today. Cecil Court was laid out in the late seventeenth-century, filling in open land between St Martin’s Lane and Leicester Square as London spread steadily west. It is still owned by the family from which it takes its name, the Cecil family of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, who are the descendants of Robert Cecil, created first Earl of Salisbury by James I after he smoothed over the transition from the house of Tudor to that of the Stuarts. It was the first London address of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family (1764-5), arguably where he composed his first symphony; film pioneers such as James Williamson and Cecil Hepworth regarded ‘Flicker Alley’ as the heart of the early British film trade and a young Arthur Ransome honed his writing skills while doing as little work as possible for Ernest Oldmeadow at the Unicorn Press at No. 7 Cecil Court. More information about Cecil Court can be found on their website

Over 30 authors have been invited and are due to attend. They include - AL Berridge, Richard Blake, Nick Drake, Stella Duffy, James Forrester, Seth Hunter, Michael Jecks, Ben Kane, Karen Maitland, Manda Scott, C J Samson, Laura Wilson and Robyn Young to name a few.

Tickets are available and can be purchased here.

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