Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's the end of the world as we know it

Never mind credit crunch and financial crisis - on February 1st 1775 some people round here really did think that the end was nigh. According to the Annual Register for that year: 'A most violent storm of wind and rain did incredible damage in and about London, and on the river Thames. The people about Deptford and Greenwich had been alarmed with the reveries of а сrazy prophet, who had predicted that on this day these towns were to be swallowed up by an . earthquake; and on the breaking out of the storm, it is said, some of the inhabitants were weak enough to leave their houses, and to fly to London'.

It is thought that Charles Dickens might be referring to this episode in the opening chapter of A Tale of Two Cities, set in 1775, which mentions 'a prophetic private in the Life Guards... announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster'.

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