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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

- Page 47

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 27, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta London's underground city Hides more than noble achievements By KEVIN DOYLE LONDON (CP) The damp depths of underground London, a city most people never see, enshrine some o( B r i t a 1 n 's noblest achieve- ments. They also hide (lie appalling misery of destitute castaways from the more familiar whirl of life in one of the world's largest and richest cities. The rnaze of underground streets, tunnels, old subterra- nean war offices and bomb shelters stretches under large sections of London to form a kind of second city, much of it Inaccessible except by govern- ment permission. It ranges from the opulence of vaults used for storing and selling silver, generally open to tourists, through the rooms where Winston Churchill and Ms wartime cabinet met in caverns buried bsnes'h White- hall, to an acre of under- ground streets and arches just off the Strand in the heart of London. In this quarter-mile oblong, known perhaps to one in Londoners, hundreds of years of achievement and neglect merge with the prosperity and devastating poverty of the present. Historically, the known as the Adelphl Arches one of the most ter- rifying and individual parts of London, within a rope's throw of the luxurious Savoy Hotel. Destitute gather Things haven't changed much. A night walk through the arches remains a cliilling ordeal. When Sichel's, the wealthy wine merchants, lock their massive doors at 5 p.m., ev- eryday life in the arches stops. Employees of King, the prosperous locksmiths who have worked here for genera- tions, pack up and go home. The precision engineers o[ Russell and Co. lock up shop, turn out Ihe lights and plod up Lower Adam Street to catch a train to their comfortable sub- urban homes. Meanwhile, the drug addicts, the burnt-out prostitutes, the penniless drunks and harden- ed tramps gather in the streets' above. When the underground parking garages begin to close after 8 p.m., the strag- glers shuffle down the darken- ing streets into the blackness of the arches. Listlessly they collect cardboard cartons thrown out by the shops. These, overlaid with old news- papers, become their beds. Charles Dickens used to wander fascinated in these murky tunnels. As a boy of 10, he used to work in a rat-rid- den, boot-blacking warehouse nearby where Charuig Cross Bridge now spans the Thames. The place so intrigued him that in David Copperfield Dickens has Copperfield meet the Micawhers near the area. Built by Adams Peter the Great spent some time in the area in 1628 before the arches were built. But the depressing aspects of the gen- eral region, as legend has it, led him to drink a pint of brandy, a bottle of sherry and eight flasks of strong ale- after which he went to the theatre. The arches themselves were built by the Adams brothers between 1768 and 1774 to give a level foundation to houses built on the embankment slop- ing down to the Thames. Ben- jamin Disraeli lived in one of those houses SO years later be- fore becoming prime minis- ter. Thousands of Scots were brought in to construct the arches at minimal wages. Highland kilted pipers in feathered bonnets marched through the tunnels piping at their loudest to drown the curses of the underpaid work- ers. In (lie end, the Scols cleared out and the Irish re- placed them. Their complaint was that instead of pipes they were given a fiddler. The stories surrounding Adelphi are endless. Most of them are known by two broth- ers, Sidney and Philip Gib- bons, employees in Sichel's wine cellars Tor 33 and 44 years respectively. The broth- ers keep to themselves. But if one anecdote can be coaxed may take half an hour follow In quick suc- cession. Kept clean Tliey remember Snow White most clearly. Snow White was no ordinary hobo. He was king of the tramps with snow- white hair and beard and a cheerful, ruddy face. Most important, he was clean. Each morning, Snow While and his males stowed away their billie cans, shoul- dered their packs and walked to a fountain in the nearby Embankment Gardens to scrub with cold water before setting out to beg for food and money. When he died, the authori- ties discovered Snow White had accumulated more than in uncollected military pension payments. The Gib- bons believe he simply had no use for money other department of agri- Cl'lilMT. Dr. Wiebo was assistant pro- fessor ot agricultural econo- mics at South Dakota State Uni. versity before accepting the ap- pointment. Other members ot the secre- tariat are Norman Thomson, Dr. Bruce Jeffery, Clarence Roth, Edna Clarke and Bandy Mceks. All have previous exper- ience with Iho department. 27, 1972 TKt UTHM1DOE HEMID 47 out fcr lunch on High- way 13. The of a nady South t n a m i tank takct a brack 30 north of Saigon w h 11 another South sol- dier and a wo- man caught in the keep low in a they are sharing from Commu- n fore e iweepi an area near Lai Special Offer... current fall fashions... the latest in styling, fabric and colorl Yours... at fantastically reduced pricesl Yes, we'vevgotal[ the favoured looks in all the popular lengths. Hurry down beat the rush... fall Is well on Its way! Ladies' Dresses Quality Costs No More at Simpsons-Sears STORE HOURS: Open Daily 9 o.m. to p.m. Thursday and Fridoy 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Centre Telephone 328-9231 ;