When the Shah of Persia comes we are to show him Temple Bar, and the Beefeaters at the Tower, and the fireworks at Crystal Palace, and the fleet reviewed at Portsmouth, and Waxwork Show in Baker Street, and the Freedom of the City feast in the Guildhall. But His Majesty will get but a very idea of the grandeur of our country from such paltry Shows as these. The following must be ranked among the truly British sights, which we may well feel proud of showing any visitor who come to us:

Our London four-wheel cabs—their horses, and their drivers.

Our Mammoth Iron Duke, and other noble public monuments

Our splendid National Gallery,—i.e., not the pictures, but palace which contains them.

Our Haymarket, and other vastly decorous West End thoroughfares at Midnight.

Our ingenious devices for sluicing the streets, and sprinkling passers-by upon the pavements.

Our Divorce Court: and, hard by, our blatant fellow-country in waiting to applaud the daily egress of our Claimant.

Our Hyde Park Sunday meetings.

Our Income-tax returns for the last score of years or so, and pledges of our Statesmen for its speedy abolition.

Our thieves’ kitohens and night cellars.

Our penny gaffs and music-halls, and other intellectual places of amusement which are sanctioned by the Legislature.

Our site for our new Law Courts, and the sight of money lost interest since we purchased it.

Our Museums shut on Sundays, and our gin-shops all left open.

Our street Arabs and organ-boys, and the gruesome slums they sleep in.

Our unrivalled Leicester Square and its horse in status quo.


“Sights We Should Show the Shaw.” Punch; or the London Charivari” (14 June 1873): 247. HathiTrust online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 5 March 2022.

Created 5 March 2022