Where Yellow Lines Come From
I once ran a writing class at an archive that (for me at least) proved disastrous, because unbeknown to me the class was filled with archivists, and they were less concerned with fiction than accuracy.
It’s a complex thing – I’m currently rewriting ‘Hell Train’ and researching the origins of the Great War, but it’s my fictional version of course, and the research can bend. However, the class was made tough for me by a couple of attendees who insisted this was not the case. Truthfully there are no 100% accurate historical sources, because everything is skewed by the original writer.
Now, we can crowdsource many documents and draw a median line through them to get at some basic historical accuracy. But sometimes the facts in old London books are the nicest, whether or not they’re entirely true.
I recently read this:
‘When James Burbage and Shakespeare opened a theatre near Blackfriars at the turn of the 16th century, it became so populat that a petition of protest was lodged by those living in the area. There were so many coaches that Ludgate Hill became clogged, so the Star Chamber ordered that ‘coaches shall leave as soon as they have set down and not return until the play is over’ on threat of jail at Newgate.
The zone was marked out, which is how the first the first parking restrictions were born.