Stalking the Tiger


in London, City of Disappearances, ed Iain Sinclair. Hutchinson 2006

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The 1901 census survives in gunmetal drawers full of microfiches. Landcroft Road is on RG13/501, folio 134, page 138; or RG13/501, folio 169, page 173; or possibly RG13/502, folio 17, page 25.

Dark replicated pages lurch across the screen. Either the census-takers recorded answers just as they walked, along one side of a road, down a turning and another turning, then back on the opposite side to the main road; or the pages have been copied in nil order. There are bits of Landcroft Road scattered here and there. You come close to 68 and turn the fiche on to the following page, but that proves to be blank, or you’re somewhere else completely. You can’t tell if you’re skipping pages. You can’t remember which fiche you’ve seen already. Then abruptly you see it, 68 Landcroft Road, and whoever is living there it’s not the Müllers.



Asylum, Hospital, Haven: a history of Horton Hospital

Riverside Mental Health Trust, 1996

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There was Lydia Johnson, whose sisters said her husband had had her wrongly committed. The two sisters brought in a dress (Lydia was wearing asylum clothing) and tried to smuggle Lydia out of the grounds. They were found out; Lydia was brought back in, her sisters were banned from visiting. One sister, Louisa, then applied for Lydia to be discharged into her care. The angry Dr Lord told the sub-committee that Louisa was a completely unsuitable person, being herself insane. Perhaps he was right; but no-one seems to have checked out Lydia’s story. This was the eternal trap: how much could you believe someone who was certified as insane?