The tableau commemorates the Kindertransport, trainloads of Jewish kids from Germany and Austria who were sent to England for safety just before World War Two. The trains arrived at Liverpool Street station. The children were safe, but few ever saw their parents again.
‘They were just emerging from a narrow court not far from the open square in Clerkenwell, which is yet called, by some strange perversion of terms, “The Green:” when the Dodger made a sudden stop; and, laying his finger on his lip, drew his companions back again, with the greatest caution and circumspection.
‘What’s the matter?’ demanded ******.
‘Hush!’ replied the Dodger. ‘Do you see that old cove at the book-stall?’
‘The old gentleman over the way?’ said ******. ‘Yes, I see him.’
‘He’ll do,’ said the Dodger.
‘A prime plant,’ observed Master Charley Bates.
‘****** looked from one to the other, with the greatest surprise; but he was not permitted to make any inquiries; for the two boys walked stealthily across the road, and slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom his attention had been directed. ****** walked a few paces after them; and, not knowing whether to advance or retire, stood looking on in silent amazement.’
The old gentleman was reading a book at the bookstall when the two boys stole his handkerchief. They promptly disappeared into ‘the very first doorway round the corner’, leaving ****** all on his own to face the music.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 116. The old gentleman’s name was Mr Brownlow. What was the title of the novel?
‘As sharp as Evelyn Waugh and sometimes better’ – Times Literary Supplement
‘Good, clean fun’ – Daily Telegraph
‘Pure comic pleasure’ – Spectator