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Your Stories Await Telling

Start at the beginning | Morning, 27th December- Xmas 1677

James Winchester

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Henrow & Ethel


Located just off the Strand, this was the most famous land agent in London, known for its discretion.


Master Farlow, a man dressed in black with a white lace collar, sat behind a ledger, making notes with a large quill. The room was filled with books and one or two scrolls, all neatly stacked onto bookshelves. A map of London hung prominently on the wall with little pins stuck into them.


Whether or not Henrow and Ethel would be able to help him was a matter yet to be seen. They were real estate agents of the highest degree, and he was looking for property in one of the poorest areas of London. Then again, they had been able to help him with the building for the Free Clinic and the premesis he sought this time were rather larger, so who knew?


Stepping from his coach and into the agent's office, Baron Wentwood paused for the clerk to notice him. He was dressed today in a green and cream ensemble, with understated hints of gold embroidery enhancing the brocade pattern.


"A good day to you." He greeted the clerk. "James Winchester, Baron Wentwood. I had the pleasure of doing business with your office over a year ago now, and I'm hoping you'll be able to bring your expertise to bear once again."

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A clerk showed Wentwood into a private drawing room. Master Farlow sat at a table and took to his feet as James entered. "Good day sir. Lord Wentwood it is good to see you again. How might I be of assistance?"


“Ah, Master Farlow. A pleasure as always.” James replied warmly as the agent stood to meet him. “I trust you’re keeping well?” He asked as he settled himself across from the man.


“You’ll recall of course the property in Friday Street that you were of great assistance in finding for me.” The doctor began. “Not your usual fare I know, but it has proven perfect for the purpose, and the Free Clinic goes from strength to strength.” He felt the man might like to know that.


“In fact, it is with a similar intent that I come to you now.” He explained. “I am looking to replicate the project on a slight larger scale, a Free Infirmary, in another less fortunate part of the city. I was thinking Whitechapel, and a premesis perhaps twice the size?” He suggested.


The Free Clinic was in a house, and had no facilities for patients who needed more than perfunctory treatment. With the Infirmary there would be room for a small treatment and recovery ward, and a special room for the surgeon to operate, with appropriate cleanliness and drainage.

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"Is it wise, m'lord, to have so many sick people in one place?" Farlow asked with concern on his face. "Might sickness build on sickness to enlarge its reach upon the city?" There had been a few small plagues in the city, including one that ended the Spring court.


"Whitechapel?" He produced a map of London from a drawer in the table and laid it out. "Not many large buildings available I should think," he muttered mostly to himself. "What you may need is a church," he added in a dialogue with himself. "Perhaps there is some old medieval house there that would suit." His hand moved over the map. "I shall have to do some research of course."


"What amount of price did you have in mind?"

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“Wiser than having them wandering amongst us untreated.” James replied mildly. “Better that they be treated quickly.” And then regain their health and their usefulness in the community once again. Besides, there was an added advantage, that James chose not to mention because he hoped it would never be used. If one gathered all the sick in one place and they proved incurable, one could quarantine them together until the illness – and those with it – passed, preventing the spread. He had noted that whatever foul miasmas caused illness, they also seemed to be generated by it. Sick people often smelled bad, and if one person was sick it was common for those around them to become sick. It was a theory he was working on.


Yes, it wasn’t likely there was much in the way of grand buildings in Whitechapel. “A pair of houses would likely suit, if two could be found together.” He mused. “But yes, a church or barn might well do the trick.” He allowed. A church would have the benefit of being a stone building; sturdier and easier to clean.


As to how much? “Well, that depends. I had thought of renting a premises initially, but if one came up for purchase at the right price, that could also suit.” The Free Clinic premesis were rented. “I could budget a thousand pounds at most, for a purchase.” He allowed.


He thought of mentioning the Queen’s interest, but had a deep suspicion that might increase the price, as it tended to for government contracts. It was something that could be revealed later.

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Farlow did not look convinced, but he said nothing. His own quiet thoughts saw the advantage of having all the sick together so that the place could be burned if necessary.


"A barn is a likely thing, if you are willing to consider it." Two houses together might do, but it seemed the most expensive solution, and least likely to find.


"Rentals are possible too," he admitted. There were some absentee land owners that might be eager to rent a drafty place. "Give me until Friday," he requested. "That should be sufficient time for me to walk the neighborhoods and find the owners. Might we have you call upon me at the same time on Friday?"

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"A barn would do admirably, providing that it could be altered to meet our needs, if a rental." Certainly it would be easier to buy a place outright, but he had the available funds to consider.


As Farlow indicated that he would need time to investigate what properties might be available, the little doctor nodded amiably. "Certainly. I shall come by on Friday morning, and look forward to hearing what you've found." He smiled.


"Until then. A happy Christmas to you."


Fin for now!

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