Not much treasure on this island…
In Victorian times Jacob’s Island was a particularly horrid, run-down part of London where poor people lived. The buildings were joined together with secret doors and passages making it easy for thieves to find hiding places. Below were smelly ditches (used for not so fresh water for drinking, washing, cooking and also as a toilet – yuck!)
It was a slum area, known as “The Venice of Drains” and “The Capital of Cholera” because of all the disease there.
Charles Dickens knew the area well; he often went on patrol with river police, and he set part of his books there. In fact; the baddie in Oliver Twist, Bill Sykes, came to a grizzly end in Folly Ditch, based on Jacob’s Island.