In many public places and vehicles is conspicuously posted a warning: "Beware of pickpockets." That the warning is necessary the police records abundantly demonstrate, but with ordinary care and vigilance the risk can be reduced to a minimum. Carry little more than sufficient money for the day’s expenses on your person, and in crowds or when seated in public vehicles always keep your coat fastened.
A favourite dodge of the light-fingered fraternity is to join a crowd making for one of the motor-omnibuses. Standing on the steps as if about to enter, they work their will while the scrimmage for seats ensues, and then hastily alight, having discovered that the bus is not the one they require. When seated or standing in a train or omnibus be especially watchful of persons carrying overcoats or wraps over their arms. They may be perfectly innocent -,probably are so – but the fact remains that the omnibus thief almost invariably carries a garment on the arm to screen his nefarious operations.
The annual average is between 24 and 25 inches.
SUNDAY IN LONDON
Continental critics have dealt somewhat harshly with the English Sunday. Take M. Taine for instance: " Sunday in London – the shops are shut, the streets almost deserted; the aspect is that of an immense and well-ordered cemetery. The few passers-by in the desert of squares and streets have the look of uneasy spirits risen from their graves. It is appalling. After an hour’s walk in the Strand especially, and in the rest of the City, one has the spleen; one meditates suicide."Much depends upon one’s point of view, but things have changed considerably in recent years, and Sunday need no longer be regarded as a dies non even by the sightseer. During summer large numbers spend the day, or part of it, on the Thames or other pleasure resorts in the vicinity of London, or even by the sea, the railway and motor-coach companies advertising special excursions.
The London Season normally extends from the beginning of May to about the end of July. At this time Parliament is sitting, the Royal Academy and other picture galleries are open, and nearly all the leaders of society are in town. Later, the great migration commences, and every day the roads and railway stations are thronged by jostling crowds, eager to get to the sea and the moors.
At the same time the great invasion of "country cousins" and visitors from America, the Dominions and the Continent sets in. The best time to see London is the spring, when the trees in the Parks are just breaking into leaf, the air is still crisp and cool, and the " show places" are not inconveniently crowded.
Week-end excursions extending from Friday or Saturday to Monday is very general among business men. Many of the Museums and Picture Galleries are open on Sunday afternoons, and sacred concerts and organ recitals are given in places like the Albert Hall and Queen’s Hall. In the evening during summer there are band performances in the Parks and in the numerous open spaces controlled by the County Council.
And if on Sunday mornings the deserted City streets still justify M. Taine’s description, we may remind the visitor that there is no such time for making leisurely acquaintance with the highways and byways and quaint nooks and corners of this mighty metropolis.