Paved with Gold
The Life and Times of the Real Dick Whittington
- Gregory Holyoake
15th July 2023
Richard Whittington, known to many as Dick Whittington, was the hero of modern pantomime. Born to a disgraced knight in Gloucester, he travelled to London seeking his fame and fortune.
Whittington lived through five reigns – Edward III, Richard, II, Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI – and was personally known and regarded by all these Medieval monarchs. A fabulously wealthy mercer and prosperous wool merchant, he became the most important benefactor to the City of London. His projects numbered funding a refuge for unmarried women; instituting a novel piped water system; creating a grand latrine that discharged into the River Thames; rebuilding Newgate Gaol; improving Guildhall Library; repairing London Bridge; and creating a College of Priests with an Almshouse that still flourishes today at Felbridge, Sussex. He also financed Henry V’s French campaign that culminated in the spectacular victory at the Battle of Agincourt.
… But what of his ubiquitous cat?