After I featured his artwork on The Steampunk Home earlier this year, Derrick of London Particulars contacted me and offered a print as a giveaway to you, my dear readers! So we're having a contest to see who wins The Professor and the House of Lords, a moody 8"x12" Photographic Artwork:
But wait, there's more. London Particulars has also thrown in one genuine adjustable steampunk ring.
Like all of London Particular's work, part of its charm is in the Professor Thistlequick narrative that places it in the same world as the print:
Professor Aubrey Thistlequick's niece, Fiona Stickclick was a very curious girl.
Not curious as in strange or unusual, but curious like a particularly inquisitive cat.
Once, on a Sunday afternoon visit, the Professor found her sat before a trunk in his hidden study rifling through one of his most secret collections.
"What are all these?" she asked, holding up a small keyhole.
"Ah, well that escutcheon contains the lock that secures one of the many hidden secrets of the universe" replied the Professor.
"Oh my! Are they all secrets Uncle?" cried Fiona.
"Yes, my dear" said the Professor "and I've been collecting them for many years".
"Can I have the keys please Uncle?" asked Fiona.
"Well no, because no-one should be given the keys to the universe, my dear, besides, everyone needs an element of mystery in their lives!"
"But I only want to see just one of the universes deepest secrets!" protested Fiona petulantly.
"Ah, well the other thing is that I've lost the keys. It's a bit of a bind really as I never even got to use them." said the Professor "With all the people searching for the keys to the universe, the thing which has always perplexed me is...what on Earth were they planning to do with them if they could not find the keyholes?" the Professor exclaimed with a heavy sigh and then he gave an excited squeak "There it is! I've been looking for this jar of blackberry jam for weeks!"
"Is it magical?" asked Fiona.
"No, I'm afraid it’s not. But it's pretty dashed tasty, and just in time for tea!"
Win it! Comment below and answer the question "What's the most steampunk city you know of, and why?" and Monday evening I'll pick the winner using a true random number generator.
Bonus: Derrick has also offered the readers of The Steampunk Home a 10% discount on purchases from his shop. Just mention "Steampunk Home" in the "Messages to Seller" section when making a purchase and he'll refund 10% via PayPal.
update: the contest is finished, but you are welcome to continue to add your favorite steampunk cities in the comments below.
Hmm... I assume you mean real cities?
I'd have to go with Pittsburgh; it's got the old iron machinery, trains, bridges, and everything else.
I'd say Budapest - all those gorgeous old spires and faux-medieval walls mingled with modern industrialism.
In it's own strange way, I'd have to say Venice, Italy. I can't really pinpoint why, but it was the first place I thought of when I read the question.
I think maybe it's the romance of the city and that is the part of steampunk I'm drawn to.
When I think Steampunk, I think London. Something about all the movies where people are jumping around inside Big Ben, with all those gears turning to power the clock.
Bilbao - I've only driven past it, but the super modern freeway swoops around the top of the city and practically through these tall, dark, steep streets of 19th century houses - around top storey level, which must be a bummer if you live there - and the city falls away down to the sea where huge industrial chimneys and tubes spew unnamed pollutants into the mist. A strong visual impression, that's for sure.
This may be a copout, but I haven't traveled that much outside of the US and haven't found many steampunkish cities within.
So the award goes to London, for it's odd blend of relatively-but-not-too old and modern. The tiny roads with dark, tall chapels near modern fixtures really just does it for me. And the fog.
I'd have to go with Detroit. Lots of scrap, industry ad metal all in one place, some new, some decrepit and begging to be resurrected in someone's mad workshop.
It may not be Steampunk... yet. But the potential is certainly there, just needs a couple enterprising individuals to start work on it.
This might sound odd, but I have to vote for Spokane, Washington. Downtown Spokane is full of brick buildings and beautiful stonework bridges, but everything has a slightly run-down feel that just screams "steampunk" to me. Plus, there's the old Pavilion from the World Fair.
Buffalo. NY. The city was at its peak in 1900 and has been practically untouched since. Industry, arts, and lots of brick.
I'd have to say Paris! The beautiful iron work can be seen everywhere and certain parts of the city just exude Jules Verne.
Of all the cities I've ever *been* to, I can't get Paris out of my head. It's all rooted in older architecture with things like the Centre Pompidou and all these oddly modern touches. The Eiffel Tower? Parts of the Latin Quarter? Just, everything about the city feels all steampunk-y fun.
Another vote for Spokane, WA. It has everything -- huge stone bridges, Gothic churches, a great big railway, iron and sparks. And then mixed in is this faux-modernist World's Fair architecture, which seems outdated and antiquated now. Best of all, in fall and winter, there's this omnipresent fog that clings to everything ... you just expect to walk around a corner and smack-bang into some mad scientist's clank.
Okay, no, really I'd have to agree with one of the previous comments and pick Paris, France.
The city still has a lot of the same character as it had in Jules Verne's time.
St Louis MO
As that is where The City Museum is.
Well, I'm a little biased, but I think my hometown, Toronto, is pretty darn steampunk. The original buildings in the southern portion of our downtown are genuine Victorian. The Distillery District has that perfect mix of industrial grime and gorgeous 1800s architecture that makes a perfect steampunk setting.
I'm going to have to put in a plug for my good ol' Boston. The brickwork, the wrought iron fences and the shipyards...or wait, maybe Salem. YES. Scrub over all the witch stuff and Salem, MA takes the cake.
I would have to go with London as well if I were to consider actual cities for Steampunkery, however I am quite fond of the City of Ember as far as some steampunk-like feel for the fictional cities.
Hi, I would say Praque,
for the sentiment, all the old buildings and Mucha feeling.
I would also have to say Pittsburgh, it's just got that feel about it...it's got the Victorian buildings, all the accoutrements of thge industrial revolution...just needs a little polishing up.
Since no city really powers with steam these days and I don't believe 'steampunk' to be about ruined hulks or run down factories, I pick Paris - with that ultimate in metal sculpture, the Eiffel Tower.
Denver is the most steampunk city I know but then I haven't known many. It come into being as a city during the gold rush where they used steam engines on narrow gauge rails. And the Molly Brown house is very cool.
Part of me is inclined to say New Orleans for some reason, but I can't quite pinpoint why.
Other than that, I'd have to go with the cliche-for-a-reason London. I mean, the giveaway is even for London Particulars, so that rather predisposes one, no?
Chicago, especially the south side. I mean, Chicago Skyway anyone? And all those giant rigs and all the tracking. I get goosebumps anytime I drive to Indiana. Granted, I'm more attracted to the gritty parts of steampunk as opposed to the shiny parts.
I'd go with York, just for a bit of variety. Not the center so much, but the shambles and some of the residential areas.
It has the appropriate combination or oldfashionedness and technology to count, I'd say.
The most steampunk city I KNOW would have to be LA, as that's where I've knocked around the most, looking for steamy goodness. (Though someday I hope to spend time around Seattle, as I have it in my head as crammed to the gills with lovely steampunk people.)
Great Steampunky places in LA would be:
The Edison Bar
Necromance (The natural history one more than the goth one.)
Echo Park Time Travel Mart (826LA's store front)
The Book House (Victorian home stuffed with used books.)
for me i would say montreal, it is not all steampunk, but lots of the older street where you find really old house, are totally inspiring me in the steampunk way!
I would have to vote Paris with all the metal and stone.
I've not done much traveling, but I have to say Chicago, with the beautiful old buildings and the modern world intruding in.
Another vote for gothic old Budapest.
Wow. I pop over to comment in order to win that glorious poster and what do I see? Pittsburgh touted as the most Steampunk city of all. I have to say I agree. In fact, it was one of the reasons I moved here almost a year ago...its almost like a timewarp:)
Yes, Fremont, California. They have a Fry's Electronics with the store theme, "1893 Chicago World's Fair"!
Being a lover of clocks, I have to say London. I think I draw most of my idea of "steampunk decor" from Victorian London.
I would say Edinburgh.
With a mixture of old and new, Edinburgh is the city that sums up steampunk to me. It has such beautiful architecture on such modern everyday shops (its not every day you see carved statues of Victory fronting clothing stores) such beautiful metal works of art as the Scott Monument, old traditions like the One O'Clock Guns, and old technology made new, like the recently developed trams.
Furthermore, it is a city of mystery, with miles of underground catacombs, and whole streets on bridges... with roads that run over the roofs of other buildings, and in one case a short-cut between two streets that involves entering a pub, going down five storeys (each storey a seperately themed bar) and out the back door as this takes 15 minutes off your journey...
You don't get any more steampunk than Edinburgh.
My first thought was London, but the more I think about it I have to say Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the most stylish city I have ever seen. It has melded the old with the new, has some of the most wonderful architecture from every major movement, and those closes are just too cool.
Everyone that walks around it is either in a radiation suit or carrying a Geiger counter.
For me it is Paris - with the architecture, the metro, the catacombs, and the great cemetaries.
I'm saying Guthrie Oklahoma, there are some really cool buildings there.
I vote Stuttgart, Germany. Lots of great Beaux Arts and medival buildings, trains, and great parks. The zoo is also weirdly steampunk.
I'd have to go with Dublin. There's such a mix of architecture from the last two centuries, from the bridges to buildings. The Guinness factory has such a mix of old brass and new glass. There are pubs that look straight out of the Victorian era and medieval buildings all around the city.
The trams (including some restored older ones), the buildings, and a lot of the culture (there have been Steampunk events held there in the past - certainly seems to be the Steampunk capital of Australia).
The most steampunk city is polish Łódź. Founded in 1423 it was small, agricultural city, until in 1820 government decided, that it should change profile to industry. Then bussiness started to build a lot of (mostly textile) factories, and much of them survived to nowadays (as buildings, not technology). Search image services for "Łódź fabryka" to see them, or for "Łódź Piotrkowska" to see the longest and most spectacular Łódź's street.
Just to be different, I vote San Mateo, California. Home of Makers Fair.
I'd have to go with Mikki, and say Edinburgh. Not only is Scotland the country where most Industrial age engineering inventions were conceived, but Edinburgh also houses the ancient college that inspired Hogwarts (from Harry Potter fame), has a granite rock face raising out of the ground in He centre of the city, a dimensionally surreal houses of parliament and a wonderful set of Victorian museums.
Then the is Glasgow: home of Charles Rennie Macintosh. Need I say more?
London, I mean the city's icon is a giant clock. He who has the biggest gears wins...
Prague. It's got an incredible blend of old-world/new-world, and when it comes to clockwork machinery, the Astronomical Clock is a hands-down winner.
I hope I've done this correctly. Perhaps the most Steampunk city in America at least is Pine Hill, NY where the most modern building is the Henry Morton Memorial LIbrary which was built in 1903 in memory of the brilliant Victorian scientist who translated the Rosetta Stone, founded Stephens Tech in Hoboken and was instrumental in founding the Franklin Institute which he inaugerated by holding a flaming sword to illustrate the oxidation of steel. The rest of the town including our own Victorian cottage which resembles The House of Seven Gables (though alas we've only three actual gables) is composed of houses that look like 1313 Mockingbird Lane except for the one with Captain Gregg looking out over the Widow's walk. We can see the tracks for the old railroad from our house where trains full of Vanderbuilts and Astors steamed to the ski slopes from the Hudson River where they arrived from New York aboard their steam yachts and three masted schooners.
Lady Silvia Dorchester,
proprietess of Pine Hill Book Bunny,
the Literary Emporium of the Catskills
My vote goes to Savannah, Ga. Tall brick buildings covered blocks checkered with small cobblestone parks, usually several fountains in each. And just walking by the harbor with real flame lamp-posts.
I have never been there, but I feel like Prague would a highly steampunk place.
All those cool old buildings, juxtaposed with all the trappings of the modern people who live there.
I agree with Mary. As soon as I read the question I thought of Venice. The old charm coupled with a large mode of transportation being by boat seems very old-fashioned to me. It strikes me as the perfect blending of old a new, but in a way that is still delightfully practical.
The very first place I thought of was London....haven't traveled much so am going by photo and film impressions. Also, I read a lot of Victorian novels. So, London it is for me.
Then I read the comments and totally get why two people chose Spokane. Also, Denver, although I'm unable to articulate why.
London, the setting for William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine, is the obvious choice. But I'll say Seattle because we've got a Steampunk Soiree coming up May 22, Steamcon October 23-25, and Eileen Gunn who wrote The Difference Dictionary, a supplement to The Difference Engine.
New York City I would say! Flourished at the perfect time for some wonderful Steampunk elements to emerge.
Based on my admittedly and unfortunately limited travels, I would name Lawrence, Massachusetts. Cyclopean mills still sprawl throughout its streets, with giant antique machinery still to be found in some locations, yet much of this mill space has been converted to more modern applications that exist alongside the 19th century grandeur. Smokestacks dot the skyline, along with a four-faced clock tower which is the second largest such in the world (only Big Ben is larger).
While London and Paris are great answers because they've both retained some of their Victorian charm coupled with the mechanized influence of the steampunk aesthetic, Prague still looks as old as its famous sites. Modern Prague's juxtaposition of ornate, dated architecture and modern convention creates a feeling of time-warped agelessness that both haunts and inspires me.
Lets seeeeee... Simply because I am biased for my home country, I will second Dublin Ireland. :D Not everything steampunk is incredibly industrial. There is a lot of leisure and tinkering, both of which I think this city embodies.
Gary, Indiana, home of the still-dying steel industry (like Pittsburgh, only without the revival). You have to look hard for the beauty in the saddest places, which to me is a key aspect of steampunk.
Check out this photo, for example:
Seattle - the old mixed in with the new with many of it's neighborhoods having it's own 'flavor' like us steampunk folk!
Vufflens-le-Chateau, Switzerland. Okay, not a city, but an adorable little town with churches and trolleys and statues. Very neat.
I hadn't seen this city named, but it's the first one I thought of and I'm sticking with it. New Orleans. What it's lacking in industry it makes up for in creepy Victorian vibes. The French quarter is filled with old buildings, lots of metal work and interesting characters everywhere.
London - the source for all things Steampunk in my mind.
With its nights of mist and its flights of missed chances, surrounded by the sound of the ticking and chiming and dinging and donging from high atop the steeple spire of Big Ben, London stakes its claim as this world's Steampunk capital.
Here the ripper lurked in shadows. Here the doctor became a monster, shamed and vanquished. From here the hot air balloon departed on its 80 day voyage about the world.
As though each man himself a fraction of the measure of a metronome, as though every action lent hitherto unrealized import by the grand design and dictations of the gears and mechanisms of the clock tower, the glass walls of buildings below and the skyline leaning into the future from out a Gothic past... this is the city. This is the place.
Right away I thought of GasLamp District in San Diego, but really it was just first instinct... I'd rather have to go with London when I give it any thought at all... It'll sound funny... but the sort of Mary Poppins London even...
I would have to say Prague. I've never been, but from photos I've seen it looks like a great mix of old and modern steampukism :)
I'd love to enter this...
I'd suggest my humble hometown of leamington spa, in the uk. It's a small Victorian town built around a spa, which was apparently much loved by queen victoria herself.
The town now plays host to a number of videogame companies, giving it that tech edge that's so vital to steampunk.
My nomination is St. Louis, MO. There are paddle wheel boats with calliopes which are steam powered organs. There are several train stations and even an Italian restaurant in an old factory.
I vote for St. Louis as well. In addition to the riverboats there's the Arch, which seen from the inside is kind of steampunky. And the City Museum is inside an old shoe factory (I think) that has been turned into a giant playground. The old conveyor belts are now crawling tunnels, the conveyor rollers line the staircases and there's a giant three-story outdoor structure made of iron, plane fuselages, an old bus and pretty much anything else the artist could find to weld onto it. It's some of the coolest industrial art I've seen.
im goin to say paris just because so much of the architecture contains it but im also goin to say barcelona.
but if you check paris definately has alot of it.
Don't know why it hasn't been said yet, but in Vancouver's gastown district, there is not only Vancouver Steam (that pipes steam to older buildings in the area) but also the beautifully steampunk steam clock.
So my vote goes to Vancouver, BC - Canada.
Definately London! Big Ben, beautiful old buildings, and bronze sculptures all over the place! When I picture I sky pirates, I picture them flying over London.
I'd have to say Siena, Italy of all places. It's still perfectly preserved a few hundred years ago as if from Howl's Moving Castle and only needs the fanciful people and beasts of machines about the place to be the perfect steampunk city out in the middle of Italy.
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