In the late 18th century the Anchor brewery in Deadman’s Place (now Park Street) was the world’s largest brewery. Its owner, Mr. Henry Thrale, a well educated and respected MP for Southwark, became a close friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson. By turn Dr. Johnson became an intimate confident of Henry Thrale’s wife Hester. These familial associations frequently brought highly regarded company to the Anchor brewery for soirées where a heady intellectual mix of literary, artistic and theatre folk (Sir Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, David Garrick, Edmund Burke and James Boswell among many) brought glamour and romance to Bankside. The image portrays Henry Thrale outside the burning gates of the Anchor brewery on the occasion of the anti-papist riots led by Lord George Gordon. Thrale had been accused (falsely) of supporting a Catholic Reform Bill during its reading in Parliament and thus presented a ready target for Gordon’s mobsters.