Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 2Wilkinson, Robert
The New Hungerford Market.
Neglected and desolate as the Old Hungerford Market long remained, it is now upwards of years since its revival was originally contemplated. The design which has now been carried into effect, was formed about ,[a] when a model of the intended building and improvements upon the old site was constructed at an expense of ; but upon the extensive failure of the many delusive and ruinous joint-stock companies in , the plan was withdrawn to preserve it from being regarded of the same fraudulent character. It was again brought forward about , when a pamphlet was circulated describing its advantages, and the design of the proposed alterations and new buildings, by Mr. Charles Fowler, the Architect; which had previously received the royal approval. The principal of those advantages were the erection and re-establishment of a handsome, spacious, light, clean, well ventilated, and accessible, market, for the supply of the western end of London, correspondent with the many improvements which had already taken place there; and the formation of a wharf and jetty for steam-vessels,—which, it was presumed, might pass through the up the river,— commodiously situate near the taverns and colonnades of the edifice. It was also stated that the Market was designed for the purposes of general barter, but that its situation was particularly well-adapted for the sale of fish, and all provisions brought to London by water. The capital required for carrying the whole of this design into effect, including also the cost of the freehold property to be bought, was estimated at , to be raised in shares of each,[b] which were readily subscribed for; and , an Act of Parliament[c] was passed, incorporating a Company of Proprietors for the re-establishment of Hungerford Market. To form a space sufficient for the erection of the design concluded on, the site of the old market was brought together with those of the surrounding houses, of the buildings in , and of some few in , in order to ensure a proper frontage, and convenient access. The ground was then cleared, the work was commenced, and the Stone of the new building was laid on Saturday, , by the late Right Honourable George Agar Ellis, Lord Dovor.[d]
Upon that occasion Alexander Baring, William Courtenay, Andrew Macklew, Esqrs. and other Directors of the Company having assembled with the Rev. Dr. Richards, Vicar of the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, and the parochial charity-children,—the ceremony commenced by the latter singing the th Psalm; after which Dr. Richards offered up the following prayer.—"O Almighty and Everliving God, in whom all our good works are begun, continued, and ended, mercifully look down with thy favour upon this undertaking of which we are now about to lay the foundation. Prosper it, we beseech Thee, with thy blessing. Make it the happy instrument of multiplying to us thy bounties, which are showered down upon us, unworthy as we are, in such abundance. Sanctify it to us as the means of preserving to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, so that in due time we may enjoy them; and grant that it may continue a lasting memorial of thy goodness to this great metropolis, to our children and our children's children. Grant this we most humbly beeseech Thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."—The Architect then announced that the bottle which had been prepared to be deposited in the cavity beneath the Stone, contained the Times newspaper of that morning, the London Gazette of the day preceding, a list of the Directors and Officers of the Hungerford Market Company, and some gold, silver, and copper coins of the sovereign. This bottle having been deposited, and the cavity covered by an inscription-plate, Lord Dovor standing at the south-east angle of the building received the silver trowel; and having spread the mortar the stone was lowered into its place. He then struck it with the mallet, and proved it by the level and square; and closed the ceremony with an address to the audience.—"Allow me," said he, "to take this opportunity of expressing the pride and pleasure I feel, that it has fallen to my lot to be called upon this day to lay the Stone of the Hungerford Market. I trust I may congratulate all present on the prospect which is now held out that the great work so auspiciously begun will go on prosperously; that it will prove a convenience to the public, an ornament to the metropolis, and a source of well-earned profit to the proprietors. I will detain you but moment longer whilst I allude to what I am willing to consider a fortunate coincidence,—that this day is the anniversary of the glorious battle of Waterloo; and that, as peace has its victories as well as war, I will venture to hope that this circumstance may be received as a good omen of our having at length vanquished all those difficulties which must ever accompany the undertaking of new public works. I trust we shall now proceed with the which we have this day commenced, without farther interruption or delay, to its happy and successful completion."
The erection of the edifice was then rapidly proceeded with, and the fish-department of the Market was opened with the commencement of the oyster-season, Saturday, , at o'clock in the morning, without any ceremony. It was however attended at that time by only boats, the Friendship of Faversham,
|owned by Mr. Alston, and the Nelson of London, owned by Mr. Hill; though between and dealers had assembled, who finding so few vessels, went away disappointed. The oysters were, nevertheless, bought up, the sale commencing at per and ending at : but this inauspicious beginning might be fairly attributed to the incomplete state of the establishment.[a] About the end of , large bills were posted over London, stating that Hungerford Market would be opened on Tuesday, d; at which time many persons were assembled in boats on the river, and in all parts of the building: the galleries of the lower quadrangle being to be entered only by tickets. The commencement of the ceremony was announced by cannon, which were also repeatedly fired during the day, and a procession was then conducted throughout the whole premises, consisting of the Beadle of the Market, the workmen, contractors, Architect, the Directors, and other officers of the Company, and the Parochial authorities, with music: after which the Chairman of the Company delivered an address. The opening was also celebrated by a regatta on the river, and by a balloon in which Mr. Graham ascended at o'clock from the lower quadrangle; as well as by fireworks, an illumination, and a ball, on the river-terrace at night.|
The hall, or principal building of the New Hungerford Market, as described by the Architect, is feet in length, exclusive of the porticoes, by feet wide; and consists of a nave, with side-aisles containing ranges of shops against the walls, over which are galleries with counters, for the sale of such articles as require a neat display, arranged somewhat in the manner of a bazaar. In front of these counters along the galleries, is a walk from which the scene below may be advantageously and commodiously viewed; and the ascent from beneath is by staircases, at each extremity of the porticoes. The roof of the nave, or centre division of the building, is raised above those of the sides by tiers of open arches, which secure an ample supply of light and air, and the coverings of the aisles are also open in the centre. The floor of the hall is occupied by ranges of stands, with convenient avenues between them and underneath the whole floor are series of vaultings, or arched cellars, having approaches in various directions. The columns, stairs, pavement, and parts of the front, of this important building are of granite. This hall is erected between spacious courts, surrounded by colonnades, built upon different levels accommodated to the descent of the ground towards the river. The north, or upper area, is feet long by wide, and, with , is made level with ; and as the original street did not enter this area in the centre, it is now () rebuilding in a more uniform situation, and with an increased width of from to feet. The houses in this part consist of shops on a moderate scale, and the lower corners of the street of public houses for the upper division of the Market. The lower court, on the south of the hall, is feet long, by wide, and is made level with the water-side, the height of story beneath the former; the descent from the grand central building being by a spacious flight of steps. This constitutes the Fishmarket, and it is terminated by a wharf next the river, about feet in length; whilst the south front of the building presents a colonnade and terrace, with wings of handsome houses, intended for taverns. The width of the building next the Thames is feet, and the total length of the Market from the river to is feet inches.[b]
[a] The first public meeting upon this subject took place in the Painted Chamber at the House of Lords, at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, June 5th, 1824, when Mr. Fowler received his first instructions to survey the site.—Gentleman's Magazine, Sept. 1832, vol. cii. part ii. p. 201.
[b] This estimate was announced at a meeting of the encouragers of this undertaking held at the Company's office Feb. 18th, 1830, William Courtenay, Esq. in the Chair, who stated to the meeting that the Committee appointed in the preceding spring had succeeded in obtaining the option of buying the freehold of the Hungerford Estate, with all its market-privileges, of Mr. Wise the proprietor for the sum of 110,000l., and that 100,000l., more would be required for re-erecting the market and houses. Gentleman's Magazine, March, 1830, vol. c. part i. p. 264.
[c] Local Acts, II. George IV., cap. lxx. Royal Assent given May 29th, 1830.
[d] It is a remarkable circumstance that the Gazette of Friday, June 17th. 1831, deposited with the other memorials beneath the First Stone of this building, should contain the official announcement of the peerage of Lord Dovor; and that the above ceremony should be the first public act performed by him after he had received the title.
[a] Observer, Monday, August 6th, 1832.
[b] Description of the Plan for the revival of Hungerford Market, with Plans of the Buildings, and proposed improvements, Lond. 1830, 8vo. pp. 26. containing a large folding ground-plan, and 3 outline elevations.
Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.