A History of London, Vol. II

Loftie, W. J.
1883

CHAPTER XVIII. THE PARKS AND PALACES.

CHAPTER XVIII. THE PARKS AND PALACES.

 

IT has often been noted as a curious fact that all the royal palaces of are in the original parish of St. Margaret. An exception being made of the Tower, the same remains true of the ancient residences of our kings. For Bridewell, Somerset House, the Savoy, and Whitehall are all in the district which in was defined as the manor of the abbey. The more modern palaces are, however, situated in various divisions of the parish. St. James's is not in the parish of St. James, but in that of St. Martin. Buckingham Palace is partly in St. Martin's and partly in St. George's. The Houses of Parliament stand across the boundary-line of St. John's and St. Margaret's. Kensington Palace is altogether in St. Margaret's.

Whitehall, previously York Place, shows little trace of the magnificent house which cardinal Wolsey built for himself, and which Henry VIII. took from him, as he had before taken Hampton Court. The Treasury is on the site of Wolsey's great hall, and now replaces a smaller building which was adapted from Wolsey's, and cleverly altered from a gothic into a classical style by the simple expedient of making the buttresses into pilasters. Even this has disappeared, and except the Banqueting Hall, there is no building left which existed before the fire of . It is now called Whitehall Chapel, though it has never been consecrated, except by the blood of the

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Between Scotland Yard and the Embankment stands an old house, the foundations or lower storey of which appear to be of ancient masonry. How long this relic of palatial Whitehall may survive I know not.

Nowhere does the arbitrary and tyrannical turn of Henry's mind show itself more plainly than in the almost cynical disregard of the public convenience that prompted his arrangements at Whitehall. He found it convenient to speak of

our manor of Westminster,

meaning the palace burnt in , which had long been the headquarters of royalty. He now transferred this title to Whitehall. In an act was passed by which it was enacted

that the old and ancient palace of

Westminster

from henceforth be reputed, deemed and taken only as a member and parcel

of the new palace of Whitehall. The

king's palace at

Westminster

was to mean no longer the old palace of Edward and , of Henry III. and Edward IV., but the new residence just finished by the cardinal archbishop, and just appropriated by his unscrupulous sovereign. The addition of St. James's Park to the new palace completed the usurpation, and the abbot was wholly cut off from his possessions to the northward and eastward of Whitehall. Finally, he was forced to give the king that part of Mandeville's bequest which was distinguished from Eybury and Neyte as Hyde. Thus, then, in , Henry was able to issue the extraordinary proclamation in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries.[1] 

Forasmuch as the king's most royall majestie is most desirous to have the games of hare, partridge, pheasant, and heron, preserved in and about his honor att his palace of

Westminster

, for his owne disport and pastime;

that is to saye, from his said palace of

Westminster

, to St. Gyles in the Fields; and from thence to Islington, to our Lady of the Oke; to Highgate; to Hornsey Park; to Hamsted Heath; and from thence to his said palace of

Westminster

, to be preserved and kept for his owne disport, pleasure and recreacion; his highnes therefore straightlie chargeth and comaundeth all and singuler his subjects, of what estate, degree or condicion soever they be, that they, nor any of them, do presume or attempt to hunt, or to hawke, or in any meanes to take, or kill, any of the said games, within the precincts aforesaid, as they tender his favor, and will estchue the imprisonment of their bodies, and further punishment at his majesties will and pleasure.

This astonishing document was addressed to the mayor and sheriffs of , and it is not upon record that they in any way remonstrated against its clear contravention of their charters. That the king had attained such a pitch of personal and irresponsible power that he could set aside the most cherished rights of the citizens for

his owne disport and pastime,

made it easy for him to change the boundaries of and St. Martin's, as we saw in the last chapter, and to plant his park and palace right across the principal road from to .

Henry added greatly to the house as Wolsey left it, and his works went on for seven years.[2]  Two thousand five hundred loads of stone were used in making the walls of

an orchard,

probably Whitehall Gardens, and in inclosing

the park directly against the said manor.

A passage was made

through a certain ground named

Scotland,

and a long gallery, frequently referred to in the memoirs of the Stuart dynasty, was constructed

towards

Charing Cross

.

At first Whitehall was distinguished as the and, in queen Elizabeth's reign, as the ; but the name of became common soon after the accession of James, in whose time Sir Symonds Dewes distinguishes between and Whitehall. James, among many magnificent projects, set to design him a new palace for Whitehall, and, like his ancestor Henry VIII., he did not consult the convenience of his subjects in the proposed arrangements. The

open street before Whitehall,

in which his son was afterwards to be beheaded, but which at this time was commonly used in the passage from to , would have been almost closed, so small were the archways designed for the north and south fronts. The drawings of Jones have been frequently engraved and published: but the palace never existed except on paper. It would have been the largest in Europe, exceeding even Mafra, the gigantic building which is so conspicuous from the deck of passing steamers on the Portuguese coast, and which is generally looked upon as the largest in the world. But Jones made a second and smaller design,[3]  of which one small portion only was built, a banqueting hall,[4]  of stone, which was to have been balanced by a chapel, the connecting portions to be of Inigo's favourite material, red brick.

A little to the north of the Banqueting Hall was Scotland Yard, a locality said to have been so called from the of Margaret, queen of Scots, the sister

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of Henry VIII. Stow adds that the kings of Scotland lodged at the same place when they attended the English parliament: but as a rule, the Scots kings who visited before the time of the Tudors inhabited more secure but less commodious apartments in the Tower. Queen Margaret, among queens, holds a position in one respect very like that of her brother among kings. Both were exceedingly addicted to marriage. Margaret lost her first husband, James IV., in . He was killed at Flodden, fighting against the army of his wife's brother, in September of that year. His widow's second son was still unborn but she lost no time in looking out for a second husband, and married him eleven months after the king's tragical death. Angus, her bridegroom, was not yet of age, while she was twenty-six. In less than four years she made up her mind to divorce him; her sister-in-law, Katharine of Arragon, who did not know the fate in store for herself, endeavoured in vain to dissuade her. She had fallen in love with Albany, the regent, though he had a wife living. But ten years elapsed before the divorce was pronounced, and queen Margaret had changed her mind about Albany, and had lost her beauty from small-pox. Her third husband was Henry Stuart, Lord Methven, with whom she soon quarrelled, and when she died in , she had begun to take steps for a reconciliation with Angus.

There are many views of the so-called Scotland Yard,[5]  and they are of interest chiefly as telling on the question of where Charles I. was beheaded. The real Scotland Yard was further north. For some reason a theory was started and plausibly maintained that the

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scaffold stood on the roof of a house which closely adjoined the northern end of the Banqueting Hall, and was in fact the gateway of the principal court of the palace. A view by Sandby, who erroneously calls it Scotland Yard, shows the gate as consisting of an arch, with a tall peaked roof surmounted by a ball, and flanked with two chimneys. It is impossible that a scaffold should have been erected here: but between it and the end of the hall are two other very irregular tiled roofs. Had the scaffold been placed on them, the taller gate would have prevented any but those people who were stationed directly in front from witnessing the execution. We know that it was plainly visible from the top of a house which stood where the Admiralty is now, because archbishop Ussher, who was on that roof, fainted when he saw the king's head fall. The local conditions therefore point to a different place, and the contemporary evidence, slight as it is, indicates the open space on the western side, or front of the Banqueting Hall.[6]  The words of the death warrant are explicit. The execution is directed to take place

in the open street before Whitehall.

The scaffold stood between the centre of the hall and the north end, and was approached by a platform which was erected in front of an aperture broken in the wall, at the level of the top of the lower windows. An exit might have been made by one of the windows, but Herbert, the king's personal attendant, mentions

a passage broken through the wall.

At the recent renovation of the Banqueting-House,

writes Jesse, in ,

the author was invited to visit the spot, when the passage in question was plainly perceptible. For a space of about seven feet in height and four in breadth, the bricks presented a broken and jagged

appearance, and the brickwork introduced was evidently of a more modern date.

This should be conclusive. It was probably considered more difficult to reach the high level of the windows, than to make a new exit.

The necessity of opening a better approach to than could be obtained along King Street, led to the destruction of a building only second in interest to the Banqueting Hall. This was the southern gateway, a beautiful design always attributed to Holbein.[7]  When it was removed, in the very year in which the Londoners removed their old gates, and took the houses off London Bridge, the duke of Cumberland had the bricks numbered and carried to Windsor: but they were never set up again, just as the screen of Burlington House and the stones of Temple Bar, and other numbered buildings one could name, have been ruined under a promise of restitution never fulfilled. When a dean and chapter, or an inn treasurer, or a board of works, or an over-zealous official of the woods and forests department, desire to carry out some special act of vandalism, the indignant section of the public is assured and pacified by the promise that the stones shall be numbered and set up again. They are accordingly numbered, which costs little, but they are not set up again.

At the opposite side of St. James's Park, when Henry first inclosed it, stood a large hospital or almshouse, the out-buildings of which reached as far as the crest of the hill and abutted on the western road.[8]  On this institution Henry naturally cast an envious eye. He could not take his pleasure nor disport himself in his new park

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without seeing it: and at the dissolution of religious houses he hastened to take possession. There must have been but little accommodation for a court, but Henry added something, and it became a kind of villa or hunting lodge. The design of the new buildings is said by tradition to have been made by , earl of Essex, which is not very likely. The old gateway or clock-tower which looks up St. James's Street is not very beautiful, and perhaps on account of its insignificant character has escaped when better buildings have been destroyed or but it is venerable, and, when it was taller than the surrounding houses, may have looked almost stately. On a chimneypiece in one of the chambers are still visible the initials of the king and his ill-fated victim Anne Boleyn. The chapel still shows something more than a trace of Tudor work, and is as quaint a little building of the kind as any in .

Though Mary lived-and indeed died-in St. James's Palace, it was not in much favour until it was appointed as a residence for the precocious and promising Henry, prince of Wales, elder son of James I. He too died in St. James's, of fever as was supposed, being only nineteen, and left no mark on the place, which, however, must have grown considerably since the days of Henry VIII., for the prince's household amounted to some four hundred persons. Charles I. made it the headquarters of his great collections, and especially of his books, many of his pictures being at Whitehall.[9]  He slept here the night before his execution, and on the morning of the following day, at ten o'clock, walked through the park with colonel Hacker, attended by bishop Juxon, the way lined with troops, and guards of halberdiers before

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and behind with colours flying and drums beating. " Once during his walk, being apparently faint, he sat down and rested himself."[10]  Perhaps it was then that he pointed out the tree his brother had planted. If so, his resting-place must have been near the spot where milch cows, by an ancient custom, are now stationed.

St. James's was also occupied the night before their execution by Hamilton, Holland, and Capel, who were similarly taken across the park to Sir Robert Cotton's house in , and then through Hall to the scaffold in New Palace Yard. Charles II. did not make much use of St. James's; but James his brother occupied it as duke of York, and occasionally also after he ascended the throne. In Mary of Modena here gave birth to the son who was destined to become known in history as the Old Pretender ;[11]  but it was not until the great fire at Whitehall in that St. James's attained the honour of giving its name to the English court. The range of buildings facing Cleveland Row was made for Frederick, prince of Wales, on his marriage, and a few other additions of small importance, including a detached library for queen Caroline, were among the alterations; but St. James's Palace often excited the wonder of foreigners on account of its mean appearance. The south side of what used to be and is still called the Stable Yard, was built for the duke of York, the second son of George III., but never inhabited by him.[12]  His brother, the duke of Cambridge, had apartments

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at the other end of the palace, which were burnt in . A little further east is the German Chapel, a relic of the old Hanoverian days; and behind it the residence of the great duke of Marlborough, now occupied by the prince of Wales. A modern roadway into the park has been made here. Still further east stood another royal residence, Carlton House, the ephemeral palace of George IV. To its situation we owe Regent Street.[13]  To its wretched architecture and miserable colonnade we owe the front of the National Gallery. The whole site on which Marlborough and Carlton Houses stood was part of the royal garden belonging to St. James's Palace, and was leased away by queen Anne. It has all reverted to the Crown, and Carlton House Terrace and Gardens occupy the site, except that portion which immediately surrounds Marlborough House.

The park has changed as much as St. James's; but the old stream of the Tyburn still flows through it, though no longer tidal, and makes its way underground to Richmond Terrace, Whitehall, whence it escapes into the Thames. The ducks and other wild-fowl may be looked upon as the successors, perhaps in some cases the descendants, of those to which Charles II. devoted so much attention; but Rosamond's Pond, the favourite of suicides, has disappeared. A mulberry garden was planted by James I. on the site of Buckingham Palace, with a view to encourage the cultivation of silkworms; and a keeper of the mulberries flourished among the pensioners of the court till .

Charles II. leased the grounds and the keeper's house to a member of the cabal ministry, Bennet, earl of Arlington, who is commemorated in the names of two streets at the top of St. James's Street, where he also had a house,

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on land given him by the same king. Arlington House, at the western extremity of St. James's Park, became Buckingham House in , when Sheffield, duke of Buckingham, who had bought it six years previously, made many alterations, pulled down a long gallery, and laid out the quondam mulberry gardens anew. This eccentric but accomplished man has left a long and interesting account of his house, in a letter to the duke of Shrewsbury, which forms, in fact, a complete description of a great house in the real "Queen Anne" taste, of which we hear so much now.[14]  He tells us of the goodly rows of elms and limes in St. James's Park as forming an avenue for him, and goes on to mention his forecourt with its iron railings and basin with statues and waterworks. A terrace was raised in front of the house, and the entrance-hall was spacious,

the walls thereof covered with a set of pictures done in the school of Raphael.

His parlour was thirty- three feet by thirty-nine, and had a niche for a buffet fifteen feet wide, paved and lined with marble, and flanked by coloured pilasters. The staircase was painted with the story of Dido, and the roof, fifty-five feet from the ground, was

filled with the figures of gods and goddesses.

The first room upstairs

has within it a closet, of original pictures, which yet are not so entertaining as the delightful prospect from the windows.

In the garden there was a broad walk, at the end of which

you go up to a terrace four hundred paces long, with a large semicircle in the middle, from whence are beheld the queen's two parks, and a great part of Surry.

Among the other attractions was

a canal six hundred yards long and seventeen broad,

the Tyburn, no doubt, under altered circumstances; and on one side, presumably the

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western, a wall, purposely kept low, was covered with roses and jessamines, and afforded, over it, a

view of a meadow full of cattle just beneath-no disagreeable object in the midst of a great city.

Finally, there was a

little wilderness, full of blackbirds and nightingales.

There is a pretty little view of this house in an old volume[15]  published a few years after the duke's death, from which it appears that the in the forecourt, mentioned above, had in the centre a figure of Neptune surrounded with sea-horses. The house was deeply recessed and had long wings, connected with the main building by colonnades.

In it was decided to give up Somerset House, which had previously been a dower house for the queens of England, to be turned into public offices, and Buckingham House was purchased in its stead from the duke's heirs, for 21,000£., and settled in on queen Charlotte. Here George III. accumulated the splendid library which George IV. handed over to the nation, and which now forms the King's Library at the British Museum. The king erected a couple of large rooms for its reception,[16]  and in one of them, in , he had an interview with Dr. Johnson, of which many details are preserved by Boswell.[17]  George IV. rebuilt the house, now become Buckingham Palace, but never inhabited it; and during the present reign it has been completely remodelled and much added to, the result being far from satisfactory. In fact, though it is one of the largest palaces in Europe, its poor architecture, and the tawdry style of the decoration, give it a meanness of appearance almost unaccountable. The only handsome thing about the old palace was the

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marble triumphal arch in front; but this was removed in to the north-eastern entrance of Hyde Park. The eastern facade of the palace is 360 feet in length.

The gardens are beautifully laid out and have some fine trees, as well as a lake, and a pavilion or summer house decorated with frescoes, illustrating Milton's "Comus," by Landseer, Stanfield, Maclise, Eastlake, Dyce, Leslie, Uwins and Ross, an odd combination [18]  of styles and artists. The low situation of the gardens along the ancient course of the Tyburn, is much to be deplored, and except in the finest weather they are damp and foggy. When Buckingham could look out on fields with cattle to the westward, they may have been more cheerful, but George III. failed to purchase these fields owing to a ministerial complication, and Grosvenor Place, much of which has recently been rebuilt in a palatial style, now looks over the gardens.

A road called Constitution Hill, now in process of rearrangement, leads along the eastern side of the royal gardens to Hyde Park Corner, where, until this year, the duke of Wellington in bronze looked down on Piccadilly, close to Apsley House. The Green Park of 56 acres connects St. James's and Hyde Parks, and has a pleasing and varied surface, through which the course of the brook can be traced by a winding depression. A large pond used to lie nearly in the centre, but was filled up in , when the Ranger's Lodge,[19]  which the gossip of the day attributed to George III., was pulled down, and the little park assumed its modern appearance. Some fine houses in the Stable Yard and Arlington

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Street look into it on the eastern side, the most remarkable of which are Spencer House, designed by Vardy, but believed to have been founded on a drawing by , with the addition of a pediment which goes far to spoil it; and Bridgewater House, designed in a magnificent Italian style by Sir Charles Barry. Although some of the houses along which look on the Green Park have been built with very little regard to cost, not one of them presents any architectural features worth notice, or, indeed, worthy of the situation.

We enter Hyde Park by a gate beside Apsley House which strange to say has never received a name. The triple archway with the connecting screen of Ionic columns is extremely pleasing, and rescues the reputation of the designer, Decimus Burton, from the obscurity in which most of his other works would leave it. The park forms the central part of the great manor of Eia, being bounded on the east by Eybury and on the west by Neyte. Some portions of Eybury were added to Hyde in the last century to make a straight boundary, and in the wall along Park Lane was removed and an iron railing erected-the same which fell before the attack of a crowd of agitators a few years ago,-when opportunity was taken to set the fence further back, thus widening Park Lane, and improving its appearance and size.

A similar wall stretched along the northern side, and the road being at a somewhat higher level, especially at the corner, a private individual raised the soil of the park, and obtained leave to open a gate facing Great Cumberland Place.[20]  This corner, close to the place of execution at Tyburn, is commemorated as the background of a

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scene in Hogarth's prints of the Apprentices. The Idle Apprentice is about to be hanged, and some of the spectators have climbed on the park wall for a better view. Within the wall at the corner military executions used to take place, and when the ground was raised a stone which marked the spot was buried where it stood. Here, in August two soldiers were flogged nearly to death for having worn oak branches on the 29th May: and the only gallows ever set up in Hyde Park were placed here in order to hang sergeant Smith, in , for desertion to the Scots rebels two years before. He was attended from the military prison at the Savoy by the chaplain.

The northern boundary of Hyde Park was straightened like the eastern, by cutting off a portion of the manor of : this was done by Henry VIII., and similarly queen Elizabeth rectified the southern frontier by bringing it nearly up to the Knightsbridge Road, forty acres being thus added to the inclosure. The present appearance of the Serpentine is due to the care of queen Caroline, who in drained some unwholesome ponds along the course of the Westbourne, and formed the very fine sheet of water we now see. I have neither been able to ascertain the origin of its name nor that of the road along its southern bank. The Serpentine and Rotten Row are puzzles alike. The queen, while she thus improved the park with one hand, robbed it with the other, and the whole rising ground in Kensington Gardens between the Bayswater fountains and the sunk fence on the crest of the hill were originally in Hyde Park. A hundred years later the water of the Westbourne, being contaminated with sewage, and liable to inundations, was conducted into an underground drain, and fresh water supplied by one of the companies. The handsome bridge,

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across which the boundary runs, was built in by Rennie: and the latest alteration in Hyde Park has been the re-erection on the old site of the Knightsbridge Barracks, of which the only thing that can be said by way of commendation is that they are of red brick, and look best at a considerable distance. They cost 150,000£., and were completed in , some of the old stonework being used again, and the old Hanoverian arms replaced. The Ring of which we hear so much in memoirs of the Stuart period, and where endangered his life by driving four-in-hand, was on the slope to the north of the Serpentine. A straight avenue of fine young trees on the eastern side leads from the ridiculous statue of Wellington naked as Achilles, to a round sunk garden, in the centre of which is a pretty fountain which never flows. Here was the reservoir often mentioned in books of the last century, and previously first the stables of Grosvenor House, and then a cavalry barrack. Hyde Park now covers nearly 400 acres.[21] 

I have no hesitation in identifying Kensington Gardens with the manor of Neyte. The boundary between it and Hyde was formed by the Westbourne, and the bridge which carried the western road over the brook was Neyte Bridge, or, vulgarly, Knightsbridge. Some confusion has arisen on the question, because in Pepys' and other contemporary books there are mentions of "neat houses," which are known to have been at . But " neat houses," or in modern language, "cowhouses," though we still say "neat cattle," and occasionally "neat herd," might stand anywhere, and though part of is isolated in ,[22]  we have no knowledge of any

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part of St. Margaret's being isolated in . Moreover, allowing that Eia was divided into three portions, and that one was Eybury, and another Hyde, how can we otherwise identify the land which lay west of the brook, seeing we know it was neither part of Eybury nor yet of Hyde ?

We are driven therefore to believe that the manor house of Neyte, where the great abbot Litlington and the still better known abbot Islip[23]  died, was situated not very far from the site of Kensington Palace, if not actually upon it. Nottingham House,[24]  as it was called in the reign of William III., was probably put on the ancient site, especially as it would not be easy to find a better. William III. bought it in for 20,000£., and the old house was soon afterwards burnt. Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt it, but little trace of his hand can now be made out, except in the very handsome orangery, in the gardens to the north, which was begun for William but finished for Anne. There are massive and handsome gate-posts close by to the westward, and here probably was the roadway to Campden House, when all the hill was bare, except of a cottage or two among the gravel pits. Another possible relic of Wren is a charming semicircular alcove or summer house, which now stands in the further portion of the gardens beyond the Bayswater fountains, but which was originally close to Kensington High Street, where a wall hid the pleasure grounds from the passersby. Parallel with the Broad Walk, which forms now the most pleasing feature of Kensington Gardens, is a new roadway which traverses what used to be known as the Moor, and is now called Palace Green. The second

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house on the left was built by Thackeray from his own designs, to be in harmony with the palace opposite, and with what may be called the local genius; and here he died in . Close by there used to be a small pointed building containing an interesting chamber of considerable antiquity. It was probably built as a conduit to supply water to the house of Henry VIII. at , and was sold with that house on several occasions. No respect was shown it when the royal vegetable garden was laid out afresh for villas in , and one of the few little bits of genuine gothic perished from the west end of . What the spirit was in which these hideous villas were erected may be judged when we hear that people who took building sites were forbidden to use red brick, though plaster and mud-coloured paint were allowed. A very curious tower was erected on the Moor for the water supply in queen Anne's reign, by Sir John Vanbrugh, to whom, whatever we think of his taste, must be allowed the merit of originality. This too has disappeared.

Kensington Gardens have, however, been enriched by the erection of the Albert Memorial, an enormous Cross, in a style which may be termed Italian gothic. It rises 175 feet, and cost 132,000£. It is incrusted with precious stones and heavily gilt, and a bronze seated statue of the prince by Foley is also gilt. Four reliefs representing artists and poets are below, and as many groups emblematic of the four quarters of the globe, flank the central structure. The cross, taken altogether, has a sumptuous appearance which, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, is perhaps the best we can expect of it. Given an immense sum of money, gathered amid such an outburst of public feeling as has never been seen in England since the death of queen Elizabeth, and no

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great architect ready to take advantage of the opportunity, and we may be thankful that Sir , in a building every part of which is borrowed from something else, and which would not stand an hour except for a clever piece of internal mechanism which cannot be called architecture, succeeded first in raising a very conspicuous monument and also in spending the money at his disposal in so small a space.

There is a charm about old Kensington Palace[25]  which eludes the ordinary grasp of artistic or architectural terms. Its red brick, its blue slates, its heavy cornice, its quaint clock turret, a certain fitness of proportion, are aided by the most charming situation in , and perhaps by the historical associations, to produce an effect on the mind only second to that produced by Hampton Court. To those of us who have had the good fortune to be born and to live into middle age as the subjects of queen Victoria, her birth-place is in itself an object of interest. To all who have looked back with pride on the great days of a former queen, when most of the palace was built, while England's ascendancy abroad was being secured; to all who remember the career of the first Prime Minister, and reflect that these vistas and walks were laid out by that other queen who made office possible to him in the days of George II.; and finally to any one who has read of William III. and his gentle consort in the glowing pages of the great historian who lived and died close by on Campden Hill, Kensington Palace cannot fail to prove an object of the highest interest.

One ancient royal park remains to be noticed, although it is not and never was within the boundary of .

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We have seen that Henry VIII. was able to take his disport without interruption from St. James's to Highgate. The connecting link between these extremities was St. Marylebone, with its open common. When the manor was granted by king James to Edward Forset,[26]  "Marybone Park" was specially reserved. Charles I. in his troubles mortgaged it to Sir George Strode and John Wandesforde, who had supplied him with arms and ammunition for the prosecution of the war. This hypothecation was of course disregarded when the royal cause was lost, and the park was assigned for the payment of the arrears due to colonel Thomas Harrison's dragoon regiment. It thus a second time in a few years was in danger of being broken up; but it survived some time longer, had its rangers, its lodge, its timber, until in , we find it divided into twenty-four small holdings, chiefly laid out as farms, and in the duke of Portland bought up fifteen of them from a lessee, while the other nine accumulated in the hands of Peter Hinde, whose name still occurs on street corners near Manchester Square.[27]  Both leases, that of the duke of Portland and that of Peter Hinde, expired early in the present century, and the crown came into possession. The whole of the lands had been surveyed a few years previously, and a list of the farms and fields has been preserved, which contains many items of topographical interest.[28]  There are three large farms and a number of smaller holdings. Mr. Thomas Willan holds 288 acres, and has several undertenants, one of whom is employed as a maker of copal varnish. Mr. Richard Kendall holds 133 acres, and has some tenants, who appear to live in villas; for there is a

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garden let to Sir Richard Hill, bart.,

and a house, two gardens, and a shed, let to George Stewart, esq. Among the inclosures is which name may refer to the operations of Strode and Wandesforde in the time of Charles I. There is also a

Rugg Moor and Lodge Field, in one,

of 57 acres. The farm of Mr. Richard Mortimer comprised 117 acres, and had on it six cottages. One of Mr. Mortimer's fields was the and another the

In the year before this survey was made, , an architect named White, who was employed on the Portland estate, formed a plan for the improvement of Marylebone Park. Ideas had been entertained of building over the whole space, but they were happily abandoned, and when the leases fell in, there was no difficulty in carrying out the great scheme which Nash had elaborated on the lines of White. There is no improvement more satisfactory than that by which Regent Street, with its Quadrant, was made to connect Pall Mall and Marylebone Park. A labyrinth of miserable tenements had been allowed to grow up between Golden Square and Burlington Gardens. Even now, any one not very well acquainted with the region, who gets entangled in the lanes about Broad Street or Great Pulteney Street will find himself puzzled how to get out again, and will have to breathe many strange odours, and walk in not very select company. There is, in fact, within a stone's throw of the finest street in a territory which looks as if it properly belonged to Whitechapel or Wapping. The maps of sixty years ago show in , just between Sackville Street on the west and Air Street on the east, a little lane called Swallow Street, and a court called Vine Street. Striking boldly through the continuation of these thoroughfares,

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Nash made Regent Street parallel with the upper course of Swallow Street, which was in great part obliterated, and he connected his new street with Waterloo Place by the Quadrant, already referred to, which occupies the site of a lane called Marybone Street. The Regent's Park had by this time been laid out, much as we still see it. The rows of stucco terraces called after the royal dukes had been built, and the Zoological and Botanic Gardens established.

Regent's Park is the largest of these as it covers 470 acres.

The centre is to a great extent an open green plain, free almost from trees.

[29]  I have already[30]  described the course of the Tyburn through it. An artificial lake has been made, compared sometimes in shape to the three legs on the shield of Man, and producing with its well-wooded banks a charming effect. Two or three private villas do not mar the view, though as they were all built as much in a style as stucco and paint would permit, they are not remarkable for picturesqueness. St. Dunstan's Villa was designed by Decimus Burton for the marquis of Hertford. It derives its name from a singular whim of that nobleman. When he was a child, and a good child, his nurse to reward him would take him to see the giants at St. Dunstan's, the old church in Fleet Street, where the hours were struck on a bell by two automatons. He used to say that when he grew to be a man he would buy those giants.

It happened when old St. Dunstan's was pulled down that the giants were put up to auction, and bought by the marquis out of old associations.

[31]  They still mark time in the Regent's Park.

In , an Italian garden was laid out in the park, by Mr. Nesfield, under the direction of lord Mount Temple, who was at that time chief commissioner of the Board of Works. Great pains have been taken to choose plants and flowers which will flourish in spite of smoke, and the result is most satisfactory, the rhododendrons in particular, and some formal rows of poplars, bearing the trial admirably. In fact, it is curious to contrast the flourishing condition of the vegetable kingdom in this heavy clay with the effect produced on animal life. The situation of the Zoological Gardens is unfortunate. A large number of animals die annually, and others go blind, and suffer from various diseases on account of the unfavourable nature of the soil. It would be difficult to suggest a better place. The gardens are in so central a position that they may be and are daily visited both from the eastern and western extremities of ; but there can be little question that a saving, not only of money, but of suffering, would result if they could be removed to a sandy, or even a gravelly soil.

Very pretty views are to be had from the Zoological Gardens, and other places, where there are bridges up and down the Regent's Canal. It is now almost abandoned by traffic, and the long narrow reaches overhung with heavy foliage afford probably the most completely rural effects to be seen so near the great city. Little as is the traffic now, during the passage under one of the bridges of a gunpowder barge, in , an explosion took place which shook all . The scene on the following morning in the neighbourhood was not one to be easily forgotten. Houses were wrecked as if they had been built of playing cards. There was not a whole pane of glass left in some score of streets. Even trees

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and shrubs had been shattered. One trembles to think of what might have happened had the explosion taken place a little nearer to the menagerie ; the animals killed and the animals let loose would alike have been the cause of dire loss and confusion.

New as it is, the Regent's Park boasts of the presence of one of the oldest charitable institutions in the kingdom. St. Katharine's Hospital formerly stood in a very different place. There was a small piece of low lying ground beyond the Tower of London, in the Portsoken, and therefore the property of the canons of Holy Trinity at Aldgate on the hill above. Here queen Matilda, the wife of king Stephen, who is not to be confused with Matilda or Maude, the wife of Henry I., and the founder of the Priory at Aldgate, in the year , established on this spot a hospital, which was to consist of a master, certain brethren, and as many sisters, but how many does not clearly appear. Their chief duty was to pray for the queen's soul, and for the souls of her son and her daughter. She placed the hospital under the special care of the canons, whose lands she had obtained by an exchange, and all went well till , when a most curious transaction took place. We know but little about the private character of Eleanor, the queen of Henry III., and that little does not prepossess us in her favour. She was hated in the city; owing to her neglect London Bridge was in danger of complete ruin;[32]  and the slaughter of the citizens at Lewes by her son did not, we may be sure, tend to endear her in their minds. Queen Eleanor, for some reason which history has failed to preserve, cast a covetous eye on the foundation of queen Matilda, and made a perfectly unfounded claim, through her chaplain,

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to the custody of the hospital. The canons of Aldgate had long declined from their pristine piety, and were now chiefly remarkable for their enormous wealth. One of them, on some complaint of drunkenness against the master of queen Matilda's hospital, had been appointed to supersede him; and that the prior and his canons had a right to make the appointment was upheld by the unanimous judgment of the barons of the exchequer.

Nothing daunted by this defeat, queen Eleanor went another way to work. She invoked the assistance of Fulk Basset, then bishop of , and a warm partisan of the court faction. Bishop Basset inquired by what right the prior and the canons appointed to the mastership. They replied, of course, that the hospital stood on their land, that they had other and similar institutions to which they appointed, and that, moreover, they had received a gift of this hospital from the founder. The bishop took little notice of the validity of this claim. He appears wisely to have given no reasons for his decision, but he simply removed the canon-master, inhibited the brethren and sisters from obeying the prior, and appointed one of the brethren to be head of the hospital. Fulk Basset died in , without having further arranged for the acknowledgment of queen Eleanor's preposterous aggression, but his successor, Wingham, compelled the prior and canons to make a formal act of resignation to the queen, threatening them with Henry's displeasure if they refused, and assuring them that the king's will was the law of the land.

After these high-handed proceedings, queen Eleanor entered on undisturbed possession, and held her Naboth's vineyard of St. Katharine's for twelve years, when, in spite of the entreaties of the pope, that she would restore it to the prior and canons, she absolutely suppressed

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and dissolved it, and in , made an entirely new foundation on the site, appointing a master, and fixing the number of inmates at twenty-two; namely, three priests, three sisters, ten poor women, and six poor scholars. Queen Philippa augmented the charity, and so it remained, spared even at the reformation, on the intercession, it was said, of queen Anne Boleyn.[33] 

In the reign of queen Elizabeth a layman, Thomas Wylson, her secretary, was appointed master, and it soon became evident that he proposed to deal with the estates very much as his contemporary, Thurland, was dealing with those of the Savoy. But the inhabitants of the precinct, who derived innumerable benefits from the presence among them of so wealthy and benevolent a body, petitioned Cecil strongly against Wylson's proposed dissipation of the revenues of the hospital, and succeeded in putting a stop to his negotiations with the lord mayor for a sale of the franchises of the precinct. Great numbers of foreigners, chiefly religious refugees, resided here at the time, Dutch, French, Danes, Poles, and Scots. The buildings can never have been very handsome, and in were much injured by a fire. In , the old house of the masters, which was built of wood, was removed as threatening to become ruinous; and a few years later the cloisters and the houses of the brethren were likewise pulled down, so that in , when Nichols's view was taken, little except the venerable chapel remained of the original buildings. Sir Julius Caesar, who was master in the early part of the reign of James I., had repaired and beautified it, and had presented a pulpit which still exists at Regent's Park. It bears a quaint inscription from Nehemiah,

Ezra the scribe stood

upon a pulpit of wood which he had made for the preacher.

[34]  The tomb of John Holland, duke of Exeter, and his two wives was removed at the same time, and a building erected in the Regent's Park in the style of gothic which might be expected from the date, . A dock company envied the old site, and the brethren and sisters were removed from what might have been and had been a sphere of usefulness, to grace the new park and impart an air of antiquity and respectability to the pet scheme of George IV. The hospital has resisted all projects of reform, and cannot now be said to serve any very good purpose, except perhaps to enable the queen to pension off a meritorious servant or a superannuated foreign chaplain.

To the north of Regent's Park, were Barrow Hill and Primrose Hill. Barrow Hill has disappeared, but its companion remains, the only example of the kind near . It is kept open, and is laid out in walks. The view from the summit on a clear day is not only beautiful but interesting, and well repays one for the slight fatigue of making the ascent.

Of the other parks of there is not very much to be said. I shall notice Battersea in its geographical position.[35]  Hornsey Wood has somewhat absurdly been renamed Finsbury Park, although it is more than three miles from Moorgate. Victoria Park is an oasis in the squalor of the east end. It is all that remains of the open common of Stepney, and is in three modern parishes. The civic authorities have done much in the way of securing the preservation of open spaces, but Epping Forest, Wanstead Park, Burnham Beeches, West Ham

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Park, and the beautiful and breezy downs about Coulsdon, Keney, and Chaldon are beyond my limits. They have all been taken in hand by the corporation of , who spent more than a hundred thousand pounds in one year, , with this object.[36] 

 
 
Footnotes:

[1] Ten copies printed for Islington Collectors.-Impensis J. H. Burn.

[2] In Smith's ' Westminster' there are views and plans of old Whitehall. The payments for Henry's additions are in the records of the Treasury in a volume labelled " Westminster Manor." See ' Report of Burrell versus Nicholson,' by Walsh.

[3] 'Vitruvius Britannicus,' i. 12, 13.

[4] See Cunningham, ii. 915. The Banqueting Hall cost 14,940£. 4s. 1d. It was finished in 1622.

[5] This name appears, after the fire of 1698, to have been applied indiscriminately to two courts of the palace, and to the two original Scotland Yards besides. See Smith's Plan.

[6] See Jesse's 'Court of England under the Stuarts,' i. 466.

[7] There are engravings of it in many books.

[8] Some remains of the older buildings have lately been found in Arlington Street.

[9] Pyne, 'Royal Residences,' iii. 16.

[10] Jesse, i. 464.

[11] See Pyne, for view and account of the old bedchamber, the last room at the east end of the south front-" the properest place," as it was observed, for a cheat. See full discussion of the warming-pan story in Jesse, iii. 433, and Macaulay, chap. viii.

[12] The house is now known as Stafford House, and was sold to the duke of Sutherland, the price, 72,000£., being applied to the purchase of Victoria Park, Bethnal Green.

[13] Pyne has elaborate views of Carlton House.

[14] It is printed in Pyne, vol. ii., and summarised by Cunningham, i. 144.

[15] 'A Character of John Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire,' 1729.

[16] Shown in two views in Pyne, vol. ii.

[17] Life, ii. 36.

[18] Landseer's original design, "The Masque of Comus," is in the National Gallery.

[19] The two stags on the gate pillars of the Lodge now adorn the Albert Gate, Knightsbridge. Larwood, 'London Parks,' 318.

[20] 'Hyde Park,' by Thomas Smith (p. 60); by far the best account of Hyde Park I have met with, but rather scarce, having been issued in paper covers at a shilling. It escaped the notice of Lowndes.

[21] Mr. Nathan Cole, 'Royal Parks,' p. 20. It is sometimes erroneously asserted that Kensington Gardens are larger than Hyde Park, but they only cover 250 acres.

[22] See below, chapter xxi.

[23] Litlington in 1386, and Islip in 1532.

[24] For further particulars as to Kensington Gardens I may refer to the notes I appended to Mr. Tristram Ellis's ' Six Etchings.'

[25] There are several interiors and an interesting description of the palace in Pyne.

[26] See below, chap. xxi.

[27] Smith's 'St. Marylebone,' p. 243.

[28] Smith, p. 244.

[29] Cole's 'Royal Parks,' p. 36.

[30] Vol. i., chap. i.

[31] Cunningham, ii. 696.

[32] See above, vol. i. p. 152.

[33] There is a very full account of old St. Katharine's in Nichols's 'Bibliotheca,' with a plan and several views.

[34] Nichols gives views and details of this pulpit in a series of eight plates.

[35] See below, chap. xxii.

[36] The total expenditure of the corporation in the ten years from 1872 to 1881, on providing open spaces for the people has been 308,985£. 11s. 10d.