Walks in London, vol. I

Hare, Augustus J. C.
1878

Preface.
Long ago, when I was a boy at a private tutors near Edmonton, the only book in which I could find any interest or amusement in the scanty library of the house was Charles Knight's
London,
and the pleasure derived from it led to my spending every sixpence I could save, and every holiday on which I could get leave, in seeing some of the places it described.
London is much changed since that time; but the solitary expeditions I then made through its historic sights, so inexpressibly delightful at the time, laid a foundation for the work of the last
two
years, of which these volumes are the result.. They aim at nothing original, indeed any
one
who attempts a work of the kind must, to borrow the language of the author of
Eothen,
be
subjected to the immutable law which compels a man with a pen in his hand to be uttering now and then some sentiment not his own, as though, like the French peasant under the old
régime
, he were bound to perform a certain amount of work on the public highways.
But, when I was wishing to know something about London
myself, in spite of the multiplicity of works upon the subject, I felt the want of having things brought together in the order in which they occur, of
one
recollection being interlaced with another in a way which might help me to remember it, and this is what I have tried to do for others.
In these
two
volumes I believe that all the objects of interest in London are described consecutively, as they may be visited in excursions, taking
Charing Cross
as a centre. The
first
volume is chiefly devoted to the City, the
second
to the West End and
Westminster
.
I have followed the plan adopted in my books on Italy, of introducing quotations from other and better authors, where they apply to my subject; and, while endeavouring to make
Walks in London
something more interesting than a Guide-book, I have tried, especially in
Westminster Abbey
and the Picture Galleries, to give such details as may suggest new lines of inquiry to those who care to linger and investigate.
The Histories of London, and the Histories of especial points connected with London, are too numerous to mention. They are all to be found in the admirable Library at the
Guildhall
, which is the greatest advantage to a local antiquarian, and leaves little to be desired except a better Catalogue. Of the various works by which I have benefited in my own rambles through London, I should mention with marked gratitude the many volumes of Mr. John Timbs, especially his
Curiosities of London,
enriched by
Sixty
Years' Personal Recollections,
and the admirable articles
on the old houses and churches of London which, for many years, have from time to time appeared in
The Builder.
Some of the chapters in
Walks in London
have been already published, in a condensed form, in
Good Words
for
1877
. The illustrations, with
two
or
three
exceptions, are from my own sketches taken on the spot, and carefully transferred to wood by the skill of Mr. T. Sulman.
I shall gladly and gratefully receive any corrections of errors found in my work by those who follow in my footsteps.
Augustus J. C. Hare
Holmhurst, Hastings,
November.
1877
.