Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4Thornbury, Walter
Pall Mall East, Suffolk Street, &c.
Pall Mall East, Suffolk Street, &c.
Extending eastward from the southern end of Her Majesty's Theatre to , and skirting the northern end of , is . Here, at the corner of , stands the United University Club-house, of which we have already spoken in our chapter on
and also the principal front of the Royal , described in the previous volume.
At No. are the rooms of the old Society of Painters in Water-Colours. Externally the building possesses nothing to call for special mention,
|excepting, perhaps, a new and elegant doorway, which was erected in ; this, alike in design and workmanship, is worthy of the gallery to which it gives access. The society itself originated in , when its exhibition of water-colour drawings took place. It was at blended with that of the Royal Academy; but in the painters in this branch of art determined to exhibit their productions separately from other artists, and erected the house in expressly for the purpose. The exhibition is open during the greater part of the year, and comprises usually about pictures of various kinds, among which, as might be expected, landscapes generally predominate. This society has always limited the exhibition entirely to its own members; but the body of artists showed a gradual and steady increase. [extra_illustrations.4.227.1]|
Here, in the year , were exhibited the of Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, including his
The former contains nearly figures, in their appropriate costumes, all these displaying some passion of grief, pity, astonishment, revenge, exultation, or total apathy. The principal figures of Christ, the High Priest, Pilate, and many others, taken as single objects, are scarcely to be equalled in the entire compass of art. It is enriched with a splendid frame, carved after the model of the gate of the Temple of Theseus at Athens.
From its central position, has always been a favourite locality in the world of art; and the old-established shops for the sale of prints and engravings--that of Messrs. Colnaghi, adjoining the , and of Messrs. Graves, close by the Royal Opera Arcade--have tended to keep up its reputation in this respect. At No. , on the north side of the street, are the offices of the Palestine Exploration Fund, to which Biblical scholars are so largely indebted for bringing to light many objects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, which throw light on the narrative of the Holy Scriptures, as well as on the manners and customs of the Jewish people years ago.
Nearly opposite the south-west corner of what is now the Opera House, on Sunday, , Mr. Thomas Thynne was
The instigator of this crime, as we have already related in describing Thynne's monument in , was Count Koningsmark, who was in hopes of gaining the hand of the rich heiress, Lady Elizabeth Ogle, to whom Thynne was either already married or else contracted. The sentiment of Koningsmark on this occasion furnishes a curious insight into the ideas as to violence current in the days of the early Stuarts. We learn from the
of the ruffians whom he hired to do the deed were tried at the , found guilty, and hanged on the spot whereon the murder was committed. The cowardly villain, the Count himself, however, escaped the just punishment of his crime, getting off by securing the favour of a corrupt jury. Strangely enough, the jury who acquitted the real and principal agent, condemned the actual perpetrator of the deed, Colonel Vrats, who was hung, and, being of good family in Holland, was allowed to have his body embalmed and carried thither; so Evelyn, at least, tells us in his
parcels of waste ground--no doubt, a part of the old site of the Royal Mews, containing about acres, bounded on the east by the once rural Hedge Lane, by the on the west, and by on the south, including Suffolk and Little Suffolk Streets-were granted by the Crown, in , to Edward Russell, no fine being taken
of the grantee. It may be added, in excuse for the grant, that in the good old days before George III. was king, when Leicester was Leicester Field--a
between the bottom of the and
there was a horse-pond, where stray horses were taken to water, and in which pickpockets were ducked when caught in the act.
Mr. Peter Cunningham considers that in early times there was a town mansion of the Earls of Suffolk on the site of what is now ; and quotes, in support of his views, the commencement of the ballad of Suckling, already given above on page . The Suffolks, however, subsequently became possessed of what was afterwards Northumberland, but was for a time called Suffolk, House, at , when they removed to their new quarters.
In this street, which now consists almost entirely of modern houses, and has been transformed partly into [extra_illustrations.4.228.1] , and partly into , formeriyresJded the unhappy Miss Vanhomrigh, the poor
of Dean Swift, a lady who died of a broken heart through her unfortunate
| attachment to the Dean. The witty Dean, when in London on the affairs of the Irish Church, made the acquaintance of this young lady and her mother, the widow of a Dutch merchant, and became so constant a visitor at their house, as to leave there |
As he was a man of middle age, while she was not , it was thought quite a matter of course that he should direct her studies; but this direction of her reading soon ripened into quite another affair, and it was only when Miss Vanhomrigh's affections were deeply and irrevocably engaged that she discovered, on following the Dean back to Ireland, that he had a wife livinghis
This discovery was shortly afterwards followed by the young lady's death.
While the melancholy fate of Miss Vanhomrigh was the common topic of conversation in London circles, and while every was reading the Dean's
somebody is said to have remarked to Mrs. Swift, or rather to Mrs. Johnson-
for she was always known by the latter, and never by the former name--that surely |
must have been an extraordinary woman to have inspired the Dean to write such fine verses upon her.
said the lady, offended with and yet proud of her husband, and hurt besides in her own vanity,
Malcolm tells us that the last and most unfortunate King of Poland, Stanislaus Augustus, lodged, in , in , at the house of a Mr. Cropenhole. We also learn incidentally that
in the reign of George II., was the celebrated toy-shop of Mr. Chenevix, where tickets for most of the West-end
and exhibitions were sold.
In was an old hostelry, the
much praised by Samuel Pepys, who thus writes, under date :
It would appear that on the whole the diarist was well pleased with the accommodation; for in less than a month afterwards he took his wife and some other friends thither, where they were
the house being
A tavern in this street-possibly the
already mentioned-appears to have been at time the head-quarters of the famous, or rather infamous,
established by the Puritans and Roundheads in ridicule of the memory of Charles I. At all events, here, on
occasion, was held of the meetings of this club, which, in the year , produced a serious riot. At this meeting it is said by tradition that a bleeding calf's head, wrapped in an old napkin, was thrown out of the window into the street below, while the members of the club inside were drinking the pious toast of confusion to the Stuart race! Lord Middlesex, however, who was of those present on the occasion, denies the truth of this indictment in a letter to Mr. Spence, which is published in |
In this letter he says that there happened to be a bonfire o, straw made by some boys in the street under the windows, and that some of the company,
proposed drinking some loyal and popular toasts to the mob outside, and
| that the only toasts drank by the members were the King, the Queen, the Royal Family, the Protestant Succession, Liberty and Property, and the present Administration. Stones were then flung, the windows of the tavern were broken, and a regular row ensued, which was only suppressed by the arrival, an hour later, of |
The author of the
(supposed to be
of alehouse memory), ascribes the origin of this association to Milton and other partisans of the Commonwealth, who, in opposition to Bishop Juxon, Bishop Sanderson, and other loyalists, used to meet together on the oth of every January, having compiled for their own use a form of prayer for the day, not very unlike that which was till lately to be found in the Book of Common Prayer.
observes the writer of this pamphlet,
The place where they met when his informant was present was in a blind alley near , where
says Wilson, in his
At the corner of and is the Gallery of British Artists. The building, which was completed in , is entered by a Doric portico, designed by Mr. Nash, and consists of a suite of octagonal galleries, all on floor, and lighted from above, designed by Mr. James Elmes.
In consequence of the limited size of the rooms at , where the Royal Academy held its exhibitions, the Society of British Artists was instituted in for the annual display of the works of living artists in the various branches of painting, sculpture, architecture, and engraving. The fund raised for the erection of the building, &c., was by donations and subscriptions, which were divided into classes, and admissions awarded in accordance with the amount given or subscribed.
In a notice of the building printed in the in , it is stated that it was
, leading to , is mentioned by Strype as consisting of handsome houses. They do not, however, appear to have been aristocratically tenanted. At all events, here lived the notorious
in a mansion which Charles II. had furnished expensively for her--an arrangement of which even Pepys speaks
| as |
she kept also, as he tells us,
Running up northwards from , in the rear of , are and , its continuation, which leads towards . This follows the course of the old
which, till about , commemorated the once rural character of the neighbourhood of the and Leicester Fields.
It is related of Steele, Budgell, and Phillips, that evening, when they were coming out of a tavern or coffee-house in , they were warned that there were some suspicious characters waiting to waylay any stray foot-passengers in Hedge Lane.
said the wits, and each hurried off home by a different way.
Hedge Lane is marked in the map of Ralph Aggas, . Elizabeth, and was, even in the days of Charles II., what the name implied--a lane running into the fields, and bordered by hedges. The Duke of Monmouth is said to have lived here before taking up his abode in Soho, where we have already seen him located. According to Mr. Peter Cunningham, Maurice Lowe, the painter, was also a resident of this lane. It was still called Hedge Lane in the days of Dr. Johnson, of whom Boswell tells us that, in , on his way to dine at the West-end, he got out of the hackney-coach at the bottom of Hedge Lane in order to leave a letter containing charitable aid for a
probably a hungry author.
The Royal Mews, already mentioned, in the reign of Henry VIII., as standing near the bottom of the lane, was burnt in , and some remains (or what were supposed to be remains) of its charred walls were discovered in .
, which runs parallel to the , from north to south, about half way between it and , contains, on its western side, a Nonconformist chapel, to which a history is attached. It was built by no less a man than that
to whom Baxter's principles were so unpalatable that it is said he caused the soldiers to beat drums under the chapel windows to drown the preacher's voice. The Secretary was so far successful in this outrageous conduct that he forced Baxter to give up the chapel, which afterwards became a chapel-of-ease to the parish in which it stood. The following curious notice respecting it will be found in the , under date :
&c. Malcolm, in his
after quoting the advertisement, adds a waggish remark, to the effect that the chapel is still () in use, though
We learn that the chapel, after serving as a
It was in this street that Sir John Coventry was living at the time of the attack made on him in the , as noticed in the preceding chapter. It appears that Sir John had been supping with some friends at the Cock Tavern in , and was, at the time, on his way home. A motion had recently been made in the to lay a tax on playhouses. The Court opposed the motion. The players, it was said (by Sir John Birkenhead), were the king's servants, and a part of his pleasure. Coventry asked,
perhaps recollecting more particularly the king's visit to Moll Davis in , where Charles had furnished a house for her, provided her with
and given her a ring of ,
says the page (like Pepys),
The king determined to upon Sir John Coventry for his freedom of remark, and he was marked on his way home.
Burnet adds, that
Eastward from the , a little north of the theatre, stretches , on the south side of which is a building which was till lately occupied by the Royal Tennis Court. Tennis, if we may trust old writers, derives its name from the French Hand-ball or Palm-play, and was played in London as far back as the century, in covered courts erected for that special purpose. Henry VII. and
| Henry VIII. were both fond of tennis; the latter added a tennis-court to his palace at . James I., we know, recommended tennis to his son as a game well becoming the dignity of a prince. Charles II. was an accomplished master of the game, and had a particular dress which he wore when playing it here. Timbs tells us that there was another tennis-court not far off, in , belonging to and attached to Hall. He also mentions |
and others in , Blackfriars, and , where there were (and possibly still are) small thoroughfares still bearing the name of Tennis Courts. The court in , it may be added, was of the favourite haunts of Charles II. It was closed about the year , and has lately been converted into a storehouse for military clothing.
In this street, in the reign of George II., the conjuror [extra_illustrations.4.232.1] used to locate his
in the intervals between the various London and suburban fairs, at which he put in his appearance, anticipating the tricks of Colonel Stodare of our own time.
The eastern end of is continued by Orange Street-so called after the Prince of Orange, William III.--which is crossed by , running northwards into the centre of the south side of . The corner of Orange and is occupied by a Nonconformist chapel. Next to the chapel stands a house which is still visited by pilgrims from all parts of the world, as having been the last London residence of Sir Isaac Newton. He removed hither in from , but did not die here, as is erroneously said by [extra_illustrations.4.232.2] in an anecdote related to Boswell, and mentioned in his
The house is now an hotel; on its roof was till lately a small observatory built by a subsequent tenant, but often supposed to have been Newton's own. The house had subsequently as its tenants Dr. Burney and his daughter Frances, who here composed her once (and still) popular novel,
Frances Burney (Madame D'Arblay) dates from this house many of the letters published in her diaries; and Mr. Henry Thrale-Johnson's friend and host-writing to Miss Burney, playfully styles the inmates of the house his
, which forms of the connecting links between the and , was so called after its ground landlord, Colonel Panton, of whom we have spoken in the preceding chapter as having won his money at the card-table, and refusing to touch a card again. It has been said, though erroneously, that the street received its name from a kind of horse-shoe called a panton; but the derivation was long accepted on account of its immediate proximity to the , where horses must constantly have required the farrier's art.
Forster tells us in his
that poor Oliver and Edmund Burke once paid a visit to some very ingenious puppets exhibited here. Burke praised in particular the dexterity of puppet, who tossed a pike with military precision.
remarked Goldsmith, with some warmth,
Boswell adds that Goldsmith afterwards went home to supper with Burke, and broke his shin by attempting to show the company how much better he could jump over a stick than the puppets.
In a large room in , Messrs. Ambroise and Brunn gave a
by a veritable magician; this being patronised by the Court, the price of admission was raised to . This same room was occupied, in a subsequent season, by the conjuror Breslau.
It is, perhaps, worth noting that Hamlet, the great jeweller of the time of the Regency, who had nearly all the aristocracy on his books, and of whom we have already spoken in our notice of , , at time had his business in . He made a colossal fortune, but afterwards hastening to be rich in excess, he lost it through unfortunate speculations.
At No. in this street was established, in , a charitable institution, entitled the Societe Francaise de Bienfaisance, for the relief of the distressed French in London. Its chief operations consist in giving temporary help in money and bread to numerous French artisans out of work.
Before quitting , we may add, on the authority of Hughson's
that in the afternoon of the , a most singular phenomenon happened here. He writes:
Arundell Street, which leads from to , preserves the memory of its original ground landlord, Lord Arundell of Wardour; but the freehold has long since passed away from the family.
derived its name from Mr. Henry Coventry, Secretary of State in the reign of Charles II., whose private mansion stood on its south side, with a garden wall running down behind what now is the west side of . In the for July--, is an advertisement offering a reward for the recovery of a white, long-haired landspaniel, lost between London and Barnet, on application to
Coventry House, according to Pennant, stood on the site of a building called in the old plans of London
The Secretary, it may be added, died here in , and was buried in the church of St. Martin'sin-the-Fields. was continued eastwards beyond into about the year ; the compensation paid to the freeholder of the ground, the Marquis of Salisbury, exceeded ..
Like the rest of this neighbourhood, in its time has had its places of amusement. At of these, in , was exhibited the
This extraordinary exhibition
comprised a likeness of the murderer Gerard (
Fieschi), before and after the perpetration of his crime, attempting to assassinate the French king and his sons; also a model of the room and of the infernal machinery, taken from drawings made on the spot by distinguished artists, sent to Paris expressly for that purpose. The advertisements announcing this place of entertainment state that
In , of the most popular exhibitions, perhaps, was that of a French wizard, named Robin, whose performance took place in a building at the end of .
of the oldest establishments in is the tobacco and snuff manufactory of Messrs. Wishart. The
of the firm a century and a half ago, and still used, is a curiosity in its way. A facsimile of it is here given.
Mr. J. Larwood humorously remarks in his
The following skit appeared shortly after the Rebellion of , when every effort was made to suppress the nationality of the Scotch, down to their ballads and their kilts :--
in this street was, in , the sign of an advertising dentist, who thus makes known his profession in the
In this street, towards the close of the last century, if the tradition runs aright, there was a famous fish-shop which numbered Sir Joshua Reynolds (who lived hard by in ) among its daily customers. The great painter would generally stroll so far before breakfast, examine the fish that lay on the leads, turn them over and reverse their position; then, having chosen what was to his taste, he would go back to breakfast, report the state of the fish-market, and send his sister to effect the purchase.
the old fishmonger used to say,
 See above, p. 146.
 See Vol. III., p. 142.
[extra_illustrations.4.227.1] New Opening to St. Martin's Church--Pall Mall East
 See Vol. III., p. 419.
[extra_illustrations.4.228.1] Pall Mall East
[extra_illustrations.4.230.1] Soiree in Suffolk Street Gallery
[extra_illustrations.4.232.2] Dr. Burney
[extra_illustrations.4.233.1] New Coventry Street