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
Regent Street and Piccadilly.
Regent Street and Piccadilly.
What the poet has said so pithily about the tide of empire may be said also of the tide of fashion in this great metropolis, which for these centuries and more past has set steadily westward. As Mr. Albert Smith remarks, in his
That old prince of gossips, Horace Walpole, writes thus to Miss Berry, and her sister, in :--
And again, in the same letter:
He adds a few remarks, by way of consolation, to the effect that, in spite of the enormous increase of London, there was as yet no complaint that the country was coming to be depopulated, as Bath
The origin of the name of is wrapped in obscurity, and has frequently been discussed in , and in other quarters. Mr. Peter Cunningham and Mr. John Timbs, among modern antiquaries, have started the inquiry as to its derivation rather than solved it; and we must be content to believe, with them, that the street gradually took its name from a place of amusement, spoken of in the preceding chapter as formerly standing at its eastern or town end, styled Hall, which in its turn was so styled after the ruffs, called
worn by the gallants of the reign of James I., the stiffened points of which, as Mr. Timbs observes, resembled spear-heads, or
a diminutive of the Spanish and Italian word (Latin ) a spear. Ben Jonson writes, in his
To this line Mr. Robert Bell appends a note to the effect that the latter word is the name of
But then, the further difficulty arises, how to connect Hall with so fanciful a word. Was it, as is sometimes said, because the man who built it- Higgins, a draper-made his fortune by the sale of
when they were the height of fashion? or was the Hall itself originally a way-side inn, so named by chance or caprice? or does some subtle and fanciful analogy underlie the name? and are we to suppose that it was so styled by the Londoners, as being
This supposition is too far-fetched, and savours too much of poetry, we think, to be ascribed to the ordinary and commonplace Londoners. Then, again, an old writer, Blount, in his
interprets the word as denoting
whence Butler, in his
styles the collars in the pillory
If so, may not the name have originated from the pillory having been often set up here in the good old Tudor times? Pennant, again, has another derivation to offer, suggesting that it comes from a sort of cakes or turnovers called
which were sold in the fields about here. Whatever the connecting link may be, however, it is clear that the name, as applied to these parts, dates from the century; for Gerard, in his
published in , speaks of the small wild buglosse which grows upon the dry ditch-banks about
D'Israeli, in his
tells us that
So we must be content to leave the inquiry where we found it, and pass on.
The name [extra_illustrations.4.249.1] is found written in a variety of ways. Mr. Akerman, in his work on
enumerates -different specimens, in the shape of copper coins, which bear date,
between and . Some of these are issued by grocers, some by
dealers, and others apparently by the keepers of
| forges. They do not agree in their orthography, for the name is spelt |
and other ways. [extra_illustrations.4.249.2]
The thoroughfare bearing the name of , says Mr. Peter Cunningham, was a very short line of road, running no further west than the foot of ; and the name Street occurs, for the time, in the rate-books of , under the year . Between Sackville and Albemarle Streets, or, as some say, to , or even to , at different times, the thoroughfare was called , after Catherine of Braganza, Queen of Charles II.; all beyond that point being the great , or, as it is called in Aggas's map (),
The Queen, however, was never a favourite with the people, and gradually the name of displaced her memory altogether.
says Pennant in ,
It is amusing to compare the state of the street at that date with what it is in the reign of Victoria. The , opposite, was shut in by a brick wall, in which, however,--were inserted, here and there, some
railings, to enable the passers-by to catch a glimpse of the trees inside.
The mansion built along was Goring House, which stood on what is now ; it was bought by Bennett, Lord Arlington, after whom both Bennett and Arlington Streets were named. Nearly opposite it, about , rose Clarendon House, and , built by Sir John Denham, and re-fronted by the celebrated amateur architect, Boyle, Earl of Burlington. This negatives the hackneyed story of Lord Burlington having chosen the site of his mansion so far out of town that no could build beyond him. Immediately to the east were the house and garden of the Earl of Sunderland, the treacherous minister of James II.; the site is now occupied by the .
according to Hunter's
The head-quarters of the fashionable world, as lately as the beginning of the reign of George IV., lay between and . Hence, a witty personage, when giving advice to a rich country friend as to how to make a good show in London, says-
A better incidental proof could not well have been given that Belgrave and Eaton Squares were not as yet erected. In fact, at that date Belgravia was a swamp, and its squares were cabbage-gardens.
Near the eastern extremity of the thoroughfare is intersected by , which commences at , and proceeds northward for nearly a mile. It crosses , by a circus, to the [extra_illustrations.4.249.3] , whence it passes to the north-west by a curved road, called the Quadrant, and then again in a direct line northward, crossing to . On the whole, this street-at all events, in its lower parts-follows the line of , which it superseded. To judge from its appearance, as preserved to us in the prints of the time, the latter was a long, ugly, and irregular thoroughfare. The tradition is that it bore a reputation by no means good, and contained, among its other houses, a certain livery-stable, which in the last century was a noted house-of-call for highwaymen.
Of the appearance of this district in the last year of the reign of Charles II., Lord Macaulay gives us the following picture:--
The County Fire Office, which stands at the commencement of the Quadrant, was built from the designs of Mr. Abraham. It is a stately pile, of the Composite order, with a rustic basement and arcade, above which rise -quarter columns, and pilasters at the angles, supporting the entablature; the latter is surmounted by a balustrade and parapet, on the centre of which is a colossal figure of Britannia, standing with her spear and shield, and at her side the British lion couchant.
[extra_illustrations.4.250.1] had, originally, a Doric colonnade on either side, projecting over the foot-pavements. The columns--some in number--were of castiron, feet high, exclusive of the granite plinth, and supported a balustraded roof. The effect of this novel piece of street architecture was generally considered as very fine and picturesque. , however, in consequence of the darkness which they imparted to the shops, were removed in , at which time a balcony was added to the principal floor. In the centre of the Quadrant, on the south-west side, is of the entrances to the St. James's Hall. Cyrus Redding fixes the Quadrant as the scene of the following incident. He writes in his
The long vista of [extra_illustrations.4.250.2] , is very fine, exhibiting, as it does, a remarkable variety of architectural features. It was erected principally from the designs of Mr. John Nash, who deserves to be remembered as the author of this great metropolitan improvement; and it was named from the architect's patron, the Prince Regent. The expenditure of the Office of Woods and Forests in its construction was a little in excess of a million and a half. Of course, being a thoroughfare of so recent a date, having been commenced in I, has scarcely a back history for us to record here, like and . It belongs to
and not to
In his design for , Nash adopted the idea of uniting several dwellings into a so as to preserve a degree of continuity essential to architectural importance; and it cannot be denied that he has produced a varied succession of architectural scenery, the effect of which is picturesque and imposing, superior to that of any other portion of the then existing metropolis, and far preferable to the naked brick walls at that time universally forming the sides of our streets. The plaster fronts of the houses have given rise to some severe criticism, and the perishable nature of the brick and composition of which the houses in this street are built, gave rise to the following epigram in the for :--
is full of handsome shops, and during the afternoon, in the height of the London season, is the very centre of fashion, and with its show of fine carriages, horses, and gay company, forms of the most striking sights of the metropolis. At the close of the London season
goes away from town, and the West-end becomes comparatively a desert. As Mr. Albert Smith remarks, in his
On the east side, about half way up, near , stood
so called after its founder, who conveyed this chapel, or
to certain trustees ( of whom was the great Sir Isaac Newton), as a chapel of ease, or
for the parish of St. James's. The archbishop added to it an endowment for
as also for a
or chaplain, to say prayers in it twice daily, and for a schoolmaster to teach sundry poor boys of the parish to read, write, and cast accounts. The chapel was opened in . It was re-fronted when was built; but about the year , its endowment not being adequate to its maintenance, the west end of the building was cut off and turned into shops.
Higher up, on the same side of the street, a certain M. Foubert had, in the reign of Charles II., a riding academy, and his name is still retained in Foubert's Passage. Evelyn writes in his
under date , that M. Foubert had
In the following December he was again here, and gives a list of the performances, and also the names of the principal of the nobility present. On the site of Foubert's academy had previously stood the mansion of the Countess of Bristol.
In this street was the publishing office of Mr. James Fraser, the starter and proprietor of . In the January number of that magazine for , we have, from the pencil of Maclise, a sketch of an editorial banquet at the residence of Mr. Fraser, at which some eminent men were present. Mr. Mahony, the
of the magazine, in his account of this banquet, written some years later, tells us that it was a reality, and not a fiction. In the chair appears Dr. Maginn in the act of making a speech; and around him are some of the contributors, including Bryan Waller Procter (better known then as
), Robert Southey, William Harrison Ainsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Hogg, John Gait, Fraser the publisher, having on his right Mr. J. G. Lockhart, Theodore Hook, Sir David Brewster, Thomas Carlyle, Sir Egerton Brydges, the Rev. G. R. Gleig, Edward Irving, and William Makepeace Thackeray, the last-named being easily recognised by his double eye-glass, for he was short-sighted even as a young man. Alas! of that pleasant and distinguished party, how few survive! Whilst speaking of , we may add that in the zenith of its popularity, in the year , its pages, or rather the connection of Dr. Maginn with it as editor, led to a duel, happily a bloodless . As usual, there was
and the Hon. Grantley Berkeley, then M.P. for West Gloucestershire, came forward to espouse the cause of the lady, who conceived that she had been injured by Maginn. Mr. Berkeley was warned by Lady Blessington that Maginn would be sure to look out for some opportunity of revenge. The opportunity came very soon afterwards; for Mr. Grantley Berkeley wrote and published a novel, which Dr. Maginn reviewed in not, however, confining himself to fair criticism, but using malignant insinuations against Lady Euston, a cousin of the author. Accordingly, Mr. Grantley Berkeley, accompanied by his brother Craven, called at Mr. Fraser's shop to demand the name of the writer, and not obtaining it, administered to the publisher a severe chastisement. This was made, very naturally, the subject of a civil action; but, meantime, it leaked out incidentally that Dr. Maginn was the writer. The consequence was a duel, which was fought with pistols. shots were fired, but without effect, Major Fancourt being Mr. Berkeley's , whilst Mr. Fraser acted in that capacity for Dr. Maginn. The ridiculous nature of this
and its bloodless termination, literally
helped to seal the doom of the once fashionable practice of duelling; and the publicity gained for the transaction, to use the words of the ,
The and the are both happily defunct; and has long since abandoned bad habits of this kind.
At the junction of with is another circus. Of the portion of the street lying beyond this point we shall speak in a future chapter.
On the west side of the way, between Hanover and Princes Streets, stands [extra_illustrations.4.252.1] , which was built, in , from the designs of the late Mr. Cockerell, R.A.; it is of the Ionic order, and in its internal arrangement somewhat resembles St.
|Stephen's Church, . The altar is enriched with carved work, and the fabric generally forms a fine architectural display, though utterly unsuited to a church.|
Before resuming our account of , we may be pardoned for introducing the following anecdote of the poet Campbell, as narrated by Southey:--
But we must proceed. Between Regent's Quadrant and runs Little , a thoroughfare remarkable now-a-days mainly for its police station; but carrying back our memories
|to the day when a vineyard, belonging to the Abbey of or to some wealthy lord, flourished and yielded the fruit of the grape on a sunny slope. Here, in , was living, in comparative obscurity, a young artist, who afterwards became known as Sir Francis Chantrey, the eminent sculptor.|
In this street there is to be seen the sign of the
--a sign representing, as antiquaries tell us, either Cain, or Jacob, or the man who was stoned for gathering sticks on the Jewish Sabbath (Numbers xv. , &c.), and so old as to be alluded to by Shakespeare and Dante. There were other houses bearing this sign in and other parts of London.
We have already stated that a considerable part of was absorbed in the formation of ; a small portion, however, is still left between the Quadrant and , and into that we now pass. Here there has been a chapel belonging to the Scotch Presbyterians since , when it was bought by a Dr. James Anderson from the French Huguenots, who had used it as of the principal churches of their worship not long after their arrival in England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Mr. Smiles, in his work on the Huguenots, tells us that
The records of their church, which are still preserved at , show that it was the principal place for receiving back into church membership such refugees as had lapsed from their fervour. [extra_illustrations.4.254.1]
St. James's Hall, which covers a large space of ground between the Quadrant and , and is almost wholly concealed by houses and shopfronts, was built in , from the designs of Mr. Owen Jones, in the Arabesque or Moorish Alhambra style. The building, which has entrances in both thoroughfares, consists of large room and smaller ones. The principal hall is beautifully decorated, and surrounded on sides with a gallery; the western end is apsidally constructed, and is so arranged that concerts may be given on an extensive scale, a class of entertainment for which the Hall was originally intended. Among the principal concerts given here are those of the New Philharmonic Society, Mr. Henry Leslie's Choir, and what are called the
The public dinner held here was on , under the presidency of Mr. Robert Stephenson, M.P., when a testimonial of the value of more than was presented to Sir F. P. Smith, in recognition of services in the introduction of the screw-propeller into our steam fleet. Here Charles Dickens gave the series of his
in the spring of . In of the smaller apartments entertainments on a humbler scale-such as panoramas, &c.-are given. In , handsome and spacious dining-rooms, &c., were added to the building. Adjoining each room is a small kitchen, communicating, by means of a lift, with the general kitchen upstairs; the general fittings and furniture are handsome throughout, and in good keeping, marble and glazed tiling being largely employed in the panelling of the walls.
At Fore's Exhibition, which, towards the end of the last century, was in a house near the eastern end of , was to be seen the largest collection of caricatures by Gilray, Rowlandson, and the elder Cruickshank, including many political squibs and songs.
At No. , close to , in , were made the experiments in this country with the newly-discovered process of M. Daguerre, in the presence of a large body of scientific persons.
At a short distance westward from the circus, probably in the house now occupied by Mr. Quaritch, the eminent -hand bookseller, but what was at the time No. , resided, in , Emma Lyon, afterwards Lady Hamilton. She was born in Cheshire, and came to London, while a girl, in , and lived in several families as a nursemaid. In she was married to Sir William Hamilton. She became acquainted with Lord Nelson at Naples, in , and here the great naval hero used to visit her. By him she had a child, named Horatia, who afterwards married a clergyman. It. has been remarked by a writer in , that
Mr. Quaritch's establishment is by far the most extensive of the kind in London, and probably in the world; and his catalogue, a most voluminous production, larger and more varied than even that of Mr. H. G. Bohn, is of itself of such interest in
|the literary world as to have merited a long and elaborate notice in the [extra_illustrations.4.255.1]|
On the southern side of , nearly opposite the entrance to St. James's Hall, is the Museum of Practical Geology, of which we have spoken in a previous chapter.
At No. , on this side of the street, between the Circus and St. James's Church, are the Rooms of the Genealogical and Historical Society of Great Britain, an association which, though it has been in existence for years, has hitherto published no
or records of its proceedings, nor even the names of its president and council, or a list of its members!
[extra_illustrations.4.255.2] , which is separated from the roadway by a paved court and brick wall, with handsome iron gates, owes its erection to the great increase in the parish of St. Martin-in-the- Fields. It was originally a chapel of ease only, and was built at an expense of about , chiefly by Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans, and the neighbouring inhabitants.
It is well known that Sir Christopher Wren always regarded this as of the best of his churches. He is said to have taxed his powers to the utmost here to provide
It is divided in the interior into a nave and side aisles. The principal merit is in the formation of the roof, which is described by the late Professor Cockerell as
The writer of
draws attention to its beautiful and commanding situation, while he expresses his regret that the architect troubled himself but little about beauty in his design.
The walls of this church are of brick and stone, with rustic quoins, &c.; the roof is arched, and supported by Corinthian pillars. The interior of the roof is beautifully ornamented, and divided into panels of crotchet and fret-work. The galleries have very handsome fronts, and the door-cases are highly enriched; that fronting (originally the principal ) has above it the arms of the Earl of St. Albans. The font was carved by Grinling Gibbons, and represents the Fall of Man, the Salvation of Noah, &c. In Brayley's
it is asserted that the cover of the font, which was held by a flying angel and a group of cherubim, was stolen about the beginning of the present century, and subsequently hung up as a sign at a spirit-shop in the neighbourhood. The great east window was filled with stained glass in , the subjects represented being Christ's Agony in the Garden, Bearing the Cross, the Passion, the Burial, Resurrection, and the Ascension. Of the altar-piece, which is very spacious, and highly enriched with carved work, Evelyn, in his
under date , gives us the following particulars :--
The organ, which is considered very good, was built for James II., and intended for his Roman Catholic Oratory at , but it was given to this parish by Queen Mary in . At the north-west corner of the church is a tower and spire, rising to the height of about feet. The spire, says Mr. Timbs, was a later addition, planned by a carpenter, whose design was preferred to that of Wren, from motives of economy. In , the spire was coated with lead, when the exterior of the church was repaired throughout.
The church was consecrated in , and many of its rectors have become bishops and high dignitaries in the Church. of the earliest was Dr. Hoadly, afterwards Bishop of Winchester. Dr. Tenison, vicar of , and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed the rector. The rector, Dr. Wake, and the , Dr. Secker, likewise at a later date became Archbishops of Canterbury. of the rectors of St. James's in the last century was [extra_illustrations.4.256.1] , the well-known latitudinarian divine, whose writings were so severely censured by the Lower House of Convocation as to cause a breach with the Upper House, and eventually to suspend the sittings of both Houses for nearly a century. He was a great favourite of Queen Anne (who placed his bust in her ) and of Queen Caroline, though disliked by Bolingbroke and Pope. On the death of Sir Isaac Newton he was offered the Mastership of the Mint, but refused it as
though in all probability he would have been better placed there than in a Trinitarian pulpit. Another of its rectors was Dr. Gerrard Andrewes,
|some time Dean of Canterbury, who refused the Bishopric of Chester, which was offered to him by Lord Liverpool in . Another rector was Dr. Ward, Dean of Lincoln, who was succeeded by Dr. Jackson, since Bishop of London.|
In , a fire broke out most unaccountably in the vaults of this church, and destroyed coffins and their contents.
In this parish lived and died, at the age of eightyseven, the Hon. Frederick Byng, a well-known member of the world of fashion, both before and under the Regency. He was always known as
on account of his curly hair. Of late years he took an active interest in the parochial affairs of St. James's, having lived for years in the region of the clubs and of , where he resided. He was the subject of sundry caricatures by Dighton, in .
In St. James's Church is buried the learned anatomist, [extra_illustrations.4.256.2] , F.R.S., whose lectures at his theatre in are said to have been attended by pupils. His museum was almost a rival of that belonging to John Hunter, of whom we have already spoken in our account of : its doors were always open to scientific men of this and other countries. It was, however, dispersed on his death, in .
Here, too, is buried Sir John Malcolm, the distinguished Indian general, who died in . James Dodsley, many years an eminent bookseller in , of whom we have already spoken, is likewise interred here. There is a monument to his memory near the communion-table. Here, too, lies Mary Delaney, niece of Granville, Lord Lansdowne. Benjamin Stillingfleet, the naturalist, Charles Cotton, the friend and companion of Izaak Walton, and [extra_illustrations.4.256.3] , are also buried here. The latter is commemorated by a marble tablet, erected by the . Among other notabilities interred in this church may be mentioned Hayman and Michael Dahl, the portrait painters; G. H. Harlow, the painter of
Dr. Akenside, the author of the
and also the Vanderveldes, the marine painters.
Here, as at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, unfortunately, the earlier volumes of the parish rate-books have disappeared; so that it is impossible to glean the same accurate information as to its inhabitants in the reigns of the earlier Stuarts, which meets us at every turn in those of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields and of , Covent Garden.
With reference to this parish, and to the line of roadway running westward, it may be stated that in an Act of Parliament, in the reign of James II., mention is made of the
in is assigned to the rector of St. James's parish.
In a house at the corner of ,
in the year , died Sir William Petty, the eminent writer on political economy, and an ancestor of the Lansdowne family. The son of a clothier in humble circumstances, he was born at Romsey, in Hampshire, in , and was educated at the grammar school of his native town. He afterwards determined to improve himself by study at the University of Caen, in Normandy. Whilst there, he contrived to support himself by carrying on a small pedlar's trade with a
Wishing to return to England, he bound himself apprentice to a sea-captain, who beat him most unmercifully. Leaving the navy in disgust, he took to the study of medicine, and having studied at Leyden and Paris, he took his degree, and was subsequently made professor of anatomy. During this part of his life he was reduced to such poverty that he subsisted for or weeks entirely on walnuts. But again he began to trade in a small way, and,
returned to England with money in his pocket. Steadily applying himself to his profession, he then became a successful London physician, and was of the fellows of the Royal Society, to which he presented the model of a double-bottomed ship, to sail against wind and tide. In he was appointed physician to the army in Ireland, and secretary to Henry Cromwell, by whom he was employed in surveying the forfeited lands, for which charges were alleged against him in the , and he was dismissed from his appointments. At the Restoration he was knighted, and made Surveyor-General of Ireland. Sir William suffered much by the Great Fire of London; but by marriage and various speculations he recovered his losses, and died very rich, in the year . In his will, which is a curious document, singularly illustrative of his character, he writes, with a certain amount of self-pride,
and at years of age
Sir William was buried in the fine old Norman church of Romsey. A plain slab, cut by an illiterate works man, with the inscription,
covers his tomb.
Next door but to Sir William Petty, Verrio,
| the Italian painter, was residing in the reign of William and Mary; the reader will not have forgotten the often-quoted line which records his decorations of the ceiling of -
In a shop opposite St. James's Church there was, in , a curious collection of live animals, which had a run of popularity, but was unable to stand as a rival against Exeter 'Change.
Continuing our walk along , we pass on our left the publishing-houses of Messrs. Chapman and Hall, Messrs. Hatchard, and others. From the -named shop were issued the successive numbers of
which electrified and amazed the world in -, and made the name of
Messrs. Chapman and Hall were the publishers of Charles Dickens's serial works down to and inclusive of
which appeared in -; from that date, however, Messrs. Bradbury and Evans became his publishers, and those relations lasted until , when he started on his own account. The publication of Charles Dickens's works is now again in the hands of the house in connection with which he
At the shop of Mr. Hardwicke, No. , have been published for some time the publications of the Ray Society. This society, which was formed in , takes its name from [extra_illustrations.4.257.2] , the celebrated naturalist.
The booksellers' shops here, at the close of the last century, had not ceased to be what those of Tonson, in , and Dodsley, in , had been--the resort of literary characters. At this time, Mr. D'Israeli tells us that Debrett's was the chief haunt of the Whigs, and Hatchard's that of the Tories. It was at Hatchard's that the elder D'Israeli was introduced to [extra_illustrations.4.257.3] , the Poet Laureate, who was then busy on his translation of Aristotle's Poetics, and who, in passing Debrett's door, requested his new friend, who was then unknown, to go in and buy a pamphlet which he dared not be seen going in to purchase for himself.
The house No. is remarkable as having been not only the shop where the was published, but also the house in which its editor (William Gifford) and its writers used to meet in council; a fact worthy of note, when we add that among the contributors to its columns were the younger Pitt, George Canning, and John Hookham Frere. This shop, then kept by a Mr. Wright, was much frequented by the friends of Mr. Pitt's ministry. It was here that Dr. Wolcott was severely
by Gifford. No. was the shop of William Pickering, the eminent publisher. The Aldine anchor, revived by the late Mr. Pickering on his title-pages, gave a celebrity to the books, mostly reprints of the poets and prose writers of the past, and works in curious paths of literature, which he issued from his shop.
[extra_illustrations.4.257.4] , the front of which forms of the most noticeable features on the southern side of , nearly opposite to , was erected in the year , from the designs of Mr. G. F. Robinson, at a cost of , for a museum of natural history, the objects of which were in part collected by William Bullock, F.L.S., during his years' travel in Central America. The edifice was so named from its being in the Egyptian style of architecture and ornament, the inclined pilasters and sides being covered with hieroglyphics; and the hall is now used principally for popular entertainments, lectures, and exhibitions. Bullock's Museum was at time of the most popular exhibitions in the metropolis. It comprised curiosities from the South Sea, Africa, and North and South America; works of art; armoury, and the travelling carriage of Bonaparte. The collection, which was made up to a very great extent out of the Lichfield Museum and that of Sir Ashton Lever, was sold off by auction, and dispersed in lots, in .
Here, in , was exhibited a curious phenomenon, known as
of whom a short account will be found in Hone's
His name was Claude Amboise Seurat, and he was born in Champagne, in . His height was feet inches, and as he consisted literally of nothing but skin and bone, he weighed only ZZZ lbs. He (or another living skeleton) was shown subsequently--in , we believe-at
but died shortly afterwards. There is extant a portrait of M. Seurat, published by John Williams, of , , which quite enables us to identify in him the perfect French native.
Of the various entertainments and exhibitions that have found a home. here, it would, perhaps, be needless to attempt to give a complete catalogue; but we may, at least, mention a few of the most successful. In , the Siamese Twins made their appearance here, and were described at the time as
They died in America in the early part of the year . The American [extra_illustrations.4.257.5]
| dwarf, Charles S. Stratton, |
was exhibited here in ; and subsequently, Mr. Albert Smith gave the narrative of his ascent of Mont Blanc, his lecture being illustrated by some cleverly-painted dioramic views of the perils and sublimities of the Alpine regions. Latterly, the Egyptian Hall has been almost continually used for the exhibition of feats of legerdemain, the most successful of these--if may judge from the
which the entertainment has enjoyedbeing the extraordinary performances of Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke.
In , there was, adjoining Bullock's Museum, the Pantherion, a separate exhibition,
Nearly opposite the Egyptian Hall is
This building, which is separated from the main thoroughfare by a small paved courtyard, was known in the last century as Melbourne House. Lord Melbourne, however, the then
owner, exchanged it with the Duke of York and for his mansion in , now Dover House. Near or on this site, says Pennant, stood the house of |
The [extra_illustrations.4.259.1] , designed by Sir William Chambers, was sold by Lord Holland, in , to the Lord Melbourne. In the mansion was altered and enlarged, and let in chambers, and named the , after the title of the Duke of York. It extends in the rear as far as , having a porter's lodge and entrance at either end. It is entirely occupied by bachelors (or widowers), and comprises sets of apartments, each staircase being marked by of the letters of the alphabet. Most of the occupants of these suites are members of or other of the Houses of Parliament, or naval or military officers. Among those who have
| occupied chambers here in their day were Lord Byron, George Canning, Lord Macaulay (who here wrote the greater part of his |
), Lord Lytton, Lord Glenelg, and Sir John C. Hobhouse. Here, too, as we learn from his Autobiography, Lord Brougham was living in bachelor chambers from , when studying for the Bar, down to , when he removed to chambers in the Middle Temple. It is said that no person who carries on a trade or commercial occupation is allowed to reside on the premises; and that, as a rule,
excepting the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts of the occupants of the chambers; but this rule, we fancy, is not very strictly adhered to.
The adjoins the site of Sir Thomas
Clarges' house, which is described, in the year , as being |
In , the house adjoining the was occupied, for the purposes of exhibition, by [extra_illustrations.4.260.1] , a Leicestershire man, who bore the reputation of being the
His weight, at the age of , was upwards of stone. It is stated that, although in most instances, when the body exceeds the usual proportions, the strength correspondingly diminishes, this was not the case with Lambert, for it is recorded that, notwithstanding his excessive corpulency, he tested his ability by carrying more than hundredweight and a half--a feat that many a sinewy athlete would fail to accomplish. During
| his stay here, |
Lambert was as fashionable a celebrity as Albert Smith or
Tom Thumb became in later years, at the Egyptian Hall opposite. Thousands went to see him daily, and from morning till night his reception-room was thronged with men in cocked hats and ladies in furbelows, coming alike from Kensington and . [extra_illustrations.4.260.2]
On the opposite side of the road, between and the , is , of which we have already spoken. The exact date of building this street is not known, but it must have been between and . The street stands partly on the site of Goring House. Evelyn, in his
under date of , tells us how that he
The same diarist records its destruction by fire, , when a fine collection of pictures, as well as much handsome plate, hangings, and furniture, perished; and he elsewhere describes the appointments of the house as
From Pepys we learn that a sister of John Milton was married here in .
We might add here, as of the residents of this street in former times, the name of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who, before her marriage, was living here in the house of her father, the Marquis of Dorchester, afterwards Duke of Kingston. She was the author of those charming, lively, and witty letters, written at Constantinople, and addressed by Lady Mary to friends at home, descriptive of Turkish life and society, and in which, it has been said, she displays
She was very eccentric in her attire; indeed, Horace Walpole once described her dress as consisting of
Horace Walpole himself resided in this street for many years, before removing further west into (where he died); and from are dated many of his letters to Lady Ossory. At Horace Walpole's house, on occasion, there was a large party present at dinner, when Bruce, the celebrated African traveller, was talking in his usual style of exaggeration. Some asked him what musical instruments were used in Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question, and at last said,
George Selwyn, who was of the party, whispered to his next man,
Admiral Lord Nelson, too, was living in this street when his wife separated from him, in .
Close by was a well-known hostelry, the old
before the power of steam had been developed, or railways planned, even Londoners rejoiced, on summer evenings, to lounge about this noted house, and watch the mails drive down , for the West of England. On the king's birthday, especially, the scene was picturesque, and of special interest. The exterior of the
was studded over with oil lights of many colours, arranged in tasty lines and capital letters. The sleek-coated horses stepped along as if they were proud of their new harness, and the bright brass ornaments on their trappings glittered in the light. The coachmen and guards, too, were dressed in unsullied scarlet coats, which they wore for the time on that day-woe for them if it was wet-and there were gay rosettes of ribbons and bunches of bright flowers at each of the horses' heads, as well as in the coachman's button-hole. The coaches themselves were, if not newly painted, at all events, freshly
with the brush, and the post-horn sounded pleasantly as the ostlers cried,
In the reign of George IV., many of the coaches which left London were driven by gentlemen, and in some cases the reins were handled by peers of the realm. Sir St. Vincent Cotton drove the Brighton
another coach on the same road was horsed and driven by the Marquis of Worcester, afterwards Duke of Beaufort; Sir Thomas Tyrrwhitt Jones drove the
and the Reading coach was driven by Captain Probyn.
Hazlitt has thus described, in his own graphic manner, the scene presented on the starting of the old mail-coaches :--
Poor Hazlitt! in the fall of the mail-coach he sees a type of the rapid changes to which all mortal inventions and fashions are subject. In Cowper's day the mail-coach had scarcely superseded the post-boy and stage; and in Hazlitt's time they had entered on their decline and fall; and we have lived to see the Putney and Brentford stages superseded by omnibuses! [extra_illustrations.4.261.1] [extra_illustrations.4.261.2]
At the old
when it served as the head-quarters of the departure of the passengers by the country coaches, there used to stand a small confraternity of Jews, who sold oranges, pencils, sponges, brushes, and other small wares; but these, of course, disappeared when the system of travelling was changed, and the old house came, in the end, to be converted into a railway bookingoffice for luggage.
A new house on the opposite side of the way, it is true, rejoices in the sign of the
and at Hatchett's Hotel, which adjoins it, an attempt has been made, within the last few years, to revive the taste for coaching, and, with this aim in view, stage-coaches have been run daily during the summer to Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Windsor, Brighton, Dorking, &c. The history of this movement is worth epitomising, in the words of a well-known writer on sporting subjects :--
of the subject of coaching, we may add that Mr. Larwood tells us in his
that there is still () a sign of the
to be seen in ; but he does not specify the exact spot. It does not appear, however, in the
for . The sign, however, speaks of the day when the roads even near London were so bad in the winter time that horses were not enough to carry a coach safe out of the deep and miry ruts. Mr. Larwood also tells us, that in there were still no less than public-houses, exclusive of
| beer-houses, coffee-houses, &c., which rejoiced in the sign of the |
in spite of the progress made by railways.
While on the subject of sign-boards, we may state that was the place in which the
appeared as a public-house sign. The story is that a Frenchwoman, a small shopkeeper at the eastern end, soon after it was built, had a very faithful and favourite cat, and that, in lack of any other sign, she put up over her door the words,
From some cause or other the
soon became a popular sign in France, and was speedily Anglicised into the
because the words form part of of our most popular nursery rhymes. We do not pledge ourselves for the correctness of the derivation, but simply tell the story as told to us.
It has often been observed that while the fashionable world flitting westwards occupied the streets to the north and south of Piccadilly-its tributaries --the great thoroughfare itself was given up to tradesmen and shopkeepers, with the exception of or great mansions, which, though it, were scarcely it.
[extra_illustrations.4.246.2] Argyll General Mourning and Mantel Warehouses
[extra_illustrations.4.249.2] Presse and Lubin--New Bond Street
[extra_illustrations.4.249.3] County Fire Office
[extra_illustrations.4.250.1] The Quadrant
[extra_illustrations.4.250.2] Regent Street, as seen from the Quadrant
[extra_illustrations.4.252.1] Hanover Chapel
[extra_illustrations.4.254.1] H. M. Stanley at St. James's Hall
[extra_illustrations.4.255.1] Henry Sotheran and Company--Piccadilly
[extra_illustrations.4.255.2] St. James's Church
[extra_illustrations.4.256.1] Dr. Samuel Clarke
[extra_illustrations.4.256.2] Mr. Joshua Brookes
[extra_illustrations.4.256.3] Dr. Sydenham
[extra_illustrations.4.257.1] Artists' Costume Ball--Prince's Hall--Piccadilly
[extra_illustrations.4.257.2] John Ray
[extra_illustrations.4.257.3] Mr. Pye
[extra_illustrations.4.257.4] The Egyptian Hall
[extra_illustrations.4.257.5] Prospectus of Anti-Jacobin Magazine and Review
[extra_illustrations.4.259.1] present central building
[extra_illustrations.4.260.1] Daniel Lambert
[extra_illustrations.4.260.2] Coaches-German Prince
 See p. 169, ante.
[extra_illustrations.4.261.1] Three Horse Omnibus
[extra_illustrations.4.261.2] de Tivoli's Patent Omnibus