Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4

Thornbury, Walter
1872-78

Westminster.-King Street, Great George Street, and the Broad Sanctuary.

Westminster.-King Street, Great George Street, and the Broad Sanctuary.

 

Urbs antiqua fuit.--Virg., Aen. 1.

 

, which we have already mentioned incidentally in our notice of , was the ancient thoroughfare between the regions of the Court and the Abbey. It runs parallel to its modern sister, , between it and the Park. was formerly extremely, and, it would appear, even dangerously narrow. Pepys thus, commemorates it in his

Diary,

:--

To

Westminster

Hall; and in,

King Street

there being a great stop of coaches, there was a falling out between a drayman and my Lord of Chesterfield's coachman, and

one

of his footmen killed.

At the north end of this street was the Cock-pit Gate; at the south end, the [extra_illustrations.4.26.2] , which is shown in of Hollar's etchings. The latter Gate House, which was taken down in , was occupied at time by the Earl of Rochester. Part of the land in , extending as far southward as the Bars, was conveyed by the Abbot of to King Henry VIII., when he was bent on enlarging . After the burning of Palace, it was resolved to make a broader street to the Abbey, and in course of time was formed, as we have already stated in a previous chapter. Although part of still remains, it is as narrow as ever, though somewhat better paved, and latterly its length has been considerably curtailed at the northern end by the erection of the new India and Foreign Offices.

Narrow as it was, was the residence of many distinguished personages, doubtless owing to its proximity to the Court and the Parliament House. In it lived Lord Howard of Effingham, the High Admiral who, Roman Catholic as he was, went forth to fight the cause of his country against the Spanish Armada. Here, too, Edmund Spenser, the author of

The Faery Queen,

after his escape from the troubles in Ireland, spent the last few weeks of his life, and died in actual penury and even in want of bread. Such was the end of the man who had sung the praises of the great Elizabeth in higher than mere courtly strains. But his sad end is only another example of the fate that too often waits on poetic genius.

The breath had scarcely departed from his body when the great, the titled, and the powerful came forward to do honour to his memory and to shower laurels on his grave. His remains were carried in state from

King Street

to

Westminster Abbey

, the expenses of the funeral being defrayed by the great favourite of the Court, the Earl of Essex.

His hearse,

writes Camden,

was attended by poets, and mournful elegies, and poems, with the pens that wrote them, were thrown into his tomb.

And it may be added that Anne, the Countess of Dorset, erected the monument over his grave.

The armorial shield of the Spencers,

justly observes Gibbon,

may be emblazoned with the triumphs of a Marlborough, but I exhort them to look upon the

Faery Queen

as the brightest jewel in their coronet.

In , too, resided that most graceful of the courtier poets of the time of Charles I., Thomas Carew, who wrote the masque of

Coelum Britannicum

for that prince, and who was the friend and boon-companion of Ben Jonson and Sir

p.27

John Suckling, and the author of that charming song which begins:--

He that loves a rosy cheek, Or a coral lip admires.

[extra_illustrations.4.27.1] 

Here, too, lived Charles, Lord Buckhurst, afterwards [extra_illustrations.4.27.2] , the witty and accomplished courtier and poet, and the author of the famous song addressed to the gay ladies of Charles II.'s court, the stanza of which runs thus :

To all you ladies now on land We men at sea indite; But first would have you understand How hard it is to write; The Muses now, and Neptune, too, We must implore to write to you.

Here the Lord Protector assigned to his mother a suite of apartments, which she occupied until the day of her death, in : she was buried in . She was devotedly fond of her son, and lived in constant fear of hearing of his assassination; indeed it is said, in Ludlow's

Memoirs,

that she was quite unhappy if she did not see him twice a day, and never heard the report of a gun without calling out,

My son is shot.

Mr. Noble, in his

Memoirs of the Cromwell Family,

tells us that

she requested, when dying, to have a private funeral, and that her body might not be deposited in the Abbey; but that, instead of fulfilling her request, the Protector conveyed her remains, with great solemnity, and attended with many

hundred

torches, though it was daylight, and interred them in the dormitory of our English monarchs, in a manner suitable to those of the mother of a person of his then rank.

He adds that,

the needless ceremonies and great expense to which the Protector put the public in thus burying her gave great offence to the Republicans.

It would have been well for her if her wish had been granted, for, at the Restoration, Mrs. Cromwell's body was taken up and indecently thrown, with others, into a hole made before the back door of the lodgings of the canons or prebendaries, in Churchyard. Mrs. Cromwell appears to have been an excellent and amiable person; and it is worthy of note that she is styled

a decent woman

by so strong a royalist as Lord Chancellor Clarendon.

The house occupied by Mrs. Cromwell, according to Mr. John Timbs, stood a little to the north of Blue Boar's Head Yard, on the west side of the street. If we may accept the testimony of Mr. G. H. Malone, its identity was ascertained by a search into the parish rate-books, and fixed to the north of the above-mentioned yard, and south of the wall of Ram's Mews. Among the Cole MSS. in the is a copy of a letter written by Cromwell at Dunbar, and addressed to his wife in this street.

day a strange incident occurred to the Lord Protector as he was passing in his coach through this street, accompanied by Lord Broghill, afterwards better known by his superior title as Earl of Ossory, from whom the story has come down to us through his chaplain and biographer, Morrice:--

It happened that the crowd of people was so great that the coach could not go forward, and the place was so narrow that all the halberdiers were either before the coach or behind it, none of them having room to stand by the side. When they were in this posture, Lord Broghill observed the door of a cobbler's stall to open and shut a little, and at every opening of it his lordship saw something bright, like a drawn sword or a pistol. Upon which my lord drew out his sword with the scabbard on it, and struck upon the stall, asking who was there. This was no sooner done but a tall man burst out with a sword by his side, and Cromwell was so much frightened that he called his guard to seize him, but the man got away in the crowd. My lord thought him to be an officer in the army in Ireland, whom he remembered Cromwell had disgusted, and his lordship apprehended he lay there in wait to kill him. Upon this,

adds Morrice,

Cromwell forbore to come any more that way, but a little after sickened and died.

And yet there was, at all events, other occasion on which the Lord Protector passed along this narrow thoroughfare, and that was to his funeral in the Abbey. He died at , in ; and as he died in the midst of his power and state, his obsequies were celebrated with the pomp and magnificence of a king. It would tax the pen of Macaulay to describe the scene: the road prepared for the passage of the hearse by gravel thrown into the ruts; and the sides of the street lined with soldiery, all in mourning, as in solemn state the body was conducted to the great western entrance of the Abbey, where it was received by the clergy with the usual ceremonials.

Among the other residents in were Sir Thomas Knevett, or Knyvett, who seized Guy Fawkes; and Dr. Sydenham, on the site of Ram's Mews. Here, too, lived Erasmus Dryden, brother of

glorious

John Dryden, supporting himself by trade before his accession to the baronetcy as head of the family.

Dudley, the Lord North, had a house in this street, about , which was remarkable as [extra_illustrations.4.27.3] 

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being the brick house in it. His son, Sir Dudley, as we learn in the

Lives of the Norths,

was stolen by beggars, and retaken in an alley leading towards , while he was being stripped of his clothes. Bishop Goodman, during the Great Rebellion, lived here in great obscurity, and chiefly in the house of Mrs. Sybilla Aglionby, employing the greater part of his time in frequenting the Cottonian Library.

But there are other and more gloomy reminiscences which attach to . Through it Charles I. was carried on his way to Hall on the and last days of his trial.

On both these occasions,

writes Mr. Jesse,

his conveyance was a sedan chair, by the side of which walked, bare-headed, his faithful follower, Herbert --the only person who was allowed to attend him. As he returned through

King Street

, after his condemnation, the inhabitants, we are told, not only shed tears, but, unawed by the soldiers who lined the streets, offered up audible prayers for his eternal welfare.

Strange to say, among the residents in this street at the time was Oliver Cromwell himself; and it was from his abode here that, some months after the murder of his sovereign, he set forth in state, amid the blare of trumpets, to take upon himself the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland. The house which was traditionally said to have been occupied by the Protector was at the northern end, near , and it was not demolished, says Mr. Jesse, until the present century.

Owing to its narrowness and want of light and air, and the crowded courts by which it was hemmed in on either side, was among the parts of to suffer from the plague in the year . On its appearance so close to the gates of the royal palace, Charles II. and his train of courtiers, male and female, left for Oxford. Accordingly, we find gossiping Samuel Pepys writing, under date :--

This day I informed myself that there died

four

or

five

at

Westminster

of the plague, in several houses, upon Sunday last, in

Bell Alley

, over against the

Palace Gate

.

Again, on the :

I find all the town going out of town, the coaches and carriages being all full of people going into the country.

And, shortly after, on the and :--

In my way to

Westminster

Hall, I observed several plaguehouses

(that is, houses smitten with the plague)

in

King Street

and the Palace. . . . To

Whitehall

, where the court was full of waggons and people ready to go out of town. This end of the town every day grows very bad of the plague.

It appears from contemporary history that the example set by the King and Court was largely followed by the nobility and the

quality;

and that so great was the exodus that the neighbouring towns and villages rose up to oppose their retreat, as likely to sow the seeds of the disease still more widely, and to carry the infection further a-field. It is usually said by historians that the Great Plague in broke out at the top of , but Dr. Hodges, in his

Letter to a Person of Quality,

states it as a fact that the pestilence broke out in , and that it was carried eastwards by contagion.

would seem to have been at time noted for its coffee-houses, for in the edition of Izaak Walton's additions to the

Complete Angler,

(),

Piscator

says:--

When I dress an eel. thus, I will he was as long and big as that which was caught in Peterboro' river in the year

1667

, which was

31

feet long; if you will not believe me, then go and see it at

one

of the coffee-houses in

King Street

,

Westminster

.

Among these coffee-houses and hostelries was the

King's Head

Inn, where there was held an

ordinary,

as far back as centuries ago. Here a Mr. Moore told Pepys, in ,

the great news that my Lady Castlemaine is fallen from Court, and this morning retired;

and the next day, at the same place, the same bit of scandal, he tells us, is confirmed by a

pretty gentleman,

who, however, is in ignorance of the cause.

At another house in this street--the Bell Tavern --the

October Club

met early in the last century. The club, which consisted of about members, derived its name from being composed of High Church Tory country gentlemen, who when at home drank October ale. The large room in which the club assembled was adorned with a portrait of Queen Anne, by Dahl. After Her Majesty's death and the break--up of the club, the picture was purchased by the corporation of the loyal city of Salisbury, in whose council-chamber it may still be seen suspended.

In this street, also, the beautiful and talented actress, Mrs. Oldfield, earned her livelihood when a girl as a sempstress; and through it she was carried, at the age of , to her grave in the Abbey, her pall supported by noblemen and gentlemen, and her body being allowed to lie in state in the Jerusalem Chamber, as stated in a previous chapter. Such is the tide of destiny; and well might it have been written on her hearse,

Voluit fortuna jocari.

Mr. John Timbs tells us, in his

Curiosities of London,

that near the southern end of , on the west side, was Thieven (Thieves) Lane, so called as being the regular passage along

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which thieves were led to the Gate House prison, so that they might not escape into and set the law at defiance.[extra_illustrations.4.29.1] 

In Gardener's Lane, which leads from to , died in , Hollar, the master of early etchers; he was buried on the of that month in Churchyard. He seems to have been as child-like and improvident as the rest of his fraternity. At all events, at the time of his last illness the bailiffs were in his rooms; and the dying artist, who had been the favourite of Lord Arundel, and the honoured inmate of his house, had to beg as a favour that the bed on which he lay might not be taken away till after his death. Hollar's widow survived him many years, and some time after his death sold to Sir Hans Sloane a large collection of the artist's works. This collection was subsequently acquired by the , and formed the nucleus of the magnificent collection of Hollar's works there existing. Hollar was of Bohemian extraction and of gentle blood; he was born at Prague in . He came to England in the suite of Lord Arundel, whom we have already mentioned as a lover and patron of art; and it was the death of his patron that plunged him into difficulties. It is probable that it was through Lord Arundel's influence that he became a member of the Roman Catholic faith, to which his father had formerly belonged.

Delahay Street, between and , was so called from a family of that name formerly resident in the parish of . At the southern end, at the corner of , lived Lady Augusta Murray, the wife of the Duke of Sussex.

, which ran in a line with Delahay Street and is now absorbed into it, was a poor and narrow thoroughfare at its best. Pope, in of his Letters, tells an amusing anecdote relating to this street, but which serves to illustrate the cruel snares laid by the penal laws in force in his time against persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, who were not allowed to keep either carriages or horses of their own! He writes:--

By our latest account from

Duke Street

,

Westminster

, the conversion of T. G.--, Esq., is reported in a manner somewhat more particular. That, upon the seizure of his Flanders mares, he seemed more than ordinarily disturbed for some hours, sent for his ghostly father, and resolved to bear his loss like a Christian; till about the hour of

seven

or

eight

, the coaches and horses of several of the nobility passing by his window towards

Hyde Park

, he could no longer endure the disappointment, but instantly went out, took the oath of abjuration, and recovered his dear horses, which carried him in triumph to the Ring. The poor, distressed Roman Catholics, now unhorsed and uncharioted, cry out with the Psalmist,

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will invocate the name of the Lord.

In this street died in , aged , Sir Archibald Macdonald, Bart., formerly M.P. for Hindon, &c., and Solicitor-General, and afterwards Chief Baron of . He was educated at School, to which he was so attached, that he never omitted to be present at every college election and at every performance of the Play.

Here, too, lived Matthew Prior, in a house facing . Bishop Stillingfleet, author of the

Origines Britannicae,

died here in ; Archbishop Hutton in ; and Dr. Arnold, the musical composer, in .

[extra_illustrations.4.29.2] , when Lord Chancellor, has been demolished during subsequent improvements in this locality. Down to the time of its removal, it was easily distinguished from its neighbours by a flight of stone steps, which James II. permitted the cruel favourite to make into the Park for his special accommodation; they terminated above in a small court, on sides of which stood the once costly house. portion of the mansion was used as the Admiralty House, until that office was removed by William III. to Wallingford House. The north wing of the house, in which Judge Jeffreys heard cases, when he found it inconvenient to go to or Hall, was afterwards converted into a chapel: Dr. John Pettingale, the antiquary, was for some time its incumbent.

The State Paper Office stood at the north end of for many years. It was erected in , to contain the documents of the Privy Council and Secretaries of State, formerly kept in Holbein's Gatehouse, and arranged during the time when Lord Grenville was Premier.

At No. in this street are the branch offices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Dr. Bray's Institution for Founding Libraries, the Colonial Bishoprics' Fund, the Ladies' Association for Promoting Female Education in India, and the Universities' Mission to Central Africa.

In lodgings in lived the eminent surgeon, Sir Charles Bell, in the early part of his career, before he joined the .

p.30

This street was so named after Sir Samuel Fludyer, the ground-landlord, who, when Lord Mayor in , entertained George III. and Queen Charlotte at . It is said to occupy the site of the ancient Axe Yard, a haunt of Sir William Davenant. The site is mentioned in a document of the time of Henry VIII., as

on the west side of Kynge Street, a great message or brew-house, commonly called the Axe.

Pepys at time had a house here.

, the broad thoroughfare leading in a direct line from to and , derives its name from standing on the site of an old stable-yard which belonged to an inn close by, bearing the sign

of the

George and the Dragon.

The houses in were built shortly after the erection of , and the street covers ground which formed at that time an arm of the Thames. The tide flowed up from , until it found its way into the canal of . From the frequency of inundations, , which stood between the entrances of and , derived its significant name.

In lived, in , John Wilkes, whilst carrying on his and fighting duels. It was in the front drawing-room of a house, No. in this street, that in , lay in state the body of Lord Byron, which had

p.31

been brought over in the ship from Missolonghi, in Greece, where he died fighting in the cause of Grecian independence. It was hoped that a grave would have been found for the author of

Childe Harold

in Poets' Corner in the Abbey hard by, but the Dean and Chapter refused to allow his body to rest there; so, a day or afterwards, the poet's remains were taken down into Nottinghamshire, and consigned to their last resting-place in Hucknall Church, near his home at Newstead Abbey. The scene itself is thus described by an American gentleman who was present :--

On being landed from the Florida, the body was removed to the house of Sir Edward Knatchbull, who then resided in Great George House In Westminster, Said To Have Been Occupied By Oliver Cromwell. Street, Westminster. At the house of Sir Edward it lay in state for two days, and was visited by hundreds of persons, who paid their last tributes to the genius of the mighty slumberer by gazing on his coffin-lid. After the lying in state had terminated, it was found necessary to remove the body, for the purpose of placing it in a better constructed leaden coffin than that which had been prepared in Greece. A friend of mine kindly offered to procure me admission to the chamber where the removal of the body was to be effectedan offer which, I need not say, I gladly accepted. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 11th of July, I proceeded to Sir Edward Knatchbull's, and found three or four gentlemen, attracted thither like myself, to witness the solemn face of the poet for the last time, ere it should be shut up in the darkness of death. Mr. Samuel Rogers, the author of the Pleasures of Memory, Mr. (now Sir) John Cam Hobhouse, and John Hanson, Esq. (the two last Lord Byron's executors), Dr. (afterwards Sir John) Bowring, Fletcher, his faithful valet, and one or two others, whose names I did not learn, were present.

The body lay in the large drawing-room, on the first storey, which was hung with black cloth and lighted with wax candles. Soon after my arrival, the work of opening the coffin commenced. This was soon effected, and when the last covering was removed, we beheld the face of the illustrious dead, all cold and all serene.

Were I to live a thousand years, I should never, never forget that moment. For years I had been intimate with the mind of Byron. His wondrous works had thrown a charm around my daily paths, and with all the enthusiasm of youth I had almost adored his genius. With his features, through the medium of paintings, I had been familiar from my boyhood; and now far more beautiful, even in death, than my vivid fancy had ever pictured, there they lay in marble repose.

The body was not attired in that most awful of habiliments--a shroud. It was wrapped in a blue cloth cloak, and the throat and head were uncovered. The former was beautifully moulded. The head of the poet was covered with short, crisp, curling locks, slightly streaked with grey hairs, especially over the temples; which were ample and free from hair, as we see in the portraits. The face had nothing of the appearance of death about itit was neither sunken nor discoloured in the least, but of a dead, marble whiteness--the expression was that of stern repose. How classically beautiful was the curved upper lip and the chin! I fancied the nose appeared as if it was not in harmony with the other features; but it might possibly have been a little disfigured by the process of embalming. The forehead was high and broad-indeed, the whole head was extremely large--it must have been so to contain a brain of such capacity.

But what struck me most was the exceeding beauty of the profile, as I observed it when the head was lifted in the operation of removing the corpse. It was perfect in its way, and seemed like a production of Phidias. Indeed, it far more resembled an exquisite piece of sculpture than the face of the dead-so still, so sharply defined, and so marble-like in its repose. I caught the view of it but for a moment; yet it was long enough to have it stamped upon my memory as a thing of beauty, which poor Keats tells us is a joy for ever. It is, indeed, a melancholy joy to me to have gazed upon the silent poet. As Washington Irving says of the old sexton who crept into the vault where Shakespeare was entombed, and beheld there the dust of ages, it was something even to have seen the dust of Byron.

This same house, which has a handsome architectural front, is now the home of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The institution was established in , and was formally incorporated in . It originated in a few gentlemen then beginning life, who, being impressed,

by what they themselves felt, with the difficulties young men had to contend with in gaining the knowledge requisite for the diversified practice of engineering, resolved to form themselves into a society for promoting a regular intercourse between persons engaged in its various branches, and thereby mutually benefiting by the interchange of individual observation and experience.

The profession of the civil engineer is defined in the charter of incorporation as

the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man, as the means of production and of traffic in states, both for external and internal trade, as applied in the construction of roads, bridges, aqueducts, canals, river navigation, and docks, for internal intercourse and exchange; and in the construction of ports, harbours, moles, breakwaters, and lighthouses; and in the art of navigation by artificial power for the purposes of commerce; and in the construction and adaptation of machinery; and in the drainage of cities and towns.

The institution itself consists of classes, viz., members, associates, graduates, and honorary members. Members are civil engineers by profession, or mechanical engineers of very high standing; associates are not necessarily civil engineers by profession, but their pursuits must in some way be connected with civil engineering; graduates are elected from the pupils of civil and mechanical engineers; honorary members are distinguished individuals who are enabled to assist in the prosecution of public works, or who are eminent for scientific acquirements.

Here is a portrait of Thomas Telford, the engineer of the Menai Bridge, and for years president of the institution. Telford was the president. His successors have been Mr. James Walker, Sir John Rennie, Sir M. I. Brunel, Sir William Cubitt, and Mr. Thomas Hawksley.

At No. in this street was established, at its formation, in , the National Portrait Gallery. This institution arose out of a suggestion of the

p.33

late Earl of Derby; its object is the collection of a series of portraits of English men and women of note and celebrity, and forming them into a representative gallery belonging to the nation. The collection is largely recruited by gifts, as might naturally be expected, and a sum of is voted annually in Parliament for its maintenance and support. In , the portraits were removed to South Kensington, a portion of the building erected for the International Exhibition having been fitted up for their reception. In were, till lately, the town mansions of several of the highest nobility. At No. , Edward Lord Thurlow resided, and from it in , his remains were removed for interment in the Temple. Bishop Tomline, Pitt's tutor, lived for some time at No. . At his house here, on the , died Sir Marc Isambart Brunel, the architect of the Thames Tunnel, and inventor of the engine for cutting ships' blocks, used in the Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth.[extra_illustrations.4.33.1] 

In , the body of Richard Brinsley Sheridan was removed from Savile Row to the house of Peter Moore, Esq., in this street, whence it was carried to the grave in the Abbey, attended by several noblemen and gentlemen.

At the corner of and Churchyard is a conspicuous structure, with a spire and cross of imposing height, known as the Buxton Memorial Drinking Fountain. The base is octagonal, about feet in diameter, having open arches on the sides, supported on clustered shafts of polished Devonshire marble around a large central shaft, with massive granite basins. Surmounting the pinnacles at the angles of the octagon are figures of bronze, representing the different rulers of England; the Britons represented by Caractacus, the Romans by Constantine, the Danes by Canute, the Saxons by Alfred, the Normans by William the Conqueror, and so on, ending with Queen Victoria. The fountain bears an inscription to the effect that it is

intended as a memorial of those members of Parliament who, with Mr. Wilberforce, advocated the abolition of the British slave-trade, achieved in

1807

; and of those members of Parliament who, with Sir T. Fowell Buxton, advocated the emancipation of the slaves throughout the British dominions, achieved in

1834

. It was designed and built by Mr. Charles Buxton, M.P., in

1865

, the year of the final extinction of the slave-trade and of the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Mr. S. S. Teulon was the architect, and the fountain was erected at a cost of about .

Close by this fountain, and facing the Houses of Parliament, is a fine bronze statue of [extra_illustrations.4.33.2] , standing upon a granite pedestal. It was executed by Sir Richard Westmacott, and erected in . It formerly stood nearer to Hall, but was removed hither a few years ago, when sundry alterations were made in the laying out of the open space between and the north door of the Abbey.

Soon after Canning's statue was put up in all its verdant freshness, the carbonate of copper not yet blackened by the smoke of London, Mr. Justice Gaselee was walking away from Hall with a friend, when the judge, looking at the statue (which is colossal), said,

I don't think this is very like Canning; he was not so large a man.

No, my lord,

replied his companion,

nor so green.

On the western side of the , and on the very foundations of the old belfry-tower of , stands the , which, as its name imports, is the place of meeting for the magistrates for the City and Liberties of . It is an octagonal building of no great architectural pretensions, with a heavy portico, supported by massive columns of the Doric order. It was erected in from the designs of Mr. S. P. Cockerell. The old , apparently of great antiquity, stood on the west side of ; and an ancient painting, representing the foundation of this building, said to be a gift of the Duke of Northumberland, was transferred to the walls of the present .

Fronting the and the northern side of the nave of the Abbey, between the and , stands the [extra_illustrations.4.33.3] . It was established in for the relief of the sick and needy from all parts, and was the subscription hospital erected in London. It was incorporated in . Patients are admitted by order from a governor, except in cases of accident, which are received, without recommendation, at all hours of the day or night. The institution took its origin from the exertions of a few gentlemen, who set an infirmary on foot, inviting all kindlydisposed persons to aid them. Mr. Henry Hoare was the chief promoter of this charity; and at the society was known as that

for relieving the sick and needy at the Public Infirmary in

Westminster

.

In , a house was taken for the purpose of an infirmary in ; from which, in , the institution was removed to , and some time after to . The present spacious edifice was completed and opened in . The building is an embattled structure of quasi-Gothic character, and was erected in by Messrs. Inwood. It has a frontage [extra_illustrations.4.33.4] 

p.34

of about feet, but has no pretensions to taste or beauty. The centre projects slightly, and is raised storey higher than the wings. The entrance is by a flight of steps to a porch in divisions, and is surmounted by an oriel. The hospital accommodates about in-patients, and the total number of patients relieved annually is about .

The following document, which may be styled the annual report of this institution, dated , hangs framed and glazed on the wall of the secretary's room :--

Whereas a charitable proposal was published in December last (

1719

), for relieving the sick and needy, by providing them with lodging, with proper food and physick, and nurses to attend them during their sickness, and by procuring them the advice and assistance of physicians or surgeons, as their necessities should require; and by the blessing of God upon this undertaking, such sums of money have been advanced and subscribed by several of the nobility and gentry of both sexes and by some of the clergy, as have enabled the managers of this charity (who are as many of the subscribers as please to be present at their weekly meetings), to carry on in some measure what was then proposed:--for the satisfaction of the subscribers and benefactors, and for animating others to promote and encourage this pious and Christian work, this is to acquaint them, that in pursuance of the foresaid charitable proposal, there is an infirmary set lip in

Petty France

,

Westminster

, where the poor sick who are admitted into it, are attended by physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, and nurses, supplied with food and physick, and daily visited by some

one

or other of the clergy; at which place the society meets every Wednesday evening for managing and carrying on this charity, admitting and discharging patients, &c.

Close to and in connection with the hospital, an institution has been opened, styled the Training School and Home for Nurses, having for its object the training of a superior class of nurses for the sick, for hospitals, and private families. An agreement has been entered into by its managers with the to undertake the whole of the nursing there. A limited number of probationers are received at the home, and to those who may be accepted is given the efficient training and practical instruction required.

The central schools of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Church of England are situated contiguous to . These schools were instituted in , and incorporated in . The institution, which has for its object the

Christianising of the children of millions in the densely-crowded streets of the metropolis, amid the ignorance of an agricultural population, and the restlessness of the manufacturing and mining districts,

is supported by voluntary contributions. The number of schools in union with it amounts to upwards of . Here is the National Society's central depository for the sale, at a cheap rate, of books and apparatus for schools.

In , Sir John Hawkins, the author of the

History of Music,

and of a

Life of Dr. Johnson,

whose executor he was, died at his house near the Broad Sanctuary--the same which had formerly been the residence of the famous Admiral Vernon--in a street leading towards . The following anecdote about Sir John Hawkins's

History of Music

is taken from the --

The fate of this work was decided, like that of many more important things, by a trifle, a word, a pun. A ballad, chanted by a fillede-chambre, undermined the colossal power of Alberoni; a single line of Frederick the

Second

, reflecting not on politics but the poetry of a French minister, plunged France into the

Seven

Years' War; and a pun condemned Sir John Hawkins's

sixteen

years' labour to long obscurity and oblivion. Some wag wrote the following catch, which Dr. Callcott set to music:--

Have you read Sir John Hawkins's History? Some folks think it quite a mystery; Both I have, and I aver That Burney's History I prefer.

Burn his History

was straightway in every

one

's mouth; and the bookseller, if he did not follow the advice

a pied de la lettre

, actually wasted, as the term is, or sold for waste paper, some

hundred

copies, and buried the rest of the impression in the profoundest depth of a damp cellar, as an article never likely to be called for, so that now hardly a copy can be procured undamaged by damp and mildew. It has been for some time, however, rising--is rising, and the more it is read and known the more it ought to rise--in public estimation and demand.

In , immediately behind the , and on the site of the Mews, stands a large building of no great architectural pretensions, which is entered by an archway, and surrounds a court. It is divided into parts, the of which, to the south, having formerly been a police-barrack, has been devoted, since , to the purposes of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. This public office was established as a separate department about the

p.35

year , the stationery used in the public service having been previously supplied by individuals who had lucrative patents. A yearly estimate is published of the amount required

to defray the expense of providing stationery, printing, binding, and printed books, for the several departments of Government in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and some dependencies; and of providing stationery, binding, printing, and paper for the

two

Houses of Parliament; and to pay the salaries and expenses of the establishment of the Stationery Office.

The late Mr. J. R. M'Culloch, the eminent statistician, was for many years the Comptroller of this department.

was formerly called

Long Ditch.

At time it contained an ancient conduit, the site of which has since been marked by a pump. At the bottom of the well, it is said, is a black marble image of St. Peter, and some marble steps. The southern extremity of this street was called

Broken Cross.

, on the west side of , was formerly called , so named after Bennet (now Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge, to which the land belongs. Its name was changed some years ago, when a number of disorderly occupants were ejected, and new tenants admitted. The new name refers to Archbishop Parker, who, having bequeathed his valuable library to Corpus Christi College, is regarded as of its chief benefactors.

At the west end of Princes Court--a narrow turning out of Princes Street-resided, in , the great civic notoriety, John Wilkes. It has been noticed that his name, and the offices which he successively filled, coupled with it, were composed of letters :

John Wilkes, Esquire, Sheriff for London and Middlesex.

John Wilkes, Esquire, Knight of the Shire for Middlesex.

John Wilkes, Esquire, Alderman for Farringdon Without.

John Wilkes, Esquire, Chamberlain of the City of London.

The Right Honourable John Wilkes, Lord Mayor of London.

Opposite the is a Gothic column, or cross, nearly feet high, erected, in , as a memorial to Lord Raglan, and other

old

Westminster

scholars,

who fell in the Crimea, in -. It is of Aberdeen granite, and very picturesque, although somewhat incongruous, which is perhaps owing to its having been executed by various artists. Around the polished shaft, which rises from a decorated pedestal, are shields bearing the arms of those whom it commemorates. At the top of the sculptured capital are sitting figures, under Gothic canopies, representing the successive founders and benefactors of the School and Abbey-Edward the Confessor, Henry III., Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria. The whole is surmounted by a figure of St. George and the Dragon. The architect of this beautiful column was Sir G. Gilbert Scott; the figures of St. George and the Dragon, however, are by Mr. J. R. Clayton. In , the memorial having become somewhat dilapidated, a sum of towards its repair was voted by the Elizabethan Club, of which we have already spoken in our account of School.

 
 
Footnotes:

[extra_illustrations.4.26.2] High Gate

[extra_illustrations.4.27.1] Old House in King Street--1791

[extra_illustrations.4.27.2] Earl of Dorset

[extra_illustrations.4.27.3] The Spectator

[extra_illustrations.4.29.1] Basso Relievo of a Gardiner

[] See Vol. III., p. 74.

[extra_illustrations.4.29.2] The house once inhabited by the infamous Judge Jeffreys

[extra_illustrations.4.33.1] New Court House, Westminster

[extra_illustrations.4.33.2] George Canning

[extra_illustrations.4.33.3] Westminster Hospital

[extra_illustrations.4.33.4] Exterior of S. Transept of Great Exhibition Building

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Chapter I: Westminster: A Survey of the City: Millbank, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter II: Westminster.-Tothill Fields and Neighbourhood
 Chapter III: Westminster.-King Street, Great George Street, and the Broad Sanctuary
 Chapter IV: Modern Westminster
 Chapter V: St. James's Park
 Chapter VI: Buckingham Palace
 Chapter VII: The Mall and Spring Gardens
 Chapter VIII: Carlton House
 Chapter IX: St. James's Palace
 Chapter X: St. James's Palace (continued)
 Chapter XI: Pall Mall
 Chapter XII: Pall-Mall.-Club-Land
 Chapter XIII: St. James's Street.-Club-Land (continued)
 Chapter XIV: St. James's Street and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XV: St. James's Square and its Distinguished Residents
 Chapter XVI: The Neighbourhood of St. James's Square
 Chapter XVII: Waterloo Place and Her Majesty's Theatre
 Chapter XVIII: The Haymarket
 Chapter XIX: Pall Mall East, Suffolk Street, &c.
 Chapter XX: Golden Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXI: Regent Street and Piccadilly
 Chapter XXII: Piccadilly.-Burlington House
 Chapter XXIII: Noble Mansions in Piccadilly
 Chapter XXIV: Piccadilly: Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXV: Hanover Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVI: Berkeley Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVII: Grosvenor Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XXVIII: May Fair
 Chapter XXIX: Apsley House and Park Lane
 Chapter XXX: Hyde Park
 Chapter XXXI: Hyde Park (continued)
 Chapter XXXII: Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXXIII: Oxford Street.-Northern Tributaries (continued)
 Chapter XXXIV: Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries (continued)
 Chapter XXXV: Oxford Street East.-Northern Tributaries
 Chapter XXXVI: Oxford Street: Northern Tributaries.-Tottenham Court Road
 Chapter XXXVII: Bloomsbury.-General Remarks
 Chapter XXXVIII: The British Museum
 Chapter XXXIX: The British Museum (continued)
 Chapter XL: The British Museum (continued)
 Chapter XLI: Bloomsbury Square and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XLII: Red Lion Square, and its Neighbourhood
 Chapter XLIII: Queen Square, Great Ormond Street, &c.
 Chapter XLIV: Russell and Bedford Squares, &c.
 Chapter XLV: Gordon and Tavistock Squares, &c.
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--Description and Travel
London --England
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14824
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00063
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
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