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

Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries (continued).

Oxford Street, and its Northern Tributaries (continued).

 

And business compelled them to go by the way Which led them through Cavendish Square.--Old Song.

 

At the beginning of the last century, if we may believe contemporary accounts, Marylebone was a small village,

nearly a mile distant from any part of the metropolis.

In the year the plan for building and several new streets on the north side of , then, as we have already shown, called indiscriminately by that name and Tyburn Road, was suggested. About years afterwards the ground was laid out, and the circular plantation in the centre enclosed, planted, and surrounded by a parapet wall and wooden railings. The buildings, however, seem to have been proceeded with very slowly; for several years elapsed before either the square or the surrounding streets were actually completed. It was the building of this square that originally gave an impetus to the increase of Marylebone, and Maitland, in his

History of London,

published in , gives the number of houses in Marylebone as , and the persons who kept coaches (carriages) as thirtyfive.

At present,

writes Lambert in the year ,

the number of houses is near upon

9,000

, and the number of coaches must have increased in a proportionate if not even a greater ratio.

The present population () is estimated at about souls.

p.442

 

The South Sea Bubble, in the year , put a stop for a time to the building of the square, which for many years later remained in an unfinished state. In the view of by Sutton Nicholls, which bears the date of , this square is shown as standing almost alone to the north of , and surrounded by fields, with an uninterrupted view of Hampstead and Highgate. At this particular time extended very little way to the north, and Harley Fields were resorted to by thousands who went to hear George Whitefield preach there.

The site of is said to have been intersected by a shady lane called

Lover's Walk,

leading from to where now stands .

and the adjoining streets were named after the various relatives of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, K.G., and of his son, Lord Harley, afterwards Earl. The family titles as they stood in the pages of Lodge and Burke till the extinction of the peerage, were

Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, and Baron Harley of Wigmore Castle.

The earl married the Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles, only daughter and heiress of John, Duke of Newcastle, who carried all this property by marriage into the family of the Duke of Portland. It is necessary to state these facts in order to account for the names of , , and Henrietta, Harley, Wigmore, Mortimer, and Holles Streets, in the immediate neighbourhood.

The approaches to from are by Old Cavendish, Holles, and Princes Streets. Another short thoroughfare, called , leads into , which opens into the south-western corner of the square. By we now again proceed to make our way northward. The street was so called after the De Veres, who for many centuries previous to the Harleys had held the Earldom of Oxford. In this street resided Rysbrack, the sculptor, and here he died in . Gibbs, the architect, in a letter to Pope, says:

Mr. Rysbrack's house is in the further end of

Bond Street

, and up across Tyburne Rode (

sic

), in Lord Oxford's grownd, upon the right hand going to his chaple.

The chapel here spoken of stands at the corner of and . It is dedicated to St. Peter, and is a nondescript edifice of the reign of George I., built from the designs of Gibbs about the year , and is said in the prints of the day to have been erected at Lord Harley's cost,

to accommodate the inhabitants of his manor.

It may cause a smile to add that once it was thought of the most beautiful structures of its kind in London. In his

Guide to the London Churches

Mr. C. Mackeson thus remarks:

This is a Government church: the Government collects and reserves the pew-rents, and pays

£ 450

to the incumbent.

It has no district assigned to it; consequently it is not burdened with any poor, and cannot require any free seats! The chief interest of the chapel lies in the fact that the late Rev. F. D. Maurice was its minister for years before his death in . This chapel was called, down to a date within the present century,

Oxford Chapel,

and is described by Lambert, in , as surmounted by a steeple springing from the centre of the roof, and consisting of stages. Here, on the , William, Duke of Portland, was married to the Lady Margaret Harley, the heiress of Lord Oxford, the same lady whom Prior has celebrated as

my noble, lovely, little Peggy.

, which we now cross, runs from into the south-west corner of . At No. in this street resided for some time the venerable Countess of Mornington, mother of the Duke of Wellington, who, after living to witness the multiplied honours of her children, died in , at the age of . In this street is the studio of Mr. William Theed, the sculptor, to whose chisel we owe the group of

Asia,

on the Albert Memorial at Kensington. Mr. Theed numbered among his pupils Count Gleichen, formerly known as Prince Victor of Hohenlohe, and maternally a cousin of Queen Victoria.

Extending from the western end of to is , so named after Welbeck Priory, near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, the seat of the Duke of Portland. Here, at No. , lived the Right Hon. Henry Ellis, the diplomatist. He died in . At No. , in , lived Count Woronzow, of Russia, some time ambassador, and father-in-law of the Earl of Pembroke. Edmund Hoyle, of whist celebrity, who died here at the age of ninetyseven; Mrs. Piozzi, and Martha Blount, were also residents in this street at various dates. This street, says Mr. J. P. Malcolm,

will long be famous in the annals of our time as the residence of that mad and honourable (?) imitator of the Wat Tylers and Jack Straws of old times, Lord George Gordon.

In this street, too, resided for a short time before his death the eccentric John Elwes.

, between and , was so named after the family surname of the Duke of Portland. In this street Charles Dickens lived for some time with his

p.443

father, whilst acting as a newspaper reporter at , and in the

gallery

of the , spending his spare time amongst the books in the library of the . Here, too, Gibbon, the historian, lived for some time at No. , while member for Liskeard, and here he wrote a large portion of his

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,

and the whole of his

Defence.

In a letter to Lord Sheffield, dated , Gibbon writes:

For my own part, my late journey has only convinced me in the opinion that No.

7

,

Bentinck Street

is the best house in the world.

, which extends from , , to the north-west corner of , derives its name from Wigmore, in Herefordshire, whence Robert Harley took his title as Earl of Oxford, Earl Mortimer, and Lord Harley of Wigmore Castle. All these names are perpetuated in the streets in this immediate neighbourhood. In at time lived the friend of Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo; and here, at his humble lodgings, he used to entertain at breakfast Samuel Rogers, Tom Campbell, Roscoe the historian, Cyrus Redding, and other celebrities. Whilst residing here he showed in his studies that ardour which marks the man of genius.

I once found him there,

writes Cyrus Redding,

at noonday in summer, with his room still shut up, and studying by candlelight, forgetful that it was day. He had prolonged his sitting from the previous night, whilst composing an article for the forthcoming

Quarterly

.

We shall have more to say about his eccentric and wayward career when we come to stand by what was once his grave in Chiswick Churchyard.

From we pass into , at its north-western corner. In the reign of George II. the building of this square had been commenced, but had not been carried through, and the site lay desolate and incomplete. The writer of the

New Critical Review of the Public Buildings of London,

in , is uncertain whether he ought to call it

Oxford

or

Cavendish

Square; but whichever name we choose, he says,

here we shall see the folly of attempting great things before we are sure that we can accomplish little ones. Here it is the modern plague of building was

first

stayed; and I think the rude, unfinished figure of this project should deter others from a like infatuation. . I am morally assured that more people are displeased at seeing this square lie in its present neglected condition than are entertained with what was meant for elegance or ornament in it.... It is said the imperfect side (the north) of this square was laid out for a certain nobleman's palace, which was to have extended its whole length, and that the

two

detached houses which now stand at each end of the line were to have been the wings. I am apt, however, to believe that this is a vulgar mistake; for these structures, though exactly alike, could have been in no way of a piece with any regular or stately building; and it is to be presumed this nobleman would have as little attempted any other, as he would have left any attempt unfinished.

The

certain nobleman

to whom allusion is here made, is none other than the

princely

Duke of Chandos, who had succeeded in amassing a splendid fortune as paymaster to the army in Queen Anne's reign. It is said that he proposed building here a palatial residence, and to have purchased all the property between and his palace of Canons at Edgware,

so that he might ride from town to the country

through his own estate

.

Dodsley writes, in his

Environs of London,

:

In the centre of the north side is a space left for a house intended to be erected by the late Duke of Chandos, the wings only being built; there is, however, a handsome wall and gates before this space, which serve to preserve the uniformity of the square.

An elevation of the grand house or palace which the duke intended to erect may be seen in the Royal Collection of Maps and Drawings in the . It bears the inscription,

Designed by John Price, architect,

1720

.

It is obvious to remark that the connection of the

princely

duke with this square is still commemorated by , which joins its north-eastern corner with the east end of .

We shall have more to say about

princely Canons,

the duke's seat near Edgware, when we come to treat of the suburban districts. Meanwhile, we may be pardoned for reminding the reader that this duke is the person who figures in Pope's

Epistles

as Timon, the man who builds on a magnificent scale, but with false taste, and the downfall of whose projects the poet prophesied; and had he lived but years longer, would actually have seen. It is to his palace at Edgware, and not to that in Marylebone, that Pope alludes when he writes-

Another age shall see the golden ear

Imbrow the slope and nod on the parterre;

Deep harvest bury all his pride has planned,

And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.

At all events, it is not the fair goddess of corn, but the demon of bricks and mortar, who has

reassumed

the lordship of the vicinity of Cavendish

p.444

Square. Of the duke's magnificent conceptions in building here, the satirist says that-

Greatness with Timon dwells in such a draught

As brings all Brobdingnag before your thought;

To compass this his building is a town,

His pond an ocean, his parterre a down.

The duke's scheme, we need hardly say, was never carried out, for he died of a broken heart, caused by the death of his infant heir while being christened in the midst of the greatest pomp and magnificence. Of the wings of the duke's mansion, which we have mentioned above, is the large house standing at the corner of , which has numbered among its distinguished occupants, at different periods, the Princess Amelia, aunt to George III.; the Earl of Hopetoun, and the Hopes of Amsterdam; and also the late Mr. George Watson-Taylor, M.P., who, as John Timbs informs us,

assembled here a very valuable collection of paintings.

Mr. Watson-Taylor, in , was declared a bankrupt. At the outset of life he had a private income of a year, on which he lived comfortably. At he came into an income of a year, and by extravagant living, and by squandering sums of money on
articles of , he was quite ruined within or years. It was of him that Sir Robert Peel said, that

no man ever bought ridicule at so high price.

The other wing of the duke's plan is the corresponding mansion at the corner of . It has been for many years the town residence of the Earls of Gainsborough. The central part is now principally occupied by splendid mansions, the fronts of which are ornamented with Corinthian columns, said to have been designed by James, of Greenwich, who was architect to the duke at Canons.

It was at intended to place a statue of Queen Anne in the centre of the enclosure, and in the plan above referred to the statue is marked; the idea, however, was never realised, and the site remained vacant till , when Lieutenant-General William Strode erected an equestrian statue of William, Duke of Cumberland,

the butcher of Culloden,

as the inscription sets forth,

in gratitude for private kindness, and in honour of public worth.

The statue, which was of lead, gilt, represented the

hero

in the full military costume of his day; it has recently been removed. On the

p.445

south side, facing , is a colossal standing bronze statue of Lord George Bentinck, some time leader of the Conservative party in the ; this was set up soon after his death, in . The heavy wooden railings which originally surmounted the dwarf brick wall forming the enclosure were allowed to fall into a sad state of decay, so that in we are told that they made

but an indifferent appearance;

but the unsightly rails have long since given way to substantial iron railings. In this square, as also in and in , there remain, or remained till only a year or since, some good specimens of the flambeauxextinguisher which a century ago formed an almost necessary adjunct to the front door of a house
belonging to

the quality.

These extinguishers sometimes formed a part of the ornamental iron scroll-work with which the front entrances of town mansions were adorned. or good specimens of them are given in Robert Chambers'

Book of Days.

The large and heavy mansion called Harcourt House, which occupies the centre of the west side of the square, and which has long been the town residence of the [extra_illustrations.4.446.1] , was built by Lord Bingley, in -. It was purchased after his death by the Earl of Harcourt, who had previously built a house on the east side of the square. This mansion is mentioned by the author of the

New Critical Review,

already quoted, as

one

of the most singular pieces of architecture about

the town,

and

rather like a convent than the residence of a man of quality; in fact,

he adds,

it seems more like a copy of

one

of Poussin's landscape ornaments than a design to imitate any of the genuine beauties of building.

After an interval of a century and a half, the verdict of any man of architectural taste who sees it will be very much the same. It is a dull, heavy, drowsylooking house, and it has about it an air of seclusion and privacy almost monastic. Its seclusion of late has been increased by high walls, which have been raised behind the house, the chief object of which appears to be to screen the duke's stables from the vulgar gaze.

This square was the scene of of the mad freaks of Lord Camelford, who fell in a duel fought near Holland House, at Kensington. On occasion he and a boon companion, Captain Barry, returning home at a very late, or, more probably, very early hour, found the 'Charlies asleep at their posts, and woke them up and thrashed them, an offence for which the assailants were brought up next morning at the police station, and fined.

Among the celebrated inhabitants of may be mentioned Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who was living here, at all events, from to , during which period she was satirised with great grossness by Pope.

At No. lived for some time [extra_illustrations.4.446.2] , the painter. He produced such exquisite portraits as to become a dangerous rival to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and by whom Romney was always referred to as

the man of

Cavendish Square

.

Romney forsook his lawful wife, and became entangled with Emma, Lady Hamilton, whom he admitted as a model to his studio, and whom he portrayed in no less than of his most beautiful paintings; all of them are, however, more or less of the type of the Phrynes and Lesbias of Horace and Catullus. The house had been previously inhabited by Mr. F. Cotes, R.A., another distinguished portrait painter, who built it; it has been a home of arts and artists in its day, for it was subsequently tenanted by Sir Martin Archer Shee, R.A., afterwards President of the Royal Academy, who died in .

The mansion No. was for many years the scene of the fashionable

receptions

of the Dowager Countess of Charleville, the chief rival of Lady Blessington in her day, as a

queen of society.

At No. resided Field-Marshal Viscount Beresford, of the

great Duke's

chief companions-in-arms.

In this square lived, and here died in , aged , Edmund Hoyle, registrar of the Prerogative Court, but better known to the world at large as the author of

Hoyle's Games.

Here, too, lived Mr. Thomas Hope, F.R.S., F.S.A., the accomplished author of

Anastasius;

and also Matthew Baillie, the fashionable physician. At No. , behind the premises of the Polytechnic, was played, in , the great

International Chess Tournament,

players from all quarters of the world taking part in the competition. In this square, in , the newly-formed Dilettanti Society purchased ground on which they intended to build a house for their accommodation, but they afterwards abandoned the idea.

As a proof of the once rural character of the neighbourhood of , we may here mention that Mr. Fox told Samuel Rogers that when Dr. Sydenham was sitting at his window in , with his pipe and a silver tankard on the sill, a fellow made a snatch at the tankard and ran off with it, and that he was not overtaken, for his pursuers could not keep him in sight- further than the bushes at the top of , where they lost him.

In , close by , was the shop of Mr. Marsh, the publisher, in , of the , the literary venture of Mr. Benjamin Disraeli, subsequently Premier of England. He was already the editor of this periodical, of which the public took but little notice, when he gave to the world his novel,

Vivian Grey;

and Mr. Cyrus Redding tells us in his

Recollections,

that

D'Israeli reviewed and extolled his own book in his own columns.

The was strongly personal.

I have heard,

adds Redding,

that the author suppressed it, but not till it had attacked most of the literary men of the day.

It appears that Marsh meantime published

A Key to Vivian Grey,

professing to be a complete exposition of the royal, noble, and fashionable characters who figure in that most extraordinary work.

, which runs from the south side of the square into , was so named after Henrietta Holles, already mentioned as the daughter and heiress of John Holles, Duke of Newcastle. The street, which was originally composed of private houses, at present consists almost entirely of shops and private hotels. At No. in this street Lord Byron was born on the ; and a tablet has been placed on the front of the house by the Society of Arts, in order to record the fact for the benefit of posterity. Lord Byron was baptised in the old parish church of Marylebone.

p.447

 

In , Queen Hortense and her son Prince (afterwards Emperor) Louis Napoleon, took up their abode in ; and

assuming their own proper name and dignity, speedily found themselves the centre of a brilliant circle of sympathising friends.

At No. , in , which runs out of the square at its north-east angle, lived, for many years, the Right Hon. Joseph Planta, M.P., Chief Librarian of the British Museum--an office, the duties of which he discharged by deputy, whilst mixing in political and official circles.

, which unites the northern end of with , has numbered among its residents, at different periods, men famous both in literature and the fine arts. Here, in , [extra_illustrations.4.447.1]  was living when he wrote his play of the and at the beginning of this century, No. was in the occupation of Malone, the commentator on Shakespeare.

At No. was living, in the year , J. M. W. Turner, the prince of modern English landscape painters; and here he kept for many years the greater part of his stores of pictures, patiently biding his time till they should be worth thousands. He was right in his calculations, as well as in the estimate which he had formed of himself. Indeed, his and more paintings in the , not to mention his drawings on the basement-floor, and at South Kensington, show a versatility and an infinite variety, endless as Nature herself. It has been, perhaps justly, observed, that

after all allowance and deduction, Turner remains the fullest exponent of nature, the man above all others who was able to reflect the glory and the grandeur, the sunshine and the shade, the gladness and the gloom which in the outward landscape respond to the desires and the wants of the human heart.

He was just commencing to climb the hill of fame when he settled here. As a young man he was slovenly and untidy, and now he gave way to his for dirt and disorder. The house was

subsequently known,

writes Dr. W. Russell,

as

Turner's Den.

And truly it was a den. The windows were never cleaned, and had in them breaches patched with paper; the door was black and blistered; the iron palisades were rusty for lack of paint. If a would-be visitor knocked or rang, it was long before the summons was replied to by a wizened, meagre old man, who would unfasten the chain sufficiently to see who knocked or rang, and the almost invariable answer was,

You can't come in.

After the old man's death, an elderly woman, with a diseased face, supplied his place.

The same writer records a visit which Turner received at this

Den

from Mr. Gillat, a wealthy Birmingham manufacturer, who called in order to purchase of Turner's pictures.

He was met at the door by a refusal of admission, and was obliged to make an almost forcible entry. He had hardly gained the hall when Turner, hearing a strange footstep, rushed out of his own particular compartment, and angrily confronted the intruder,

What do you want here?

I have come to purchase some of your pictures.

I have none to sell.

But you won't mind exchanging them for some of these?

and he took out of his pocket a roll of bank-notes, to the amount of

five thousand pounds

. The Birmingham gentleman was successful, and carried off his

five thousand pounds

worth-now, perhaps, worth

five

times that sum--of the great artist's creations.

A wealthy merchant of Liverpool, at a later date, was less fortunate in his visit to the

Den.

He offered a for the art treasures rolled up in dark closets, or hanging from the damp walls, in .

Give me the key of the house, Mr. Turner,

said the would-be purchaser.

No, I thank you,

replied Turner;

I have refused a better offer.

And so he had. He could not bear to sell a favourite painting--it was a portion of his being; to part with it was a blotting out of that part of his life which had been spent in its creation. He was always dejected and melancholy after such a transaction; and he would say, with tears in his eyes,

I have lost

one

of my children.

Mr. C. Redding, in his

Fifty

Years' Recollections,

claims Turner as a native, not of , as usually supposed, but of the west country. He writes,

We were sailing on the St. German's River-Turner, Collier, and myself-when I remarked what a number of artists the West of England had produced from Reynolds to Prout.

You may add my name to the list,

said Turner;

I am a Devonshire man.

I asked from what part of the county, and he replied,

From Barnstaple.

I have, several times mentioned this statement to persons who insisted that Turner was a native of

Maiden Lane

, London, where, it is true, he appears to have resided in very early life, whither he must have come from the country. His father was a barber. When Turner had a cottage near Twickenham, the father resided with his son, and used to walk into town to open the gallery in

Queen Anne Street

, where I well remember seeing him, a little plain, but not ill-made old man-not

reserved and austere as his son, in whom the worth lay between a coarse soil.

Some years before his death, Turner abruptly and secretly quitted his

Den

and walked to , where he took lodgings next door to a ginger-beer shop close to Cremorne Pier; here, after some days, he was discovered by his faithful housekeeper, Miss Danby; but the hand of death was upon him. He died in , and was buried in the crypt of , near the grave of Reynolds.

Between and the house No. in this street was in the occupation of Fuseli, the painter; he afterwards removed to No. . In No. was the residence of Mr. Charles C. Pepys, while practising at the Bar; he became afterwards Lord Chancellor Cottenham. At that time No. was in the occupation of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, the Austrian Ambassador, who was still living there in . The prince, it will be remembered by some, at least, of our readers, was noted for the splendour of his attire when taking part in any public state ceremonial; and he is thus commemorated by Ingoldsby in

Mr. Barney Maguire's Account of the Coronation of Queen Victoria:

--

'Twould have made you crazy to see Esterhazy,

All jewels from jasey to his di'mond boots.

In this street Edmund Burke took up his residence in -, on his return from his public employment at Dublin, in order to resume his literary labours. Whilst living here he used to frequent the

Turk's Head,

in , and other debating societies of the metropolis; and on spare evenings was to be seen in the Strangers' Gallery in the , studying the art of oratory in the best school, from the lips of living orators.

Mr. Serjeant Burke tells us in his life of his kinsman, that the future statesman and orator, when he came to London to study for the Bar, found in the Strangers' Gallery a powerful attraction, which drew him away even from the tables of his friends.

It was his favourite custom to go alone to the

House of Commons

, there to ensconce himself in the gallery, and to sit for hours, his attention absorbed and his mind enwrapped in the scene beneath him.

Some of the men,

he remarked to a friend,

talk like Demosthenes and Cicero, and I feel, when listening to them, as if I were in Athens or Rome.

Soon these nightly visits became his passion; a strange fascination drew him again to the same place. No doubt the magic of his own master spirit was upon him, and the spell was working. He might be compared to the young eagle accustoming its eyes to the sun before it soars aloft . ..... The

House of Commons

was but his recreation; literature continued to be his chief employment.

Burke was still living in when he entered Parliament, by Lord Verney's influence, as of the members for Wendover. It may be added that if Burke really wrote the

Letters of Junius,

it is most probable that those letters were composed in this street.

In , at the end of , and looking directly down it, is a spacious mansion, formerly called Chandos House, but now divided into , built by the

princely

Duke of Chandos as a town residence. The side, or rather back front, of the mansion in opens into a garden on the western side adjoining Langham House.

, a continuation of on the north side of , was built by the brothers Adam, of the , about the year , on a plot of ground which had previously been a basin or reservoir of water. Some of the houses in this neighbourhood exhibit many good architectural details, especially in the rooms and staircases.

In this street, in , were living the Princess De la Beiza and the Prince of Asturias. This street appears to have been a great rallying-point for the Roman Catholic aristocracy. At various times the families of Lord Clifford, Lord Stourton, Lord Petre, the Howards of Corby, &c., have resided here. Count Woronzow, the Russian diplomatist, died at his residence in this street, in , at the age of .

is a short thoroughfare connecting with . Here was the town mansion of Mr. Thomas Hope, F.R.S., the author of

Anastatius,

The Costumes of the Ancients,

&c. Mr. Hope had here formed a valuable collection of works of art altogether unrivalled, and comprising paintings, antique statues, busts, vases, and other relics of antiquity, arranged in apartments, the furniture and decorations of which were in general designed after classic models, by the ingenious possessor himself. Among the specimens of sculpture was the exquisite group representing

Venus rising from the Bath,

by Canova. The whole of these valuables were open to the public, under certain restrictions, during

the season.

.

Mr. John Timbs says that, in the decoration of his mansion in this street, Mr. Hope

exemplified the classic principles illustrated in his large work on

Household Furniture and Internal Decorations.

Thus, the suite of apartments included the

Egyptian, or Black Room

, with ornaments from scrolls of papyrus and mummy-cases; the furniture and ornaments were pale yellow and bluishgreen, relieved by masses of black and gold. The

Blue

, or

Indian Room

, in costly Oriental style. The

Star Room

: emblems of Night below; and above,

Aurora visiting Cephalus on Mount Ida,

by Flaxman; furniture, wreathed figures of the Hours. The

Closet

, or

Boudoir

, hung with tent-like drapery; the mantelpiece, an Egyptian portico; Egyptian, Hindoo, and Chinese idols and curiosities.

Picture Gallery

, Ionic columns, entablature and pediment from the Temple of Erectheus at Athens, car of Apollo, classic tables, pedestals, &c. The

New Gallery

, for

one hundred

pictures of the Flemish school, antique bronzes and vases; furniture of elegant Grecian design.

Mr. Hope was of the earliest patrons of Chantrey, Flaxman, Canova, Thorwaldsen, and George Dawe; and he died here in .

dates from the same period as , with which it runs parallel on its western side. It was called after the Harleys, Earls of Oxford, to of whom Pope pays a well-deserved compliment in his

Moral Essays,

in which he writes :

And, showing Harley, teach the golden mean.

A happy and graceful allusion to the earl of that line, of whose marriage with the daughter and heiress of- the noble house of Holles we have already spoken. Harley died in , regretted by all men of taste and letters, great numbers of whom had experienced the benefits of his munificence. He left behind him of the most noble libraries in Europe. The collection was formed by himself and his son, and was purchased for the in . His name is perpetuated in the Harleian MSS. in the Museum, and in the

In this street Lord and Lady Walsingham were accidentally burnt to death in bed in . At No. lived Sir William Beechey, the celebrated painter, during the latter years of his life. He was born at Burford, in Oxfordshire, in , and in early life was articled in a solicitor's office, but at found admission as a student to the Royal Academy, where he became a pupil and close imitator of the great Sir Joshua. Having attracted public notice by his portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland, he was appointed portrait-painter to Queen Charlotte. In he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, and attained the full honours of R.A. years later. He died at Hampstead in , in his year. The house No. was built and occupied by Mr. John Stuart, the author of

Athenian Antiquities,

published under the auspices of the Dilettanti Society; it was afterwards the town-house of Admiral Viscount Keith.

At No. lived for many years [extra_illustrations.4.449.1] , the eminent geologist. Born at Kinnordy, in Fifeshire, in , he graduated at Exeter College, Oxford, and received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from his University in . He was twice President of the Royal Geological Society, and was the author of a volume of

Travels in North America,

The Antiquity of Man,

of treatises on the Elements and Principles of Geology, and of many papers in scientific journals. He was created a baronet late in life, and died here at the beginning of . His house, in , became the residence of Mr. W. E. Gladstone. In this street, too, lived Sir John Herschel, the son of Sir William Herschel, the astronomer. The father, who was of Hanoverian extraction, coming to England in the reign of George II., held for some time the post of organist at Halifax, and also at Bath. Whilst at the latter place he turned his attention to astronomy. He began to contribute to the

Philosophical Transactions

in , and in the following year announced to the world his discovery of a supposed comet, which soon turned out to be the new planet now called Uranus. This announcement drew him immediately into the

full blaze of fame,

and he was at once appointed astronomer to King George III. It was the discovery of this planet which gave the impetus to further additions to the solar system by others in more recent times. In the stellar field Herschel also achieved great results. Late in life he was elected President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and he died at Slough, near Windsor, in . Sir John Herschel, who was little inferior to his father, either as an astronomer or as a mathematician, received the honour of a baronetcy at the Queen's coronation, and was for some time Master of the Mint. He died in .

Allan Ramsay, the painter, who lived at No. , was appointed

principal painter to George III.,

and died in .

Allan Ramsay's house,

says Mr. Peter Cunningham,

was in

1800

the residence of Colonel John Ramsay, his son.

In No. was in the occupation of Mr. William Home, afterwards Sir William Home, Solicitor-General in -, and M.P. for Marylebone. In this street, too, lived Viscount Strangford, the diplomatist and poet; and also Lady Nelson, the relict of the hero of the Nile and Trafalgar.

p.450

 

Dean Swift appears to have been at time a resident here; at all events, he dates from of his letters to

Stella,

in which he alludes with feelings of disgust to the nightly outrages then being perpetrated in London by the

Mohawks,

whose street outrages we have already mentioned. This street is now principally inhabited by physicians and surgeons. On the west side, between and , are the Queen's College for Ladies and the Governesses' Benevolent Institution. The former was incorporated by Royal Charter in , for the general education of ladies, and for granting certificates of knowledge. Individual instruction is given here in vocal and instrumental music, and there is a Cambridge Scholarship, open to the daughters or granddaughters of a graduate of Cambridge.

The readers of Charles Dickens will hardly need to be reminded that it was in this street that

Mr. Merdle,

the gigantic swindler in

Little Dorrit,

resided.

Eastward of and running parallel

with it, is , a thoroughfare remarkable for its width, being upwards of feet wide, in respect of which it contrasts most agreeably with the narrow thoroughfares which prevail in most quarters of London, reminding us of the broad boulevards of Paris and other foreign cities, though falling short of them in beauty because it has no trees. In , however, it was resolved by the parochial and municipal authorities that trees should be planted on either side, but as yet the suggestion has not been carried into effect. The rows of stately houses which form were constructed from the designs of Mr. Robert Adam in , and named after the ground landlord. The north end was originally intended to have been terminated by a circus, but only half was built; and that, now designated [extra_illustrations.4.451.1] , was called, in , by Nash, the architect,

the key to Marylebone Park.

Had this design been carried out, it would have been the largest circle of buildings in Europe. The foundations of the western quadrant of it were even laid, and the arches for the coal-cellars turned. For some reasons, however, this plan was abandoned, and the entire chord of the semicircle left

p.451

open to the Park, instead of being closed in by the intended half circus. This alteration is a manifest improvement of the entire design, and is productive of great benefit to the houses in the crescent and in . Of , which was erected in its stead, we shall have to speak in a future chapter. In , facing , is a bronze statue of the [extra_illustrations.4.451.2]  the father of Queen Victoria; it was designed and cast by Gahagan.

Among the residents in have been [extra_illustrations.4.452.1] , who lived at No. , before settling in ; Joseph Buonaparte; the late [extra_illustrations.4.452.2]  and his son Sir

p.452

John Duke (afterwards Lord Chief Justice) Coleridge; and also Sir Charles Wheatstone, the inventor of the electric telegraph, and the man who, in conjunction with Sir William Fothergill Cooke, placed that discovery at the service of the nation, and, in fact, of the world. He died at Paris in , but his remains were brought over to England, and buried at Kensal Green.

Although less fashionably inhabited than when built, still numbers among its occupants several members of

the upper

ten thousand

,

including peers, baronets, judges, and ambassadors. In the year No. was the residence of Lord Denman, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench; No. was that of Count Batthyani; and at No. lived Sir William Curtis, the eccentric alderman, the advocate of

the

three

R's

--reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. No. at that time was occupied by Mr. J. B. Sawrey Morritt, of Rokeby, the friend and correspondent of Sir Walter Scott. Lord Selborne has lived in for the last years.

Here, in , was the Spanish Embassy; and here the ambassador gave a splendid entertainment on the in that year in honour of the marriage of his master, the King of Spain; the Prince Regent, all the royal dukes, and members of the Cabinet, the Duke of Wellington, &c., were present, the house was brilliantly illuminated, and a squadron of the Royal Horse Guards was on duty in the street in case of any disturbance arising.

In the year , according to a plan and detailed account given in Northouck's

History of London,

a new square was intended on the site of , to be called ; it was to be bounded by Foley House and gardens on the south; by houses abutting on on the east; by on the west; and by an island of mansions on the north; with grand streets, on the east, called Highgate Place; and the other, on the west, designated Hampstead Place. Westward, towards the south, is Great , and opposite to it, on the east, Little . This design, however, was abandoned, and built as above described.

It was part of Nash's design, in building , that the great thoroughfare should lead through and beyond to a magnificent palace to be built for George IV. in the centre of the . This design, also, was abandoned.

[extra_illustrations.4.452.3] , at the southern end of , was the town residence of Lord Foley; it was a large mansion, and with its surrounding grounds occupied a considerable amount of space, stretching away to the north-east corner of . The house was of the same width as , and had a somewhat dwarfed elevation; and the garden in front was separated from by a brick wall. The building was pulled down about the year , for the formation of , so called after the adjoining mansion, belonging to Sir James Langham. Foley House is still kept in remembrance by the name being given to of the mansions (No. ) on the east side of , and also by , which is immediately contiguous. In (now called ), which also occupied part of the grounds surrounding Foley House, lived John Hayter, the artist. Close by old Foley House, on part of the site now occupied by the Langham Hotel, stood till about Mansfield House, the town mansion of the Earl of Mansfield. The Lord Mansfield, it is said, owed his steps in professional success to the kindness of his friend and neighbour, Lord Foley, who allowed him a year out of his own not very large income, to

keep up appearances

till he could achieve an income for himself.

Lord Mansfield in his early life was a great friend of Pope, who addresses him in his

Moral Essays

as

Dear Murray;

and, in his later days, of Dr. Johnson, who, however, stoutly refused to give Scotland any very great share of the credit arising from his lordship's career, as he was educated in England.

Much may be done with a Scotchman,

the prejudiced old doctor would say, goodhumouredly,

if he is only caught young!

Close to Foley House stood also the mansion of Sir James Langham, after whom the adjoining Place was named. On its site, about the year , was erected a monster hotel called the

Langham

,

of the most spacious and complete establishments of the kind in London. Here families can live, being boarded by contract, escaping all the domestic worries of servants, and petty household expenses.

English inns have not lost their reputation for comfort and the attention paid to guests; but the almost entire alteration in the methods of travelling by the introduction of railways has left them considerably behind the requirements of the age. Except in the smaller towns and villages, they have been superseded by hotels-houses of a more pretentious kind, which contain suites of apartments for families or individuals who choose to be alone, also a larger apartment for travellers generally. About the year projects were set on foot for the purpose of building several hotels in London

p.453

worthy of the place, and corresponding to the vastness of modern demands, and the

Langham

was not only of the erected, but has ever since remained of the most important.

The Langham Hotel was originally designed by a company about the year , but the project proved abortive. The design, however, was subsequently taken in hand by another set of shareholders, who employed Messrs. Giles and Murray as the architects, and the foundations were laid in . The hotel, which cost upwards of , is of the largest buildings in London, and comprises no less than apartments. It measures upwards of feet in the facade looking up , and is upwards of feet in height, the rooms rising to a storey, and overtops by some or feet all the mansions in and . The style of architecture would be called Italian; it is, however, plain, simple, and substantial, and singularly free from meretricious ornament. It includes large drawing-rooms, a dining-room, or coffee-room, feet in length, smoking-rooms, billiard-rooms, post-office, telegraph-office, parcels-office, &c., thus uniting all the comforts of a club with those of a private home, each set of apartments forming a

flat

complete in itself. Below are spacious kitchen, laundry, &c., and water is laid over all the house, being raised by an engine in the basement. Some idea of the extensive nature of this establishment may be formed when we add that its staff of servants numbers about persons, from the head steward and matron down to the junior kitchenmaid and smallest

tiger.

The

Langham,

on an emergency, can make up as many as beds. The floors are connected with each other by means of a

lift

which goes up and down at intervals. It is as nearly fire-proof as art can render it.

The hotel, which may be called, not a monster, but a leviathan of its kind, was opened in , with a luncheon at which the Prince of Wales was present; and not long after its opening a dinner was given here, as an experiment towards utilising horse-flesh by the

hippophagists

of this country and of Paris. These monster hotels are no novelties in America; indeed, the Langham is far outstripped in size by the Palace Hotel at St. Francisco; but as this is the experiment of the kind which has been made in London, it may be as well to add that it has paid a dividend of per cent. upon the outlay.

[extra_illustrations.4.453.1]  has had, at different times, some noted men among its residents. At No. lived, and here also died, , the accomplished lawyer, philosopher, and historian, Sir James Mackintosh. His death was occasioned by a small bone of a fowl which accidentally lodged in his throat. He was buried in the churchyard at Hampstead. No. was formerly the house of [extra_illustrations.4.453.2] , the fashionable surgeon; and during the parliamentary season of , No. was the town residence of Daniel O'Connell, the well-known member for Dublin.

In the north-east corner of , at the point where the road sweeps boldly round to enter , stands [extra_illustrations.4.453.3] . It was built from the designs of Nash, in , and forms a pleasing termination of the view from the junction of and . It has a circular tower surrounded with Ionic columns, and Corinthian peristyle above; the

extinguisher

spire is circular and tapering. The interior arrangement is after the Italian style, being divided into a nave and aisles by colonnades. The altar-piece is a painting of

Christ crowned with Thorns,

by Westall. Among the previous incumbents of this church have been Dr. Thomson, Archbishop of York, and Dr. Baring, Bishop of Durham.

On the east side of , about half way between the church and the north end of Upper , is Hall. The building contains a spacious room which is occasionally used for balls, concerts, and other entertainments; and likewise for public meetings and lectures both on week days and Sundays. Here are the offices of the London Academy of Music, which was established in . The academy is open to amateur as well as to professional students, and the instruction in the various branches of musical education is given by some of the professors of the day.

The Portland Bazaar in , better known as the

German Fair,

was erected as far back as the year , and was opened as a bazaar in . years afterwards it was burnt down and rebuilt with great improvements. The management of this establishment was in respect unlike that of rival undertakings, as every young person employed had a direct interest in the profits, and was not in any way responsible for stall rents, or the purchase of stock; consequently there was no fear of her losing her little all. From November to the end of January the German Fair was literally crammed with customers, the whole stock being imported direct from Germany, France, and other foreign countries. When the bazaar was rebuilt after the fire above mentioned, the southern portion of the premises, up to that time used as a furniture warehouse, was converted into the large

p.454

building known as Hall, of which we have spoken above. In the winter of - the premises were taken for the purpose of forming a large -class

skating-rink,

and the necessary alterations were at once effected in the building. The project was started by a company, and the rink is called the

Langham.

It includes the conveniences of a club, a restaurant, &c., on the grandest possible scale. The rink comprises a hall fitted up for musical performances, fancy-dress , &c., and is surrounded by galleries which can be used as promenades. The decorations, illuminations, statuary, and lighting are of a most appropriate and novel character.

The upper part of was made by demolishing narrow and ill-built thoroughfares, called Edward and Bolsover Streets, which formed a continuous line from the east side of Foley House into , nearly opposite to Great , which, as we have shown in a previous chapter, was amplified into . On the west side of Upper is an institution perhaps as well known to country visitors to London as to Londoners themselves-[extra_illustrations.4.454.1] . It was founded in , for the exhibition of novelties in

the Arts and Practical Science, especially in connection with Agriculture, Manufactures, and other branches of Industry.

The buildings were enlarged in . The premises of this institution are capacious and wellappointed, and extend from the east entrance in feet in depth, including the mansion, No. , . The exhibition consists, for the most part, of mechanical and other models, distributed through various apartments; a hall devoted to manufacturing processes; a theatre, or lecture-room; a very spacious hall; and other apartments.

The

Great Hall

is lighted from the roof, and about midway around the apartment extends a roomy gallery. The latter contains models and designs. The floor of the hall was principally occupied by canals, containing a surface of feet of water; attached to which were the appurtenances of a dockyard, locks, water-wheels, steam-boat models, &c. But these have been removed as occupying too much space. At the west end is a reservoir, or tank, feet deep; this, with the canals, holds nearly gallons of water, and can, if requisite, be emptied in less than minute. Beneath the west-end gallery hangs the diving-bell, which has, from the commencement, been the chief and standing attraction of the Polytechnic, especially with the young folks and country cousins.

Courses of lectures are delivered on the principal topics of the day, and indeed upon almost every subject connected with human interest, accompanied with dioramic illustrations, and various optical illusions; not the least interesting of these was the so-called

Ghost

illusion, which is associated with the name of Professor Pepper, and has obtained great popularity in all the various shapes, dramatic and other, which it has assumed from season to season. The manufacture of spunglass also has been carried on in the large room almost from the commencement with great success. Whilst its rival, the Adelaide Gallery, in , has been converted to other purposes, the Polytechnic remains of the most popular and attractive exhibitions in London.

The Royal Polytechnic Institution, we may add, is under the management of a council. Besides the rooms mentioned above, there is an excellent laboratory, where chemical experiments are carried out. Public classes are likewise held, in which instruction is given in the various branches of science, in music, history, geography, in Latin, and also in French, German, and other modern languages. These classes are open to ladies as well as to gentlemen, and they render the institution a most valuable assistant to the cause of adult education. Prizes are given annually to the pupils who pass the best examinations.

In the house over the entrance of the Polytechnic Institution was opened, in , the Cavendish Club; its founder and proprietor was Mr. Lionel Booth. The club died a natural death at the end of , but was revived at the beginning of , under new management, and with increased resources, especially in the culinary department.

On the opposite side of the street is another house which has been at different times the home of divers clubs, some of which have had but a transient existence. At time it was the

Corinthian,

and opened professedly with the view of affording the luxury and comforts of a club to the north-west of London; but this proved a failure. In it was opened as the

Civil and Military,

a title which was subsequently altered to the

Civil and United Service.

Passing on a few yards further to the south, we find ourselves at , , of which we have already spoken in a previous chapter.

p.455

 
 
 
Footnotes:

[extra_illustrations.4.446.1] Dukes of Portland

[extra_illustrations.4.446.2] George Romney

[extra_illustrations.4.447.1] Richard Cumberland

[extra_illustrations.4.449.1] Sir Charles Lyell

[] See Vol. III., p. 243.

[extra_illustrations.4.451.1] Park Crescent

[extra_illustrations.4.451.2] Duke of Kent

[extra_illustrations.4.452.1] Mr. Ralph Bernal

[extra_illustrations.4.452.2] Sir John Taylor Coleridge

[extra_illustrations.4.452.3] Foley House

[extra_illustrations.4.453.1] Langham Place

[extra_illustrations.4.453.2] Sir Anthony Carlisle

[extra_illustrations.4.453.3] All Souls' Church

[extra_illustrations.4.454.1] the Royal Polytechnic

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 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
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