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

Gordon and Tavistock Squares, &c.

Gordon and Tavistock Squares, &c.


Lucus in urbe fuit media, gratissimus umbra.--Virgil, Aen. 1.


was so called after Alexander, Duke of Gordon, whose daughter, the Lady Georgiana Gordon, married, as his wife, John, Duke of Bedford, whose wife was a daughter of the noble house of Torrington.

The south-west corner of is occupied by a very large and noble Gothic building, the Metropolitan Church or Cathedral of the

Catholic and Apostolic Church,

as the followers of Edward Irving style themselves. It was built .about the year , from the designs of Mr. R. Brandon and Mr. Ritchie. The exterior is of Early-English design, and the Decorated interior has a triforium in the aisle-roof, after the manner .of our early churches and cathedrals. The ceilings are highly enriched, and some of the windows are filled with stained glass; the northern doorway and porch and the southern wheel-window are very fine. A beautiful side chapel has been added on the south, styled a

Lady Chapel;

but the name is inappropriate, as devotion to the Virgin Mary forms no part of the Irvingite creed. Grouped around the church are some Gothic houses, with projections and gables, pointed-headed windows, and traceried balconies.

Previous to the building of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the


had their headquarters for some years in a chapel in , which, as we have already stated, had preriously served as Benjamin West's studio.

The scene in this chapel,

writes Mr. James Grant, in his

Travels in Town,



which might well have made angels weep. I myself have repeatedly, in the course of


morning's service, witnessed no fewer than from




exhibitions, in the way of speaking with tongues [he means, of course,

unknown tongues

]. There was


young lady who spoke


different times in this way in less than an hour; and sounds more wild or more unearthly than those she uttered it has never been my lot to hear.

The writer, however, whilst regretting Mr. Irving's novel and strange views, defends him zealously from the charge so frequently brought against him in his life-time, of aiding in an imposture, certifying to his single-heartedness and honesty. He adds that the late Mr. Henry Drummond, of Albury, M.P. for Surrey, and a son of the Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, were among those who frequented this chapel, and that Mr. Irving himself, as the


of it, was styled its


[extra_illustrations.4.573.1]  propounded or exhibited the strange doctrine which became associated with his name in the parish of Row, and the town of Port Glasgow, in Scotland; but afterwards settled in London, preaching in a chapel in , and afterwards in the Scotch Church in , which was built expressly for him. Here, we are informed,

the religious services were interrupted

by the harangues of the inspired; women started up and in strange tones poured forth a jargon of words which none could understand, but which were assumed to be inspired by the same power that had imparted the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost; even the lame were commanded to walk, and the dead to rise to life by those confident thaumaturgists, who were astonished at the non-compliance of their patients, and in whom, want of faith alone, they declared, had been the cause of the failure. And of all the deluded none exceeded Mr. Irving himself, whose morbid intellect it inspired with fresh activity, and to whose eloquence it furnished a new and exciting theme. The latter days, he declared, had come; the miraculous powers of the Church were restored; the millennium itself was at hand. But the Church of Scotland could no longer tolerate the unsoundness of his preaching and the extravagant displays of his congregation; and in


he was deposed from his local cure, as minister of the Scots Church in

Regent Square

, by the presbytery of London, and finally, in the year


, from his standing as an ordained minister, by the presbytery of his native Annan. For these exclusions, however, Mr. Irving cared little, surrounded as he was by prophets and prophetesses, who were of higher account with him than presbyteries and general assemblies ; and on his expulsion from

Regent Square

he betook himself to a building in

Newman Street

, which his people had fitted up as a place of worship, and where he organised his congregation into a separate and distinct Church. They were now placed under a fourfold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors, Mr. Irving himself being ordained as the


of the Church in

Newman Street

. In


he died, at the age of


, worn out by a life of intellectual excitement and by the feverish labours of his latter years in supporting and propagating the doctrines of his new system.

Irving's oratorical powers, and the novelty of the doctrines promulgated by him,


immense congregations, and he became the

observed of all observers.

We are told that his figure, air, costume, and uncapped head attracted the gaze, if not the admiration, of the young and old. He was a tall, gaunt figure, with dress of unusual cut, with his hat generally in his hand; a head of black hair, starting in all directions like the projecting quills of the

fretful porcupine;

lank cheeks, and eyes apparently directed to the sides of the street rather than to his pathway, which was usually in the middle of the road.

Mr. Grant, in his

Travels in Town,

tells us that the Irvingite body, in spite of having diminished in numbers since the death of its founder, has churches in the metropolis besides its central place of worship, in allusion, doubtless, to the



of the Book of Revelation.

On the west side of , and in the rear of University College, is University Hall. It was designed by Professor Donaldson in , and was built for the purpose of instructing such young men as chose to reside there in theology and moral philosophy, subjects which are excluded from the college curriculum. The architecture is Elizabethan or Tudor, in red brick and stone, and the grouping of the windows is effectively managed.

, which lies on the east side of , is named from the Duke of Bedford's title, Marquis of Tavistock. , long the residence of James Perry, editor of the during its palmiest days, became in later times the abode of Charles Dickens, who took possession of it in , having removed hither from , Marylebone. Here he almost immediately set to work upon the number of

Bleak House,

which he had long been meditating. Here his children's private theatricals were commenced on Twelfth Night in , being renewed annually till the actors ceased to be children any longer. They were often aided by Mr. Mark Lemon, Douglas. Jerrold, and Mr. Planche, and among the audience were Sir Edwin Landseer, Clarkson Stanfield, and the other friends of


in his early days. But it was not only at Christmas that Dickens delighted in his private theatricals. In the summer of , for instance, he threw open his little theatre to, several gatherings of a larger and outer circle of friends, amongst whom were Lord Campbell, Peter Cunningham, Lord Lytton, William M. Thackeray, and Thomas Carlyle. He described himself on his play-bills as

Lessee and Manager, Mr. Crummles ;

his poet was Wilkie Collins,

in an entirely new and original domestic melodrama;

and his scenepainter was [extra_illustrations.4.573.2] . The performances included

The Lighthouse,

by Mr. W. Collins; and it may be recorded here that the scene of the Eddystone Lighthouse in this little play, afterwards carefully framed, and hung up in the hall at Gad's. Hill, near Rochester, Dickens' last home, fetched a guineas at the sale of the great novelist's effects. It was at supper, after of these performances, that Lord Campbell told the company that he would rather have written


than be Lord Chief Justice and a Peer of Parliament.

The best of the performances,

writes Mr. John




Tom Thumb







, Dickens himself now


joining in the revel, and Mark Lemon bringing into it his own clever children, and a very mountain of child-pleasing fun in himself. Dickens had become very intimate with him, and his merry, genial ways had given him unbounded popularity with the young ones, who had no such a favourite as


Mark. In Fielding's burlesque he was the giantess Glumdalea, and Dickens was the Ghost of Gaffer Thumb, the names by which they appeared respectively being the

Infant Phenomenon

and the

Modern Garrick.

But the youngest actors carried off the palm. There was a Lord Grizzle, at whose ballad of Miss Villikins, introduced by desire, Thackeray rolled off his chair in a burst of laughter that became absurdly contagious. Yet even this, with hardly less fun from the Noodles, Doodles, and King Arthurs, was not so good as the pretty, fantastic, comic grace of Dollalolla, Huncamunca, and Tom. The girls wore steadily the airs which are irresistible when put on by little children; and an actor, not out of his


year, who went through the comic songs and the tragic exploits without a wrong note or a victim unslain, represented the small helmeted hero.

There is, it may be added, a most amusing paper in on these

Amateur Theatricals at

Tavistock House


written by who had been a member of the juvenile company. In the getting--up of these amusements Dickens was happy to secure the help of Mr. J. R. Planche in costume, and the

priceless help

of Clarkson Stanfield in his scenery.

Southward of the square is , which has had among its residents some men of note in their day. At No. lived John Pinkerton, the historian.


says Mr. Peter Cunningham,

his depraved mode of life was the cause of continual quarrels with abandoned women.

No. was for some time the residence of Francis Douce, the antiquary, the author of a

Dissertation on the Dance of Death,


Illustrations of Shakespeare and of Ancient Manners.

John Galt afterwards resided in the same house. Here he wrote his autobiography and many other literary works, including a

Life of Byron.

As editor of , he lived a stormy life, being involved in repeated controversies. No. in this street, more recently the residence of [extra_illustrations.4.574.1] , is worthy of a note, as having been the residence of Francis Baily, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and also the spot where, in II, the weight of the world was ascertained by him as the result of mathematical computation. An account of it is to be found in John Timbs'

Year-Book of Facts

for . With reference to this building, Sir John Herschel writes:

The house stands isolated in a garden, so as to be free from any material tremor from passing carriages. A small observatory was constructed in the upper part. The building in which the earth was weighed, and its bulk and figure calculated, the standard measure of the British nation perpetuated, and the pendulum experiments rescued from their chief source of inaccuracy, can never cease to be an object of interest to astronomers of future generations.

Parallel with , on the south side, and extending from to , is , so named after Captain Coram, the founder of the . In this street is a building of some architectural pretensions, the centre having a handsome portico with pillars. It is called the [extra_illustrations.4.574.2] , and is somewhat similar in plan to the , though on a smaller and less ambitious scale. The house was erected on speculation for the purpose of holding assemblies and balls, and was purchased in the year from Mr. James Burton, the builder, by the managers of the institution. There is here an extensive and valuable library, consisting of the most useful works in ancient and modern literature; and the reading-room is well managed and attended.

In , Thackeray, then newly married, took up his residence in this street, where he lived for years, occupying himself with his literary contributions to , and. an occasional illustration. It was while residing here that he day called on Dickens, with an offer to illustrate


an offer which was

declined with thanks,

and possibly turned the course of his life into a different channel. Had his offer been accepted, he probably would have become an artist, and possibly an R.A.; but

Vanity Fair

would never have been written.

On the north side of are and . In the former, at No. , lived Mrs. Davidson, who, as Miss Duncan, attained high repute on the stage by her performances in and other dramas, but who lived to see her fame decline. Often would she walk to and from the theatre twice a day, to rehearsal and performance, in wet and cold weather, whilst her husband was either in bed or at a gaming-table.

In this street, as Mr. Grant tells us in his

Travels in Town,

there was formerly of the chapels of the sect founded by Emmanuel Swedenborg, called the New Jerusalem Church.



At Burton Cottage, , lived John Britton, F.S.A., the topographer, antiquary, and man of letters, who has already been briefly mentioned in our account of , Clerkenwell. John Britton was a native of Kington St. Michael, Wiltshire, where his father was a small farmer and kept a village shop. At an early age he came to London, and, as we have said, was apprenticed to a wine-merchant. At that time, and even on reaching manhood, his education was very imperfect; he, nevertheless, formed the acquaintance of various persons connected with the humbler walks of literature, and was induced to embark in a small way on authorship himself, by compiling some common street song-books, &c. Becoming acquainted with Mr. Wheble, the publisher of the , for which he had prepared some short notices, he obtained his introduction into the career which he so long and honourably pursued. Wheble, whilst residing at Salisbury, had issued the prospectus of a work to be called the

Beauties of Wiltshire,

but was not able to carry it on; but now, finding that Britton was a native of that county, Wheble proposed to him to compile the work he had announced. Among Britton's acquaintances was a young man named Brayley, of about his own age, but somewhat better taught; they had assisted each other in their studies, and they now entered upon a sort of literary partnership. In due time the

Beauties of Wiltshire

was completed, and at the invitation of the publishers the joint authors immediately afterwards set to work on the

Beauties of Bedfordshire.

Eventually the


of all the other counties of England were published, in volumes, but only the were written by the original authors. In , Mr. Britton produced the part of a more elaborate work, the

Architectural Antiquities of England,

which in the end formed splendid volumes. From this time Mr. Britton's course was of laborious and persevering authorship in the path which he made for many years in a special manner his own--that of architectural and topographical description. Of the many works of this character which he produced, the most important is the

Cathedral Antiquities of England.

Mr. Britton died in , at an advanced age.

No. , , which intersects , was for some years the home of [extra_illustrations.4.575.1] , the Socialist. Like Mr. Britton, Owen was of humble origin. He was for some time a successful cotton-spinner at Lanark, in Scotland, during which period he attended with benevolent. care to the welfare of the persons employed and to the education of their children. He here: introduced many improvements, since adopted in other schools, so as to make instruction at once attractive and useful; and founded, if not the , of the earliest of the infant schools.. About this time he published his

New View of Society, or Essays on the Formation of Human Character,

and subsequently a

Book of the New Moral World,

in which he developed a theory of modified Communism. In , this eccentric philanthropist went to North America, where he attempted, but unsuccessfully, to found a settlement. The latter years of his life, which were spent in England, were devoted to various objects, all more or less visionary,

the foretelling of the millennium on earth; the establishing of a system of morality, independent of religion; and a vindication of his claims to be able to hold conversations with the spirits of the dead, particularly with the late Duke of Kent.

He died in , at his birthplace in North Wales.

is only noticed in the

Handbook of London

as containing

a statue of Major Cartwright, by Clarke, of Birmingham, which is a disgrace to art.

This Major Cartwright was of the earliest advocates and champions of Parliamentary reform. In

A Book for a Rainy Day

it is stated that he was born at Marnham, Nottinghamshire, in .

In the year


he entered the naval service, under the command of Lord Howe; was promoted to a lieutenancy in

September, 1762

, and continued on active service until the spring of


. Then retiring to recruit his health, he remained at Marnham till invited by his old Commander-in-chief, in the year




; but not approving of the war with America, he declined accepting the proffered commission. About the same time he became major of the regiment of Nottinghamshire Militia, then for the


time raised in that county, in which he served


years. When George III. arrived at the year of the Jubilee, a naval promotion of


lieutenants to the rank of commanders took place, and the name of J. C. standing the


on the list, he was commissioned as a commander accordingly. In the year


he published

The Trident,

a work in quarto, having for its object to promote that elevation of character which can alone preserve the vital spirit of a navy, as well as to furnish an inexhaustible patronage of the arts.

The major, who often distinguished himself at the Covent Garden hustings, lived to a ripe old age, and was much esteemed by all who knew him.


He died at his residence in in the year . [extra_illustrations.4.576.1] 

and preserve the name of the builder, who may be regarded as the creator of all this district, James Burton, of whom Mr. Britton thus writes in his



The career of Mr. Burton was like that of many other ardent and speculating persons. In his


undertaking of building

Russell Square


Bedford Place


Upper Bedford Place

, &c., he was eminently successful, and might have retired from the working world with a handsome fortune; but he was tempted to embark in further speculations by engaging to cover a large tract of ground belonging to the Skinners' Company: this proved a failure, and he sustained serious losses. During this time he became connected with John Nash, the sycophant architect and companion of the Prince Regent and after King. That architect, like Mr. Burton, was an active, speculating man; and among other plans for the improvement of London, his designs for

Regent Street

, the

Regent's Park


St. James's Park

, and Buckingham Palace, were accepted and acted upon. Mr. Burton was intimately connected with Nash in carrying into effect much of the

New Road

, and also the

Regent's Park

, in the latter of which he built a handsome villa for himself, where he resided some years. At a previous time he had embarked in gunpowder works in Kent, and built a country seat near, Tunbridge. Soon afterwards he ventured on the perilous task of building and forming the new town of

St. Leonard's

; to convey occupants to which he established coaches to run between that place and the metropolis. These were hazardous and losing schemes, and the very worthy but daring builder was, consequently, involved in ruin. Amongst a large family, his son, Decimus Burton, has been eminently successful as an architect, and has designed many handsome buildings in London.

To the east of , and connecting with the , is . Sir Andrew Judd, or Judde, after whom the street was named, was a native of Tunbridge in Kent, and was Lord Mayor of London in . He bequeathed a large part of his wealth towards founding and endowing a public school in his native town. Among the lands so bequeathed were certain

sand-hills on the back side of



then let for grazing purposes at a few pounds a year, but now covered with houses, and bringing in an income of several thousands a year. Sir Andrew Judde lies buried in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, and his school now flourishes among the best grammar schools in the kingdom.

On the east side of , behind the , is , which is chiefly noticeable for containing the Scotch Presbyterian Church, where, as we have already stated, the Rev. Edward Irving and his peculiar doctrines and


attracted large and fashionable congregations in the early part of this century. The church, which stands at the corner of , is Gothic in style, and was built in -, by Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Tite, the architect, who adopted as his model the principal front of York Minster; the twin towers are feet in height. On the east side of the square is , commonly called Church. Here, too, is a charitable institution, wholly dependent upon voluntary contributions; it is called the Home of Hope, and has been established

for the reception of such young women, before they become mothers, as are unfitted, from their previous good character and position, for the general wards of a workhouse.

Passing in the direction of , by a few streets of little or no importance, we arrive in , which, with its trees and greensward, has quite a refreshing appearance after escaping from some of the narrow streets which surround it. Here is the New Jerusalem Church, which was opened in for the followers of Swedenborg, whom we have mentioned above. The church is in the Anglo-Norman style of architecture, and was built from the designs of Mr. Hopkins; it has towers and spires, each terminating with a bronze cross; the intervening gable has a stone cross, and a wheel-window over a deeply-recessed doorway. The interior of the church has a vaulted roof; the altar arrangements are somewhat peculiar, and there is an organ and choir.

, , and a few others in the neighbourhood, were named after the Ministers in office at the date of their erection. In , a little to the eastward of , is a small building which has been occasionally used for amateur theatrical performances. It was originally an auction-room, but has since been turned into the , or, as it is sometimes called,

Cabinet Theatre.

Having now arrived at , which has been already fully described in these pages, we shall in the succeeding chapters travel over the outlying portions of London, on the south-west and west frontier of the great metropolis, commencing our journey anew at .


[extra_illustrations.4.573.1] Irving

[] Comprehensive History of England, vol. iv., p. 769.

[extra_illustrations.4.573.2] Clarkson Stanfield

[extra_illustrations.4.574.1] Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt

[extra_illustrations.4.574.2] Russell Literary and Scientific Institution

[] See Vol. II., p. 323.

[extra_illustrations.4.575.1] Robert Owen

[extra_illustrations.4.576.1] Liverpool Street Railway Station

[] See Vol. III., p. 539.

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
London (England)--Description and Travel
London --England
Permanent URL
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00063
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights