Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4Thornbury, Walter
As stated in the previous chapter, the north side of , in , is nearly all occupied by the lofty mansions of . They cover the site of Carlton House, the palace of Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III., and subsequently for many years the residence of George IV., when Prince of Wales. The building is mentioned by the author of the
in the reign of George II., as
meaning Prince Frederick. He describes it as
adding, however, that
The house was distinguished by a row of pillars in front; whilst York (now Dover) House, , the residence of the Prince's brother, the Duke of York, was marked by a circular court, serving as a sort of entry hall, which still remains. These buildings being described to Lord North, who was blind during the latter period of his life, he facetiously remarked,
John Timbs attributes this to Sheridan.
The house itself stood opposite what is now , looking northward, and the forecourt was divided from by a long range of columns, handsome in themselves, but supporting nothing. Hence the once famous lines-
thus Anglicised by Prince Hoare-
Lord North's allusion to these columns, quoted above, was scarcely much more complimentary. This screen, or colonnade, of single pillars, with the long line of cornice or entablature which rested upon them, formed a disagreeable impediment to the view of the front of the palace.
writes Thackeray in
The facade of the palace consisted of a centre and wings, rusticated, without pilasters; and an entablature and balustrade which concealed the roof. The portico, by Holland, was of the Corinthian order, consisting of columns, with details taken from the Temple of Jupiter Stator, in the Forum at Rome. Above this was an enriched frieze, and a tympanum, adorned with the Prince's arms. All the windows were plain and without pediments, except in the wings.
There were in the building several magnificent apartments, which were fitted up and furnished in the most luxurious manner; and there was also an armoury, said to be the finest in the world. The collection was so extensive as to occupy rooms, and consisted of specimens of whatever was curious and rare in the arms of every nation, with many choice specimens of ancient armour.
The building was modernised at a vast expense in the year . and in further alterations were made in the interior. The edifice at this period is thus described in the :--
of the most splendid apartments in the palace was the crimson drawing-room, in which the Princess Charlotte was married, in , to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. This apartment was embellished with the most valuable pictures of the ancient and modern schools, bronzes, ormolu furniture, &c. The other state apartments on the upper floor were the circular cupola room, of the Ionic order; the throne-room, of the Corinthian order; the splendid ante-chamber; the rose-satin drawing-room, &c., all of which were furnished and embellished with the richest satins, carvings, cutglass, carpetings, &c. On the lower level, towards the gardens and , were other equally splendid suites of apartments, used by the Court for domestic purposes, and for more familiar parties. These rooms, which were designed by Mr. Nash, consisted of a grand vestibule, of the Corinthian order; the [extra_illustrations.4.87.7] , the [extra_illustrations.4.87.8] , a splendid [extra_illustrations.4.87.9] , and the Library.
The mansion was erected for Lord Carlton, in , and was bequeathed to his nephew, the Earl of Burlington, from whom it was purchased by Frederick, Prince of Wales, in . The house in its original state was of red brick, and differed but little from any of the houses of noblemen and gentlemen which surrounded it. The necessary alterations for the reception of the Prince were at once begun, and the palace was newfronted with stone. Flitcroft is said to have drawn for the Prince, in , a plan intended as an improvement on the existing house; and Kent designed a cascade in the same year for the garden, where a saloon was afterwards erected, and paved with Italian marble brought to England by Lord Bingley and Mr. George Dodington. The walls were adorned with statuary and paintings, and the chair of state was of crimson velvet embroidered with gold, said to have cost . Rysbrack sculptured statues of Alfred and Edward the Black Prince, which were placed on marble pedestals in the garden. The grounds, which extended westward as far as Marlborough House, were in summer a perfect mass of umbrageous foliage; and in them men of the last generation remember to have heard nightingales singing. Indeed, the grove of trees was so tall and so thick, that it contained a rookery so lately as the year . This fact is commemorated by some amusing verses entitled
in that year.
Adjoining the palace was a Riding House, which, when the palace was demolished, was allowed to stand for some years, and was converted into a storehouse for some of the public records. It was long known as Carlton Ride. Its antiquarian contents were subsequently transferred to the great central building in .
In of the lodges dwelt
the royal porter to George III. and IV.; he is said to have stood nearly feet high.
The whole of Carlton House was pulled down in , in order to make room for the central opening of . Some of the Corinthian columns, which formed the colonnade in front of the house, were used in the portico of the , and others were made use of in the chapel at Buckingham Palace.
The author of an amusing
published in , thus expresses himself (or herself) with respect to Carlton House :
The shadowy and extravagant court kept up [extra_illustrations.4.87.10]
| here by Frederick, as described by who knew several of its members, Sir N. W. Wraxall, was not such as to convey a very favourable impression of the good sense of the father of George III. |
writes that author,
It was partly at Carlton House that Frederick, Prince of Wales, in the lifetime of his father George II., held his miniature court, and amused himself with sketching out future administrations, in which his friends the Duke of Queensberry, the Earl of Middlesex,
Spencer, Lord John Sackville, and Francis, Earl of Guildford, were to have their parts. Sir N. W. Wraxall tells us in his
that Lady Archibald Hamilton, the Prince's , resided close to Carlton House, the Prince having allowed her to construct some apartments, the windows of which commanded a view over the gardens of that house, and which, indeed, communicated with the house itself.
Among the guests here in the time of Frederick, Prince of Wales, was Pope, who paid his royal highness very many compliments.
said the Prince,
replied the crafty poet,
After the accession of George III. Carlton House was occupied by the Princess of Wales; and hither the young king was accustomed to repair of an evening, and pass the hours with his mother and her special favourite, Lord Bute, the world supposing that the trio formed a sort of interior cabinet, which controlled and directed the ostensible administration. Here, too, the lucky Scotchman whom good fortune, almost in a jest, raised to the premiership, used to pay his mysterious visits to the Princess of Wales--the mother of George III.-in Miss Vansittart's sedan chair, to the great scandal of the entire court.
The extraordinary degree of favour accorded to Lord Bute, and the predilection with which he was known to be regarded by the Princess of Wales, afforded fuel to popular discontent; and the public mind was inflamed by a series of satirical prints, in which her royal highness was held up to odium and reproach, the most odious comparisons being drawn between the Premier and herself and Mortimer and the Queen-Dowager Isabella, of the time of Edward III. The employed the pen of most powerful satire in the same direction.
of the maids of honour in the establishment of the Princess of Wales at this house was Miss Elizabeth Chudleigh, better known a few years later as the Duchess of Kingston. When reproached for some irregularities by her royal mistress, whose for the society of Lord Bute was notorious, she replied, with her usual wit and insolence,
It is well known that throughout his boyhood and youth, and even in his early manhood, George III. lived a very quiet and secluded life: how quiet and how secluded, may be gathered from Sir N. W. Wraxall's
Carlton House, from time to time, proved a focus of political faction. Sir N. W. Wraxall describes with great minuteness the entertainment given here by the Prince of Wales in , in honour-of the return of Fox for , after a prolonged and exciting contest in which both parties put forth all their strength.
A few days afterwards, a banquet even more magnificent was given by the Prince in the same interest-antagonistic, of course, to his father and his father's ministers-
if we may believe the same writer,
adds the gossiping writer,
Here, also, in , the Prince used to give dinners on Saturdays and Sundays to the hangerson of the Whig party, in the hope of confirming them in their allegiance to Fox. The guests were often or in number. Sir N. W. Wraxall says,
Here the Prince of Wales, in , received the deputation from the , with Pitt at its head, which offered the Regency to his acceptance.
It is well known that George II. and his eldest son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, during several years previous to the early death of the latter, lived
with each other, and without even the veil of decency being drawn before their expressions of mutual dislike. To a certain extent, though not to the same degree, the court of Carlton House under George IV., as Prince of Wales, was maintained in constant hostility to that of the King his father at St. James's and at Kew.
In Mr. T. Raikes's
we get some insight of the manner in which the unfortunate marriage of the Prince of Wales was brought about. The author, as he tells us, was often in the company of the Duke of Wellington, who talked much about the Royal Family in his time, and on occasion more especially with reference to the above marriage.
Queen Caroline on reaching England could not speak a word of English. So Samuel Rogers tells us in his |
It is impossible at this interval of time to conceive the bitterness with which Queen Caroline was assailed by the Tory press, at the head of which, for wit and influence, stood the , with Theodore Hook as its editor. It is with a dash of dry humour that Hook's biographer, in an article in the , makes these observations:--
On the meeting of both Houses of Parliament on the , a report of the physicians on the state of the King's health was brought in and laid before the members. The final issue of all the debates which followed was, that the Prince of Wales should be Regent, under certain restrictions; and that the Queen should have the care of the King's person, her Majesty being assisted by a council. The ceremony of conferring the regency on the Prince was performed at Carlton House with great pomp, on the ; and in the following June, the Prince Regent gave here a grand supper to guests, a stream with gold and silver fish flowing through a marble canal down the central table.
of the acts of the Regent, after his being sworn in in due form before the Privy Council, was to receive here the address of the Lord Mayor and Common Council of the City of London on the occasion; and as he on the same day held a council, all the Ministers of State were present, when it was read in a very solemn manner. The address of the City was partly condoling and partly congratulatory. Among the grievances was specified
To this the Prince Regent returned a kind and dignified answer, assuring the City that he should esteem it as the happiest moment of his life, when he could resign the powers delegated to him into the hands of his sovereign, and that he should always listen to the complaints of those who thought themselves aggrieved.
The household of the Prince Regent here was full of bickerings and quarrels. As a proof of the absurd stress laid by his Royal Highness upon the merest trifles, it may be mentioned that on occasion the sub-governess of the Princess Charlotte was obliged to resign her situation at.Court because her youthful ward, in a freak, had made a childish will in rhyme, leaving her poll parrot to , and all her non-valuables to Miss Campbell, as residuary legatee. Indeed, it is said by Miss Amelia Murray, in her
that the sub-governess was even accused before the Privy Council of treason, for allowing the heiress presumptive to the throne to make a will, even in jest! It is to be hoped that the authoress is guilty here of a little feminine exaggeration.
The Princess of Wales herself, as is too well known, had anything but happiness in her married life. On occasion, as we learn from the
when all her Royal Highness' ladies had been invited to a by the Prince Regent, from which she herself was excluded, she presented each of them with a very handsome dress; and to her Royal Highness wrote:
If the Prince ever really cared for any woman, it was for Mrs. Fitzherbert. After his accession to the throne, and the trial of Queen Caroline, he shut himself up almost wholly from the public gaze, and lived chiefly within the walls of Carlton House, his table being presided over by the beautiful Marchioness of Conyngham, whose brilliant wit, according to his Majesty's estimate, surpassed that of all his friends, male or female.
The Princess of Wales always spoke highly of Mrs. Fitzherbert; she would say:--
The author of
mentions several instances of the unguarded and reckless way in which the Princess
| would speak of the situation in which she was then placed, and also of her previous life. She would dwell, in conversation with her friends, on the drunken habits of her husband, which were then notorious to the world. How he spent the night of his marriage in a state of intoxication is known by all the readers of the |
above mentioned, the author of which says that after the birth of the Princess Charlotte, the unhappy lady received through Lord Cholmondeley a message to the effect that in future the Prince and her would occupy separate establishments.
continues the writer,
For the following description of the of the Princess Charlotte at Carlton House in the year , we are indebted to Captain Gronow, who was present as a guest. He writes :
Lady Clementina Davies writes in her
The Princess could not well help resenting the affronts offered to her mother. Indeed, as a child, and throughout her girlhood, she had a most difficult part to play, for, as she often used to say,
It has often been asked what induced the Princess Charlotte so suddenly to give his to the Prince of Orange, and suddenly to accept Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in his stead. The Hon. Amelia Murray in her
writing of the visit of the Allied Sovereigns in , thus solves the mystery :--
The story of the engagement of the Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg is told, however, somewhat differently in the gossiping pages of Captain Gronow's
It will be remembered that she died in childbirth, having given birth to a dead infant. Her death was felt as a blow by the whole nation. Miss Amelia Murray, who held a post at Court, and may be supposed to have been well informed on such subjects, does not hesitate to express her opinion that
her medical attendant, Sir Richard Croft, having forbidden her to eat meat so as to keep up her strength. Sir Richard was so much affected by the calamity that he committed suicide shortly afterwards.
It was wittingly said of those who were admitted in former days to the circle of Carlton House, that they learnt there the value of being good listeners, or else afterwards came to lament the want of that qualification. Hear what you like, but say as little as possible, was the rule with that gay and heartless coterie who gathered round the Prince Regent in those gilded
Cyrus Redding wrote in the a witty
which caused a sensation in town.
The following is an extract from a letter dated :--
Of the Prince Regent himself, who so long held his court here, Captain Gronow, who was much behind the scenes, has but little that is favourable to say. According to Captain Gronow's anecdotes, the Prince, so far from being
Sir N. W. Wraxall tells a good anecdote about Lord Carhampton, who, as Colonel Luttrell, had contested the representation of Middlesex against
| John Wilkes :-- |
Another story is told of of Theodore Hook's hoaxes, the scene of which was Carlton House under the Regency. On the , the Prince gave here a of
Coates was at this time in all his glory-murdering Shakespeare at the , and driving his bright-pink cockle-shell, with the life-like chanticleers in gilt traps, about the parks and the streets of the West-end. Hook, who could imitate almost any and every handwriting, contrived to get into his possession of the Chamberlain's tickets for this , and produced a fac-simile commanding the presence of Signor Romeo at Carlton House. He next equipped himself in a gorgeous uniform of scarlet, and delivered in person the flattering missive at Mr. Coates's door. The delight of Romeo must be imagined.
says of his biographers,
day, at a party at Carlton House, the Prince Regent gaily observed that there were present
alluding to himself and George Colman, Junior, but that he should like to know which was
replied Colman, with a happy sally of wit,
The Prince was highly amused, and never forgot the joke or its author.
In , as we learn from Allen's
of the most constant frequenters of Carlton House in the days of George Prince of Wales was George Brummell, or
as he was known to his friends, and is still known to history. He was born in , and sent to Eton, where he enjoyed the credit of being the best scholar, the best oarsman, and the best cricketer of his day. His father was under-secretary to Lord North, and. is said to have left to each of his children some . Whilst at Eton, he made plenty of aristocratical friends; and being regarded as a sort: of
obtained the to the circle of , where the Duchess of Devonshire introduced him to the Prince Regent, who gave him a commission in the Hussars.
| When he left the army he lived in , where he often had the Prince to sup with him in private. Notwithstanding the great disparity of rank, the intimacy continued for several years. He spent his days mainly at Brighton and at Carlton House, keeping a well-appointed residence in town, and belonging to |
and other clubs, where high play prevailed. His canes, his snuff-boxes, his dogs, his horses and carriage, each and all were of the class, and distinguished for taste; and the cut of his dress set the fashion to West-end tailors, who vied with each other in their efforts to secure his patronage. After a few years, however, a coolness sprang up between him and the Prince, as he espoused the cause of Mrs. Fitzherbert, and finally, the mirror of fashion was for-
bidden to approach the royal presence. Even this, however, blew over, and having been lucky enough to win a large sum at cards, he was once more invited to Carlton House. Here, in joy at meeting once more with his old friend, the Prince, he took too much wine. The Prince said quietly to his brother, the Duke of York, |
so he left the palace never to return. It is said by Captain Gronow, that in treating his guest thus, the Regent merely retaliated on him for an insult which he had received from him a year or before at Lady Cholmondeley's ball, when the
turning to her ladyship, and pointing to the Prince, inquired,
| version of the rupture between the Prince and |
Brummell is, that day he risked some freedom of speech to his royal patron, to whom he is reported to have said,
This he always denied; but it is certain that whatever his words were, they never were forgotten or forgiven by the Prince. Every knows Brummell's subsequent career and fate. For a few years he was a hanger--on at Oatlands, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of York; then, having lost large sums at play, was obliged to fly the country, and, having lived in obscurity for some years at Calais, obtained the post of British Consul at Caen, where he died, in anything but affluent circumstances, in -another proof, if any proof be needed, of the precarious existence of those who live by basking in the sunshine of royalty.
Another of the friends and companions of the Prince Regent was General Arabin, the writer of witty prologues and epilogues for lords and ladies.
Late in life he |
the Prince, like George Brummell, and revenged himself by writing a volume of scurrilous memoirs of Carlton House and its inmates. The book is mentioned by Cyrus Redding as in MS., and we do not think it has ever yet seen the light.
Then there was a man named Lade, who, from having had the management of the royal stables, and having married a very pretty wife, formerly a cook in the royal establishment, received the honour of knighthood from the Prince Regent. Sir John Lade's ambition, however, even after he became a
was to imitate the groom in dress and in language.
writes Mr. Raikes in his
Tommy Moore was a constant guest here, under George IV., who, as Regent and as King,
Some of our readers will not have forgotten Moore's whimsical description of the Prince Regent's breakfast-room at Carlton House during the London season :--
Mike Kelly, the Irish comedian, was another frequent visitor here, and of him Cyrus Redding, in his
tells us many anecdotes:--
When Dr. Parr dined at Carlton House by royal command, the Prince Regent most good-naturedly allowed him to sit after dinner and quietly smoke his pipe.
The likeness so often drawn between the Regent in his youth to the Hal of Shakespeare, and the similar change of conduct with that Prince when he came to the throne, and which is made an excuse for every caprice of humour and every change of system, has told the tale long ago of an heir-apparent and a crowned monarch. There was, however, nothing new in the conduct of the Prince Regent: all princes who scorn their father's ministers and measures during their minority, generally adopt both when they come to reign.
It was whilst residing here, in -soon after attaining the dignity of a separate royal household --that the Prince of Wales became passionately attached to Mrs. Mary Robinson, the popular actress, better known by her name of
In vain did George III. remonstrate with his son upon his infatuation. The Prince appeared in public with the lovely
by his side; and the assumed name of
under which royalty sought her plebeian hand, became known to, and was commented on, by the fashionable world without any reserve. It was only a more honourable love for [extra_illustrations.4.98.1] , which dated from the following year, that induced the then heirapparent to the British throne to give up the most foolish of semi-romantic unions by which a royal personage was ever entangled.
in due course, became king; but
died in debt and broken-hearted less than years afterwards, and lies at rest in the parish churchyard of Old Windsor, where she had spent the last few years of her life.
Here the Prince of Wales was privately married, on the , by a clergyman of the Established Church, to Mrs. Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic lady of high family and connections --just a week after writing a letter to Charles James Fox, denying the truth of a rumour to the effect that he had contracted a morganatic marriage.
On the , the venerable King, George III., died at Windsor Castle; and on the following morning, in pursuance of established usage, the cabinet ministers assembled at Carlton House, and here George IV. held his court. This was numerously and brilliantly attended by all ranks and parties, who eagerly offered their homage to the new king; the re-appointment of the Lord Chancellor, and several ministers, was the exercise of sovereign power, the oaths of allegiance being administered to those present. A council was, in compliance with the royal ordinance, immediately holden; and all the late king's privy councillors then in attendance were sworn as members of the new council, and took their seats at the board accordingly.
The proclamation of the new king took place publicly in the metropolis, on Monday, . The proclamation was made on the steps of Carlton House, in the presence of his Majesty, his royal brothers, and the principal officers of state. The procession then formed in the following order, and proceeded to :--Farriers of the Life Guards with their axes erect; French horns of the troop; troop of Life Guards; the beadles of the different parishes in their long cloaks; constables; knights marshals' officers; knight marshal and his men; household drums; kettle drums; trumpets; the pursuivants; Blue Mantle;
|Rouge Croix; Rouge Dragon and Portcullis; the Kings of Arms in their tabards and collars; Garter, Sir I. Heard, knt., supported by sergeants at arms, with their maces; Clarencieux and Norroy heralds in their full dress; the procession being concluded by a troop of Life Guards.|
On arriving at , the proclamation was again read, and the procession proceeded to , where the usual formalities of closing the gates, and admitting of the heralds to shew his authority, having been gone through, the cavalcade entered the City, and were joined by the Lord Mayor, sheriffs, and several of the aldermen; the proclamation was read at the end of , at the end of , , and at the , when the heralds and the military returned.
In the year , as above stated, Carlton House was demolished; much of the ornamental interior details-such as marble mantelpieces, friezes, and columns-being transferred to Buckingham Palace. Upon the site of the gardens have been erected the York Column and ; the balustrades of the latter originally extended between the ranges of houses, but were removed to form the present entrance to , by command of William IV., soon after his accession to the throne. Upon the site of the court-yard and part of Carlton House are the United Service and the Athenaeum Club-houses, and the intervening area facing , on either side of which are placed, on granite pedestals, bronze statues of Lord Clyde and Sir John Franklin.
We learn from Evelyn that in his time the ground now covered by and was known as
and that they were
The house in next but eastward from the Duke of York's Column was the residence of Mr. Gladstone for some years before and during his premiership, in -. Curiously enough, it was occupied for a time, some years earlier, by another Prime Minister, the late Earl of Derby, then Lord Stanley. A curious and interesting anecdote is told concerning this house by Mr. Forster in his
He writes :--
adds Mr. Forster,
The [extra_illustrations.4.99.1] has been for some years the official residence of the German Ambassador, and here, in , died Count Bernstorff. At No. , Lord Lonsdale's, is a very fine collection of old furniture of various styles and dates, with a profusion of Sevres china, among which is the splendid service given by Louis XV. to the Empress Catharine. At No. , Mr. George Tomline has a fine gallery of paintings, including some Murillos. No. , the last on the southern side, was the Duke of Hamilton's; but its contents were sold off under the auctioneer's hammer in , and the house afterwards occupied by Earl Granville.
In the Prince Louis Napoleon (afterwards Emperor of the French) was living here, in the house of Lord Ripon, No. , in . This mansion accordingly became the centre of preparations for his famous descent upon Boulogne in the August of that year--an abortive attempt to revive the
in France, which led to the Prince's imprisonment in the fortress of Ham. It is said, indeed, by Mr. B. Jerrold, in his
that in this house the Prince and his friends amused themselves with coining military buttons for a
[extra_illustrations.4.87.7] Golden Drawing-room
[extra_illustrations.4.87.8] Gothic Dining-room
[extra_illustrations.4.87.9] Gothic Conservatory
[extra_illustrations.4.87.10] Gallery of Staircase
[extra_illustrations.4.98.1] Mrs. Fitzherbert
[extra_illustrations.4.99.1] house, No. 9