The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas
1827

The Royal Exchange.

The Royal Exchange.

In the reign of queen Elizabeth, sir Thomas Gresham, son to sir Richard, who very laudably persevered in his father's design, proposed to the corporation, (anno 1564,) That if the city would give him a piece of ground in a commodious spot, he would erect an exchange at his own expense, with large and covered walks, wherein the merchants and traders might daily assemble, and transact business at all seasons, without interruption from the weather, or impediments of any kind. This offer was accepted; and in 1566, various buildings, houses, tenements, &c. in Cornhill, and the adjoining alleys, were purchased for rather more than 3,530l. and the materials re-sold for 478l. on condition of pulling them down, and carrying them away. The ground plot was then levelled at the charge of the city, and possession was given to sir Thomas, who, in the deed, is styled agent to the queen's highness, and who laid the foundation of the new Exchange on the 7th of June following. The superstructure was carried on with rapidity, and the whole covered in with slate before the end of the year 1667.

The plan adopted by sir Thomas in the formation of his building, was similar to that of the Exchange at Antwerp. It was an oblong square of brick, with an arcade, as at present, the supporting pillars being of marble. Beneath the arcade were ranges of shops for traders; and others were fitted up in what were denominated the lower vaults; but the darkness and damps rendered the latter so inconvenient, that they were subsequently let out for the storing of bales, pepper, &c. Above the inner pannelling within the arcade, were sculptures of river gods; and in niches over the arches were statues of the English sovereigns. Two cornices were continued round the quadrangle; and the attic was furnished with casement windows. On the north side, but not exactly from the centre, rose a Corinthian pillar, surmounted with a grasshopper, (the crest of sir Thomas,) and the figure of a grasshopper was also elevated above each corner of the building.

The success of the shops, for two or three years after the edifice was completed, was not answerable to the expectations of the founder; and, previously to the queen's visit on January the 23d, 1570-71, he deemed it expedient to offer such of them, as were untenanted, rent free for a twelvemonth, to any persons who would engage to furnish and adorn them with wares and wax lights, against the time appointed for queen Elizabeth's coming. On that day, says Stow, the queen's majestie, attended with her nobilitie, came from her house at the Strande, called Somerset house, and entered the citie by Temple Bar, through Fleete-streete, Cheape, and so by the north side of the Burse, to sir Thomas Gresham's in Bishopsgate-streete, where she dined; after dinner, her majesty returning through Cornhill, entered the burse on the south side, and after that shee had viewed every part thereof above the ground, especially the pawne, which was richly furnished with all sortes of the finest wares in the city; she caused the same burse by an herralde and a trompet to be proclaimed the Royall Exchange, and so to be called from thenceforth, and not otherwise. Among the tenants of the shops, as enumerated by Howe, in his continuation of Stow's annals, were haberdashers, armourers, apothecaries, booksellers, goldsmiths, and glass-sellers.

Sir Thomas Gresham, by his last will and testament, dated on May the 20th, 17th of Eliz. bequeathed the building called the royal exchange, with all the pawns and shops, cellars, vaults, messuages, tenements, and other hereditaments, parcell, or adjoining to the same, after the determination of the particular uses, estates, and interest for life, and entail thereof upon the lady Anne, his wife, jointly for ever, to the corporation of London, and the company of mercers; upon trust, that the citizens out of their moiety should pay 50l. per annum each, to four professors who should read lectures on divinity, astronomy, geometry, and music, at his mansion-house between Bishopsgate-street and Bread-street, afterwards called Gresham college; 6l. 13s. 4d. per annum each, to eight alms-people, living behind the said mansion; and 10l. annually, to each of the prisons of Newgate, Ludgate, the Marshalsea, King's Bench, and Wood-street Compter: and that the mercers, out of their moiety, should pay annual salaries of 50l. each, to three persons who should read lectures on law, physic, and rhetoric, at his mansion-house; 100l. per annum for four dinners, quarterly, at their own hall, for the entertainment of their whole company; and 10l. yearly to Christ's, St. Bartholomew's, St. Thomas's, and Bethlehem, hospitals, the Spital, and the Poultry Compter.

The emoluments derived by the lady Gresham from the Royal Exchange in rents, fines, &c. are stated to have amounted to 751l. 5s. per annum; and these she continued to enjoy till her decease in the year 1596.

An entry in the ward-book, under the year 1594, gives some information of the manner in which the vaults were appropriated; it runs thus-- Presented. Wilm Grimbel, for keeping typlinge in the vaults under the exchange, and for broyling of herringes, sprotts, and bacon, and other thinges, in the same vaulte, noisome to the mrchaunts and others resortinge to the exchange.

In the tremendous conflagration of 1666, this fabric shared the common fate, and was burnt almost to the ground.

When the Exchange was burnt in 1666, only 235l. 8s. 2d. belonging to the trust was in the company's possession; yet they begun the work of re-building, as soon as possible; for on the 15th of February following, their sub-committee was ordered to assist the city surveyors, in giving directions for removing of rubbish, cleansing of arches, taking down defective walls, &c. and to give a joint estimate of the ground necessary for convenient streets at each end of the intended structure. On the 25th, the joint-committee agreed to petition the king for an order to obtain Portland stone. September 20, 1667. The committee resolved, at Gresham college, that as his majesty had been pleased to interest himself in re-building the Exchange, they thought it their duty to lay the elevations and plans of the structure before him; for tits purpose they requested the lord mayor, two members of the corporation, two of the mercers' company, and Mr. Jerman, one of the city surveyors, to wait on the king with them; and at the same time to petition for permission to extend the south-west angle of the Exchange into the street. On the 27th of same month, the committee received the report from the above deputation, that the plans, &c. had been laid before the king, and sir John Denham, surveyor-general of his majesty's works, who had greatly approved of them, and particularly of that for the south portico, which he assented to being extended into the street. Thus supported, the committee directed certain persons to treat with the proprietors of ground near the Exchange, where necessary; and with others, for building materials and workmen. On the 23rd of October, 1667, king Charles II. went to the Royal Exchange, and placed the base of the pillar on the west side of the north entrance. He was entertained on the occasion at the joint expense of the city and company, with a chine of beef, a grand dish of fowls, hams, dried tongues, anchovies, caviare, &c. and plenty of wines. The entertainment was provided under a temporary shed, built and adorned for the purpose, upon the Scotch walk. At this time his majesty gave 20l. in gold, to the workmen. On he 31st of the same month, James, duke of York, laid the first tone of the eastern pillar, and was regaled in the same manner: and on the 18th of November, prince Rupert placed that on the east side of the south entrance. October 24th, 1667. Several tenants below the Exchange, were acquainted by the committee, that it was their intention to gratify the king in his desire of having the Exchange clear of contiguous buildings; for which reason they requested of them to surrender their respective leases for an adequate consideration, and the refusal of any houses that might be built near or on their premises. December 9th, 1667. The committee considered the draft made by Mr. Jerman, for re-building the Exchange; and resolved, that porticos should be built on the north and south sides, according as his majesty desires, and as are described in the aforesaid draft; and that houses shall be built on the heads of the said porticos and shops underneath: and that the committee might not be obstructed in their progress, by the owners and tenants of contiguous grounds, three persons of each party in the trust were appointed, attended by Jerman, to apply to the king for a prohibition of any buildings on them. The following official entry was inserted in the books, by an order, dated December 16th, 1667.- A letter from the right honourable the earl of Manchester, recommending one Caius Gabriel Cibber, to the making the statues for the Royal Exchange, and the rather, in regard he has shewn his majesty some models which have been well liked of, having been read: the committee called the gentleman in, and acquainted him, that the business of making the statues is yet very much from their thoughts, having the whole Exchange to build first; and that a new committee will succeed before the main work be effected, to whom when fitting time shall come, he may do well to apply himself. December 21st, 1667. The king intimated to the committee, that if any person presumed to build near the Exchange, before an act of parliament could be obtained, he would interpose the authority of his privy council.Malcolm's Lond Red. vol. ii. p. 438-440.

The ensuing particulars are from a book [belonging to the Mercers' company] produced to a committee of the House of Commons, in 1747.- The said book begins the 27th of October, 1666, and ends July 12th, 1676: and it thereby appears, that the total expense of re-building the Royal Exchange, amounted unto 58,962l. the company's moiety whereof was the sum of 29,481l. to defray which expense, &c. it appeared, the company were obliged, from time to time, to borrow money upon their seal, insomuch, that in the year 1682, they had taken up money on their bonds, on account of the trust of sir Thomas Gresham, to the amount of 45,795l. It appeared on this occasion, from the examination of Mr. Crumpe, »that the company had hitherto contributed equally with the city in the repairing of the Royal Exchange, and paying sir Thomas Gresham's lectures and charities; and that in or about the year 1729, one of the lecturers of sir Thomas Gresham filed a bill in Chancery against the city of London and the Mercers' company, to answer which, it became necessary to draw out and state an account between the Mercers' company and sir Thomas Gresham's trust estate, as also between the city and company, and the said estate; and accordingly such accounts were drawn up, and thereby it appears, that there was due to the Mercers' company, for their moiety of the expense of building the Royal Exchange, and other payments up to that time, the sum of 100,659l. 18s. 10d. Mr. Cawne produced a continuation of this account down to 1745, when the principal and interest amounted to 141,885l. 7s. d.

During the period occupied by the re-building of this edifice, the merchants held their meetings at Gresham college; but the works being sufficiently advanced, the new Exchange was publicly opened on the28th of September, 1669. Since that time it has undergone a substantial reparation, under the superintendance of Mr. Robinson, city surveyor, who about the year 1767, when parliament granted the sum of 10,000l. towards the repairs, found it requisite to rebuild almost the whole of the west side.

Very extensive repairs and alterations took place between the years 1820 and 1825, under the direction of Geo. Smith, esq. architect to the Mercers' Company. A new tower was erected, the whole exterior cleaned and rendered uniform, and the sculptures in different parts restored, the various expenses exceeding 40,000l. one half of which was provided by the corporation, the other by the Mercers' company.

The plan is a quadrangle, surrounded internally by a piazza, and having piazzas also at the principal fronts. The southern facade is 120 feet in extent, and 47 feet six inches in height. It consists of a centre and two wings; the former is taken up by a noble entrance gateway, formed on the design of a triumphal arch; it is made by four lofty three-quarter columns of the Corinthian order into three divisions; in the central is a large arch, much admired for the grandeur of its proportions; the side divisions have entrances surmounted by handsome niches of the Corinthian order, containing statues of Charles I. and II. in fancy costumes, sculptured by Bushnell: the whole is finished with an entablature, formerly surmounted by elliptical pediments above the side divisions, which have been altered in the last repair into attic walls, fronted by ballustrades, and by a tower over the central division. The old tower was a lofty structure, (178 feet in height) it was made into three stories, with grouped columns and pilasters of the Corinthian and composite orders at the angles: the lower story was stone, the two upper ones timber, finished by a cupola, on which was sustained a ponderous weathercock, in the form of a Grasshopper. It was, upon the whole, a singular design, and strikingly dissimilar to the various church towers near it. It was succeeded in 1821 by a common-place erection, only 128 feet 6 inches in height, the design of which does little credit to the genius of the architect; it consists of a square unsightly basement finished with a cornice of acanthines, and gifted with a clumsiness which is never seen in any of the works of sir C. Wren ; in the west front is a plain niche, containing a poorly executed statue of sir Thomas Gresham; the second story takes an octagonal form, and in each of the eight faces are dials, four appertaining to the clock, and the others telling the state of the wind, but the whole are so greatly obscured by the bustos and griffins upon the pedestal, that their utility is almost destroyed; the third story consists of a peristyle of eight Corinthian columns round a cella pierced with arched windows; the whole is crowned with an entablature and cupola, on the vertex of which is a vane, retaining the form but not the proportions of the original; the whole design is completely at variance not only with the structure on which it is raised, but with the style practised by sir Christopher Wren.

The alterations which took place in the original architecture of the side divisions, consisting of attics attached to the flanks of the tower, are in an equally bad taste; the ballustrade which fronts their additions has four statues, emblematic of the quarters of the globe on the pedestals, and the attics are occupied by reliefs, the western represents the opening of the Exchange by queen Elizabeth ; the latter an allegorical group, typifying the commercial prosperity of London; the sculptures are executed in composition by Mr. Bubb.

It is to be hoped that the alterations will act as a caution to future architects, who may be trusted to repair the works of sir Christopher Wren not to introduce designs of their own, or if alterations are indispensably necessary, that they will learn to assimilate them to the main building, and that no one will ever be found hardy enough to add another pepper box tower (and the present well deserves the appellation) to any building of our great national architect. The wings are composed of three rusticated arches on each side the centre and two other divisions at the extremities, which retire behind the line of the former; the upper story has lintelled windows, the piers being decorated with grouped columns and pilasters of the Corinthian order, and the elevation is finished with a ballustrade; the west flank is in a similar style of architecture; it has no piazza, and the elevation is made into three stories; the ground floor is a range of shops, above which is a mezzanine story; the upper, or principal story, is a continuation of the like portion of the principal elevation; the north, or back front, assimilates in its main features with the southern, but the entrance in due subordination is in a plainer style of decoration; the eastern flank has never been finished ; it is built with brick and plastered, and as it abutted on a narrow alley, the architect left it in the present state.

The inner court is made in height into two stories; the first is a piazza, fronted by an arcade comprising seven arches on the north and south sides, and five on the east and west: the arches are sustained upon single columns of the Doric order, except at the several angles, where a large pier is formed by an union of four columns. The spandrils are richly sculptured in relief with foliage and shields. The second story is decorated with blank arches, separated by pilasters of the Ionic order; in each arch is a handsome niche: the central arch in each side is more ornamented than the rest, and contains windows at the sides of the niches, and is fronted by a balcony. The elevation is finished with an entablature and ballustrade, the latter broken by elliptical pediments over the central divisions, decorated with shields of arms in the tympanum of each, viz. the arms of king George I., the city of London, the Mercers company, and sir Thomas Gresham. The northern pediment is surmounted by a sun-dial. Above the keystone of the central arch, on the south side, is the following inscription :-- HOC GRESHAMII PERISTYLLIUM GENTIAM COMMERCIIS SACRUM FLAMMIS EXTINCTUM 1666 AUGUSTIUS E CINERE RESURREXIT 1669. WILLMO. TURNERO, MILITE, PRAETORE.

Most of the niches contain statues, some of winch were formerly gilt; many of them possess considerable merit. The following is an enumeration of them, with the inscriptions upon the pannels beneath the niches, commencing from the south-east angle:--

South. 1. EDWARDUS I REX ANNO DOM. MCCLXXII

In a suit of body armour, with trunk breeches, the costume of Henry VIII.«s time; in the right hand a sword, and in the left an orb; the crown, without bows, consists of a fillet set round with fleurs de lis and crosses patee, alternately. 2. Vacant. 3. EDWARDUS III. REX ANNO DOM. MCCCXVI.

In armour, with a long beard; a shirt of mail appears under the body armour, and the whole surmounted by the collar and robes of the garter; in the right hand a sword, and in the left an orb: crown as the last. 4 and 5 Vacant. 6. HENRICUS V. REX ANNO DOM. MCDXII.

Also in armour, covered by a mantle; in right hand a truncheon, the crown as before. 7. HENRICUS VI. REX ANNO DOM. MCDXXII.

This peaceable monarch is represented in royal robes, without armour; in the right hand a sceptre, and the left an orb; the crown has bows or diadems.

West. 1. EDWARDUS IV. REX ANNO DOM. MCDLX.

In a suit of complete armour, surmounted by a royal mantle; a truncheon in the right hand; the crown with bows. 2. EDWARDUS V. REX ANNO DOM. MCDLXXXIII.

The statue of the infant king is attired in regal robes; in the right hand a sceptre reversed, in the left an orb; the crown is suspended above the head from a bracket. 3. Vacant. 4. HENRICUS VII. REX ANNO DOM. MCDLXXXV.

This is also in armour ; a truncheon in the right hand ; the head distinguished by the cap always seen in the portraits of this monarch, surmounted by a crown with bows. 5. HENRICUS VIII. REX ANNO DOM. MDVIII.

A good representation of the well known person and costume of this monarch; a truncheon in the right hand.

North. 1. EDWARDUS VI. REX ANNO DOM. MDXLVII.

This youthful monarch is shown in his costume in a graceful attitude; a sceptre in the right hand. 2. MARIA I. REGINA ANNO DOM. MDLIII.

In the costume of the times, with a sceptre in the right hand, orb in the left. 3. ELIZABETHA REGINA, ANNO DOM. MDLVIII.

A characteristic statue of the original, in the stiff formal dress which marks every portrait of this princess. 4. JAMES I.

There is no inscription beneath this statue, which is in the regal costume, and possesses the least merit in the collection. 5 CHARLES I. *e*i*k*w*n *a*s*i*l*i*k*h. SERENISSIMI AC RELIGIOSISSIMI PRINCIPIS CAROLI PRIMI ANGLIAE SCOTIAE FRANCIAE ET HIBERNIAE REGIS FIDES DEFENSORIS BIS MARTYRIS CORPORE ET EFFIGIE IMPIIS REBELLIUM MANIBUS EX HOC LOCO DETURBATA ET CONFRACTA A. D. MDCXLVIII RESTITUTA ET HIC DEMUM COLLOCATA A. D. MDCLXXXIII.

This statue is in armour surmounted by the collar and mantle of the garter, in the right hand a truncheon. 6. CAROLUS II. REX ANNO DOM. MDCLXVIII.

Richly attired in the regal robes, a sceptre in the right hand, th left on the hilt of the sword. 7. JACOBUS II. ANNO DOM. MDCLXXXV.

In Roman costume, cuirass, and mantle; in right hand a truncheon, left on the hilt of the sword; a wreath of laurel round the temples.

East. 1. GULIELMUS III. REX ET MARIA II. REGINA, ANNO DOMINI NDCLXXXVIII. S. P. Q. LONDINEN OPT PRINCIPIBUS P C MDCXCV.

A double niche containing graceful statues of both the sovereigns crowned, and richly attired in regal robes. 2. ANNA D G MAG BRIT FRA ET HIB REGINA. A D MDCCII.

A stiff and formal statue, occasioned by the boddice and hooped petticoat of the time. 3. GEORGIUS D G MAGNAE BRITAN FRANCIAE ET HIBERNIAE REX. ANNO DOM 1714 S P Q L

In a complete suit of armour; a truncheon in right hand, the left rests on an orb upon an altar, or pedestal; the neck encircled with the collar of St. George; the head distinguished by a large flowing wig, surmounted by a crown. 4. GEORGIUS II D G MAG BRIT FRA ET HIB REX ANNO DOM 1797 S P Q L

A spirited statue in Roman costume, attired in a cuirass and mantle, with laurel round the temples, a truncheon in the right hand. 5. GEORGIVS III D G MAG BRIT FRA ET HIB REX ANNO DOM MDCCLX S P Q L.

This statue was also in the Roman costume; it was removed at the late repair to be renovated, and has not been set up again.

Caius Gabriel Cibber sculptured these statues, as far as Charles II.Anec. of Painting, vol. iii. p. 147.; those of George I. and II. were executed by RysbrachtIbid. vol. iv. p. 209.; and that of George III., which was placed here in March 1764, by Wilton. Mal. Lond. Red. vol. ii. p. 442.

The spacious area in the centre of the quadrangle, where the merchants, and other persons engaged in mercantile pursuits, daily assemble to discourse on trade, arrange business, &c. measures 144 feet by 117; and is surrounded by a broad piazza, which, as well as the area itself, is, for the general accommodation, arranged into distinct parts, called the walks: this will be better understood from the plan below:

Plan.

The area is neatly paved with small square stones, said to be real Turkey stone, the gift, as tradition reports, of a merchant who traded to that kingdom. In the centre, on a marble pedestal, about 8 feet high, surrounded by an iron railing, is a handsome statue of Charles the Second, in a Roman habit; this was executed by Mr. John Spiller, and set up in place of a former statue of the same king, which had been sculptured by Quellin, of Antwerp.Anec. of Painting, vol. iii. p. 152. On the south side of the old pedestal, under an imperial crown, palm branches, &c. was the following inscription: Carolo, II. Caesari Britannico, Patriae Patri, Regum optimo, Clementissimo, Augustissimo, Generis humani deliciis, Utriusque Fortunae Victori, Pacis Europae arbitro Marium Domino ac Vindici. Societas Mercatorum adventurur. Anglicae Quae per CCCC. jam prope annos, Regia benignitate floret, Fide intemeratae et gratitudinas aeternae Hoc testimonium Venerabunda posuit Anno saluti humanae M.DC.LXXXIV.

The ceiling of the piazza is groined with intersecting ribs, in a style resembling the ancient vaultings of churches; at the points of junction of the ribs are numerous bosses, representing griffins, grasshoppers, shields of the Mercers, and city arms, the badge of queen Elizabeth, and other devices. The surrounding walls are wainscotted to about eight feet of their height, over which are accommodations for painted show-boards, and placards of various descriptions, both printed and written, which are permitted to be set up here as advertisements, on paying a small sum to the beadle. Behind these, in the walls, are twenty-eight niches, in two only of which are statues: that in the north-west angle represents sir Thomas Gresham, by Caius Gabriel Cibber; the other, in the south-west angle, is the statue of sir John Barnard, and was placed here in his life-time, at the expense of his fellow-citizens, in testimony of his merit as a merchant, a magistrate, and a faithful representative of the city in parliament. A raised seat and step goes round the entire piazza, excepting where interrupted by the entrances.

Under the north and south fronts, on the right of the entrances, are spacious flights of steps, which lead to the gallery, and to the various apartments and offices that connect with it: these were originally opened as shops of different descriptions, but are now occupied by the Royal Exchange Assurance office, the Lord Mayor's court office, the River Dee office, the Merchants'-Seamans' office, Lloyd's Subscription coffee-house and committee rooms, the Gresham Lecture rooms, the Pepper office, and divers counting houses for merchants and under-writers.

These staircases have been entirely rebuilt, and much improved at the last repair; the north and western flights were wood, and very inconvenient in their construction, and deficient in light; upon the ceilings of every flight, handsome lantern lights have been constructed. Upon the upper landing of the southern staircase a neat little monument has been erected in an arched niche, to commemorate the foundation of the Marine Society. It consists of a square pedestal surmounted by an altar, on which are small bronze statues exemplifying Charity, and one of the objects of the institution. On a brass plate, in the front of the altar, is this inscription : Charity hopeth all things Marine Society Instituted MDCCLVI Supported by Voluntary Contributions. During a victorious and expensive war with France and Spain, this society gave a bounty of sea clothing to 5,451 landsmen volunteers to serve as seamen on board his majesty's fleet, and fitted out 5,174 poor boys as servants to officers in the royal navy, as a nursery of seamen, the whole charge amounting to 23,692l. 7s. 2d. From May 1769 to October 1771, they also clothed and sent to sea, in the king's ships and in the merchants' service, 1073 distressed boys. In MDCCLXIII. William Hicks, Esq. of Hamburgh, Left a generous token of regard to this his native city, worthy to be recorded to the latest posterity. He bequeathed to this society a sum of money which produced 300l. per annum for fitting out poor boys in time of war to serve the officers on board the royal navy, in order to be brought up as seamen in time of peace; one half of the produce to be expended in fitting out poor boys as apprentices to owners and masters of ships in the merchants' service and coasting vessels; the other half in placing out poor girls to trades, whereby they can earn an honest livelihood: the sum of 150l. being very inadequate to the general design of employing boys at sea, the benevolent are invited to relieve the orphans, prevent the miseries of poverty and idleness, and teach the rising generation to defend their country and promote her commerce. This Memorial was given by Thomas Nash, esq. Citizen of London; Incorporated A. D. MDCCLXXII. Robert, Lord Romney, President. John Thornton, esq. Treasurer.

On the pedestal- Blessed is the man who provideth for the sick and needy, the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble.

A corridor or gallery, which nearly surrounds the building, is constructed over the cloister; this was left in a very unfinished state by sir C. Wren, and has been improved and embellished in a handsome and tasteful style; a false ceiling is constructed about midway of its height which is richly pannelled, and although the mouldings are in a different taste to the main structure, the variation is not obtrusive, owing to the passage not being seen in contact with any of the original work. In addition to the alterations before noticed, many improvements were effected in the building at the recent repair; some of the shops which disfigured the bases of the great columns have been removed, and the others will follow when the leases expire: the placards which were formerly allowed to be affixed to any part of the piazza, even the columns, are now confined to a place allotted for such purpose above the wainscotting; the whole area was relaid and drained.

The contract for rebuilding the tower amounted to 7,465l. which, with the addition of 5021. 12s. 3d. for extra works: 976l. 15s. for sculpture; and 882l. 17s. 9d. for the clock and chimes, makes the entire expense of rebuilding the tower 9,827l. 5s.

Lloyd's Coffee-house has long been a very celebrated commercial rendezvous, and it maintains a distinguished superiority over every other establishment of the kind. The persons who resort to it are the most eminent merchants, under-writers, insurance, stock, and exchange brokers, &c. In all naval concerns, a general priority of intelligence is found in Lloyd's Books, which are designed for the purpose of registering the arrival and sailing of vessels, losses at sea, captures, re-captures, engagements, accidents, and other important matters connected with the shipping interests. The rooms are neatly fitted up; the business of the coffee-house being kept completely distinct from the divisions appropriated to the subscribers. That valuable institution, the Patriotic Fund, was began by the merchants, &c. subscribers to Lloyd's, on the 20th of July, 1803, about two months after the breaking out of the late war, with a view of providing a suitable stock for the relief of the widows, orphans, and dependent relatives of the brave men who, in their country's service, should fall in battle with the enemy, or die of wounds received in action; and likewise to furnish effectual assistance to the wounded themselves in all cases of disability or loss of limb. The subscribers to the coffee-house commenced the donations by voting 20,000l. 3 per cent consols, from their general fund, besides contributing liberally as individuals. Since that period, the exertions of the committee have been so well seconded by the public at large, that nearly 410,000l. has been distributed in furtherance of the designs of the institution; and more than 100,000l. is still in hand to answer future applications! Some part, however, of this great aggregate of upwards of half a million sterling, has arisen from investments in the funds, from interest, &c. The number of cases in which relief has been afforded to wounded and disabled officers, seamen, private soldiers, their widows, orphans, and helpless relations, has amounted to more than 14,000. But it is not by this establishment alone that the frequenters of Lloyd's Coffeehouse have evinced their patriotic spirit and liberality. On all great occasions, where the utility of a public subscription is apparent, they generally take the lead; and, under their auspices, the donations are always considerable. After the great battle of the Nile, in 1798, the subscriptions received here for the benefit of the widows and the wounded seamen amounted to 32,423l. 19s. 9d. and lord Howe's victory on the 1st of June, 1794, was also followed by a subscription for similar purposes, of 21,281l. 19s. 11d. all which was paid into Lloyd's.Brayley, ii. p. 494.

The Gresham lectures, as already stated, were established in pursuance of the will of sir Thomas Gresham, who devised his property in the Royal Exchange, &c. in trust to the city and the Mercers' company, for the purpose (among others) of defraying the salaries of four lecturers in divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, and three readers in civil law, physic, and rhetoric; and for the general instruction, the lectures on those sciences were to be read daily, both in Latin and in English. The trustees, however, have long been induced to suffer the lectures to be delivered (agreeably to the practice of the universities) only in term-time, although in direct opposition to the will and intention of the founder; by which inadvertence, and through the studied brevity observed in the lectures, the professors' places have almost dwindled into mere sinecures, and the public derive little or no advantage from sir Thomas's munificence. The yearly salary of each professor is now 100l.

The Royal Exchange is kept open as a thoroughfare from eight o'clock in the morning till half-past four in the afternoon. The hours of business have been several times altered, but are now considered to extend from twelve till four; the last hour is always the most busy one. To a person unaccustomed to the view, the crowded assemblage of merchants and traders of all nations which may be daily held within the area, forms an interesting, as well as instructive scene.

The extent of the Royal Exchange from north to south is 171 feet, and from east to west 203 feet.

On the site of the Pope's Head tavern was formerly a royal palace, in which king John resided when Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, was put upon his defence, and acquitted himself, says Matthew Paris, before the king in Cornhill.

The Pope's Head tavern, with other houses adjoining, were strongly built of stone, and were formerly in one, belonging to some person of great state, as may be supposed by the arms, viz. three lions passant-guardant, which was the whole arms of England before the reign of Edward III. who quartered them with the arms of France. These arms, supported by two angels, were handsomely and largely carved in the tore front of this house towards the high street.

On March 25th, 1747, a dreadful fire broke out in Cornhill, destroying nearly 100 houses, and extending nearly from Change-alley to St. Michael's church east, and from Cornhill to the churchyard of St. Edmund the king, south. 5,774l. 19s. 4d. was immediately collected for the benefit of the sufferers.

Cornhill, as before-mentioned, originally received its name from being the principal market whence the city was supplied with corn. It does not appear that the factors lived in the street, but that stalls were erected, at which they attended on market-days. The houses were at that time chiefly occupied by respectable drapers, who were so numerous as to be formed into a distinct guild, under the title of the drapers of Cornhill. The drapers, on leaving this street, were succeeded by a less respectable class of dealers in old clothes, who did not appear to have been very particular as to what they bought. Lidgate, the monk of Bury, in his London Lickpenny, thus notices Cornhill:-- Then into Cornhill anon I yode, Where was much stolen gere amonge; I saw where honge mine own hoode, That I had lost amonge the thronge: To by myne own hoode I thought it wronge, I knew it as well as I did my crede, But for lack of mony I cold not spede.

The building of the Royal Exchange restored Cornhill to its present respectability. On the north side of Cornhill is Birchin-lane, corruptly for Burchover-lane, so denominated from the builder.

In the reign of queen Elizabeth, sir Thomas Gresham, son to sir Richard, who very laudably persevered in his father's design, proposed to the corporation, (anno ,)

That if the city would give him a piece of ground in a commodious spot, he would erect an exchange at his own expense, with large and covered walks, wherein the merchants and traders might daily assemble, and transact business at all seasons, without interruption from the weather, or impediments of any kind.

This offer was accepted; and in , various buildings, houses, tenements, &c. in , and the adjoining alleys, were purchased for rather more than and the materials re-sold for on condition of pulling them down, and carrying them away. The ground plot was then levelled at the charge of the city, and possession was given to sir Thomas, who, in the deed, is styled

agent to the queen's highness,

and

who laid the foundation of the new Exchange on the

7th of June

following.

The superstructure was carried on with rapidity, and the whole covered in with slate before the end of the year .

The plan adopted by sir Thomas in the formation of his building, was similar to that of the Exchange at Antwerp. It was an oblong square of brick, with an arcade, as at present, the supporting pillars being of marble. Beneath the arcade were ranges of shops for traders; and others were fitted up in what were denominated the lower vaults; but the darkness and damps rendered the latter so

451

inconvenient, that they were subsequently let out for the storing of bales, pepper, &c. Above the inner pannelling within the arcade, were sculptures of river gods; and in niches over the arches were statues of the English sovereigns. cornices were continued round the quadrangle; and the attic was furnished with casement windows. On the north side, but not exactly from the centre, rose a Corinthian pillar, surmounted with a grasshopper, (the crest of sir Thomas,) and the figure of a grasshopper was also elevated above each corner of the building.

The success of the shops, for or years after the edifice was completed, was not answerable

to the expectations of the founder; and, previously to the queen's visit on

January the 23

d,

1570

-

71

, he deemed it expedient to offer such of them, as were untenanted, rent free for a twelvemonth, to any persons who would engage to

furnish and adorn them with wares and wax lights,

against the time appointed for queen Elizabeth's coming. On that day, says Stow,

the queen's majestie, attended with her nobilitie, came from her house at the Strande, called , and entered the citie by , through Fleete-streete, Cheape, and so by the north side of the Burse, to sir Thomas Gresham's in Bishopsgate-streete, where she dined; after dinner, her majesty returning through , entered the

burse on the south side, and after that shee had viewed every part thereof above the ground, especially the pawne, which was richly furnished with all sortes of the finest wares in the city; she caused the same burse by an herralde and a trompet to be proclaimed the Royall Exchange, and so to be called from thenceforth, and not otherwise.

Among the tenants of the shops, as enumerated by Howe, in his continuation of Stow's annals, were haberdashers, armourers, apothecaries, booksellers, goldsmiths, and glass-sellers.

Sir Thomas Gresham, by his last will and testament, dated on , of Eliz. bequeathed

the building called the royal exchange, with all the pawns and shops, cellars, vaults, messuages, tenements, and other hereditaments, parcell, or adjoining to the same,

after the determination of the particular uses, estates, and interest for life, and entail thereof upon the lady Anne, his wife,

jointly for ever, to the corporation of London, and the company of mercers;

upon trust, that the citizens out of their moiety should pay per annum each, to professors who should read lectures on divinity, astronomy, geometry, and music, at his mansion-house between and , afterwards called Gresham college; per annum each, to alms-people, living behind the said mansion; and annually, to each of the prisons of Newgate, Ludgate, the Marshalsea, King's Bench, and Compter: and that the mercers, out of their moiety, should pay annual salaries of each, to persons who should read lectures on law, physic, and rhetoric, at his mansion-house; per annum for dinners, quarterly, at their

452

own hall, for the entertainment of their whole company; and yearly to Christ's, St. Bartholomew's, St. Thomas's, and Bethlehem, hospitals, the Spital, and the Poultry Compter.

The emoluments derived by the lady Gresham from the in rents, fines, &c. are stated to have amounted to per annum; and these she continued to enjoy till her decease in the year .

An entry in the ward-book, under the year , gives some information of the manner in which the vaults were appropriated; it runs thus--

Presented. Wilm Grimbel, for keeping typlinge in the vaults under the exchange, and for broyling of herringes, sprotts, and bacon, and other thinges, in the same vaulte, noisome to the mrchaunts and others resortinge to the exchange.

In the tremendous conflagration of , this fabric shared the common fate, and was burnt almost to the ground.

When the Exchange was burnt in , only belonging to the trust was in the company's possession; yet they begun the work of re-building, as soon as possible; for on the following, their sub-committee was ordered to assist the city surveyors, in giving directions for removing of rubbish, cleansing of arches, taking down defective walls, &c. and to give a joint estimate of the ground necessary for convenient streets at each end of the intended structure. On the , the joint-committee agreed to petition the king for an order to obtain Portland stone.

September 20, 1667. The committee resolved, at Gresham college, that as his majesty had been pleased to interest himself in re-building the Exchange, they thought it their duty to lay the elevations and plans of the structure before him; for tits purpose they requested the lord mayor, two members of the corporation, two of the mercers' company, and Mr. Jerman, one of the city surveyors, to wait on the king with them; and at the same time to petition for permission to extend the south-west angle of the Exchange into the street. On the 27th of same month, the committee received the report from the above deputation, that the plans, &c. had been laid before the king, and sir John Denham, surveyor-general of his majesty's works, who had greatly approved of them, and particularly of that for the south portico, which he assented to being extended into the street. Thus supported, the committee directed certain persons to treat with the proprietors of ground near the Exchange, where necessary; and with others, for building materials and workmen.

On the 23rd of October, 1667, king Charles II. went to the Royal Exchange, and placed the base of the pillar on the west side of the north entrance. He was entertained on the occasion at the joint expense of the city and company, with a chine of beef, a grand dish of fowls, hams, dried tongues, anchovies, caviare, &c. and plenty of wines. The entertainment was provided under a temporary shed, built and adorned for the purpose, upon the Scotch walk.

At this time his majesty gave 20l. in gold, to the workmen. On he 31st of the same month, James, duke of York, laid the first tone of the eastern pillar, and was regaled in the same manner: and on the 18th of November, prince Rupert placed that on the east side of the south entrance.

October 24th, 1667. Several tenants below the Exchange, were acquainted by the committee, that it was their intention to gratify the king in his desire of having the Exchange clear of contiguous buildings; for which reason they requested of them to surrender their respective leases for an adequate consideration, and the refusal of any houses that might be built near or on their premises.

December 9th, 1667. The committee considered the draft made by Mr. Jerman, for re-building the Exchange; and resolved, that porticos should be built on the north and south sides, according as his majesty desires, and as are described in the aforesaid draft; and that houses shall be built on the heads of the said porticos and shops underneath: and that the committee might not be obstructed in their progress, by the owners and tenants of contiguous grounds, three persons of each party in the trust were appointed, attended by Jerman, to apply to the king for a prohibition of any buildings on them.

The following official entry was inserted in the books, by an order, dated December 16th, 1667.- A letter from the right honourable the earl of Manchester, recommending one Caius Gabriel Cibber, to the making the statues for the Royal Exchange, and the rather, in regard he has shewn his majesty some models which have been well liked of, having been read: the committee called the gentleman in, and acquainted him, that the business of making the statues is yet very much from their thoughts, having the whole Exchange to build first; and that a new committee will succeed before the main work be effected, to whom when fitting time shall come, he may do well to apply himself.

December 21st, 1667. The king intimated to the committee, that if any person presumed to build near the Exchange, before an act of parliament could be obtained, he would interpose the authority of his privy council.Malcolm's Lond Red. vol. ii. p. 438-440.

The ensuing particulars are from a book [belonging to the Mercers' company] produced to a committee of the , in .-

The said book begins the

27th of October, 1666

, and ends

July 12th, 1676

: and it thereby appears, that the total expense of re-building the

Royal Exchange

, amounted unto

58,962l.

the company's moiety whereof was the sum of

29,481l.

to defray which expense, &c. it appeared, the company were obliged, from time to time, to borrow money upon their seal, insomuch, that in the year

1682

, they had taken up money on their bonds, on

account of the trust of sir Thomas Gresham, to the amount of

45,795l.

It appeared on this occasion, from the examination of Mr. Crumpe, »that the company had hitherto contributed equally with the city in the repairing of the

Royal Exchange

, and paying sir Thomas Gresham's lectures and charities; and that in or about the year

1729

,

one

of the lecturers of sir Thomas Gresham filed a bill in Chancery against the city of London and the Mercers' company, to answer which, it became necessary to draw out and state an account between the Mercers' company and sir Thomas Gresham's trust estate, as also between the city and company, and the said estate; and accordingly such accounts were drawn up, and thereby it appears, that there was due to the Mercers' company, for their moiety of the expense of building the

Royal Exchange

, and other payments up to that time, the sum of

100,659l. 18s. 10d.

Mr. Cawne produced a continuation of this account down to , when the principal and interest amounted to d.

During the period occupied by the re-building of this edifice, the merchants held their meetings at Gresham college; but the works being sufficiently advanced, the new Exchange was publicly opened on theth of . Since that time it has undergone a substantial reparation, under the superintendance of Mr. Robinson, city surveyor, who about the year , when parliament granted the sum of towards the repairs, found it requisite to rebuild almost the whole of the west side.

Very extensive repairs and alterations took place between the years and , under the direction of Geo. Smith, esq. architect to the Mercers' Company. A new tower was erected, the whole exterior cleaned and rendered uniform, and the sculptures in different parts restored, the various expenses exceeding half of which was provided by the corporation, the other by the Mercers' company.

The plan is a quadrangle, surrounded internally by a piazza, and having piazzas also at the principal fronts. The southern facade is feet in extent, and feet inches in height. It consists of a centre and wings; the former is taken up by a noble entrance gateway, formed on the design of a triumphal arch; it is made by lofty -quarter columns of the Corinthian order into divisions; in the central is a large arch, much admired for the grandeur of its proportions; the side divisions have entrances surmounted by handsome niches of the Corinthian order, containing statues of Charles I. and II. in fancy costumes, sculptured by Bushnell: the whole is finished with an entablature, formerly surmounted by elliptical pediments above the side divisions, which have been altered in the last repair into attic walls, fronted by ballustrades, and by a tower over the central division. The old tower was a lofty structure, ( feet in height) it was made into stories, with grouped columns and pilasters of the Corinthian and composite orders at the angles: the lower story was stone, the

455

upper ones timber, finished by a cupola, on which was sustained a ponderous weathercock, in the form of a Grasshopper. It was, upon the whole, a singular design, and strikingly dissimilar to the various church towers near it. It was succeeded in by a common-place erection, only feet inches in height, the design of which does little credit to the genius of the architect; it consists of a square unsightly basement finished with a cornice of acanthines, and gifted with a clumsiness which is never seen in any of the works of sir C. Wren ; in the west front is a plain niche, containing a poorly executed statue of sir Thomas Gresham; the story takes an octagonal form, and in each of the faces are dials, appertaining to the clock, and the others telling the state of the wind, but the whole are so greatly obscured by the bustos and griffins upon the pedestal, that their utility is almost destroyed; the story consists of a peristyle of Corinthian columns round a cella pierced with arched windows; the whole is crowned with an entablature and cupola, on the vertex of which is a vane, retaining the form but not the proportions of the original; the whole design is completely at variance not only with the structure on which it is raised, but with the style practised by sir Christopher Wren.

The alterations which took place in the original architecture of the side divisions, consisting of attics attached to the flanks of the tower, are in an equally bad taste; the ballustrade which fronts their additions has statues, emblematic of the quarters of the globe on the pedestals, and the attics are occupied by reliefs, the western represents the opening of the Exchange by queen Elizabeth ; the latter an allegorical group, typifying the commercial prosperity of London; the sculptures are executed in composition by Mr. Bubb.

It is to be hoped that the alterations will act as a caution to future architects, who may be trusted to repair the works of sir Christopher Wren not to introduce designs of their own, or if alterations are indispensably necessary, that they will learn to assimilate them to the main building, and that no will ever be found hardy enough to add another

pepper box

tower (and the present well deserves the appellation) to any building of our great national architect. The wings are composed of rusticated arches on each side the centre and other divisions at the extremities, which retire behind the line of the former; the upper story has lintelled windows, the piers being decorated with grouped columns and pilasters of the Corinthian order, and the elevation is finished with a ballustrade; the west flank is in a similar style of architecture; it has no piazza, and the elevation is made into stories; the ground floor is a range of shops, above which is a mezzanine story; the upper, or principal story, is a continuation of the like portion of the principal elevation; the north, or back front, assimilates in its main features with the southern, but the entrance

456

in due subordination is in a plainer style of decoration; the eastern flank has never been finished ; it is built with brick and plastered, and as it abutted on a narrow alley, the architect left it in the present state.

The inner court is made in height into stories; the is a piazza, fronted by an arcade comprising arches on the north and south sides, and on the east and west: the arches are sustained upon single columns of the Doric order, except at the several angles, where a large pier is formed by an union of columns. The spandrils are richly sculptured in relief with foliage and shields. The story is decorated with blank arches, separated by pilasters of the Ionic order; in each arch is a handsome niche: the central arch in each side is more ornamented than the rest, and contains windows at the sides of the niches, and is fronted by a balcony. The elevation is finished with an entablature and ballustrade, the latter broken by elliptical pediments over the central divisions, decorated with shields of arms in the tympanum of each, viz. the arms of king George I., the city of London, the Mercers company, and sir Thomas Gresham. The northern pediment is surmounted by a sun-dial. Above the keystone of the central arch, on the south side, is the following inscription :--

HOC GRESHAMII PERISTYLLIUM

GENTIAM COMMERCIIS SACRUM

FLAMMIS EXTINCTUM

1666

AUGUSTIUS E CINERE RESURREXIT

1669

.

WILLMO. TURNERO, MILITE, PRAETORE.

Most of the niches contain statues, some of winch were formerly gilt; many of them possess considerable merit. The following is an enumeration of them, with the inscriptions upon the pannels beneath the niches, commencing from the south-east angle:--

1

. EDWARDUS I REX

ANNO DOM. MCCLXXII

In a suit of body armour, with trunk breeches, the costume of Henry VIII.«s time; in the right hand a sword, and in the left an orb; the crown, without bows, consists of a fillet set round with fleurs de lis and crosses patee, alternately.

2

. Vacant.

3

. EDWARDUS III. REX

ANNO DOM. MCCCXVI.

In armour, with a long beard; a shirt of mail appears under the body armour, and the whole surmounted by the collar and robes of the garter; in the right hand a sword, and in the left an orb: crown as the last.

4

and

5

Vacant.

6

. HENRICUS V. REX

ANNO DOM. MCDXII.

457

 

Also in armour, covered by a mantle; in right hand a truncheon, the crown as before.

7

. HENRICUS VI. REX

ANNO DOM. MCDXXII.

This peaceable monarch is represented in royal robes, without armour; in the right hand a sceptre, and the left an orb; the crown has bows or diadems.

1

. EDWARDUS IV. REX

ANNO DOM. MCDLX.

In a suit of complete armour, surmounted by a royal mantle; a truncheon in the right hand; the crown with bows.

2

. EDWARDUS V. REX

ANNO DOM. MCDLXXXIII.

The statue of the infant king is attired in regal robes; in the right hand a sceptre reversed, in the left an orb; the crown is suspended above the head from a bracket.

3

. Vacant.

4

. HENRICUS VII. REX

ANNO DOM. MCDLXXXV.

This is also in armour ; a truncheon in the right hand ; the head distinguished by the cap always seen in the portraits of this monarch, surmounted by a crown with bows.

5

. HENRICUS VIII. REX

ANNO DOM. MDVIII.

A good representation of the well known person and costume of this monarch; a truncheon in the right hand.

1

. EDWARDUS VI. REX

ANNO DOM. MDXLVII.

This youthful monarch is shown in his costume in a graceful attitude; a sceptre in the right hand.

2

. MARIA I. REGINA

ANNO DOM. MDLIII.

In the costume of the times, with a sceptre in the right hand, orb in the left.

3

. ELIZABETHA REGINA,

ANNO DOM. MDLVIII.

A characteristic statue of the original, in the stiff formal dress which marks every portrait of this princess.

458

4

. JAMES I.

There is no inscription beneath this statue, which is in the regal costume, and possesses the least merit in the collection.

5

CHARLES I.

*e*i*k*w*n *a*s*i*l*i*k*h.

SERENISSIMI AC RELIGIOSISSIMI PRINCIPIS CAROLI PRIMI

ANGLIAE SCOTIAE FRANCIAE ET HIBERNIAE REGIS FIDES DEFENSORIS

BIS MARTYRIS CORPORE ET EFFIGIE

IMPIIS REBELLIUM MANIBUS EX HOC LOCO DETURBATA ET CONFRACTA

A. D. MDCXLVIII

RESTITUTA ET HIC DEMUM COLLOCATA

A. D. MDCLXXXIII.

This statue is in armour surmounted by the collar and mantle of the garter, in the right hand a truncheon.

6

. CAROLUS II. REX

ANNO DOM. MDCLXVIII.

Richly attired in the regal robes, a sceptre in the right hand, th left on the hilt of the sword.

7

. JACOBUS II.

ANNO DOM. MDCLXXXV.

In Roman costume, cuirass, and mantle; in right hand a truncheon, left on the hilt of the sword; a wreath of laurel round the temples.

1

. GULIELMUS III. REX ET MARIA II. REGINA,

ANNO DOMINI NDCLXXXVIII.

S. P. Q. LONDINEN OPT PRINCIPIBUS P C MDCXCV.

A double niche containing graceful statues of both the sovereigns crowned, and richly attired in regal robes.

2

. ANNA D G MAG

BRIT FRA ET HIB REGINA.

A D MDCCII.

A stiff and formal statue, occasioned by the boddice and hooped petticoat of the time.

3

. GEORGIUS D G MAGNAE BRITAN

FRANCIAE ET HIBERNIAE REX.

ANNO DOM

1714

S P Q L

In a complete suit of armour; a truncheon in right hand, the left rests on an orb upon an altar, or pedestal; the neck encircled with the collar of St. George; the head distinguished by a large flowing wig, surmounted by a crown.

4

. GEORGIUS II D G MAG

BRIT FRA ET HIB REX

ANNO DOM

1797

S P Q L

459

 

A spirited statue in Roman costume, attired in a cuirass and mantle, with laurel round the temples, a truncheon in the right hand.

5

. GEORGIVS III D G MAG

BRIT FRA ET HIB REX

ANNO DOM MDCCLX S P Q L.

This statue was also in the Roman costume; it was removed at the late repair to be renovated, and has not been set up again.

Caius Gabriel Cibber sculptured these statues, as far as Charles II.; those of George I. and II. were executed by Rysbracht; and that of George III., which was placed here in , by Wilton.

The spacious area in the centre of the quadrangle, where the merchants, and other persons engaged in mercantile pursuits, daily assemble to discourse on trade, arrange business, &c. measures feet by ; and is surrounded by a broad piazza, which, as well as the area itself, is, for the general accommodation, arranged into distinct parts, called the walks: this will be better understood from the plan below:

 

The area is neatly paved with small square stones, said to be real Turkey stone, the gift, as tradition reports, of a merchant who traded

460

to that kingdom. In the centre, on a marble pedestal, about feet high, surrounded by an iron railing, is a handsome statue of Charles the , in a Roman habit; this was executed by Mr. John Spiller, and set up in place of a former statue of the same king, which had been sculptured by Quellin, of Antwerp. On the south side of the old pedestal, under an imperial crown, palm branches, &c. was the following inscription:

Carolo, II

. Caesari Britannico,

Patriae Patri,

Regum optimo, Clementissimo, Augustissimo,

Generis humani deliciis,

Utriusque Fortunae Victori,

Pacis Europae arbitro

Marium Domino ac Vindici.

Societas Mercatorum adventurur. Anglicae

Quae per CCCC. jam prope annos,

Regia benignitate floret,

Fide intemeratae et gratitudinas aeternae

Hoc testimonium

Venerabunda posuit

Anno saluti humanae M.DC.LXXXIV.

The ceiling of the piazza is groined with intersecting ribs, in a style resembling the ancient vaultings of churches; at the points of junction of the ribs are numerous bosses, representing griffins, grasshoppers, shields of the Mercers, and city arms, the badge of queen Elizabeth, and other devices. The surrounding walls are wainscotted to about feet of their height, over which are accommodations for painted show-boards, and placards of various descriptions, both printed and written, which are permitted to be set up here as advertisements, on paying a small sum to the beadle. Behind these, in the walls, are niches, in only of which are statues: that in the north-west angle represents sir Thomas Gresham, by Caius Gabriel Cibber; the other, in the south-west angle, is the statue of sir John Barnard, and was placed here in his life-time, at the expense of his fellow-citizens,

in testimony of his merit as a merchant, a magistrate, and a faithful representative of the city in parliament.

A raised seat and step goes round the entire piazza, excepting where interrupted by the entrances.

Under the north and south fronts, on the right of the entrances, are spacious flights of steps, which lead to the gallery, and to the various apartments and offices that connect with it: these were originally opened as shops of different descriptions, but are now occupied by the Assurance office, the Lord Mayor's court office, the River Dee office, the Merchants'-Seamans' office, Lloyd's Subscription coffee-house and committee rooms, the Gresham Lecture rooms, the Pepper office, and divers counting houses for merchants and under-writers.

461

 

These staircases have been entirely rebuilt, and much improved at the last repair; the north and western flights were wood, and very inconvenient in their construction, and deficient in light; upon the ceilings of every flight, handsome lantern lights have been constructed. Upon the upper landing of the southern staircase a neat little monument has been erected in an arched niche, to commemorate the foundation of the Marine Society. It consists of a square pedestal surmounted by an altar, on which are small bronze statues exemplifying Charity, and of the objects of the institution. On a brass plate, in the front of the altar, is this inscription :

Charity hopeth all things Marine Society Instituted MDCCLVI Supported by Voluntary Contributions.

During a victorious and expensive war with France and Spain, this society gave a bounty of sea clothing to 5,451 landsmen volunteers to serve as seamen on board his majesty's fleet, and fitted out 5,174 poor boys as servants to officers in the royal navy, as a nursery of seamen, the whole charge amounting to 23,692l. 7s. 2d. From May 1769 to October 1771, they also clothed and sent to sea, in the king's ships and in the merchants' service, 1073 distressed boys.

In MDCCLXIII. William Hicks, Esq. of Hamburgh,

Left a generous token of regard to this his native city, worthy to be recorded to the latest posterity. He bequeathed to this society a sum of money which produced 300l. per annum for fitting out poor boys in time of war to serve the officers on board the royal navy, in order to be brought up as seamen in time of peace; one half of the produce to be expended in fitting out poor boys as apprentices to owners and masters of ships in the merchants' service and coasting vessels; the other half in placing out poor girls to trades, whereby they can earn an honest livelihood: the sum of 150l. being very inadequate to the general design of employing boys at sea, the benevolent are invited to relieve the orphans, prevent the miseries of poverty and idleness, and teach the rising generation to defend their country and promote her commerce.

This Memorial was given by

Thomas Nash, esq. Citizen of London; Incorporated A. D. MDCCLXXII. Robert, Lord Romney, President. John Thornton, esq. Treasurer.

On the pedestal-

Blessed is the man who provideth for the sick and needy, the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble.

A corridor or gallery, which nearly surrounds the building, is constructed over the cloister; this was left in a very unfinished state by sir C. Wren, and has been improved and embellished in a handsome and tasteful style; a false ceiling is constructed about midway of its height which is richly pannelled, and although the mouldings are in a different taste to the main structure, the variation is not obtrusive, owing to the passage not being seen in contact with any of the original work. In addition to the alterations before noticed, many improvements were effected in the building at the recent repair; some of the shops which disfigured the bases of

462

the great columns have been removed, and the others will follow when the leases expire: the placards which were formerly allowed to be affixed to any part of the piazza, even the columns, are now confined to a place allotted for such purpose above the wainscotting; the whole area was relaid and drained.

The contract for rebuilding the tower amounted to which, with the addition of . for extra works: for sculpture; and for the clock and chimes, makes the entire expense of rebuilding the tower

Lloyd's Coffee-house has long been a very celebrated commercial rendezvous, and it maintains a distinguished superiority over every other establishment of the kind. The persons who resort to it are the most eminent merchants, under-writers, insurance, stock, and exchange brokers, &c. In all naval concerns, a general priority of intelligence is found in Lloyd's Books, which are designed for the purpose of registering the arrival and sailing of vessels, losses at sea, captures, re-captures, engagements, accidents, and other important matters connected with the shipping interests. The rooms are neatly fitted up; the business of the coffee-house being kept completely distinct from the divisions appropriated to the subscribers. That valuable institution, the Patriotic Fund, was began by the merchants, &c. subscribers to Lloyd's, on the , about months after the breaking out of the late war, with a view of providing a suitable stock for the relief of the widows, orphans, and dependent relatives of the brave men who, in their country's service, should fall in battle with the enemy, or die of wounds received in action; and likewise to furnish effectual assistance to the wounded themselves in all cases of disability or loss of limb. The subscribers to the coffee-house commenced the donations by voting per cent consols, from their general fund, besides contributing liberally as individuals. Since that period, the exertions of the committee have been so well seconded by the public at large, that nearly has been distributed in furtherance of the designs of the institution; and more than is still in hand to answer future applications! Some part, however, of this great aggregate of upwards of half a million sterling, has arisen from investments in the funds, from interest, &c. The number of cases in which relief has been afforded to wounded and disabled officers, seamen, private soldiers, their widows, orphans, and helpless relations, has amounted to more than . But it is not by this establishment alone that the frequenters of Lloyd's Coffeehouse have evinced their patriotic spirit and liberality. On all great occasions, where the utility of a public subscription is apparent, they generally take the lead; and, under their auspices, the donations are always considerable. After the great battle of the Nile, in , the subscriptions received here for the benefit of the widows and the wounded seamen amounted to and lord Howe's victory on the , was also followed

463

by a subscription for similar purposes, of all which was paid into Lloyd's.

The Gresham lectures, as already stated, were established in pursuance of the will of sir Thomas Gresham, who devised his property in the , &c. in trust to the city and the Mercers' company, for the purpose (among others) of defraying the salaries of lecturers in divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, and readers in civil law, physic, and rhetoric; and for the general instruction, the lectures on those sciences were to be read daily, both in Latin and in English. The trustees, however, have long been induced to suffer the lectures to be delivered (agreeably to the practice of the universities) only in term-time, although in direct opposition to the will and intention of the founder; by which inadvertence, and through the studied brevity observed in the lectures, the professors' places have almost dwindled into mere sinecures, and the public derive little or no advantage from sir Thomas's munificence. The yearly salary of each professor is now

The is kept open as a thoroughfare from o'clock in the morning till half-past in the afternoon. The hours of business have been several times altered, but are now considered to extend from till ; the last hour is always the most busy . To a person unaccustomed to the view, the crowded assemblage of merchants and traders of all nations which may be daily held within the area, forms an interesting, as well as instructive scene.

The extent of the from north to south is feet, and from east to west feet.

On the site of the Pope's Head tavern was formerly a royal palace, in which king John resided when Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, was put upon his defence, and acquitted himself, says Matthew Paris,

before the king in

Cornhill

.

The Pope's Head tavern, with other houses adjoining, were strongly built of stone, and were formerly in , belonging to some person of great state, as may be supposed by the arms, viz. lions passant-guardant, which was the whole arms of England before the reign of Edward III. who quartered them with the arms of France. These arms, supported by angels, were handsomely and largely carved in the tore front of this house towards the high street.

On , a dreadful fire broke out in , destroying nearly houses, and extending nearly from Change-alley to St. Michael's church east, and from to the churchyard of St. Edmund the king, south. was immediately collected for the benefit of the sufferers.

, as before-mentioned, originally received its name from

464

being the principal market whence the city was supplied with corn. It does not appear that the factors lived in the street, but that stalls were erected, at which they attended on market-days. The houses were at that time chiefly occupied by respectable drapers, who were so numerous as to be formed into a distinct guild, under the title of the

drapers of

Cornhill

.

The drapers, on leaving this street, were succeeded by a less respectable class of dealers in old clothes, who did not appear to have been very particular as to what they bought. Lidgate, the monk of Bury, in his

London Lickpenny,

thus notices :--

Then into Cornhill anon I yode,

Where was much stolen gere amonge;

I saw where honge mine own hoode,

That I had lost amonge the thronge:

To by myne own hoode I thought it wronge,

I knew it as well as I did my crede,

But for lack of mony I cold not spede.

The building of the restored to its present respectability. On the north side of is , corruptly for Burchover-lane, so denominated from the builder.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Anec. of Painting, vol. iii. p. 147.

[] Ibid. vol. iv. p. 209.

[] Mal. Lond. Red. vol. ii. p. 442.

[] Anec. of Painting, vol. iii. p. 152.

[] Brayley, ii. p. 494.

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
collapseCHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
collapseCHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
collapseCHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
collapseCHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
collapseCHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
collapseCHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
collapseCHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
collapseCHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
collapseCHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
collapseCHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
collapseCHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
collapseCHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--History
Antiquities
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/44306
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00068
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights