Old and New London: Volume 4. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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GROSVENOR SQUARE, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
A Critical Reviewer's Opinion of the Square in the Last Century—Sir Richard Grosvenor—The Statue of George I.—Linkmen and Oil-Lamps—A House raffled for—Mr. Thomas Raikes—Anecdote of Charles Mathews—Beckford of Fonthill, and Lord Nelson—The Earl of Derby and Miss Farren, the Actress—The Earl of Harrowby and the Cato Street Conspiracy—Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—The Earl of Shaftesbury—Dr. Johnson—Lower Grosvenor Street—A Curious Exhibition—Brook Street and its Distinguished Residents—North and South Audley Streets.
This square was the last addition in point of date, and also the furthest addition westward, to the metropolis at the time when "The New Critical Review of the Public Buildings of London" was published, namely, in 1736. It was intended to be the finest of all the then existing squares; but the writer of that work condemns it as hopelessly falling short of any such a design. In fact, he laughs at it as a miscarriage in its execution, utterly wanting in harmony of plan, and irregular in its details. He speaks of the east side as the best of the four; but even this he censures severely, and he cannot find terms bad enough to describe the "triple house on the north side," which, he suggests, "could have been built only with the view of taking in some young heir to buy it at a great rate." He praises, however, the expensive taste with which the centre of the square was laid out, though he condemns the brick enclosure round it as clumsy, and a "blemish to the view which it was intended to preserve and adorn." The brick enclosure happily is no more, having long since given place to iron railings. As for the south and west sides, they are, in the author's opinion, "little better than a collection of whims and frolics in building, without anything like order or beauty, and therefore deserving no further consideration." The purer taste of our own day, however, will see merits, if not beauty, in the variety of styles introduced into the houses which form the square; and the owner of the freehold, the head of the Grosvenor family, will be able to laugh at the attempt to "write down" his ancestors' fine and important contribution to the grandeur of the West-end. The real fact is that many of the houses are built of red brick, but they have noble stone facings, and being each of a different pattern, though uniform in general appearance, they give to the square a pleasing variety in details, without detracting from its dignity.
That the square was built a long time before the year above mentioned is clear from the fact, that as early as 1716 Pope speaks of it in a letter to his friend and correspondent, Miss Martha Blount.
Previous to the completion of the houses between New Bond Street and Hyde Park, the erections here were called "Grosvenor Buildings;" but in the year 1725, says the author of the "Beauties of England," Sir Richard Grosvenor, Bart. (who was in right of the manor of Wimondham, Herts, Grand Cup-bearer at the coronation of George II., and who died in 1732), assembled his tenants and the persons employed in the buildings to a splendid entertainment, when he named the various streets. At the same period he erected the gate in Hyde Park, now called by his name." Sir Richard, to whom this square owes its origin, was, says Malcolm, "as great a builder as the Duke of Bedford." The landscape garden, which occupies the centre of the square, was laid out by Kent, and the enclosure can boast a few trees, though not so handsome as the plane-trees of Berkeley Square.
There was formerly in the centre of the square a gilt statue of George I. on horseback, but the pedestal is now vacant. This statue was made by Van Nort, and was erected by Sir Richard Grosvenor in 1726, "near the redoubt called Oliver's Mount." Soon after it was put up, says Malcolm, "some villains dismembered it in the most shameful manner, and affixed a traitorous paper to the pedestal."
Before several of the houses in this square, and
indeed in other streets at the West-end, may still
be seen specimens of the iron link-extinguishers on
the top of the railings. Numerous allusions to the
iink-boys and their calling are to be found in the
plays and lighter poems of the last century, and
links were commonly carried before carriages at the
West-end until about the year 1807, when the
introduction of gas gradually superseded their use.
The link-men and link-boys would appear to have
been a disorderly class, and the profession to have
been followed as a cloak for thieving. Thus Gay
writes in his "Trivia:"—
"Though thou art tempted by the linkman's call,
Yet trust him not along the lonely wall:
In the midway he'll quench the flaming brand,
And share the booty with the pilfering band."
It is worthy, perhaps, of a note, as showing the reluctance of our aristocracy to adopt new-fangled fashions, that Grosvenor Square was the last street or square which was lit with oil; the last oil-lamp there was not superseded by gas until 1842. The inhabitants for many years opposed the intrusion of so vulgar a commodity as gas, and preferred to go on as their fathers had gone on before them. What we have here said about the opposition to the introduction of gas in this locality may serve to remind the reader of Macaulay's words respecting the obstruction offered, less than two centuries ago, to Edward Fleming's first attempt to light the streets of London with oil. "The cause of darkness was not undefended. There were fools in that age who opposed the introduction of what was called 'the new light' as strenuously as fools in our own age have opposed the introduction of vaccination and railroads, and as strenuously as the fools of an age anterior to the dawn of history doubtless opposed the introduction of the plough and of alphabetical writing."
In 1739, says a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, "the centre house on the east side of the square was raffled for, and won by two persons named Hunt and Braithwaite. The possessor valued it at £10,000, but the winners sold it two months afterwards for £7,000 to the Duke of Norfolk." The house was built on ground held by Sir Richard Grosvenor for eighty-four years from 1737, at a ground-rent of £42 per annum.
Malcolm, writing at the commencement of this century, humorously observes that his readers "must know that this square is the very focus of feudal grandeur, elegance, fashion, taste, and hospitality," and that "the novel-reader must be intimately acquainted with the description of residents within it, when the words 'Grosvenor Square' are to be found in almost every work of that species written in the compass of fifty years past."
Grosvenor Square, as may naturally be supposed, though only a century and a half old, has had plenty of distinguished inhabitants. In it, in 1832, was living Mr. Thomas Raikes, the accomplished author of the "Journal" from which we have so often quoted. Here Mr. Raikes used to entertain not only many of the leading politicians and statesmen of the day, but also Pope the actor, the elder Mathews, Tom Sheridan, Charles Calvert, and other genial acquaintances. One evening, when the above-named guests were present, a comical incident occurred, which Mr. Raikes records in his "Journal:"—"In the course of conversation, Pope alluded to an old gentleman in the country who was so madly attached to the society of Mathews, that whenever he came to town he went straight to his house, and if he did not find him there, would trace him and follow him wherever he might happen to be. This did not excite much attention, but about nine o'clock we all heard a tremendous rap at the door, and my servant came in saying that there was in the hall a gentleman who insisted on seeing Mr. Mathews. The latter appeared very disconcerted, made many apologies for the intrusion, and said that he would get rid of him instantly, as he doubtless must be the person who so frequently pestered him. As soon as he had retired, we heard a very noisy dialogue in the hall between Mathews and his friend, who insisted on coming in and joining the party, while the other as urgently insisted on his retreat. At length the door opened, and in walked a most extraordinary figure, who sat down in Mathews's place, filled himself a tumbler of claret, which he pronounced to be execrable, and began in the most impudent manner to claim acquaintance with all the party, and say the most ridiculous things to every one. We were all for the moment thrown off our guard; but we soon detected our versatile companion, who really had not taken three minutes to tie up his nose with a string, put on a wig, and otherwise so to metamorphose himself that it was almost impossible to recognise him."
It had been foretold to Mr. Raikes at Paris some years previously that he would one day be arrested for debt; and the prophecy was thus fulfilled. Mr. Raikes shall tell his own story:—"The repairs of my house were being performed by contract; but the builder failed before his work was concluded, and the assignee claimed of me the whole amount of the sum agreed. This I would not pay further than it had been fairly earned. The difference was only £150; but the assignees sent a bailiff to my house and arrested me, while my carriage was waiting to convey me to dinner at the Duke of York's, where the story caused considerable merriment."
The town residence of Mr. Beckford, the famous owner of Fonthill Abbey, in Wiltshire, was in this square; and on one occasion Lord Nelson was on a visit here, at a time of general scarcity, when persons in every rank of life denied themselves the use of that necessary article of food, bread, at dinner, and were content, for the sake of example, with such vegetables as the season afforded. Lord Nelson, however, contrary to the established etiquette of the dinner-table, called for bread, and was respectfully told by one of the servants in waiting that, in consequence of the scarcity of wheat, bread was wholly dispensed with at the dinner-table of Mr. Beckford. Nelson looked angry; and desiring his own attendant to be called, he drew forth a shilling from his pocket, and commanded him to go out and purchase him a loaf; observing, that after having fought for his bread, he thought it hard that his countrymen should deny it to him.
Here, at No. 23, lived Edward, the twelfth Earl of Derby, after his marriage with Miss Farren, the celebrated actress, whose mother lived with his lordship and her daughter, and died here in 1803. Miss Farren's first patronesses and acquaintances in London were Lord and Lady Ailesbury and Mrs. Damer, to whom she had been introduced by the Duchess of Leinster, who knew something of her family in Ireland. The house was the town residence of the Earls of Derby until about the year 1852, when the then head of the house of Stanley removed to St. James's Square.
It was at No. 29 in this square, then, as now, the house of the Earl of Harrowby, that the Cabinet Ministers of George IV. had arranged to dine on the 23rd of February, 1820, when they were prevented by a preconcerted plan for their assassination, which is known to history as the Cato Street conspiracy, from the place between Marylebone and the Edgware Road where it was concocted, and which is now called Homer Street. The head of this conspiracy was a discharged soldier, named Arthur Thistlewood, who had been imprisoned for twelve months for annoying Lord Sidmouth. Along with a band of a dozen or more desperadoes, it had been arranged that some of them should watch the door of Lord Harrowby's house, where, whilst one of the gang delivered a pretended dispatch-box, the rest were to rush in and kill all the King's ministers, Lords Sidmouth and Castlereagh being especially marked out for vengeance. From Grosvenor Square they were to rush off to the barracks in Hyde Park, and thence to attack the Bank of England and the Tower of London, as they expected that they would have the people with them. Meantime, however, the Government had obtained scent of the intended massacre, through the agency of a spy, and whilst the assassins were assembled in a stable-loft in Cato Street, and arming themselves by the light of a candle for the execution of their plan, they were surprised by a body of Bow Street officers, who made their way up the ladder into the loft. The leader of the officers, on calling upon Thistlewood to surrender, was shot dead; the lights being put out, a fearful mêlée followed; in the midst of it Thistlewood managed to escape, but he was captured early next morning. Along with nine of his comrades, he was safely lodged in the Tower next day; and it may be remarked that they were the last prisoners confined in that fortress. In the following April the conspirators were brought to trial, when Thistlewood and three of his chief accomplices were sentenced to death, and the rest were transported for life. It is stated in Mr. John Timbs' "Romance of London," on the authority of the late Sir R. Thierry, a judge in the Australian colonies, that two at least of the persons transported for this crime rose in the course of time to independent positions at Bathurst and Sydney, and became respectable members of society.
The corner house of the square, between Upper Grosvenor and South Audley Streets, has been for many years the residence of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, better known by his former name of Sir Stratford Canning, "the greatest of diplomatists of his age, the highest authority on all subjects connected with Turkey and the East, and the only man in Western Europe of whom the Ottoman Porte is really afraid." Here he produced a drama, a volume of poems, and sundry essays on religious subjects at an age when most men are rather inclined to throw the pen aside than to take it in hand.
Besides the members of the aristocracy named above, this square has numbered among its inhabitants, at one time or another, Bishop Warburton, author of the "Divine Legation;" Lord Chancellor Hardwicke; Lord North, when Premier; Henry Thrale, of Streatham; Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles; and John Withers and Sir George Beaumont, the great patron of art and artists. He had part of his gallery at the house already mentioned as belonging to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. In 1841 Lord Canning and Lord Granville (then Lord Leveson) were living together at No. 10. Among its more recent inhabitants may be mentioned the late Mr. Joseph Neeld, M.P., whose fine gallery of paintings was at No. 6; and the Earl of Shaftesbury, who has lived at No. 24 for more than thirty years. The philanthropy of the last-named nobleman, although so well known, is fairly entitled to a word or two of recognition here, particularly in his efforts to ameliorate the condition of the lowest orders of society. The Ragged School movement, of which Mr. John Forster epitomises the history in his "Life of Dickens" by saying that it was begun by a shoemaker of Southampton and a chimney-sweep of Windsor, was carried out to its present length and its present success mainly under the auspices of Lord Shaftesbury; and the same writer tells us that in thirty years the schools had passed some thirty thousand children through them, and that it is computed that for a third of that number honest means of employment have been found by the same agency.
We have already had occasion, more than once, to speak of the conflicts that took place in this neighbourhood during the civil wars. It is said that the line of fortifications thrown up at that time, by order of Cromwell, ran diagonally across the space occupied by this square from the mound, or mount, at the western extremity of what is now, from that circumstance, called Mount Street, as we have already mentioned. Apart from this, there are few, if any, historical events connected with the square; indeed, it may be said that it is almost of too recent growth to have much of a history.
That Johnson was a frequenter of so fashionable a region as Grosvenor Square may be set down by Mr. Timbs, or by others, among "Things not Generally Known." But Mr. Smith, in his "Book for a Rainy Day," tells us that he once saw the burly doctor "follow a sturdy thief who had stolen his handkerchief in Grosvenor Square, seize him by the collar with both hands, and shake him violently; then, letting him loose, give him such a powerful smack on the face as sent him reeling off the pavement." Independent as he was in all his ideas, the learned doctor once fairly owned that if he was not plain Dr. Johnson, of Lichfield, Oxford, and Bolt Court, he would desire to be "Grosvenor of that ilk."
The Count de Melfort, in his "Impressions of England," remarks that Grosvenor and St. James's Squares clearly have the first rank to themselves. This may have been a just remark at the time when he wrote, in the reign of William IV., but it would scarcely be true now that Belgrave Square has come to be the centre of attraction and fashion. However, they all owe their precedence to the fact that they are mainly occupied by the highest of the aristocracy, and that there is not a plebeian "professional" man—not even a titled M.D.—living in them.
At the south-eastern corner of the square, and extending eastward towards Bond Street, is Lower Grosvenor Street. Writing at the commencement of the present century, the author of the "Beauties of England" states that it "consists of a great number of excellent houses, the majority of which are inhabited by titled persons and affluent families. Indeed, a bare list of the persons of distinction residing in this neighbourhood would comprehend a great portion of the present British peers."
Here, in 1784, was living Mr. John Crewe, M.P. for Cheshire, and subsequently Lord Crewe, already mentioned as the last survivor of Fox's friends at "Brooks's" Club. His wife, who was a most zealous Whig, gave at her house a splendid entertainment in commemoration of the return of Mr. Fox for Westminster, in May of the above year. "The intimate friend of Fox, and one of the most accomplished and charming women of her time," writes Sir N. W. Wraxall, "she had exerted herself in securing his election, if not as efficaciously, yet as enthusiastically as the Duchess of Devonshire herself. On this occasion the ladies, no less than the men, were all habited in blue and buff. The Prince of Wales, too, was present in that dress. After supper, a toast having been given by his Royal Highness, consisting of the words 'True blue and Mrs. Crewe,' which was received with rapture, the lady rose and proposed another health, expressive of her gratitude, and not less laconic, namely, 'True blue, and all of you.'"
Mr. Peter Cunningham enumerates among the other residents the Countess of Hertford (celebrated in Thomson's "Seasons," Spring), Miss Vane, the mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales; Mrs. Oldfield, the actress; Admiral Jervis, afterwards Earl St. Vincent; Dr. Matthew Baillie (brother of Agnes and Joanna Baillie); and last, not least, Sir Humphry Davy, when he became President of the Royal Society. Mr. Fox Maule, afterwards Lord Dalhousie, and the accomplished Mr. H. Gally Knight, M.P., author of "An Architectural Tour in Normandy," also lived here.
And yet this highly aristocratic street has been occasionally invaded by plebeian exhibitions. At No. 68, for instance, was, in 1818–20, Duburg's Exhibition. This consisted of models in cork of ancient temples, theatres, &c., in Rome and other Italian cities, and in the south of France, all formed to a scale, and executed so as to convey a faithful representation of the ruins as they then stood. Mr. Rush, the ambassador from the United States of America, writes in his "Court of London," under date May, 1819: "Went to see the cork models in Lower Grosvenor Street. There was a representation of the amphitheatre at Verona, and of that at Rome; of Vergel's tomb; of the Cascade near Tivoli; of the Grotto of Egeria; of Vesuvius in a state of eruption; and of various other things of antiquity. I rank it among the most curious exhibitions that I have seen in London." No. 16 was for some time the home of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
On the north of the open fields, says Macaulay, the Oxford Road, in the reign of Charles II., ran between hedges. "Three or four hundred yards to the south were the garden walls of a few great houses, which were then considered as quite out of town. Here was a spring from which, long afterwards, Conduit Street was named." From this stream or brook—which came down from Tyburn, and found its way across Piccadilly, as we have already seen—the neighbourhood was called the Brook Field. The earliest instance of the name occurring is, perhaps, in the London Gazette of September, 1688:— "His Majesty has been graciously pleased to grant a market for live cattle to be held in Brookfield, near Hyde Park Corner, on Tuesday and Thursday in every week. The first market day will be held on the first Thursday in October next, and afterwards to continue weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays—the Tuesday market in the morning for cattle, and the afternoon for horses." The land, however, being wanted for building purposes, and the market not proving very attractive, the latter was dropped, and the services of designers and architects were called in. Many of the original houses still remain; they mostly date from the middle of the last century. The principal street that sprung up in these fields—running from Hanover Square across Bond Street, Davies Street, and Grosvenor Square, towards Hyde Park—naturally took the name of Brook Street.
This street has for a century been the residence of successful surgeons and physicians. Hither Sir Charles Bell, in the height of his fame, removed about the year 1831, and here he lived till his final settlement in Edinburgh, in 1835. Sir Henry Holland, the fashionable Court physician, resided for upwards of fifty years at No. 25, formerly the residence of Edmund Burke. His house was a centre of literary and scientific society, and around his table often were gathered the Macaulays, the Wilberforces, and Sydney Smith (whose daughter he married), as well as Lord John Russell, Lord Melbourne, and other political leaders. He attended the deathbeds of no less than five Premiers, and of several members of our own and some other royal houses. He was the physician to the Princess Charlotte, and at a later date to Her Majesty and the late Prince Consort. He was created a baronet in 1853. He was the author of very many important medical works and books of travel, and he made it a rule of his life, and one which he observed until the very last year of his life, to travel abroad every summer. He died in October, 1873, at the age of eighty-five. Lady Holland's name is well known in the world of letters as the author of the "Life" of her accomplished and witty father, "the Canon of St. Paul's."
Sir William Gull, physician extraordinary to Her Majesty, is another distinguished resident in this street. He was created a baronet in 1872, on the recovery of the Prince of Wales, after a dangerous attack of fever, through which Sir William attended his Royal Highness as his chief medical adviser.
At No. 50 lived Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, the restorer of the architecture of Windsor Castle.
Handel likewise resided in this street. Mr. J. T. Smith, in his "Antiquarian Rambles," fixes the house exactly; it was "No. 57 on the south side, four doors from Bond Street, and two from the gateway." On the same side of the street, between Bond and Davies Streets, is Claridge's—formerly Mivart's—hotel, noted as the place where royal and distinguished personages from foreign countries usually "put up."
At No. 20 was held the first entertainment given by the Society of Painters in Water Colours.
In Woodstock Street, which lies between Oxford Street and Brook Street, Johnson was once living in lodgings, accompanied by his wife, on his second journey to London, in the autumn of 1737, before he took up his residence in Castle Street, and made the acquaintance of Edmund Cave. He does not, however, appear to have remained here long, finding it possibly too far from the scene of his literary labours at Clerkenwell in the days when there were no omnibuses or "underground" railways.
Grosvenor Square is connected with Oxford Street, at its north-east corner, by a thoroughfare of inferior appearance, built about 1770, and called Duke Street, probably after the Duke of Cumberland. It requires no further notice here.
At the north-west corner of the square, which also it connects with Oxford Street, is North Audley Street—so called, not from the Lords Audley, as is often supposed, but after Mr. Hugh Audley, a barrister of the Inner Temple, who, seeing the tendency of London to increase in a westerly direction, bought up the ground hereabouts for building purposes, and having started with a very small capital, died in 1662, leaving property to the tune of nearly half a million. The land taken up by him is described in an old survey, to be seen among the maps of George III., in the British Museum, as "lying between Great Brook Field, and the Shoulder of Mutton Field." The history of this individual may be found in a curious pamphlet, entitled, "The Way to be Rich, according to the practice of the great Audley, who began life, with £200, in the year 1605, and died worth £400,000 this instant November, 1662."
Here lived and here died, in 1770, at the age of upwards of ninety, General Lord Ligonier, one of the last survivors of the Duke of Marlborough's campaigns, and the correspondent of nearly all the eminent statesmen of the reigns of George II. and George III.
In this street is the "Vernon's Head," the sign of Admiral Vernon, the hero of Portobello, set up in commemoration of the capture of that town in 1739. Close by is St. Mark's Church, originally a chapel of ease to St. George's, Hanover Square, though now it has a district assigned to it, and has become, to some extent, independent of the mother church. It is in the Ionic style of Grecian architecture. It was erected by Mr. John Deering, R.A. in 1828.
South Audley Street, which runs southward from the south-western corner of Grosvenor Square, was not built till many years after North Audley Street, namely, about 1728; it comprises far finer houses, and has been tenanted by the highest families; and many foreigners of distinction, diplomatists, and others, have lived in it temporarily. Charles X. of France, for instance, in his exile, occupied No. 72; Louis XVIII. also lived here at one time, but the house is not identified, even by Mr. P. Cunningham. General Paoli, of Corsican fame; Sir William Jones, the great Eastern scholar; and Sir Richard Westmacott, the sculptor, are also named as residents here. Mr. Cunningham also tells us that Sir Richard Westmacott executed all his principal works at the house No. 14, now the residence of the Hon. Edward Leveson-Gower, brother of Lord Granville.
In this street, too, lived Mr. Robert Berry, the father of the charming Misses Berry, the friends and correspondents of Horace Walpole, of whom we shall have more to say in our next chapter.
Horace Walpole complains, in a letter to one of these ladies, that he has "no Audley Street" to receive him of an evening—alluding, no doubt, to his cousins, the Conways, to whose house he also refers in another letter, complaining that "all Audley Street is off to Yorkshire," and that town is dull and lonely.
No. 74 in this street, now the residence of the Earl of Cawdor, was for the best part of a century the house of the Portuguese Ambassador. In this street, at No. 77, was living, in 1820, Alderman (afterwards Sir Matthew) Wood; and here, on the 6th of June in that year, Queen Caroline, the injured consort of George IV., arriving from the Continent, took up her residence. Here she received the formal addresses from the common councilmen and livery of London, and here she would appear on the balcony, and bow to the mob assembled in the street below. Here her Majesty continued to reside till the commencement of her trial in Westminster Hall, which lasted from the 19th of August down to the 10th of November. During these long and weary weeks, the Queen was accommodated with apartments more conveniently situated in St. James's Square, at the house of Sir Philip Francis, as we have already seen. The sad story of the Queen's last few days is thus told by Hughson:—"On the death of George III., the Princess of Wales, who had been several years residing on the Continent, became Queen-consort of England, and resolved on immediately proceeding thither. On the 6th of June, 1820, her Majesty arrived in London, and took up her temporary residence at the house of Alderman Wood, in South Audley Street. The alderman met her Majesty at Montbarde, in France, and accompanied her through the rest of her journey. On the 16th, the common council, and on the 3rd of the following month, the livery of London, presented addresses to her Majesty on her return. On the 19th of August, the proceedings on the Bill of Pains and Penalties commenced in the House of Lords, which lasted till the 10th of November, when her Majesty was acquitted. It is impossible, in the limits of this work, to describe the state of the metropolis during these unpopular proceedings; on their close, the town was illuminated for three nights, and, on the 29th, the Queen went to St. Paul's Cathedral to return thanks." It is difficult to imagine what the special mercies were for which her Majesty gave "thanks" on this occasion. Her death happened in the following August.
Queen Caroline, however, was not the only royal personage who has lived in this street; for, in 1826, at Cambridge House (now Curzon House) resided the Duke of York, after he gave up his newly-built mansion in the stable-yard at St. James's. The house has been, at a later date, the residence of Earl Howe.
In the above year, too, Lord John Russell lived in this street; his house, however, has been converted to business purposes, and now serves as a hairdresser's shop. In 1841 the name of Lord Sydenham occurs among the list of residents here.
Among the inhabitants of this street, in 1763, was Lord Bute, as we learn from a notice in a contemporary journal, which tells us that, "in the July of that year, two women were sent by Lord Bute's order to Bridewell, for singing political ballads before his lordship's door in South Audley Street."
On the eastern side of this street is one of those proprietary chapels of ease, with which we have seen this fashionable district abounds. It is a dull, heavy structure, dating from the last century. In its vaults repose some distinguished characters: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; Ambrose Philips, the poet; Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, who was carried hither from Chesterfield House, in 1773; and John Wilkes, who was buried here from Grosvenor Square, in 1797. A mural tablet in the chapel bears an inscription, said to be from his own pen:—"The remains of John Wilkes, a friend to Liberty."
In this street are the pottery-galleries of Messrs. Goode, where are displayed the celebrated productions of the Messrs. Minton. The chief stores of the Lambeth Art Faience have for many years past been kept at this establishment, which is said to be the most extensive of its kind in Europe.
At the corner of South Street stands a house of a very marked character, and by many attributed to Inigo Jones. The building is heavy and dull to a degree; massive cornices, small window-panes set in massive frames, and a bay-window over a portico, projecting partly over the pavement in South Street, are its chief architectural features. The house was formerly the residence of General Gascoyne, the colleague of Canning in the representation of Liverpool.
Audley Square—as it is the fashion to style a few dull, heavy, substantial houses which recede a little from the road on the eastern side of South Audley Street, just above Chesterfield House—scarcely deserves a separate notice, but may be regarded as a part of South Audley Street; and the only fact recorded in its annals is, that Mr. Spencer Perceval, the premier, whose assassination we have recorded, (fn. 1) was born in it in the year 1762.
Chesterfield House, at the bottom of this street, we shall describe in our next chapter.