Old and New London: Volume 6. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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LAMBETH (continued).—WATERLOO ROAD, &c.
Ecclesiastical Divisions of the Parish of Lambeth—The Lambeth Water-works—The Shot Factory—Belvidere Road—Royal Infirmary for Children and Women—The General Lying in Hospital—St. John's Church—The Grave of Elliston—The South-Western Railway Terminus—The New Cut—Sunday Trading—The Victoria Palace Theatre—Dominic Serres—St. Thomas's Church—Lambeth Marsh—Bishop Bonner's House—Erasmus King's Museum—The "Spanish Patriot"—All Saints' Church—The Canterbury Hall—The Bower Saloon—Stangate—"Old Grimaldi"—Carlisle House—Norfolk House—Old Mill at Lambeth—The London Necropolis Company—St. Thomas's Hospital—The Albert Embankment—Inundations in Lambeth—Lambeth Potteries and Glass Works—Schools of Art—Manufactures of Lambeth.
By an order of council, made in 1825, the parish of Lambeth was divided into five districts—called respectively St. Mary's, or the old church district; Waterloo, or St. John's district; Kennington, or St. Mark's; Brixton, or St. Matthew's; and Norwood, or St. Luke's. Of the three last-named districts we have already treated in the course of our perambulations. Of St. John's district we will now proceed to speak.
The formation of Waterloo Bridge—which was completed and opened on the 18th of June, 1817—as may be expected, soon made a great alteration in the appearance of Southern London, especially in those parts lying between Blackfriars and Westminster Bridge Roads. Towards the close of the last century, water-works for Lambeth were established in the Belvidere Road, on part of Belvidere Wharf, and what was formerly a garden on the Narrow Wall. A company—called the Lambeth Water-works Company—was established for supplying the parish of Lambeth and parts adjacent with water taken from the Thames. They commenced their operations with a small capital, but by careful management, and avoiding a large expenditure at the commencement, their enterprise was attended with success.
Previous to the formation of the above-mentioned company, the portion of the metropolis lying south of the river Thames was first supplied with water by two wheels erected at London Bridge, near the Surrey shore, and also by separate works at St. Mary Overies. These two establishments, both of considerable antiquity, were combined, under the name of the Southwark Water-works, in 1822. In 1805, a third company, the Vauxhall Water-works Company, was established for supplying the Surrey side of London. They took their water at first from the river Effra, and subsequently from the Thames, near Vauxhall Bridge.
All the above-mentioned companies, in the first instance, supplied water just as it came to hand, without being over-particular as to its condition. Between the years 1820 and 1830, however, the attention of the public was attracted to the quality of the water they were then receiving, and since it appeared that improvement was needed, the companies, urged by the pressure from without, took steps to improve it accordingly. The Lambeth Water-works Company, shortly after 1830, formed elevated reservoirs at Brixton Hill and Streatham, for the purpose of the service generally, and maintaining a constant supply of water in case of fire. Of late years, however, they have made a great improvement in the old condition of things; for, considering the state of the river in the tide-way objectionable as a source of supply (owing principally to the constant agitation now kept up by the steamboats plying between the bridges, and the increased quantity of sewage poured into the Thames in the London district), they obtained, in 1848, an Act to enable them to abandon their former source near the Belvidere Road, and to take water from the pure stream of the river at Ditton, twenty-three miles above London Bridge, and far beyond the reach of the tide.
About the same time that the water-works were established here, a large shot factory was built close by, together with a fine wet-dock for the loading and warehousing of goods. Near Waterloo Bridge. and close to the site of Cuper's Gardens, of which we have already spoken, (fn. 1) another shot manufactory was erected about the year 1789 by Messrs. Watts. The height of the tower of this manufactory is 140 feet, and the shot falls upwards of 120 feet. These shot towers are conspicuous objects on the southern side of the Thames near Waterloo Bridge.
The Belvidere Road, or Narrow Wall, is an ancient way, as it is depicted in views of London dated 1588; as are Vine Street and the Cornwall Road; but no houses seem to have been in either of them, with the exception of a few in and about Vine Street. From the Belvidere Road, in the present day, an excellent opportunity is afforded of noticing the extent of the artificial elevation given to the road when the approaches to Waterloo Bridge were made. Indeed, it hardly needs the occasional incursions of the river to remind the water-side inhabitants that this now dense and widely-spreading region was once a marsh, and even a flat swampy level, scarcely raised above the surface of the Thames.
One of the first institutions which attracts our attention as we pass down the Waterloo Road is the Royal Infirmary for Children and Women, which has stood here for upwards of half a century. It was originally established at St. Andrew's Hill, in the City, in 1816, but was removed to Lambeth in 1823. The Duke of Kent assisted in founding the infirmary, and the Queen has long been an annual subscriber; and the Prince of Wales, on whose estate as Duke of Cornwall the hospital stands, has allowed the committee to purchase the freehold on advantageous terms. In 1875 the building was enlarged and considerably improved. The institution, which is supported by donations and subscriptions, at first received children only, to whom it afforded relief for diseases of all kinds, from the time of birth till fourteen years of age, being open, in cases of emergency, to all first applications for admission without any recommendation. There were in 1877 fifty beds and cots in the hospital, and an asphalte playground on the roof for convalescent patients. During the preceding year 232 in-patients (children) were received, and 6,550 out-patients (women and children) visited. There were, during the same period, 1,430 visits paid by the resident medical officer to sick children at home. In 1877 the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne) formally re-opened the infirmary on the completion of the enlargement mentioned above, when one of the wards—hitherto known as the "Hamilton Ward," from having been founded at the expense of Mr. Francis Hamilton, one of the vice-presidents—was, at the request of that gentleman, re-named the "Louise Ward." There are now six wards in all. The patients all pay something towards their treatment. The out-patients pay 1d. for each visit, and the parents of the in-patients give 6d. a week. In some cases these sums are provided by friends connected with the hospital. This hospital, we need scarcely add, is situated in the midst of one of the poorest districts of London, and provides comfortable beds, good food, kind nursing, and medicine for sick children and women, who cannot get these things at home, and that, therefore, it is an institution deserving of the heartiest support.
Another invaluable institution in this neighbourhood—a sister hospital to the Magdalen—is the General Lying-in Hospital in York Road. It was instituted in 1765, mainly through the exertions of Dr. John Leake, an eminent writer on the diseases of women, and was incorporated in 1830. The hospital was formerly in the Westminster Bridge Road, near Marsh Gate, from which, in 1829, it was removed to its present situation, where a neat square building of white brick, ornamented with stone, with a handsome receding portico of the Ionic order, has been erected. The hospital was principally intended as an asylum "for the wives of poor industrious tradesmen and distressed housekeepers, who, either from unavoidable misfortunes, or from the burden of large families, are reduced to want, and rendered incapable of bearing the expenses incident to the lying-in state, and also for the wives of indigent soldiers and seamen; but the governors, in the spirit of true philanthropy, have extended the benefits of the institution to unmarried females, restricting this indulgence, however, to the first instance of misconduct."
Pennant enumerates the Lying-in Hospital, the Asylum, or House of Refuge, and the Magdalen, as admirable institutions within a short distance of each other, and together helping to relieve the sufferings of the weaker sex.
Lower down the Waterloo Road, on the east side, and nearly facing the terminus of the SouthWestern Railway, stands St. John's Church, which was built in 1823–4. The site of this church having been a swamp and horse-pond, an artificial foundation of piles had to be formed before any portion of the superstructure could be raised. The edifice, which is anything but ecclesiastical in character, is built of brick, with stone dressings; the plan of the basement comprehends not only the church, but a terrace in front of it—the former is a parallelogram, the latter forms a transept at the west end, the whole of the area being laid out in catacombs. The terrace was rendered necessary to fill up the space between the church and the road, which is considerably raised to meet the level of Waterloo Bridge. The western front of the building is occupied with a Grecian portico of the Doric order, sustaining an entablature, cornice, and pediment, the frieze being ornamented with chaplets of myrtle. The steeple is situated above the centre of the front: it consists of a tower and spire, both of which are square in their plan; the storey above the clock-dial is of the Ionic order. The obelisk on the summit is crowned by a stone ball and cross. The interior of the church is not divided into nave and aisles, according to the usual plan; the piers between the windows are ornamented with pilasters, and the ceiling is horizontal and panelled.
The sides and west end of the church is occupied by a gallery, sustained on Doric columns. The organ was the gift of Mr. Lett, an inhabitant of the district, who was also the donor of the site of the church. In the centre aisle is a font of white marble, brought from Italy, and presented to the church by the Rev. Dr. Barrett, the first incumbent. The east end is ornamented with a handsome stained-glass window, and the reredos is richly gilt and painted in arabesque.
St. John's Church contains one memorable tomb, that of Elliston, the comedian, whose name is so intimately connected, as we have seen, with transpontine performances. Those who have read Charles Lamb's reminiscences of Elliston, in his "Ellistoniana," and his address "to the shade of Elliston," will not need to be reminded how great an actor he was, though in the main a comedian. He was well educated, and never forgot the knowledge of Latin that he acquired during his youth. "Great wert thou," writes Charles Lamb, "in thy life, Robert William Elliston, and not lessened in thy death, if report speaks truly, which says thou didst direct that thy mortal remains should repose under no inscription but one of pure Latinity." He was born in Bloomsbury in 1774, and was educated at St. Paul's School, being originally intended for the University. In his boyhood, however, he was brought into contact with the late Mr. Charles Mathews, and both being smitten with a love of the drama, made their first effort on private boards, on the first floor of a pastry-cook's shop in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, along with a daughter of Flaxman, the sculptor. Having played in public at Bath, York, and other towns in the provinces, Elliston made his first appearance in London at the Haymarket in 1796. He was a most joyous and light-hearted man, excellent alike in tragedy and comedy, and unrivalled in farce; and he enjoyed a long lease of popular favour. We have already mentioned his connection with the Olympic and the Surrey Theatres. (fn. 2) In his capacity as manager he would often favour the audience with a rich specimen of the grandiloquent style—a style immortalised by Charles Lamb in one of his delightful Essays. He died in 1831.
Nearly opposite St. John's Church is the London terminus of the South-Western Railway, together with the Waterloo Junction station of the SouthEastern Railway. The South-Western terminus in itself is spacious, but makes no pretence to architectural effect. The South-Western Railway was originally called the London and Southampton Railway, and had its terminus for several years at Nine Elms, Vauxhall. About thirty miles were open for traffic in 1838, the line being extended in the following year to Basingstoke, and in 1840 to Southampton. The extension from Vauxhall to the Waterloo Road was effected in 1848, and although only a trifle over two miles in length, cost £800,000. From Waterloo Road to Nine Elms the line is carried through what is—or, at all events, was at one time—one of the dirtiest parts of London, upon a series of brick arches, which were considered marvels of construction when they were built. From the Waterloo Road, the approaches to the booking-offices are by inclined roads. Of the station itself little or nothing need be said, further than that it has been so much enlarged and altered at different times since its first erection, that it now covers a very large space of ground. It is connected with the South-Eastern Railway by a bridge for trains and passengers. From this station trains run at frequent intervals to Richmond, Hampton Court, Windsor, &c.; also to Winchester, Portsmouth, Southampton, Weymouth, Salisbury, Exeter, Plymouth, and other large towns in the south-west and west of England. "The advantages of this metropolitan station," writes Bradshaw, in his "London Guide," "have been very great, both to mere pleasure-seekers and men of business; and when about to undertake a journey on this most tempting and trustworthy of all the railways, it is felt to be something akin to magic to be wafted from the very heart of London to the verge of Southampton Water in less time than one could walk from here to Hampstead; or enabled to enjoy the enchanting scenery of Richmond and Hampton Court for an expenditure of the same sum that would be absorbed in the most moderate indulgence at a gloomy tavern in town." A few minutes' ride on this railway will show the traveller as much as he will care to see of this crowded and rather squalid neighbourhood, and speedily carry him into the fields, out of the smoke of London.
The New Cut, which runs from the Waterloo to the Blackfriars Road, at a short distance southward of the railway terminus, is chiefly remarkable for the number of its brokers' shops, which line both sides of the way. The thoroughfare, on Sunday mornings, has somewhat the character of its rival near Aldgate, formerly called Petticoat Lane; (fn. 3) and it has furnished plenty of materials to Henry Mayhew for his sketches of "London Labour and the London Poor." The following sketch of the New Cut on a Sunday morning is taken from a pamphlet, entitled "Sabbath Life in London," published in 1874. The writer, a Scotchman, after narrating what met his gaze in his rambles through Petticoat Lane, Leather Lane, and Seven Dials, proceeds:—"Crossing one of the bridges, the same disregard of the day of rest is exhibited on the Surrey side of the Thames; and from London Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge, a distance of three miles, there is an almost continuous line of streets in which business is conducted as on other days. In this respect the New Cut takes a prominent part, and the thoroughfare is thronged with women having their aprons full of provisions. The manner in which these untidy dames patronise the ginger-beer stalls indicates pretty plainly the dealings they had with the publican on the previous evening; and if that is not enough, a glance at the many bruised and blackened faces will show, certainly not the joys, but the buffetings of matrimonial life. Were such characters to show their figures in any town in Scotland on a 'Sabbath' morning, loaded with articles for the dinner-table, they would cause as much consternation as if a legion of Satanic forces were let loose, and the people, in their deep-rooted regard for the day, would compel these wanton Sunday desecrators to beat a speedy retreat from public indignation. There is something noble in accounts given of the women in America besieging the public-houses, emptying the destroying liquors into the sewers, and turning the barrel-bellied landlords into the streets. Should ever a civil war befall this country, may it be a rising of Good Templar Amazons against brewers, distillers, and their satellites the publicans. Would that the American spirit could be infused into the mass of London wives and mothers, not by an exhibition of their physical determination, but by a display of their moral power and example, by absenting themselves altogether from the dram-shop, leaving the publican to find a better and more certain field of investment. On my way to Lambeth I passed the door of the Bower Theatre, and my attention was attracted by the play-bill, which announced these pieces:—'Innocent or Guilty,' 'Charley Wagg, or the Mysteries of London,' and the 'Hand of Death.' This theatre is nightly crowded with boys, the children of the Sunday-trading women I have alluded to. There can be no doubt that such 'penny gaffs' have a tendency to vitiate the minds of the rising generation, as has also much of the cheap literature which is issued from the press. There are parties in the literary and dramatic world who live upon vice and corruption; and many of the penny publications, ostensibly got up for boys, and profusely illustrated, are little better than guides to the prison and the penitentiary. Whilst musing on the base purposes to which the drama is too often devoted in this money-grasping age, I was surprised to notice, in large letters, the title of a piece now being performed at the Adelphi, 'The Prayer in the Storm, or the Thirst for Gold.' Just as well might the publican designate his premises 'The House of Prayer,' 'The Gate of Heaven,' or 'The Celestial Abode.' The legitimate drama has many beauties, and serves many useful purposes; but when it goes beyond the teachings of morality, and encroaches on the domains of religion, it deserves to be treated with reprobation and contempt."
The Sunday trading in the "Cut" is continued westward through Lambeth Lower Marsh towards the Westminster Bridge Road, so that the whole distance from the last-named road to Surrey Chapel presents what Dr. Johnson would have called "an animated appearance."
The regular habitués of the place may be divided into two classes—the various dealers and vendors, mostly of "perishable articles," with their regular customers, on the one hand; and on the other the dealers in miscellaneous goods, and the hundreds of men and boys of the working, and what some people call the "dangerous" classes—irregular customers—among whom may be seen the real British "navvy," as good a specimen of humanity after his kind as one need wish to look upon, whose Sunday morning costume differs only from his week-day in having his boots unlaced. To such as these the New Cut is a Sunday morning rendezvous and promenade, and they amuse themselves by sauntering up and down the half-mile of roadway, pipe in mouth, and listening to the oratorical displays of the vendors of every imaginable kind of wares, useful and ornamental, on either side of the road.
A writer in the Daily News, in January, 1872, gives us the following sketch of a Sunday morning in the New Cut:—"On entering the Lower Marsh from the Westminster Road, on the righthand side are the Lambeth Baths, in which a temperance meeting is held every Sunday morning. A platform at one end holds the speakers and singers, for, to enliven the proceedings, between each speech some one sings a song to a lively tune, accompanied by a piano, and the audience—part of which is seated in the spacious bath, from which the water has been drawn off—join in the chorus. There is a continual flow of in-comers and out-goers, and it may be hoped that the zealous preachers of temperance now and then really capture and reform some wretched drunkard, who perhaps 'came in to scof,' but remained to listen to and profit by the retailed experiences of the speakers, many of whom are by no means ashamed to compare their present good health and comparatively full pockets to their former broken-down state and poverty, which was the result of drink. The shops in the Cut may be stated in round numbers to be about 220, of which about one-half were open for business, the other half closed, on Sunday morning; while the stalls and barrows of the costermongers proper, that is, dealers in 'perishable articles' (and perhaps including the vendors of the poor man's luxuries—nuts and oranges—which keep to the line of the gutters), might be reckoned at about 120; while those of the vendors of non-perishable articles and the itinerant sellers of all kinds of commodities might be stated at a somewhat less figure. Among the latter class may be found the familiar figure of the old razor-paste man; he is to be met with in almost every part of the metropolis during the week, but he is part of the Cut on Sunday. Then there is the seller of knives at half-price; of slippers, braces, boots and shoes, and all kinds of wearing apparel, after its kind. In front of a chemist's shop a hearty-looking man is retailing sarsaparilla from a huge bottle, which he holds under the stump of his left arm (in fact, all that is left), at 1d. per glass. It will 'cure more disorders than Holloway's pills and ointment, chase away headaches and nervous debility, purify the blood, and bring flesh on the bones.' From the numbers who in the course of a few minutes paid for their draught and drank it like men, we can quite believe the statement made by the vendor that he sold more than a thousand glasses every Sunday morning. . . . Sufferers from 'the ills the flesh is heir to' are well cared for in the New Cut. A penny stick of some green substance, like sealing-wax, will make many scores of plasters on brown paper, warranted to cure warts, bunions, and corns. Three plasters applied for three successive days will eradicate the worst of corns, but the pain will vanish in five minutes after the first application. Blisters, already spread, can be bought by the yard; and those suffering from toothache can have the offending ivory extracted then and there. The dental professor wears a velvet cap, ornamented with about a hundred long-fanged double-teeth, set in rows, and stands behind a tray, on which are displayed some half-dozen villanous-looking instruments of extraction, one of which, eminently terrible, seemed a cross between a pair of lumpsugar nippers and a pair of tongs. In front were penny bottles of tincture, warranted to cure earache, rheumatism, chilblains, and all kinds of 'rualgias.' The volubility of this professor was extraordinary in his endeavours to dispose of his tinctures, but he was far surpassed by the torrents of eloquence which rushed continuously from the 'doctor' a little higher up, who sold a large box of pills and a half-pint bottle of sarsaparilla for the modest sum of threepence. The 'doctor'—really a clever fellow—did an enormous trade, amply compensating him for his unsparing expenditure of eloquence and breath. The result of his medicine on the scores who purchased it will be much better felt than described; but it is certain that his patients have unlimited faith in him and his therapeutics, which he illustrated occasionally with a human skull, alleged to be that of an illustrious murderer, cut into sections, and parts of which seemed to work on hinges." The writer then proceeds to describe the bird-dealers, and the sellers of groundsel and chickweed; the dogfanciers, with their true "doormats" and "mopheads" under their arms; the purveyors of cheap pictures, ornaments, and toys, &c.; the piled heaps of dirty women's clothing, upper and under, which female auctioneers are selling by a process known as a "Dutch auction." "Sunday morning," continues the writer, "is the weekly harvest time of many of the local shops, notably that of a baker, who displays on a slab outside most tempting jam tarts and puffs, purchased eagerly by juveniles who are the fortunate possessors of a halfpenny. A hot plum composition, a kind of compromise between cake and pudding, sold in large blocks, 'meets with a ready demand at fair prices,' and at its current value must be 'very filling.' Two rival vendors of this compost at opposite sides of the street created much amusement by chaffing one another across the highway, and assuring intending purchasers that 'this is the right shop;' however, the owner of a most stentorian voice, for which natural gift he ought to be thankful, gets the most custom, according to the rule which seems to obtain in this transpontine market, that the most demonstrative and vociferous merchants do the best trade. There is much good humour, a little rough horse-play, and some bad language in this unwashed crowd of buyers, sellers, and idlers; more of the former and less of the latter than might be expected, which may possibly be attributed to the fact that the public-houses do not open till one o'clock. A few minutes before that hour the police nod the word, and with almost the quickness of a transformation scene at the theatre, the costermongers and their barrows, the itinerant traders and their wares, disappear down the many side streets, and this mercantile Pandemonium is then hushed. Idlers gradually disperse, and hot dinners—baked meat and potatoes, the usual wasteful dish of the English poor—issue from various bakers' and other shops, reminding even those who unhappily will not profit by it that this is the poor man's dinner hour. By half-past one the Cut has resumed its ordinary aspect, and has become as dull and quiet, and perhaps as 'respectable,' as Bedford or Tavistock Squares."
At the corner of the New Cut and Waterloo Road stands the Victoria Palace Theatre, which we have described in the preceding chapter. One of the few subscribers that came forward to back the scheme for building the Victoria (or, as it was at first called, the Coburg) Theatre, was one Serres, a marine painter, whose name became known to the world through a little piece of Court scandal. He made interest with Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg, and the Princess Charlotte, in order to procure a licence for its establishment. "Dominic Serres and his two daughters," observes a writer in a newspaper, in January, 1837, "lived in a first floor, next to the fire-engine station, opposite to the stage-door of the Victoria Theatre. One died there: she was a short, dumpy woman; the younger was horribly deaf. Their niece, Johanna, daughter of J. T. Serres, and Olivia, Duchess of Lancaster, married, and has children living at the second or third house in Gibson Street. The surviving aunt has since gone to live with her." The attempt of the Serres family to obtain recognition of the title of Duchess of Lancaster was brought before a court of law, and finally exposed in 1870, as our readers will remember. (fn. 4)
On the west side of the Waterloo Road, facing the Victoria Theatre, is St. Thomas's National and Infant Schools, where upwards of 300 of the rising generation are educated. A special service for policemen has been held here, on stated days, for some time. This building was for some years used as a temporary church before the erection of St. Thomas's Church, in the Westminster Road, nearly facing St. George's Cathedral. St. Thomas's Church was built from the design of Mr. S. S. Teulon, and, as originally designed, exhibited a modification of the fine Dominican church at Ghent; but the estimates having been cut down, it has now merely the appearance of a long and broad parallelogram, with side aisles of two bays towards the east, for galleries, in addition to the west gallery. The church is built of brick, and was consecrated in 1857.
In the map of Ralph Aggas, published in the second year of Elizabeth's reign, Lambeth Marsh is open country, and a little dog running at full pace up and down its open space seems to be its only inhabitant, and "monarch of all he surveys." Even in the "new plan" engraved for Northouck's "History of London" in 1772, a single row of houses and two or three detached buildings appear down the centre of the Marsh, together with a few on the south side; otherwise, all the surrounding districts, as far as Vine Street and Narrow Wall to the north-west, and Broad Wall and Angel Street to the east, are marked off as "fields." In this map, Lambeth Marsh terminates at about the point where the Waterloo Road now passes it, and it is continued westward as far as Stangate Street. Parsons, the actor, lived at a small cottage in the Vauxhall Road, which he called Frog Hall, in allusion to the "Marsh," near which it stood.
In Queen Elizabeth's time this marsh does not seem to have been a desirable place to live in, for it is coupled by Ben Jonson with "Whitefriars" and "Pickt Hatch," as a residence of dissolute characters. In Hone's "Year-Book" we read that "in Lambeth Marsh Mr. W. Curtis, the eminent botanical writer, formed the largest collection of British plants ever brought together into one place;" but the badness of the air drove him to more spacious grounds at Brompton.
In Lambeth Marsh, too, was the Lyceum of Erasmus King, the eccentric coachman, and of Cards, the rival of the eminent natural philosopher, Dr. Desaguliers. From the force of his master's example, though he had received only the poorest education, he came to read lectures and to exhibit experiments in physics publicly.
We learn from Allen's "History of Surrey," that in Lambeth Marsh stood, until the beginning of July, 1823, when it was taken down, an ancient fragment of a building called Bonner's House, though much mutilated and altered from what it appeared a few years before. This is traditionally said to have been part of a residence of Bishop Bonner, which formerly extended a considerable way further in front. "There is nothing in the history of this place," adds Allen, "to prove that it belonged to any of the Bishops of London, except an entry of an ordination in Strype's 'Memorials of Cranmer,' which mentions the same to have taken place 'in the chapel of my lord the Bishop of London in the Lower Marsh, Lambeth.'" In this instance Strype was in error, and, as he subsequently acknowledged, had inadvertently written London instead of Rochester. "The ordination," says Mr. Tanswell, in his "History of Lambeth," "really took place at La Place, the house of John Hilsey, Bishop of Rochester. The Bishops of London never had a residence in Lambeth."
In Lower Marsh is the "Spanish Patriot," an inn which owes its sign to the temporary excitement which arose in 1833, at the time of our proposed intervention in the question of the Spanish succession.
At the corner of York Street, with its principal entrance in the Lower Marsh, stands All Saints' Church, which was erected in 1844–45, from the designs of Mr. William Rogers, at a cost of about £6,400. It is in the Anglo-Norman style of architecture. The principal entrance opens into a long corridor from a recessed arch, decorated with zigzag and other mouldings, wrought in the basement storey of a well-proportioned campanile tower of three storeys, surmounted by a slender spire. The interior consists of a nave and aisles, terminated by a recessed angular chancel, which is lit in a subdued manner by a semi-dome skylight filled with stained glass. Attached to the church, in York Street, are All Saints' National and Infant Schools, which were opened for the reception of children in 1854.
Crossing Westminster Bridge Road, we enter the narrow winding thoroughfare called Lambeth Upper Marsh. Here, on the left side, between the Westminster Bridge Road and Stangate Street, stands the Canterbury Hall, the first music-hall established in the metropolis, which was opened by Mr. Charles Morton in the year 1849. "The Upper Marsh, Westminster Road," writes Mr. J. E. Ritchie, in the "Night-side of London," "is what may be called a low neighbourhood. It is not far from Astley's Theatre. Right through it runs the South-Western Railway, and everywhere about it are planted pawnbrokers' shops, with an indescribable amount of dirty second-hand clothes, and monster gin-palaces, with unlimited plate-glass and gas-lights. Go along there at what hour you will, these gin-palaces are full of ragged children, hideous old women, and drunken men. The bane and the antidote are thus side by side. . . . . Let us pass on. A well-lighted entrance attached to a public-house indicates that we have reached our destination. We proceed up a few stairs, along a passage, lined with handsome engravings, to a bar, where we pay sixpence if we take a seat in the body of the hall, and ninepence if we ascend into the gallery. We make our way leisurely along the floor of the building, which is really a handsome hall, well lighted, and capable of holding 1,500 persons; the balcony extends round the room in the form of a horse-shoe. At the opposite end to that which we enter is the platform, on which are placed a grand piano and a harmonium, on which the performers play in the intervals when the professional singers have left the stage. The chairman sits just beneath them. It is dull work to him; but there he must sit, drinking, and smoking cigars, from seven till twelve o'clock. . . . . The room is crowded, and almost every gentleman present has a pipe or a cigar in his mouth. Let us look around us. Evidently the majority present are respectable mechanics or small tradesmen, with their wives and daughters and sweethearts. Now and then you see a midshipman, or a few fast clerks and warehousemen. . . . Every one is smoking, and every one has a glass before him; but the class that come here are economical, and chiefly confine themselves to pipes and porter. The presence of ladies has also a beneficial effect: I see no signs of intoxication. I may question the worth of some of the stanzas sung, and I think I may have heard sublimer compositions, but, compared with many of the places frequented by both sexes in London, Canterbury Hall is, in my opinion, a respectable place; though, to speak seriously, I have my doubts whether all go home quite sober."
The "Canterbury Arms," a public-house still existing in "the Marsh," was the foundation of the Canterbury Hall. Here, at the time when Mr. Morton took possession of it, was held a "singsong," or harmonic meeting, in a room above the bar. Mr. Morton gradually expanded this style of conviviality into a musical entertainment, which, composed of "operatic selections," together with sentimental and comic singing by some competent artistes, soon became a great success. Mr. John Caulfield was the chairman of the concerts, and Mr. Ferdinand Jonghmans the musical director, and the talent was the best that could be procured; some of the salaries reaching £30 a week. From time to time enlargements have been made in the building, and these successive enlargements have always been carried out without a suspension of the entertainments. The hall, as it now stands, will seat some 2,000 persons in its pit, stalls, and balcony.
With respect to the appellation of the "Canterbury Hall"—a sign, by the way, originally given to the adjoining tavern in consequence of its contiguity to the archiepiscopal palace, close by—it was actually "The Canterbury Hall and Fine Arts' Gallery," for one conspicuous feature in the general attraction, arising out of Mr. Morton's penchant for and sound judgment of pictures, was a large collection of paintings—some of them by the best modern artists—in a Fine Arts' Gallery, running parallel to and communicating with the Music Hall. Punch called this Fine Arts' Gallery "The Royal Academy over the Water." Still, the Canterbury Hall, as we have stated above, was the parent of the present music-hall form of entertainment, and, when it occupied the ground alone, was frequented by large numbers from the West-end. The present structure, an entirely new building, has been constructed upon the most approved principles with regard to ventilation and acoustic properties; and it has a large and convenient entrance in the Westminster Bridge Road.
Stangate Street formerly numbered among its residents no less a personage than Signor Grimaldi, the father of the Grimaldi who made "Mother Goose" immortal. "Old Grimaldi," as he was generally called, in common with most of those persons who exhilarate the spirits of others, was of a melancholy, nervous temperament, a ghost-seeker, and a believer in all sorts of marvellous absurdities. He often wandered over the then dreary region of St. George's Fields with an old bibliopolist, detailing and discussing all the superstitious legends of Germany and Great Britain. A very jolly party used then to assemble at a tavern in St. James's Market, and, to dispel Grimaldi's gloom, a friend took him thither. He soon left the room, saying, "They laughed so much it made him more melancholy than ever." His bookselling friend lent him a book called "The Uncertainty of the Signs of Death," which so excited his mind with a fear of being buried alive, that in his will he directed that his daughter should, previous to his interment, sever his head from his body. The operation was actually performed in the presence of the daughter, though not by her hand. As a proof of the morbidity of the signor's mind upon the subject of interment, he was wont to wander to different churchyards, as Charles Bannister said, to pick out a dry spot to lie snug in. He originally invented the celebrated skeleton scene, since so common in pantomimes; and first represented the "Cave of Petrifaction," in which, when any one entered, he was supposed to be struck at once and for ever into the position in which he stood when his unhallowed foot first profaned the mysterious locality. So prone are many minds to jest in public with the terrors which render their lives burdensome to them in private.
Carlisle Lane, which runs from Westminster Bridge Road to the eastern wall of Lambeth Palace, keeps in remembrance Carlisle House, which stood here between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. It was originally the palace of the Bishops of Rochester, and was then called La Place; but afterwards becoming the property of the bishopric of Carlisle, it was called Carlisle House. Down to the year 1827, the site of the mansion was occupied by Carlisle House Boarding School. Early in the twelfth century, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to found a college or monastery for secular canons on this spot; but this attempt appears to have been unsuccessful: only a chapel, which was dedicated to St. Stephen and St. Thomas, having been erected. Baldwin's successor, Hubert Walter, entered into a treaty with the Prior of Rochester (the then owner of the land) for the whole manor of Lambeth, which was exchanged to him, he granting to the bishops of that see, out of it, a piece of ground next to the above-mentioned chapel, in order to erect an occasional residence as their town-house. On this ground Gilbert de Glanville, Bishop of Rochester, erected a house for himself and his successors, who occasionally resided there till the sixteenth century. Haymo de Hethe, who was promoted to the see of Rochester in 1316, rebuilt the house, which was subsequently called La Place, till the year 1500, after which the bishops dated from their "house in Lambeth Marsh." The last Bishop of Rochester who dwelt in this mansion was Dr. John Fisher. He was nearly poisoned by Richard Roose, his cook, who infused a deadly poison into some soup, which he was making, and which, as a matter of fact, caused the deaths of seventeen members of the household, and of two poor people who had gone to the house for charity. An appropriate punishment was devised for this murderous cook, for he was "attainted of high treason, and boiled to death in Smithfield."
In 1540 Bishop Heath conveyed this house to the Crown, in exchange for a house in Southwark. Henry VIII. granted it to Robert Aldrich, Bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, in exchange for certain premises in the Strand, on the site now occupied by Beaufort Buildings. In 1647 it was sold by the Parliament to Matthew Hardyng; but on the Restoration it reverted to the see of Carlisle. "From this date," writes Mr. Tanswell, in his "History of Lambeth," "its history exhibits some remarkable vicissitudes. On part of the premises a pottery was established, which existed in George II.'s time; but going to decay, the kilns and a curious Gothic arch were taken down, and the bricks used for filling the space and other defects in the wall. It was subsequently opened by one Castledine as a tavern, and became a common stew; and on his demise it was occupied by Monsieur Froment, a dancing master, who endeavoured to get it licensed by the sessions as a public place of entertainment, but ineffectually, in consequence of the opposition of Archbishop Secker. It was next tenanted as a private dwelling; and was afterwards converted into an academy and boarding-school for young gentlemen. In the year 1827 it was pulled down, and the site and grounds covered with about eighty small houses, including Allen and Homer Streets and parts of Carlisle Lane and Hercules Buildings. Before it was built over, the grounds attached to this house were encompassed by a high and strong brick wall, which had in it a gate of ancient form, opening towards Stangate. A smaller back gate in the south wall had over it two keys in saltire, and something resembling a mitre for a crest. Two bricks, one upon the other, served for a shield, and the workmanship of the arms was of as low a taste as the materials."
In a garden at Carlisle House was standing, in the middle of the last century, a mulberry-tree, which bore an excellent crop during the summer of 1753. Its shade was nearly fifty yards in circumference, and between four and five hundred pottles of fruit were gathered off it in one summer, whilst the ground all under and around the tree looked as if soaked with blood, owing to people treading upon the fallen fruit.
Another mansion of note here, in former times, was Norfolk House, the residence of the old Earls and Dukes of Norfolk. It stood in Church Street, on the site now occupied by Messrs. Hodges' distillery and a range of buildings called Norfolk Row. The mansion remained in the possession of the Dukes of Norfolk till the commencement of Elizabeth's reign. The old duke, whose life was saved the night before his intended execution by the death of Henry VIII., and his son, the Earl of Surrey, the courtly poet and lover of the fair Geraldine, both resided here; and the latter studied here, under John Leland, the antiquary. On the attainder of Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk of this family, the house was seized by the Crown, and granted by Edward VI, in fee to William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, by the title of "a capital mansion or house in Lambehith, late parcel of the possessions of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, and twenty and a half acres of land in Cotman's Field; one acre in St. George's Field upon Sandhill; six acres of meadow and marsh in Lambehithe Marsh, whereof three acres were within the wall of the marsh, and three acres without; one close, called Bell Close, abutting upon Cotman's Field towards the east, containing one and a half acre; one other close, abutting upon the way leading from Lambehithe to the Marsh, containing two acres and a half."
In Walcot Place, near Lambeth Walk, the notorious Mrs. George Anne Bellamy, after a life of profligacy and splendour, spent her declining years in poverty. In her "Memoirs" she tells us how that, having parted with all her jewellery and most of her clothes, and maddened with want, she walked out into St. George's Fields, "not without the hope of meeting with some freebooters who frequent those lawless parts, and who would take away the life of which she was so weary;" and how, disappointed in this, she made her way to the steps of Westminster Bridge to throw herself into the Thames, when she was recalled to her senses by finding a poor woman with her child worse off than herself. Mrs. Bellamy took her final leave of the stage in 1784, and died in poverty in February, 1788.
Of the "wells" and tea-gardens in Lambeth Walk we have spoken in a previous chapter; but there was here, in times gone by, one other object which we should not omit to mention: this was the old mill belonging to the Apothecaries' Company, for grinding and pounding their drugs, &c. The mill, which stood here long before the introduction of steam into the working of machinery, was a picturesque structure, built chiefly of wood, and with its "sails" had something of the appearance of an old-fashioned flour-mill. We give an engraving of this mill on page 415.
In the Westminster Bridge Road, under the arches of the South-Western Railway, is the London terminus of the Great Woking Cemetery, belonging to the London Necropolis Company. The company was established by Act of Parliament, by which the Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Winchester, and the Chief Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods and Forests, are appointed visitors. "Within a quarter of a mile of Westminster Bridge," then, as the Company announce in their advertisement, we have, "to all intents and purposes, a cemetery of 400 acres." A train starts at the Westminster Bridge Road to the cemetery at Woking daily, "thus avoiding a long transit by road, and securing all the benefits of extramural interment." We have already made mention of the chief offices of the London Necropolis Company in our account of Lancaster Place, Strand. (fn. 5)
At a house called the "Crown," on the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge, was born, in 1735, Dr. Martin Van Butchell, the eccentric physician, whom we have mentioned in our account of Mount Street. (fn. 6) Another eccentric resident in the Westminster Bridge Road, in former times, was the Chevalier D'Eon, concerning whom there was so much doubt raised as to whether he was a man or a woman. Angelo, in his "Reminiscences," tells us that he used to see the Chevalier D'Eon here. "He lived a few doors beyond Astley's Theatre. He always dressed in black silk, and looked like a woman worn out with age and care."
At the foot of Westminster Bridge, and extending along the bank of the river towards Lambeth Palace, is the new St. Thomas's Hospital, of the foundation of which, close by London Bridge, and its recent migration to the Surrey Gardens, we have already spoken. (fn. 7) The institution was removed hither in 1870–71. The ground on which the hospital stands—between eight and nine acres in extent—was purchased from the Board of Works, at a cost of about £100,000. That part of the Thames known as Stangate Bank, where the hospital now stands, had long borne an ill repute—illlooking, ill-smelling, and of evil associations. Even the construction of the Houses of Parliament on the opposite shore—even the building of the handsomest bridge in Europe; that of Westminster—failed to redeem the hideous aspect of its fore-shore, overladen as it was with dank tenements, rotten wharves, and dirty boat-houses. But the time came when it was decided to construct the Southern Thames Embankment, and the necessities of its formation compelled a large "reclamation" from the slimy fore-shores. Of the whole site of the present St. Thomas's Hospital, nearly half of it, therefore, has been reclaimed from the mud of the river. The buildings have a frontage of about 1,700 feet in length, and are about 250 feet in depth. The hospital consists of no less than eight distinct buildings, or pavilions. Six in the centre are for patients; that at the north end, next to Westminster Bridge, is for the officers of the hospital, board-room, &c.; that at the south for a museum, lecture-room, and school of medicine. The style of the buildings may be called Palladian, with rich facings of coloured bricks and Portland stone. There was some difficulty in getting a good foundation for the buildings, as there always is at Westminster or its neighbourhood; and towards the river front a depth of twenty-eight feet had to be excavated before the firm clay was reached. On this a solid basis of concrete was laid, and on this again, on massive brick piers, the structure was begun. The blocks are built at a distance of 125 feet from each other. Though the blocks are each distinct buildings, they are all, in fact, coupled together by a double corridor, one of which runs along the river front to the west, and one along the eastern face, near the gardens of Lambeth Palace. This latter corridor is entirely glazed in, and has a solid roof, with a balcony, which can be used either as a promenade in fine weather for patients, or, what it is really built for, an easy means of access to the second floors of the hospital, with all of which it communicates. The front corridor is a very handsome stone arcade, but open on its western side towards the Thames. This is used as a promenade for the patients who are recovering, and a most pleasant walk it is; for the front of the hospital, towards the river—and, indeed, the back as well—is laid out in gardens and planted with trees.
Each pavilion has three tiers of wards above the ground floor, and in the first five pavilions the main wards occupy the whole building on the river side of the corridor. They are 28 feet in width, 120 feet in length, and 15 feet in height, with flat ceilings throughout, and each have accommodation for twenty-eight beds, with a cubic capacity of 1,800 feet for each patient. This capacity is largely due to the ample floor space, which affords abundant room for the attendance of students and for the requirements of clinical teaching. The beds are placed eight feet apart from centre to centre, and the windows are arranged alternately with the beds, at a level to enable the patients to look out of them. There are also large end lights communicating with sheltered balconies towards the river, in which patients may be placed on couches or chairs in fine weather. On the ground floor there are smaller wards, which are used chiefly for the reception of accidents, and which make up the total number of beds in each pavilion to about 100. At the corridor end of each large ward the entrance passage is carried between smaller rooms, a ward kitchen, a sisters'-room, a consultation-room, and a small ward. These small wards are for the reception of patients who have undergone severe operations, or who for any reason require unusual quietude or exceptional treatment. At the river end there is a lateral projection at each angle of the pavilion; and these projections contain on one side a bath-room and lavatory, on the other side a scullery and offices, all cut off from the wards themselves by intercepting lobbies. Natural ventilation has been as much as possible depended on, with simple auxiliary arrangements for cold and boisterous nights. The warming is effected mostly by open fire-places, as the most healthy mode, with the addition of a warm-water system for use in very cold weather. It is, perhaps, almost needless to say that the whole structure is fire-proof. The floors of each storey are laid on iron girders covered with concrete, the actual upper floor of each ward being made of thin, broad planks of oak. The walls of each ward, too, are coated with Parian cement, which, while not so cold, is almost as hard and non-absorbent of noxious gases, and quite as smooth, as marble itself.
Four of these great hospital blocks which we have described, each 90 feet high by about 250 feet deep, are set apart for the reception of male patients. These are on the north side of the central hall; the two on the southern side are for women only. On each side there is a large operating theatre for men and women, capable of containing 600 students with ease whenever an important operation draws such a number together. With these theatres the covered corridors communicate directly from the wards. There is a special wing, if we may so term it, set apart in one of the northern blocks, and adjoining the matron's residence, which is used for the training of skilled nurses, whose services, as they become thoroughly proficient in their duties, are made available as matrons in hospitals all over the kingdom, through the agency of the Council of the Nightingale Fund. The "pupil nurses," who must be well-educated, intelligent young women, from twenty-three to thirty-five years of age, are trained here for one year in the practice of hospital nursing, and are provided during that time with comfortable home, board, uniform clothing, and small salary. At the end of the year, if qualified, they may expect good situations as hospital nurses, with liberal wages, usually commencing at £20.
The low building at the end nearest Lambeth Palace is the medical school. The admission fees for medical students, for unlimited attendance at practice and lectures, is 100 guineas; for dental students (for two years), £45. Special entries may be made to any lectures or to hospital practice, and a modified scale of fees is arranged for students entering in second or subsequent years. There are special classes for the first M.B. and preliminary scientific examinations of the University of London, and private classes for matriculation and other examinations. Gentlemen can attend the above classes without becoming students to the hospital. Qualified practitioners are admitted to the hospital practice, lectures, and library, on payment of ten guineas for unlimited attendance. Two scholarships founded here perpetuate the names of Alderman Sir John Musgrove and Sir William Tite; there are also several college prizes, ranging from £5 to £20, and also awards of silver and gold medals. Two house physicians and two assistant house physicians, two house surgeons and two assistant house surgeons, and the resident accoucheur, are selected from students holding qualifications; an ophthalmic assistant, with a salary of £50, is appointed; clinical clerks and dressers to in and out patients are selected from gentlemen attending the hospital; two registrars, at an honorarium of £40 each, are chosen from third or fourth year's students. There are also numerous minor appointments of anatomical assistants, prosestors, obstetric clerks, &c., open to the students without charge.
The entrance-hall, facing the new Lambeth Palace Road, is a large and spacious apartment. In it is a statue of the Queen, by whom the foundation-stone of the hospital was laid in 1868, and the building opened in 1871. The statue, which was executed by Mr. Noble, is sculptured out of a block of pure white Carrara marble, and weighs five tons. The Queen is represented seated on a state chair, in her full robes of state, holding the sceptre in her right hand and the orb in the left hand. The left arm rests upon an arm of the chair, the right hand being brought forward and resting in the lap. The feet rest upon a footstool, and are, to some extent, hidden by drapery. The likeness of Her Majesty is admitted to be excellent. The pedestal upon which the statue stands is of Sicilian marble, beautifully moulded and carved, with panels in the centre on each side. The front portion of the pedestal has a circular projection, and within the panel immediately under the statue is the following inscription:—"Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The gift of Sir John Musgrove, Bart., President, 1873."
There is a chapel which affords sittings for more than 300 persons; there are large and spacious surgeries and dispensers' offices, with ample house accommodation for chaplains, resident surgeons, dressers, &c. Altogether, the hospital can make up 650 beds for patients; and contains, from first to last, in all its wards, houses, out-offices, kitchens, sculleries, stores, and cellars, nearly 1,000 distinct compartments. The mortuary-house and museum are close by the medical school, at the extreme southern end. The extreme northern end abuts close upon the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge; in fact, there is an opening by a flight of steps which gives direct access from the abutment to the north end of the hospital buildings which rise above it. All the structures occupy together about four acres, leaving four and a half acres laid out as garden ground, in parterres and thick plantations, for the use and recreation of the patients. The out-patients do not enter the hospital proper at all, but come by the new Palace Road, at the east end of the buildings, and pass at once into the men's or women's waiting-rooms; and these again are sub-divided into medical and surgical departments.
Altogether, the plan of St. Thomas's Hospital may be considered perfect; and though it cost in all at least half a million of money, it is a cheap outlay for the good it is certain to effect for ages to come. As an addition to the great public edifices of the metropolis, it certainly will not be surpassed in appearance by any of the splendid structures which of late years have done so much to enrich and improve London.
As stated above, the space between the grounds of St. Thomas's Hospital and the river, extending from Westminster to Lambeth Bridges, a distance of 2,200 feet, is filled in by a good solid embankment, which was commenced in 1866, and opened for pedestrians in the space of about two years. The work, called the Albert Embankment, which is continued beyond Lambeth Bridge, as far as the site of the London Gas Works, 2,100 feet higher up the river, was carried out by the Metropolitan Board of Works, under the direction of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, their engineer-in-chief; and it forms part of the great design of embanking the Thames in its course through London, 'which we have described in a previous part of this work. (fn. 8) Although open only for foot-passengers, the Albert Embankment is precisely similar in its construction, as seen from the river, to the Victoria and Chelsea Embankments on the Middlesex side of the river. Turning down the embankment stairs, at the foot of the northern end of St. Thomas's Hospital, the pedestrian has before him the finest footway in London, but a footway only. When he has walked along this for rather more than a quarter of a mile, let him stop and look back. If it be a fairly clear day, clear enough for him to see across the river and as far as the bridge, he may admire one of the finest architectural views in London: all the finer if a flood-tide and a fleet of barges and steamers fill the river with life. The scene at this point has been thus described by a writer in the Times. Having, in imagination, conducted the pedestrian to this spot, he proceeds:—" The Thames, 'without o'erflowing, full,' (fn. 9) spreads at his feet, fenced in and spanned by three great public works, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, and St. Thomas's Hospital, forming, as it were, three sides of a hollow square. Of the long and stately front of the Houses of Parliament, surmounted by the great clock and flag towers and graceful intermediate pinnacles; of the symmetrical lines of the arches and piers of the bridge rising out of the water, with their massive and eternal look, he has, of course, a full view. The colonnaded blocks of the great hospital, which towered above him as he walked, and seemed so much vaster than he had any idea they were till he came close under them, will be seen—and perhaps it is as well—rather en profile. He will acknowledge that, all stained as it is, the river has something to thank the City for. When Spenser could sing to it and call it 'silver streaming,' its banks hereabouts and lower down had little to grace them besides
'Those bricky towers
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers.'
The fish have died out of it, and, higher up, the swans cannot keep themselves white; but in Spenser's day the Thames did not wear such a tiara as that bridge, it did not roll its waters smoothly between granite walls, and Westminster and Lambeth did not look down on it so proudly as they do now with their Houses of Parliament and hospital. These are great and costly works, and a little farther on the picturesque battlements of the Archbishop of Canterbury's half-house, halfcastle, with the dreary, heavy-capped turrets of Millbank, will give him an opportunity of quoting Byron's incorrect line—
'A palace and a prison on each hand.'"
Attempts at gardening have been made on the Albert Embankment, in the vicinity of Lambeth Palace, but not with the success attending that carried out on the northern side of the river. Trees, too, have been planted; but in the course of a few years the whole of those from Lambeth Bridge (fn. 10) westwards had to be removed, the reason assigned being that the exhalations from the adjacent potteries had destroyed their vitality.
The Southern Embankment of the Thames is not, as we have shown in a previous chapter, (fn. 11) a new scheme. In the "History of London," by Fearnside and Harral, published in 1839, it is stated that "a proposition has received the City's approval for a splendid quay from London to Vauxhall. This, if carried into effect, will render the banks of old Father Thames unrivalled for beauty and convenience, and approach a little towards the Parisian method of managing these matters." The primary object in embanking the Thames, particularly on the southern side, was to prevent the recurrence of floods, in consequence of a great part of Lambeth and Southwark lying much below the level of the river at hig-hwater mark; but this having been carried out no farther eastward than Westminster Bridge, has left matters much in the same condition as they were before, or possibly worse: for since the construction of the Victoria Embankment it is asserted that considerably more damage has been done in the lowlying districts than was the case before by the river overflowing its banks so much more frequently. A Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1876 reported that the Embankment of the southern side of the Thames was a matter, not of local but of metropolitan importance, and that, as such, it ought to be taken in hand by the Metropolitan Board of Works. This task, however, the Board declined, and consequently the local authorities became naturally embarrassed. Some private owners of property abutting upon the river have at times executed works for the purpose of preventing any expected overflow; but these have been only of a temporary character. In a memorial of the inhabitants of Lambeth, presented to the Home Secretary since the above refusal on the part of the Board of Works, the memorialists held that, irrespective of any pecuniary question, "not only what is necessary in the present, but what may be necessary and desirable in the future, renders it expedient that the whole bank of the river should be under the control of a metropolitan authority, so that uniformity and completeness may be secured, and the metropolis may derive the fullest advantage from any public expenditure. The prevention of tidal overflows being declared to be a matter of metropolitan concern, can be dealt with only by an authority representing the metropolis; and, as the Metropolitan Board declines to accept the resolution of the Select Committee, your memorialists have no alternative but to approach the Government, and to pray for relief from the present deadlock by the prompt passing of a Bill, framed in accordance with the resolution of the Select Committee." It is to be hoped, in the interests of common humanity, that Parliament will enforce its decision on this head without delay.
Among the causes which have contributed to the growth of Lambeth, we must mention the manufactories which have been founded here at various times, forming centres of active industry, and consequently of population. More than 200 years ago, two Dutchmen established a pottery, and about the middle of the last century two other potteries were opened here. The chief work in this line now carried on in Lambeth is at the pottery of the Messrs. Doulton, the producers of the celebrated Lambeth faience, and whose name is worthy of record as the revivers, in the last few years, of the manufacture of Flemish and German stoneware, which promise to make the name of Lambeth celebrated once more in the annals of art. They are also the revivers of the white cream-coloured ware, known as Queen's Ware, from the fact that Queen Charlotte admired it so much when manufactured by Wedgwood. "It is not many years ago," observes a writer in the Queen newspaper (1876), "since Messrs. Doulton, of Lambeth, began their career as art potters, having until then only been celebrated for chimney-pots, drain-pipes, ink and blacking bottles. And a marvellous success they have achieved in this short space of time. Everybody knows their admirable imitation of Gris de Flandres, surface-etched and embossed, tinted in colours which equal those on the ancient ware. Their terra-cotta ornaments are the delight of architects, not only for their lasting properties, which will stand even an English climate for centuries, but equally so for their decorative merits. . . . . The great artistic feature of Lambeth faience seems to lie in the direction of landscape and figure painting; and the success which has been achieved in this direction, it may be added, is mainly due to the Lambeth School of Art, which has long been carried on under the fostering care of the great river-side potters."
Established in the year 1854 by the Rev. William Gregory, then vicar of St. Mary's, Lambeth, as a branch of the Central School of Design at Marlborough House, this was really the first Art School of Design in the kingdom: as, indeed, it should be. The Lambeth school went on steadily increasing until 1860, when the Prince of Wales laid the foundation-stone of the present building. Since that time, the exertions of its director, Mr. John Sparks, have been unremitting in educating painters and modellers for Messrs. Doulton's works. With sound psychological judgment, he selected his pupils from the fair sex, well knowing the natural artistic feeling of women and girls would lighten his arduous task of reviving an art-industry once before flourishing in the very same locality, but long forgotten. Besides, by excluding foreigners from his school, he wanted to prove that there is exquisite taste and endless inventive power latent in Englishmen and Englishwomen, which only want bringing out by proper teaching and training. "Our English hands," he says, in one of his lectures, "are as skilful, our heads as clear, our thoughts as poetical, our lives as high, as any other people's; and still we find French modellers giving the work of the largest Staffordshire potters an European fame; French modellers making the works of our great silversmiths and electrotypists; Belgian stonecarvers cutting Romanism into Protestant reredos; and Germans, whose name is Legion, and whose motto is 'Ubique,' filling our drawing-offices all over the country." "These things should not be," concludes Mr. Sparks; and that they need not be he has proved through his pupils' achievements in Lambeth faience.
Besides the potteries, the principal manufactures of this parish are white lead, shot, glass, &c.; but none have been so celebrated as the Vauxhall plate-glass. In the thirteenth century the Venetians were the only people who had the secret of making looking-glasses; but about the year 1670 a number of Venetian artists having arrived in England, headed by one Rosetti, and under the patronage of the Duke of Buckingham, a manufactory was established at Vauxhall, and carried on with such success, by the firm of Dawson, Bowles, and Co., as to excel the Venetians or any other nation in blown plate-glass. Evelyn, in his "Diary," records a visit which he paid to this establishment. Under date of 19th September, 1676, he writes:—"To Lambeth, to that rare magazine of marble, to take order for chimney-pieces for Mr. Godolphin's house. The owner of the works had built for himself a pretty dwelling-house; this Dutchman had contracted with the Genoese for all their marble. We also saw the Duke of Buckingham's glass works, where they make huge vases of mettal as cleare, ponderous, and thick as chrystal; also lookingglasses far larger than any that come from Venice." The emoluments acquired by the proprietors of the above-mentioned establishment are stated to have been very large; but in the year 1780, in consequence of a difference between them and the workmen, a total stop was put to this great manufactory, and a descendant of Rosetti ungratefully left in poverty. The site of this celebrated factory is now covered by Vauxhall Square.
Pennant records, in terms of high approval, Mr. Coade's manufacture of artificial stone, carried on in the street called Narrow Wall, of which we have already made mention. (fn. 12) He likewise describes Lambeth as remarkable for another and altogether different branch of industry, namely, the manufacture of English wines, and also for the growth of the vines from which they were made. He writes:—"The genial banks of the Thames opposite to our capital yield almost every species of white wine; and by a wondrous magic, Messrs. Beaufoy here pour forth the materials for the rich Frontiniac, destined to the more elegant tables, the Madeira, the Caleavella, and the Lisbon, into every part of the kingdom. . . . The foreign wines are most admirably mimicked." We have already spoken of the growth of vines and the manufacture of wine in London, in our account of Vine Street, Piccadilly. (fn. 13) From an entry in Pepys' "Diary," in 1661, this place seems at one time to have been equally famous for its ale; at all events, we here read how that the genial Secretary of the Admiralty went "out with Mr. Shepley and Alderman Backwell to drink Lambeth ale."
Another thriving branch of industry connected with Lambeth, in which employment is given to a large number of hands, is the doll manufactory of Messrs. Edwards, in Waterloo Road. Then, again, various chemical, soap, and bone-crushing works have also been established; and Maudslay's engineering works in the Westminster Bridge Road, on the site of the old Apollo Gardens, (fn. 14) have become a centre of industry.
Among the "noted residents" in Lambeth, not already mentioned by us, were Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Macaulay, the parents of Lord Macaulay, who occupied a small house here for the first year of their married life; their illustrious son, however, was born, not in Lambeth, but in Leicestershire.
Here, too, at one time lived, in Lambeth Road, the eccentric artist, George Morland, whom we have already introduced to our readers at Paddington. (fn. 15) He was most clever in his delineation of cottage interiors and low hostelries, with their accessories of donkeys, pigs, &c.; and it is recorded of him that at Lambeth he had several four-footed lodgers, including one of the long-eared tribe.
John Timbs, in his "Clubs and Club Life," says that the Stanleys at one time had a house here, and that the "Eagle and Child," the sign of an adjoining inn, is really taken from the crest of the family.
It is to be feared that the accommodation for the poor in parts of this parish is, or was in 1874, most disgracefully inadequate; for, if we may trust Dr. Stallard's work on "London Pauperism," a man, his wife, and three children were found occupying a front room, only twelve feet square, within a few yards of Westminster Bridge Road.
In a previous chapter we have enumerated the wards or districts into which the parish of Lambeth is divided; (fn. 16) we may here add that, in conformity with the provisions of the Reform Bill, passed in 1832, Lambeth was one of the four metropolitan parishes which was erected into a Parliamentary borough, since which period it has regularly returned two members to St. Stephen's. At that time the number of the inhabitants was 87,856. In the course of the next twenty years this had expanded to 116,072; and at the time of taking the census in 1871 the population numbered no less than 380,000. Lambeth has returned, at all events, two distinguished members to St. Stephen's—the Right Hon. Charles Tennyson D'Eyncourt, and Sir Benjamin Hawes, the son of a great soapboiler, who was one of its first representatives, and retained his seat for the borough for fifteen years. Another of its members, Mr. William Roupell, who was elected in the year 1857, subsequently acquired some celebrity—but not of a very enviable kind; for having been convicted of forgery, he was transferred to a convict prison.
From these dry prosaic matters to the realms of fancy the change is refreshing. We will, therefore, conclude this chapter by reminding the reader of the dream of Charles Lamb, in his essay on "Witches and other Night Fears." He dreams that, having been riding "upon the ocean billows at some sea-nuptials," he found the waves gradually subsiding into what he calls "a river motion," and that the river was "no other than the gentle Thames, which landed him, in the wafture of a placid wave or two, alone, safe, and inglorious, somewhere at the foot of Lambeth Palace." Thither we will now proceed.