Fleet Street: Introduction (continued)

Old and New London: Volume 1. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.

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Walter Thornbury, 'Fleet Street: Introduction (continued)', in Old and New London: Volume 1, (London, 1878) pp. 53-69. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp53-69 [accessed 29 May 2024].

Walter Thornbury. "Fleet Street: Introduction (continued)", in Old and New London: Volume 1, (London, 1878) 53-69. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp53-69.

Thornbury, Walter. "Fleet Street: Introduction (continued)", Old and New London: Volume 1, (London, 1878). 53-69. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp53-69.

In this section


FLEET STREET (continued).

The "Green Dragon"—Tompion and Pinchbeck—The Record—St. Bride's and its Memories—Punch and his Contributors—The Dispatch— The Daily Telegraph—The "Globe Tavern" and Goldsmith—The Morning Advertiser—The Standard—The London Magazine—A Strange Story—Alderman Waithman—Brutus Billy—Hardham and his "37."

The original "Green Dragon" (No. 56, south) was destroyed by the Great Fire, and the new building set six feet backward. During the Popish Plot several anti-papal clubs met here; and from the windows Roger North stood to see the shouting, torch-waving procession pass along, to burn the Pope's effigy at Temple Bar. In the "Discussion Forum" many Lord Chancellors of the future have tried their eloquence. It was celebrated some years ago from an allusion to it made by Napoleon III.

At No. 67 (corner of Whitefriars Street) once lived that famous watchmaker of Queen Anne's reign, Thomas Tompion, who is said, in 1700, to have begun a clock for St. Paul's Cathedral which was to go one hundred years without winding up. He died in 1713. His apprentice, George Graham, invented, as Mr. Noble tells us, the horizontal escapement, in 1724. He was succeeded by Mudge and Dutton, who, in 1768, made Dr. Johnson his first watch. The old shop was (1850) one of the last in Fleet Street to be modernised.

Between Bolt and Johnson's courts (152–166, north)—say near "Anderton's Hotel"—there lived, in the reign of George II., at the sign of the "Astronomer's Musical Clock," Christopher Pinchbeck, an ingenious musical-clockmaker, who invented the "cheap and useful imitation of gold," which still bears his name. (Watt's, in his "Dictionary of Chemistry," says "pinchbeck" is an alloy of copper and zinc, usually containing about nine parts copper to one part zinc. Brandt says it is an alloy containing more copper than exists in brass, and consequently made by fusing various proportions of copper with brass.) Pinchbeck often exhibited his musical automata in a booth at Bartholomew Fair, and, in conjunction with Fawkes the Conjuror, at Southwark Fair. He made, according to Mr. Wood, an exquisite musical clock, worth about £500, for Louis XIV., and a fine organ for the Great Mogul, valued at £300. He died in 1732. He removed to Fleet Street (between Bolt and Johnson's courts, north side) from Clerkenwell in 1721. His clocks played tunes and imitated the notes of birds. In 1765 he set up, at the Queen's House, a clock with four faces, showing the age of the moon, the day of the week and month, the time of sun rising, &c.

No. 161 (north) was the shop of Thomas Hardy, that agitating bootmaker, secretary to the London Corresponding Society, who was implicated in the John Horne Tooke trials of 1794; and next door, years after (No. 162), Richard Carlisle, a "freethinker," opened a lecturing, conversation, and discussion establishment, preached the "only true gospel," hung effigies of bishops outside his shop, and was eventually quieted by nine years' imprisonment, a punishment by no means undeserved. No. 76 (south) was once the entrance to the printing-office of Samuel Richardson, the author of "Clarissa," who afterwards lived in Salisbury Square, and there held levees of his admirers, to whom he read his works with an innocent vanity which occasionally met with disagreeable rebuffs.

"Anderton's Hotel" (No. 164, north side) occupies the site of a house given, as Mr. Noble says, in 1405, to the Goldsmiths' Company, under the singular title of "The Horn in the Hoop," probably at that time a tavern. In the register of St. Dunstan's is an entry (1597), "Ralph slaine at the Horne, buryed," but no further record exists of this hot-headed roysterer. In the reign of King James I. the "Horn" is described as "between the 'Red Lion,' over against Serjeants' Inn, and Three-legged Alley."

The Record (No. 169, north side) started in 1828 as an organ of the extreme Evangelical party. The first promoters were the late Mr. James Evans, a brother of Sir Andrew Agnew, and Mr. Andrew Hamilton, of West Ham Common (the first secretary of the Alliance Insurance Company). Among their supporters were Henry Law, Dean of Gloucester, and Francis Close, afterwards Dean of Carlisle. Amongst its earliest writers was the celebrated Dr. John Henry Newman, of Oxford. The paper was all but dying when a new "whip" was made for money, and the Rev. Henry Blunt, of Chelsea, became for a short time its editor. The Record at last began to flourish and to assume a bolder and a more independent tone. Dean Milman's neology, the peculiarities of the Irvingites, and the dangerous Oxford tracts, were alternately denounced. In due course the Record began to appear three times a week, and became celebrated for its uncompromising religious tone and, as Mr. James Grant truly says, for the earliness and accuracy of its politico-ecclesiastical information.



The old church of St. Bride (Bridget) was of great antiquity. As early as 1235 we find a turbulent foreigner, named Henry de Battle, after slaying one Thomas de Hall on the king's highway, flying for sanctuary to St. Bride's, where he was guarded by the aldermen and sheriffs, and examined in the church by the Constable of the Tower. The murderer, after confessing his crime, abjured the realm. In 1413 a priest of St. Bride's was hung for an intrigue in which he had been detected. William Venor, a warden of the Fleet Prison, added a body and side-aisles in 1480 (Edward IV.) At the Reformation there were orchards between the parsonage gardens and the Thames. In 1637, a document in the Record Office, quoted by Mr. Noble, mentions that Mr. Palmer, vicar of St. Bride's, at the service at seven a.m., sometimes omitted the prayer for the bishop, and, being generally lax as to forms, often read service without surplice, gown, or even his cloak. This worthy man, whose living was sequestered in 1642, is recorded, in order to save money for the poor, to have lived in a bed-chamber in St. Bride's steeple. He founded an almshouse in Westminster, upon which Fuller remarks, in his quaint way, "It giveth the best light when one carrieth his lantern before him." The brother of Pepys was buried here in 1664 under his mother's pew. The old church was swallowed up by the Great Fire, and the present building erected in 1680, at a cost of £11,430 5s. IId. The tower and spire were considered master-pieces of Wren. The spire, originally 234 feet high, was struck by lightning in 1754, and it is now only 226 feet high. It was again struck in 1803. The illuminated dial (the second erected in London) was set up permanently in 1827. The Spital sermons, now preached in Christ Church, Newgate Street, were preached in St. Bride's from the Restoration till 1797. They were originally all preached in the yard of the hospital of St. Mary Spital, Bishopsgate. Mr. Noble, has ransacked the records relating to St. Bride's with the patience of old Stow. St. Bride's, he says, was renowned for its tithe-rate contests; but after many lawsuits and great expense, a final settlement of the question was come to in the years 1705–6. An Act was passed in 1706, by which Thomas Townley, who had rented the tithes for twenty-one years, was to be paid £1,200 within two years, by quarterly payments and £400 a year afterwards. In 1869 the inappropriate rectory of St. Bridget and the tithes thereof, except the advowson, the parsonage house, and Easter-dues offerings, were sold by auction for £2,700. It may be here worthy to note, says Mr. Noble, that in 1705 the number of rateable houses in the parish of St. Bride was 1,016, and the rental, £18,374; in 1868 the rental was £205,407 gross, or £168,996 rateable.

Mr. Noble also records pleasantly the musical feats accomplished on the bells of St. Bride's. In 1710 ten bells were cast for this church by Abraham Rudhall, of Gloucester, and on the 11th of January, 1717, it is recorded that the first complete peal of 5,040 grandsire caters ever rung was effected by the "London scholars." In 1718 two treble bells were added; and on the 9th of January, 1724, the first peal ever completed in this kingdom upon twelve bells was rung by the college youths; and in 1726 the first peal of Bob Maximus, one of the ringers being Mr. Francis (afterwards Admiral) Geary. It was reported by the ancient ringers, says our trustworthy authority, that every one who rang in the last-mentioned peal left the church in his own carriage. Such was the dignity of the "campanularian" art in those days. When St. Bride's bells were first put up, Fleet Street used to be thronged with carriages full of gentry, who had come far and near to hear the pleasant music float aloft. During the terrible Gordon Riots, in 1780, Brasbridge, the silversmith, who wrote an autobiography, says he went up to the top of St. Bride's steeple to see the awful spectacle of the conflagration of the Fleet Prison, but the flakes of fire, even at that great height, fell so thickly as to render the situation untenable.

Many great people lie in and around St. Bride's; and Mr. Noble gives several curious extracts from the registers. Among the names we find Wynkyn de Worde, the second printer in London; Baker, the chronicler; Lovelace, the Cavalier poet, who died of want in Gunpowder Alley, Shoe Lane; Ogilby, the translator of Homer; the Countess of Orrery (1710); Elizabeth Thomas, a lady immortalised by Pope; and John Hardham, the Fleet Street tobacconist. The entrance to the vault of Mr. Holden (a friend of Pepys), on the north side of the church, is a relic of the older building. Inside St. Bride's are monuments to Richardson, the novelist; Nichols, the historian of Leicestershire; and Alderman Waithman. Among the clergy of St. Bride's Mr. Noble notes John Cardmaker, who was burnt at Smithfield for heresy, in 1555; Fuller, the Church historian and author of the "Worthies," who was lecturer here; Dr. Isaac Madox, originally an apprentice to a pastrycook, and who died Bishop of Winchester in 1759; and Dr. John Thomas, vicar, who died in 1793. There were two John Thomases among the City clergy of that time. They were both chaplains to the king, both good preachers, both. squinted, and both died bishops!

The present approach to St. Bride's, designed by J. P. Papworth, in 1824, cost £10,000, and was urged forward by Mr. Blades, a Tory tradesman of Ludgate Hill, and a great opponent of Alderman Waithman. A fire that had destroyed some ricketty old houses gave the requisite opportunity for letting air and light round poor, smothered-up St. Bride's.

The office of Punch (No. 85, south side) is said to occupy the site of the small school, in the house of a tailor, in which Milton once earned a precarious living. Here, ever since 1841, the pleasant jester of Fleet Street has scared folly by the jangle of his bells and the blows of his staff. The best and most authentic account of the origin of Punch is to be found in the following communication to Notes and Queries, September 30, 1870. Mr. W. H. Wills, who was one of the earliest contributors to Punch, says:—

"The idea of converting Punch from a strolling to a literary laughing philosopher belongs to Mr. Henry Mayhew, former editor (with his schoolfellow Mr. Gilbert à Beckett) of Figaro in London. The first three numbers, issued in July and August, 1841, were composed almost entirely by that gentleman, Mr. Mark Lemon, Mr. Henry Plunkett ('Fusbos'), Mr. Stirling Coyne, and the writer of these lines. Messrs. Mayhew and Lemon put the numbers together, but did not formally dub themselves editors until the appearance of their 'Shilling's Worth of Nonsense.' The cartoons, then 'Punch's Pencillings,' and the smaller cuts, were drawn by Mr. A. S. Henning, Mr. Newman, and Mr. Alfred Forester ('Crowquill'); later, by Mr. Hablot Browne and Mr. Kenny Meadows. The designs were engraved by Mr. Ebenezer Landells, who occupied also the important position of 'capitalist.' Mr. Gilbert à Beckett's first contribution to Punch, 'The Abovebridge Navy,' appeared in No. 4, with Mr. John Leech's earliest cartoon, 'Foreign Affairs.' It was not till Mr. Leech's strong objection to treat political subjects was overcome, that, long after, he began to illustrate Punch's pages regularly. This he did, with the brilliant results that made his name famous, down to his untimely death. The letterpress description of 'Foreign Affairs' was written by Mr. Percival Leigh, who—also after an interval—steadily contributed. Mr. Douglas Jerrold began to wield Punch's baton in No. 9. His 'Peel Regularly Called in' was the first of those withering political satires, signed with a 'J' in the corner of each page opposite to the cartoon, that conferred on Punch a wholesome influence in politics. Mr. Albert Smith made his début in this wise:—At the birth of Punch had just died a periodical called (I think) the Cosmorama. When moribund, Mr. Henry Mayhew was called in to resuscitate it. This periodical bequeathed a comic census-paper filled up, in the character of a showman, so cleverly that the author was eagerly sought at the starting of Punch. He proved to be a medical student hailing from Chertsey, and signing the initials A. S.—only,' remarked Jerrold, 'twothirds of the truth, perhaps.' This pleasant supposition was, however, reversed at the very first introduction. On that occasion Mr. Albert Smith left the 'copy' of the opening of 'The Physiology of the London Medical Student.' The writers already named, with a few volunteers selected from the editor's box, filled the first volume, and belonged to the ante-'B. & E.' era of Punch's history. The proprietary had hitherto consisted of Messrs. Henry Mayhew, Lemon, Coyne, and Landells. The printer and publisher also held shares, and were treasurers. Although the popularity of Punch exceeded all expectation, the first volume ended in difficulties. From these storm-tossed seas Punch was rescued and brought into smooth water by Messrs. Bradbury & Evans, who acquired the copyright and organised the staff. Then it was that Mr. Mark Lemon was appointed sole editor, a new office having been created for Mr. Henry Mayhew—that of Suggestor-in-Chief; Mr. Mayhew's contributions, and his felicity in inventing pictorial and in 'putting' verbal witticisms, having already set a deep mark upon Punch's success. The second volume started merrily. Mr. John Oxenford contributed his first jeu d'esprit in its final number on 'Herr Döbler and the Candle-Counter.' Mr. Thackeray commenced his connection in the beginning of the third volume with 'Miss Tickletoby's Lectures on English History,' illustrated by himself. A few weeks later a handsome young student returned from Germany. He was heartily welcomed by his brother, Mr. Henry Mayhew, and then by the rest of the fraternity. Mr. Horace Mayhew's diploma joke consisted, I believe, of 'Questions addressées au Grand Concours aux Elèves d'Anglais du Collége St. Badaud, dans le Département de la Haute Cockaigne' (vol. iii., p. 89). Mr. Richard Doyle, Mr. Tenniel, Mr. Shirley Brooks, Mr. Tom Taylor, and the younger celebrities who now keep Mr. Punch in vigorous and jovial vitality, joined his establishment after some of the birth-mates had been drafted off to graver literary and other tasks."

Mr. Mark Lemon remained editor of Punch from 1841 till 1870, when he died. Mr. Gilbert à Beckett died at Boulogne in 1856. This most accomplished and gifted writer succeeded in the more varied kinds of composition, turning with extraordinary rapidity from a Times leader to a Punch epigram.

A pamphlet attributed to Mr. Blanchard conveys, after all, the most minute account of the origin of Punch. A favourite story of the literary gossipers who have made Mr. Punch their subject from time to time, says the writer, is that he was born in a tavern parlour. The idea usually presented to the public is, that a little society of great men used to meet together in a private room in a tavern close to Drury Lane Theatre—the "Crown Tàvern," in Vinegar Yard. The truth is this:—

In the year 1841 there was a printing-office in a court running out of Fleet Street—No. 3, Crane Court—wherein was carried on the business of Mr. William Last. It was here that Punch first saw the light. The house, by the way, enjoys besides a distinction of a different kind—that of being the birthplace of "Parr's Life Pills;" for Mr. Herbert Ingram, who had not at that time launched the Illustrated London News, nor become a member of Parliament, was then introducing that since celebrated medicine to the public, and for that purpose had rented some rooms on the premises of his friend Mr. Last.

The circumstance which led to Punch's birth was simple enough. In June, 1841, Mr. Last called upon Mr. Alfred Mayhew, then in the office of his father, Mr. Joshua Mayhew, the well-known solicitor, of Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Mr. Mayhew was Mr. Last's legal adviser, and Mr. Last was well acquainted with several of his sons. Upon the occasion in question Mr. Last made some inquiries of Mr. Alfred Mayhew concerning his brother Henry, and his occupation at the time. Mr. Henry Mayhew had, even at his then early age, a reputation for the high abilities which he afterwards developed, had already experience in various departments of literature, and had exercised his projective and inventive faculties in various ways. If his friends had heard nothing of him for a few months, they usually found that he had a new design in hand, which was, however, in many cases, of a more original than practical character. Mr. Henry Mayhew, as it appeared from his brother Alfred's reply, was not at that time engaged in any new effort of his creative genius, and would be open to a proposal for active service.

Having obtained Mr. Henry Mayhew's address, which was in Clement's Inn, Mr. Last called upon that gentleman on the following morning, and opened to him a proposal for a comic and satirical journal. Henry Mayhew readily entertained the idea; and the next question was, "Can you get up a staff?" Henry Mayhew mentioned his friend Mark Lemon as a good commencement; and the pair proceeded to call upon that gentleman, who was living, not far off, in Newcastle Street, Strand. The almost immediate result was the starting of Punch.

At a meeting at the "Edinburgh Castle" Mr. Mark Lemon drew up the original prospectus. It was at first intended to call the new publication "The Funny Dog," or "Funny Dog, with Comic Tales," and from the first the subsidiary title of the "London Charivari" was agreed upon. At a subsequent meeting at the printing-office, some one made some allusion to the "Punch," and some joke about the "Lemon" in it. Henry Mayhew, with his usual electric quickness, at once flew at the idea, and cried out, "A good thought; we'll call it Punch." It was then remembered that, years before, Douglas Jerrold had edited a Penny Punch for Mr. Duncombe, of Middle Row, Holborn, but this was thought no objection, and the new name was carried by acclamation. It was agreed that there should be four proprietors—Messrs. Last, Landells, Lemon, and Mayhew. Last was to supply the printing, Landells the engraving, and Lemon and Mayhew were to be co-editors. George Hodder, with his usual good-nature, at once secured Mr. Percival Leigh as a contributor, and Leigh brought in his friend Mr. John Leech, and Leech brought in Albert Smith. Mr. Henning designed the cover. When Last had sunk £600, he sold it to Bradbury & Evans, on receiving the amount of his then outstanding liabilities. At the transfer, Henning and Newman both retired, Mr. Coyne and Mr. Grattan seldom contributed, and Messrs. Mayhew and Landells also seceded.

Mr. Hine, the artist, remained with Punch for many years; and among other artistic contributors who "came and went," to use Mr. Blanchard's own words, we must mention Birket Foster, Alfred Crowquill, Lee, Hamerton, John Gilbert, William Harvey, and Kenny Meadows, the last of whom illustrated one of Jerrold's earliest series, "Punch's Letters to His Son." Punch's Almanac for 1841 was concocted for the greater part by Dr. Maginn, who was then in the Fleet Prison, where Thackeray has drawn him, in the character of Captain Shandon, writing the famous prospectus for the Pall Mall Gasetle. The earliest hits of Punch were Douglas Jerrold's articles signed "J." and Gilbert à Beckett's "Adventures of Mr. Briefless." In October, 1841, Mr. W. H. Wills, afterwards working editor of Household Words and All the Year Round, commenced "Punch's Guide to the Watering-Places." In January, 1842, Albert Smith commenced his lively "Physiology of London Evening Parties," which were illustrated by Newman; and he wrote the "Physiology of the London Idler," which Leech illustrated. In the third volume, Jerrold commenced "Punch's Letters to His Son;" and in the fourth volume, his "Story of a Feather;" Albert Smith's "Side-Scenes of Society" carried on the social dissections of the comic physiologist, and à Beckett began his "Heathen Mythology," and created the character of "Jenkins," the supposed fashionable correspondent of the Morning Post. Punch had begun his career by ridiculing Lord Melbourne; he now attacked Brougham, for his temporary subservience to Wellington; and Sir James Graham came also in for a share of the rod; and the Morning Herald and Standard were christened "Mrs. Gamp" and "Mrs. Harris," as oldfogyish opponents of Peel and the Free-Traders. À Beckett's "Comic Blackstone" proved a great hit, from its daring originality; and incessant jokes were squibbed off on Lord John Russell, Prince Albert (for his military tailoring), Mr. Silk Buckingham and Lord William Lennox, Mr. Samuel Carter Hall and Mr. Harrison Ainsworth. Tennyson once, and once only, wrote for Punch, a reply to Lord Lytton (then Mr. Bulwer), who had coarsely attacked him in his "New Timon," where he had spoken flippantly of.
"A quaint farrago of absurd conceits,
Out-babying Wordsworth and out-glittering Keats."
The epigram ended with these bitter and contemptuous lines,—
"A Timon you? Nay, nay, for shame!
It looks too arrogant a jest—
That fierce old man—to take his name,
You bandbox! Off, and let him rest."

Albert Smith left Punch many years before his death. In 1845, on his return from the East, Mr. Thackeray began his "Jeames's Diary," and became a regular contributor. Gilbert à Beckett was now beginning his "Comic History of England" and Douglas Jerrold his inimitable "Caudle Lectures." Thomas Hood occasionally contributed, but his immortal "Song of the Shirt" was his chef-d' œuvre. Coventry Patmore contributed once to Punch; his verses denounced General Pellisier and his cruelty at the caves of Dahra. Laman Blanchard occasionally wrote; his best poem was one on the marriage and temporary retirement of charming Mrs. Nisbett. In 1846 Thackeray's "Snobs of England" was highly successful. Richard Doyle's "Manners and Customs of ye English" brought Punch much increase. The present cover of Punch is by Doyle, who, being a zealous Roman Catholic, eventually left Punch when it began to ridicule the Pope and condemn Papal aggression. Punch in his time has had his raps, but not many and not hard ones. Poor Angus B. Reach (whose mind went early in life), with Albert Smith and Shirley Brooks, ridiculed Punch in the Man in the Moon, and in 1847 the Poet Bunn—"Hot, cross Bunn"—provoked at incessant attacks on his operatic verses, hired a man of letters to write "A Word with Punch," and a few smart personalities soon silenced the jester. "Towards 1848," says Mr. Blanchard, "Douglas Jerrold, then writing plays and editing a magazine, began to write less for Punch." In 1857 he died. Among the later additions to the staff were Mr. Tom Taylor and Mr. Shirley Brooks.

The Dispatch (No. 139, north) was established by Mr. Bell, in 1801. Moving from Bride Lane to Newcastle Street, and thence to Wine Office Court, it settled down in the present locality in 1824. Mr. Bell was an energetic man, and the paper succeeded in obtaining a good position; but he was not a man of large capital, and other persons had shares in the property. In consequence of difficulties between the proprietors there were at one time three Dispatches in the field— Bell's, Kent's, and Duckett's; but the two lastmentioned were short-lived, and Mr. Bell maintained his position. Bell's was a sporting paper, with many columns devoted to pugilism, and a woodcut exhibiting two boxers ready for an encounter. But the editor (says a story more or less authentic), Mr. Samuel Smith, who had obtained his post by cleverly reporting a fight near Canterbury, one day received a severe thrashing from a famous member of the ring. This changed the editor's opinions as to the propriety of boxing— at anyrate pugilism was repudiated by the Dispatch about 1829; and boxing, from the Dispatch point of view, was henceforward treated as a degrading and brutal amusement, unworthy of our civilisation.

Mr. Harmer (afterwards Alderman), a solicitor in extensive practice in Old Bailey cases, became connected with the paper about the time when the Fleet Street office was established, and contributed capital, which soon bore fruit. The success was so great, that for many years the Dispatch as a property was inferior only to the Times. It became famous for its letters on political subjects. The original "Publicola" was Mr. Williams, a violent and coarse but very vigorous and popular writer. He wrote weekly for about sixteen or seventeen years, and after his death the signature was assumed by Mr. Fox, the famous orator and member for Oldham. Other writers also borrowed the well-known signature. Eliza Cooke wrote in the Dispatch in 1836, at first signing her poems "E." and "E. C."; but in the course of the following year her name appeared in full. She contributed a poem weekly for several years, relinquishing her connection with the paper in 1850. Afterwards, in 1869,. when the property changed hands, she wrote two or three poems. Under the signature "Caustic," Mr. Serle, the dramatic author and editor, contributed a weekly letter for about twenty-seven years; and from 1856 till 1869 was editor-in-chief. In 1841–42 the Dispatch had a hard-fought duel with the Times. "Publicola" wrote a series of letters, which had the effect of preventing the election of Mr. Walter for Southwark. The Times retaliated when the time came for Alderman Harmer to succeed to the lord mayoralty. Day after day the Times returned to the attack, denouncing the Dispatch as an infidel paper; and Alderman Harmer, rejected by the City, resigned in consequence his aldermanic gown. In 1857 the Dispatch commenced the publication of its famous "Atlas," giving away a good map weekly for about five years. The price was reduced from fivepence to twopence, at the beginning of 1869, and to a penny in 1870.


The Daily Telegraph office is No. 136 (north). Mr. Ingram, of the Illustrated London News, originated a paper called the Telegraph, which lasted only seven or eight weeks. The present Daily Telegraph was started on June 29, 1855, by the late Colonel Sleigh. It was a single sheet, and the price twopence. Colonel Sleigh failing to make it a success, Mr. Levy, the present chief proprietor of the paper, took the copyright as part security for money owed him by Colonel Sleigh, In Mr. Levy's hands the paper, reduced to a penny, became a great success. "It was," says Mr. Grant, in his "History of the Newspaper Press," "the first of the penny papers, while a single sheet, and as such was regarded as a newspaper marvel; but when it came out—which it did soon, after the Standard—as a double sheet the size of the Times, published at fourpence, for a penny, it created quite a sensation. Here was a penny paper, containing not only the same amount of telegraphic and general information as the other high-priced papers—their price being then fourpence—but also evidently written, in its leading article department, with an ability which, could only be surpassed by that of the leading articles of the Times itself. This was indeed a new era in the morning journalism of the metropolis." When Mr. Levy bought the Telegraph, the sum which he received for advertisements in the first number was exactly 7s. 6d. The daily receipts for advertisements are now said to exceed £500. Mr. Grant says that the remission of the tax on paper brought £12,000 a year extra to the Telegraph. Ten pages for a penny is no uncommon thing with the Telegraph during the Parliamentary session. The returns of sales given by the Telegraph for the half-year ending 1870 show an average daily sale of 190,885; and though this was war time, a competent authority estimates the average daily sale at 175,000 copies. One of the printingmachines recently set up by the proprietors of the Telegraph throws off upwards of 200 copies per minute, or 12,000 an hour.

WAITHMAN'S SHOP (see page 60).

The "Globe Tavern" (No. 134, north), though now only a memory, abounds with traditions of Goldsmith and his motley friends. The house, in 1649, was leased to one Henry Hottersall for forty-one years, at the yearly rent of £75, ten gallons of Canary sack, and £400 fine. Mr. John Forster gives a delightful sketch of Goldsmith's Wednesday evening club at the "Globe," in 1767. When not at Johnson's great club, Oliver beguiled his cares at a shilling rubber club at the "Devil Tavern," or at a humble gathering in the parlour of the "Bedford," Covent Garden. A hanger-on of the theatres, who frequented the "Globe," has left notes which Mr. Forster has admirably used, and which we now abridge without further apology. Grim old Macklin belonged to the club it is certain; and among the less obscure members was King, the comedian, the celebrated impersonator of Lord Ogleby. Hugh Kelly, another member, was a clever young Irishman, who had chambers near Goldsmith in the Temple. He had been a staymaker's apprentice, who, turning law writer, and soon landing as a hack for the magazines, set up as a satirist for the stage, and eventually, through Garrick's patronage, succeeded in sentimental comedy. It was of him Johnson said, "Sir, I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read." Poor Kelly afterwards went to the Bar, and died of disappointment and over-work. A third member was Captain Thompson, a friend of Garrick's, who wrote some good sea songs and edited "Andrew Marvell;" but foremost among all the boon companions was a needy Irish doctor named Glover, who had appeared on the stage, and who was said to have restored to life a man who had been hung; this Glover, who was famous for his songs and imitations, once had the impudence, like Theodore Hook, to introduce Goldsmith, during a summer ramble in Hampstead, to a party where he was an entire stranger, and to pass himself off as a friend of the host. "Our Dr. Glover," says Goldsmith, "had a constant levee of his distressed countrymen, whose wants, as far as he was able, he always relieved." Gordon, the fattest man in the club, was renowned for his jovial song of "Nottingham Ale;" and on special occasions Goldsmith himself would sing his favourite nonsense about the little old woman who was tossed seventeen times higher than the moon. A fat pork-butcher at the "Globe" used to offend Goldsmith by constantly shouting out, "Come, Noll, here's my service to you, old boy." After the success of The Goodnatured Man, this coarse familiarity was more than Goldsmith's vanity could bear, so one special night he addressed the butcher with grave reproof. The stolid man, taking no notice, replied briskly, "Thankee, Mister Noll." "Well, where is the advantage of your reproof?" asked Glover. "In truth," said Goldsmith, good-naturedly, "I give it up; I ought to have known before that there is no putting a pig in the right way." Sometimes rather cruel tricks were played on the credulous poet. One evening Goldsmith came in clamorous for his supper, and ordered chops. Directly the supper came in, the wags, by pre-agreement, began to sniff and swear. Some pushed the plate away; others declared the rascal who had dared set such chops before a gentleman should be made to swallow them himself. The waiter was savagely rung up, and forced to eat the supper, to which he consented with well-feigned reluctance, the poet calmly ordering a fresh supper and a dram for the poor waiter, "who otherwise might get sick from so nauseating a meal." Poor Goldy! kindly even at his most foolish moments. A sadder story still connects Goldsmith with the "Globe." Ned Purdon, a worn-out booksellers' hack and a protégé of Goldsmith's, dropped down dead in Smithfield. Goldsmith wrote his epitaph as he came from his chambers in the Temple to the "Globe." The lines are:—
"Here lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
Who long was a booksellers' hack;
He led such a miserable life in this world,
I don't think he'll wish to come back."
Goldsmith sat next Glover that night at the club, and Glover heard the poet repeat, sotto voce, with a mournful intonation, the words,—
"I don't think he'll wish to come back."
Oliver was musing over his own life, and Mr. Forster says touchingly, "It is not without a certain pathos to me, indeed, that he should have so repeated it."

Among other frequenters of the "Globe" were Boswell's friend Akerman, the keeper of Newgate, who always thought it prudent never to return home till daybreak; and William Woodfall, the celebrated Parliamentary reporter. In later times Brasbridge, the sporting silversmith of Fleet Street, was a frequenter of the club. He tells us that among his associates was a surgeon, who, living on the Surrey side of the Thames, had to take a boat every night (Blackfriar's Bridge not being then built). This nightly navigation cost him three or four shillings a time, yet, when the bridge came, he grumbled at having to pay a penny toll. Among other frequenters of the "Globe," Mr. Timbs enumerates "Archibald Hamilton, whose mind was 'fit for a lord chancellor;' Dunstall, the comedian; Carnan, the bookseller, who defeated the Stationers' Company in the almanack trial; and, later still, the eccentric Hugh Evelyn, who set up a claim upon the great Surrey estate of Sir Frederic Evelyn."

The Standard (No. 129, north), "the largest daily paper," was originally an evening paper alone. In 1826 a deputation of the leading men opposed to Catholic Emancipation waited on Mr. Charles Baldwin, proprietor of the St. James's Chronicle, and begged him to start an anti-Catholic evening paper, but Mr. Baldwin refused unless a preliminary sum of £15,000 was lodged at the banker's. A year later this sum was deposited, and in 1827 the Evening Standard, edited by Dr. Giffard, ex-editor of the St. James's Chronicle, appeared. Mr. Alaric Watts, the poet, was succeeded as sub-editor of the Standard by the celebrated Dr. Maginn. The daily circulation soon rose from 700 or 800 copies to 3,000 and over. The profits Mr. Grant calculates at £7,000 to £8,000 a year. On the bankruptcy of Mr. Charles Baldwin, Mr. James Johnson bought the Morning Herald and Standard, plant and all, for £16,500. The new proprietor reduced the Standard from fourpence to twopence, and made it a morning as well as an evening paper. In 1858 he reduced it to a penny only. The result was a great success. The annual income of the Standard is now, Mr. Grant says, "much exceeding yearly the annual incomes of most of the ducal dignities of the land." The legend of the Duke of Newcastle presenting Dr. Giffard, in 1827, with £1,200 for a violent article against Roman Catholic claims, has been denied by Dr. Giffard's son in the Times. The Duke of Wellington once wrote to Dr. Giffard to dictate the line the Standard and Morning Herald were to adopt on a certain question during the agitation on the Maynooth Bill; and Dr. Giffard withdrew his opposition to please Sir Robert Peel—a concession which injured the Standard. Yet in the following year, when Sir Robert Peel brought in his Bill for the abolition of the corn laws, he did not even pay Dr. Giffard the compliment of apprising him of his intention. Such is official gratitude when a tool is done with.

Near Shoe Lane lived one of Caxton's disciples. Wynkyn de Worde, who is supposed to have been one of Caxton's assistants or workmen, was a native of Lorraine. He carried on a prosperous career, says Dibdin, from 1502 to 1534, at the sign of the "Sun," in the parish of St. Bride's, Fleet Street. In upwards of four hundred works published by this industrious man he displayed unprecedented skill, elegance, and care, and his Gothic type was considered a pattern for his successors. The books that came from his press were chiefly grammars, romances, legends of the saints, and fugitive poems; he never ventured on an English New Testament, nor was any drama published bearing his name. His great patroness, Margaret, the mother of Henry VII., seems to have had little taste to guide De Worde in his selection, for he never reprinted the works of Chaucer or of Gower; nor did his humble patron, Robert Thorney, the mercer, lead him in a better direction. De Worde filled his blackletter books with rude engravings, which he used so indiscriminately that the same cut often served for books of a totally opposite character. By some writers De Worde is considered to be the first introducer of Roman letters into this country; but the honour of that mode of printing is now generally claimed by Pynson, a contemporary. Among other works published by De Worde were "The Ship of Fools," that great satire that was so long popular in England; Mandeville's lying "Travels;" "La Morte d'Arthur" (from which Tennyson has derived so much inspiration); "The Golden Legend;" and those curious treatises on "Hunting, Hawking, and Fishing," partly written by yohanna Berners, a prioress of St. Alban's. In De Worde's "Collection of Christmas Carols" we find the words of that fine old song, still sung actually at Queen's College, Oxford,—
"The boar's head in hand bring I,
With garlands gay and rosemary."
De Worde also published some writings of Erasmus. The old printer was buried in the parish church of St. Bride's, before the high altar of St. Katherine; and he left land to the parish so that masses should be said for his soul. To his servants, not forgetting his bookbinder, Nowel, in Shoe Lane, he bequeathed books. De Worde lived near the Conduit, a little west of Shoe Lane. This conduit, which was begun in the year 1439 by Sir William Estfielde, a former Lord Mayor, and finished in 1471, was, according to Stow's account, a stone tower, with images of St. Christopher on the top and angels, who, on sweet-sounding bells, hourly chimed a hymn with hammers, thus anticipating the wonders of St. Dunstan's. These London conduits were great resorts for the apprentices, whom their masters sent with big leather and metal jugs to bring home the daily supply of water. Here these noisy, quarrelsome young rascals stayed to gossip, idle, and fight. At the coronation of Anne Boleyn this conduit was newly painted, all the arms and angels refreshed, and "the music melodiously sounding." Upon the conduit was raised a tower with four turrets, and in every turret stood one of the cardinal virtues, promising never to leave the queen, while, to the delight and wonder of thirsty citizens, the taps ran with claret and red wine. Fleet Street, according to Mr. Noble, was supplied with water in the Middle Ages from the conduit at Marylebone and the holy wells of St. Clement's and St. Bridget's. The tradition is that the latter well was drained dry for the supply of the coronation banquet of George IV. As early as 1358 the inhabitants of Fleet Street complained of aqueduct pipes bursting and flooding their cellars, upon which they were allowed the privilege of erecting a pent-house over an aqueduct opposite the tavern of John Walworth, and near the house of the Bishop of Salisbury. In 1478 a Fleet Street wax-chandler, having been detected tapping the conduit pipes for his own use, was sentenced to ride through the City with a vessel shaped like a conduit on his felonious head, and the City crier walking before him to proclaim his offence.

The "Castle Tavern," mentioned as early as 1432, stood at the south-west corner of Shoe Lane. Here the Clockmakers' Company held their meetings before the Great Fire, and in 1708 the "Castle" possessed the largest sign in London. Early in the last century, says Mr. Noble, its proprietor was Alderman Sir John Task, a wine merchant, who died in 1735 (George II.), worth, it was understood, a quarter of a million of money.

The Morning Advertiser (No. 127, north) was established in 1794, by the Society of Licensed Victuallers, on the mutual benefit society principle. Every member is bound to take in the paper and is entitled to a share in its profits. Members unsuccessful in business become pensioners on the funds of the institution. The paper, which took the place of the Daily Advertiser, and was the suggestion of Mr. Grant, a master printer, was an immediate success. Down to 1850 the Morning Advertiser circulated chiefly in public-houses and coffee-houses at the rate of nearly 5,000 copies a day. But in 1850, the circulation beginning to decline, the committee resolved to enlarge the paper to the size of the Times, and Mr. James Grant was appointed editor. The profits now increased, and the paper found its way to the clubs. The late Lord Brougham and Sir David Brewster contributed to the Advertiser; and the letters signed "An Englishman" excited much interest. This paper has always been Liberal. Mr. Grant remained the editor for twenty years.

No. 91 (south side) was till lately the office of that old-established paper, Bell's Weekly Messenger. Mr. Bell, the spirited publisher who founded this paper, is delightfully sketched by Leigh Hunt in his autobiography.

"About the period of my writing the above essays," he says, in his easy manner, "circumstances introduced me to the acquaintance of Mr. Bell, the proprietor of the Weekly Messenger. In his house, in the Strand, I used to hear of politics and dramatic criticisms, and of the persons who wrote them. Mr. Bell had been well known as a bookseller and a speculator in elegant typography. It is to him the public are indebted for the small editions of the poets that preceded Cooke's. Bell was, upon the whole, a remarkable person. He was a plain man, with a red face and a nose exaggerated by intemperance; and yet there was something not unpleasing in his countenance, especially when he spoke. He had sparkling black eyes, a good-natured smile, gentlemanly manners, and one of the most agreeable voices I ever heard. He had no acquirements—perhaps not even grammar; but his taste in putting forth a publication and getting the best artists to adorn it was new in those times, and may be admired in any. Unfortunately for Mr. Bell, the Prince of Wales, to whom he was bookseller, once did him the honour to partake of an entertainment or refreshment (I forget which—most probably the latter) at his house. He afterwards became a bankrupt. After his bankruptcy he set up a newspaper, which became profitable to everybody but himself." (fn. 1)

No. 93, Fleet Street (south side) is endeared to us by its connection with Charles Lamb. At that number, in 1823, that great humorist, the king of all London clerks that ever were or will be, published his "Elia," a collection of essays immortal as the language, full of quaint and tender thoughts and gleaming with cross-lights of humour as shot silk does with interchanging colours. In 1821, when the first editor was shot in a duel, the London Magazine fell into the hands of Messrs. Taylor & Hessey, of No. 93; but they published the excellent periodical and gave their "magazine dinners" at their publishing house in Waterloo Place.

Mr. John Scott, a man of great promise, the editor of the London for the first publishers— Messrs. Baldwin, Cradock, & Joy—met with a very tragic death in 1821. The duel in which he fell arose from a quarrel between the men on the London and the clever but bitter and unscrupulous writers in Blackwood, started in 1817. Lockhart, who had cruelly maligned Leigh Hunt and his set (the "Cockney School," as the Scotch Tories chose to call them), was sharply attacked in the London. Fiery and vindictive Lockhart flew at once up to town, and angrily demanded from Mr. Scott, the editor, an explanation, an apology, or a meeting. Mr. Scott declined giving an apology unless Mr. Lockhart would first deny that he was editor of Blackwood. Lockhart refused to give this denial, and retorted by expressing a mean opinion of Mr. Scott's courage. Lockhart and Scott both printed contradictory versions of the quarrel, which worked up till at last Mr. Christie, a friend of Lockhart's, challenged Scott; and they met at Chalk Farm by moonlight on February 16th, at nine o'clock at night, attended by their seconds and surgeons, in the old business-like, bloodthirsty way. The first time Mr. Christie did not fire at Mr. Scott, a fact of which Mr. Patmore, the author, Scott's second, with most blamable indiscretion, did not inform his principal. At the second fire Christie's ball struck Scott just above the right hip, and he fell. He lingered till the 27th. It was said at the time that Hazlitt, perhaps unintentionally, had driven Scott to fight by indirect taunts. "I don't pretend," Hazlitt is reported to have said, "to hold the principles of honour which you hold. I would neither give nor accept a challenge. You hold the opinions of the world; with you it is different. As for me, it would be nothing. I do not think as you and the world think," and so on. Poor Scott, not yet forty, had married the pretty daughter of Colnaghi, the print-seller in Pall Mall, and left two children.

For the five years it lasted, perhaps no magazine —not even the mighty Maga itself—ever drew talent towards it with such magnetic attraction. In Mr. Barry Cornwall's delightful memoir of his old friend Lamb, written when the writer was in his seventy-third year, he has summarised the writers on the London, and shown how deep and varied was the intellect brought to bear on its production. First of all he mentions poor Scott, a shrewd, critical, rather hasty man, who wrote essays on Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth, Godwin, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Leigh Hunt, and Hazlitt, his wonderful contemporaries, in a fruitful age. Hazlitt, glowing and capricious, produced the twelve essays of his "Table Talk," many dramatic articles, and papers on Beckford's Fonthill, the Angerstein pictures, and the Elgin marbles—pages wealthy with thought. Lamb contributed in three years all the matchless essays of "Elia." Mr. Thomas Carlyle, then only a promising young Scotch philosopher, wrote several articles on the "Life and Writings of Schiller." Mr. de Quincey, that subtle thinker and bitter Tory, contributed his wonderful "Confessions of an Opium-Eater." That learned and amiable man, the Rev. H.F. Cary, the translator of Dante, wrote several interesting notices of early French poets. Allan Cunningham, the vigorous Scottish bard, sent the romantic "Tales of Lyddal Cross" and a series of papers styled "Traditional Literature." Mr. John Poole—recently deceased, 1872—(the author of Paul Pry and that humorous novel, "Little Pedlington," which is supposed to have furnished Mr. Charles Dickens with some suggestions for "Pickwick") wrote burlesque imitations of contemporaneous dramatic writers—Morton, Dibdin, Reynolds, Moncrieff, &c. Mr. J. H. Reynolds wrote, under the name of Henry Herbert, notices of contemporaneous events, such as a scene at the Cockpit, the trial of Thurtell (a very powerful article), &c. That delightful punster and humorist, with pen or pencil, Tom Hood, sent to the London his first poems of any ambition or length—"Lycus the Centaur," and "The Two Peacocks of Bedfont," Keats, "that sleepless soul that perished in its pride," and Montgomery, both contributed poems. Sir John Bowring, the accomplished linguist, wrote on Spanish poetry. Mr. Henry Southern, the editor of that excellent work the Retrospective Review, contributed "The Conversations of Lord Byron." Mr. Walter Savage Landor, that very original and eccentric thinker, published in the extraordinary magazine one of his admirable "Imaginary Conversations." Mr. Julius (afterwards Archdeacon) Hare reviewed the robust works of Landor. Mr. Elton contributed graceful translations from Catullus, Propertius, &c. Even among the lesser contributors there were very eminent writers, not forgetting Barry Cornwall, Hartley Coleridge, John Clare, the Northamptonshire peasant poet; and Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet. Nor must we omit that strange contrast to these pure-hearted and wise men, "Janus Weathercock" (Wainwright), the polished villain who murdered his young niece and most probably several other friends and relations, for the money insured upon their lives. This gay and evil being, by no means a dull writer upon art and the drama, was much liked by Lamb and the Russell Street set. The news of his coldblooded crimes (transpiring in 1837) seem to have struck a deep horror among all the scoundrel's fashionable associates. Although when arrested in France it was discovered that Wainwright habitually carried strychnine about with him, he was only tried for forgery, and for that offence transported for life.

A fine old citizen of the last century, Joseph Brasbridge, who published his memoirs, kept a silversmith's shop at No. 98, several doors from Alderman Waithman's. At one time Brasbridge confesses he divided his time between the tavern club, the card party, the hunt, and the fight, and left his shop to be looked after by others, whilst he decided on the respective merits of Humphries and Mendoza, Cribb and Big Ben. Among Brasbridge's early customers were the Duke of Marlborough, the Duke of Argyle, and other men of rank, and he glories in having once paid an elaborate compliment to Lady Hamilton. The most curious story in Brasbridge's "Fruits of Experience" is the following, various versions of which have been paraphrased by modern writers. A surgeon in Gough Square had purchased for dissection the body of a man who had been hanged at Tyburn. The servant girl, wishing to look at the corpse, stole upstairs in the doctor's absence, and, to her horror, found the body sitting up on the board, wondering where it was. The girl almost threw herself down the stairs in her fright. The surgeon, on learning of the resuscitation of his subject, humanely concealed the man in the house till he could fit him out for America. The fellow proved as clever and industrious as he was grateful, and having amassed a fortune, he eventually left it all to his benefactor. The sequel is still more curious. The surgeon dying some years after, his heirs were advertised for. A shoemaker at Islington eventually established a claim and inherited the money. Mean in prosperity, the ci-devant shoemaker then refused to pay the lawyer's bill, and, moreover, called him a rogue. The enraged lawyer replied, "I have put you into possession of this property by my exertions, now I will spend £100, out of my own pocket to take it away again, for you are not deserving of it," The lawyer accordingly advertised again for the surgeon's nearest of kin; Mr. Willcocks, a bookseller in the Strand, then came forward, and deposed that his wife and her mother, he remembered, used to visit the surgeon in Gough Square. On inquiry Mrs. Willcocks was proved the next of kin, and the base shoemaker returned to his last. The lucky Mr. Willcocks was the good-natured bookseller who lent Johnson and Garrick, when they first came up to London to seek their fortunes, £5 on their joint note.


Nos. 103 (now the Sunday Times office) and 104 were the shop of that bustling politician Alderman Waithman; and to his memory was erected the obelisk on the site of his first shop, formerly the north-west end of Fleet Market. Waithman, according to Mr. Timbs, had a genius for the stage, and especially shone as Macbeth. He was uncle to John Reeve, the comic actor. Cobbett, who hated Waithman, has left a portrait of the alderman, written in his usual racy English. "Among these persons," he says, talking of the Princess Caroline agitation, in 1813, "there was a common councilman named Robert Waithman, a man who for many years had taken a conspicuous part in the politics of the City; a man not destitute of the powers of utterance, and a man of sound principles also. But a man so enveloped, so completely swallowed up by self-conceit, who, though perfectly illiterate, though unable to give to three consecutive sentences a grammatical construction, seemed to look upon himself as the first orator, the first writer, and the first statesman of the whole world. He had long been the cock of the Democratic party in the City; he was a great speechmaker; could make very free with facts, and when it suited his purpose could resort to as foul play as most men." According to Cobbett, who grows more than usually virulent on the occasion, Waithman, vexed that Alderman Wood had been the first to propose an address of condolence to the Princess at the Common Council, opposed it, and was defeated. As Cobbett says, "He then checked himself, endeavoured to recover his ground, floundered about got some applause by talking about rotten boroughs and parliamentary reform. But all in vain. Then rose cries of 'No, no! the address—the address!' which appear to have stung him to the quick. His face, which was none of the whitest, assumed a ten times darker die. His look was furious, while he uttered the words, 'I am sorry that my well-weighed opinions are in opposition to the general sentiment so hastily adopted; but I hope the Livery will consider the necessity of preserving its character for purity and wisdom.'" On the appointed day the Princess was presented with the address, to the delight of the more zealous Radicals. The procession of more than one hundred carriages came back past Carlton House on their return from Kensington, the people groaning and hissing to torment the Regent.


Brasbridge, the Tory silversmith of Fleet Street, writes very contemptuously in his autobiography of Waithman. Sneering at his boast of reading, he says: "I own my curiosity was a little excited to know when and where he began his studies. It could not be in his shop in Fleet Market, for there he was too busily employed in attending to the fishwomen and other ladies connected with the business of the market. Nor could it be at the corner of Fleet Street, where he was always no less assiduously engaged in ticketing his supersuper calicoes at two and two pence, and cutting them off for two and twenty pence." According to Brasbridge, Waithman made his first speech in 1792, in Founder's Hall, Lothbury, "called by some at that time the cauldron of sedition." Waithman was Lord Mayor in 1823–24, and was returned to Parliament five times for the City. The portrait of Waithman on page 66, and the view of his shop, page 61, are taken from pictures in Mr. Gardiner's magnificent collection.

A short biography of this civic orator will not be uninteresting:—Robert Waithman was born of humble parentage, at Wrexham, in North Wales. Becoming an orphan when only four months old, he was placed at the school of a Mr. Moore by his uncle, on whose death, about 1778, he obtained a situation at Reading, whence he proceeded to London, and entered into the service of a respectable linen-draper, with whom he continued till he became of age. He then entered into business at the south end of Fleet Market, whence, some years afterwards, he removed to the corner of New Bridge Street. He appears to have commenced his political career about 1792, at the oratorical displays made in admiration and imitation of the proceedings of the French revolutionists, at Founder's Hall, in Lothbury. In 1794 he brought forward a series of resolutions, at a common hall, animadverting upon the war with revolutionised France, and enforcing the necessity of a reform in Parliament. In 1796 he was first elected a member of the Common Council for the Ward of Farringdon Without, and became a very frequent speaker in that public body. It was supposed that Mr. Fox intended to have rewarded his political exertions by the place of Receiver-General of the Land Tax. In 1818, after having been defeated on several previous occasions, he was elected as one of the representatives in Parliament of the City of London, defeating the old member, Sir William Curtis.

Very shortly after, on the 4th of August, he was elected Alderman of his ward, on the death of Sir Charles Price, Bart. On the 25th of January, 1819, he made his maiden speech in Parliament, on the presentation of a petition praying for a revision of the criminal code, the existing state of which he severely censured. At the ensuing election of 1820 the friends of Sir William Curtis turned the tables upon him, Waithman being defeated. In this year, however, he attained the honour of the shrievalty; and in October, 1823, he was chosen Lord Mayor. In 1826 he stood another contest for the City, with better success. In 1830, 1831, and 1832 he obtained his re-election with difficulty; but in 1831 he suffered a severe disappointment in losing the chamberlainship, in the competition for which Sir James Shaw obtained a large majority of votes.

We subjoin the remarks made on his death by the editor of the Times newspaper:—"The magistracy of London has been deprived of one of its most respectable members, and the City of one of its most upright representatives. Everybody knows that Mr. Alderman Waithman has filled a large space in City politics; and most people who were acquainted with him will be ready to admit that, had his early education been better directed, or his early circumstances more favourable to his ambition, he might have become an important man in a wider and higher sphere. His natural parts, his political integrity, his consistency of conduct, and the energy and perseverance with which he performed his duties, placed him far above the common run of persons whose reputation is gained by their oratorical displays at meetings of the Common Council. In looking back at City proceedings for the last thirty-five or forty years, we find him always rising above his rivals as the steady and consistent advocate of the rights of his countrymen and the liberties and privileges of his fellow-citizens."

There is a curious story told of the Fleet Street crossing, opposite Waithman's corner. It was swept for years by an old black man named Charles M'Ghee, whose father had died in Jamaica at the age of 108. According to Mr. Noble, when he laid down his broom he sold his professional right for £1,000 (£100 ?). Retiring into private life much respected, he was always to be seen on Sundays at Rowland Hill's chapel. When in his seventy third year his portrait was taken and hung in the parlour of the "Twelve Bells," Bride Lane. To Miss Waithman, who used to send him out soup and bread, he is, untruly, said to have left. £7,000.

Mr. Diprose, in his "History of St. Clement," tells us more of this black sweeper. "Brutus Billy," or "Tim-buc-too," as he was generally called, lived in a passage leading from Stanhope Street into Drury Lane. He was a short, thick-set man, with his white-grey hair carefully brushed up into a toupee, the fashion of his youth. He was found in his shop, as he called his crossing, in all weathers, and was invariably civil. At night, after he had shut up shop (swept mud over his crossing), he carried round a basket of nuts and fruit to places of public entertainment, so that in time he laid by a considerable amount of money. Brutus Billy was brimful of story and anecdote. He died in Chapel Court in 1854, in his eighty-seventh year. This worthy man was perhaps the model for Billy Waters, the negro beggar in Tom and Jerry, who is so indignant at the beggars' supper on seeing "a turkey without sassenges."

In Garrick's time John Hardham, the wellknown tobacconist, opened a shop at No. 106. There, at the sign of the "Red Lion," Hardham's Highlander kept steady guard at a doorway through which half the celebrities of the day made their exits and entrances. His celebrated "No. 37" snuff was said, like the French millefleur, to be composed of a great number of ingredients, and Garrick in his kind way helped it into fashion by mentioning it favourably on the stage. Hardham, a native of Chichester, began life as a servant, wrote a comedy, acted, and at last became Garrick's "numberer," having a general's quick coup d'æil at gauging an audience, and so checking the money-takers. Garrick once became his security for a hundred pounds, but eventually Hardham grew rich, and died in 1772, bequeathing £22,289 to Chichester, 10 guineas to Garrick, and merely setting apart £10 for his funeral, only vain fools, as he said, spending more. We can fancy the great actors of that day seated on Hardham's tobacco-chests discussing the drollery of Foote or the vivacity of Clive.

"It has long been a source of inquiry," says a writer in the City Press, "whence the origin of the cognomen, 'No. 37,' to the celebrated snuff compounded still under the name of John Hardham, in Fleet Street. There is a tradition that Lord Townsend, on being applied to by Hardham, whom he patronised, to name the snuff, suggested the cabalistic number of 37, it being the exact number of a majority obtained in some proceedings in the Irish Parliament during the time he was Lord Lieutenant there, and which was considered a triumph for his Government. The dates, however, do not serve this theory, as Lord Townsend was not viceroy till the years 1767–72, when the snuff must have been well established in public fame and Hardham in the last years of his life. It has already been printed elsewhere that, on the famed snuff coming out in the first instance, David Garrick, hearing of it, called in Fleet Street, as he was wont frequently to do, and offered to bring it under the public notice in the most effectual manner, by introducing an incident in a new comedy then about to be produced by him, where he would, in his part in the play, offer another character a pinch of snuff, who would extol its excellence, whereupon Garrick arranged to continue the conversation by naming the snuff as the renowned '37 of John Hardham.' But the enigma, even now, is not solved; so we will, for what it may be worth, venture our own explanation. It is well known that in most of the celebrated snuffs before the public a great variety of qualities and descriptions of tobacco, and of various ages, are introduced. Hardham, like the rest, never told his secret how the snuff was made, but left it as a heritage to his successors. It is very probable, therefore, that the mystic figures, 37, we have quoted represented the number of qualities, growths, and description of the 'fragrant weed' introduced by him into his snuff, and may be regarded as a sort of appellative rebus, or conceit, founded thereon." (fn. 2)

But Hardham occupied himself in other ways than in the making of snuff and of money—for the Chichester youth had now grown wealthy—and in extending his circle of acquaintances amongst dramatists and players; he was abundantly distinguished for Christian charity, for, in the language of a contemporary writer, we find that "his deeds in that respect were extensive," and his bounty "was conveyed to many of the objects of it in the most delicate manner." From the same authority we find that Hardham once failed in business (we presume, as a lapidary) more creditably than he could have made a fortune by it. This spirit of integrity, which remained a remarkable feature in his character throughout life, induced him to be often resorted to by his wealthy patrons as trustee for the payment of their bounties to deserving objects; in many cases the patrons died before the recipients of their relief. With Hardham, however, this made no difference; the annuities once granted, although stopped by the decease of the donors, were paid ever after by Hardham so long as he lived; and his delicacy of feeling induced him even to persuade the recipients into the belief that they were still derived from the same source.

No. 102 (south) was opened as a shop, in 1719, by one Lockyer, who called it "Mount Pleasant." It then became a "saloop-house," where the poor purchased a beverage made out of sassafras chips. The proprietor, who began life, as Mr. Noble says, with half-a-crown, died in March, 1739, worth £1,000. Thomas Read was a later tenant. Charles Lamb mentions "saloop" in one of his essays, and says, "Palates otherwise not uninstructed in dietetical elegancies sup it up with avidity." Chimneysweeps, beloved by Lamb, approved it, and eventually stalls were set up in the streets, as at present to reach even humbler customers.


  • 1. An intelligent compositor (Mr. J. P. S. Bicknell), who has been a noter of curious passages in his time, informs me that Bell was the first printer who confined the small letter "s" to its present shape, and rejected altogether the older form "f."
  • 2. The real fact is, the famous snuff was merely called from the number of the drawer that held it.