Old and New London: Volume 4. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
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PICCADILLY: NORTHERN TRIBUTARIES.
"Intervalla vides humanè commoda; verum
Puræ sunt plateæ."—Horace, "Satircs."
Hamilton Place and its Noted Residents—White Horse Street—Halfmoon Street—Boswell's Lodgings—Clarges Street—Bolton Street—Berkeley Street—Dover Street—Dr. John Arbuthnot—Residence of the Bishops of Ely—Albemarle Street—Grillon's Hotel and Club—Hotels, Clubs, and Scientific Societies in Albemarle Street—Royal Institution—Professor Faraday—St. George's Chapel—Stafford Street—"Street Clubs"—Grafton Street—Old and New Bond Street—Clifford Street—Burlington Gardens—The London University—Old Burlington Street—Boyle Street—Uxbridge House—Queensberry House—Vigo Street—Sackville Street—Air Street—Cork Street—Savile Row—New Burlington Street.
Having already dealt with the various streets abutting on the south side of Piccadilly, and in the preceding chapters described the principal buildings and objects of interest to be met with along the route from the southern Regent Circus to Hyde Park Corner, we now retrace our steps, noting on the way the several streets and outlets on its northern side, or, at least, such as have anything worthy of remark appertaining to them in the way of history and personal associations.
Hamilton Place, the first turning on our way back eastward from Apsley House, brings down to our own times the memory of Colonel James Hamilton, a boon companion of Charles II., who gave him the Rangership of Hyde Park. He was a brother of Anthony Hamilton, the witty chronicler of the Court of Charles II., but perhaps better known to the world in general as the same "Beare" Hamilton who was so amusingly duped by the Countess of Chesterfield at Bretby Park. "Being considerably in the king's favour," writes Mr. J. Larwood, in his "Story of the London Parks," "Hamilton received some grants in connection with the park. One of these was the triangular piece of ground between the lodge (which stood on the site of Apsley House) and the present Park Lane; during the Commonwealth a fort and various houses had been built upon it. This was now granted to Hamilton, with the covenant that he should make leases to purchasers to be appointed at half the improved rents. Of course, it is from him that this site still bears the name of Hamilton Place. He was shot in an engagement with the Dutch in 1673, on which occasion the king renewed the lease for ninety-nine years to his widow."
The Duke of Wellington was living in Hamilton Place in 1814, during the interval of peace consequent on the abdication of Napoleon and his retirement to Elba; and here he received a deputation of the House of Commons sent to present him with an address of thanks for his services in the field in Spain. Of No. 1 we have already spoken, as the house of old Lord Eldon. No. 2 was the town residence of the Duchess-Countess of Sutherland, who, by her marriage with the Marquis of Stafford, put the coping-stone to the fortunes of the now ducal house of Leveson-Gower. Hamilton Place, too, was the last residence of Mr. H. A. J. Munro, of Novar, N.B., who was the owner of a fine gallery of paintings, and also of a valuable library.
Park Lane, in the reign of Queen Anne, was a desolate by-road, generally spoken of as "the lane leading from Piccadilly to Tyburn." It is now a noble thoroughfare, built only on the eastern side, the other being open to Hyde Park. We shall have more to say of it in a future chapter when making our way to Oxford Street.
Passing Down Street (which leads to Mayfair), and the narrow thoroughfare called Engine Street, we arrive at White Horse Street. "The bay-fronted house at the west corner of this street," says Mr. Peter Cunningham, "was the residence of Mr. Charles Dumergue, the friend of Sir Walter Scott; until a child of his own was established in London, this was Scott's head-quarters when in town."
Halfmoon Street, the next turning eastward, took its name from an inn which stood at the corner, facing Piccadilly. The sign was not an uncommon one; and it may be well here to remind the reader that the lower half of Bedford Street, Strand, was formerly called Halfmoon Street, and for the same reason. The half-moon or crescent, according to Mr. Larwood, was the emblem of the temporal, as the sun was that of the spiritual power. There was another "Half Moon" tavern at Upper Holloway, famous for its cheese-cakes, which were hawked about London by a man on horseback, and at one time formed one of the established "cries of London." Another "Half Moon," in Aldersgate Street, is connected with the name of Ben Jonson. But our business is with the street bearing the name of the Half-moon. The street may be speedily dismissed, for it has but few literary reminiscences, and has for several generations consisted of respectable houses of the middle class, let out in apartments to members of Parliament and others. The east corner house was formerly the residence of Madame d'Arblay. In this street Boswell, as he tells us in his "Life of Johnson," was lodging in May, 1768, when he was visited by the great lexicographer, who, having expressed a dislike of the publication of a portion of one of his letters, on being asked by his future biographer whether he forbade his letters to be published after his decease, gave the bluff reply, "Nay, sir, when I am dead you may do as you will"—a reply to which posterity is deeply indebted. Here, too, died, in 1797, the celebrated actress, Mrs. Pope; she was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.
According to the "New View of London," published in 1708, the Lady Clarges was the owner of a stately new building on the north side of Piccadilly, then in the occupation of the Venetian Ambassador. Its site is now covered by Clarges Street, which was named after Sir Walter Clarges, and was built about the year 1717. At No. 12 in this street Edmund Kean, the tragedian, lived for some few years, and it is said that, in the adjoining house (No. 11) Lady Hamilton was residing at the time of Lord Nelson's death. If this statement be correct, she must have removed to this street only a few days before from Piccadilly. In the year 1826, No. 14 was the residence of William Mitford, the historian of Greece, brother of Lord Redesdale. His opinions disqualified him from appreciating the Athenian constitution, and his work has ceased to be valued. He died in the year 1827.
It was not till many mansions had been built further west that the ground about May Fair came to be utilised. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, indeed, a considerable plot of ground adjoining Clarges Street was leased by Sir Thomas Clarges (whose wife was a Berkeley) to one Thomas Neale, Groom-Porter to his Majesty (of whom Charles Knight tells us that he was the introducer of lotteries on the Venetian plan, and the builder of the Seven Dials, in St. Giles's), on the condition that he should lay out £10,000 in building on it, but the agreement was never carried out, and the lease was forfeited or cancelled. After his son obtained back the lease granted to Neale by Sir Thomas Clarges, the grounds on the slope of the hill in Piccadilly westward, toward Park Lane, were, as we have already stated, soon covered with buildings.
Bolton Street is a dull, narrow, and heavy thoroughfare, with no great interest attaching to its houses. In it, however, lived, in the time of Queen Anne and George I., the celebrated Earl of Peterborough, who, as Mr. John Timbs tells us, "in his biography (fortunately never printed), confesses having committed three capital crimes before he was twenty years of age." Pope, however, did not, on this account, object to stay with him here as a guest. The Hon. Mrs. Norton was living here in 1841, before settling in Chesterfield Street. Hatton, in 1708, speaks of Bolton Street as being "the most westerly street in London, between the road to Knightsbridge south and the fields north." But almost every street in this neighbourhood, at one time or other, might have had the same thing said of it.
Of Stratton Street, which forms a cul de sac, we have already spoken; and of Berkeley Street, which is opposite the north-east corner of the Green Park, we have but little to say, beyond the fact that it dates from the year 1642, at which it was the western extremity of Piccadilly, or, as it was then called, Portugal Street, and that it was named from Berkeley House, which it bounded on the east. In this street was the last town apartment occupied by Pope, who came to live here in order to be near his friend, Lord Burlington. One side of the street is now occupied entirely by the wall of Devonshire House, and the other by a few respectable houses and the stables belonging to the mansions in Dover Street.
Dover Street, which was built in the year 1642, was so called after Henry Jermyn, Lord Dover, the "little Jermyn" of De Grammont's Memoirs; he resided on the east side of the street, and died in 1782. The street stands on a part of the ground that had been for a few years occupied by Clarendon House, the "Dunkirk House" of the populace, and the princely mansion of Lord Chancellor Clarendon. John Evelyn, who had been "oftentimes so cheerful, and sometimes so sad, with Chancellor Hyde "on that very ground, lived for some time close by Lord Dover's house.
On the west side of this street lived Dr. John
Arbuthnot, "Martinus Scriblerus," physician to
Queen Anne, and the friend of Pope and other
literary celebrities of his time. On the death of
the queen, Arbuthnot, like the other attendants at
Court, was displaced, and had to leave his apartments at St. James's. He removed into Dover
Street, "hoping still," as he said, "to keep a little
habitation warm in town, and to afford half a pint
of claret to his old friends." It is to this "displacement" that Pope alludes in his well-known
apostrophe to Arbuthnot:—
"O friend ! may each domestic bliss be thine !
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me let the tender office long engage,
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death;
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heaven, to bless those days, preserve my friend;
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he served a queen."
Dr. Arbuthnot, the son of a nonjuring clergyman in Scotland, was born at Arbuthnot, in Kincardineshire, about the period of the Restoration. Early in life he settled in London, and for some time gained his livelihood as a teacher of mathematics. He had studied medicine in his native country, but a fortunate accident brought him into practice here as a physician. He happened to be at Epsom on one occasion, when Prince George, who was also there, was suddenly taken ill. Arbuthnot was called in, and having effected a cure, was soon afterwards appointed one of the physicians in ordinary to the queen. He continued to practise, enjoying considerable professional distinction, till his death, in 1735.
No. 37 in this street is the town residence of the Bishops of Ely. It was purchased or built in the year 1772, out of the proceeds of the sale of the ancient Palace of the Bishops of Ely, in Ely Place, Holborn. On the front of the house is a mitre, sculptured in stone. In the adjoining house (No. 38) resided Lord King, the "bishop hater," who wrote a life of his kinsman, John Locke. This work was published in 1829. In 1841, No. 23 was the residence of Lady Byron, widow of the poet.
In this street also was the gun-shop of the celebrated "Joe Manton," who was a favourite with almost all the aristocratic sportsmen of his day. He patented his principal improvements in the manufacture of guns in 1792.
Here, too, for many years, was the publishing house of Mr. Edward Moxon, who continued to surround himself as a publisher with such a host of poetical clients, that his shop may be said to have become a modern temple of the Muses. From this shop were issued the successive volumes of Barry Cornwall, Wordsworth, Tennyson, &c. But this passed away about the year 1870, when the business was transferred elsewhere, and the poetic halo disappeared from Dover Street.
Albemarle Street was so called after Christopher Monk, second Duke of Albemarle, who purchased the mansion of the Earl of Clarendon which stood partly on its site. The street was built towards the close of the seventeenth or beginning of the eighteenth century by Sir Thomas Bond, of Peckham, Comptroller of the Household to Henrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles II., and a loyal friend of James II., whom he accompanied in his exile to St. Germains. Evelyn tells us, in his "Memoirs," that this Sir Thomas Bond bought part of the grounds of Clarendon House, "in order to build a street of tenements to his undoing." Clarendon House was sold by the Duke of Albemarle, when in difficulties, soon after he had purchased it. Hatton, in 1708, describes Albemarle Street as "a street of excellent new buildings, inhabited by persons of quality, between the fields and Portugal Street."
At No. 50 A, on the west side of this street, is the shop of John Murray, publisher. It is scarcely necessary here to do more than just remind our readers of the connection of this house with Lord Byron, whose poems were first issued hence to the public, as they came fresh from the anvil of his brain, between 1807 and his death in 1822. Nor will they forget how the poet's fondness for his publisher stands recorded in his lordship's verses and letters. With Byron he was "my Murray." In 1812 appeared the first two cantos of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," and so eminently successful were they, that, as Byron himself briefly described in his memoranda, he awoke one morning and found himself famous. The copyright money paid by Mr. Murray, £600, his lordship presented to his friend, Mr. Robert C. Dallas, saying, that he never would receive money for his writings, (fn. 1) "a resolution," as Moore tells us in his "Life of Byron," "he afterwards wisely abandoned." We learn from Alibone, that Mr. Murray paid, at different times, for copyrights of his lordship's poems, certainly over £15,000. As we have already mentioned in another place, (fn. 2) the publishing business was first established in Fleet Street by the grandfather of the present head of the house, Mr. John McMurray, a Scotchman, who came to London after the Jacobite troubles to push his fortunes. It was a bold step of John Murray the elder to venture so far west, and so far not only from Paternoster Row, but from that highway of literature, Fleet Street and the Strand; but it was amply justified by the result.
The elder Mr. John Murray died in 1793, and was succeeded by his son of the same name, one of whose earliest "hits" was Mrs. Rundell's "Cookerybook," the sale of which, we are told, proved even more remunerative, perhaps, than "Childe Harold." Becoming connected with Thomas Campbell and Sir Walter Scott, in 1809 Mr. Murray projected the Quarterly Review, as the recognised organ of the Tory party. The new review soon acquired a hold on the mind of the educated classes, which it had hardly lost at the end of half a century, in spite of the progress made by the cheaper monthly, weekly, and now daily press.The first editor of the Quarterly was William Gifford; and among its earliest contributors were George Canning, John Hookham Frere, Sir Walter Scott, Byron, Dean Milman, and Jonathan Croker. "Some of the scholarship notices," says Mr. Cyrus Redding, in his "Fifty Years' Recollections," "are excellent. A selection of these, in three or four volumes, from the mass of high-flown rubbish and falsified prophecies of national ruin would be most useful. In its classical articles, the Review as far outshone the Edinburgh as the Edinburgh outshone the Quarterly in the truth of its political predictions and that advocacy of improvement and reform for which its reputation is imperishable." Gifford, like many others who have risen in life, was extremely vain; he would even go so far as to boast that he had the power of distributing literary reputations. "Yes," observed Sheridan, "and you deal them out so largely that you have left none for yourself !"
It was in Mr. Murray's establishment in Albemarle Street that Byron and Scott first met, and
here Southey made the acquaintance of Crabbe;
indeed, it has been said that almost all the literary
magnates of the day were "four o'clock visitors"
in Albemarle Street. Byron himself has thus described the scene:—
"The room's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards."
Mr. Murray's dinner-parties included politicians and statesmen, as well as authors and artists. The second Mr. John Murray died in 1843, and was succeeded by his son, John Murray the third. Under his régime the house has published many of the greatest works in history, travel, biography, art, and science of the present age, among which may be mentioned Dr. Livingstone's "Travels," Smiles's "Life of George Stephenson," and Darwin's "Origin of Species by Natural Selection;" and the Handbooks of English Counties and Continental travel of late years brought out by this firm owe much to the personal assistance and superintendence of the head of the house. Mr. Murray has counted among his clients, besides the writers named above, Colonel Leake, Dean Milman, Sir Henry Holland, Henry Hallam, George Grote, Mrs. Somerville, Dean Stanley, and nearly all the most distinguished authors of the present century. We may add that the sign-board of Mr. MacMurray, or Murray, in Fleet Street, was the "Ship in full sail," a sign probably assumed by him in opposition to that of Messrs. Longman, a "Ship at anchor."
No. 7, on the opposite side of the street, now the Royal Thames Yacht Club, was formerly Grillon's Hotel. Here Louis XVIII. of France stayed in 1814, on his journey from Hartwell to France, to take his seat on the throne of the Bourbons, to which he had been restored mainly by the intervention of England. He was escorted from London to Dover by the Prince Regent himself. Out of this hotel grew a private club, called "Grillon's Club," which used to hold its meetings here. It was formed in 1813 by some members of both Houses of Parliament, who wished for some neutral ground on which they might meet, politics being strictly excluded. "Grillon's" differed from most of the other clubs of the first half of the present century in having nothing to do with politics. To it belonged most of the distinguished public men of the Regency, and of the reigns of George IV. and William IV. Here, every Wednesday during the Parliamentary season, its members dined together, "the feuds of the previous day being forgotten, or made the theme of pleasantry and genial humour at a table where all sets of opinions had their representatives. To this club belonged George Canning, Lord Dudley and Ward, Lord F. Leveson-Gower (afterwards better known as Lord Francis Egerton), Lord Harrowby, Lord Wharncliffe, Lord Clare, Sir Robert Harry Inglis, Mr. G. Agar-Ellis, Sir R. Wilmot-Horton, and Sir James Graham.
Here, and at the Clarendon Hotel, in New Bond Street, were held for many years the Roxburghe Club Dinners. In 1860, there was sold at the rooms of Messrs. Puttick and Simpson a collection of nearly eighty portraits of members of Grillon's Club, almost all of them members of Parliament and of various Governments, mostly engravings from private plates, after drawings by Slater, George Richmond, and other artists.
In this street are several large hotels, such as the Pulteney, the York, the Queen's Head, and the Albemarle. In the days of the Regency, when the club system was as yet in its infancy, the hotels at the West-end were much more frequented than now-a-days is the case. There was then a very large class of men, including Wellington, Nelson, Collingwood, Sir John Moore, and some few others, who seldom frequented the clubs. The persons to whom we refer, and amongst whom were many members of the sporting world, used to congregate at a few hotels, of which the "Clarendon," "Limmer's," "Ibbetson's," "Fladong's," "Stephens's," and "Grillon's" were the most fashionable. The "Clarendon," mentioned above, was at that time kept by a French cook, Jacquiers, who contrived to amass a large sum of money in the service of Louis XVIII. in England, and subsequently with Lord Darnley. This was the only public hotel where a genuine French dinner could be obtained, but the sum charged seldom amounted to less than three or four pounds; a bottle of champagne or of claret in the year 1814 usually cost a guinea.
No. 23 has been for many years the home of different clubs, more or less successful. In 1808 the "Alfred" was established here; it is described by Lord Dudley in his time, as "the dullest place in existence, the asylum of doting Tories and drivelling quidnuncs." Lord Byron was a member of this club, and he tells us that "it was pleasant, a little too sober and literary, and bored with Sotheby and Francis d'Ivernois; but one met Rich, and Ward, and Valentia, and many other pleasant or known people." On the break-up of the "Alfred," another club was started here, called the "Westminster;" but its career does not appear to have been altogether a flourishing one. At the Albemarle Hotel, at the junction of the street with Piccadilly, another club was inaugurated towards the close of 1875, and called "The Albemarle." It was established for the accommodation of both gentlemen and ladies. "This," observes one of the daily papers, "is a noble experiment, and upon its success depends the settlement of the question whether women as a body are feræ naturâ, or social and clubable animals."
At No. 22 are the rooms of the Royal Asiatic Society, the London Mathematical Society, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The first-mentioned of these societies was founded in 1823, for the investigation and encouragement of arts, science, and literature in connection with Asia. Its museum contains, inter alia, a choice collection of Persian, Chinese, and Sanskrit MSS., with Oriental arms and armour, and various other illustrations of the history, arts, and antiquities of the Eastern world. The British Association was established in 1831, for the purpose of affording scientific men, both of this and other countries, an opportunity of assembling together and discussing on scientific subjects, and for which purpose meetings of a week's duration are held annually in different parts of England.
The Royal Institution, near the north-east corner of this street, was established in 1799, mainly through the exertions of Count Rumford, the most able practical philosopher of the day, for the purpose of encouraging improvements in arts and manufactures. Its meetings were commenced in 1800, shortly before which time the proprietors of the original shares obtained a charter of incorporation for the purpose of helping on the introduction of useful and mechanical inventions and improvements, and for teaching, by courses of philosophical lectures and experiments, the application of science to the common purposes of life, whence the motto of the institution—"Illustrans commoda vitæ." The building is spacious and well adapted for the purposes to which it is applied; it originally consisted of five private houses, which having been purchased by the institution, an imposing architectural front was added, from the designs of Mr. L. Vulliamy, consisting of fourteen fluted halfcolumns, of the Corinthian order, placed upon a stylobate; and occupying the height of three floors, support an entablature and the attic storey. On the fascia is inscribed, "The Royal Institution of Great Britain." The lectures delivered here are of a very popular class, and are well attended. In the reading-room are deposited choice or rare specimens of art, taste, and vertu.
The institution has, since its foundation, undergone a very considerable change in constitution. Some years ago, in consequence of the low state of the funds, the majority of proprietors relinquished their proprietary claim, and became shareholders for life only; the dissentients from such terms selling their respective shares to the institution for a stipulated sum. By this means and by some personal bequests, the funds were materially improved. About the year 1830 the Royal Institution acquired fresh fame as the scene of Professor Faraday's experimental researches in electricity, the success of which has few parallels in the records of modern science.
A native of Newington, Surrey, and the son of a working smith, Michael Faraday, as a boy, was apprenticed to a bookseller and bookbinder; and during his term of apprenticeship a few scientific works had occasionally fallen into his hands, among them being the treatise on "Electricity" in the "Encyclopædia Britannica," and Mrs. Marcet's "Conversations on Chemistry." The perusal of the first led to the construction of his first electrical machine with a glass phial, and this he speedily followed up by a variety of experiments. Through the kindness of Mr. Dance, a member of the Royal Institution and a customer of his master, young Faraday was enabled to attend the last four lectures delivered by Sir Humphry Davy, in the early part of 1812. In the following year he was appointed Chemical Assistant at the Royal Institution, under Sir Humphry as Honorary Professor, and Mr. Brande as Professor of Chemistry; and shortly afterwards he went abroad, as assistant and amanuensis to his patron, Sir Humphry Davy. On his return, after an absence of three years, Mr. Faraday resumed his duties, and took up his residence at the Royal Institution, where he remained almost till the day of his death. In 1827 he first appeared at the lecture-table in the great theatre, and he continued to deliver lectures on scientific subjects every year from that time. In 1831 he commenced the series of experimental researches in electricity which have been published from time to time in the "Transactions" of the Royal Society. In the year 1833, when Mr. Fuller founded the chair of chemistry called after his name in the Royal Institution, he nominated Mr. Faraday the first professor; and two years later Professor Faraday received from Lord Melbourne's Government a pension, as a recognition of the importance of his scientific discoveries. In 1836 he was appointed scientific adviser on lights at sea to the Trinity House, and in the same year became a member of the Senate of the University of London; and he was subsequently scientific adviser on the same subject to the Board of Trade. Professor Faraday was a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, a fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of several learned and scientific bodies, not only in this country, but also on the Continent, and in America. The University of Oxford conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws. Late in life he settled down in retirement at Hampton Court Green, where he died in the year 1867. The Athenæum, in recording his death, observes that "nothing can be written about his career without entering upon the whole history of electricity in connection with magnetism during the last fifty years;" and that his great talents were "overshadowed in private life by his singular modesty and gentleness."
Among the members of the scientific world who have lectured within the walls of the institution with which Faraday was so long and so honourably connected, have been Murchison, Lyell, Sedgwick, Whewell, Tyndall, and Huxley. The scientific world has likewise been benefited by a "Journal" published at the expense of the Royal Institution, in a less costly, and consequently more available, form than that of the average of "Transactions" and "Proceedings."
Opposite to the Royal Institution is St. George's Chapel, a private chapel of ease; it is a building with little or no architectural pretensions. In fact, the religious edifices in this neighbourhood take the shape of proprietary chapels rather than of parish churches. "In this enlightened age," says Pennant, with dry humour, "it was found that 'godliness was profitable to many.' Accordingly the projector, the architect, the mason, the carpenter, and the plasterer united their powers. A chapel was erected, well pewed, well warmed, dedicated and consecrated. A captivating preacher is next provided, the pews are filled, and the good undertakers amply repaid by the pious tenantry."
Lord Orkney and Lord Paulet were living in Albemarle Street in 1708. Here, too, in 1785, died Richard Glover, the poet, the author of "Leonidas" and "Admiral Hosier's Ghost."
In 1852 the Roman Catholics established, at Crawley's Hotel, in Albemarle Street, a club, which they called the "Stafford-Street Club," from its entrance being in that thoroughfare, which crosses Albemarle Street about midway. This was the first and only instance of a London club named from a street, though such a practice is common in Dublin; but, according to Mr. John Timbs, it was common in the last century, in the early part of which many "street clubs" were formed, composed of members all living in the same thoroughfare, so that a man had but to stir a few houses from his own door to enjoy his club and the society of his neighbours. "There was also," observes Mr. Timbs, "another inducement, for the streets of London were then so unsafe that the nearer to his home a man's club lay, the better for his clothes and his purse. Even riders in coaches were not safe from mounted footpads and from the danger of upsets in the huge ruts and pits which intersected the streets. But the passenger who could not afford a coach had to pick his way after dark along dimly-lighted, ill-paved thoroughfares, seamed by filthy open kennels, besprinkled from projecting spouts, bordered by gaping cellars, guarded by feeble old watchmen, and beset with daring street robbers and lawless 'rake-hells,' of the Mohock tribe, who banded into companies, and spread terror and dismay through the streets." The "street club," therefore, arose out of the instinct of mutual protection. It may be added that Stafford Street occupies as nearly as possible the site of Clarendon House, already mentioned by us under Piccadilly.
At the northern end of Albemarle Street,
connecting Dover Street and Old Bond Street, is
Grafton Street, which consists of spacious and oldfashioned mansions. At the house of Sir Ralph
Payne (afterwards better known as the eccentric
Lord Lavington) the leaders of the Opposition in
Pitt's days frequently met. Erskine, having one
day dined there, found himself so indisposed as to
be obliged to retire after dinner to another apartment. Lady Payne, who was incessant in her
attentions to him, inquired, when he returned to
the company, how he found himself. Erskine
took out a piece of paper, and wrote on it—
"'Tis true I am ill, but I cannot complain,
For he never knew Pleasure who never knew Payne."
"Sir Ralph, with whom I was well acquainted,"
writes Sir Nathaniel William Wraxall, "always
appeared to be a good-natured, pleasing, well-bred
man; but he was reported not always to treat his
wife with kindness. Sheridan, calling on her one
morning, found her in tears, which she placed,
however, to the account of her monkey, who had
expired only an hour or two before, and for whose
loss she expressed deep regret. 'Pray write me an
epitaph for him,' added she; 'his name was Ned.'
Sheridan instantly penned these lines:—
'Alas ! poor Ned !
My monkey's dead !
I had rather by half
It had been Sir Ralph !' "
At No. 4 in this street Henry, first Lord Brougham, resided during the last nineteen or twenty years of his life. He was born at Edinburgh in 1778, and coming to London to push his fortunes at the Bar, first made himself known to the political world by his advocacy of Queen Caroline, and afterwards by his zeal in the cause of Reform and Education. He was suddenly raised to the woolsack by the Whig party on their attaining to place and power under Lord Grey in 1830; but, for reasons never yet fully explained, he was not re-appointed after the Conservative interregnum five years later. He died somewhat suddenly at his residence at Cannes, in the south of France, in 1868. He was a mathematician, a man of science, a linguist, and an orator, as well as a lawyer and statesman; indeed, his general knowledge was so extensive that it was said of him in satire, that "if he had only known a little law he would have known a little of everything." His house was afterwards the Turf Club.
Here, at No. 19, lived for the last half century of his life Sir Alleyne Fitzherbert, a distinguished diplomatist, afterwards known as Lord St. Helen's, who, after having tried in early life nearly all the capitals of Europe, used to maintain that there was no other place but London that was worth living in. He was true to his principles, and he seldom if ever quitted the West-end, either winter or summer. He died in 1838.
Sir William Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell, who, in his sixty-eighth year, married the Dowager Marchioness of Sligo, lived for some time in this street. In our description of Doctors' Commons (fn. 3) will be found a detailed account of Sir William's marriage with this lady, as well as an anecdote referring more particularly to his residence in Grafton Street.
No. 10 was for many years the residence of Mr. William Holmes, M.P. for Berwick, and the "whipper-in" of the Tories in the House of Commons. He was an especial favourite of the Great Duke and of Sir Robert Peel, who used often to "drop in" upon him here.
Grafton Street, on account of its retired situation and the absence of a direct thoroughfare, has for several years been, as it were, an offshoot of "Club-land." At the present time there are the Grafton and the Junior Oxford and Cambridge, the latter occupying what was formerly the home of the Marlborough. The Turf Club, mentioned above, removed in 1875-6 to their new quarters in Piccadilly. In the south-east corner of this street Benjamin Tabart, the publisher, for some time had his shop; his picture-books for children are well known.
Bond Street, which we now enter, dates from the year 1686, when it was built by Sir Thomas Bond. "In 1700," says Pennant, "Bond Street was built no further than the west end of Clifford Street. New Bond Street was at that time an open field, called the Conduit Mead, from one of the conduits which supplied this part of the town with water. Hatton, writing in 1708, describes it as "a fine new street, mostly inhabited by nobility and gentry."
The Weekly Journal of June 1st, 1717, observes, "The new buildings between Bond Street and Mary-le-bone go on with all possible diligence, and the houses even let and sell before they are built. They are already in great forwardness." It is obvious to remark that as Old and New Bond Streets are one street, it is the latter to which allusion is evidently made in the above extract. Even a century and a half ago Bond Street was a region of fashion; or, to use the words of Pennant, in spite of the loose expression, "it abounded with shopkeepers of both sexes of superior taste." The same writer remarks, however, in 1805, that if its builder had been able to foresee the extreme fashion in reserve for the street, he would have made it wider. "But this," he philosophises, "is a fortunate circumstance for the Bond Street loungers, who thus get a nearer glimpse of the fashionable and generally titled ladies that pass and repass from two to five o'clock." Indeed, even down to the days of the Regency and the opening of Regent Street, the chief fashionable lounge in the West-end was along Old and New Bond Street; and as lately as the year 1823, the morning was the correct time for putting in an appearance there during "the London season."
The reader will be amused, we think, with the following extract from "A New Critical Review of the Public Buildings of London," in the year 1736:—"There is nothing in the whole prodigious length of the two Bond Streets or in any of the adjacent places, though almost all erected within our memories, that has anything worth our attention; several little wretched attempts there are at foppery in building, but they are too inconsiderable even for censure." How little could the writer of these lines imagine that in the course of a few years Bond Street, Old and New, would become one of the most fashionable streets of the district, and that its shops would be the chief emporium of articles of beauty and taste, only, at a later period, outdone by those of Regent Street!
"In February, 1768," writes Sir Walter Scott, "Lawrence Sterne expired at his lodgings in Bond Street, London, his frame exhausted by a long debilitating illness. There was something in the manner of his death singularly resembling the particulars detailed by Mrs. Quickly, as attending that of Falstaff, the compeer of 'Yorick,' for infinite jest, however unlike in other particulars." In vain did the female attendant, a lodging-house servant, chafe his cold feet, in order to restore his circulation. He complained that the cold came up higher, and he died without a groan. "His death took place much in the manner in which he himself had wished, and the last kind offices were rendered him not in his own house, or by the hand of kindred affection, but in a hired lodging and by strangers." Dr. Ferrier, however, adds, "I have been told his attendants robbed him even of his gold sleeve-buttons while he was expiring." Mr. P. Cunningham, in his "Handbook of London," identifies the house in which he died as No. 41 on the west side, "the silk-bag shop, now (1849) a cheesemonger's shop." His death, the date of which most writers fix as March 18th, 1786, was somewhat sudden, for he had only just "come back to his lodgings in Bond Street" (writes Thackeray) "with his 'Sentimental Journey' to launch upon the town, eager as ever for praise and pleasure, as vain, as wicked, as witty, and as false as he had ever been, when death seized the feeble wretch."
In "Anecdotes of Distinguished Men," we read that "Sterne was no strict priest, but, as a clergyman, not likely to hear with indifference his whole fraternity treated contemptuously. Being one day in a coffee-house, he observed a spruce powdered young fellow by the fireside, who was speaking of the clergy, in a mass, as a body of disciplined impostors and systematic hypocrites. Sterne got up while the young man was haranguing, and approached towards the fire, patting and coaxing all the way a favourite little dog. Coming at length towards the gentleman, he took up the dog, still continuing to pat him, and addressed the young fellow. 'Sir, this would be the prettiest little animal in the world had he not one disorder !' 'What disorder is that?' replied the young fellow. 'Why, sir,' said Sterne, 'one that always makes him bark when he sees a gentleman in black.' 'That is a singular disorder,' rejoined the young fellow; 'pray how long has he had it?' 'Sir,' replied Sterne, looking at him with affected gentleness, 'ever since he was a puppy !'"
Sterne was among the frequenters of Drury Lane Theatre in the days of Garrick. Mr. Cradock one day meeting him there, asked him why he did not try his hand on a comedy, especially as he was so intimate with the great actor. With tears in his eyes, Sterne replied, that there were two reasons which prevented him: firstly, that he had not the gifts of the comic muse; and secondly, that he was wholly unacquainted with the business of the stage. Possibly he was right; but we cannot help regretting that the author of "Tristram Shandy" never made an effort in that direction.
Poor Sterne was interred in the burial-ground belonging to St. George's, Hanover Square, where, curiously enough, a wrong date was cut upon his tombstone. He died poor, if not actually in debt. A letter addressed by him (probably from his lodgings) to Garrick, asking for a loan of ten pounds, just before leaving town on his "Sentimental Journey," is printed in fac-simile in Smith's "Historical and Literary Curiosities."
In this street, in 1769, lodged Pascal Paoli, the patriot of Corsica, and here he was constantly visited by Boswell, who, if the truth must be told, made himself somewhat foolishly conspicuous by dancing attendance upon him—so much so, indeed, as to be nicknamed "Corsica Boswell." Here, too, Boswell introduced Dr. Johnson to the General, thereby realising a proud feeling of hope which he thus expressed in his "Journey to Corsica:"—"What an idea may we not form of an interview between such a scholar and philosopher as Johnson, and such a legislator and general as Paoli?"
Here, too, Boswell had lodgings, where he would often entertain Dr. Johnson, Reynolds, and the rest of the literary circle of his time. It was stated in the Times of April 26th, 1875, that a picture of the interior of these lodgings, with portraits of the guests, a fancy scene, painted by Mr. W. P. Frith, was sold at Messrs. Christie and Manson's rooms, a few days before the above date, for upwards of £4,000—a larger sum than ever was paid for the painting of an English artist during his life-time.
Among the other eminent inhabitants of this street were Sir Thomas Lawrence, the distinguished President of the Royal Academy, and the Countess of Macclesfield, mother of the poet, Richard Savage. "She died here," says Mr. Peter Cunningham, "Oct. 11th, 1753, surviving both Savage and the publication of his 'Life' by Johnson."
At No. 24 Old Bond Street are the offices of the Artists' General Benevolent Institution, Artists' Orphan Fund, and the Arundel Society for Promoting the Knowledge of Art. The first-named of these institutions was founded in 1814, and incorporated in 1842; it affords relief to artists, whether members or not, as well as to their widows and children. The Arundel Society, which has for its object the promotion of the knowledge of art, by copying, reproducing, and publishing the most important works of the ancient masters, was founded in 1848, and is called after Thomas Howard, the celebrated Earl of Arundel in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., who has deservedly been called "the Father of vertu in England, and the Macenas of all politer arts," and whom we have already introduced to our readers in our account of Arundel House in the Strand. (fn. 4) Its members are divided into three classes—associates, life and annual subscribers, and honorary members—and its funds are applied to the publication of essays on art subjects, chromo-lithographs, engravings, photographs, &c., of the highest order of mediæval art; and it may safely be asserted that no society has done more than the Arundel in reviving a general appreciation of mediæval art. A minute account of the results achieved by the society may be found in two works issued by its secretary, Mr. F. W. Maynard, and entitled respectively "Twenty Years" and "Five Years of the Arundel Society."
In this neighbourhood a club of gentlemen, mostly members of one or other of the Houses of Parliament, calling themselves "The Bohemians," still hold their musical Sunday gatherings, though their exact locale is kept a secret from the outer world. Bond Street, in fact, has long ranked high in the musical world for its devotion to the divine art.
The keepers of music-shops, it is well known, have usually adhered to the primitive practice of taking for signs some one or other of the instruments in which they deal, as, for instance, the "Hautboy," "The Violin," "The German Flute;" and Messrs. Novello, the great musical publishers in Cheapside, have so far adhered to the custom as to carry on their trade under the sign of the "Golden Crotchet." While on the subject of signs we may add, on the authority of Mr. J. Larwood, in his "History of Sign-boards," that the sign of the "Coventry Cross" was borne by a mercer in New Bond Street at the end of the eighteenth century, this particular sign evidently being chosen on account of the silk ribbons manufactured in that town.
Of the librarians at different times inhabiting
this street was Ebers, who lived at No. 27, and
who, as Mr. John Timbs tells us, "in seven years
lost £44,080 by the Italian Opera House, Haymarket." Of Hookham's Library, one of the
fashionable lounges towards the close of the last
century, mention is thus made in George Colman's
"For novels should their critick hints succeed,
The Muses might fare better when they took 'cm;
But it would fare extremely ill indeed
With gentle Mr. Lane and Messieurs Hookham."
In New Bond Street, although, perhaps, not so ostentatious as those in the more general thoroughfares, such as Oxford Street or Regent Street, many of the shops are, nevertheless, extremely elegant, and the articles exhibited for sale are of the most recherché description. At the corner of Bruton Street is the shop of Mr. C. Hancocks, the great manufacturing jeweller. At 156 are the show-rooms of Messrs. Hunt and Roskell, formerly Storr and Mortimer, who succeeded to a large part of the connection of Mr. Hamlet. At No. 160 are the extensive show-rooms of Messrs. Copeland and Co. (formerly Messrs. Copeland and Spode), the eminent porcelain manufacturers, of Stoke-uponTrent, almost the only rivals of Messrs. Wedgwood, whom we have already mentioned in our account of the neighbourhood of Lincoln's Inn Fields. (fn. 5) Mr. Alderman Copeland, formerly Lord Mayor of London, was head of this firm.
At No. 116 in this street, Miss Clark, the greatgranddaughter of Theodore, King of Corsica (who was buried at St. Anne's Church, Soho, and of whom we have already given some account in a former chapter (fn. 6) ), was established as a miniature-painter early in the present century. Her card of address, with her modest prices and hours of attendance, is given in extenso in John Timbs' "Romance of London."
Dealers in pictures and other branches of the fine arts are numerous in this street; besides which the picture-galleries offer opportunities for a pleasing promenade for such as care to avail themselves of them. Foremost among these is the Doré Gallery, situated at No. 35. This exhibition, which includes some of the choicest productions of the distinguished French artist, M. Gustave Doré, is open daily all the year round. Among the pictures exhibited here are the "Massacre of the Innocents," the "Dream of Pilate's Wife," the "Night of the Crucifixion," and "Christ leaving the Prætorium." Of the last-named work the Examiner thus observes:—"We must go back to the Italian painters of the sixteenth century to find a picture worthy of being classed with this most stupendous achievement of the young French master. In gravity and magnitude of purpose, no less than in the scope and power of his imagination, he towers like a Colossus among his contemporaries. For grandeur and boldness of mass and outline, and for energy and passion of expression, 'Christ leaving the Prætorium' suggests a comparison with the masterpieces of Michael Angelo."
At No. 168 is the Exhibition of the Society of French Artists. And scores of exhibitions of pictures and other curiosities, too numerous to particularise, have at various times existed in New Bond Street and its neighbourhood. The following curious notice of one such exhibition, quoted from the Morning Chronicle, of March 18, 1799, may be of interest to our readers in connection with this street:—"The real embalmed head of the powerful and renowned usurper, Oliver Cromwell, with the original dies for the medals struck in honour of his victory at Dunbar, are now exhibited at No. 5, in Mead Court, Old Bond Street (where the rattlesnake was shown last year); a genuine narrative relating to the acquisition, concealment, and preservation of these articles to be had at the place of exhibition."
Cromwell's head, it appears, was exhibited here by an individual named Cox, who kept a museum of curiosities, and who had purchased it from one of the Russell family, in whose hands it had been for a century. When Cox parted with his museum he sold the head to three individuals who all in their turn met with sudden deaths, and the head became the property of the daughters or nieces of the last survivor. These ladies, as we have mentioned in a previous chapter, being nervous at the idea of keeping in their house a relic so fatal, sold it to a medical man named Wilkinson.
At No. 21, in New Bond Street, was exhibited, in 1831, Haydon's picture of "Napoleon at St. Helena," painted for Sir Robert Peel, and upon which Wordsworth wrote one of his most beautiful sonnets.
Among the distinguished residents of this street Mr. Cunningham enumerates General Sir Thomas Picton, who fell at Waterloo, and Lord Nelson, who, as Southey tells us in his charming biography, was lodging here in 1797, after the battle of St. Vincent, and at the time when the news reached London of Lord Duncan's victory off Camperdown. By some accident or other the house was not illuminated; but when the mob was told that Admiral Nelson lay there in bed, badly wounded, it went off without breaking the windows.
At Long's Hotel, as we learn from his "Life" by Tommy Moore, Byron dined in company with Sir Walter Scott; and another hotel in this same street, "Stevens's," is mentioned by the same authority as one of Byron's "old haunts."
At No. 148, over a grocer's shop, the eccentric Lord Camelford had lodgings, preferring them to his magnificent mansion of Camelford House. It is recorded of him that in 1801, when all London was lit up with a general illumination on account of "the peace," no persuasion of friends, or of his landlord, could induce him to suffer a candle to be put in his windows. The mob, of course, attacked the house, and saluted his windows with a shower of stones. Lord Camelford rushed out with a pistol in his hand, and it seemed as if the day of public rejoicing was about to be stained with bloodshed. At last a friend and companion induced him to exchange his pistol for a good stout cudgel, which he laid about him right and left, till at length, overpowered by numbers, he was rolled over and over in the gutter, and glad to beat a retreat indoors, for once in his life crest-fallen. A year or two later we find his lordship still living here, when he fought with Captain Best that memorable duel in which he fell mortally wounded "in the fields behind Holland House." The interior of Lord Camelford's lodgings is thus described in a note to the "Rejected Addresses:"—"Over the fire-place in the drawing-room . . . . were ornaments strongly expressive of the pugnacity of the peer. A long, thick bludgeon lay horizontally supported by two brass hooks. Above this was placed parallel one of lesser dimensions, until a pyramid of weapons gradually arose tapering to a horsewhip." No doubt its walls were decorated with portraits of the first "bruisers" of the day, and of the heroes of the "cock-pits," which then were still in vogue.
In this street, too, were the lodgings of "Squire Alworthy," a personage familiar to every reader of Fielding's "Tom Jones;" and many of the most touching scenes in that novel are laid in this thoroughfare.
Between Old Bond Street and Albemarle Street, on the site of a part of the gardens of Clarendon House (already described by us in our walk along Piccadilly), stood, till 1870, the Clarendon Hotel, one of the largest establishments of the kind in London. It had a frontage to either street, and contained large suites of apartments where royal and noble personages used to put up during their stay in London. Official banquets, too, were often held here in the first decade of Her Majesty's reign. Here were held the meetings of the Association of Baronets, instituted by the late amiable visionary, Sir Richard Broun, for the purpose of asserting the right of members of that order to the use of heraldic supporters, a coronet, the prefix of "honourable," and other more tangible and substantial advantages; but the association quietly died a natural death.
Among the records of the house was the menu of a dinner given by the late Lord Chesterfield in the year 1835, on resigning his office as Master of the Buckhounds. It is a curiosity in its way—the way of costly luxury; it is printed in extenso in the second volume of the "Club Life of London."
The mansion, before its conversion into an hotel, was occupied for two or three seasons by the Earl of Chatham as his town residence.
Stevens's Hotel, in Bond Street, was fashionable in the days of the Regency as the head-quarters for officers in the army, and "men about town." Captain Gronow tells us in his "Reminiscences" that if a stranger wanted to dine there, he would be "stared at by the servants and very solemnly assured that there was no table vacant." He adds that it was no uncommon thing to see thirty or even forty saddle-horses or tilburies waiting outside the doors of this hotel; and that two of his old Welsh friends who resided here in 1815 qualified themselves for residence within its walls—in the eyes of "mine host," at all events—by "disposing of five bottles of wine daily." It is to be hoped that the gallant captain meant to add "between them;" but his phrase is a little ambiguous.
In this street, on its eastern side, about the year 1820, was a bazaar, called the Western Exchange, consisting of only one large room, well furnished with a variety of stalls. It had an entrance in the rear into the Burlington Arcade. The bazaar did not, however, prove a success, and soon passed away.
Clifford Street, which connects the north end of Savile Row with Bond Street, cutting Old Burlington Street at right angles, was built about the year 1740, and perpetuates the name of the Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, the daughter and heiress of the last holder of that title having been the mother of the first Lord Burlington.
The house No. 7 was inhabited by Dr. Anthony Addington, a physician in good practice, and the father of Henry Addington, the first Lord Sidmouth, who was born in 1757, and who succeeded Pitt as Premier in 1801. It will be remembered that the latter, in some of the squibs of the day, was dubbed "The Doctor," partly, perhaps, owing to his parentage, partly to the story that it was by his advice that a pillow of hops was provided to cure the sleeplessness of George III. At No. 5 in this street Robert Liston, the celebrated surgeon, was living in the year 1841.
In this street, towards the end of the last century, was a debating society which lasted some few years. It was styled the Clifford Street Club, and met at the "Clifford Street Coffee House." Among its members were Lord Charles Townshend, and George Canning in his early prime. Political questions were here discussed, generally from a Liberal point of view, while foaming jugs of porter crowned the tables; and it was here that Canning first practised his tongue in political debate, on such subjects as the French Revolution. During the "sittings" of this club, porter was the only beverage indulged in by its members; and on one occasion, as John Timbs tells us, Canning compared a pot of this liquor to the eloquence of Mirabeau "as empty and vapid as his patriotism—'foam and froth at the top, heavy and muddy within.'"
On the north side is the shop of Messrs. Stulz, the fashionable tailors of the days of the Regency, who are said to have had half the members of the clubs of St. James's on their books.
At right angles with Bond Street, and forming, together with Vigo Street, a direct communication into Regent Street, is the thoroughfare known as Burlington Gardens. Built about the year 1729, it consisted at first of small houses, scattered irregularly up and down. At the south-west corner, where the Gardens join Bond Street, and extending back to the Arcade, is the large warehouse of Messrs. Atkinson, the perfumers, established here in 1799. The opposite corner is occupied by the fashionable haircutters, Messrs. Truefitt, who have held it since 1810.
On the south side of Burlington Gardens, between the Arcade and the Albany, are the new buildings of the London University. The building, which is from the designs of Mr. Pennethorne, and was opened by Her Majesty in person early in the year 1870, occupies a site of about 250 feet long by 150 feet in depth, on which formerly grew two lines of tall poplars, which threw a graceful and grateful shadow over Burlington Gardens. The elevation is in the ornate Italian style, such as would have gladdened the heart of so great an admirer of classical architecture as the old Earl of Burlington, if he could wake up to life again.
As regards its ground-plan, it consists of two oblong blocks, the smaller of which stands behind and to the south of the principal one. The front presents a central portion of 120 feet long, flanked by two square towers, and extended further east and west by wings two storeys in height. These towers carry a clock and a sun-dial, and between them is a projecting portico, with five entrances. The portico, the centre, and the wings are all surmounted by ornate balustrades, on the pedestals of which are placed statues of eminent men, selected as fitting representatives of the various forms of academic culture. The statues over the portico are seated, those on the roof are standing, and there are also other standing figures in niches on the ground floor of each wing. The principal figures are those on the balustrade of the portico. These are by Mr. Joseph Durham—viz., Newton, Bentham, Milton, and Harvey, as representatives of the four Faculties of Science, Law, Arts, and Medicine. The figures on the central roof represent ancient culture in the persons of Galen, Cicero, Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, and Justinian, the first three by Westmacott, and the last three by Woodington. The eastern wing is devoted to illustrious foreigners. On the roof-line are Galileo, Goëthe, and Laplace, by Wyon; in the niches are Leibnitz, Cuvier, and Linnæus, by MacDowell. The balustrade of the west wing is adorned with English worthies—Hunter, Hume, and Davy, by Noble; the niches being occupied by Adam Smith, John Locke, and Bacon, by Theed. The individuals chosen to be represented, and also the sculptors, were selected by the joint action of the Senate of the University and the Metropolitan Board of Works. It was at first proposed to put Shakespeare in the place occupied by Milton, but the idea was overruled on the ground that the genius of the great dramatist was quite independent of academic instruction or rules. A statue of Shakespeare, however, has since been placed in the interior of the building.
Opposite to the centre of the portico is the principal entrance, with rooms to the right and left; beyond these is a fine and spacious corridor, running east and west. At the extreme west is the great library, used also as an examination hall, occupying the whole of that wing. To the east is the great theatre, or lecture hall, used for the purpose of conferring degrees, and capable of seating eight hundred persons, the benches rising behind one another after the fashion of an amphitheatre. It is well planned as to its acoustic properties. It is used occasionally, however, for other besides strictly academic purposes, such as for the meetings of the Royal Geographical Society. At each end of the corridor above mentioned are passages leading to the smaller examination halls and private rooms for the use of the examiners. The great staircase occupies a lofty hall, and leads to the first floor, where there is a library and common room for the use of the graduates. The staircase has marble balusters and hand-rails, and the floor of the main landing also is of polished marble. On this floor are also the senate-room and the offices of the registrar of the University.
The building is, perhaps, the finest modern example in England of the most refined and enriched style of Italian or "Palladian" architecture. The decorations are elaborate, abundant, and massive, and remarkable for a general character of flatness which is without a parallel in our time, and helps to subordinate mere ornamentation to the main outlines of form.
It is important to note here that the University of London is an examining, not strictly a teaching body. Its essential function is the bestowal of academical degrees on qualified candidates from all classes and denominations of Her Majesty's subjects, without distinction of caste or creed; and it was long without a home. For many years, in fact, since its commencement in 1838, when it grew out of the University, now University College, in Gower Street, it lived, so to speak, in furnished apartments, and, as a matter of course, had to shift its quarters from time to time. In consequence, it did not hold the position which it deserved in the republic of art, science, and the belles lettres. It is now, however, fairly at the head of all the higher education of the kingdom which is not given at Oxford and Cambridge; not, however, conferring it, but testing it from time to time. The number of candidates seeking to pass its examinations has now risen from twenty-three in the first year of Her Majesty's reign to about fifteen hundred annually; and it is honourably distinguished by the firmness with which it has insisted on a high standard being maintained by all who seek to become graduates of it. The Council comprises, or has comprised, many of the most eminent scholars and statesmen of the age, such as Grote, Thirlwall, Brougham, and Macaulay. Its board of examiners consists of men of high standing in the several branches of learning, who hold their appointments from year to year, when they are usually re-elected.
It is not a little singular to record the fact that in the first instance, when the Liberal party were in power, Mr. Pennethorne prepared a classical design for the university, being commissioned by Mr. Cowper-Temple, then Chief Commissioner of Public Buildings, but that when the Conservatives came into office in 1866, Lord John Manners insisted on an ecclesiastical structure being substituted, and that this was carried up some six or eight feet above the ground, when another change of Ministry revived the former commission, and the Palladian style conquered and prevailed.
Opposite, and extending northward to Clifford Street, is Old Burlington Street. If there is to be found in the West-end a dull, heavy, and unattractive street, it is this; and yet, in 1736, the author of "A New Critical Review of the Public Buildings" speaks of it as containing houses "in the finest taste of any common buildings that we can see anywhere; without the least affectation of ornament or seeming design at any remarkable elegance." He adds, "They need no ornament to make them remarkable." It is evident that the standard of architectural merit and beauty has considerably altered since the reign of George II. Mr. Planché tells us, in his agreeable "Recollections," that he remembers seeing blood running in kennels in Burlington Street, into which men, and women too, were dipping sticks and handkerchiefs, in front of the residence of Mr. F. Robinson ("Prosperity Robinson," afterwards Lord Goderich and Earl of Ripon), during the corn-law riots in 1815.
At the north end of this street, facing Boyle Street, a small and unimportant thoroughfare which connects the north end of Savile Row with that of Old Burlington Street, stands a large, heavy, and gloomy building, apparently almost without windows or doors. It is a school founded by Lady Burlington "for the maintenance, clothing, and education of eighty female children." It covers part of what was originally called the "Ten-Acres-Field." A new scheme for the remodelling of this institution has lately (1875–6) been propounded, and in all probability its endowment will be made available for the education of boys as well as girls. The name of Boyle Street serves to perpetuate yet another title of the house of Burlington.
Adjoining this building on the east is the office of Messrs. Rushworth and Jarvis, the house agents and auctioneers. It is said to occupy the site of a summer-house which stood at the north-east corner of the gardens of Lord Burlington's mansion. At No. 8 lived Mr. Samuel Pepys Cockerell, F.S.A., father of the late Professor Cockerell, R.A.
At the corner of this street is the Burlington Hotel. Here Miss Florence Nightingale used to stay when in London, before and after the Crimean war, when her name first became known on account of her exertions in the cause of the sanitary condition of the British army.
On the north side of Burlington Gardens,
occupying the space between Savile Row and
Old Burlington Street, stands a handsome building
used as the western branch of the Bank of England,
and known as Uxbridge House. It was built by
Vardy, assisted by Joseph Bonomi, for the first
Earl of Uxbridge, the father of Field-Marshal, the
first Marquis of Anglesey, who lost his leg at
Waterloo. It was sold by his son and successor
about the year 1855. It stands upon the site
of a still earlier mansion, known as Queensberry
House, which was built by Leoni for the celebrated
Duke of Queensberry, the father of the "Piccadilly
Duke" already mentioned. The poet Gay lived
for many years as an inmate of its hospitable halls,
enjoying the patronage and friendship of the duke,
and of his eccentric wife, so well known to our
readers as the friend of Pope, and celebrated in
"Kitty ever bright and young."
If we may believe Pope, who knew him well, Gay was quite a child of nature, wholly without art or design; one who spoke just what he thought and as he thought it. He dangled for twenty years about the Court, and at last obtained the offer of being made usher to the young princess. Secretary Craggs made Gay a present of stock in the South Sea year; and he was once worth £20,000, but lost it all again. He got about £500 by the first Beggar's Opera, and £1,100 or £1,200 by the second. Like most literary men, he was negligent of ways and means, and a bad manager. Latterly, however, the Duke of Queensberry took his money into his own hands, letting him have only what was necessary out of it, and as he lived at the duke's table, he could not have occasion for any large outlay; consequently he died worth upwards of £3,000.
Thackeray accuses the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry of having over-fed the poetical Gay, who, he says, "was lapped in cotton, and had his plate of chicken, and his saucer of cream, and frisked, and barked, and wheezed, and grew fat, and so ended." Congreve testifies that Gay was a great eater. "As the French philosopher used to prove his existence by cogito, ergo sum, the greatest proof of Gay's existence is edit, ergo est." It is not often now-a-days that literature finds itself so liberally rewarded in the persons of its followers.
The high-spirited Duchess of Queensberry, to
whose kind intervention with Lord Bute even
Thurlow was indebted for his silk gown, was
Catherine Hyde, grand-daughter of the great Lord
Clarendon. In order to promote the services of
Gay, induced by her extraordinary friendship for
him, the duchess sacrificed even the favour of the
Court. Lord Hervey, in his "Memoirs of the
Reign of George II.," has thus characteristically
described this fracas:—"Among the remarkable
occurrences of this winter . I cannot help
relating that of the Duchess of Queensberry being
forbid the Court, and the occasion of it. One Gay,
a poet, had written a ballad opera, which was
thought to reflect a little upon the Court, and a
good deal upon the minister. It was called The
Beggar's Opera, and had a prodigious run, and
was so extremely pretty in its kind, that even
those who were most glanced at in the satire had
prudence enough to disguise their resentment by
chiming in with the universal applause with which
it was performed. Gay, who had attached himself
to Mrs. Howard (then one of the ladies of the
bed-chamber to Queen Caroline), and been disappointed of preferment at Court, finding this
couched satire upon those to whom he imputed
his disappointment succeed so well, wrote a
second part to this opera, less pretty, but more
abusive, and so little disguised, that Sir Robert
Walpole resolved, rather than suffer himself to be
produced for thirty nights together upon the stage
in the person of a highwayman, to make use of his
friend, the Duke of Grafton's authority, as Lord
Chamberlain, to put a stop to the representation of
it. Accordingly this theatrical craftsman was
prohibited at every playhouse. Gay, irritated at
this bar thrown in the way both of his interest and
revenge, zested this work with some supplemental
invectives, and resolved to print it by subscription.
The Duchess of Queensberry set herself at the head
of this undertaking, and solicited every mortal that
came in her way, or in whose way she could put
herself, to subscribe. To a woman of her quality,
proverbially beautiful, and at the top of the polite
and fashionable world, people were ashamed to
refuse a guinea, though they were afraid to give it.
Her solicitations were so universal and so pressing
that she came even into the Queen's apartment,
went round the drawing-room, and made even the
King's servants contribute to the printing of a
thing which the King had forbid being acted. The
King, when he came into the drawing-room, seeing
her Grace very busy in a corner with three or four
men, asked her what she had been doing. She
answered, 'What must be agreeable, she was sure,
to anybody so humane as his Majesty, for it was
an act of charity, and a charity to which she did
not despair of bringing his Majesty to contribute.'
Enough was said for each to understand the other,
and though the King did not then (as the Duchess
of Queensberry reported) appear at all angry, yet
the proceeding of her Grace's, when talked over in
private between his Majesty and the Queen, was so
resented, that Mr. Stanhope, then Vice-Chamberlain to the King, was sent in form to the Duchess
of Queensberry, to desire her to forbear coming
to Court. His message was verbal. Her answer,
for fear of mistakes, she desired to send in writing;
she wrote it on the spot, and this is the literal
"'Feb. 27th, 1728–9.
"'The Duchess of Queensberry is surprised and
well pleased that the King hath given her so agreeable a command as to stay from Court, where she
never came for diversion, but to bestow a great
civility on the King and Queen: she hopes by
such an unprecedented order as this is, that the
King will see as few as he wishes at his Court,
particularly such as dare to think or speak the
truth. I dare not do otherwise, and ought not,
nor could have imagined that it would not have
been the very highest compliment that I could
possibly pay the King, to endeavour to support
truth and innocence in his house, particularly when
the King and Queen both told me that they had
not read Mr. Gay's play. I have certainly done
right, then, to stand by my own words rather than
his Grace of Grafton's, who hath neither made use
of truth, judgment, nor honour, through this whole
affair, either for himself or his friends.
"When her Grace had finished this paper, drawn with more spirit than accuracy, she gave it to Mr. Stanhope, who desired her to think again, asked pardon for being so impertinent as to offer her any advice, but begged she would give him leave to carry an answer less rough than that she had put into his hands. Upon this she wrote another, but so much more disrespectful, that he desired the first again, and delivered it. Most people blamed the Court upon this occasion. What the Duchess of Queensberry did was certainly impertinent; but the manner of resenting it was thought impolitic. The Duke of Queensberry laid down his employment of Admiral of Scotland upon it, though very much and very kindly pressed by the King to remain in his service."
It was exactly eighteen years after penning the above protocol, that the Duchess of Queensberry found her way back to Court.
The author of the "New Critical Review of the Public Buildings of London," in the year 1736, speaks of Queensberry House as having no other faults but its bad situation, "over against a dead wall in a lane that is unworthy of so grand a building," and the fact that no wings can ever be added to it. The criticism, however, no longer holds good. "This fabric," adds the writer, "is evidently in the style of Inigo Jones, and not at all unworthy the school of that great master."
The large house fronting Burlington Gardens, extending from Old Burlington Street to Cork Street, long occupied by a younger branch of the Cavendish family, has lately been converted into an hotel.
Vigo Street (formerly called Vigo Lane), which, as we have said, connects Burlington Gardens with Regent Street, was named after a town in the northwest of Spain attacked and captured by the English forces under Drake, by Ormond, Rooke, and Stanhope, and also by Lord Cobham at various dates in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was probably built about the year 1720.
At right angles with this street, and opening out into Piccadilly nearly opposite St. James's Church, is Sackville Street, which was built about 1679–80, and was probably named after Sackville, the witty Earl of Dorset, by those who were anxious to perpetuate his memory. At all events, no proof can be found of any direct connection of its builders or of the former owners of the land on which it stands with the family which gave birth to a Buckhurst and a Dorset. Mr. Peter Cunningham tells us that it is "the longest street in London of any note without a turning on either side." It is now extensively occupied by wholesale warehouses of cloths and woollen fabrics.
The "Prince," an inn in this street, was one of the temporary dining-houses of the Literary Club of Dr. Johnson and his friends after they left the "Turk's Head," in Soho, and before repairing to the "Thatched House Tavern;" and here the Dilettanti Society met for some time in 1783.
In this street the Board of Agriculture, established in 1793 by the efforts of Sir John Sinclair and of Mr. Arthur Young, used to hold its meetings in the beginning of the reign of George IV. This board was subsidised by a grant of £3,000 annually from Parliament, to be dispensed in improving the practical agriculture of the kingdom.
No. 32 in this street is a perfect "rabbit-warren" of charitable and other institutions, the bare enumeration of which, as they stand mentioned in the "Post Office Directory," will be sufficient here:—The British Hairdressers' Benevolent Society, the Church Penitentiary Association, General Domestic Servants' Benevolent Institution, Governesses' Benevolent Institution, Journeymen Tailors' Benevolent Institution, London Aged Christian Society, London Association in Aid of the Moravian Missions, the Metropolitan Convalescent Institution, Milliners' and Dressmakers' Provident and Benevolent Institution, Naval and Military Bible Society, Royal Naval Female School Society, Society for the Relief of Distressed Widows. Several of these institutions rely to a great extent for their support upon the voluntary contributions of the public; whilst others are self-supporting. It may not be out of place to remark here, that when M. Guizot was in this country he observed that nothing struck him more forcibly than the number of charitable institutions on the front of which were inscribed the words, "Supported by Voluntary Contributions;" and that they impressed him with a most favourable estimate of the English character. Besides the institutions named above, this house is also the head-quarters of the Albert Freehold Land and Building Society, the Irish Society, and the British Archæological Society. This last-named association is an offshoot of the Archæological Institute, and holds its own rival meetings and publishes its own "Transactions."
Of the distinguished residents in this street, in times past, have been Sir Everard Home (at No. 30), and Sir Gilbert Blane (at No. 8), both members of the medical profession.
Between Piccadilly and Regent Street, at a little distance eastward of Sackville Street, and near St. James's Hall, is Air (or Ayr) Street. It is stated on the authority of the rate-books of St. Martin'sin-the-Fields, that this street was built, at all events, as early as 1659, at which time it must have been quite at the western end of the town. But nothing is known as to the origin of its name, and it is quite innocent of literary or historic associations.
Parallel with Old Burlington Street on its west side, extending from Burlington Gardens to Clifford Street, is Cork Street, which perpetuates the name of one of four distinguished brothers of the House of Boyle, who all held peerages at the same time—a fact paralleled only by the Duke of Wellington and his three brothers. They were (besides Lord Burlington) Lord Cork, Lord Orrery, and Lord Broghill. A fifth brother was no less distinguished—the Honourable Robert Boyle, the philosopher. This street has only four houses on the eastern side. One of these belonged to the celebrated FieldMarshal Wade, for whom Lord Burlington built it in a fit of gratitude. It is described by the author of the "New Critical Review," as small, but chaste and simple in design, though rather overladen with ornament. Yet, he adds, "it is the only fabric in miniature I ever saw where decorations are perfectly proportioned to the space they are to fill, and do not by their multiplicity, or some other mistake, incumber the whole." The house was sold by auction in 1748. Horace Walpole tells us that it was regarded by Lord Chesterfield as such a toy that "he intended to take the house over against it to look at it;" and it was also commonly said of it that "it was too small to live in, and yet too big for a watch." Among the other eminent persons who lived in Cork Street were the haughty and imperious Mrs. (afterwards Lady) Masham, the celebrated bed-chamberwoman of Queen Anne's Court, and Dr. Arbuthnot, the physician, wit, and man of letters of the reign of Queen Anne. They both died here, the latter in February, 1735.
In this street is a public-house known as the "Blue Posts," for several generations a favourite dining-house for bachelors. Instead of a signboard, and in the absence of a poetical and inventive taste, some innkeepers chose to denote their hostelry by the colour of some external feature of the fabric. Thus we read that there were "Black Posts" as well as "Blue Posts." Indeed, there was an inn rejoicing in that sign close by in Bond Street, immortalised by Etheredge in his comedy, She would if She could.
Savile Row, which extends northward from Burlington Gardens to Boyle Street and New Burlington Street, appears to have been for generations the favoured locale for the leading members of the medical profession.
No. 1 is the home of the Royal Geographical Society, which was founded in 1830 for the purposes of cultivating and extending geographical knowledge. It had its head-quarters in 1851 at No. 3, Waterloo Place; it was subsequently for a time settled in Whitehall Place, whence it removed to Savile Row in 1870.
It was this society which took a leading part in sending out Dr. Livingstone on those travels which have opened up a large portion of Central Africa to commerce and civilisation; and it was here that the embalmed body of David Livingstone (who had died in Africa several months previously), on being brought to London, was deposited prior to its being consigned to its last resting-place in Westminster Abbey, in April, 1874. The society has a large and well-selected library of works treating on those subjects which fall within its scope; and it gives an annual gold medal in recognition of services rendered to geographical science.
The adjoining house, No. 2, has been, since the year 1860, the head quarters of the Roman Catholic body in London, in the shape of a club. It was founded in 1852, as the Stafford Club, so called from its original locality, occupying, as it did, the side of Crawley's Hotel, which faces Stafford Street. This club, however, was dissolved towards the close of the year 1875, after having been in existence for a little more than twenty years. In its place a new club has been established here, called the "St. George's;" the Duke of Norfolk was the chief mover of the establishment of the new club, and its success is largely due to the duke's exertions. It started with its full compliment of 350 members.
In 1826 Lord Maryborough (brother of the "great" Duke of Wellington) was living at No. 3; Sir Charles Mansfield Clarke, at No. 10; and the Right Hon. George Tierney, M.P., at No. 11. No. 7 is the home of the Scientific Club, established in 1874.
At No. 12 resided for many years Mr. George Grote, the distinguished historian of Greece. The eldest son of the late Mr. George Grote, of Badgmoor, Oxon., and a banker in London, he was born at Beckenham, Kent, in 1794. As a youth he entered his father's establishment as a clerk, and his leisure time was for many years afterwards spent in unremitting study. In 1832 he was returned to Parliament as one of the representatives of the City of London, and he held his seat for nine years as the champion of the ballot. His first publication was a pamphlet in reply to Sir James Mackintosh's "Essay on Parliamentary Reform" in the Edinburgh Review; it was printed anonymously in 1821. He afterwards wrote a small work on the "Essentials of Parliamentary Reform," "Plato and other Companions of Socrates," besides numerous essays, &c. His chief work, "The History of Greece," was published between 1846 and 1856. Mr. Grote was a trustee of the British Museum, a member of the Institute of France, Vice-Chancellor of the London University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He died here in 1871, and his remains were interred in Westminster Abbey. His widow, a lady of an old Kentish family, is known as the authoress of "The Life of Ary Scheffer," &c.
At No. 14 lived for many years Sir Benjamin Brodie, the eminent surgeon, and president at one time of the Royal Society. Sir Benjamin, who was of Scottish extraction, though the son of a Wiltshire clergyman, was one of the staff of the Medical School in Great Windmill Street, and a pupil of Sir Everard Home, at St. George's Hospital. He was Surgeon in Ordinary to George IV., and Serjeant-surgeon to William IV., and also to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. He was created a baronet in 1834, and he was the author of several works of the highest repute in the medical profession, especially on the generation of animal heat, the action of poisons, the nervous affections, &c. He was chosen to fill the presidential chair of the Royal Society in 1858. He died in 1862.
The adjoining house (No. 15) has been for some time the home of the Savile Club. At No. 17, formerly the residence of George Basevi, the architect, is the Burlington Fine Arts Club, which till about 1870 had its head-quarters at No. 177, Piccadilly. This club was established in 1866, "for the purpose of bringing together amateurs, collectors, and others interested in art; to afford ready means for consultation between persons of special knowledge and experience in matters relating to the fine arts; and to provide accommodation for showing and comparing rare works in the possession of the members and their friends." In the reading-room all periodicals, books, and catalogues, foreign as well as English, having reference to the world of art, are provided, so that the opportunity is afforded of obtaining knowledge of all sales of works of art, and of acquiring information on points relating to the history and condition of the fine arts both at home and abroad. In the gallery and rooms of the club arrangements are made for the exhibition of pictures, rare books, enamels, ceramic wares, coins, &c., and occasionally special exhibitions are held, having for their object the elucidation of some school, master, or specific art. When works of more than usual interest are on view, conversazioni are held. Two interesting gatherings of this kind took place in 1875. At one of them were exhibited the watercolour paintings of Turner's youthful friend, the artist Girtin (who was cut off at less than thirty years of age), and also the sketch models of the late eminent sculptor, Mr. J. H. Foley, comprising the designs for many of his most important works in London and elsewhere. On another occasion an almost perfect collection of Hollar's etchings were exhibited. In addition to its galleries of artistic objects, the house affords to members the ordinary accommodation and advantages of a London club.
At No. 20 lived and died Mr. Robert VernonSmith, many years one of the most laborious underlings in Lord Melbourne's and Lord John Russell's ministries, and afterwards Lord Lyveden. The house formerly belonged to his father, Mr. Robert Smith, brother of the witty Canon of St. Paul's, Sydney Smith, and known to society, from old Eton days, as "Bobus Smith." He was himself a wit, and deserves mention here as the founder of "The King of Clubs," which used to meet at the "Crown and Anchor," in the Strand, and which numbered among its members J. P. Curran, James Scarlett (afterwards Lord Abinger), Sam Rogers, the banker-poet, Lord Erskine, and Charles Butler, the Roman Catholic controversialist. Its talk was entirely of books, authors, and literature, politics being rigidly excluded. "Bobus Smith's" wife was one of the charming Miss Vernons, known as Horace Walpole's "Three Graces," the others being Lady Lansdowne and Lady Holland. Their mother was a daughter of the Countess of Ossory.
In this street lived and died Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the dramatist, wit, and politician. The history of the chequered career of this celebrity and boon companion of the Prince Regent has been often told. It has been said that when, by the assistance of his friends, he was installed in his residence in Savile Row, he boasted to one of his relations how carefully and regularly he was living—so much so that everything went on like clockwork. "Oh! that I can easily imagine," was the reply; "it goes on—tick! tick! tick!"
"His last scene," observes Sir N. W. Wraxall, "holds up to us an affecting and painful subject of contemplation. A privy councillor, the ornament of his age and nation, caressed by princes and dreaded by ministers, a man whose orations and dramatic works alike rank him among the most distinguished men of his own or of any period, he expired—though not in a state of destitution, like Spencer, like Otway, or like Chatterton, yet under humiliating circumstances of pecuniary embarrassments. His house in Savile Row was besieged by bailiffs, one of whom pressing to obtain entrance, and availing himself of the moment when the front door was opened by a servant, in order to admit the visit of Dr. Baillie, who attended Sheridan during his last illness, that eminent physician, assisted by the footman, repulsed him, and shut the door in his face. Dr. Baillie . . . . refused to accept any fee for his advice; and Earl Grey, who had so long acted in political union with Sheridan as a member of the Opposition, supplied him with every article for his comfort from his own kitchen. Nor, I have heard, did the Prince Regent forsake him in his last moments. If my information is correct, his Royal Highness sent him two hundred pounds, but Sheridan declined its acceptance, and returned the money." Sheridan died on the 7th of July, 1816, neglected by all but a few friends, among whom were the poets Rogers and Moore. Three or four days afterwards his body was carried to its last resting-place in Westminster Abbey, the pall being borne by dukes and other high personages, who had stood aloof from him in his difficulties and even in his last illness. Such is the way of the world!
No. 24, at the north-west corner, now a shop below and a private hotel above, is ambitiously styled Byron House, on account of a tradition—which, however, lacks verification—that the poet lived here about the time of his ill-starred marriage with Miss Milbanke.
At No. 34 in this street is an old-established charitable institution, the objects of which are clearly expressed in its title—the "Blind Man's Friend." It was founded by the late Mr. Charles Day, of the well-known firm of Day and Martin, of Holborn, who died towards the end of 1836, leaving £100,000 for the benefit of distressed persons suffering under the deprivation of sight. Between 200 and 300 blind persons are in the receipt of pensions of from £12 to £20 each. The entire income is about £4,000, and the election of the pensioners rests with the trustees.
At the back of Savile Row eastward, and running parallel between it and Regent Street, is Heddon Street, the entrance to which is on the west side of Regent Street. It is narrow and tortuous, and can scarcely be dignified with the name of a thoroughfare. The origin of its name is unknown, and its annals are a blank.
New Burlington Street, which we now enter, is a short thoroughfare, extending from the north end of Savile Row to the west side of Regent Street.
No. 6, on the north side, now the shop of Messrs. R. Cocks and Co., the eminent music publishers, was formerly the town residence of the Earl of Cork. Here, in the days of the Regency and later, the old eccentric Lady Cork held her "receptions," which were largely attended by the "upper ten thousand" and the rest of the world of fashion, in spite of her ladyship's well-known vice of "kleptomania"—a weakness in which she indulged so extensively and habitually, that her friends used to place pewter spoons and forks in their halls for her to carry off; in fact, all kinds of "dodges" were resorted to for the purpose of humouring her. "It was supposed," says Captain Gronow, "that she had a peculiar ignorance of the laws of meum and tuum; for her monomania was such that she would try to get possession of whatever she could place her hands upon; so that it was dangerous to leave in the ante-room anything of value. On application being made, however, the articles were usually returned the following day, the fear of the law acting strongly upon her ladyship's bewildered brain." And yet she reigned for many years a "queen of society" at the West-end, and, in fact, was the notorious "lion-hunter" of her age. At one time she would bring together such people as Sir WalterScott; Betty, the "infant Roscius;" Belzoni, the Egyptian explorer; old Joseph Lankester, the schoolmaster; and other persons of note. Here, in 1840, the old countess died at the age of upwards of ninety. She was the last of the "Blue Stocking Club," of which we shall have more to say when we reach Portman Square, and was known in her youth as the lively and fascinating Miss Monckton. She "used to have the finest bit of blue at the house of her mother, Lady Galway," which was one of the haunts where that coterie assembled.
At Messrs. Colburn's, in this street, was published from its commencement, the New Monthly Magazine. It was started as a high Tory rival against the Monthly Magazine of Sir Richard Phillips. In 1820 Thomas Campbell became its nominal editor. the lion's share of the work, however, falling to Mr. C. Redding, on account of the poet's careless and indolent habits. About the same time it began to number among its writers Serjeant Talfourd. In connection with Mr. Colburn and the New Monthly Magazine, Cyrus Redding tells a good story with reference to a writer who subsequently became famous. Mr. Samuel Warren, then unknown to fame, sent for publication in the New Monthly, to Tom Campbell, or to his colleague, Cyrus Redding, the first few sheets of his "Diary of a Late Physician." Redding accepted them, and ordered them to be set up in type, and to appear in the magazine. "It will scarcely be credited, but it is a fact," writes Mr. Redding, "that the packet was opened, Mr. Warren's paper canvassed among Colburn's employés, represented to him as not worth a sixpence, and returned by him to Mr. Warren without my knowledge. . . . The intercepted paper came out afterwards in Blackwood, and was followed by others equally good. Colburn then apologised, but not till the mischief was done. His regret was the greater because it appeared in his rival's pages." But what is the good of a responsible editor if his judgments are thus liable to revision by every ignorant shopman of a publisher? Other contributors afterwards joined the staff—viz., J. P. Curran, Joanna Baillie, Horace and James Smith, Bryan W. Procter ("Barry Corn wall"), Sir John Bowring, Henry Roscoe, W. M. Praed, Blanco White, "Morocco" Jackson, Miss Mary R. Mitford, Mrs. Hemans, R. L. Shiel.
No. 8 is the publishing house of Messrs. Richard Bentley and Son. From this shop were issued the famous "Ingoldsby Legends," by the Rev. R. H. Barham (better known by his literary name of Thomas Ingoldsby); they were first sent as contributions to Bentley's Miscellany, and afterwards published separately. Mr. R. H. Barham, the witty author of these "Legends," was a minor Canon of St. Paul's and the vicar of a parish in Kent. He died in 1845. Charles Dickens and other authors frequently met at Mr. Bentley's table, and it was he who was the first editor of the Miscellany. At Messrs. Churchill's, the medical publishers (No. 11), are the offices of the British Medical Benevolent Fund, founded in 1836, for the relief of medical men, their widows and orphans, in temporary difficulty or distress, granting annuities to those who are incapable of providing for themselves. About 200 cases, it is stated, are relieved during the year.
In this street lived Mr. Joseph Planta, who for many years held the office of Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and here he used to entertain George Canning, Baron Bulow, Lord Strangford, and other celebrities of that time, as his constant guests.
Here, too, lived Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, K.C.B., some time M.P. for Sandwich, who was accidentally drowned in 1831. He was the third son of the Hon. Charles Yorke, who was appointed Lord High Chancellor in 1770, and who died suddenly, whilst his patent of creation as Lord Morden was in process of completion.
At No. 16 is the Royal Archæological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. This institution, for many years settled in the Haymarket, was established in 1843 under the title of the British Archæological Association. Its objects are "to investigate, preserve, and illustrate all ancient monuments of history, customs, art, &c., relating to the United Kingdom." The society possesses a good library, and a small but valuable collection of antiquities and drawings. The meetings of the members are held monthly during the London season, and the annual general Archæological Congress takes place in one of the cathedral cities or great towns of the kingdom.