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C. K. OGDEN



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LONDONIANA.



VOL. II.



LONDONIANA,



BY



EDWARD WALFORD, M.A.,

FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF BALLIOL COLLEGE, OXFORD.



AUTHOR OF



" THE COUNTY FAMILIES," " OLD AND NEW LONDON,
" TALES OF OUB GREAT FAMILIES," ETC.



IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. II.



LONDON:
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,

13, GREAT MAELBOEOtiaH STEEET.

1879.

Ml rights reserved.



CONTENTS



OF



THE SECOND VOLUME.



Page

A CHAPTEB ON THE THAMES . . . .1

LONDON FBOM FITZSTEPHEN'S POINT OF VIEW . 18

A STBOLL ROUND HAMPSTEAD AND HIGHGATE . 35

MACAULAY THE LONDONEB . . . .46

MODEBN BABYLON .. . . .' .57

BTTLL AND BEAB-BAITING IN LONDON . . .76

THE PLAGUE IN LONDON . . . .87

A WALK BOUND THE SAVOY . . . .95

CHESTEBFIELD HOUSE , . . . . . Ill

THE HEBMIT OF GBUB STBEET . . : . . 125

ELY CHAPEL, HOLBOBN ..... 132

THE TABABD INN, SOUTHWABK ' . . . 143

MlSLETOE IN COVENT GABDEN . . . 157

HEEALDS' COLLEGE ..... 173
THE LAST OF CBEMOBNE GABDENS . . . 186

THE BENEDICTINE CONVENT AT HAMMEBSMITH . 197



1104541



iv CONTENTS.

Page

MESSES. COUTTS' AND MESSES. DBUMMONDS' BANK . 210

A ROMANCE OF BEBKELEY SQTTABE . . . 230

A CHAPTEE ON LONDON SIGNS .... 237

THE TWO-FOLD ROMANCE OP THE STEAND . . 248

THE HOLBEIN GATEWAY, WEBTMINSTEE . . 262

THE KING'S HEAD IN THE POCXTBY . . . 270

THE GBEAT FIBE OF LONDON .... 282

STBAY THOUGHTS ON LONDON . 295



LONDONIANA.



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES.

(1869.)

IF the statue of Father Thames who sits in the
courtyard of Somerset House could but speak,
what tales might it not tell us of the past, even
if it went no further back than the time when our
ancestors, in their gaudy-coloured suits, fished in
its waters, and their wives and daughters wan-
dered along its banks. How much could it not
tell us of those halcyon days when the Romans
made their way up the river, and compelled the
Britons eighteen centuries ago to labour on its
embankment. Coming down to later times, it
might tell of splendid pageants and of much
merry-making in those days when great men and
rich citizens kept their barges and boats along its
banks, and their sons and apprentices had their
water tournaments, in which the antagonists
VOL. n. B



2 LONDONIANA.

stood upright in separate wherries, and strove
with their lances to upset each other into the
river, or else ran at a shield attached to a post,
with the result, probably, of being thrown back-
wards into the river, in case of missing aim.
Those must have been fine times for the water-
men, as to the number of whom in his time Stow
says that they exceeded forty thousand.

The Thames in those days, and long subse-
quently, was, in fact, the great highway of
London. All great processions from the City were
made in the state-barges which were kept, one
or more, by each Company from the end of the
thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century.
When the proud and happy Anne Boleyn em-
barked at Greenwich to proceed to the Tower for
her coronation, she was attended by the Mayor
and Corporation in their barges, a circumstance
that must have recurred to her memory and
caused her many a bitter tear when she found
herself floating downwards to her last place of
residence, previous to her entrance into that nar-
row home to which neither her friends nor her
foes could hope to avoid following her.

In a map on a large scale the tip of the finger
could not be placed on any part of the river from
Greenwich to Chiswick Ait without covering a
spot respecting which an interesting anecdote



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 3

could be related. Kings have descended its stream
to share in joy and feastings ; and at least one
King has embarked on it with a heart filled with
sadness, and who never expected to see it again.
All along its banks are to be seen memorials of
individuals who once dwelt on them. Steel-clad
men have walked upon them discoursing of wars
and bloodshed, and men of more peaceful pursuits,
but whose names make a much greater figure in
history.

The locality of York House is still shown by,
the Water-gate, commonly attributed to Inigo
Jones. It seems, however, from an entry in an
old book of works in the Soane Museum, to have
been erected by Nicholas Stone, master-mason to
King Charles, of whom it is said : " The Water-
gate at York House hee dessined and built ; and
y right-hand lion hee did, fronting y e Thames.
Mr. Kearne, a Jarman, his brother, by marrying
his sister, did y e shee lion."

Here Lord Bacon lived, and hoped to end his
days ; but he was disappointed, for, being within
the verge of the court, it lay within the boundaries
inside of which he was forbidden to take up his
abode. His successor was the Duke of Bucking-
ham murdered by Felton, who purchased the
weapon with which he did the murder within
sight of the Thames, and beneath the walls of the

B 2



4 LONDONIANA.

Tower, within which lie, between two queens, the
remains of one who once lived in Lord Bacon's
immediate vicinity, the Duke of Northumberland.
The Thames was, in fact, the great highway to
the Tower, and many who were more deserving of
pity than the ambitious Duke just mentioned, were
conveyed thither by it.

Time after time has old Thames been frozen over,
and fairs been held on it. Sore, indeed, was
the frost on these occasions, as old chroniclers
phrase it, that produced such a result. Still there
were thousands on each occasion who gladly seized
the opportunity to indulge in a merry-making on
its hardened surface. Oxen were roasted whole ;
targets were established, whereat men and ap-
prentices exhibited the skill they had acquired at
the butts at Finsbury and Islington, and which
many among them had probably exercised on
battle-fields, where Saxons, Normans, or French-
men were the living butts, and who could venture
like the gentleman of York who slew Sir An-
drew Barton to stake their lives on striking a
silver shilling at twelve score yards. Every other
diversion practised in the days when they occur-
red was played with increased zest in this novel
arena. Nor were stalls and tents wanting to
supply the brisk demand of the passengers, nor
hackney-coaches to give them what Sam Weller



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 5

called "a mile of danger," though at a price by no
means so low as that paid by Mr. Pickwick. Bears
were hunted on the ice, bulls were baited, and
dogs and cocks fought for their own satisfaction
and the amusement of the spectators. Nor was
the opportunity lost of establishing a printing-
press on the ice, a gainful speculation as it seems,
for, from the lowest to the highest, all wished to
have a record of their having been present at such
a novel gathering. There was once such a record
of Charles I. having visited the Thames in com-
pany with James, his successor, Queen Katherine,
the Duchess Mary, Princess Anne, Prince George,
and "Hans in Kelder," meaning a little Prince or
Princess then unborn. The end of these tents
and of all their contents was destruction, for the
ice generally broke up suddenly, and everything
upon it was carried away, crushed between the
blocks of ice, or finding its way to the bottom of
the river. Nor was the destruction always con-
fined to inanimate objects : the thaw was some-
times so sudden, and the inundations occasioned
by the floods were so extensive, that very many
lives were lost.

There was a time when the Thames was a clean
and wholesome river far below Somerset House ;
where London citizens, a-wearied with the toils of
business, might take a boat and enjoy the plea-



6 LONDONIANA.

sures of angling, with the chance of catching
a salmon ; for, as Fitz Stephen says, the Thames
was once " a fishftil river," and the privilege of
sitting at the table of the Prior of Westminster
was claimed by the fishermen in return for the
tithe of salmon which they presented at the high
altar of St. Peter's. It would seem that the
salmon even then required protection, for it is
nearly five hundred years since an Act was passed
for the preservation of salmon and salmon fry.
In our days it is more common to see porpoises
rolling about off Somerset House than to catch
a fish of the salmon species anywhere in the river.
Those who in these days have only seen the
Thames under the muddy aspect which it presents
everywhere below Putney have no idea of the
beautifully transparent character of its waters
nearer its source, notwithstanding all the pollu-
tion to which it is subjected in its long course,
of more than two hundred miles from its rise in
Trewsbury mead to its estuary. In the intervals
between the two hundred and seventeen cities,
towns, parishes, and hamlets which line its banks,
what beautiful pictures of green meadows may
now be seen glowing with a rich yellow, which
gives it in places, when the sun is shining upon
it, the appearance of a river of costal set in a
broad frame of gold ; and if a thing of beauty is



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 7

a joy for ever, the many thousands who dwell
on its banks ought to be grateful for the ever-
lasting joys it has conferred.

One cause of the neglect with which the river
has been treated, at all events in that part of it
which flows above the City stone near Staines
Bridge, has no doubt been the multiplicity of
persons whose duty it is to take care of it.
" What is everybody's business is nobody's."
The list of the commissioners upon whom this
duty rests comprises the representatives in Parlia-
ment of Wilts, Gloucester, Bucks, Berks, Middle-
sex, Surrey, and Oxford University, and of the
cities and boroughs in these counties. To these
must be added the Lord Mayor and aldermen of
London, the Vice-Chancellor and heads of colleges
and halls, in the University of Oxford, the dean
and canons of Christchurch and Windsor, the
provost and fellows of Eton College, the rectors
and incumbents of the parishes which border on
the Thames and Tsis on both sides from Staines
to Cricklade; the mayors and recorders of Oxford,
Abingdon, Wallingford, Reading, Henley, Wind-
sor, and Maidenhead ; the senior bridge- warden
of Great Marlow, and the clerk of the works at
Windsor Castle. As if these were not enough to
ensure the utter neglect of the river, the various
Acts of Parliament which conferred powers on



8 LONDONIANA.

them gave also equal rights and duties to every
person having an estate of .100 annual value in
either of the counties through which it runs down
to Staines ; to the heir-apparent of every person
in these counties who has an estate of the annual
value of .200 ; and to every person residing in
those counties who owns anywhere in Great
Britain land of the yearly value of .100, or his
heir-apparent to a person who owns land of
twice that value, or possesses .3000 personalty,
or is a bondholder upon the navigation to the
amount of =500.

Excess of care has not in this instance proved
particularly advantageous to the welfare of the
river. The total number of persons qualified
to act as its guardians under the above
heads amounts to between six and seven
hundred. Practically, it is left to fifteen com-
missioners chosen out of the five districts, three
from each, whose proceedings are supposed to be
controlled by general meetings of the commis-
sioners. The powers of the Conservancy Board
are more extensive, and stretch down the river
as far as Yenleete, or Yantlett Creek. It is com-
posed of the Lord Mayor, two aldermen, four
members of the Common Council, the deputy
master of the Trinity House, two members ap-
pointed by the Admiralty, one by the Board of



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES.

Trade, one by the Trinity House, two elected by
owners of shipping, one by owners of steamers,
two by owners of lighters and steam-tugs, and
one by occupiers of docks.

How the commissioners deal with their trust
may be gathered from the Report of the commis-
sioners appointed to inquire into the best means
of preventing the pollution of rivers. They say
that, owing to decay and neglect, the condition of
the weirs and locks is ruinous ; that the rough
manner in which the navigation is worked is ex-
tremely injurious ; that large areas of land are
saturated with water, cwing to the retention of
great heads of water at the weirs, which also
cause floods of great extent at Oxford, Windsor,
and other places. Weeds are cut or left uncut,
just as suits the interests of individuals ; and if
the person who causes them to be cut does not
want them, he lets them float away down the
stream, where they collect in places, form ob-
structions, and do other mischief. The dredging
is carried on without any system, and parts of
the channel are silted up; so that the river,
which is generally said to be navigable as far up
as Lechlade, really is scarcely accessible to barges
above Oxford.

But this neglect of the Thames is of small
importance in comparison with the injury inflicted



10 LONDONIANA.

upon it by the vile usage to which it is subjected
by the inhabitants of the places situated on its
banks and on the banks of its tributaries 'near
the points of junction. The number of these is
close upon 900,000, but very many more would
be added to this number if the people who live in
places higher up these streams, and who equally
assist in polluting it, were taken into account.
The extent of this pollution is frightful, and no
language we could venture to use could do more
than faintly shadow forth the horrors which met
the gaze of the commissioners, or were described
by the witnesses who gave evidence before the
commission. All these things existing, be it re-
membered, above the point from which the water
is pumped for the supply of a large portion of the
population of London, the wonder is, that, under
the circumstances described, the water is so good
as it is, and not that it should possess the pecu-
liarity of becoming pure in the vessels in which it
is taken to sea.

Compared with this kind of pollution, that
arising from trades carried on on the banks of
streams is of very small importance. Probably
in the case of the Thames and its tributaries the
worst is that caused by the paper-makers : for
not only do they let in the filthy water which
washes the rags and other substances used in the



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 11

manufacture, but they pour in the bleaching
liquid, which is absolutely dangerous to health,
and, which, if it were not diluted with an im-
mense quantity of water, would render the con-
tinued existence of fish anywhere near an im-
possibility. This fouling of the stream has
given rise already, to much litigation in certain
localities, on account of the supposed destruction
of the fish ; and at this time, when such strenu-
ous efforts are being made to induce salmon to
return to the Thames, it is to be hoped something
will be done to prevent its continuance. That
the sewage matter actually injures the fish when
it is first poured in, is very doubtful ; but its
subsequent putrefaction may give rise to gases
which have that effect. As to re-stocking the
river with salmon, we might manage to do with-
out these if we could get an abundance of such
Thames trout as were picked up dead by a
fisherman who gave evidence before the com-
mission; one of which was two feet four inches
in length, another two feet nine, and would have
weighed, if it had been whole and sound, some
fifteen pounds.

We have already given an account of the
constitution of the Board of Conservancy. We
will now proceed to give a sketch of what has
been done in recent years for the improvement



12 LONDONIANA.

of the navigation of that portion of the river
which falls within the control of the Board.

So long ago as 1836, a committee was
appointed to inquire into the administration of
the conservancy of the Thames. The evidence
given before it induced this committee to recom-
mend that a Bill should be prepared, under the
authority of Government for consolidating,
enlarging, and amending the laws and regula-
tions affecting the port of London. The labours
of the committee of 1836 were, however, in
the end thrown away at least nothing was
done in pursuance of their recommendations.

Years rolled on, and another committee was
appointed in 1854 to make the same inquiries.
They reported that the Lord Mayor was Con-
servator of the Thames from Staines to Yantlet
Creek that is to say to Southend as his prede-
cessors had been from time immemorial ; that
there were two classes of powers, one affecting
the Thames above London Bridge, the other
below it; and that the committee of Common
Council entrusted with the administration of
these powers was incompetent to do its work
properly. They recommended, instead of the
common councilmen, a Board of Navigation,
composed of the Lord Mayor, the First Lord
of the Admiralty, the President of the Board of



A CHAPTER OX THE THAMES. 13

Trade, the First Commissioner of Woods and
Forests, and the Deputy Master of Trinity House.
This board to appoint properly-qualified officers,
and pay them out of the funds arising from
tonnage-rates and interest on stock, which two
years previously had amounted to 19,476, but
which in 1854, owing to the decreased duties
levied on shipping, was considered insufficient
for the purpose. At the time of this inquiry
litigation was going on between the Crown and
the Corporation with respect to the ownership
of the bed of the river between high and low
water-mark. This litigation had been raging
since 1844, and in 1854 the Cown offered to
abandon its claim on condition that the money
derived from the sale of this land, or for allowing
erections upon it, should be expended in the
improvement of the navigation. A compromise
was effected, by which the Corporation bound
itself to keep an account of rents and purchase-
money, to pay one-third to the Crown, and to
expend the rest on navigation purposes. This
compromise was effected shortly after the com-
mittee had made its report, and the arrangement
was confirmed by an Act of Parliament passed
in 1857, which modelled the Conservancy Board
as it exists at present, less the representatives
of the shipping interest, who have been added



14 LONDONIANA.

subsequently, and in this Board are vested the
whole of the funds. It likewise gave the Board
full powers to deal with the Thames and manage
the traffic as it thought fit, except that the
consent of the Admiralty was to be obtained
for erections below high-water mark, and the
Crown reserved its right to the bed of the
Thames in front of its own lands. When the
receipts exceeded the expenditure, the surplus was
to be applied, first, in payment of debts ; secondly,
in reduction of tolls ; and in the highly improbable,
if not impossible, event of a surplus remaining
after this, it was to be disposed of by Parliament.
The powers conferred by the Act sound very com-
plete, but they are in reality curtailed to an extent
which nobody seems able to estimate by saving
clauses, which guarantee the rights of a host of
boards, companies, and private individuals.

The Conservancy Board appears' to be wholly
irresponsible. But judging from the evi-
dence, the Board of Conservancy does its work
in a way which leaves little ground for com-
plaint, and we see no reason to believe that
its yearly income could be expended more bene-
ficially than at present. This opinion is con-
firmed by the report of a committee, based on
that evidence, which states, " The Board have,
in the course of five years, entirely removed or



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 15

greatly diminished all the shoals between London
Bridge and Barking Creek, which narrowed the
water-way and obstructed the navigation of the
river ; they have laid down in well-chosen
stations, secure and commodious moorings for
vessels riding in the stream, which has greatly
facilitated its immense and complicated traffic;
they have done something towards the rectifica-
tion of the channel; they have, as far as possible,
protected the river from the practices of those
who would make its bed the receptacle of mud
and rubbish, and who poisoned its water with
impurities. Finally, out of the capital fund at
their disposal they have erected, at various points
on the river banks, improved piers and landing-
places, which have not only afforded great accom-
modation to the thousands of passengers who
daily crowd the highway of the Thames, but
have opened to the lighters and small craft
plying on the river an in shore passage, obstructed
or blocked up by the former landing-places."
For all of these services the committee is of
opinion that the Board deserves the thanks of
all who are interested in the Thames.

This committee, though it pronounced the
complaints against the Conservancy Board on
the whole to be ill-founded, nevertheless thought
that some changes would be beneficial.



16 LONDONIANA.

The Bill under discussion in Parliament pro-
poses to place the control of the upper part of the
river in the hands of the same body which go-
verns the lower, so that the Conservancy Acts,
instead of being operative only as far up as
Staines, will extend to its source. The weirs
and locks established from time to time by private
persons will no longer be suffered to remain in
their hands ; and the pollution of the river will,
as far as possible, be prevented by the prohibition
of the construction of any more sewers with out-
lets into the Thames, or within three miles of the
mouth of either of its tributaries. In the case of
existing sewers, the Conservancy Board will have
power to stop them under certain conditions.

All these regulations for the better working and
management of the traffic on the Thames are good
in their way ; but if the improvement of the river
by embankments and so forth is to be accom-
panied with a serious diminution of its volume,
that will be a much more important matter. The
river is fed by tributaries which, singularly
enough, are equal in number on the north and
south banks seven on either side and which
contribute to supply the metropolis, and eight
others, which flow in below the pumping stations
of the water companies; and it is to be hoped
that, when the Board get the power into their



A CHAPTER ON THE THAMES. 17

hands, they will speedily make the river navi-
gable much higher up than at present, and, at the
same time, purify and increase the volume of its
water.

One word, in conclusion, respecting the people
who spend their working days and nights on the
Thames. These are as different from each other
as the flags which fly from the almost innumer-
able vessels that lie in the docks and the Pool.
Apart from the honest population, who earn their
living by the hardest work, there are thousands
who live either entirely or partly by work which
is not open and above-board. Various names are
applied to the different classes of operators, but it
would be difficult to draw a sharp line between
their operations. The man who lets his boat
drift alongside a vessel to receive the plunder of a
confederate on board would be as ready, if the
opportunity offered, to steal the anchor, or creep
on board and carry off the captain's chronometer ;
and the same man who drags diligently for hours
for a dropped chain is often the same who prowls
up and down among the shipping in search after
dead bodies, or creeps along shore in the forbidden
operation of " boning and crumping," the meaning
of which is understood by members of the Board
of Works and Thames Conservators to be, in
plain English, " picking and stealing."

VOL. II. C



18



LONDON FROM FITZSTEPHEN'S POINT
OF VIEW.



THE most casual observer cannot fail to be
struck at times, as he wanders through our
great Metropolis, with the thought how, year by
year, the face of London is gradually becoming
changed. It is true that we have not now any
Protector Somerset to demolish churches, or to
threaten us with the destruction of the Abbey,
nor are we likely to have any great relic of old
London wilfully swept away. Still, what are
called the " exigencies of civilisation," are slowly
yet surely overlaying, and in a measure hiding
much of what is left to remind us of what London
has been. Indeed many changes are going on
which might lead to an over-zealous and unprac-
tical antiquary to doubt whether " civilisation " is
quite the proper term by which to characterise



FITZSTEPHEN'S VIEW OF LONDON. 19

the process. But whether the Old World pre-
judices of antiquaries are to be considered or not,
there are not wanting in Thames Embankments,
and railways overhead and underfoot, indications


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