Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places.Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 6Walford, Edward
General Remarks and Conclusion.
General Remarks and Conclusion.
We have now journeyed together--it is to be hoped pleasantly, and not wholly without profitfor years, traversing by the highways and byways of the metropolis, but always, as we promised, within sight of the cross and ball of Cathedral-objects which, from to last, we have kept steadily in view. We have, nevertheless, rambled over several miles of ground--from Highgate and Hornsey in the north to Norwood and Streatham in the south, and from the river Lea in the east to Chiswick in the far west; and covering altogether an area upwards of square miles in extent. It will, however, be our duty, before we actually part company, to take our stand as it were upon the vantageground of some breezy height, and to give our readers a general view of the vast city which we have traversed in detail, and on which we may be supposed to be looking down: our view extending, in the happy and epigrammatic words of Mr. G. A. Sala, over a sort of panorama-
Standing, then, in this exalted (mental) position, and surveying the expanse before us, we see at our feet London, to use the phrase of the Brothers Percy,
swallowing up all the villas in our environs, and making them gradually part and parcel of the capital. In order, however, to make our general view of London at all permanently interesting and useful, it will be desirable here to add a few generalisations, based on recent Parliamentary returns and other statistics.
, then, according to a recent estimate, the total length of the streets of London is about miles; whilst the entire number of houses-
--concentrated, at the time of taking the census of , within the area of
amounted to rather more than ; so that, adding the average annual rate of domiciliary increase (), there must now be some more, or dwellings altogether. It has been calculated that this large number of houses, with an average frontage of yards, would be more than sufficient to form continuous row of buildings round the island of Great , from the Land's End to John o
Groat's to the North Foreland, and from the North Foreland back again to the Land's End, or miles altogether.
When we look at the great metropolis from an antiquarian point of view, there is much to interest in its gradual growth. Not to speak of the City proper, which, as a matter of fact, has for centuries been almost stationary, we may gain a general idea of the outlying districts of London under King Henry VIII. from some expressions in an Act of Parliament passed in the year of his reign, and which regulates the extent of jurisdiction given to the wardens of certain City companies with respect to the control of apprentices. Under this Act certain rights were given to these gentlemen
Most of these suburbs had no point of
| contact with the City, and few had any contact with each other or any continuous buildings. Both St. Giles' and parishes were then literally |
as, indeed, was St. Andrew's, in ; Marylebone and are not even mentioned; while , Clerkenwell, , Whitechapel, and consisted entirely of mansions of the nobility, standing in their own gardens.
The suburbs, therefore, in the reign of which we speak, must have been nearly void of buildings. From the map of Ralph Aggas, published about the year , it appears that almost the whole of the metropolis was confined, even at that time, nearly half a century later, within the City walls. Certainly a few straggling houses fringed side of , and a few more stood round about . Open fields were under grass close to the City walls throughout almost its whole northern circumference; while those houses which stood within them were for the most part detached and accommodated with gardens. The village of lay entirely isolated across the open country. A single street led up , almost as far as ; between that point and the space was entirely occupied by fields and gardens. There were also many gardens and open spaces within the City itself, and more particularly along the wall, within which a considerable space was kept clear round the whole circuit, like the Pomerium of ancient Rome. The largest area occupied by gardens was immediately behind . In the eastern and south-eastern parts of the City a great many spots were similarly appropriated. And yet, within this very limited compass of inhabited ground was crowded a population of constant dwellers, amounting to not less than , or perhaps more than twice the number of those who regularly sleep within the same area at the present time.
Carefully, however, as its successive changes may be described, it is hardly possible for words to convey so clear and definite an impression of the alterations which have from time to time been made in our metropolis as may be gained from the inspection of an old map of London and comparing it with of the present day. Thus, for instance, in a map issued between and , the Thames is invested with an unusual degree of importance, and from the number of landing-places and stairs marked down it is evident that the Londoners of that day must have been very fond of the water, and must, moreover, have spent much time upon it. Berkeley House, Albemarle House, and stood in the green fields, which have since been covered over with dwelling-places and christened . Near
and hard by
is indicated. The former of these is now styled , and the other . Bloomsbury had in it a few houses, while Clerkenwell was the residence of various dukes, earls, and others of the nobility.
Passing on a few years further, Lord Macaulay observes, in his
We pass on to the London of Queen Anne's reign, and find that its expansion, though considerable, had not been very rapid during that half century.
was issued in . What the suburbs were at that date may be judged from the fact that the map extends only from Haberdashers' Hospital, , on the north, to St. Mary Magdalen's, , on the south; and from Stepney on the east to Buckingham House on the west; the City wall, with its
| gates, being duly indicated. From a note we learn that the spot now known as the Dials was then called |
In another map, published about , a note is made respecting
Here, too, the City wall is very carefully shown, and the several gates are marked, the quaintness of the spelling being most interesting and even amusing; as, for instance, where just outside the boundary, near
The Gun-founder's house), its character being indicated by the presence of a cannon within the enclosure. In point, however, this map may serve to show that our forefathers were wiser than ourselves; for ample provision seems to have been made for open-air sports, and the fields which stretched out on all hands furnished the young citizens with as much room as they could well require for the development of any
theories which may then have been in vogue.
Under the Georges, however, more rapid strides were made in the gradual extension of the metropolis, the erection of new houses being no longer prohibited by jealous legislation, and free trade being established in building for the necescities of the growing population. The great increase in our national manufactures and commerce which followed the establishment of peace, in , brought a large access to the population of London, and these persons required to be accommodated with houses near the scene of their daily labours. Hence , and Kensington, and South , and Hackney, and Dalston were each doubled in population and in houses; and the introduction of railways in the and quarters of the present century has more than doubled the entire London over which George III. was king.
The population of London and its suburbs was calculated by Sir William Petty, in , to be ; Gregory King, in , by the hearthmoney, made it ; and yet, by actual census in , including , , and the adjacent hills, it proved to be only . from to -that is, in years-the population of London advanced from to . In years the metropolis had increased above a million, or more than through all the previous history of the kingdom. In years more it had swelled to , or nearly half a million more; and it was calculated, as far back as , that the annual increase of the population of London was at the rate of souls. Accordingly, in it had risen to , being an increase in years of souls. In , again, this number had swelled to , to which, if the average yearly rate of increase has been maintained since that date--of which there is little doubt-we may now add, at least, another half million.
Comparing the population of the metropolis with that of other cities, it may be stated that London contains nearly twice as many people as Pekin ( of the most densely populated capitals in the world); almost thrice as many persons as Jeddo; and treble the number of the inhabitants of Paris; more than times as many as there are in New York; nearly times as many as St. Petersburg; times as many as Vienna, Madrid, or Berlin; times as many as Naples, Calcutta, Moscow, or Lyons; times as many as Lisbon, Grand Cairo, Amsterdam, or Marseilles; not less than times as many as Hamburg, Mexico, Brussels, or Copenhagen; and very nearly times as many as Dresden, Stockholm, Florence, or Frankfort. Further, in comparison with our own large cities, it contains nearly times as many people as the united towns of Manchester and Salford, and the same proportion as regards Liverpool; times as many as Glasgow; times as many as Birmingham; times as many as Dublin; and upwards of times as many as Edinburgh. In England the following are the largest towns: Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Plymouth, Bradford, Portsmouth, Stoke-upon-Trent, Hull, Oldham, and Sunderland; and yet their joint population is less than that of London by nearly souls. This may not be surprising when we are told that births occur every hour, and that in week nearly are added to the inhabitants of the metropolis.
A writer in the () observes that
Again, a writer in the pointed out, in , that the population of Londons would equal that of all Great and Ireland; and that of Londons would people the whole globe.
To place the matter in another point of view, we may state that the size of
with its population of and a quarter millions (according to the last census returns), may be inferred from the fact that if the metropolis was surrounded by a wall having a north gate, a south gate, an east gate, and a west gate, each of the gates being of sufficient width to allow a column of persons to pass out freely abreast, and a peremptory necessity required the immediate evacuation of the city, the task could not be accomplished under -and- hours, by the expiration of which time the head of each of the columns would have advanced a no less distance than miles from its gate, all the people being in close file, deep. Or, to take another illustration: if all the Londoners of to-day, men, women, and children, were to stand joined shoulder to shoulder, the line formed by them would stretch nearly from end of England to the other. Again, if the entire people of the capital were to be drawn up in marching order, and , and each couple to be feet apart from the next, the aggregate length of the great army of Londoners would be not less than miles, or long enough to reach from London to Inverness; while, supposing the file to move at the rate of miles an hour, it would take more than days and nights for the aggregate troop of the metropolitan population to pass by.
But notwithstanding the alarm which politicians and legislators have at various times expressed, and perhaps felt, at its growth, London has constantly advanced, amidst all impediments and interruptions, to its present gigantic size; and, what is more, it still continues to advance. Conjecture scarcely dares to fix its limits, for every succeeding year we see some waste ground in the suburbs covered with dwellings, some little village or hamlet in the suburbs united by a continuous street to the great metropolis; until what once, and that at no remote period, was a portion of its environs now forms an integral part of great and compact city, likely to verify the prediction of James I. that
London, then, may well be termed
for even if we accept the statements of Herodotus without any discount, the circuit of ancient Babylon, with its palaces and hanging gardens, was only stadia, or furlongs; and it reckoned its inhabitants only by myriads, or tens of thousands, and not by millions. Yet the great aggregate of houses called London must now be larger by far than that of ancient Babylon; and at the next census it will appear that the men, women, and children who live within
do not fall far short of million souls.
Even during the years occupied in the production of this work the course of events has been travelling on so fast that we have every reason to believe the population of
has been increased by several thousands; and consequently, as may be easily imagined, whilst we have been writing London has not been standing still in other respects in order that we may take a photograph of its present aspect. Great alterations for the better have been effected in the dwellings of the poorer inhabitants in many parts of the metropolis, chiefly in consequence of the formation of new streets. Model lodging-houses have been erected in several localities, many of them being the result of the generous gift of Mr. George Peabody to the poor of London; whilst it appears, from the latest reports, that about families (averaging persons each) are in residence in these buildings. Again, Board-schools--in most cases structures of some architectural pretensions--have been erected in almost every district in the metropolis; and in many of our new thoroughfares (such, for instance,
572[extra_illustrations.6.572.1] [extra_illustrations.6.572.2] [extra_illustrations.6.572.3] [extra_illustrations.6.572.4] [extra_illustrations.6.572.5] [extra_illustrations.6.572.6]
as in those caused by the formation of the ) the ornamental character of our street architecture is very striking. Then, again, buildings which a few years ago were at a standstill in consequence of commercial depression or |
have been completed, and have taken rank with the older institutions of London. As an instance in point we may mention the Inns of Court Hotel, which, when we wrote our account of , was an unfinished carcase, deserted and desolate in appearance, but is now of the largest and busiest hotels in London. After many years of labour, a large and costly monument of the Duke of Wellington has been completed in ; and
which has been brought to England at the expense of a private individual, has been brought to the , after having undergone in its transit from the banks of the Nile a considerable risk of [extra_illustrations.6.572.8] . The experiments have been made in lighting our gaslamps by electric currents, the scene of these experiments, curiously enough, being , where, as stated by us, the experiment was made in lighting the streets of London with gas, some years ago. To this we may add that the telephone, the most recent of our scientific acquirements, promises, at no distant date, to throw the telegraph into the shade. Even since we took our pen in hand at the commencement of the last volume of this work, the Surrey Gardens and Cremorne have been blotted out of existence; whilst, , we may record the fact that at least step has been taken towards freeing the metropolitan bridges from toll. , too, has been swept away, and the New Law Courts, adjoining it, are nearly completed. So quickly is the
absorbed in the
With such a vast and varied population before us, it may be of interest to pass for a moment to the commissariat department, and glance at the food supply for this
of Londoners, the supply of bread, water, and gas, and the various other domestic and social arrangements whereby it
In the Middle Ages, as we learn from Stow, the citizens of London were mainly dependent for their daily bread on the bakers of Stratford-le-Bow, who seem to have enjoyed the privilege of bringing their
into the City. But in respect of our supply of bread, as well as in other branches of commerce, free trade has long prevailed. As we learn from the last edition of the
there are some corn-merchants engaged in supplying the metropolis with corn and grain, about corn and flour-factors, about corn-dealers, about millers, bakers, and some confectioners. Kent, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk have always contributed very largely towards supplying London with corn and grain; but since the introduction of Free Trade, under the administration of Sir Robert Peel, great quantities of corn are brought from foreign parts. Of the average quantities of corn which change hands in the London market, as well as the regulations enforced in- conducting the business, ample details will be found in our notice of the . Of meat and vegetables we have already spoken at some length in our accounts of the Metropolitan Meat and Cattle Markets, Covent Garden, and other places set apart for these articles of daily consumption.
The water-supply of London is a subject which has long engaged the serious attention of the Legislature, and frequent official reports are issued, under the auspices of the Local Government Board, with respect to the quality of the water supplied by the several Metropolitan Water Companies. As to its quantity, it will be sufficient to state that the water used in London for the purposes of drinking, washing, street-cleansing, and the extinction of fires, amounts to upwards of gallons daily, supplied by different companies.
Our metropolitan water-supply is apparently well watched by a paternal government. An official report is made monthly by an official inspector as to the condition of the
the filter-beds, and the volume of supply of each company. The water is also analysed monthly by duly-qualified public analysts. A yearly report, by the auditor of the accounts, is likewise made to the Board of Works as to the fiscal condition of each undertaking. A report, issued in , states that the number of miles of streets which contain watermains constantly charged, and upon which hydrants could at once be fixed, was no less than miles.
Herodotus was thought to be telling fables when he recorded the story of the Xanthus and other rivers in Thrace being dried up by the thirsty souls who composed the invading army of Xerxes; but when we state that in the average daily consumption of water in London was about gallons, or nearly gallons per head of the population, it would almost appear that we are by degrees drifting into a condition when we shall be in danger of drying up our own rivers by the same means.
| has been asked, |
The contrast is indeed striking between this state of things and the ancient conduits, which doled out water in retail! Whether, therefore, there is any truth or not in the statement of Herodotus respecting the rivers of Thrace, we may certainly assert that in London we have exhausted our rivers, though in another way; for at all events river has disappeared during the last or years by the drying up of the Fleet, which in former times wound sluggishly down from the northern heights of Hampstead, and mingled its slimy contents with the
Since the introduction of gas for lighting the streets of London, about years ago, of which we have spoken in our account of , both the demand and supply have been on a par with the increase of the population.
London affords, in theory at any rate, a good example to other towns as to the removal of street refuse and sewage matter. Since the establishment of the General Board of Health the metropolis has, in this respect, taken and kept the lead. From and after the year the abolition of cesspools and the drainage of houses into the sewers had been made compulsory, and upwards of cesspools were so abolished in the space of years. But the evil was only transferred, not removed, for all the sewers by which the cesspools were superseded flowed directly into the Thames; the result was that in about years from the commencement of this reform the foulness of the river became unbearable, and measures were taken for the construction of a system of main-drainage, by means of which the sewage is conveyed to a more harmless distance. Of this system of drainage we have already spoken at length in our chapter on
By this system, called the London Main-Drainage Works, is effected the removal of the sewage of a population numbering nearly millions, packed within an area of square miles. This is conducted to Crossness, miles below , and ultimately discharged into the German Ocean. Some time ago it was alleged on the part of the Conservancy Board that the matter in suspension was forming a deposit off the outlet, which not only had a tendency to occasion sanitary evils, but also threatened in some degree to interfere with the navigation. The engineer of the works, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, however, has published the result of a careful inquiry, which goes to show that, instead of causing obstruction or offensive deposit, the effect of the outflow at Crossness is to scour the channel, the estuarian deposit in that part of the river having been considerably reduced in quantity between and , during which period systematic soundings have been taken by order of the board. It is therefore satisfactory to find that if the sewage is not yet utilised for the production of food it is not producing bad effects on the community.
From speaking of its sewers, our thoughts naturally pass to the mud and dust of London. In a previous volume we have made mention of the ash-mounds that were once to be seen in the neighbourhood of , the hidden treasures of some of which may perhaps have suggested to Charles Dickens the character of the
in his work entitled
That a great deal more is consigned to the dust-bin than need be, in the shape of
there is little doubt; indeed, M. Soyer used to say that he could feed people daily in London with what is thrown into the dustholes of the vast city.
It is often said that every man in his lifetime eats a peck at least of dirt; but the Londoner, in all probability, swallows much more than a bushel, if there be truth in the following statement, which we find seriously made in the a few years ago:--
Of the parish churches within the walls of the City at the time of the Great Fire of , only escaped the general havoc which was made by the conflagration. Of those destroyed-- in number--about were rebuilt, several others being united to those of other parishes. Pepys, in his , under date of -, makes the following singular remarks concerning the churches destroyed in the fire :--
Of late years, even during the progress of this work, several of the City churches have been swept away, the parishes to which they belonged being united to others, under Act of Parliament. The churches now standing in the City are about in all; and according to Mr. Mackeson's
there are about in the entire metropolis, the sacred edifices in the suburbs having been more than doubled since the accession of Queen Victoria.
It is refreshing to know that suffering humanity is not forgotten in this
and some idea of the benevolence of Londoners may be gathered from the fact that there are no less than general hospitals for the relief and treatment of the various
Besides these, there are scores of other charitable institutions of a special kind, such as dispensaries, invalid and convalescent hospitals, lunatic asylums, homes and refuges; institutions for the blind, for the deaf and dumb, for incurables, for nurses, for relief of distress, for gentlewomen, for needlewomen, for widows, for infants, for orphans, for the protection of women, for emigration, for employment, for labouring classes, for the benefit of the clergy, dissenting ministers, Jews, soldiers, sailors, discharged prisoners, and debtors; and, lastly, penitentiaries for women. We may add that the number of paupers in the metropolis (exclusive of lunatics and vagrants) receiving parochial assistance is, on an average, from in the summer to in the winter; whilst the total number of vagrants relieved in the course of a day may be set down as ranging between and .
In such a vast area as London, theatres and other places of amusement are, of course, very numerous, and are capable of containing and affording entertainment to thousands of the inhabitants. Mr. John Hollingshead, lessee of the Gaiety Theatre, in - gave to a Parliamentary Committee an estimate of their number. are the patent theatres, and Covent Garden, each capable of holding persons. Then there are theatres licensed by the Lord Chamberlain, holding in the aggregate about persons. There are also theatres licensed by the divisional magistrates, of which houses is the Court Theatre, at , about yards outside of the Lord Chamberlain's jurisdiction, and these theatres will hold altogether about persons. The Crystal Palace is included, containing theatres and concert-hall under the same roof. Next come the music-halls. The Middlesex magistrates license places, together holding persons. These music-halls include of the -class, holding from to people; -class halls, holding from to ; -class halls, holding from to ; -class halls, holding from to persons; and then there are smaller places, which may be called public-house concert-rooms or harmonic meetings, or whatever they are termed. The Surrey magistrates also license on the south side of the Thames music-halls; are of a smaller type, but are very large places, and altogether these will hold persons. The City of London licenses only places--the Sussex Hall and the
but there must be or other places where balls and concerts are given, and the City may be stated as having in all these places accommodation for persons. The total, therefore, is theatres, capable of holding persons, and musichalls, capable of holding persons, making altogether places, accommodating persons. This includes the Crystal Palace and the Alexandra Palace, which are licensed by the
|magistrates. Many of the smaller places are probably very small, being rooms in or over public-houses, where there is music but no stage or other appliances--places, in some instances, where people come in the evening and drink their spirits or beer, hear a song or , and then go away home.|
We have only to lament, in this general view, the extreme paucity of open parks and places of recreation, which add so much to the attractiveness of Paris and other European capitals. For, exclusive of the greater parks of London, which are vested in the Crown but open to the public, there are only about acres of public recreation ground, and these are mostly in distant parts of the suburbs. They are distributed as follows :Black- heath, acres; Hampstead Heath, acres; Finsbury Park, acres; Park, acres; Hackney Downs, acres; (Hackney) Common, acres; North and South Mill Fields, acres; London Fields, acres; Tooting Beck Common, acres; and Tooting Graveney Common, acres. on the Thames and in present acres. The remainder of the acreage is made up of the commons at Clapham, Stoke , and Shepherd's Bush.
The great metropolis, then, being such as we have portrayed it, there have never been wanting those who have felt towards London and its neighbourhood an attraction which nothing could destroy. These, of course, have been the persons in whom the social qualities have predominated. Such, in their day, were Horace Walpole, Dr. Johnson, Samuel Rogers, and Macaulay; and such, too, were Leigh Hunt, Thackeray, and Dickens. Away from London and its surroundings such men would have been lost; here they found their respective . The Boswellian reasons for Dr. Johnson's love of London are of general applicability.
It would be almost as easy to cull from English writers a long chain of passages in praise of London as of others written in praise of country scenes. Thus Dr. Johnson remarks:
If Dr. Johnson could speak thus of the metropolis when its population was under a million, what would he have said now, when we number nearly million souls within a radius of miles from ? Again, the burly doctor thus philosophises on the same subject in a homely and practical strain :--
The same opinion is expressed somewhat more bluntly by
London has also, in an eminent degree, the great attraction of personal independence and freedom from the eyes of censorious and inquisitive neighbours. This is well drawn out by Boswell, who writes :--
But there are other writers of authority besides Johnson whose testimonies in praise of London deserve to be quoted here; for instance, Lord Macaulay, who writes to a friend:
Again, we may summon Leigh Hunt, who writes in his
We have said that to the man of intellectual culture London has attractions beyond all other places. Nor is this position better illustrated and enforced than in the inexhaustible Boswell :--
Charles Dickens, too, is not far behind his compeers in his love of London. Its society and life was
to him--that on which he always set his heart most strongly, in spite of his love for Gad's Hill. Even when spending the winter in bright and sunny Genoa, he could write home to his friends,
In the same spirit he wrote again, at a later date:
It would be almost a sin not to add, by way of conclusion to these testimonies to London's character, the merry and good-humoured lines of Captain Morris, the
[extra_illustrations.6.572.1] Proposed Method for removing Cleopatra's Needle
[extra_illustrations.6.572.2] Cleopatra's Needle in proposed site
[extra_illustrations.6.572.3] Cleopatra's Needle raising into place
[extra_illustrations.6.572.4] Rescue of crew of Cleopatra
[extra_illustrations.6.572.5] Abandonmentof Cleopatra's Needle
[extra_illustrations.6.572.6] Cleopatra's Needle on Lord Mayor's Day
 See Vol. III., p. 50.
[extra_illustrations.6.572.8] foundering in the Bay of Biscay
 See Vol. IV., p. 138.
 See Vol. II., pp. 179-183.
 See Vols. II., 491; III, 239; V., 376.
 See Vol. V., p. 238.
 See Vols. II., p. 418; V., 234.
[extra_illustrations.6.573.1] A London Dust-yard
 See Vol. IV., p. 137.
 See Vol. V., pp. 233-242.
 See Vol. II., p. 278.
 See Vol. III., p. 118.