London, Volume 6

Knight, Charles


CXLII.--The Metropolitan Boroughs.

CXLII.--The Metropolitan Boroughs.




The rapid growth of large towns has almost ceased to excite astonishment in our days. As to those who regarded with fear and apprehension the rate at which London was increasing at the close of the century, what would they now say, if they could rise from their graves, and see the bulk which the monster of their imaginations had attained? Still, wonderfully as London has increased in magnitude, its population has not yet reached the point at which, according to the speculations of a clever and acute man a century and a half ago, it must necessarily come to a full stop. In Sir William Petty conjectured that, as London doubled its population in years, and the rest of the country in years, the number of inhabitants in London in would be , and in the rest of the country ;


he remarks,

it is certain and necessary that the growth of the city must stop before the said year


; and will be at its utmost height in the next preceding period [of


years], anno


, when the number of the city will be


times its present number, namely,


; and when (besides the said number) there will be


to perform the tillage, pasturage, and other such works necessary to be done without the said city.

Then he adds:

Now when the people of London shall come to be so near the people of all England, then it follows that the growth of London must stop before the said year



The whole population of the cities and towns of England in Sir William Petty's time was comparatively


insignificant, and he doubtless considered that if it became much greater than -half it would be unable to obtain food: at present, out of millions, nearly live in the towns of considerable size.

The attempt to check the increase of new buildings in London by statutory enactments began in , when an act was passed prohibiting their erection either in London or , or within miles, unless they were fit for inhabitants of the better sort; neither were single houses to be converted into several dwellings for


James I., in his proclamations, was no less anxious than his predecessor to repress the growth of his metropolis. He exhorted the Star Chamber to regulate

the exorbitancy of the new buildings about the city, which were but a shelter for those who, when they had spent their estates in coaches, lacqueys, and fine clothes, like Frenchmen, lived miserably in their houses, like Italians.

Notwithstanding, the evil made head against their most strenuous efforts. In , we find Charles I. also issuing his proclamations to check the further increase of London, under the fear that the inhabitants

would multiply to such an excessive number that they could neither be governed nor fed.

Another measure adopted, both by Charles and his father, was to order all mere visitors to the capital to leave it and go back to their homes in the country. What would our West-end tradesmen say to a proclamation of King James in , which strictly commanded all noblemen, knights, and gentlemen, who had mansion-houses in the country, to depart within days, with their wives and families, out of the city and suburbs of London, and to return to their several habitations in the country, there to continue and abide until the end of the summer vacation,

to perform the duties and charge of their several places and service; and likewise, by house-keeping, to be a comfort unto their neighbours, in order to renew and revive the laudable custom of hospitality in their respective counties.

None were to be allowed to remain, except those having urgent business, to be signified to and approved of by the Privy Council. Again, in , in proclamation, he commanded all noblemen and gentlemen, having seats in the country, forthwith to go home to celebrate the feast of Christmas, and to keep hospitality in their several counties,


said he,

is now the more needful, as this is a time of scarcity and dearth.

Christmas a time of scarcity in London! a period at which it now literally overflows with the comforts and good things of life, which are to be obtained, too, at a cheaper rate than in any town of considerable size in the kingdom. In a proclamation, referring to the former , he enjoined the persons thus hurried off into the country to remain there till his further pleasure should be known; adding, that the order should be held to include widows of distinction; and that all such lords and gentlemen as had law business to bring them up to London should leave their wives and children in the country. Another proclamation, in , alludes to their drawing from the counties their substance and money, which was

spent in the city on excess of apparel, provided from foreign parts, to the enriching of other nations, and the unnecessary consumption of a great part of the treasure of this realm, and in their vain delights and expenses, even to the wasting of their estates.

The practice, it is added, also drew great numbers of loose and idle people to London and , which thereby were not so easily governed as formerly; besides that the poor-rates were increased and the price of provisions enhanced.

In regard to the point last touched upon, it is but fair to


says the

Pictorial History of England,

that, from the difficulties of conveyance between


part of the country and another, any extraordinary accumulation of people upon


spot was in those days reasonably regarded with more alarm, for the pressure it would occasion upon the local provision market, than it would be now, when the whole kingdom is in a manner but

one mark


After all, therefore, these enactments and proclamations derive their appearance of absurdity from London not haying experienced for so long a period evils of scarcity, and from the increasing improbability, under all ordinary circumstances, of its again suffering so severe an affliction. Its millions of inhabitants are better and more cheaply supplied than the half of this number years ago, and with the present facilities of distributing the necessaries of life, it would continue to be as well supplied though another million were added to the population. It would, in fact, be difficult to say where the check to population, from insufficient supplies of food and other necessaries, would come into operation, provided that the varied industry of the metropolis continued prosperous.

Besides the official authority adduced as proving that the increase of London was regarded as a veritable bugbear, various writers might be quoted to the same effect. Graunt, in his work on the

Bills of Mortality,

published in , speaks of London as

perhaps a head too big for the body, and possibly too strong ;

and he complains that many parishes had grown

madly disproportionable.

Rapin, who wrote his

History of England

above a quarter of a century later, regrets that the enactments and proclamations against the increase of London had not been attended to, and repeats the old story of the capital being a monstrous head to a body of moderate size.

The City of London Within the Walls contains no more than statute acres, or about the and fortieth part of the space covered by the metropolis; but it is the parent of a mass of united and contiguous dependencies, stretching from Holloway and Kentish Town to Camberwell and Brixton, and from Hammersmith to Greenwich and . Graunt complained in that

the walled city is but a


of the whole pile.

As before stated, in extent it is the and fortieth part of the whole metropolitan area, and in population of the whole mass. We may soon make the circuit of Old London. From its eastern ascent at to its western descent at the distance is but a mile and a quarter. In tracing the limits of the ancient city we proceed from the Tower, behind the , to ; behind Hounds-ditch (the city moat) to Bishops-gate; and along to Cripple-gate, the greatest distance from the Thames; thence to Alders-gate, New-gate, Lud-gate, and . When it became no longer necessary to crowd within the walls for the sake of protection, the population spread itself in the limits known as London Without the Walls, a space still smaller than that part of the city within the walls, and comprising only acres. The authority of the city over this portion of the metropolis was acquired by successive grants of jurisdiction. The greater portion of the City Without the Walls extends from the bottom of and Newgate to and Bars, opposite the end of .; and on the north it runs with tolerable regularity parallel to the line of the city wall, occupying the


site of the city moat, and of the wall itself, until it reaches the+in -half Tower. Mr. Rickman estimated the population of the City Within the Valls, at the beginning of the last century, at not much less than : and of the City Without the Walls at : the former had in a population of and the latter of . The Borough of , which doubtless owes its origin to the ferry, or possibly bridge, which in the Anglo-Roman period connected London with the military road to Dover, comprises just statute acres less than the City of London Within and Without the Walls. These were the ancient limits to which the population of the metropolis was at time confined.

The movement of the population beyond the above boundaries was in a western direction, between and , where a church, dedicated to St. Peter, had been erected, in the early part of the century, by Sebert, King of the East Saxons. Edward the Confessor refounded the church, and built a palace on the site of the present , and William Rufus added to it Hall. of Receipt (the ancient Crown Revenue Office) was removed from Winchester to , probably in the reign of Stephen.

From the time of Edward I.,

says Mr. Rickman,


, from Parliament being usually summoned to meet there, may be deemed the seat of government also.

Its situation was on an island, called Thorney Island, about mile and a half long, formed by an arm of the Thames, called Long Ditch, and which afforded solid ground in the neighbourhood of the abbey. The court of the Tudors was removed from the New Palace, adjoining Hall, to , and in consequence became a favourite site for the residences of the nobility.

According to a map published early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, about , was then united by an unbroken line of buildings, extending from the Palace at by and along ; those on the south side consisting chiefly of the mansions of the nobility, with gardens reaching down to the river; and those on the north side, between and , being also mansions, having gardens behind them; then a park or garden, apparently part of the former Convent (or Abbey) Garden, which has given name to the neighbourhood; then open fields, extending to and to the hamlet or village of . In the neighbourhood of or Hall, which formed the nucleus of the city, the buildings were thick, and formed a town of several streets. About there were houses, extending along what is now called to the end of ; but the was a country road, separated from the fields by a hedge on each side. at existed, and their eastern wall, with that of Churchyard, and of the park or garden noticed as extending at the back of the houses on the north side of , lined on each side for some distance; but the greater part of that lane was bounded by hedges, and had fields on each side, which were used for feeding cattle or drying clothes. In the neighbourhood of the church of St. Clement Danes, and at end of , about , the houses were more thickly grouped, but the greater part of was skirted by fields, occupying, on the hand, the space now occupied by and the neighbourhood, and on the other, the site of the present , Long


Acre, and . Speed's plan, published in , years later, gives this part of the metropolis but little more extension than the plan of . Howel, in his


published in , observes that the union of the crowns of England and Scotland, by the accession of James in , conduced not a little to unite also the cities of London and ;


says he,

the Scots, greatly multiplying here, nestled themselves about the court, so that --

the Strand

, from the mud walls and thatched cottages, acquired that perfection of buildings it now possesses.

Graunt, in his work on the

Bills of Mortality,


The general observation is that the city of London gradually removes westward; and did not the

Royal Exchange


London Bridge

stay the trade, it would remove much faster, for

Leadenhall Street

, Bishopsgate, and part of

Fenchurch Street

have lost their ancient trade;

Gracechurch Street

indeed keeping itself yet entire, by reason of its conjunction with and relation to

London Bridge

. Again, Canning Street [

Cannon Street

] and

Watling Street

have lost the trade of woollen drapery to Paul's Churchyard,

Ludgate Hill


Fleet Street

; the mercery is gone from out of

Lombard Street



into PaternosterRow and

Fleet Street

. The reasons whereof are, that the King's court (in old time frequently kept in the city) is now always at


; secondly, the use of coaches, whereunto the narrow streets of the old city are unfit, hath caused the building of those broader streets in Covent Garden.

Howell compares London to a Jesuit's hat, the brims of which are larger than the block, as the suburbs of London had become larger than the body of the city, which he says

made .Count Gondomar, the Spanish Ambassador, to say, as the Queen of Spain was conversing with him, on his return from England, of the city of London,

Madam, I believe there will be no city left shortly, for all will run out of the gates to the suburbs.

But at the same time, as Graunt shows, the number of buildings in the city itself was increasing, and buildings were erected on the site of great houses belonging to noblemen who had removed westward, and he notices that,

Allhallows on the Wall is increased by the conversion of the Marquis of Winchester's house, lately the Spanish Ambassador's, into a new street; the like of Alderman Freeman's, and La Motte's, near the Exchange; the like of the Earl of Arundel's in


; the like of the Bishop of London's Palace; the Dean of [

St.] Paul's

; and the Lord Rivers's house, now in hand; as also of the Duke's Place, and others heretofore.

This increase of building on the sites of the great houses and the gardens attached to them, rendered the city less pleasant. But bath within and without the city the stream of population was flowing thicker and faster. Graunt remarks that

When Ludgate was the only western gate of the city, little building was westward thereof, but when


began to increase Newgate was made.

Newgate was called New, after being rebuilt in the reign of Henry V., before which time it was called Chamberlain's Gate. This gate, says Mr. Rickman, cannot but have been one of the ancient gates of the City, the Roman Watling Street passing along Newgate Street, Holborn, and Oxford Street to Tyburln where it turned off to St. Albans.

Now both these gates are not sufficient for the communication between the walled city and its enlarged western suburbs, as daily appears by the intolerable stops and embarrassments of coaches near both these gates, especially Ludgate.

And in another place he observes, that

the passage of Ludgate is a throat too strait for the body.

Sir William Petty, in , points out some of the causes which in his opinion had contributed to swell the


population of London between and . From to ,

men arrived out of the country to London to shelter themselves from the outrages of the civil wars. From




the royal party came to London for their more private and inexpensive living. From




the King's friends and party came to receive his favours after his happy Restoration. From




the frequency of plots and parliaments might bring extraordinary numbers to the city.

Be this as it may, there is no doubt there was a great increase of the population after the Restoration. Some years after the accession of James I., St. Giles's-in-the-Fields was still spoken of, in an act for paving it, as a town separate from the capital; but it had become united to it by a continuous range of buildings before the Civil War. Anderson, in his

History of Commerce,

identifies, from their names, the period when most of the streets about Covent Garden were erected.

The very names of the older streets about Covent Garden are taken from the royal family at this time (some, indeed, in the reign of King Charles II., as

Catherine Street


Duke Street


York Street

, &c.), such as

James Street


King Street


Charles Street


Henrietta Street

, &c., all laid out by the great architect, Inigo Jones, as was also the fine piazza there. Bloomsbury and the streets at the


Dials were built up somewhat later, as also Leicester Fields, namely, since the restoration of King Charles II., as were also almost all St. James's and St. Anne's parishes, and a great part of

St. Martin's


St. Giles's


Anderson, who wrote about the middle of the last century, says:

I have met with several old persons in my younger days who remembered when there was but


single house (a cakehouse) between

the Mews

Gate at

Charing Cross


St. James's Palace

Gate, where now stand the stately piles of

St. James's Square


Pall Mall

, and other fine streets.

To return, however, to the increase of the metropolis in this direction about the close of Charles II.'s reign. By this time the limits of the city of , east of , had been covered with streets; and westward from the buildings had extended to the irregular line formed by , Pulteney Street, , and , nearly to the , at that time still united to . Leicester Fields, now , , then frequently called , had been laid out and built. Buildings had also extended westward along the south side of , and southward along to the Horse Ferry opposite . Before , according to a map of that date, , which, as well as , continued to be inhabited by the aristocracy up to the middle of last century, had been built; and also, between and , and ; and about the latter year , , and the adjacent streets, had been laid out; also , so called in honour of George I. When Strype published his edition of Stow's


in , some of the houses in were finished, and some erecting,



he tells us,

is taken by my Lord Cowper;

and he adds,

it is reported that the common place of execution of malefactors at Tyburn will be appointed elsewhere, as somewhere near Kingsland.

, previously called , was the old

Tyburn Road.

Towards the end of the houses had extended, before , to about Clarges and Half-Moon streets, and along to Hyde Park


Corner. The whole south side of , and the north side from to , were built about , and a number of streets north of this line about the same time. By nearly the whole space between and was covered with buildings as far as Tyburn Lane, now , except in the south-western corner about and Mayfair, which were not fully covered until ], in which year was laid out.

Turning to the north-western portion of the metropolis, we have the parishes of Paddington and St. Mary-le-bone. In introducing his account of the latter parish, Malcolm quotes the following paragraph from the

Evening Post

of :--

On Wednesday last


gentlemen were robbed and stripped in the fields between London and Mary-le-bon.

In , the maps of London show that there were not any streets west of , and a plan of shows the church of St. Mary-le-bone detached from London. In rows of houses, with their backs to the fields, extended from to ; and had only cluster on the west side. and were built about ; and and some years later. The village of Tyburn was in the parish of Mary-le-bone; and Tyburn-tree, as the gallows was called, was situated at the end of . The village became decayed in the century, and the church was robbed of its images and ornaments. In the parishioners built a new church where they for some time had a chapel; and the edifice being dedicated to the Virgin, received the additional name of


from the neighbouring stream. This rivulet supplied the citizens with water, conduits having been erected for the purpose about . At the east end of the bridge which crossed the Ty-bourn at the end of stood the Lord Mayor's banqueting-house; and it was the custom for his Lordship, with the Aldermen, on horseback, accompanied by their ladies in waggons, to ride to this spot occasionally to view the conduits, after which they were entertained at the banquetinghouse. In the volume (p. ), we have given from Stow an account of harehunting andfox-hunting which took place on the occasion of of these visits. After the city was supplied with water from the the conduits at Tyburn were neglected; and in the banqueting-house was pulled down. From about the middle of the century Tyburn was the place of execution for malefactors, and here Earl Ferrars was executed in . A sense of the impropriety of dragging a criminal a distance of miles through the streets, and, it must also be confessed, a desire to improve the neighbourhood of , induced the authorities to transfer the execution of capital sentences to the , where the execution took place in . There was a royal park in the parish of Mary-le-bone; and it is recorded that, in ,

the ambassador frcm the Emperor of Russia, and other Muscovites, rode through the city of London to Marybone Park, and there hunted at their pleasure.

In the same parish, on the site of , were the once-famous Mary-le-bone Gardens. This is the place probably alluded to by Lady Mary Wortley Montague in the line-

Some dukes at Marybone bowl time away.

The Duke of Buckingham was the person meant. Pennant speaks of the Duke's


constant visits to the noted gaming-house at Marybone, the resort of infamous sharpers.

His grace,

he says,

always gave them a dinner at the conclusion of the season, and his parting toast was,

May as many of us as remain unhanged next spring meet here again.

Prior to . the proprietor had kept open gratuitously; after which period he was accustomed to charge a shilling for the admission of each person, who received a ticket which entitled him to refreshment to the full amount of the entrance-money. Here Charles Dibdin and Bannister made their debut. The amusements consisted of vocal and instrumental music, frequently terminating with a display of fire-works, and at period a representation of Mount Etna. As the population of the neighbourhood increased, the fear of accidents led the magistrates to suppress these amusements, and ceased to exist as a place of recreation about .

The increase of Marylebone began between and . by the erection of , at called . Maitland, in his

History of London,

published in , states the number of houses in the parish to be , and the number of persons who kept coaches . In the number of houses was ; in ; and in . The adjoining parish of Paddington is now rapidly being covered with buildings. Here are the station of the Great Western Railway, and the basin and wharfs of the Paddington Canal. The number of houses in Paddington in was , and in . The parish of , east of Marylebone, contains the hamlets of Somers Town, Kentish Town, Camden Town, and , now nearly united in contiguous mass of buildings. It stretches from the south-end of nearly to the south-end of , and northward to Highgate. Its rustic ancient parish church is strikingly disproportioned to its population, which amounted, in , to persons: the number of houses in was , and in . , erected in , at a cost of , is of the modern ecclesiastical edifices in the metropolis which would appear to indicate that England has had no church-architecture of its own. The streets near Percy Chapel, , were built about ; about ; was commenced in ; Somers Town was begun about ; and in was approached by a pleasant path, through a white turnstile, where Judd Place now stands; and Camden Town was commenced in .

Pursuing our course eastward from , we come to the parish of , Bloomsbury, originally a hamlet or village, called Lomsbury. Rather more than a century ago was a fashionable part of the town, inhabited by the aristocracy;


says Strype,

the north-side, as having gardens behind the houses, and the prospect of the pleasant fields up to Highgate and Hampstead, insomuch that this place by physicians is esteemed the most healthful of any in London.

. This street, he adds,

saluteth Southampton House,

Montague House

(now the

British Museum

), and Thanet House.

At the east-end of was Bloomsbury, formerly Southampton Square, the whole of the north side of which was occupied by Bedford House, a magnificent mansion, built by Inigo Jones, and taken down about the commencement of the present century. , , and , were built on the site of the gardens of Bedford


Arouse; and on some fields to the north of them, called the Long Fields, ; , north of , was begun at the commencement of the present century. , says a writer in , was open on the north side

for the sake of the beautiful landscape which is formed by the hills of Highgate and Hampstead, together with the adjacent fields.

The same writer remarks that

Ormond Street is another place of pleasure, and that side of it next to the fields is, beyond question,


of the most charming situations about town.

The appearance of the houses in Ormond Street evidently marks a distinct period in the progress of buildings in this direction. The site of was formerly a path, which led from the Earl of Rosslyn's house, at the south-east corner of , and the gardens of Ormond Street, round the front of the to , and was, says Malcolm,

generally bounded by stagnant water


feet lower than the square.

of the most interesting circumstances connected with the growth of the metropolis in direction has reference to a conquest of industry over natural obstacles, which it is always gratifying to notice. The boundaries of the Fen, or Great Moor, appear to have been the City Wall on the south, and on the north the high grounds near . Malcolm supposes that part of the site of the City within the walls was recovered from it; and he suggests that probably it extended westward to Smithfield, for that place is spoken of as a marsh in an ancient history of the Priory of St. Bartholomew ; but it is supposed not to have extended eastward much beyond . Fitz-Stephen alludes to the young men of the City playing upon the ice

when the Great Fen or Moor which watereth the walls of the City on the north side is frozen.

The whole tract was let at a-year in the reign of Edward II. In Stow says the Lord Mayor

caused the wall of the City to be broken toward the said Moor, and built the postern called


, for the ease of the citizens to walk that way upon causeys towards Iseldon (


) and



Rubbish brought from the City through the nearest gates and posterns by degrees elevated the surface, at all events in the parts next the City. of the hills on which a windmill was erected is said to have arisen from the deposit of bones brought from in . Stow says,

In the year


, all the gardens which had continued time out of mind without


, to wit, about and beyond the Lordship of Finsbury, were destroyed; and of them was made a plain field for archers to shoot.

From this period, until the reign of Charles II., Finsbury Fields, as they were called, were reserved as the grand arena for displaying the skill of the London archers. Malcolm's work on


contains a curious print taken from a drawing copied above years ago by Sir Henry Ellis, from an old print in the Bodleian Library, which was inserted in a work on archery. The fields appear to have been divided into about sections, in each of which there were butts set up for the archers. In the old print alluded to there are names or devices against each of the butts, as

Hearty Goodwill,

Hodget's Hart Holydaye,

Mercer's Maid,


Cornish Chough,

Parkes his Pleasure,

&c. &c. In , Roger Archley, Mayor, made attempts to drain the fen; and, in , another Mayor exerted himself to effect the same object, by conveying the waters over the City moat, into the channel of the


, and so into the Thames;

and by these degrees,

says Stow,

was this Fen or MIoor at length made main and hard ground, which before being overgrown with flags, sedges, and rushes, served to no use; since the which time also the further grounds beyond Fensbury Court have been so over-heightened with laystalls of dung, that now


windmills are thereon set; the ditches be filled up, and the bridges overwhelmed.

The population crept along slowly in this direction. The Manor of Finsbury was given to a prebend of in ; and, in , it was granted to the Mayor and Citizens of London at a yearly rent of , but no term was specified. By a survey of the Manor, in , it appears that at that time it consisted chiefly of gardens, orchards, tentergrounds, and fields. The stood near . Only the west side of , and the street between and the , were begun in ; and it was not until the north side was let upon building leases. About the commencement of the present century Malcolm vaunts of as

a modern concentration of City opulence, and quite equal to the West End of the town in the splendour of the houses and the furniture.

In the last century that part of which fronted Bethlehem Hospital (since removed) was so much frequented by fashionable citizens as to obtain the appellation of the City Mall. The space was divided by gravel walks, into quadrangles, and was planted with elm-trees.

Stow quotes Hall on a subject which has some reference to our present subject, as showing the limits of the metropolis. Alluding to the or of Henry VIII. Hall says:

Before this time the inhabitants of the towns about London, as Iseldon,




, and others, had so enclosed the common fields with hedges and ditches, that neither the young men of the city might shoot, nor the ancient persons walk for their pleasures, in those fields, but that either their bows and arrows were taken away or broken, or the honest persons arrested or indicted; saying that

no Londoner ought to go out of the city, but in the highways.

This saying so grieved the Londoners, that suddenly this year a great number of the city assembled themselves in a morning, and a turner, in a fool's coat, came crying through the city

Shovels and spades! shovels and spades!

so many of the people followed that it was a wonder to behold; and within a short space all the hedges about the city were cast down, and the ditches filled up, such was the diligence of these workmen.

The King's council connived at the matter, and so the fields remained open; but Stow complains that in his time the case had much altered for the worse,

by means,

he says,

of inclosure for gardens, wherein are built many fair summer-houses; and, as in other places of the suburbs, some of them like Midsummer pageants, with towers, turrets, and chimney-pots, not so much for use or profit as for show and pleasure, betraying the vanity of men's minds much,

and as he feelingly laments,

unlike to the disposition of the ancient citizens, who delighted in the building of hospitals and almshouses for the poor, and therein both employed their wits and spent their wealths in preferment of the common commodity of this our city.

Turning to some modern instances of rapid growth in the metropolitan suburbs, we find examples on every side of London. , including the hamlet of Holloway, is of them. In the parish contained houses, which had increased to in , and in to . The number of houses in


Hackney, and its dependent hamlets, increased from in to in ; from to ; Stepney, including its hamlets, has more than doubled, as, for example, Mile End from to . Crossing the river to the Kent and Surrey side of the metropolis we have, in the parish of , an increase in the years of from houses to ; in the increase has been from houses to ; in Camberwell from to ; and taking the of Brixton, which includes nearly all the metropolitan suburbs on the south, and does not comprise the borough of , we find that in the number of houses was , and in there were . Every year it is necessary to provide additional house-room for above persons, and London thus increases its size by the yearly addition of a town of considerable size. There are at all times about houses in the course of erection, and in the number of uninhabited houses was between and less than in , when there were unoccupied, and in only A recent return, prepared by direction of the Commissioners of Police, shows that, besides the building of so many houses, there have been erected, since , in the various divisions in which the force acts, churches, chapels, schools, and other public buildings. The information is not very specific, but it is not without value.

Gradually, therefore, has London overspread the surface over which it now extends.

This ancient city,

said Maitland, about a century ago,

has engulphed




borough and


villages, namely, the city of


, the borough of


, and the villages of Mora, Finsbury, Wenlaxbarn, Clerkenwell,






, Homerton,

Norton Folgate

, the Spital, Whitechapel, Mile End New Town, Mile End

Old Town

, Stepney, Poplar,


, Ratcliff, Shadwell,





East Smithfield


the Hermitage


St. Catherine's

, the


, St. Clement Danes,

the Strand

, Charing, St. James's,


, Soho, St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, Bloomsbury, Portpool,

Saffron Hill








Lambeth Marsh

, Kensington,

Newington Butts




the Grange

, Horsleydown, and



Additions might be made to this list, but the names of other places


will occur to most readers.

The time at length arrived when these numerous portions of the metropolis, once separated from each other, but in time united in mighty mass, were to be associated as several distinct members, with independent life and power, but enjoying still a common organization. Up to the year , the City of London, the Borough of , and the City of , had alone a distinct political existence, and enjoyed the privilege of electing representatives in Parliament. The City of London has exercised this right for centuries, and for about centuries it has always returned members. Before the members were chosen by the freemen (being liverymen), and a poll, if demanded, might continue open days. has sent members to Parliament since ; and up to the right of voting was in householders paying scot and lot. The electoral privilege has been enjoyed for a much shorter time by , the return being made in the year of Edward VI.; but that is now nearly centuries ago. The right of voting, up to the period when great alterations were made in the representative system, was exercised by


all voters paying scot and lot. The elections will be for ever famous in the annals of electioneering; and we cannot well omit a brief allusion to these peculiar features of a bygone day.

As formerly stood alone as a great popular constituency, its elections were watched with peculiar interest, as indicative of the opinions of the people generally on the topics of the time. also being the seat of the court and of the government, a contested election was usually a more direct struggle between the governors and the governed, between the opinions or prejudices of the people and the policy of the government. The electors conceived that on them more peculiarly devolved the duty of placing in Parliament the

Man of the People,

for such was the title given to many of their favourite candidates. Fox, Sheridan, Burdett, and Romilly were at different times elected as their representatives. great contests for are more particularly distinguished for the vigour with which they were maintained. The was in , when Lord Trentham, the court candidate, who was at the head of the poll, obtained votes. The


which flew about during the struggle are to be found in a collected form, and are interesting as illustrating, though in an exaggerated form, the popular spirit and prejudices. of the most constant points of attack by the party opposed to Lord Trentham was his lordship's patronage of the Opera--that is, he encouraged foreigners. The election of is still more memorable. Fox was the

Man of the People

on this occasion, and the candidates supported by the government were Sir Samuel Hood and Sir Cecil Wray. Mr. Pitt says, in a letter to Mr. Wilberforce, of the :


goes on well, in spite of the Duchess of Devonshire and the other women of the people; but when the poll will close is uncertain.

Horace Walpole, whose delicate health at this time confined him almost entirely to his house, went in a sedan-chair to give his vote for Mr. Fox.

Apropos of election,

writes Hannah More to her sister,

I had like to have got into a fine scrape the other night. I was going to pass the evening at Mrs. Cole's, in

Lincoln's Inn Fields

. I went in a chair; they carried me through Covent Garden: a number of people, as I went along, desired the men not to go through the Garden, as there were a


armed men, who, suspecting every chairman belonged to Brookes's, would fall upon us. In spite of my entreaties the men would have persisted, but a stranger, out of humanity, made them set me down; and the shrieks of the wounded--for there was a terrible battle-intimidated the chairmen, who at last were prevailed upon to carry me another way. A vast number of people followed me, crying out,

It is Mrs. Fox: none but Mr. Fox's wife would dare to come into Covent Garden in a chair: she is going to canvass in the dark!

Though not a little frightened, I laughed heartily at this; but shall stir no more in a chair for some time.


Every paragraph which appeared in the daily newspapers relating to the election, and every hand-bill and advertisement issued during its progress, were collected and published in a thick quarto volume soon after it closed, and now forms a picture of manners not a little curious. The beautiful Duchess of Devonshire and many other ladies of rank and distinction were, as every knows, active canvassers for Mr. Fox, and from a house in

the bevy

of Devonshire beauties

were accustomed to watch the humours of the election during the polling. We read also in of the daily papers that

The Duchess of Devonshire attended the hustings yesterday in an elegant equipage. Her Grace wore a favour in her hat and another on her breast inscribed with


The servants and horses were also decorated with these testimonies of approbation. Another carriage of the house of Cavendish made a like display in compliment to Mr. Fox.

The manner in which others of the Whig aristocracy evinced their personal interest in the proceedings would now be deemed


and indeed the improved machinery of the representative system does not afford an opportunity for the


which once characterized Covent Garden. But the case was then very different, as the election of which we are now speaking lasted nearly , from the to the , whereas the polling is now begun and finished in hours. The choice of the electors fell upon Sir Samuel Hood, who obtained votes, and Mr. Fox, who had , and a majority of over Sir Cecil Wray. The chairing of Mr. Fox and the triumphant procession which accompanied him is described as

a spectacle brilliant beyond imagination.

The state carriages of the Duchesses of Devonshire and Portland, drawn by horses, superbly caparisoned, with running footmen attendant on each, formed a part of it; and the procession was closed by gentlemen's servants. After leaving Covent Garden it moved down and into , where it turned round and again marched to , on its way to and . The court-yard of Carltor House, the residence of the Prince of Wales, then in the flower of his age, and enjoying the applauses of the popular party, was thrown open for its passage. Arriving at , the great gates of were opened, as at Carlton House, and the procession passed into the court-yard, where the various banners were placed in front. The Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and her sister Lady Duncannon, with other illustrious beauties, whose influence had not a little contributed to the victory, were here assembled to greet their favourite candidate. Mr. Fox addressed his friends from the steps of . Every man passed through Carlton House and uncovered in honour of their possessors. The procession next moved on to , where it was again met by the Prince, who was with the Duchesses of Devonshire and Portland, and other noble persons,

to salute,

as the accounts say,

the triumphant sons of freedom.

The Prince of Wales had been at a review at Ascot in the morning, at which the King, who regarded Mr. Fox with anything but a friendly eye, was present. On his return to town his Royal Highness rode several times in his uniform along and , and was received with

shouts of triumph.

After the procession was over, the Prince was again the object of popular applause, on going in his carriage to dinner at with the Fox favour and a laurel in his hat.

No description,

it is said,

can equal the acclamations he received.

On the following day his Royal Highness gave a splendid , at Carlton House, in honour of Mr. Fox's re-election, at which above persons of fashion and distinction were present, most of whom wore Mr. Fox's colours of buff and blue. The same evening the beautiful Mrs. Crewe gave a select ball and supper to celebrate Mr. Fox's return. The world


of fashion had never before been so political, and never did so many brilliant auspices shine upon as those which, just


years ago,

marked the success of the

Man of the People.

The French Revolution destroyed this union of gaiety and politics, and the stern times of political economy, with other circumstances which it is needless to mention, have prevented their mingling together in the same light spirit. At Mrs. Crewe's ball, Mr. Morris, afterwards Captain Morris, gave as a toast,

Buff and Blue, and Mrs. Crewe,

which the lady acknowledged by

Buff and Blue, and all of you.

There was at this period an annoying device for prolonging a contest long after the poll was declared, which was effected by demanding a scrutiny. This was the case on the re-election of Mr. Fox, and he entered the House as Member for Dingwall. The scrutiny went on at about the same rate as the subsequent trial of Hastings. In about years the votes of as many parishes had been investigated. On the chairing of Sheridan and Sir Samuel Hood, in , the procession also passed through the court-yard of , and the Duke of Devonshire congratulated the newly-made members on their election.

Instead of constituent bodies in the metropolis we have now , the City, , , with the new boroughs of Marylebone, Finsbury, the Tower Hamlets, and , forming, as it were, a confederation of free towns. It is remarkable that in of the best maps of the metropolis, just now published, the limits of these boroughs have not been defined; yet there is something interesting in the consideration of the interests which predominate in each, and the contrasts which they exhibit with another; and the line which separates them is surely worthy of attention. As to comparative wealth, the amount of assessed taxes paid in for each persons was in the City, in , in Marylebone, in Finsbury, in , and in the Tower Hamlets; the average being , which was the exact amount paid by Finsbury. The population in , and the number of electors in , were as follow :--The City had a population of and electors, of whom were freemen; , population and electors, of whom were scot and lot voters under the old franchise; Marylebone, population and electors; Finsbury, population and electors; , population and electors; , population and electors; and the Tower Hamlets more than and together, or population and electors. The City, with its commercial activity, its concentration of capital, its immense monetary transactions, and with interests extending to every land and every sea, situated on the northern bank of the highest part of the Thames accessible to large ships, stands in contrast with , the seat of the court, the law, the parliament, the government, the public offices, and the aristocracy; the new borough of Marylebone, and its fashionable squares, with the Tower Hamlets; and the intelligent and respectable middle classes of Finsbury with the manufacturers of and . Without drawing the line very precisely, we may at least mark out the position of these great boroughs, and we may assume that the of ancient date are well known, though changes were made in them in , the whole of the Inner and Middle Temple, for example, being now included in the City, the borough of being extended so as to comprise the parishes of


, , , and the Clink Liberty; and the Duchy Liberty was added to .

Marylebone Borough is situated north of a line drawn from down the centre of and the to Kensington Gardens. Its eastern boundary passes for some distance along , and then diverges eastward north of the and ; after which it turns southward so as to include a part of and , until it touches the north-eastern corner of the at Cold Bath Fields, from which point the boundary line runs in a direction north-north-east. The borough of Marylebone pays the largest proportion of assessed taxes of any of the new boroughs, and contains the largest proportion of private houses. Portman and Cavendish Squares, and Bryanstone and Montague Squares, , and the , are within its limits. The borough of Finsbury is situated to the eastward of Marylebone, and partly north of the parliamentary limits of and the City of London. Its most southern point is the Rolls Liberty, near , and its northern boundary comprises . A line running for some distance north from , and then turning to the west, is its limit to the eastward. This borough contains a considerable number of wealthy inhabitants and tradesmen of the class, and persons connected with the City, from the wealthy merchant to his clerks and warehousemen. The northern part of the borough is a favourite place of residence for persons of small fortune and those who have retired from business, as enjoys the quietness of a country place with the advantages of a town. Finsbury also contains the and the , the the greatest public, and the last the greatest private literary institution in the kingdom. The Borough of the Tower Hamlets is formed out of a number of places which have risen from comparative insignificance, but now form a great associated mass. It is situated east and north-east of the City, and east of Finsbury, and contains the Tower, the Mint, the St. Katherine, the London, East and ; the Railway runs from end of it to the other, and it comprises that most important portion of the river from the Tower to . It is, in fact, a great maritime city, as the sailors meets, and the indications on every side, clearly testify. The western part of the river boundary line is chiefly occupied by traders more or less connected with shipping; then come the great ship-building yards, and along the whole of the river side are establishments necessary for all the purposes which is required by the greatest port in the world, either for fitting up a ship or rigging out the seamen who are to be her crew. All the great sugar refineries are situated in this part of the metropolis. The proportion of small houses in the borough formed by the Tower Hamlets is larger than in any of the other metropolitan boroughs, for it comprises Spitalfields, Whitechapel, and ; but the wealth it contains probably exceeds that of any of the boroughs. The Docks and their warehouses cost upwards of , and the shipping is of great value. The value of the merchandise of every kind, brought fiom every clime, which is at all times to be found in the Docks, has been estimated at Passing to the opposite side of the Thames, we have the borough of , which on the banks of the river is intersected by the borough of


, which here occupies the shore from a point opposite the to opposite the Tower. Borough extends westward of along the river to a point opposite the Penitentiary Prison at . The portion east of extends along the river to a little beyond the ; and the part south of reaches as far as Brixton church; while its south-eastern limits border upon Dulwich. In the southern section of the borough are included Stockwell, Brixton, the northern part of the parish of Camberwell and Peckham. Borough contains a population smaller and less dense than any of the metropolitan boroughs; and its southern part is more rural than any of them. Here are to be found many -rate houses, delightfully situated, and inhabited by gentry, merchants, and bankers. The number of small houses is larger in proportion than in Marylebone or Finsbury, but that of -rate houses is greater. may be said to represent the manufacturing industry of the metropolis. The shipping which arrives at the wharfs on the southern bank of the Thames consists chiefly of coasters. The characteristics of the great parliamentary divisions of the metropolis, if minutely-described, would require a Number for each, and here the outline is but sketched.


[n.267.1] Note in Walpole's Letters.