Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places.Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 6
The Old Kent Road, &c.
The Old Kent Road, &c.
Following the course of the old , we now make our way back to the southern extremity of the Borough, by the broad thoroughfare of the . All trace of at this point, we need hardly remark, has long since disappeared. The branch of the ancient , which extended from Dover to Canterbury, and thence through Faversham and Rochester to London, was the road followed by nearly all travellers from the days of the Romans, the days of pilgrimages and crusades, and thence again until the formation of railways diverted their steps into another track. M. Sorbierre, a French gentleman of letters, who visited London in the reign of Charles II., thus writes:--
Along this road travelled Charles II. and a gay train of cavaliers, on his Restoration and return, by way of Dover to London, in . Evelyn draws the following picture of the happy event:--
In the days nearer to our own, when there were no railroads, even this unfashionable thoroughfare was used by the most distinguished travellers. Stothard, the painter, for instance, tells us that, happening to be evening at an inn on this road, he met Pitt and Dundas (afterwards Lord Melville), who had been obliged to rest there for the night on their way from Walmer to London. Next morning, as they were stepping into their carriage, the waiter said to Stothard,
was the reply;
Stothard could not guess.
was the waiter's answer.
We find in Jeaffreson's
the following ludicrous story relative to this part of the metropolis:--
The tale is familiar to all readers of the
The , known as Road until the end of the last century, was a continuation of , in the Borough, of which we have already spoken, and was the highway from Kent to the metropolis. There were but few houses in the a century ago. Rocque's Map, published in , shows the thoroughfare lined with hedgerows, bespeaking its rural character in the days of George II.
In the [extra_illustrations.6.249.2] was founded, on acres of freehold land lying just off the . It consists of a group of onestoreyed houses, chapel, chaplain's residence, board and court rooms, library, &c., set round green lawns. The Duke of Sussex was its patron in , and he was succeeded by the Prince Consort, on whose death the Prince of Wales assumed the office. The idea of establishing an institution wherein the distressed members of the licensed victuallers' trade, and their wives or widows, might be enabled to spend the latter part of their days in peace and quietness, was conceived by the late Mr. Joseph Proud Hodgson, in the year , when he called a meeting of several influential gentlemen in the trade, and ventilated his views; and, after serious consideration, it was determined that a society should be formed under the title of the Licensed Victuallers' Asylum.
Subscriptions were solicited, and the hearty response that was accorded to the scheme by those most deeply interested in its success enabled the committee to purchase the land above mentioned, upon which it was resolved to erect an asylum, to consist of separate houses, containing rooms each, besides the requisite conveniences. In , the foundation-stone was laid, with full Masonic honours, by the Duke of Sussex, in the presence of a distinguished company, many of whom in after years exhibited a sincere attachment to the institution. At this time it was determined by the promoters of the institution to erect the central portion of the building, to consist of houses, which were perfected, and speedily became the abode of as many deserving individuals.
The applicants for admission being numerous, it was deemed advisable to perfect the asylum as early as circumstances would permit, and consequently, in the year , the south wing was erected, and in the north wing, thus completing the original design of the institution. The friends of the society, being relieved of the anxiety of erecting additional houses, in the year turned their attention to the advisability of granting weekly allowances of money to the inmates of the asylum, in order to provide them with the necessaries of life, and, as might be imagined, the proposal met with cordial approval, and allowances were then commenced, since which period they have been increased from time to time, until they have reached the sum of per week for married couples and for single persons-members of the Incorporated Society of Licensed Victuallers receiving per week extra. In addition to the allowances, a weekly supply of coal is granted to each inmate, besides being supplied with medical attendance, medicine, and wine, when recommended by the medical officer. In a charter of incorporation was granted to the institution, and in the following year, on the death of the Duke of Sussex, Prince Albert became patron.
In was commenced the
comprising habitations, the foundationstone being laid by H.R.H. the Prince Consort: this wing was completed in the following year. Several years having elapsed since an addition was made to the asylum, this important subject was considered, and so readily approved of by those who had the management of the institution, that in the year a new wing was commenced, the asylum being again honoured by its royal patron condescending to lay the foundation-stone. These buildings were designated the Albert Wing, in compliment to his Royal Highness, and consist of houses.
A donation of guineas having been made to the institution in , by a Mr. William Smalley, it was resolved that the only remaining space on the asylum grounds available for building purposes should be utilised. This was accordingly carried out, and additional houses built, which were named the Smalley Wing, the foundation-stone being laid by the Duke of Edinburgh. This addition completed the asylum as a building, and it
|now consists of separate and distinct houses.|
The beautiful little chapel is enriched with stained-glass memorial windows, and also several handsome marble tablets, in memory of donors to the institution; whilst upon the grounds in front of the building, and facing the , is erected a marble statue of the late Prince Consort, which was unveiled in by the Prince of Wales.
The expenses attending the institution are about annually, which is met by the subscriptions among the members of the trade, by bequests, by the proceeds of a ball given annually at Willis's Rooms or the Freemasons' Tavern, and also by the proceeds of the anniversary festival.
Close by the canal bridge, at a short distance westward of the , are the works belonging to the South Metropolitan Gas Company, whose operations extend over square miles, from the southwards as far as Croydon parish, taking in considerable portions of , St. George the Martyr, a small part of , nearly all Camberwell, a large portion of , and all Streatham. The company has altogether about miles of main-pipes; it consumes annually about tons of coal, and supplies about feet of gas in a year. The number of retorts is about , and the gas-holders are capable of storing nearly feet of gas; while the greatest quantity made in a day somewhat exceeds that amount. This gas company was founded in , for the supply of cannel gas, and incorporated in , with an authorised capital of . In the south side of the Thames was divided into districts, which arrangements were sanctioned by Parliament in the Metropolis Gas Act, . The company supplied gas in ; and after years' trial it was convincingly proved that to supply cannel gas made from the common coal was a financial mistake, and therefore cannel gas was abandoned in . In consequence of the gradual extension of these works, the district church of , Camberwell, which was built in , on the north side of the , has been demolished, and a new church built on the opposite side of the road. The new edifice, a brick building of Gothic architecture, was erected in .
Beyond mentioning the canal bridge, which spans the Canal close by the abovementioned gas-works, and making a passing reference to Marlborough (Congregational) Chapel, and also to the new Nonconformist chapel at the corner of Road-built for the congregation formerly assembling at the old Chapel, --there is little or nothing in this thoroughfare calling for special remark till we arrive near the junction of the Old and New Kent Roads with .
St. Thomas a Watering was once the boundary of the City liberties, and in the
when the lord mayor and sheriffs
crossed the water to open Fair and to inspect the City boundaries, the City magistrates continued either to , Bridge, or
The precise situation was as near as possible that part of the which is intersected by the , and the memory of the place is still kept alive by , close by, and by the tavern-signs in the neighbourhood.
writes Mr. Blanch, in his history of
St. Thomas a Waterings was situated close to the milestone on the , and was so called from a brook or spring, dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket. Chaucer's pilgrims, as we have seen in a previous chapter, passed it on their way to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury:--
Ben Jonson, in , makes mention of the spot in the following lines :--
This spot was in the old Tudor days the place of execution for the northern parts of Surrey; and here the Vicar of Wandsworth, his chaplain, and other persons of his household, were hung, drawn, and quartered in for denying the supremacy of Henry VIII. in matters of faith.
On the , a
and on the -,
of the quarters of Sir Thomas Wyatt, who was beheaded for rebellion in , was exposed at this place; and on the , a younger son of Lord Sandys was executed here for robbing a cart, coming from a fair, at Beverley. The booty was estimated at about .
In men were executed here. Macbyn, in his Diary, thus records the event:--
John Henry, the author of some of the
was hung here in ; and Franklin, of the agents implicated in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, was executed at the same place in .
The last persons executed at St. Thomas a Watering were a father and son, who suffered the penalty of the law for murder about the year .
The most noticeable feature in the is the number of public-houses, each with its swinging sign and drinking-trough for horses. Among these houses of
which has existed here for about a couple of centuries, and was a well-known halting-place on the road to Kent, at a time (not very far distant) when the thoroughfare was bordered on either side by green fields and market gardens. The
at the corner of , commemorates the spot where the pilgrims halted on their way from London to Canterbury (as mentioned above); the
perpetuates the cognisance of the once powerfill and wealthy Shard family, who were large landowners in the neighbourhood. The oldest of the inns in the , perhaps, is near the Bricklayers' Arms Station, which rejoices in the somewhat singular sign of
The house is supposed to be upwards of years old, and down to about its sign-board represented a man walking at the South Pole. It may have been set up after the discovery of Australia, Van Diemen's Land, or Terra del Fuego; but Mr. Larwood, in his work on
interprets it as
The old sign-board was blown down many years ago; and in the house itself was in great part rebuilt and wholly new-fronted.
Nearly opposite this old hostelry stands the Deaf and Dumb Asylum. This admirable institution, the foundation-stone of which was laid by the Duke of Gloucester in , is a large but plain and unpretending edifice, separated from the roadway by a grove of trees. Miss Priscilla Wakefield, in her
published in , commences of her
as follows :
This asylum or school was the established in England for the Deaf and Dumb, and was originally opened in , in , , under the auspices of the Rev. John Townsend, of Chapel, and of the Rev. H. C. Mason, then curate of , both of whose names are perpetuated by and , on either side of the Asylum.
as Timbs tells us in his
In connection with the above-mentioned institution, there is a branch establishment at Margate, which was used for the time in .
|From the report for we learn that during that year children were admitted and sent to the branch asylum at Margate. children left the London asylum during the year, and were apprenticed to various trades. As many as children had been admitted since the foundation of the Asylum, and apprenticed since the year . The ordinary receipts in , including a balance from the previous year of , amounted to upwards of , and the general expenses to , the deficit having to be met by absorbing the sum of bequeathed as legacies instead of being funded.|
Close by the Deaf and Dumb Asylum the terminates in the branch thoroughfares of , which trends south-westwardly to the
and of , which unites wvith the Borough, close by . The former of these thoroughfares-formerly called the Greenwich Road--is a broad and open roadway; it has been lately planted on either side with trees, so that in course of time it will doubtless form a splendid boulevard, of the Parisian type, and worthy of being
|copied in many other parts of London. is of comparatively recent growth, having been formed since the commencement of the present century to supersede the old, narrow, and disreputable , which runs parallel with it on the north side, and to which we have referred above. [extra_illustrations.6.253.1]|
Among the residents of this street was Mr. T. C. Noble, the uthor of
and of other antiquarian works. It may be recorded that in , when a bill was introduced into the to divest some of the great City companies of the estates in the north of Ireland which they had purchased from James I., Mr. Noble published a series of letters, which had an important effect in causing the abandonment of the bill. For his successful opposition to the scheme, Mr. Noble received special votes of thanks from the Court of the Irish Society, likewise the thanks of the London Livery Companies, being also presented with the freedom of the City and of the Company of Ironmongers.
writes Mr. Blanch, in his
, which are still in existence-at all events in name--on the south side of the , were doubtless so named for the same reason.
In Trinity Street--which diverges from , and terminates at the junction of with Causeway-is , and also , a modern edifice of the Grecian style of architecture. This church is situated on the south side of , at a short distance from , and nearly on the verge of the parish of St. Mary, . It is enclosed in a small square of respectable-looking houses, with a plantation in the centre, in which is erected a statue of King Alfred. The portico and principal front of the church, with the steeple, is placed on the north side of the body of the edifice; the portico consisting of fluted Corinthian columns supporting a plain entablature and pediment. The body of the church is a parallelogram, and is divided into storeys by a plain course. The interior presents a vast unbroken area, roofed in span, and the ceiling is panelled. The galleries, resting on Doric pillars, extend round sides of the church, and the altar-screen, situated below the eastern window, consists of a pediment surmounting slabs, inscribed with the Decalogue, &c. The stone of the edifice was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury in , and the building was consecrated in December of the following year. The ground on which the church is built was given by the corporation of the Trinity House, which possesses considerable property in the vicinity.
On the south side, of , with its principal entrance in (formerly ), stands the prison and place of execution for the county of Surrey, commonly known as Gaol. It is a substantially-built structure, chiefly of brick, arranged upon the approved plan of John Howard, the prison philanthropist. It is of a quadrangular form, with storeys above the basement, and was completed for the reception of prisoners in , and has accommodation for prisoners. This prison not being a house of correction, the average duration of imprisonment undergone by each prisoner is very short. Instruction is confined to the juvenile prisoners, who are assembled in classes for hours daily. The number of attendances during the months of the year ending Michaelmas, , was ; the number of prisoners confined during the year ending Michaelmas, , was ; and the greatest number of prisoners at any time was .
In , Colonel Despard, and about of his accomplices, were arrested at the
public-house in , on a charge of treasonable conspiracy, tending to dethrone the king and subvert the Government. In the following February they were tried by a special commission, held in the adjoining the prison, and the colonel and of his colleagues were hung and beheaded here. It may be added that the
on which the colonel was drawn from the cell in which he was last confined to the place of execution --in conformity with the sentence formerly passed upon criminals convicted of high treason-remained in the gaol till very recently, and was regarded as an object of curiosity.
This place has its romance, for Leigh Hunt was for years (-) imprisoned here for libellously styling the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV., an
and here it was that Moore and Lord Byron paid that memorable visit to
when the noble poet saw him for the time in his life. Mr.
| Cyrus Redding, in his |
writes Mr. Hepworth Dixon, in his
Here is a picture of the interior of the prison at the time Mr. Dixon's book was published, only a quarter of a century ago ():--
That this state of things no longer exists, we need scarcely inform our readers; for since the passing of the Prisons' Discipline Act, in , the silent system has been adopted here, and the regulations of the prison are carried out on much the same principle as those at Holloway, which we have already described, and the prisoners, excepting in cases of emergency, are confined in separate cells, and kept entirely apart from each other.
Down to the passing of the Act by which executions ceased to take place in public, the scaffold for the execution of criminals at this gaol was erected upon the roof of the gateway; and the roadway in front, during these
became the scene of the wildest depravity. Charles Dickens, who was present at the execution of the Mannings on the , gives us the following description of what he saw:--
The , for the meetings of the magistrates of the county of Surrey, adjoins the western side of the prison, and has its front towards . This building, together with the gaol, was completed in , having been built in conformity with an Act of Parliament, passed in the year , entitled
In pursuance of this Act, acres and a half of land, used by a market gardener, were purchased; and the buildings were erected under the direction of the late Mr. George Gwilt, the county surveyor, the total cost having amounted to nearly . The has been recently rebuilt; and since the whole of the interior has been reconstructed upon improved principles, and the building new fronted, under the direction of the county surveyor, Mr. Howell.
 See ante, p. 70.
[extra_illustrations.6.249.2] Licensed Victuallers' Asylum
 See p. 83.
[extra_illustrations.6.253.1] Mrs. Gladstone opening Playground on site of Horsemonger-Lane Jail
 See Vol. II., p. 380.