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
St. George's Fields (continued).--Bethlehem Hospital, Etc
St. George's Fields (continued).--Bethlehem Hospital, Etc
, to which we now come in our progress over Fields, is a very different place from the
to which it claims to have succeeded, and of which we will proceed to give a history. It is vulgarly styled
by a corruption of
which again is an abbreviation of
It was in the year , and therefore in the reign of Henry III., that Simon Fitz-Mary, then Sheriff of London, made a pious determination to establish the
and in order to endow it with sufficient maintenance, gave up those lands of his which were in the parish of St. Botolph Without, Bishopsgate, in the spot now known as ; the priory itself standing on the east side of
In the year the religious house became known as a public hospital; the City of London took it under their protection (an advantage to the establishment which, in those days of disorder, was not the least desirable object to attain), and in they purchased all the patronage, lands, and tenements belonging to the establishment; upon which Henry VIII., who perhaps happened to be short of money at the time, wished to make them pay for the house itself; but finding that they would not become purchasers of what really belonged to themselves, if to anybody at all, the magnanimous monarch took a liberal alternative, and made them a present of the house. The common story is that the king generously gave it to the
as a hospital for lunatics, whom he did not like to have so near to him as ; just as the conscience of the king led him to build the church of in the Fields, because he did not like to see so many funerals pass on the way to .
The old priory had already been a hospital for lunatics, amongst whom there were certain outpensioners known as
who were relieved and then sent away to beg, being known by a metal badge fastened on the arm: a distinction, of course, often simulated by other mendicants. In the building had become so dilapidated
| that it became necessary to erect a new , and this was done upon a new site on the south side of , at a cost of , raised by subscription. Of the appearance of this building at the commencement of the present century, or down to the time of the removal of this institution to Fields about the year , we have spoken in a previous part of this work; it only remains, therefore, to state that the edifice which was erected in in having in its turn fallen into a bad condition, and becoming gradually surrounded by narrow streets, and crowded houses, its site was exchanged for a much larger piece of open ground in Fields. In the
for we read that, |
This plan, however, was not carried out.
[extra_illustrations.6.352.1] was erected in , but various additions have since been made. The building is storeys high, and has a frontage of about feet in length. It covers, with the offices and gardens, about acres of ground.
of the new building was laid by the Lord Mayor in , and it was erected from the designs and under the direction of James Lewis, architect. The hospital was in sufficiently advanced for the reception of patients. The cupola, or dome, a comparatively recent addition, which crowns the centre of the roof, and serves as the chapel, was designed by the late Mr. Sydney Smirke.
The cost of the erection was about , of which was granted by Parliament at different times, and subscribed by public bodies and private individuals. The Corporation of the City gave , and the towards this sum. The following anecdote, with reference to the above-mentioned subscription, is told in the for :--
The hospital in could accommodate only or patients; and the only , the number immured there in Strype's time. The present building was originally constructed for patients, but this being found too limited for the purposes and resources of the hospital, a new wing was commenced for additional patients, of which the stone was laid in . Since then other portions of the premises have been considerably enlarged.
Light iron railings, together with an entrancegateway and lodge-house, separate the grounds from the main road. Let into a brick wall, which cuts off from observation the private grounds in front of the hospital, is the old sign-stone of the
tavern (shown in page ), which, as we have stated in the preceding chapter, formerly occupied this site. The sign, which is about a yard square, is cut in high relief, and represents a dog with a duck in its mouth.
It must be owned that the long line of brick frontage of the hospital is somewhat sombre and gloomy in appearance. It consists of a centre and wings. The former has a handsome and lofty portico, raised on a flight of steps, and composed of columns of the Ionic order, surmounted by their entablature and a pediment, in the tympanum of which is a relief of the royal arms, and underneath the motto:--
. () The remainder of the central portion of the building is occupied by the apartments of the officers of the establishment, the council-chamber, &c. On either
|side of the entrance-hall are the houses assigned to the resident physicians, who, of course, are men who have studied lunacy in all its bearings, both in theory and in practice. If surgical aid of a special nature is required, a surgeon is summoned from or Guy's. The hospital has also accommodation for medical students who wish to qualify themselves for practice in lunacy; and these studentships, which give each of their holders free maintenance and instruction for months, are eagerly sought after.|
The wings are in storeys, in addition to a rusticated basement, which show uniformly grated windows. Behind the principal front are other wings, with the culinary departments between them. In the vestibule were for years preserved the statues of
which were sculptured by the elder Cibber, and formerly surmounted the gates of the old hospital in . They are of Portland stone, and have been long since removed to the Museum at South Kensington. These statues were repaired by Bacon in . In Lambert's
there is an engraving of Gibber's
as these statues have been called: a fine piece of design, though the idea is borrowed from Michael Angelo. Virtue has preserved an anecdote that of them was copied from Oliver Cromwell's gigantic porter, who became insane.
On entering the grand hall, the eye of the visitor is immediately attracted by the spacious staircase, which ascends from the ground-floor to the councilchamber above. On either side passages run laterally through the building, the to the right leading to the male, the other to the female wards. The basement and floors are each divided into galleries. The basement gallery is paved with stone, and its ceiling arched with brickwork; the upper galleries are floored with wood, and the ceiling plated with iron. is struck on entering the female wards, not so much with the exquisite cleanliness of everything as with the air of taste and refinement which may be met with on either hand. The wards are long galleries, lighted on side by large windows, in each of which stand globes of fish, fern-cases, or green-house plants; while the spaces between are occupied by pictures, busts, or cages containing birds. The whole air of the place is light and cheerful; and although there is, of course, sad evidence of the purposes of the institution in some of the faces, as they sit brooding over the guarded fires which warm the corridors at intervals of about yards, there is a large per-centage of inmates who look for the most part cheerful, and are either working at some business, reading, writing, or playing with the cats or parrots, which seem wisely to be allowed to them as pets.
writes the Viscomte D'Arlingcourt, in ,
Turning again to the unfortunate objects of this institution, their case is thus powerfully depicted, or rather prophesied, by Gray, in his :--
Threading our way along the corridor which leads to the female wards, and descending a stone staircase, we were led by our guide to the kitchen and culinary offices in the basement, and in the rear of the central portion of the building. The kitchen is a large octagonal building, admirably furnished, and fitted up with huge boilers, a large steam apparatus, and all the requisite appliances for cooking. The water used by the establishment is drawn from an Artesian well, which is bored down into the chalk underlying the clay soil. Hence probably arises the well-known freedom from diarrhcea and cholera among the inmates of Bethlehem when those terrible diseases have raged all around the walls of the institution.
Near at hand, and in other parts of the grounds, are the workshops, where those patients who, from their previous employment, are qualified for the task, may be seen labouring, with more or less industry, at their respective trades. Those who can work at any sedentary employment are encouraged to do so: not the slightest restriction, however, is placed upon the inmates on this score; anrd there are but few whose demeanour is violent
|enough to require more rigid measures. Thanks to Dr. Elliotson, the great modern reformer of the system on which lunatics are treated in this country, all severity-such as the use of chains, manacles, and strait-waistcoats--has now entirely disappeared here; indeed, if a patient on being brought to the hospital should happen to be wearing , it is stripped off in the hall, and handed back to the patient's friends, often much to their surprise. Kindness is the only charm by which the attendants exert a mastery over the patients, and the influence thus possessed is most remarkable.|
The ground-floor of the main building receives the patients on their admission, and this and the succeeding storey are appropriated for dangerous cases. Here, too, are the bath-rooms, lavatories, and sundry rooms, padded with cork and indiarubber, for the reception of refractory and violent patients.
of the inmates of the ward which we visited talked as rationally and sensibly as possible on the subject of her former pupils when she kept
| a ladies' school; and nobody could have suspected her of being a |
here, had we not known that there was subject on which it was forbidden to speak. Another poor woman, though cheerful and even smiling, lived-we were toldunder the constant delusion that she hears the workmen erecting the scaffold for her execution on the morrow. A , a handsome woman of about , on seeing us enter, came forward to see if we were part of the nuptial party whom she was daily expecting in attendance on her heavenly spouse, the Lord himself, and his companion, the prophet Isaiah! Her disappointment on perceiving her mistake we cannot pretend to describe.
Such were her musings. Poor, good, simple soul! how we felt for the pain which we had unintentionally caused her, as she retired into a corner to sit down and weep; while an aged crone, near her, gave vent to a torrent of abuse of the institution! Another girl was pointed out to us, who sat, and sits day by day, in a dark corner, watching a favourite plant, which she is persuaded will bring her a blessing as soon as it comes into flower. Poor girl! how true, again, are the words of Gray-
Passing up the stone staircases, we made our way through the various rooms on each floor of the southern wing. Each we found to be furnished with plain couches and lounges, and almost every other comfort which could in any way conduce to the comfort of the wretched inmates. In several of the wards were pianos. At the end of the uppermost floor, in this part of the building, is a ball-room, the sight of which would have gratified Lord Lanesborough; in it a ball is given every month, and a practice-night also is held fortnightly. The dancers are those of the patients who are fit to be trusted.
A writer in the most appositely remarks:--
In the corresponding wing on the men's side is a billiard-room, to which the most hopeful cases among the male patients have access under certain restrictions. This is a large apartment, which, but for its furniture, would look like an immense and lofty green-house, since it is almost entirely glazed above the height of about feet--a plan which ensures a capital light upon the table. Around the room are raised cushioned seats for those who desire to watch the play; while nearer the fire a large study-table is filled with magazines, journals, and general literature, in neat, lettered covers, and all uninjured by the stains which ordinarily mark these adjuncts to a public room.
Each of the sleeping-rooms contains a low truckle bedstead, with chair and table, light and air being admitted through a small barred window at the top. Some of them, particularly on the women's side of the hospital, are profusely adorned with pictures and other objects of interest, which may have been left by friends visiting the patient. Each door opens to the gallery, affording a promenade feet in length, where the patients can walk about when the weather proves unfavourable for out-door exercise. To the left of the gallery is the dining-room, capable of accommodating about persons. The diet, which is plain, but of the best kind, is served on wooden bowls and platters, and is seldom unaccompanied by a good appetite. The patients are allowed the use of knives, but these, we remarked, were very blunt.
These long corridors or wards are preserved to an equable temperature through every change of season by the introduction of warm-air pipes and stoves beneath the flooring, so constructed that the warmth of every patient's room can be regulated.
The wards of the women, as already stated, are much more gay and cheerful than those in the men's wing. Their windows are nearly all decked out with evergreens or other plants and flowers, and the prints on the walls have flowers or needlework hung upon them--the latter the work of the patients. Some of these ply the needle as deftly as their saner sisters. in particular, a girl of about , who has the reputation of being an excellent darner, showed us her handy-work with great pride, and was evidently delighted by our praise.
Each storey has connected with it of these galleries, from the last of which a stone staircase conducts to the chapel, a large octagonal apartment covered with a cupola, but of no architectural pretensions, which stands over the central hall. Such of the patients as can be trusted to behave themselves attend service in it twice on a Sunday, the men sitting on side and the women on the other, each attended by their keepers and attendants. The chaplain generally addresses them in a conversational and homely manner, instead of inflicting on them a written sermon; and the patients themselves form a very fair choir. They have a good organ to aid them in their psalmody.
Beyond the gallery a door opens into a light, airy, and cheerful room, the beds in which, and the air of calm quiet pervading it, prepare you to hear that it is the infirmary ward. Here, once more, we meet with exquisite cleanliness, but still something beyond cleanliness-comfort, elegance, even luxury. The high and neatly-curtained windows admit the light in pleasant tone, without either glare or shadow, and show flowers, plants, busts, and even the neat white-draped beds, all as pleasant objects. Seated here and there are the partially convalescent, accommodated with easy seats, leg-rests, or pillows, by the aid of which they can lounge over the new number of some favourite periodical, with which a large table is liberally supplied, or plunge more deeply into some book selected from the library.
Descending the staircase to the floor, we reach the corridor which passes over the central hall, by the head of the grand staircase. Here our attention was drawn to a large painting of the parable of the
which was painted some years ago by of the unfortunate inmates of the hospital-Dadd, a student of the Royal Academy. The wall at the head of the staircase is covered with the names of benefactors to the institution inscribed in letters of gold; and close by is the board-room. This is a fine apartment, adorned with the arms and bequests of every donor to the hospital, together with an excellent portrait of its founder, King Henry VIII., by Holbein, said to be an original. In the
which lies upon of the tables in the room, are inscribed the signatures of many royal and noble personages, such as the Emperor of Brazil, the Empress of Austria, the King of Spain, &c.; but apparently more valued than all these put together is an autograph signature of Queen Victoria, written when she visited the hospital in : this is preserved under a glass, upon a table by itself in of the recesses between the windows.
Turning to the right after leaving the boardroom, we pass at once to the men's wards. In plan and general atrangement these rooms are the same as on the women's side of the hospital; but, although the male patients are provided with musical instruments, books, and writing materials,
|there is an absence of that neatness and taste in the decoration of the wards and galleries which is such a striking feature in that portion of the hospital set apart for females.|
A ward on the ground floor, on the men's side, contains a small plunging bath, which is constantly in use in the summer months. It was formerly the custom to plunge patients unawares into this bath, by letting them fall into it suddenly through a trap-door, in the hope that the shock to their nervous system might help to work a cure. But such forcible remedies as these have long since been given up, along with strait-waistcoats and other restraints. Mild and gentle treatment, coupled with firmness, is now found to be the best of remedies. The history of the treatment of the patients in Bethlehem, even to a date so late as the beginning of the present century, would be a terrible and sickening recital. In early days the only system adopted in providing for lunatics was of constant repression and severity, while the common comforts and necessities of life were almost entirely denied to the poor creatures, who, hopeless, chained, and neglected, wore out their fevered lives in the filthy pesthouse, which, in , was reported to be
In , when wings appropriated to incurables had been added to the main building in , the public were admitted to the hospital as of the regular London sights; and it may readily be imagined that the promiscuous crowd, who were admitted at a penny each, produced a degree of excitement and confusion which caused incalculable mischief. This state of things lasted, with only partial improvements, till , when the present edifice (or at least the main building) was completed.
Now, instead of chains and loathsome cells, we find light and handsomely-furnished apartments, as shown above, in which the exquisite cleanliness of everything is mingled with an air of taste and refinement, which goes far to diminish the horrors even of lunacy. room upon the uppermost floor on the men's side of the building is fitted up as a library, magazines and periodicals lying upon the table, for the use of the patients in their saner moments. This apartment is in every respect as quiet, as comfortable, as orderly, and as much adapted to the comfort of the readers as that of most clubs, and more than that of many private houses.
Amongst the men there seems but little conversation, and not much fellowship. Smoking is indulged in by such as care for it, and the general aspect of the patients is that of contentment; excepting, of course, those labouring under particular delusions. Kindness, as we have stated, is the only charm by which the attendants exert a mastery over the patients, and the influence thus possessed is most remarkable. Whilst the impression left on the mind of the visitor is that of a mournful gratification, it is yet blended with a feeling of intense satisfaction, arising from a knowledge that the comforts of his afflicted fellow-creatures are so industriously sought after and so assiduously promoted.
The system of employment carried out seems to be that of providing means for such occupation as can consistently be given to the patients according to their several tastes. The decoration, painting, graining, and so on, for the institution, was mostly executed, a few years ago, by patients, who, having plenty of time before them, and not being hurried (for no work is , and no profit by sale is ever made of work done in the hospital), the graining, bird's-eye mapling, and general ornamentation in wood-work, is a sight to see.
In the rear of the building is the
a large open space, set apart for the recreation and exercise of the patients, where they may be seen pursuing, with considerable eagerness, the different pastimes in which their fancy leads them to indulge. There are of these open spaces appropriated to recreation- for the men, and for the women-and there is evidence constantly afforded that this exercise not only conduces to the immediate health of the inmates, but also to their ultimate recovery. Mowing and gardening, and gathering vegetables during fine weather, and haymaking in the summer, are a source of employment and of enjoyment to the men.
We have spoken above of the balls and dancingparties that are held in the women's ward. These are occasionally varied by other entertainments for the amusement of the unfortunate inmates. The beneficial effect of these entertainments on the minds of the patients has at times shown itself. The case of a tailor, who was, a few years ago, an inmate here, may be taken as an instance in point. It was mentioned in of the general reports at the time. It seems he had been for nearly years in a state of morbid insanity, with eyes fixed moodily on the ground, neither noticing nor speaking to any , except an occasional mutter of dissatisfaction if his wishes were disregarded. On the occasion of of the monthly parties above referred to, an officer of the institution had undertaken to exhibit some feats of legerdemain, and for that purpose had disguised himself in a black wig and a pair of moustaches. It was at
| doubted whether it would be worth while to introduce the gloomy patient amongst the company; but Dr. Hood, at that time the principal medical officer of the institution, had directed him to be brought to sit next to himself, and he was induced to favour them with his company. What strange lucidity passed upon the man's perceptions can never be explained, perhaps; but, almost before he sat down, he had looked half-heedlessly round the room, and, recognising the conjuror through his disguise, said, |
His attention had been arrested at last; he followed the tricks, discovered the way in which many of them were performed, and finally drank the Queen's health in a glass of something from the
It is scarcely necessary to remark that from that time there was no relapse into his former state, and that he gradually and steadily improved.
A proof of the general health and longevity enjoyed by the inmates may be found in the fact that Margaret Nicholson, who tried to assassinate George III. at the gate of , died here in , at the age of , after an imprisonment of years. James Hatfield, who was confined for a similar offence in , died here in . The following account of Hatfield's crime was written by Sir Herbert Croft :--
Among the criminal lunatics of more recent years was Oxford, who shot at the Queen soon after her marriage (). He was released many years ago, and sent abroad under proper surveillance, whence he corresponded, from time to time, with his old friends in the asylum.
The criminal ward possessed its aviary, plants, and flowers, and to all appearance was as cheerful as the other portions of the hospital; but the criminal lunatics were removed to Broadmoor, near Aldershot, during the years and , and their ward has since been converted to other purposes.
of the most recent changes in connection with Bethlehem has been the erection of a fine convalescent hospital at Witley, near Godalming. This was established by Act of Parliament, and was brought into working order about the year . To it are sent such of the patients as are the most hopeful of recovery, to receive the finishing touch, preparatory to their restoration to freedom. The statute states that it is of great advantage to the persons received here,
The convalescent establishment at Witley has been established
Regulations have been made for the new establishment, and the Commissioners of Lunacy visit the place as if it were duly registered as an hospital.
The average number of patients in the hospital
|is about , of whom about -thirds are females. The total number of curable patients admitted during years, ending the , was ; and out of these the number discharged cured was , or . per cent. The deaths during the same period amounted to , or . per cent.|
Bethlehem Hospital is intended for curable cases only; but unless the patient is of the wellto-do or pauper class, and unless the symptoms of mental disease have existed more than months, it is very rarely that a case is rejected. The number of patients received during the year was ; and were discharged within the same period. Of these patients were sent out
but of this number did not remain in the hospital the full period of months. In every doubtful case the practice of the committee is to give the patient the benefit of the doubt, and allow him or her to remain under treatment at least months. A glance at the Annual Report for shows that the inmates admitted during the year were members of almost every denomination, the Established Church furnishing by far the largest proportion, and the Unitarians the fewest; and that during the same period the male patients comprised among them no less than clerks, the highest number of any other profession or occupation being ; whilst on the female side were governesses, and the wives, widows, or daughters of clerks or tradesmen. Of the apparent or assigned causes of lunacy, mental anxiety is set down as that of patients, and mental work as that of ; religious excitement was the cause of bringing inmates to
--of these were males, and females; were brought here through pecuniary embarrassment ; and
are set down as the cause of upsetting the mental equilibrium of persons, male and females.
A sad love-story, ending in madness in Bedlam, is on record, and may not be out of place here:--
Dr. Rhys Williams, the resident physician, in the report to which we have referred above, observes that in an asylum constructed like Bethlehem, on the single room system, there are many difficulties in organising careful supervision during the night without disturbing the patients, and that the feeling of security may be obtained to the detriment of the inmates. The staff of attendants, as we learn from the Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy, is well selected; they consist of men, including the head attendant, and nurses, of whom are chiefs of wards. The night-watch consists of man in the male
| division, and nurses on the other side. The watchers make their rounds of the wards at certain intervals throughout the night; and in order to ascertain that these duties are regularly performed, an instrument has been devised, in the shape of a check or |
clock, affixed in the wall of each ward. The warder, in going his rounds, on arriving at each of these clocks, presses upon them a duplicate paper clock-face, properly lined for the various rounds, and by this means receives upon it the impress of a metal letter at the time indicated. Each of the wards has a different letter, thus-R. E. F. O. R. M.
A few words for the guidance of persons applying for the admission of patients may not be out of place here. All poor lunatics presumed to be curable are eligible for admission into this hospital for maintenance and medical treatment: except those who have sufficient means for their suitable maintenance in a private asylum; those who have been insane more than months, and are considered by the resident physician to be incurable; and also those who are in a state of idiotcy, or are subject to epileptic fits, or whose condition threatens the speedy dissolution of life,
|or require the permanent and exclusive attendance of a nurse. A preference is always given to patients of the educated classes, to secure accommodation for whom, no patient is received who is a proper object for admission into a pauper county asylum. A printed form, to be filled up by the friend or guardian of the lunatic, can be obtained from the authorities at the hospital. In this form is a certificate, to be signed by the minister, churchwarden, or overseer of the parish in which the lunatic has resided, setting forth that he (or she) is a proper object for admission into Bethlehem Hospital. A list of the several articles of clothing required to be brought for the use of the patient is also appended to the form; and it is also particularly set forth that during the abode of the patient in the hospital the friends are not to furnish any other articles of clothing than those mentioned, unless by the written request or permission of the steward or matron. The friends of the patient are likewise strictly prohibited from giving money to the servants to purchase any articles of clothing for the patients; and they are not allowed to offer or give any fee, gratuity, or present, to any of the servants, under any pretence whatever. The|
|infringement of these regulations will involve not only the dismissal of the servant, but also the discharge of the patient from the hospital.|
We may also add that patients, when sufficiently convalescent, are allowed to be seen by their friends at certain fixed periods; and that, by an order from of the governors, visitors can be admitted to the hospital on Tuesdays and the following days in each week.
Readers of Charles Dickens will not have forgotten how he makes his
wander by Bethlehem Hospital on his way to , pondering on the problem whether the sane and the insane are not equal: at all events, at night, when the sane lie a-dreaming.
A very pertinent remark for those who really have entered into the philosophy of dreams and dreamland.
we read how that Mrs. Burney wondered that some very beautiful new buildings should be erected in , in so shocking a situation as between Bedlam and , and said she could not live
there; to which Johnson replies, |
These remarks, we need scarcely add, are as applicable to the present situation of
as they were to its old site in .
From the interior of Bethlehem the change is pleasant to a building which adjoins it on the eastern side, and is under the same management, namely, King Edward's School, which was
| established here early in the present century. It was formerly known as |
and was constructed for the accommodation of girls, and about the same number of boys; but the latter have, within the last few years, been removed to Witley, near Godalming, and lodged in some school buildings contiguous to Bethlehem Convalescent Hospital. The ground-plan of the building here is in the form of the letter H, the domestic offices, with the chapel above, occupying the central portion. On the ground-floor of the principal front are large school-rooms and class-rooms, and also some of the rooms in which the girls are taught domestic duties, such as washing and ironing, &c. The rooms for needlework are in the rear part of the building. The dormitories are large, well-ventilated apartments, and scrupulously clean and tidy in their appearance. The play-ground is divided from the recreation-ground and garden of Bethlehem by only a wall and a path; and yet, what a contrast between the inmates of the institutions! The bright faces of the girls are of themselves a comment on the lines of the cavalier, Lovelace-
The boys' school at Witley was in - in process of enlargement, by the erection of new dormitories, planned to accommodate about additional children. Similarly the girls' school has been judiciously re-arranged for the same additional number. The children are orphans, or such as have lost their fathers' aid through illness or other affliction; they are admitted at the age of , and stay in the school for years, when situations are obtained for them. The excellent teaching and training which the girls receive here render them highly qualified for situations as domestic servants; and the characters of such as have left the school, received from time to time by the matron, are almost invariably good. About girls are annually placed out in situations by the institution; whilst the applications for servants which reach the matron are, generally speaking, far more numerous than can be met by the supply.
At a short distance from Bethlehem Hospital, on the site formerly occupied by the Asylum for Female Orphans, at the junction of with , of which we have spoken in the preceding chapter, stands , a new non-denominational church, which has been erected to perpetuate the work inaugurated by Rowland Hill at . It was opened on the , the centenary of American independence. The church, a fine specimen of Gothic architecture, is of the hand. somest ecclesiastical edifices in the metropolis. The cost, including lecture-hall, tower, &c., was . The organ, a very powerful instrument by Messrs. Lewis, has manuals and a pedale, stops, and pipes. Towards the cost of these building upwards of have been contributed by friends outside the congregation, the greater part of which has been collected by the Rev. Newman Hall, during visits to America, and by lecturing, preaching, and other means, in Great . There is ample sitting accommodation for persons. The interior, which boasts of several stained-glass windows, and an ornamental oak roof, has an appearance approaching that of a cathedral, to which the service closely corresponds. At corner of the church is a tower, surmounted by a lofty spire. This structure, called the
owes its origin to the suggestion of some American citizens, at the close of the civil war, that it should be built at the cost of Americans, as a testimony to the sympathy expressed for the Union by the Rev. Newman Hall and his congregation. The tower, the cost of which was , contributed in England and America, is upwards of feet in height. The
are inwrought in the stone, and the British Lion and American Eagle together adorn the angles of the tower. In the tower are spacious chambers, designated the
Rooms; these are used as class-rooms for educational and other benevolent purposes. The architects were Messrs. Paull and Bickerdike.
Adjoining , and in an architectural sense forming a part of it, is another building, devoted to religious and philanthropic purposes, called
after the seat of the head of Rowland Hill's family (Lord Hill), in Shropshire. It is feet long by feet wide, with a square gallery, and has sitting accommodation for about , the woodwork being a stained pitch pine. In the basement beneath the lecture-hall are class-rooms, of which will hold infants, besides another large room, in which meetings are occasionally held.
In the last century, as we have seen, Fields-now the site of numerous palaces of philanthropy--was the scene of low dissipation; and here, on the very focus of the
riots of , has arisen the Roman Catholic Cathedral dedicated to St. George. This singular evidence of the mutations to which localities are subject, and striking proof of our advance in liberality of
|opinion, occupies a large plot of ground at the junction of the , , and Roads, and nearly facing Bethlehem Hospital.|
For many years previously to the erection of the Pro-Cathedral at Kensington, Cathedral had quite eclipsed , , as the chief church of the Roman Catholic body, especially during the years -, whilst Cardinal Wiseman administered the diocese of as well as that of . It was built between the years and : the Kings of Bavaria and Sardinia, and nearly the whole of the English Roman Catholic aristocracy, were large contributors to its erection; whilst the Irish poor, including the waifs and strays of St. Patrick's Schools in Soho, and other very poor districts, sent their pence.
writes Mr. R. Chambers, in his
a fact to which we have already drawn the attention of our readers in the previous chapter. It is said that the high altar stands as nearly as possible on the very spot on which the mad-cap Leader, Lord George Gordon, rallied his
rioters in , previous to marching to Westminster--a curious retribution, if true; but, after all, this may be only a tradition.
The cathedral was designed by Mr. Augustus W. Pugin, who, however, always complained that he had been cramped and crippled in the carrying out of his plans, as he was originally called upon to design a parish church, and not a cathedral. Unfortunately, the position of the church is reversed --the high altar, in contrast to that of most Gothic churches, being at the west instead of the east end. It has no galleries, save small at the end of the nave for the organ, and will accommodate worshippers on the floor alone.
There was a Roman Catholic
in this neighbourhood as far back as the year , years after Lord George Gordon's riots: mass having been formerly said secretly in a modest and humble room in Bandyleg Walk, near (now New ). A site for a chapel was procured in that year in the , and a chapel was erected in -, at the cost of about . It was opened on St. Patrick's Day, , the sermon being preached by
O'Leary. This chapel served for years as the centre of ministrations for the Roman Catholic clergy in ; but eventually it was found too small, and it was resolved to supersede it by a larger and handsomer edifice. This chapel became subsequently a musichall, and is now called the South London Palace. The site of the new cathedral was purchased, in the year , from the Bridge House Estate, for . The foundations were commenced in , and the foundation-stone was laid on the Feast of St. Augustine, the apostle of England, in the following May. It was
on the Festival of St. Alban, martyr of England, , the ceremony being attended by bishops from all the
of the world; the high mass being sung, and the sermon preached by Dr. Wiseman, who, years afterwards, was here formally installed as Archbishop of , in , a few weeks after receiving his cardinal's hat. Here also the new-made cardinal preached his celebrated series of sermons, explanatory of the step taken by the Pope in restoring the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.
The church, which is built in the Decorated or Edwardian style of Pointed architecture, consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisles, without transepts; it has also no clerestory--a want which sadly detracts from its elevation and dignity. It measures internally feet by . The material employed in its construction is yellow brick, instead of stone, which by no means adds to its beauty. The total cost of the building, including the residence for the bishop and his clergy adjoining, was a little over . A chantry at the end of the north aisle was built by the family of the late Hon. Edward Petre, M.P., in order that masses might be said there daily for the repose of his soul. This was probably the chantry so built in modern times. There is a chantry, founded by the family of the late Mr. John Knill, of Blackheath. Attached to the church is a staff of clergy, who attend also the workhouses of , , , and , together with Bethlehem and St. Thomas's Hospitals, and Prison. Among the former clergy of was the Honourable and Rev. George Talbot, formerly a clergyman of the Established Church, afterwards chamberlain to Pope Pius IX. The tower still remains incomplete; but when surmounted with a spire it will be upwards of feet high. The chancel is deep, and enclosed with an ornamental screen. On either side of the high altar are chapels of the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady. The font, which stands in the southern aisle, is of stone, octagonal in shape, and highly decorated with images of angels, the Evangelists, and the Doctors of the Church. The organ, which
|. stands in the tower, under a pointed arch feet in height, is a powerful instrument. The pulpit, which stands in the nave, attached to the pillar from the chancel on the northern side, is hexagonal. It is supported by marble shafts; on sides of the pulpit are elaborately carved, representing our Lord delivering the sermon on the mount, St. John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness, and the preaching of the religious Orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic. These sculptures are executed with all the severity of the early Florentine school, and many of the figures are studies from nature and real drapery. The ascent to the pulpit is by a series of detached steps, each supported by a marble shaft, with carved capitals, to which is attached an iron railing. The work is executed in Caen stone, except the shafts, which are of British marble. The large window in the tower contains figures of St. George the Martyr (to whom the church is dedicated), St. Richard, St. Ethelbert, St. Oswald, St. Edmund, and St. Edward the Confessor, with angels bearing scrolls and musical instruments. The rood-screen, of stone, consists of open arches, resting on marble shafts, with richly carved foliated capitals; above it stands the cross, bearing the figure of the Redeemer of the world, and on either side stand the Virgin Mary and the beloved disciple. The cross itself is an original work of the century; the figure of our Lord is from the chisel of the celebrated M. Durlet, of Antwerp; the other images were carved in England.|
In spite of the profuse decoration of the chancel and its side chapels, it must be owned that the nave of has a singularly bare and naked appearance, which is increased by the starved proportions of the pillars that mark it off from the side aisles. At the lower end of the church, near the chief entrance, is a huge crucifix, at the foot of which, at almost every hour of the day, may be seen many devout worshippers.
The great window, over the high altar, is of lights; it is filled with stained glass, representing the Root of Jesse, or the genealogy of our Lord, the gift of John, Earl of Shrewsbury. The side windows contain figures of St. George, St. Lawrence, St. Stephen, &c. The high altar and the tabernacle are carved exquisitely in Caen stone; and the reredos, also of stone, contains niches filled with saints and angels. The side chapels are very elaborately carved and ornamented; and the Petre Chantry is Perpendicular, and not Decorated, in style. The tomb of Mr. Edward Petre is covered with a slab, the legend on which requests the prayers of the faithful for the soul of the founder, who died in . The church is opened from in the morning till nightfall, and contains a large number of religious confraternities.
The bishop's house, where the clergy of this cathedral live in common, is very plain and simple in its outward appearance, and also in its internal arrangements, being arranged on the ordinary plan of a college. The house of the bishop, it must be owned, is anything but a modern
it looks and is a mass of conventual buildings; and, to use the words of Charles Knight's
it exhibits more of studied irregularity and quaint homeliness than of pretension as regards design, or even severity of character.
the writer adds,
At a short distance eastward, covering, with its gardens, a large triangular plot of ground, stands the School for the Indigent Blind. This institution was originally established in , at the
in Fields, and for some time received only persons as inmates.
writes John Timbs, in his
The women and girls are employed in knitting stockings, needlework, and embroidery; in spinning, and making household and body-linen, netting silk, and in fine basket-making; besides working hoods for babies, work-bags, purses, slippers, &c.
|Many of these are of very tasteful design, in colour as well as in form. The men and boys make wicker baskets, cradles, and hampers; rope doormats and worsted rugs; brushes of various kinds; and they make all the shoes for the inmates of the school. Reading is mostly taught by Alston's raised or embossed letters, in which the Old and New Testaments and the Liturgy have been printed. Both males and females are remarkably cheerful in their employment; they have great taste and aptness for music, and they are instructed in it, not as a mere amusement, but with a view to engagements as organists or teachers of psalmody. In fact, here, and here only in London, a blind choir, led by a blind organist, may be heard performing the compositions of Handel, Mozart, and Mendelssohn with great accuracy and effect. Once a year a concert of sacred music is given in the chapel or music-room, to which the public are admitted by tickets, the proceeds from the sale of such tickets being added to the funds of the institution. An organ and or pianofortes are provided for teaching; fiddles in plenty, too, may be seen in the work-rooms on the men's side. The inmates receive, as pocket-money, part of their earnings; and on leaving the school a sum of money and a set of tools for their respective trades are given to each of them.|
A touching picture of a visit to the Blind School was given by a writer in the newspaper, from which we quote the following. The writer, after describing his visit to the basket-making room, proceeds:
The number of pupils in the school is about , and the articles manufactured entirely by them realise a profit of about . per annum. The school is maintained at an annual cost of about which is covered by the receipts derived from voluntary contributions and from dividends of nearly .
In the , within about or minutes' walk of the Blind School, are the headquarters of the British and Foreign School Society. The British, or, as they were originally called, Lancasterian Schools, had great influence during the years of the present century in raising the state of education in the country among the poorer classes. Without entering into the disputed claims of Dr. Bell and Joseph Lancaster, as to who was the to originate the peculiar system pursued at these schools, there can be no doubt but that, by the energy of the latter, a practical step of great importance was made towards developing a regular, efficient, and economical plan of teaching. Dr. Bell did much the same kind of work at Madras, but not till Lancaster had already commenced his labours here. Joseph Lancaster was born in , , on the . When only years old, he read Clarkson's
and, it is said, was so much moved by its statements that he started from home, without the knowledge of his parents, on his way to Jamaica, to teach the
to read the Word of God. While still young, he became a member of the Society of Friends, and soon after this his attention was directed to the educational wants of the poor. The lamentable condition and useless character of the then existing schools for poor children filled his mind with pity and a desire to provide a remedy, and in he made his public efforts in education. Before this time, however, he had gathered a number of children together, and his father had provided the schoolroom rent free. When not yet eighteen, he had nearly children under instruction, many of
| whom paid no school fee. When only in his year, he had nearly a children assembled around him in his new premises in the . Mr. Lancaster had not proceeded far in his attempts before he was confronted by a great difficulty. Possessed of small means, and surrounded by pupils with no means at all, he must either relinquish his benevolent work, or discover some method of conducting his school without paid teachers and without books. In this dilemma he hit upon the plan of training the elder and more advanced children to teach and govern the young and less advanced scholars; and he denominated this method of conducting a school the |
To overcome the difficulty about books, he caused large sheets to be printed over with the necessary lessons, had them pasted on boards, and hung up on the school walls; round each lesson some or children were placed, under the care of a trained monitor. This system quickly attracted considerable notice; and in Mr. Lancaster had an interview with George III., on which occasion his Majesty uttered the memorable words,
The Duke of Bedford gave Lancaster early and cordial assistance; and the most flattering overtures were made to him in connection with the proposition that he should join the Established Church: all which, as a Dissenter, he respectfully but firmly declined. About this time Lancaster's affairs were so embarrassed, through the rapid extension of his plans of teaching, that in he placed them in the hands of trustees, and a voluntary society was formed to continue the good work which he had begun. Hence the society which, in , designated itself the
but now known simply as the
The work was subsequently taken up and put on a sound foundation by Mr. William Allen, of , a man of means, and a Quaker, who became treasurer of the institution, and whose portrait now adorns the committee's board-room. In the meantime, namely, in , the
had been started by the Church of England, in opposition to Lancaster's
From the great encouragement given to Lancaster by many persons of the highest rank, he was enabled to travel over the kingdom, for the purpose of delivering lectures, giving instructions, and establishing schools,
says his biographer in the ,
He died at New York, in , in the year of his age. His memory is now perpetuated in this neighbourhood by , a name which has within the last few years been bestowed upon , a thoroughfare crossing the in a slanting direction, connecting the southern end of with , and skirting the east side of the school-buildings. Mr. Lancaster for some years had his school-room in this street, almost within a stone's throw of the present noble building in the ; and as lately as the commencement of the present century, the little children who attended the schools were often unable to reach the school-room, because
There was a large ditch, or rather a small rivulet, which ran northwards down from , and found its way into the Thames near .
[extra_illustrations.6.366.1] may be looked upon in a threefold aspect. , it is the Society's seat of government; secondly, here are held the model schools, wherein are taught boys, and in which the Society desires to have at all times examples at hand for imitation by the branch schools, and into which, accordingly, improved methods of tuition are from time to time introduced. Thirdly, there are here some normal seminaries for the instruction of future masters, who, whilst teaching in the model class-schools, are students themselves in the art of tuition, the most practically important branch of their studies. Of the female training college in connection with the British and Foreign School Society we have spoken in our account of Stockwell.
These schools, though they profess to stand on a Nonconformist basis, are so liberal and unsectarian in their teaching that they number among their patrons many lay members of the Established Church, and even of its dignitaries, Dr, Temple, the Bishop of Exeter, and Dr. Stanley, the Dean
|of . The scholars and teachers attending the schools may be put down as comprising about per cent. of Episcopalians, pei cent. of the Baptist, and per cent. of the Congregationalist denomination.|
may be said tc have grown out of the monitorial plan of Bell and Lancaster. It was originated about , but has gradually come to be adopted in nearly all the British schools, which really, from an educational point of view, are identical in plan with the National, Wesleyan, and other schools in connection with the Education Department.
The building now under notice, which stands on the south side of the , is a large and lofty but plain edifice of storeys, consisting of a centre and wings, the latter, however, extending backwards, and partly connected with each other by buildings in the rear of the central front. It is faced with red brick, and finished off with stone dressings in the shape of cornices, &c. The edifice was commenced about the year , and occupied in . The Female Training School, which at formed part of it, was removed in , as already stated, to more spacious premises at Stockwell; and in these institutions the chief work of the British and Foreign School Society has since been carried on.
 See Vol. II., p. 200.
[extra_illustrations.6.352.1] The present edifice
 See Vol IV., p. 325.
 See Vol. V., p. 4.
 See ante, p. 346.
 See ante, p. 44.
[extra_illustrations.6.366.1] The institution in the Borough Road
 See ante, p. 329.