The million-peopled city

Garwood, John


The Enterprise of Mr. Shillibeer, in starting Omnibuses in the English Metropolis, the Difficulties he encountered, and his subsequent Ruin.


It is somewhat interesting to trace from its first small commencement what has now become so very important a


social feature in our metropolitan habits. The early history of these vehicles, and of the gentleman who first introduced them in this country, is thus given in a letter of the Special Correspondent, inserted in the " Morning Chronicle" of , :-

" It was not until July 4, , that , now the proprietor of the patent mourning-coaches, started the first omnibus. . . . The first omnibus, or rather the first pair of these vehicles, for Mr. started 2, ran from the Bank to the Yorkshire Stingo. Mr. was a naval officer, and in his youth stepped from a midshipman's duties into the business of a coach-builder, learning that business from the late Mr. Hatchet, of Long Acre. Mr. then established himself in business in , as a builder of English carriages, a demand for which had sprung up after the Peace, when the current of English travel was directed strongly to . In this speculation Mr. was eminently successful. He built carriages for Prince Polignac, and others of the most influential men under the dynasty of the elder branch of the Bourbons, and had a bazaar for the sale of his vehicles. He was thus occupied in , in , when Mr. Lafitte first started the omnibuses which are now in common use, and so well managed, in the French capital. Lafitte was the banker (afterwards the minister) of Louis Philippe, and the most active man in establishing the Messageries Royales. Five or six years after the omnibus had been successfully introduced into , was employed by to build 2 in a superior style. In executing this order, thought that so comfortable and con- venient a mode of conveyance might be advantageously introduced into London. He accordingly disposed of his Parisian establishment, and came to London, and started his omnibuses, as I have narrated. In order that the


introduction might have every chance of success, and have the full prestige of respectability, brought over with him from 2 youths, both the sons of British naval officers, and the young gents were for a few weeks his ' conductors.' They were smartly dressed in 'blue cloth and togs,' to use the words of my informant, after the fashion of Mr. Lafitte's conductors, each dress costing 51. Their addressing any foreigner in French, and the French style of the affair, gave rise to the opinion that Mr. was a Frenchman, and that the English were indebted to a foreigner for the improvement of their vehicular transit; whereas had served in the British navy, and was born in Tottenham Court-road. His speculation was particularly and at once successful. His 2 vehicles carried each 22, and were filled every journey. The form was that of the present omnibus, but larger and roomier, as the 22 were all accommodated inside, no one being on the outside but the driver. Three horses, yoked abreast, were used to draw these carriages. There were, for many days, until the novelty wore off, crowds assembled to see the omnibuses start; and many ladies and gentlemen took their places in them to the Yorkshire Stingo, in order that they might have the pleasure of riding back again. The fare was 1s. for the whole, and 6d. for half the distance, and each omnibus made 12 journeys to and fro every day. Thus established a diversity of fares, regulated by distance; a regu- lation which was afterwards in a great measure abandoned by omnibus proprietors, and then re-established on our present 3d. and 6d. payments, the 'long-uns' and the 'short-uns.' receipts were 1001. a-week. At first, he provided a few books, chiefly magazines, for the perusal of his customers; but this peripatetic library was discontinued, for the customers (I give the words of my informant) 'boned the books.' When the young-gent conductors retired


from their posts they were succeeded by persons hired by , and liberally paid, who were attired in a sort of velvet livery..... The short-stage proprietors were loud in their railings against what they were pleased to describe as a French innovation. In the course of from six to nine months, Mr. had twelve omnibuses at work. He feels convinced that had he started fifty omni- buses instead of two in the first instance, a fortune might have been realized. In -2, his omnibuses became gene- ral in the great street thoroughfares; and as the short stages were run off the road, the proprietors started omnibuses in opposition to Mr. S. The first omnibuses, however, started after Mr. 's were not in opposition. They were the Caledonians, and were the property of Mr. 's brother-in-law. The third started, which were two-horse vehicles, were foolishly enough called, ' Les Dames Blanches;' but as the name gave rise to much low wit, it was abandoned. The original omnibuses were called s, from the name of their originator, on the panels; and the name is still prevalent on those conveyances in New York, which affords us another proof that not in his own country is a benefactor honoured, until; perhaps, his death makes honour as little worth as an epitaph. The opposition omnibuses, however, continued to increase, as more and more short stages were abandoned, and one oppositionist called his omnibuses s, so that the real and the sham were not known in the streets. The opposition became fiercer. The 'busses,' as they came to be called in a year or two, crossed each other, or raced, or drove their poles reck- lessly into the back of one another; and accidents, and squabbles, and loitering, grew so frequent, and the time of the police magistrates was so much occupied with 'omnibus business,' that, in , the matter was mentioned in Parlia- ment as a nuisance requiring a remedy; and in a Bill


was brought in by the Government, and passed, for the ' regulations of omnibuses,' (as well as other conveyances,) 'in and near the metropolis.' Two sessions after, Mr. Alderman Wood brought in a Bill for ' the better regulation of omni- buses,' which was also passed; and one of the provisions of the Bill was, that the drivers and conductors of omnibuses should be licensed. The office of Registrar of Licenses was promised by a Noble Lord in office to Mr. (as I am informed on good authority), but the appointment was given to the present Commissioner of City Police, and the office next to the principal was offered to Mr. , which that gentleman declined to accept. The reason as- signed for not appointing him to the Registrarship was, that he was connected with omnibuses. At the beginning of , Mr. abandoned his metropolis trade, and commenced running omnibuses from London to and Woolwich, employing 20 carriages and 120 horses; but the increase of steamers, and the opening of the Railway in , affected this trade so materially that Mr. fell into arrears with his payments to the Stamp Office, and seizure of his property, and re-seizures after money was paid, entailed such heavy expenses, and such hinderance to Mr. 's business, that his failure ensued. I have been somewhat full in my details of Mr. 's career, as his procedures are, in truth, the history of the transit of the metropolis, as regards omnibuses."

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 Title Page
Chapter I: Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
A distinct Class from Adult Thieves
Their extreme Youth, and sometimes Childhood
Great Severity of British, as compared with French, Law on Juvenile Offenders
Their especial Claim, when resident in London
Their supposed Numbers
The Classes from which they are drawn
The Training for Crime which they receive
Their Gradations in Proficiency
Importance of Missionary Operations among this Class
The Ragged School Movement
The Connexion of the Ragged schools with the Operations of the London City Mission
Ragged Schools in an especial manner free from the Difficulties of Difference of Creed and Interference with the Duties of Parents
Early Approaches to the Ragged School System
The first Ragged School in Lonon, as established in 'the Old Stable' at Westminster
The Report of this School, as printed by Order of the House of Commons
Mr. Charles Dicken's Account of the Plot of Ground on which this School stood, called 'The Devil's Acre'
Letter of the Children of this School to the City Missionary
New Pye-street Girls' School, April 10, 1843
Dickens's narrative of Emigrants from this School
The Field-lane ragged School described, as a second Illustration of these Institutions
Description of the adjacent notorious 'Thieves' Houses'
Formation of the School
Dickens's Narrative of different Visits to this School, and of the Improvements effected in the interim
Narrative of a Visit to this School, from 'Chambers's Edinburgh Journal'
This School first interested Lord Shaftesbury in the 'Movement'
Erection of a New Schoolroom with a large Dormitory
Review of the subsequent Progress of London Ragged Schools to the present Time
Industrial Schools
Sergeant Adams's Eulogy of the Efforts of Ragged School Teachers
Three Cases of Usefulness from the Ragged School Union Magazine
Case of Usefulness reported to the Author by a Clergyman
Two other Cases of Usefulness from the 'London City Mission Magazine'
The Shoe-blacks a most remarkable Illustration of the Success of the Efforts made to benefit this Class
Broomers, and how they might be made to cleanse London
Steppers and Ragged Nursery
Comparison of the Expenses of Schools and Prisons
The especial Claims of Girls
Voluntary Effort, and that by the Masses, rather than Government Aid, to be especially rested on
Appointment of a Missionary by the London City Mission
Importance of Increased Exertions, in order to bring the whole of this Class under Ragged School Instrution
Concluding Remarks
Chapter II: Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals fit Adornments to the two Shores of England's Metropolis
Greenwich Hospital
The Pensioners
Their Ages
Their Present Number
The Yearly Deaths
The Infirmary for the Sick and Dying
Religious and moral Character of the Pensioners, and Providsion made for their Instruction
The Pensioners not allowed to marry, and the bad Effects of this Rule
The Royal Hospital Schools
Law Agency in a peculiar manner important with these Men
The London City Mission, the only Agency of this Character in the Hospital
Need of a Second Paid Lay Visitor
Description of the Meeting of Pensioners held daily by the Missionary
Striking Cases of Usefulness among the Pensioners by this Agency
In A.D. 1851
In A.D. 1852
In A.D. 1853
Case of Usefulness among Out-pensioners, from the Scripture Readers' Association 'Occasional paper'
Chelsea Hospital
Its Origin
Nell Gwynne's Grant of the Building
Number of In-pensioners admitted
Their Character
The Pensioners' Opinions of the late Duke of Wellington, and of Lying-in-State
The Crowds of the Public who assembled to see the Spectacle
Number of Out-pensioners in different Years, according to the Prevalence of Peace or War
The immense Cost of the Pensioners to the nation, even at the Present Day
The Hotel des Invalides in Paris, established before Chelsea Hospital in London, and a Standing Army established in France before its Establishment in Enbland
How the Disabled and Aged Soldier was previously supported in this Country
The College was not completed till the Revolution
The Interest of William the Third and Fourth in the College
The College is for Invalids also
Ages of the Pensioners
Number of Deaths annually
The Burial-ground of Chelsea Hospital, and its Remarkable Epitaphs
Burial Registers
The Funeral of a Pensioner described
Flags and Trophies recently removed from St. Paul's Cathedral to Chelsea Hospital
Specimens of Certificates of Service given to Pensioners on their Admission to the College by their Commanding Officers
The Clasps worn by Pensioners to denote the Number of Battles in which they have engaged
Guard kept at the College in Military Style
Foreigners and different Creeds among the Pensioners
The heavy Manner in which Time hangs on their Hands
Cards, &c. introduced by the Authorities of the College to remedy this
Library, and its Defects
Gardening introduced by Lord John Russell
These Gardens were the former famed Ranelagh
Great Abuses in the Management of Chelsea Hospital abolished by Lord John Russell
Regulations as to Marriage more favourable to Morals at Chelsea than at Greenwich
The Royal Military Asylum for Boys
The Wellington Fund now raising for the Children of Officers
Gratitude of the Pensioners for Religious Instruction, and their Visit to City Missionaries, when the latter had been ill
Their Interest in Religious Tracts
Their Desire of Further Instruction
Number of Out-pensioners resident in the Metropolis
Facilities for, and Importance of, Benefitting these Men
Extracts from the Reports of a Missionary of the London City Mission
The especial Claims which Pensioners present on the Christian Benevolence of the Nation, and not of the Inhabitants of London only
Thankfulness for Peace
Immense Cost of War as compared with the Insignificant Amount which would now add greatly to their Comfort, and promote their Best Interests
Danger of Delay with Men so Aged
Chapter III: The London Cab-Driver
The London Cab-Driver
The Introduction of Coaches into London in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
The riding Horses in previous Use
Coaches when introduced only by the very Highest Class of Society, and regarded as an effeminacy
On other Classes beginning the use of Coaches, the higher Classes continued to add to the Number of the Horses by which their Coaches were drawn, in order to retain a Superiority
The Introduction of Hackney Coaches kept at Inns, in the Reign of James I
Hackney Coach-stands in the Public Streets established
These Prohibited by the Proclamations of succeeding Kings, but in vain
The Two Centuries of Hackney-coach continuance
The Last Days of London Hackney-coaches
The Cabriolets of Paris
Their subsequent Introduction in London
The immense Increase in their Number during the Twenty Years of their Existence
Their present Number
The Cab-driver
The extensive Use of London Cabs on Sundays, and its injurious Effects on the Drivers
The Extortion complained of in Cabmen
The unlicensed Driver, and the extreme Depravity of this Class
Cab-drivers as a Body exposed to unjust Odium
Recent Alteration in the System of Licensing, and its Effects
Great Difference in the Character of London Cab-stands
The Waterman
First Efforts for the Religious Welfare of Cabmen as a Body, as made by the London City Mission
A Missionary appointed by that Society to visit them, and his Great Success
A Second Missionary appointed, but soon discontinued, through want of Funds for his Support
Cases recorded of his Usefulness
The Emigration of the First Missionary, and the Appointment of his Successor, with Review of his Efforts and Success
Cases of Usefulness recorded by the Cab Missionary of the London City Mission, last Year
Chapter IV: The London Omnibus Man
The London Omnibus Man
The Introduction of Omnibuses into London, and their previous Establishment in Paris
The Enterprise of Mr. Shillibeer, in starting Omnibuses in the English Metropolis, the Difficulties he encountered, and his subsequent Ruin
The Paris and London Omnibuses of the present day compared
The constant Litigation between the Proprietors of London Omnibuses after Mr. Shillibeer's Failure, and the consequent Establishment of large Omnibus Companies for the sake of Mutual Protection
The Immense Amount of the Capital and Annual Expenditure of the London Omnibus Trade
The vast Sums of Money spent by the London Population in Omnibus Riding
The Large Amount of Revenue which London Omnibuses produce to the Government
The very small Number of Omnibuses in the remainder of England, as compared with the Number in London
The almost incredible Length of Distance traversed periodically by the London Omnibuses
The constant Increase in the Number of London Omnibuses
The Metropolitan Omnibus Traffic greater in the Number of Passengers than the Metropolitan Railway Traffic
The Condition of the London Omnibus Men, and their present Numbers
Their Sunday Occupation in the Metropolis of a professedly Christian Country scarcely less than on Week-days, and sometimes greater, while an Extreme Amount of Toil is imposed on them during the Week
Lord Shaftesbury's Testimony of the Success of an Omnibus Proprietor who Discontinued Sunday Work
Testimonies as to the Toil of Omnibus-men from the Early Closed Association
From an Occasional paper of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society
From the Rev. J. T. Baylee's 'Statistics and Facts in reference to the Lord's-day'
Extract from 'Silverpen' as to the Wives and Families of Omnibus Servants
Medical Testimony as to the Injury of Labour so hard on the Constitution of the Men
Testimonies given to Mr. Mayhew as to the Severity of the Labour, by a Driver, a Conductor, and a Time-keeper
Their Wages
Their Temptations to Drink
Their Temptations to Embezzlement
Urgent Appeal as to the Heathenism of so Large a Body of Men
Reference to the Efforts of the London City Mission, in a Pamphlet entitled 'The Omnibus Men of London'
Recent Efforts of Omnibus Servants themselves to Improve their Condition
The Grand Junction Omnibus Comopany
The Introduction of Omnibuses has brought more together the different Parts of London
Concluding Appeal
Chapter V: The Irish of London
The Irish of London
Their Numbers
Their Country and their Race
St. Patrick
Subsequent Wars
Conquest of Ireland by Henry II, and its subsequent Oppression by the English
The Reformation in Ireland
The Protestant Colony of Ulster Established
The Battle of the Boyne, and its Consequences
The Union
Remarkable Increase of Population in Ireland during the close of the 18th and the commencement of the 19th Centuries
The pleasing Peculiarities in the irish Character
Their Hospitality
Their strong Natural Affection
The Native irish Poor more virtuous than the English Poor
Even the Good Qualities of the Irish cause them especially to need Faithful and Judicious Counsel and Visitation
Their Claim as Immigrants into, to them, a Strange Land
The Excellences of the Irish Character are beheld in London in their rudest form
How Popery has Marred and Debased the Irish Character
The Irish have been made thereby Idle
They have no Proper Feeling of Independence
Their Disloyalty
Their Spirit of Persecution and Hatred to Protestants
The Irish of London require 100 Missionaries or Scripture-readers, in order that the Gospel may be brought to their Abodes
The same Agency, for the effecting the same Results, is what is especially required for the Irish of London
Cardinal Wiseman's recent Denunciation of this Agency in London
Soundness of Protestant Feeling among the English working-classes
'The testimony of no single missionary is materially different'
The Persecution which the recent London Converts have had to endure
General Expectations of Irish Romanists that Ireland will soon become a Protestant, and England a Popish Country
The Causes of the Extensive Immigration of Irish to London in Recent Years
The better Class of Poor emigrate from Ireland to America, and the worst Class to London
The Divisions of the Irish of London into Cockneys and Grecians
The Irish of London, as divided into Connaught and Munster Men
Immigration of Immoral Irish Women
The Numbers of the Irish of London who can read English and Irish respectively estimated
Irish Protestants possess more Scriptual Knowledge than English Protestants
Extreme Ignorance on Scriptural Subjects of Irish Romanists, illustrated by Examples
The Irish, on arriving in London, rapidly lose their previous Religious Habits
London considered by the Irish as an Infidel City, in which, without Loss of Character, they may live in the Neglect of all Religious Observances
The Prevalence of Drunkness among the Irish and English compared
The Rookeries are the Parts of London in which the Irish Chiefly dwell
The Occupations of the Irish of London
Especial Suitableness of Irish Scripture-readers and Misisonaries for Irish Districts and the more Especial Facilities with which they may be obtained
Future Hopes
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