The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
The principal front in , is a dull monotonous design, faced with Portland-stone, the lower stories being rusticated. In the centre of the basement is a large entrance; the residue of the elevation is occupied by numerous windows in regular tiers, without any pretensions to ornament, and is finished with a cornice and blocking course, in the centre of which is a pediment. The entrance leads into a court surrounded by brick buildings, spacious, and no doubt well enough suited to the purposes to which they are applied, but the whole are erected in a style so decidedly plain and unornamental, that a particular description would be fatiguing as well as uninteresting.
This is the principal office of excise in his majesty's dominions, and the business of it is conducted by commissioners, under whom are a great number of office is, both within and without the house. These receive the duties on beer, ale, and spirituous liquors: on tea, coffee, and chocolate; on malt, hops, soap, starch, candles, paper, vellum, parchment, and other exciseable commodities: for the surveying and collecting of which duties, a great number of out-door officers are employed in different districts or divisions, throughout the kingdom, to prevent frauds and losses. Before these commissioners all cases of seizure for frauds committed in the several branches of the revenue under their direction are tried: and from their determination there is no appeal except to the commissioners of appeal, who are part of themselves, for a rehearing.
At the upper end of Pinners'-court, in , stands Pinners' or Pinmakers'-hall, a modern edifice, let out as mercantile offices; the former building was a very antique edifice, principally used as a dissenting meeting-house.
On this spot, previous to the erection of Pinners' hall, was formerly a glass-house, where Venice glass was made, and Venetians
| employed in the work: and Mr. James Howel, an ingenious man in king James the firsts reign was steward to this house (who was afterwards clerk of the council to king Charles I.) When he left this place, scarce able to bear the continual heat of it, he thus wittily expressed himself, says Mr. Maitland, |
On the spot where Great and Little Winchester-streets now stand was a large house and garden, divided from Carpenter's hall on the west by a high stone wall, the property of, and built by William Paulet, marquis of Winchester, as before mentioned.
Through this garden was a foot-way, leading by the west end of the Augustine-friars church, strait north, and opened somewhat west from Allhallows church, London-wall, towards , which footway had gates at each end, locked up every night: the great house joining to the gardens stretched to the north corner of , and then turned up the said street, to the east end of Augustine-friars church, which the lord Winchester pulled down, except the west end thereof.
The remains of this extensive pile are known as