The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


Bethlehem Hospital.


This hospital, as observed before in the survey of Bishopsgate ward, was founded for lunatics, near the north-east corner of the Lower , in Bishopsgate parish. But that becoming ruinous, and unable to answer the ends of that laudable charity, the lord-mayor, aldermen, and common-council, granted the governors a piece of ground, on the south side of ; the foundation was laid in , and the building was completed at an expense of

This was a magnificent building, feet long, and feetbroad, besides the wings, which were added in . The middle and ends, which projected a little, were adorned with pilasters, entablatures, foliages, &c. and, rising above the rest of the building, had each a flat roof, with a handsome ballustrade of stone, and in the centre an elegant turret, adorned with a clock, a gilt ball, and a fane at the top. The wings were in no wise inferior to the rest of the building; and were peculiarly set apart for incurables. The whole was built of brick and stone; and inclosed by a handsome wall, feet long, built of the same materials. In the centre of this wall, which formed a grand semicircular sweep, was a large pair of fine iron gates, with a small entrance on each side, for passengers: and on the piers, upon which those gates hung, were images or statues in a reclining posture, representing raving, the other melancholy madness, finely expressed. They were executed by C. G. Cibber.

The inside of this extensive structure consisted of galleries, over the other, which crossed the wings, and were yards in length, feet broad, and feet high, without including the cells or the patients, which were feet deep. These galleries were divided in the middle by iron grates, in order to separate the men from the women; the women's ward being confined to the western part, and the men's ward to the eastern part of the hospital. At the entrance, between these grates in the lower gallery, and on the right hand, close to the porter's lodge, was a handsome apartment for the steward, who is the manager, under the direction of the committee: on the left hand was the committee room, where they received and discharged patients. At each end of this gallery, the warder of the division had a particular apartment. Above these were commodious apartments for the porter, matron, nurse, and servants. Below stairs there was a good kitchen, and all necessary offices for keeping and dressing provisions, washing, &c.



And at the south-east corner, was a bath for the patients, so contrived as to be hot or cold, as occasion required.

The number of cells, or rooms for patients, were about , and were generally full and furnished with a bed.

The increased value of the ground in the neighbourhood of and Finsbury, in consequence of the erection of many respectable buildings there, and the daily decaying state of the hospital just described, occasioned a plan to be suggested for removing this establishment to some other situation, in the early part of the present century. In furtherance of which design, the governors of Bethlehem and hospitals, (both these foundations having been directed by the same body, ever since the reign of Edward VI.) obtained from the city, in , under the authority of an act of parliament of the preceding session, nearly acres of ground in fields, in exchange for the site of the old hospital, which was soon after pulled down, and the present formed on part of its site.


[] Vide ante, p. 145.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward