The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
Old College of Physicians.
It was erected after the fire of London under the superintendence and from the designs of sir Christopher Wren, in a style of architecture, and with a magnificence of form and decoration, suitable to the establishment for which it was intended, and it argues but little for the taste or judgment of the members of the college to see them deserting this handsome and appropriate structure for a portion of a dull tasteless building, without the least appearance of a collegiate character, and which they are content to share with a club house. The plan of the present building shews a spacious octangular vestibule, feet in diameter, communicating with a quadrangle about feet square, surrounded with buildings; the principal front shows stories, the lower is made into breadth in a centre and wings, the former has an arched entrance, surmounted by a pediment sustained on pair of Ionic columns; the wings are plain and finished by ballustrades; the superstructure takes an octangular form, and each face is enriched with Corinthian pilasters at the angles, and crowned with an entablature and blocking course; in each aspect of the elevation are windows, the lower lintelled and the upper oval, between the a festoon, the whole is crowned with a dome slated and surmounted with a conical lantern, ending in a gilt ball, the entire height being feet.
The vestibule communicates by means of arches with the quadrangle, the buildings which surround it are made in height into stones of the Ionic and Corinthian orders, indicated by pilasters. Above the centre of the elevation opposite the principal doorway is a pediment. The height from the ground to the apex of the pediment being feet inch. Above the vestibule is a fine theatre, feet inches in height, in a plain but appropriate style of decoration.
The buildings were in a complete state of decay owing to neglect, before the college deserted them, but having been taken by the Equitable Loan company, the whole of the edifice was substantially repaired, with the intention of carrying on the business of the company within it; to this fortuitous circumstance is the metropolis indebted for the preservation of of Wren's finest designs. On the dissolution of the company the lease was offered for sale, and eventually purchased by Mr. Tyler, a coppersmith, who now carries on his noisy business within the walls of a structure once
| dedicated to science. In its present state it may last for years, and when the mania for removing |
shall have yielded to the dictates of good sense, the college may perhaps be glad to retrograde from the share of a building it now occupies, to the old and substantial edifice which its members have so senselessly deserted.
The society's college, which was given them by Dr. Linacre, physician to king Henry VIII. was in . They afterwards removed to a house, which they purchased in Amen-corner, where Dr. Harvey built a library and a public hall, which he granted for ever to the college, and endowed it with his estate, which he resigned to them in his life-time. Part of this estate is assigned for an annual oration in commemoration of their benefactor, and to provide a good dinner for the society. This building perished in the flames, in ; after which the present edifice was erected on a piece of ground purchased by the fellows.
A little to the east of is the entrance to Newgate-market, which is kept on a commodious square piece of ground, measuring feet from east to west, and feet from north to south, with a large market-house in the centre. Under the market-house are vaults, or cellars, and the upper part of it is principally used as warehouses for fruiterers and gardeners. The shops within this building are for the sale of tripe, butter, eggs, &c. The houses that extend on each of the sides, which form the square, are most of them occupied by butchers; and the avenues that lead to the market, from and , are occupied by poulterers, fishmongers, &c.
The seal book of the dean and chapter of
says Mr. Malcolm,
Before the fire of London, this market was held in , where there was a market-house for meal, and a middle row of sheds, which were afterwards converted into houses, inhabited by butchers, tripe-sellers, &c., while the country people, who brought provisions to the city, were forced to stand with their stalls in the open street, where their persons and goods were exposed to danger, by the passage of coaches, carts, and cattle, that passed through the streets.
Part of , viz. from where conduit stood, to the place where the shambles stood, a little west of , was named Blowbladder-street; because in ancient days this spot was noted for the bladders sold therein.
On the north side is Butcher-hall-lane, which in former times was known by the name of Stinking-lane, on account of the
But its present condition is now much altered for the better, here are no slaughter-houses, nor any disagreeable filth in the street, which is
|well built and inhabited; and it takes its name from Butchers-hall which was built hereon after the fire of London.|
On the north side of the shambles was Pentecost-lane, in which was formerly the church and churchyard of St. Nicholas , or the Shambles (destroyed when was made parochial) the site was afterwards a large square, and is now Bullhead court.
In , over the entrance to Bull-head court, is a small sculpture of stone.