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

Allen, Thomas


Bridewell Hospital.


Which stands on the spot where once stood a royal palace, even before the conquest; and which continued, with some little intermission, as a royal residence till the reign of king Edward VI. It was rebuilt by king Henry VIII. in , for the reception of the emperor Charles V. who gave it the name of , on account of its vicinity to , and to a remarkable well thereunto adjoining.

King Edward VI. in the year , gave this palace to the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London, to be a working-house for the poor and idle persons of the city, and to be a house of correction, with land, late of the possessions of the house of Savoy, and all the bedding and other furniture of the said hospital of the Savoy, towards the maintenance of and the hospital of St. Thomas in . King Edward's death, soon after this grant was made, prevented the city's entering upon the premises and taking possession, till it was confirmed years after by queen Mary. Then--Gerard, the mayor, entered, and


took possession thereof: and the common council on the , in the and of Philip and Mary, passed an act towards forwarding so good a work.

Forasmuch as king Edward VI. has given his house of


unto the city, partly for the setting of idle and lewd people to work, and partly for the lodging and harbouring of the poor, sick, weak, and sore people of this city, and of poor way-faring people repairing to the same; and has for this last purpose given the bedding and furniture of the Savoy; therefore, in consideration that very great charges will be required to the fitting of the said house, and the buying of tools and bedding, they ordered the money to be gotten up amongst the rich people of the companies of London, &c.

In the time of queen Elizabeth, about the year , John Pain, a citizen, invented a mill to grind corn, which he got recommended to the lord mayor, for the use of . This mill had conveniences; was, that it would grind a greater quantity considerably than other mills of that sort could do; and the other which would render it so useful to , was, that the lame, either in arms or legs, might work at it, if they had but use of either; and accordingly these mills were termed hand-mills or foot mills.

This mill he shewed to the lord mayor, who saw it grind as much corn with the labour of men, as they did then at with ; that is to say, men with hands, bushels the hour; or men with feet, bushels the hour; if they were lame in their arms, then they might earn their livings with their legs; if lame in their legs, then they might earn their livings with their arms.

mill would grind bushels of wheat in a day; so that by computation it was reckoned, that of these would supply a persons.

In , at the city's charge, were built in those times new granaries, sufficient to contain quarters of corn, and storehouses, which would hold chaldron of coals, for the provision of the city, at the charge of or thereabouts.

The stately house built by king Henry VIII. was destroyed by fire in , and the hospital also suffered greatly by the same fire in its estates, which chiefly consisted of houses within the extent of the flames. But the governors rebuilt it, and finished it in , as it now in part stands, at the expense of and upwards.

The use of this hospital now is for a house of correction, and to be a place where all strumpets, night walkers, pick-pockets, vagrant and idle persons, that are taken up for their ill lives, as also incorrigible and disobedient servants, are committed by the mayor and aldermen, who are justices of the peace in this city.

The plan of this building formerly consisted of courts, in which the buildings are convenient and not very irregular, designed


not only for prisons and places of hard labour and punishment, but for indigent citizens; for arts-masters in several branches of trade, as flax dressers, taylors, weavers of all sorts, shoe-makers, pin-makers, &c. who formerly together retained apprentices, originally clothed in blue doublets and breeches, and white hats, but now dressed in the same manner as apprentices. They are entitled to the freedom of the city, and to each after they have served years.

Before the vast increase of insurance offices against fire, the boys were particularly active and expert in their assistance on those calamitous occasions, and were generally the to check the ravages of that destructive element.

From a report made in , the receipts of this charity appeared to be as follows:

Estatesin Bridewell precinct1,19936
 in Wapping2,642106
 in Holborn and Fleet-street206166
 in Oxfordshire18200
Annuities from royal hospitals, parishes, and public companies . 96150
Dr. Tyson's 50l. payable every 5 years 1-5th (which expires at Christmas 1804) 1000
3,550l. 3 per cent. East India annuities 100100
3,300l. 3 per cent. reduced annuities. 9900
Legacies, benefactions, and casual receipts, which amounted to 385710
Deductions from the rental for quit-rents, and insurances as per 1791 422103

The front of the building situated on the west side of , Blackfriars, has not for many years exhibited any part of the original palace. At present there is but quadrangle, as the remnants of the old structure which crossed it north and south, have been taken down for many years.

The old chapel belonging to precinct was enlarged and beautified at the cost and charge of the governors and inhabitants of the precinct in . Close by the pulpit hung a picture of Edward VI with these lines under it;

This Edward of fair memory the sixt,

In whom with greatness, goodness was commixt,



Gave this , a palace in old times,

For a chastising house of vagrant crimes.

Here also was queen Elizabeth's monument, with the common verses,

Here lies her type, &c.

The late chapel was on the floor of the eastern portion of the edifice, the east end facing ; it was of small dimensions; on the south side were windows, divided by mullions into lights, with cinquefoil arched heads; the head of the arch occupied by upright divisions; at the east end was the altar; the window above it had been closed up, as the exterior had been modernized; the roof was modern and plastered; at the north and west sides were galleries, supported by columns of the Tuscan order; at the west end were places for the hospital boys, and others for the prisoners. The walls were of brick; the wainscot and finishing very neat. The altar-piece consisted of pilasters, with their entablature, and a circular pediment of the Corinthian order, between which were the commandments. The chancel was paved with black and white marble, and at the entrance were handsome iron gates, the gift of sir William Withers, president . This chapel was pulled down about .

The present chapel is, without exception, the meanest ecclesiastical edifice in the metropolis, possessing no character as a church, and having far more the appearance of a sectarian place of worship; it occupies a portion of the east side of the court of . The west side has arched windows; the north end has a large square window divided by antae into portions above the altar; the east and south fronts are without windows. The entrance is in the latter front; in the passage leading from the street into the court are the doors, composed of iron in open work, noticed above; the interior is equally mean with the outside; it is little better than a large room without ornament; the ceiling is horizontal, and marked into pannels, which want relief; the pulpit is attached to the east wall, and the reading and clerk's desks are below it; a small gallery is erected at the south end of the building over the entrance, which contains an organ.

The prison's gloomy front occupies the south-west corner, and the hall the greater part of the south side. This vast room is paces in length and in breadth, with a handsome chimney-piece at each end, and arcades at the sides. The ceiling is horizontal, and without any other ornament than flowers where the lustres depend. Facing each other, on the north and south sides, are bow windows, ornamented with semi-domes, brackets, festoons, &c. The other windows are arched, and rows of oval apertures are extended above them. At the west end, and over the chimney, is a large picture, nearly square, by Holbein, representing Edw. VI. in the act of delivering the charter for this hospital to the mayor


and citizens of London. The king holds it in his left hand, and rests the base of the sceptre in his right hand gently on it. He is seated on the throne in a crimson robe, lined with ermine, and is crowned. The doublet is of white cloth of gold, and the legs are covered with silk stockings. The lord mayor in scarlet robes, kneels at the king's right hand, and receives the charter with the right hand, crossing the left on his breast. The head, very much thrown back, is covered by a close black cap, and he wears a small ruff. His knees rest on the steps of the throne, covered by crimson velvet; but the only of his brethren shewn kneel on the floor. of the great officers of state are placed near the king, and under the crimson canopy of the throne, which is drawn in an awkward manner across the upper part of the picture.

On the left side of this painting is a seated whole length of Charles II., and on the right another of his brother. They are both tolerably painted.

On the north wall is a full length painting of sir Richard Glyn, bart. president . He is represented in his robes of the office of mayoralty. Directly facing is a full length portrait of his son sir Richard Carr Glyn, bart. president ; above which, is inscribed

Firm to my trust.

In this apartment are also full length portraits, viz.: Sir Rob. Geffrey, knt. president ; sir Wm. Turner, knt. president , and sir Samuel Garrard, bart. president . Sir Thomas Rawlinson, president ; William Benn, esq. lord mayor, president ; sir James Sanderson, bart. president .

On the east wall is a very large picture inscribed as follows

Profligatis juxta Aldenardum Gallis, Anna Regina, Pia, Clemens, Faelix Augusta, ad aedem divi Pauli processit, solemnes Deo gratias actura, XIV. Kal. Sept


, praecunte. Gul. Withers, milite, domus hujusce praeside, Londinensi tunc temporis praetore.

The mayor is seated on a dark bay horse, covered with embossed work, and is himself most superbly decorated by embroidery.

The affairs of this hospital are managed by the governors, who are above , besides the lord mayor and court of aldermen, all of whom are likewise governors of Bethlehem hospital; for these hospitals being corporation, they have the same president, , clerk, physician, surgeon, and apothecary. This hospital, however, has its own steward, a porter, a matron, and beadles, of whom has the business of correcting the criminals.

The following is an account of the number of criminals:

Received into this hospital during the last year, 1827, under committments by the lord mayor and the aldermen of this city, as pilferers or disorderly persons, who have been kept to hard labour (or received correction)564
Apprentices sent by the chamberlain for solitary confinement24
Received into this hospital during the same period sundry poor persons who have been committed for wandering abroad and begging in the city of London132

On the south side of is and , so called from its being the site of the mansion-house of the bishops of Salisbury, which was afterwards inhabited by the earls of Dorset.

Between and the Thames, is the office belonging to the Company; a handsome brick edifice, built in a very neat and uniform style.

At the bottom of the street fronting the Thames, was formerly a magnificent and spacious theatre, called the

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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