1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/London
LONDON, the capital of England and of the British Empire, and the greatest city in the world, lying on each side of the river Thames 50 m. above its mouth. The “City,” so called both formally and popularly, is a small area (673 acres) on the north bank of the river, forming the heart of the metropolis, and constituting within its boundaries one only, and one of the smallest, of twenty-nine municipal divisions which make up the administrative County of London. The twenty-eight remaining divisions are the Metropolitan Boroughs. The county thus defined has an extreme length (E. to W.) of 16 m., an extreme breadth (N. to S.) of 111 m., and an area of 74,839 acres or about 117 sq. m. The boroughs are as follows:—
1. North of the Thames.—Touching the northern boundary of the county, from W. to E.—Hammersmith, Kensington, Paddington, Hampstead, St Pancras, Islington, Stoke Newington, Poplar.
Bounded by the Thames—Fulham, Chelsea, the City of Westminster (here the City of London intervenes), Stepney, Poplar.
Between Westminster, the City and Stepney, and the northern boroughs—St Marylebone (commonly Marylebone), Holborn, Finsbury, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green.
2. South of the Thames.—Wandsworth, Battersea, Lambeth, Southwark, Camberwell, Bermondsey, Deptford, Lewisham, Greenwich, Woolwich (with a small part of the north bank).
These names are all in common use, though their formal application is in some cases extended over several districts of which the ancient names remain familiar. Each borough is noticed in a separate article.
The County of London is bounded N. and W. by Middlesex, E. by Essex and Kent, S. by Kent and Surrey. The Metropolitan police area, or “Greater London,” however, embraces the whole of Middlesex, with parts of the other three counties and of Hertfordshire. Its extent is 443,419 acres or nearly 693 sq. m., and its population is about seven millions. Only here and there upon its fringe the identity of this great area with the metropolis is lost to the eye, where open country remains unbroken by streets or close-set buildings.
Site.—North of the Thames, and west of its tributary the Lea, which partly bounds the administrative county on the east, London is built upon a series of slight undulations, only rarely sufficient to make the streets noticeably steep. On the northern boundary of the county a height of 443 ft. is found on the open Hampstead Heath. The lesser streams which flow from this high ground to the Thames are no longer open. Some, however, as well as other natural features effaced by the growth of the city, retain an historical interest through the survival of their names in streets and districts, or through their relation to the original site of London (in the present City). South of the Thames a broken amphitheatre of low hills, approaching the river near Greenwich and Woolwich on the east and Putney and Richmond on the west, encloses a tract flatter than that to the north, and rises more abruptly in the southern districts of Streatham, Norwood and Forest Hill.
In attempting to picture the site of London in its original condition, that is, before any building took place, it is necessary to consider (1) the condition of the Thames unconfined between made banks, (2) the slopes overlooking it, (3) the tributary streams which watered these slopes. The low ground between the slight hills flanking the Thames valley, and therefore mainly south of the present river, was originally occupied by a shallow lagoon of estuarine character, tidal, and interspersed with marshy tracts and certain islets of relatively firm land. Through this the main stream of the Thames pursued an ill-defined course. The tributary streams entered through marshy channels. The natural process of sedimentation assisted the gradual artificial drainage of the marshes by means of embankments confining the river. The breadth of this low tract, from Chelsea downward, was from 2 to 3 m. The line of the foot of the southern hills, from Putney, where it nearly approaches the present river, lies through Stockwell and Camberwell to Greenwich, where it again approaches the river. On the north there is a flat tract between Chelsea and Westminster, covering Pimlico, but from Westminster down to the Tower there is a marked slope directly up from the river bank. Lower still, marshes formerly extended far up the valley of the Lea. The higher slopes of the hills were densely forested (cf. the modern district-name St John’s Wood), while the lower slopes, north of the river, were more open (cf. Moor-gate). The original city grew up on the site of the City of London of the present day, on a slight eminence intersected by the Wal- or Wall-brook, and flanked on the west by the river Fleet.
These and other tributary streams have been covered in and built over (in some cases serving as sewers), but it is possible to trace their valleys at various points by the fall and rise of streets crossing them, and their names survive, as will be seen, in various modern applications. The Wallbrook rose in a marsh in the modern district of Finsbury, and joined the Thames close to the Cannon Street railway bridge. A street named after it runs south from the Mansion House parallel with its course. The Fleet was larger, rising in, and collecting various small streams from, the high ground of Hampstead. It passed Kentish Town, Camden Town and King’s Cross, and followed a line approximating to King’s Cross Road. The slope of Farringdon Road, where crossed by Holborn Viaduct, and of New Bridge Street, Blackfriars, marks its course exactly, and that of Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill its steep banks. The name also appears in Fleet Road, Hampstead. From King’s Cross downward the banks were so steep and high that the stream was called
|Emery Walker sc.|
Hollow or Hole-bourne, this name surviving in Holborn; and it was fed by numerous springs (Bagnigge Well, Clerkenwell and others) in this vicinity. It entered a creek which was navigable for a considerable distance, and formed a subsidiary harbour for the City, but by the 14th century this was becoming choked with refuse, and though an attempt was made to clear it, and wharves were built in 1670, it was wholly arched over in 1737–1765 below Holborn Bridge. Continuing westward, the most important stream was Tyburn (q.v.), which rose at Hampstead, and joined the Thames through branches on either side of Thorney Island, on which grew up the great ecclesiastical foundation of St Peter, Westminster, better known as Westminster Abbey. There is no modern survival of the name of Tyburn, which finds, indeed, its chief historical interest as attaching to the famous place of execution which lay near the modern Marble Arch. The residential district in this vicinity was known at a later date as Tyburnia. The next stream westward was the Westbourne, the name of which is perpetuated in Westbourne Grove and elsewhere in Paddington. It rose on the heights of Hampstead, traversed Paddington, may be traced in the course of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, ran parallel to and east of Sloane Street, and joined the Thames close to Chelsea Bridge. The main tributaries of the Thames from the north, to east and west of those described, are not covered, nor is any tributary of importance from the south entirely concealed.
Geology.—London lies within the geological area known as the London basin. Within the confines of Greater London the chalk which forms the basement of this area appears at the surface in isolated patches about Greenwich, while its main line approaches within 10 m. of the City to the south and within 15 to the north-west. In the south and north-west the typical London clay is the principal formation. In the south-east, however, the Blackheath and Woolwich pebble-beds appear, with their belts of Thanet sands bordering the chalk. Valley gravel borders the Thames, with some interruptions, from Kingston to Greenwich, and extends to a wide belt, with ramifications, from Wandsworth south to Croydon, and in a narrower line from Greenwich towards Bromley. Brick earth overlies it from Kensington to Brentford and west thereof, and appears in Chelsea and Fulham, Hornsey and Stoke Newington, and in patches south of the Thames between Battersea and Richmond. The main deposits of alluvium occur below Lambeth and Westminster, and in the valley of the Wandle, which joins the Thames from the south near Putney. In the north and west the clay is interspersed with patches of plateau gravel in the direction of Finchley (where boulder clay also appears), Enfield and Barnet; and of Bagshot sands on Hampstead Heath and Harrow Hill. Gravel is found on the high ground about Richmond Park and Wimbledon. (See further Middlesex.)
Climate.—The climate is equable (though excessive heat is sometimes felt for short periods during the summer) and moist, but healthy. Snow is most common in the early months of the year. The fogs of London have a peculiar and perhaps an exaggerated notoriety. They are apt to occur at all seasons, are common from September to February, and most common in November. The atmosphere of London is almost invariably misty in a greater or less degree, but the denser fogs are generally local and of no long duration. They sometimes cause a serious dislocation of railway and other traffic. Their principal cause is the smoke from the general domestic use of coal. The evil is of very long standing, for in 1306 the citizens petitioned Edward I. to prohibit the use of sea-coal, and he made it a capital offence. The average temperature of the hottest month, July, is 64°.4 F.; of the coldest, January, 37°.9; and the mean annual 50°.4. The mean annual rainfall ranges in different parts of the metropolis from about 201 to 271 in.
London as a whole owes nothing in appearance to the natural configuration of its site. Moreover, the splendid building is nearly always a unit; seldom, unless accidentally, a component part of a broad effect. London has not grown up along formal lines; nor is any large part of it laid out according to the conceptions of a single generation. Yet not a few of the great thoroughfares and buildings are individually worthy of London’s preeminence as a city. The most notable of these fall within a circumscribed area, and it is therefore necessary to preface their consideration with a statement of the broader characteristic divisions of the metropolis.
Characteristic Divisions.—In London north of the Thames, the salient distinction lies between West and East. From the western boundary of the City proper, an area covering the greater part of the city of Westminster, and extending into Chelsea, Kensington, Paddington and Marylebone, is exclusively associated with the higher-class life of London. Within the bounds of Westminster are the royal palaces, the government offices and many other of the finest public buildings, and the wider area specified includes the majority of the residences of the wealthier classes, the most beautiful parks and the most fashionable places of recreation. “Mayfair,” north of Piccadilly, and “Belgravia,” south of Knightsbridge, are common though unofficial names for the richest residential districts. The “City” bears in the great commercial buildings fringing its narrow streets all the marks of a centre of the world’s exchanges. East of it there is an abrupt transition to the district commonly known as the “East End,” as distinguished from the wealthy “West End,” a district of mean streets, roughly coincident with the boroughs of Stepney and Poplar, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, and primarily (though by no means exclusively) associated with the problems attaching to the life of the poor. On the Thames below London Bridge, London appears in the aspect of one of the world’s great ports, with extensive docks and crowded shipping. North London is as a whole residential: Hackney, Islington and St Pancras consist mainly of dwellings of artisans and the middle classes; while in Hampstead, St Marylebone and Paddington are many terraces and squares of handsome houses. Throughout the better residential quarters of London the number of large blocks of flats has greatly increased in modern times. But even in the midst of the richest quarters, in Westminster and elsewhere, small but well-defined areas of the poorest dwellings occur.
London south of the Thames has none of the grander characteristics of the wealthy districts to the north. Poor quarters lie adjacent to the river over the whole distance from Battersea to Greenwich, merging southward into residential districts of better class. London has no single well-defined manufacturing quarter.
Suburbs.—Although the boundary of the county of London does not, to outward appearance, enclose a city distinct from its suburbs, London outside that boundary may be conveniently considered as suburban. Large numbers of business men and others who must of necessity live in proximity to the metropolis have their homes aloof from its centre. It is estimated that upwards of a million daily enter and leave the City alone as the commercial heart of London, and a great proportion of these travel in and out by the suburban railways. In this aspect the principal extension of London has been into the counties of Kent and Surrey, to the pleasant hilly districts about Sydenham, Norwood and Croydon, Chislehurst and Orpington, Caterham, Redhill and Reigate, Epsom, Dorking and Leatherhead; and up the valley of the Thames through Richmond to Kingston and Surbiton, Esher and Weybridge, and the many townships on both the Surrey and the Middlesex shores of the river. On the west and north the residential suburbs immediately outside the county include Acton and Ealing, Willesden, Highgate, Finchley and Hornsey; from the last two a densely populated district extends north through Wood Green and Southgate to Barnet and Enfield; while the “residential influence” of the metropolis far exceeds these limits, and may be observed at Harrow and Pinner, Bushey and Boxmoor, St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage and many other places. To the north-east the beauty of Epping Forest attracts numerous residents to Woodford, Chingford and Loughton. The valley of the Lea is also thickly populated, but chiefly by an industrial population working in the numerous factories along this river. The Lea separates the county of London from Essex, but the townships of West Ham and Stratford, Barking and Ilford, Leyton and Walthamstow continue the metropolis in this direction almost without a break. Their population is also largely occupied in local manufacturing establishments; while numerous towns on either bank of the lower Thames share in the industries of the port of London.
Streets.—The principal continuous thoroughfares within the metropolis, though each bears a succession of names, are coincident with the main roads converging upon the capital from all parts of England. On the north of the Thames two great thoroughfares from the west meet in the heart of the City. The northern enters the county in Hammersmith as Uxbridge Road, crosses Kensington and borders the north side of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as Bayswater Road. It then bears successively the names of Oxford Street, New Oxford Street and High Holborn; enters the City, becomes known as Holborn Viaduct from the fact that it is there carried over other streets which lie at a lower level, and then as Newgate Street and Cheapside. The southern highway enters Hammersmith, crosses the centre of Kensington as Kensington Road and High Street, borders Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as Kensington Gore and Knightsbridge, with terraces of fine residences, and merges into Piccadilly. This beautiful street, with its northward branches, Park Lane, from which splendid houses overlook Hyde Park, and Bond Street, lined with handsome shops, may be said to focus the fashionable life of London. The direct line of the thoroughfare is interrupted after Piccadilly Circus (the term “circus” is frequently applied to the open space—not necessarily round—at the junction of several roads), but is practically resumed in the Strand, with its hotels, shops and numerous theatres, and continued through the City in Fleet Street, the centre of the newspaper world, and Ludgate Hill, at the head of which is St Paul’s Cathedral. Thence it runs by commercial Cannon Street to the junction with Cheapside and several other busy streets. At this junction stand the Royal Exchange, the Mansion House (the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London) and the Bank of England, from which this important point in the communications of London is commonly known as “Bank.” From the east two main roads similarly converge upon the City, which they enter by Aldgate (the suffix in this and other names indicating the former existence of one of the City gates). The southern of these highways, approaching through the eastern suburbs as Barking Road, becomes East India Docks Road in Poplar and Commercial Road East in Stepney. The continuous thoroughfare of 12 m. between Hammersmith and the East India Docks illustrates successively every phase of London life. The northern road enters from Stratford and is called Bow Road, Mile End Road, Whitechapel Road and High Street, Whitechapel. From the north of England two roads preserve communication-lines from the earliest times. The Old North Road, entering London from the Lea valley through Hackney and Shoreditch as Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington Road and Kingsland Road, reaches the City by Bishopsgate. The straight highway from the north-west which as Edgware Road joins Oxford Street at the Marble Arch (the north-eastern entrance to Hyde Park) is coincident with the Roman Watling Street. The Holyhead and Great North Roads, uniting at Barnet, enter London by branches through Hampstead and through Highgate, between the Old North and Edgware roads. South of the Thames the thoroughfares crossing the river between Lambeth and Bermondsey converge upon two circuses, St George’s and the Elephant and Castle. At the second of these points the majority of the chief roads from the southern suburbs and the south of England are collected. Among them, the Old Kent Road continues the southern section of Watling Street, from Dover and the south-east, through Woolwich and across Blackheath. The road through Streatham, Brixton and Kennington, taking name from these districts successively, is the principal southern highway. The Portsmouth Road from the south-west is well marked as far as Lambeth, under the names of Wandsworth, High Street, St John’s Hill, Lavender Hill and Wandsworth Road.
Thames Embankments.—The Thames follows a devious course through London, and the fine embankments on its north side, nowhere continuing uninterruptedly for more than 2 m., do not form important thoroughfares, with the exception of the Victoria Embankment. Mostly they serve rather as beautiful promenades. One of them begins over against Battersea Bridge. Its finest portion is the Chelsea Embankment, fronting Battersea Park across the river, shaded by a pleasant avenue and lined with handsome houses. It continues, with some interruptions, nearly as far as the Houses of Parliament. Below these the grandest of the embankments extends to the City at Blackfriars. It was formed in 1864–1870, and is named the Victoria Embankment, though its popular title is “The Embankment” simply. Open gardens fringe it in part on the landward side, and it is lined with fine public and private buildings. The bold sweep of the Thames, here some 300 yds. wide, the towers of Westminster on the one hand and the dome of St Paul’s on the other, make up a fine prospect. Below London Bridge the river is embanked for a short distance in front of the Tower of London, and above Westminster Bridge the Albert Embankment extends for nearly 1 m. along the south bank.
Bridges.—Fourteen road-bridges cross the Thames within the county of London. Of these London Bridge, connecting the City with Southwark and Bermondsey, stands first in historical interest and in importance as a modern highway. The old bridge, famous for many generations, bearing its rows of houses and its chapel in the centre, was completed early in the 13th century. It was 308 yds. long and had twenty narrow arches, through which the tides formed dangerous rapids. It stood just below the existing bridge, which was built of granite by John Rennie and his son Sir John Rennie, and completed in 1831. A widening to accommodate the growth of traffic, after being frequently discussed for many years, was completed in 1904, by means of corbels projecting on either side, without arresting traffic during the work. There was no bridge over the Thames below London Bridge until 1894, when the Tower Bridge was opened. This is a suspension bridge with a central portion, between two lofty and massive stone towers, consisting of bascules which can be raised by hydraulic machinery to admit the passage of vessels. The bridge is both a remarkable engineering work, and architecturally one of the finest modern structures in London. The bridges in order above London Bridge are as follows, railway-bridges being bracketed—Southwark, (Cannon Street), (Blackfriars), Blackfriars, Waterloo, (Hungerford—with a footway), Westminster, Lambeth, Vauxhall, (Grosvenor), Victoria, Albert, Battersea, (Battersea), Wandsworth, (Putney), Putney and Hammersmith. Waterloo Bridge, the oldest now standing within London, is the work of John Rennie, and was opened in 1817. It is a massive stone structure of nine arches, carrying a level roadway, and is considered one of the finest bridges of its kind in the world. The present Westminster Bridge, of iron on granite piers, was opened in 1862, but another preceded it, dating from 1750; the view from which was appreciated by Wordsworth in his sonnet beginning “Earth has not anything to show more fair.” The complete reconstruction of Vauxhall Bridge was undertaken in 1902, and the new bridge was opened in 1906. Some of the bridges were built by companies, and tolls were levied at their crossing until modern times; thus Southwark Bridge was made toll-free in 1866, and Waterloo Bridge only in 1878, on being acquired by the City Corporation and the Metropolitan Board of Works respectively. The road-bridges mentioned (except the City bridges) are maintained by the London County Council, who expended for this purpose a sum of £9149 in 1907–1908. The following table shows the capital expenditure on the more important bridges and their cost of maintenance in 1907–1908:—
|Net Capital |
|Cost of Maintenance|
|Vauxhall Bridge (temporary)||270,749||73|
|Vauxhall Bridge (new)||457,108||1109|
The properties entrusted to the Corporation for the upkeep of London Bridge are managed by the Bridge House Estates Committee, the revenues from which are also used in the maintenance of the other three City bridges, £26,989 being thus expended in 1907, the Tower bridge absorbing £17,735 of this amount.
Thames Tunnels.—Some of the metropolitan railway lines cross the river in tunnels beneath its bed. There are also several tunnels under the river below London Bridge, namely: Tower Subway, constructed in 1870 for foot-passengers, but no longer used, Greenwich Tunnel (1902) for foot-passengers, Blackwall Tunnel (1897), constructed by the County Council between Greenwich and Poplar, and Woolwich Tunnel, begun in 1910. A tunnel between Rotherhithe and Ratcliff was authorized in 1897 and opened in 1908. The Thames Tunnel (1825–1843), 2 m. below London Bridge, became a railway tunnel in 1865. The County Council maintains a free ferry at Woolwich for passengers and vehicular traffic. The capital expenditure on this undertaking was £185,337 and the expense of maintenance in 1907–1908 £20,881. The Greenwich Tunnel (capital expenditure £179,293) in the same year had expended on it for maintenance £3725, and the Blackwall Tunnel (capital expenditure £1,268,951) £11,420. The capital expenditure on the Rotherhithe Tunnel was £1,414,561.
Parks.—The administration and acreage of parks and open spaces, and their provisions for the public recreation, fall for consideration later, but some of them are notable features in the topography of London. The royal parks, namely St James’s, Green and Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens, stretch in an irregular belt for nearly 3 m. between Whitehall (Westminster) and Kensington. St James’s Park was transformed from marshy land into a deer park, bowling green and tennis court by Henry VIII., extended and laid out as a pleasure garden by Charles II., and rearranged according to the designs of John Nash in 1827–1829. Its lake, the broad Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace, and the proximity of the government buildings in Whitehall, combine to beautify it. Here was established, by licence from James I., the so-called Milk Fair, which remained, its ownership always in the same family, until 1905, when, on alterations being made to the Mall, a new stall was erected for the owners during their lifetime, though the cow or cows kept here were no longer allowed. St James’s Park is continued between the Mall and Piccadilly by the Green Park. Hyde Park, to the west, belonged originally to the manor of Hyde, which was attached to Westminster Abbey, but was taken by Henry VIII. on the dissolution of the monasteries. Two of its gateways are noteworthy, namely that at Hyde Park Corner at the south-east and the Marble Arch at the north-east. The first was built in 1828 from designs of Decimus Burton, and comprises three arches with a frieze above the central arch copied from the Elgin marbles in the British Museum. The Marble Arch was intended as a monument to Nelson, and first stood in front of Buckingham Palace, being moved to its present site in 1851. It no longer forms an entrance to the park, as in 1908 a corner of the park was cut off and a roadway was formed to give additional accommodation for the heavy traffic between Oxford Street, Edgware Road and Park Lane. The Marble Arch was thus left isolated. Hyde Park contains the Serpentine, a lake 1500 yds. in length, from the bridge over which one of the finest prospects in London is seen, extending to the distant towers of Westminster. Since the 17th century this park has been one of the most favoured resorts of fashionable society, and at the height of the “season,” from May to the end of July, its drives present a brilliant scene. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a favourite duelling-ground, and in the present day it is not infrequently the scene of political and other popular demonstrations (as is also Trafalgar Square), while the neighbourhood of Marble Arch is the constant resort of orators on social and religious topics. Kensington Gardens, originally attached to Kensington Palace, were subsequently much extended; they are magnificently timbered, and contain plantations of rare shrubs and flowering trees. Regent’s Park, mainly in the borough of Marylebone, owes its preservation to the intention of George III. to build a palace here. The other most notable open spaces wholly or partly within the county are Hampstead Heath in the north-west, a wild, high-lying tract preserved to a great extent in its natural state, and in the south-west Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and the royal demesne of Richmond Park, which from its higher parts commands a wonderful view up the rich valley of the Thames. The outlying parts of the county to east, south and north are not lacking in open spaces, but there is an extensive inner area where at most only small gardens and squares break the continuity of buildings, and where in some cases old churchyards serve as public grounds.
Architecture.—While stone is the material used in the construction of the majority of great buildings of London, some modern examples (notably the Westminster Roman Catholic cathedral) are of red brick with stone dressings; and brick is in commonest use for general domestic building. The smoke-laden atmosphere has been found not infrequently to exercise a deleterious effect upon the stonework of important buildings; and through the same cause the appearance of London as a whole is by some condemned as sombre. Bright colour, in truth, is wanting, though attempts are made in a few important modern erections to supply it, a notable instance being the Savoy Hotel buildings (1904) in the Strand. Portland stone is frequently employed in the larger buildings, as in St Paul’s Cathedral, and under the various influences of weather and atmosphere acquires strongly contrasting tones of light grey and black. Owing to the by-laws of the County Council, the method of raising commercial or residential buildings to an extreme height is not practised in London; the block known as Queen Anne’s Mansions, Westminster, is an exception, though it cannot be called high in comparison with American high buildings.
Architectural remains of earlier date than the Norman period are very few, and of historical rather than topographical importance. In architecture of the Norman and Gothic periods London must be considered rich, though its richness is poverty when its losses, particularly during the great fire of 1666, Ecclesiastical architecture. are recalled. These losses were confined within the City, but, to go no farther, included the Norman and Gothic cathedral of St Paul, perhaps a nobler monument of its period than any which has survived it, much as it had suffered from injudicious restoration. Ancient architecture in London is principally ecclesiastical. Westminster Abbey is pre-eminent; in part, it may be, owing to the reverence felt towards it in preference to the classical St Paul’s by those whose ideal of a cathedral church is essentially Gothic, but mainly from the fact that it is the burial-place of many of the English monarchs and their greatest subjects, as well as the scene of their coronations (see Westminster). In the survey of London (1598) by John Stow, 125 churches, including St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, are named; of these 89 were destroyed by the great fire. Thirteen large conventual churches were mentioned by Fitzstephen in the time of Henry II., and of these there are some remains.
The church of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, is the finest remnant of its period in London. It was founded in 1123 by Rahere, who, probably a Breton by birth, was a courtier in the reign of William II. He is said to have been the king’s minstrel, and to have spent the earlier part of his life in frivolity. Subsequently he entered holy orders, and in c. 1120, being stricken with fever while on a pilgrimage to Rome, vowed that he would found a hospital in London. St Bartholomew, appearing to him in a vision, bade him add a church to his foundation. He became an Augustinian canon, and founded his hospital, which is now, as St Bartholomew’s Hospital, one of the principal medical institutions in the metropolis. He became its first master. Later he erected the priory, for canons of his order, of which the nave and transepts of the church remain. The work is in the main very fine Norman, with triforium, ambulatory and apsidal eastern end. An eastern lady chapel dates from c. 1410, but the upper part is modern, for the chapel was long desecrated. There are remains of the cloisters north of the church,—and praiseworthy efforts have been made since 1903 towards their restoration. The western limit of the former nave of the church is marked by a fine Early English doorway, now forming an entrance to the churchyard. Rahere’s tomb remains in the church; the canopy is Perpendicular work, but the effigy is believed to be original. He died in 1144.
The Temple Church (see Inns of Court), serving for the Inner and Middle Temples, belonged to the Knights Templars. It is the finest of the four ancient round churches in England, dating from 1185, but an Early English choir opens from the round church. St Saviour’s in Southwark (q.v.), the cathedral church of the modern bishopric of Southwark, was the church of the priory of St Mary Overy, and is a large cruciform building mainly Early English in style. There may be mentioned also an early pier in the church of St Katherine Cree or Christ Church, Leadenhall Street, belonging to the priory church of the Holy Trinity; old monuments in the vaults beneath St James’s Church, Clerkenwell, formerly attached to a Benedictine nunnery; and the Perpendicular gateway and the crypt of the church of the priory of St John of Jerusalem (see Finsbury). Among other ancient churches within the City, that of All Hallows Barking, near the Tower of London, is principally Perpendicular and contains some fine brasses. It belonged to the convent at Barking, Essex, and was the burial-place of many who were executed at the scaffold on Tower Hill. St Andrew Undershaft, so named because a Maypole used to be set up before the former church on May-day, is late Perpendicular (c. 1530); and contains a monument to John Stow the chronicler (d. 1605). The church of Austin Friars, originally belonging to a friary founded in 1253, became a Dutch church under a grant of Edward VI., and still remains so; its style is principally Decorated, but through various vicissitudes little of the original work is left. St Giles, Cripplegate, was founded c. 1090, but the existing church is late Perpendicular. It is the burial-place of Fox the martyrologist and Milton the poet, and contains some fine wood-carving by Grinling Gibbons. St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, belonged to a priory of nuns founded c. 1212, but the greater part of the building is later. It has two naves parallel, originally for the use of the nuns and the parishioners respectively. The church of St Mary-le-Bow, in Cheapside, is built upon a Norman crypt, and that of St Olave’s, Hart Street, which was Pepys’s church and contains a modern memorial to him, is of the 15th century. Other ancient churches outside the City are few; but there may be noted St Margaret’s, under the shadow of Westminster Abbey; and the beautiful Ely Chapel in Holborn (q.v.), the only remnant of a palace of the bishops of Ely, now used by the Roman Catholics. The Chapel Royal, Savoy, near the Strand, was rebuilt by Henry VII. on the site of Savoy Palace, which was erected by Peter, earl of Savoy and Richmond, in 1245, and destroyed in the insurrection of Wat Tyler in 1381. In 1505 Henry VII. endowed here a hospital of St John the Baptist for the poor. The chapel was used as the parish church of St Mary-le-Strand (1564–1717) and constituted a Chapel Royal in 1773; but there are no remains of the rest of the foundation.
The architect to whom, after the great fire of 1666, the opportunity fell of leaving the marks of his influence upon London was Sir Christopher Wren. Had all his schemes been followed out, that influence would have extended beyond architecture Sir Christopher Wren. alone. He, among others, prepared designs for laying out the City anew. But no such model city was destined to be built; the necessity for haste and the jealous guardianship of rights to old foundations resulted in the old lines being generally followed. It is characteristic of London that St Paul’s Cathedral (q.v.) should be closely hemmed in by houses, and its majestic west front approached obliquely by a winding thoroughfare. The cathedral is Wren’s crowning work. It is the scene from time to time of splendid ceremonies, and contains the tombs of many great men; but in this respect it cannot compete with the peculiar associations of Westminster Abbey. Of Wren’s other churches it is to be noted that the necessity of economy usually led him to pay special attention to a single feature. He generally chose the steeple, and there are many fine examples of his work in this department. The steeple of St Mary-le-Bow, commonly called Bow Church, is one of the most noteworthy. This church has various points of interest besides its Norman crypt, from which it took the name of Bow, being the first church in London built on arches. The ecclesiastical Court of Arches sat here formerly. “Bow bells” are famous, and any person born within hearing of them is said to be a “Cockney,” a term now applied particularly to the dialect of the lower classes in London. Wren occasionally followed the Gothic model, as in St Antholin. The Later churches. classic style, however, was generally adopted in the period succeeding his own. Some fine churches belong to this period, such as St Martin’s-in-the-Fields (1726), the Corinthian portico of which rises on the upper part of Trafalgar Square; but other examples are regrettable. While the architecture of the City churches, with the exceptions mentioned, is not as a rule remarkable, many are notable for the rich and beautiful wood-carving they contain. A Gothic style has been most commonly adopted in building modern churches; but of these the most notable, the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral (see Westminster), is Byzantine, and built principally of brick, with a lofty campanile. The only other ecclesiastical building to be specially mentioned is Lambeth Palace, opposite to the Houses of Parliament across the Thames. It has been a seat of the archbishops of Canterbury since 1197, and though the present residential portion dates only from the early 19th century, the chapel, hall and other parts are of the 13th century and later (see Lambeth).
Among secular buildings, there is none more venerable than the Tower of London (q.v.), the moated fortress which overlooks the Thames at the eastern boundary of the City. It presents fine examples of Norman architecture; its historical associations areTower of London. of the highest interest, and its armoury and the regalia of England, which are kept here, attract great numbers of visitors.
The Houses of Parliament, with Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church, complete the finest group of buildings which London possesses; a group essentially Gothic, for the Houses of Parliament, completed in 1867 from the designs Government buildings. of Barry, are in a late Perpendicular style. They cover a great area, the east front giving immediately upon the Thames. The principal external features are the huge Victoria Tower at the south, and the clock tower, with its well-known chimes and the hour-bell “Big Ben,” on the north. Some of the apartments are magnificently adorned within, and the building incorporates the ancient Westminster Hall, belonging to the former royal palace on the site (see Westminster). The government offices are principally in Whitehall, the fine thoroughfare which connects Parliament Square, in the angle between the Houses and the Abbey, with Trafalgar Square. Somerset House (1776–1786), a massive range of buildings by Sir William Chambers, surrounding a quadrangle, and having its front upon the Strand and back upon the Victoria Embankment, occupies the site of a palace founded by the protector Somerset, c. 1548. It contains the Exchequer and Audit, Inland Revenue, Probate, Registrar-General’s and other offices, and one wing houses King’s College. Other offices are the New Record Office, the repository of State papers and other records, and the Patent Office in Chancery Lane. The Heralds’ College or College of Arms, the official authority in matters of armorial bearings and pedigrees, occupies a building in Queen Victoria Street, City, erected subsequently to the great fire (1683). The Royal Courts of Justice or Law Courts stand adjacent to the Inns of Court, facing the Strand at the point where a memorial marks the site of Old Temple Bar (1672), at the entrance to the City, removed in 1878 and later re-erected at Theobald’s Park, near Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The Law Courts (1882) were erected from the designs of G. E. Street, in a Gothic style.
The buildings connected with local government in London are with one exception modern, and handsome town-halls have been erected for some of the boroughs. The exception is the Guildhall (q.v.) of the City Corporation, with its splendid hall, the scene of meetings and entertainments of the corporation, its council chamber, library and crypt (partly opened to the public in 1910). In 1906 the London County Council obtained parliamentary sanction for the erection of a county hall on the south bank of the Thames, immediately east of Westminster Bridge, and in 1908 a design submitted by Mr Ralph Knott was accepted in competition. The style prescribed was English Renaissance. Several of the great livery companies or gilds of the City possess fine halls, containing portraits and other collections of high interest and value. Among the more notable of these halls are those of the Mercers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Clothworkers, Armourers and Stationers.
The former royal palaces of Westminster and of Whitehall, of which the fine Jacobean banqueting hall remains, are described under Westminster. The present London residence of the sovereign is Buckingham Palace, on the west side of St Royal palaces. James’s Park, with beautiful gardens behind it. Buckingham House was built in 1705 for the duke of Buckinghamshire, and purchased by George III. in 1762. The existing palace was finished by John Nash in 1835, but did not meet with approval, and was considerably altered before Queen Victoria occupied it in 1837. As regards its exterior appearance it is one of the least satisfactory of London’s great buildings, though the throne room and other state apartments are magnificent within. The picture gallery contains valuable works of Dutch masters and others. The front of the palace forms the background to the public memorial to Queen Victoria, at the head of the Mall. Provision was made in the design, by Sir Aston Webb, for the extension of the Mall to open upon Trafalgar Square, through gateways in a semicircular range of buildings to be occupied by government offices, and for a wide circular space in front of the Palace, with a statue of the Queen by Thomas Brock in its centre. St James’s Palace, at the north side of St James’s Park, was acquired and rebuilt by Henry VIII., having been formerly a hospital founded in the 12th century for leprous maidens. It was the royal residence after the destruction of Whitehall by fire in the time of William III. until a fire in 1809 destroyed the greater part. Only the gateway and certain apartments remain of the Tudor building. Marlborough House, adjacent to the palace, was built by the first duke of Marlborough in 1710 from the designs of Wren, came into possession of the Crown in 1817, and has been occupied since 1863 by the prince of Wales. In Kensington (q.v.), on the west side of Kensington Gardens, is the palace acquired by William III. as a country seat, and though no longer used by the sovereign, is in part occupied by members of the royal family, and possesses a deeper historical interest than the other royal palaces, as the birth-place of Queen Victoria and her residence in youth.
There are few survivals of ancient domestic architecture in London, but the gabled and timbered front of Staple Inn, Holborn (q.v.) is a picturesque fragment. In Bishopsgate Street, City, stood Crosby Hall, which belonged to Crosby Place, the mansion of Sir John Crosby (d. 1475). Richard III. occupied the mansion as duke of Gloucester and Lord Protector (cf. Shakespeare’s Richard III., Act i. Sc. 3, &c.) The hall was removed in 1908, in spite of strong efforts to preserve it, which resulted in its re-erection on a site in Chelsea. The hall of the Middle Temple is an admirable example of a refectory of later date (1572).
A fine though circumscribed group of buildings is that in the heart of the City which includes the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the Mansion House. The Bank is a characteristic building, quadrilateral, massive and low, but covering a large area, without external windows, and almost wholly unadorned; though the north-west corner is copied from the Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli. The building is mainly the work of Sir John Soane (c. 1788). The first building for the Royal Exchange was erected and presented to the City by Sir Thomas Gresham (1565–1570) whose crest, a grasshopper, appears in the wind-vane above the present building. Gresham’s Exchange was destroyed in the great fire of 1666; and the subsequent building was similarly destroyed in 1838. The present building has an imposing Corinthian portico, and encloses a court surrounded by an ambulatory adorned with historical paintings by Leighton, Seymour Lucas, Stanhope Forbes and others. The Mansion House was erected c. 1740.
The only other public buildings, beyond those at Westminster, which fall into a great group are the modern museums, the Imperial Institute, London University and other institutions, and Albert Hall, which lie between Kensington Gore and Brompton and Cromwell Roads, and these, together with the National Gallery (in Trafalgar Square) and other art galleries, and the principal scientific, educational and recreative institutions, are considered in Section V.
|Information embodied from the Ordnance Survey, by permission of the Controller of H. M. Stationery Office||Emery Walker sc.|
Monuments and Memorials.—The Monument (1677), Fish Street Hill, City, erected from the designs of Wren in commemoration of the great fire of 1666, is a Doric column surmounted by a gilt representation of a flaming urn. The Nelson Column, the central feature of Trafalgar Square, is from the designs of William Railton (1843), crowned with a statue of Nelson by Baily, and has at its base four colossal lions in bronze, modelled by Sir Edwin Landseer. A statue of the duke of Cambridge, by Captain Adrian Jones, was unveiled in 1907 in front of the War Office, Whitehall. The duke of York’s Column, Carlton House Terrace (1833), an Ionic pillar, is surmounted by a bronze statue by Sir Richard Westmacott. The Westminster Column, outside the entrance to Dean’s Yard, was erected to the memory of the old pupils of Westminster School who died in the Russian and Indian wars of 1854–1859. The Guards Memorial, Waterloo Place, commemorates the foot guards who died in the Crimea. The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, was erected (1872) by “Queen Victoria and her People to the memory of Albert, Prince Consort,” from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott, with a statue of the Prince (1876) by John Henry Foley beneath a huge ornate Gothic canopy. At the eastern end of the Strand a memorial with statue by Hamo Thorneycroft of William Ewart Gladstone was unveiled in 1905. In Parliament Square and elsewhere are numerous statues, some of high merit, but it cannot be said that statuary occupies an important place in the adornment of streets and open places in London. Cleopatra’s Needle, an ancient Egyptian monument, was presented to the government by Mehemet Ali in 1819, brought from Alexandria in 1878, and erected on the Victoria embankment on a pedestal of grey granite.
Nomenclature.—Having regard to the destruction of visible evidences of antiquity in London, both through accidental agencies such as the great fire, and through inevitable modernizing influences, it is well that historical associations in nomenclature are preserved in a great measure unimpaired. The City naturally offers the richest field for study in this direction. The derivations of names may here be grouped into two classes, those having a commercial connexion, and those associated with ancient buildings, particularly the City wall and ecclesiastical foundations. Among examples of the first group, Cheapside is prominent. This modern thoroughfare of shops was in early times the Chepe (O. Eng. ceap, bargain), an open place occupied by a market, having, until the 14th century, a space set apart for popular entertainments. There was a Queen Eleanor cross here, and conduits supplied the city with water. Modern Cheapside merges eastward into the street called the Poultry, from the poulterers’ stalls “but lately departed from thence,” according to Stow, at the close of the 16th century. Cornhill, again, recalls the cornmarket “time out of mind there holden” (Stow), and Gracechurch Street was corrupted from the name of the church of St Benet Grasschurch (destroyed by the great fire, rebuilt, and removed in 1868), which was said to be derived from a herb-market held under its walls. The Jews had their quarter near the commercial centre, their presence being indicated by the street named Old Jewry, though it is probable that they did not reoccupy this locality after their expulsion in 1290. Lombard Street similarly points to the residence of Lombard merchants, the name existing when Edward II. confirmed a grant to Florentine merchants in 1318, while the Lombards maintained their position until Tudor times. Paternoster Row, still occupied by booksellers, takes name from the sellers of prayer-books and writers of texts who collected under the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. As regards names derived from ancient buildings, instances are the streets called London Wall and Barbican, and those named after the numerous gates. Of those associated with ecclesiastical foundations several occur in the course of this article (Section II., Ecclesiastical Architecture, &c.). Such are Austin Friars, Crutched Friars, Blackfriars and Whitefriars. To this last district a curious alternative name, Alsatia, was given, probably in the 17th century, with reference to its notoriety as a hiding-place of debtors. A derivation is suggested from the disputed territory of Alsace, pointing the contrast between this lawless district and the adjacent Temple, the home of the law itself. The name Bridewell came from a well near the Fleet (New Bridge Street), dedicated to St Bride, and was attached to a house built by Henry VIII. (1522), but is most familiar in its application to the house of correction instituted by Edward VI., which remained a prison till 1863. The Minories, a street leading south from Aldgate, takes name from an abbey of nuns of St Clare (Sorores Minores) founded in 1293. Apart from the City an interesting ecclesiastical survival is the name Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, recalling the place of sanctuary which long survived the monastery under the protection of which it originally existed. Covent Garden, again, took its name from a convent garden belonging to Westminster. Among the survivals of names of non-ecclesiastical buildings Castle Baynard may be noted; it stood in the City on the banks of the Thames, and was held by Ralph Baynard, a Norman, in the time of William the Conqueror; a later building being erected in 1428 by Humphrey duke of Gloucester. Here Richard III. was acclaimed king, and the mansion was used by Henry VII. and Henry VIII. Its name is kept in a wharf and a ward of the City.
The survival of names of obliterated physical features or characteristics is illustrated in Section I.; but additional instances are found in the Strand, which originally ran close to the sloping bank of the Thames, and in Smithfield, now the central meat market, but for long the “smooth field” where a cattle and hay market was held, and the scene of tournaments and games, and also of executions. Here in 1381 Wat Tyler the rebel was killed by Sir William Walworth during the parley with Richard II. In the West End of London the majority of important street-names are naturally of a later derivation than those in the ancient City, though Charing Cross (q.v.) is an instance of an exception. The derivation commonly accepted for Piccadilly is from pickadil, a stiff collar or hem in fashion in the early part of the 17th century (Span. picca, a spear-head). In Pall Mall and the neighbouring Mall in St James’ Park is found the title of a game resembling croquet (Fr. paille maille) in favour at or before the time of Charles I., though the Mall was laid out for the game by Charles II. Other names pointing to the existence of pastimes now extinct are found elsewhere in London, as in Balls Pond Road, Islington, where in the 17th century was a proprietary pond for the sport of duck-hunting. An entertainment of another form is recalled in the name of Spring Gardens, St James’ Park, where at the time of James I. there was a fountain or spring so arranged as to besprinkle those who trod unwarily on the valve which opened it. Many of the names of the rich residential streets and squares in the west have associations with the various owners of the properties; but Mayfair is so called from a fair held on this ground in May as early as the reign of Charles II. Finally there are several survivals, in street-names, of former private mansions and other buildings. Thus the district of the Adelphi, south of Charing Cross, takes name from the block of dwellings and offices erected in 1768 by the brothers (Gr. adelphi) Robert and William Adam, Scottish architects. In Piccadilly Clarendon House, erected in 1664 by Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, became Albemarle House when acquired by the duke of Albemarle in 1675. Northumberland House, from which is named Northumberland Avenue, opening upon Trafalgar Square, was built c. 1605 by Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, and was acquired by marriage by Algernon Percy, earl of Northumberland, in 1642. It took name from this family, and stood until 1874. Arundel House, originally a seat of the bishops of Bath, was the residence of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, whose famous collection of sculpture, the Arundel Marbles, was housed here until presented to Oxford University in 1667. The site of the house is marked by Arundel Street, Strand.
Railways.—The trunk railways leaving London, with their termini, are as follows: (1) Northern. The Great Northern, Midland and London & North-Western systems have adjacent termini, namely King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston, in Euston Road, St Pancras. The terminus of the Great Central railway is Marylebone, in the road of that name. (2) Western. The terminus of the Great Western railway is Paddington (Praed Street); and that of the London & South-Western, Waterloo, south of the Thames in Lambeth. (3) Southern. The London, Brighton & South Coast railway has its western terminus at Victoria, and its central terminus at London Bridge, on the south side of the Thames. The South-Eastern & Chatham railway has four terminal stations, all on or close to the north bank of the river—Victoria, Charing Cross, Holborn Viaduct and Cannon Street (City). St Paul’s Station on the Holborn branch is also terminal in part. (4) Eastern. The principal terminus of the Great Eastern Railway is in Liverpool Street (City), but the company also uses Fenchurch Street (City), the terminus of the London, Tilbury & Southend railway, and St Pancras. These lines, especially the southern lines, the Great Eastern, Great Northern and South-Western carry a very heavy suburban traffic. Systems of joint lines and running powers are maintained to afford communication between the main lines. Thus the West London Extension line carries local traffic between the North Western and Great Western and the Brighton and South-Western systems, while the Metropolitan Extension through the City connects the Midland and Great Northern with the South-Eastern & Chatham lines.
The railways whose systems are mainly or wholly confined within the metropolitan area are as follows. The North London railway has a terminal station at Broad Street, City, and serves the parts of London implied by its name. The company possesses running powers over the lines of various other companies: thus its trains run as far north as Potter’s Bar on the Great Northern line, while it serves Richmond on the west and Poplar on the east. The East London line connects Shoreditch with New Cross (Deptford) by way of the Thames Tunnel, a subway under the river originally built for foot-passengers. The London & India Docks line connects the city with the docks on the north bank of the river as far as North Woolwich. The Metropolitan railway has a line from Baker Street through north-west London to Harrow, continuing to Uxbridge, while the original main line runs on to Rickmansworth, Aylesbury and Verney Junction, but has been worked by the Metropolitan and Great Central companies jointly since 1906. Another line serves the western outskirts (Hammersmith, Richmond, &c.) from the city. Metropolitan trains also connect at New Cross with the south-eastern railway system. This company combines with the Metropolitan District to form the Inner Circle line, which has stations close to all the great railway termini north of the Thames. The Metropolitan District (commonly called the District) system serves Wimbledon, Richmond, Ealing and Harrow on the west, and passes eastward by Earl’s Court, South Kensington, Victoria and Mansion House (City) to Whitechapel and Bow. The Metropolitan and the District lines within London are for the most part underground (this feature supplying the title of “the Underground” familiarly applied to both systems); the tunnels being constructed of brick. The earliest part of the system was opened in 1863. Although these railways, as far as concerns the districts they serve, form the fastest method of communication from point to point, their discomfort, arising mainly from the impossibility of proper ventilation, and various other disadvantages attendant upon the use of steam traction, led to a determination to adapt the lines to electrical working. Experiments on a short section of the line were made in 1900, and later schemes were set on foot to electrify the District system and bring under one general control this railway, other lines in deep level “tubes” between Baker Street and Waterloo, between Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead, and between Hammersmith, Brompton, Piccadilly, King’s Cross and Finsbury Park, and the London United Tramways Company. The Underground Electric Railways Company, which acquired a controlling influence over these concerns, undertook the construction of a great power station at Chelsea; while the Metropolitan Company, which had fallen into line with the District (not without dispute over the system of electrification to be adopted) erected a station at Neasden on the Aylesbury branch. Electric traction was gradually introduced on the Metropolitan and the District lines in 1906. The former company combined with the Great Western Company as regards the electrification of, and provision of stock for, the lines which they had previously worked jointly, from Edgware Road by Bishop’s Road to Hammersmith, &c. The Baker Street & Waterloo railway (known as the “Bakerloo”) was opened in 1906 and subsequently extended in one direction to Paddington and in the other to the Elephant and Castle. The Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton line, from Finsbury Park to Hammersmith, was opened early in 1907, and the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead line later in the same year. Deep-level electric railways (“tubes”), communicating with the surface by lifts, were already familiar in London. The first opened was the City & South London (1890), subsequently extended to run between Euston, the Angel, Islington, the Bank (City) and Clapham. Others are the Waterloo & City (1898) running from the terminus of the South-Western railway without intermediate stations to the Bank; the Central London (1900), from the Bank to Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith; and the Great Northern & City (1904) from Finsbury Park (which is an important suburban junction on the Great Northern railway) to Moorgate Street.
Tramways.—The surface tramway system of London cannot be complete, as, within an area roughly represented by the boroughs of Chelsea, Kensington and Fulham, the city of Westminster and a considerable district north thereof, and the city of London, the existing streets could not accommodate tram lines along with other traffic over any great distance consecutively, and in point of fact there are few, beyond the embankment line from Blackfriars Bridge to Westminster Bridge, which connects with the southern system. Another line, running south from Islington, uses the shallow-level subway under Kingsway and connects with the embankment line. The northern, western and eastern outskirts and London south of the Thames are extensively served by trams. On the formation of the London County Council there were thirteen tramway companies in existence. Powers under the Tramways Act of 1870 were given to the council, enabling it to acquire possession of these undertakings, and within the county of London they have been for the most part so acquired, and are worked by the council. Outside the county both companies and local authorities own and work tramways. Both electric and horse traction are used; the latter, however, has been in great part displaced by the former. The total mileage for greater London is about 240.
Omnibuses.—The omnibus system is very extensive, embracing all the principal streets throughout the county and extending over a large part of Greater London. The two principal omnibus companies are the London General Omnibus and the London Road Car. The first omnibus ran between the Bank and Paddington in 1829. In 1905 and following years motor omnibuses (worked mostly by internal combustion engines) began to a large extent to supplant horse traction. The principal existing companies adopted them, and new companies were formed to work them exclusively. With their advantages of greater speed and carrying capacity over the horsed vehicles, their introduction was a most important development, though their working at first imposed a severe financial strain on many companies.
Cabs.—The horse-drawn cabs which ply for hire in the streets, or wait at authorized “cab-stands,” are of two kinds, the “hansom,” a two-wheeled vehicle so named after its inventor (1834) and the “four-wheeler.” “Hackney coaches” for hire are first mentioned in 1625, when they were kept at inns, and numbered 20. Until 1832 their numbers were restricted, in 1662 to 400, in 1694 to 700, in 1771 to 1000. In some cases a driver owns his cab, but the majority of vehicles are let to drivers by owners, and the adjustment of terms between them has led to disputes from time to time. In 1894 a dispute necessitated the formulation of the “Asquith award” by the Rt. Hon. H. H. Asquith as home secretary, and subsequent modifications of this were only arrived at, as in 1904, after a strike of the drivers affected. A long-standing cause of complaint on the part of the public has been the common refusal of cab-drivers to accept their legal fares, but, on the other hand, several attempts to introduce cabs with an automatic taximeter failed, until the introduction of motor cabs, of which a few had already been plying for some time when in 1907 a large number, provided with taximeters, were put into service. Subsequently, as the number of “taxicabs” (see Motor Vehicles) increased, that of horse-cabs decreased.
Traffic Problem.—One of the most serious administrative problems met with in London is that of locomotion, especially as regards the regulation of traffic in the principal thoroughfares and at the busiest crossings. The police have powers of control over vehicles and exercise them admirably; their work in this respect is a constant source of wonder to foreign visitors. But this control does not meet the problem of actually lessening the number of vehicles in the main arteries of traffic. At such crossings as that of the Strand and Wellington Street, Ludgate Circus and south of the Thames, the Elephant and Castle, as also in the narrow streets of the City, congestion is often exceedingly severe, and is aggravated when any main street is under repair, and diversion of traffic through narrow side streets becomes necessary. Many street improvements were carried out, it is true, in the last half of the 19th century, the dates of the principal being as follows: 1854, Cannon Street; 1864, Southwark Street; 1870, Holborn Viaduct; 1871, Hamilton Place, Queen Victoria Street; 1876, Northumberland Avenue; 1882, Tooley Street; 1883, Hyde Park Corner; 1884, Eastcheap; 1886, Shaftesbury Avenue; 1887, Charing Cross Road; 1890–1892, Rosebery Avenue. At the beginning of the 20th century several important local widenings of streets were put in hand, as for example between Sloane Street and Hyde Park Corner, in the Strand and at the Marble Arch (1908). At the same period a great work was undertaken to meet the want of a proper central communication between north and south, namely, the construction of a broad thoroughfare, called Kingsway in honour of King Edward VII., from High Holborn opposite Southampton Row southward to the Strand, connexion with which is established at two points through a crescent named Aldwych. The idea of such a thoroughfare is traceable back to the time of William IV. The magnitude of the traffic problem as a whole may be best appreciated by examples of the vast schemes of improvement which from time to time have been put forward by responsible individuals. Thus Sir John Wolfe Barry, as chairman of the Council of the Society of Arts in 1899, proposed to alleviate congestion of traffic by bridges over and tunnels under the streets at six points, namely—Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Ludgate Circus, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, Strand and Wellington Street, and Southwark Bridge and Upper Thames Street. Another scheme seriously suggested in 1904, to meet existing disabilities of communication between north and south by linking the northern and southern tramway services, involved the removal of the Charing Cross terminus of the South Eastern and Chatham railway to the south side of the river, and the construction of a new bridge in place of the railway bridge. The mere control of existing traffic, local street improvements and provision of new means of communication between casual points, were felt to miss the root of the problem, and in 1903 a Royal Commission was appointed to consider the whole question of locomotion and transport in London, expert evidence being taken from engineers, representatives of the various railway and other companies, of the County Council, borough councils and police, and others. The commission reported in 1905.Traffic commission 1903. With regard to street improvements the most important recommendation was that of the construction of two main avenues 140 ft. wide, one running west and east, from Bayswater Road to Whitechapel, and passing through the city in the neighbourhood of London Wall, and another from Holloway to the Elephant and Castle, to cross the Thames by a new bridge above Blackfriars. Four lines of surface tramways and four railway lines in shallow tunnels were proposed along these avenues. Many widenings and other improvements of existing thoroughfares, and extensions of tramways were proposed, and detailed recommendations were made as regards urban and suburban railways, and the rehousing of the working population on the outskirts of London. Finally, the commission made the important recommendation that a traffic board should be established for London, to exercise a general supervision of traffic, and to act as a tribunal to which all schemes of railway and tramway construction should be referred.
Thames Steamers.—A local passenger steamboat service on the Thames suffers from the disadvantage that the river does not provide the shortest route between points at any great distance apart, and that the main thoroughfares between east and west do not touch its banks, so that passengers along those thoroughfares are not tempted to use it as a channel of communication. High pier dues, moreover, contributed to the decline of the traffic, and attempts to overcome the disinclination of passengers to use the river (at any rate in winter) show a record of failure. The London, Westminster and Vauxhall Steamboat Company established in 1840 a service of seven steamboats between London Bridge and Vauxhall. This company was bought up by the Citizen and Iron Steamboat Companies in 1865. The City Steamboat Company, established in 1848, began with eight boats, and by 1865 had increased their fleet to seventeen, running from London Bridge to Chelsea. This company was taken over by the London Steamboat Company in 1875. The sinking of the “Princess Alice” in 1878 was a serious blow to the London Steamboat Company, which collapsed, and was succeeded by the River Thames Steamboat Navigation Company, which went into liquidation in 1887. The fleet was bought by a syndicate and sold to the Victoria Steamboat Association. The Thames Steamboat Company then took up the service, but early in 1902 announced that it would be discontinued, although in 1904 it was temporarily resumed. Meanwhile, however, in 1902 the London County Council had promoted a bill in Parliament to enable them to run a service of boats on the Thames. The bill was thrown out on this occasion, but was revived and passed in 1904, and on the 17th of June 1905 the service was put into operation. The boats, however, were worked at a loss, and the service was discontinued in 1909.
Foreign Communications.—A large pleasure traffic is maintained by the steamers of the New Palace Company and others in summer between London Bridge and Southend, Clacton and Harwich, Ramsgate, Margate and other resorts of the Kent coast, and Calais and Boulogne. Passenger steamers sail from the port of London to the principal ports of the British Isles and northern Europe, and to all parts of the world, but the most favoured passenger services to and from Europe and North America pass through other ports, to which the railways provide special services of trains from London. The principal travelling agency in London is that of Messrs Cook, whose head office is at Ludgate Circus. A number of sub-offices of large steamship lines are congregated in Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, and several of the principal railway companies have local offices throughout the centre of the metropolis for the issue of tickets and the collection and forwarding of luggage and parcels.
Post Office.—The General Post Office lies in the centre of the City on either side of the street called St Martin’s le Grand. The oldest portion of the buildings, Ionic in style, was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and erected in 1829. Here are the central offices of the letter, newspaper and telegraph departments, with the office of the Postmaster General; but the headquarters of the parcels department are at Mount Pleasant, Clerkenwell; those of the Post Office Savings Bank at Blythe Road, West Kensington, and those of the Money Order department in Queen Victoria Street. The postal area is divided into eight districts, commonly designated by initials (which it is customary to employ in writing addresses)—East Central (E.C., the City, north to Pentonville and City Roads, west to Gray’s Inn Road and the Law Courts); West Central (W.C., from Euston Road to the Thames, and west to Tottenham Court Road); West (W., from Piccadilly and Hyde Park north to Marylebone and Edgware Roads; the greater part of Paddington and Kensington, north part of Fulham and Hammersmith); South-west (S.W., City of Westminster south of Piccadilly, Chelsea, South Kensington, the greater part of Fulham, and London south of the Thames and west of Vauxhall Bridge); South-east (S.E., remainder of London south of the Thames); East (E., east of the City and Kingsland Road); North (N., west of Kingsland Road; Islington); North-west (N.W., greater part of St Pancras and St Marylebone, and Hampstead). The postal area excludes part of Woolwich within the county; but includes considerable areas outside the county in other directions, as West Ham, Leyton, &c., on the east; Woodford, Chingford, &c., on the north-east; Wood Green, Southgate and Finchley on the north; Hendon and Willesden on the north-west; Acton and Ealing, Barnes and Wimbledon on the west; and Penge and Beckenham on the south, wholly or in part. There are ten district head offices and about a thousand local offices in the metropolitan district.
Telephones.—The National Telephone Company, working under licence expiring on the 31st of December 1911, had until 1901 practically a monopoly of telephonic communication within London, though the Post Office owned all the trunk lines connecting the various telephone areas of the company. The company’s management did not give satisfaction, and the use of the telephone was consequently restricted in the metropolis, when in 1898 a Select Committee on Telephones reported that “general immediate and effective” competition by either the government or local authority was necessary to ensure efficient working. The Post Office thereupon instituted a separate system of exchanges and lines, intercommunication between the two systems being arranged. Charges were reduced and efficiency benefited by this movement. The area covered by the local as distinct from the trunk service is about 630 sq. m. extending to Romford, Enfield, Harrow, &c., north of the Thames, and to Dartford Reigate, Epsom, &c., south of it. Public call offices are provided in numerous shops, railway stations and other public places, and at many post offices. The District Messengers Company affords facilities through local offices for the use of special messengers.
The population of Greater London by the census of 1901 was 6,581,402.
The following table gives comparisons between the figures of certain census returns for Greater London and its chief component parts, namely, the City, the county and the outer ring (i.e. Greater London outside the county). All the figures before those of 1901 are adjusted to these areas.
|Year.||City.||County.||Outer Ring.||Greater London.|
The reason for the decrease in the resident City population is to be found in the rapid extension of business premises, while the widening ramifications of the outer residential areas are illustrated by the increase in the later years of the population of the Outer Ring. The growth and population of London previous to the 19th century is considered under History, ad. fin.
The foreign-born population of London was 60,252 in 1881, and 135,377 in 1901. During 1901, 27,070 aliens (excluding sailors) arrived at the port, and in 1902, 33,060. Of these last Russians and Poles numbered 21,013; Germans, 3386; Aliens. Austrians and Hungarians, 2197; Dutch, 1902; Norwegians, Swedes and Danes, 1341; and Rumanians, 1016. Other nationalities numbered below one thousand each. The foreign-born population shows a large increase in percentage to the whole, being 1.57 in 1881 and 2.98 in 1901. Residents of Irish birth have decreased since 1851; those of Scottish birth have increased steadily, and roughly as the population. German residents are found mainly in the western and west central districts; French mainly in the City of Westminster (especially the district of Soho), St Pancras and St Marylebone; Italians in Holborn (Saffron Hill), Soho and Finsbury; and Russians and Poles in Stepney and Bethnal Green.
Vital Statistics.—The following table shows the average birth rate and death-rate per thousand at stated periods.
A comparison of the death-rate of London and those of other great towns in England and abroad is given here:—
In 1905 the lowest death-rates among the metropolitan boroughs were returned by Hampstead (9.3), Lewisham (11.7), Wandsworth (12.6), Woolwich (12.8), Stoke Newington (12.9), and the highest by Shoreditch (19.7), Finsbury (19.0), Bermondsey (18.7), Bethnal Green (18.6) and Southwark (18.5). A return of the percentage of inhabitants dwelling in over-crowded tenements shows 2.7 for Lewisham, 4.5 for Wandsworth, 5.5 for Stoke Newington, and 6.4 for Hampstead, against 35.2 for Finsbury and 29.9 for Shoreditch.
Sanitation.—As regards sanitation London is under special regulations. When the statutes relating to public health were consolidated and amended in 1875 London was excluded; and the law applicable to it was specially consolidated and amended in 1891. The London County Council is a central sanitary authority; the City and metropolitan boroughs are sanitary districts, and the Corporation and borough councils are local sanitary authorities. The County Council deals directly with matters where uniformity of administration is essential, e.g. main drainage, housing of working classes, infant life protection, common lodging-houses and shelters, and contagious diseases of animals. With a further view to uniformity it has certain powers of supervision and control over local authorities, and can make by-laws respecting construction of local sewers, sanitary conveniences, offensive trades, slaughter-houses and dairies, and prevention of nuisances outside the jurisdiction of local authorities. A medical officer of health for the whole county is appointed by the Council, which also pays half the salaries of local medical officers and sanitary inspectors. The Council may also act in cases of default by the local authorities, or may make representations to the Local Government Board respecting such default, whereupon the Board may direct the Council to withhold payment due to the local authority under the Equalization of Rates Act 1894.
The first act providing for a commission of sewers in London dates from 1531. Various works of a more or less imperfect character were carried out, such as the bridging over in 1637 of the river Fleet, which as early as 1307 had become inaccessible Drainage. to shipping through the accumulation of filth. Scavengers were employed in early times, and sewage was received into wells and pumped into the kennels of the streets. A system of main drainage was inaugurated by the Commissioners of Sewers in 1849, but their work proceeded very slowly. It was carried on more effectively by the Metropolitan Board of Works (1856–1888) which expended over six-and-a-half millions sterling on the work. The London County Council maintained, completed and improved the system. The length of sewers in the main system is about 288 m., and their construction has cost about eight millions. The system covers the county of London, West Ham, Penge, Tottenham, Wood Green, and parts of Beckenham, Hornsey, Croydon, Willesden, East Ham and Acton. There are actually two distinct systems, north and south of the Thames, having separate outfall works on the north and south banks of the river, at Barking and Crossness. The clear effluent flows into the Thames, and the sludge is taken 50 m. out to sea. The annual cost of maintenance of the system exceeds £250,000. The sanitary authorities are concerned only with the supervision of house drainage, and the construction and maintenance of local sewers discharging into the main system. The Thames and the Lea Conservancies have powers to guard against the pollution of the rivers.
Hospitals.—The Metropolitan Asylums Board, though established in 1867 purely as a poor-law authority for the relief of the sick, insane and infirm paupers, has become a central hospital authority for infectious diseases, with power to receive into Metropolitan Asylums Board. its hospitals persons, who are not paupers, suffering from fever, smallpox or diphtheria. Both the Board and the County Council have certain powers and duties of sanitary authority for the purpose of epidemic regulations. The local sanitary authorities carry out the provisions of the Infectious Diseases (Notification and Prevention) Acts, which for London are embodied in the Public Health (London) Act 1891. The Board has asylums for the insane at Tooting Bec (Wandsworth), Ealing (for children); King’s Langley, Hertfordshire; Caterham, Surrey; and Darenth, Kent. There are twelve fever hospitals, including northern and southern convalescent hospitals. For smallpox the Board maintains hospital ships moored in the Thames at Dartford, and a land establishment at the same place. There are land and river ambulance services.
There are three regular funds in London for the support of hospitals. (1) King Edward’s Hospital Fund (1897) founded by King Edward VII. as Prince of Wales in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The League of Mercy, under royal charter, operates in conjunction with the Fund in the collection of small subscriptions. The Order of Mercy was instituted by the King as a reward for distinguished personal service. (2) The Metropolitan Hospital Sunday Fund, founded in 1873, draws the greater part of its revenue from collections in churches on stated occasions. (3) The Metropolitan Hospital Saturday Fund was founded in 1873, and is made up chiefly of small sums collected in places of business, &c. The following is a list of the principal London hospitals, with dates of foundation:—
1. General Hospitals with Medical Schools (all of which, with the exception of that of the Seamen’s Hospital, are schools of London University):—
Charing Cross; Agar Street, Strand (1820).
(See also separate articles on boroughs.)
Water Supply.—In the 12th century London was supplied with water from local streams and wells, of which Holy Well, Clerk’s Well (Clerkenwell) and St Clement’s Well, near St Clement’s Inn, were examples. In 1236 the magistrates purchased the liberty to convey the waters of the Tyburn from Paddington to the City by leaden pipes, and a great conduit was erected in West Cheap in 1285. Other conduits were subsequently built (cf. Conduit Street off Bond Street, Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury); and water was also supplied by the company of water-bearers in leathern panniers borne by horses. In 1582 Peter Moris, a Dutchman, erected a “forcier” on an arch of London Bridge, which he rented for 10s. per annum for 500 years. His works succeeded and increased, and continued in his family till 1701, when a company took over the lease. Other forciers had been set up, and in 1609, on an act of 1605, Sir Hugh Myddelton undertook the task of supplying reservoirs at Clerkenwell through the New river from springs near Ware, Hertfordshire; and these were opened in 1613. In 1630 a scheme to bring water from Hoddesdon on the Lea was promoted by aid of a lottery licensed by Charles I. The Chelsea Water Company opened its supply from the Thames in 1721; the Lambeth waterworks were erected in 1783; the Vauxhall Company was established in 1805, the West Middlesex, near Hammersmith, and the East London on the river Lea in 1806, the Kent on the Ravensbourne (Deptford) in 1810, the Grand Junction in 1811, and the Southwark (which amalgamated with the Vauxhall) in 1822.
For many years proposals to amalgamate the working of the
companies and displace them by a central public authority were
put forward from time to time. The difficulty of administration lay
in the fact that of the area of 620 sq. m. constituting what is known
as “Water London” (see map in London Statistics, vol. xix., issued
by the L.C.C., 1909) the London County Council has authority over
little more than one-third, and therefore when the Council proposed
to acquire the eight undertakings concerned its scheme was opposed
not only by the companies but by the county councils and local
authorities outside the County of London. The Council had a
scheme of bringing water to London from Wales, in view of increasing
demands on a stationary supply. This involved impounding the
headwaters of the Wye, the Towey and the Usk, and the total cost
was estimated to exceed fifteen millions sterling. The capacity of
existing sources, however, was deemed sufficient by a Royal Commission
under Lord Balfour of Burleigh in 1893, and this opinion was
endorsed by a further Commission under Lord Llandaff. The
construction of large storage reservoirs was recommended, and this
work was put in hand jointly by the New River, West Middlesex and
Grand Junction companies at Staines on the Thames. As regards
administration, Lord Llandaff’s Commission recommended the creation
Water Board. of a Water Trust, and in 1902 the Metropolis Water Act constituted the Metropolitan Water Board to purchase and carry on the undertakings of the eight companies, and of certain local authorities. It consists of 66 members, appointed by the London County Council (14), the City of London and the City of Westminster (2 each), the other Metropolitan boroughs (1 each), the county councils of Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent and Surrey (l each), borough of West Ham (2), various groups of other boroughs and urban districts, and the Thames and the Lea Conservancies. The first election of the Board took place in 1903. The 24th of June, 1904, was the date fixed on which control passed to the Board, and in the meantime a Court of Arbitration adjudicated the claims of the companies for compensation for the acquisition of their properties.
“Water London” is an irregular area extending from Ware in Hertfordshire to Sevenoaks in Kent, and westward as far as Ealing and Sunbury.
A constant supply is maintained generally throughout “Water London,” although a suspension between certain hours has been occasionally necessitated, as in 1895 and 1898, when, during summer droughts, the East London supply was so affected. During these periods other companies had a surplus of water, and in 1899 an act was passed providing for the interconnexion of systems. The Thames and Lea are the principal sources of supply, but the Kent and (partially) the New River Company draw supplies from springs. The systems of filtration employed by the different companies varied in efficacy, but both the Royal Commissions decided that water as supplied to the consumer was generally of a very high standard of purity. The expenditure of the Water Board for 1907–1908 amounted to £2,846,265. Debt charges absorbed £1,512,718 of this amount.
Public baths and washhouses are provided by local authorities under various acts between 1846 and 1896, which have been adopted by all the borough councils.
Lighting.—From 1416 citizens were obliged to hang out candles between certain hours on dark nights to illuminate the streets. An act of parliament enforced this in 1661; in 1684 Edward Heming, the inventor of oil lamps, obtained licence to supply public lights; and in 1736 the corporation took the matter in hand, levying a rate. Gas-lighting was introduced on one side of Pall Mall in 1807, and in 1810 the Gas Light & Coke Company received a charter, and developed gas-lighting in Westminster. The City of London Gas Company followed in 1817, and seven other companies soon after. Wasteful competition ensued until in 1857 an agreement was made between the companies to restrict their services to separate localities, and the Gas Light & Coke Company, by amalgamating other companies, then gradually acquired all the gas-lighting north of the Thames, while a considerable area in the south was provided for by another great gas company, the South Metropolitan. Various acts from 1860 onwards have laid down laws as to the quality and cost of gas. Gas must be supplied at 16-candle illuminating power, and is officially tested by the chemists’ department of the London County Council. The amalgamations mentioned were effected subsequently to 1860, and there are now three principal companies within the county, the Gas Light & Coke, South Metropolitan and Commercial, though certain other companies supply some of the outlying districts. As regards street lighting, the extended use of burners with incandescent mantles has been of good effect. The Metropolitan Board of Works, and the commissioners of sewers in the City, began experiments with electric light. At the close of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century a large number of electric light companies came into existence, and some of the metropolitan borough councils, and local authorities within Greater London, also undertook the supply. An extensive use of the light resulted in the principal streets and in shops, offices and private houses.
Fire.—In 1832 the fire insurance companies united to maintain a small fire brigade, and continued to do so until 1866. The brigade was confined to the central part of the metropolis; for the rest, the parochial authorities had charge of protection from fire. The central brigade came under the control of the Metropolitan Board of Works; and the County Council now manages the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, under a chief officer and a staff numbering about 1300. The cost of maintenance exceeds £200,000 annually; contributions towards this are made by the Treasury and the fire insurance companies. The Council controls the provision of fire escapes in factories employing over 40 persons, under an act of 1901; it also compels the maintenance of proper precautions against fire in theatres and places of entertainments. A Salvage Corps is independently maintained by the Insurance Companies.
Cemeteries.—The administrative authorities of cemeteries for the county are the borough councils and the City Corporation and private companies. The large cemetery at Brompton is the property of the government. Kensal Green cemetery, the burial-place of many famous persons, is of great extent, but several large cemeteries outside the metropolis have come into use. Such are that of the London Necropolis Company at Brookwood near Woking, Surrey, and that of the parishes of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, and St George, Hanover Square, at Hanwell, Middlesex. Crematoria are provided at certain of the companies’ cemeteries, and the Cremation Act 1902 enabled borough councils to provide crematoria.
Education.—The British and Foreign School Society (1808) and the National Society (1811), together with the Ragged Schools Union (1844), were the only special organizations providing for the education of the poorer classes until 1870. To meet Elementary education. the demand for elementary education, increasing as it did with population, was beyond the powers of these societies, the churches and the various charitable institutions. Thus a return of 1871 showed that the schools were capable of accommodating only 39% of the children of school-going age. In 1870, however, a School Board had been created in addition, and this body carried out much good work during its thirty-four years of existence. In 1903 the Education (London) Act was passed in pursuance of the general system, put into operation by the Education Act (1902) of bringing education within the scope of municipal government. The County Council was created a local education authority, and given control of secular education in both board and voluntary schools. It appoints an education committee in accordance with a scheme approved by the Board of Education. This scheme must allow of the Council selecting at least a majority of the committee, and must provide for the inclusion of experts and women. Each school or group of schools is under a body of managers, in the appointment of whom the borough council and the County Council share in the following proportions:—(a) Board or provided schools; borough council, two-thirds; county council, one-third: (b) Voluntary or non-provided schools; the foundation, two-thirds; borough council and county council, each one-sixth. The total number of public elementary schools was 963 in 1905, with 752,487 scholars on the register. Other institutions include higher elementary schools for pupils certified to be able to profit by higher instruction; and schools for blind, deaf and defective children. Instruction for teachers is provided in pupil teachers’ centres (preparatory), and in residential and day training colleges. There are about 15 such colleges. Previous to the act of 1903 the Technical education. County Council had educational powers under the Technical Instructions Acts which enabled it to provide technical education through a special board, merged by the act of 1903 in the education committee. The City and Guilds of London Institute, Gresham College, also maintains various technical institutions. The establishment of polytechnics was provided for by the City of London Parochial Charities Act 1883; the charities being administered by trustees. The model institution was that of Mr Quintin Hogg (1880) in Regent Street, where a striking statue by George Frampton (1906) commemorates him. The general scope of the polytechnics is to give instruction both in general knowledge and special crafts or trades by means of classes, lectures and laboratories, instructive entertainments and exhibitions, and facilities for bodily and mental exercise (gymnasia, libraries, &c.). Other similar institutions exist primarily for special purposes, as the St Bride Foundation Institute, near Fleet Street, in immediate proximity to the great newspaper offices, for the printing trade, and the Herolds’ Institute, a branch of the Borough Polytechnic situated in Bermondsey, for the purposes of the leather trade. The County Council also aids numerous separate schools of art, both general and special, such as the Royal School of Art Needlework and the School of Art Woodcarving; the City and Guilds Institute maintains similar establishments at some of its colleges, and art schools are also generally attached to the polytechnics.
The London County Council maintains a number of industrial schools and reformatories, both in London and in the country, for children who have shown or are likely to be misled into a Philanthropical institutions. tendency towards lawlessness. The City Corporation has separate responsibilities in the same direction, but has no schools of its own. The expenditure of the London County Council on education for 1907–1908 was £4,281,291 for elementary education, and £742,962 for higher education.
The work of private philanthropists and philanthropical bodies among the poor of East London, Southwark and Bermondsey, and elsewhere, fails to be noticed at this point. The labours of the regular clergy here lie largely in the direction of social reform, and churches and missions have been established and are maintained by colleges, such as Christ Church, Oxford, schools and other bodies. There are, further, “settlements” where members of the various bodies may reside in order to devote themselves to philanthropical work; and these include clubs, recreation rooms and other institutions for the use of the poor. Such are the Oxford House, Bethnal Green; the Cambridge House, Camberwell Road; Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel; Mansfield House, Canning Town; the Robert Browning Settlement, Southwark; and the Passmore Edwards Settlement, St Pancras. There are also several women’s settlements of a similar character. The People’s Palace, Mile End Road, opened in 1887, is both a recreative and an educational institution (called East London College) erected and subsequently extended mainly through the liberality of the Drapers’ Company and of private donors.
In early times the priories and other religious houses had generally grammar schools attached to them. Those at St Peter’s, Westminster, and St Paul’s, attained a fame which has survived, while other similar foundations lapsed, such as St Anthony’s Public schools. (Threadneedle Street, City), at which Sir Thomas More, Archbishop Whitgift and many other men of eminence received education. Certain of the schools were re-endowed after the dissolution of the monasteries. St Peter’s College or Westminster School (see Westminster) is unique among English public schools of the highest rank in maintaining its original situation in London. Other early metropolitan foundations have been moved in accordance with modern tendencies either into the country or to sites aloof from the heart of London. Thus Charterhouse school, part of the foundation of Sir Thomas Sutton (1611), was moved from Finsbury to Godalming, Surrey; St Paul’s School occupies modern buildings at Hammersmith, and Christ’s Hospital is at Horsham, Sussex. Of other schools, Merchant Taylors’ was founded by the Company of that name in 1561, and has occupied, since 1875, the premises vacated by Charterhouse School. The Mercers’ School, Dowgate, was originally attached to the hospital of St Thomas of Acon, which was sold to the Mercers’ Company in 1522, on condition that the company should maintain the school. The City of London School, founded in Milk Street, Cheapside, by the City Corporation in 1835, occupies modern buildings on the Victoria Embankment. Dulwich College originated in the foundation of the College of God’s Gift by Edward Alleyn in 1626, and is now constituted as one of the principal English public schools. St Olave’s and St Saviour’s grammar school, Southwark, received its charter in 1571. Both classical and modern education is provided; a large number of scholarships are maintained out of the foundation, and exhibitions from the school to the universities and other higher educational institutions.
London University.—The University of London was incorporated by royal charter in 1836, as an examining body for conferring degrees. Its scope and powers were extended by subsequent charters, and in 1900, under the University of London Act 1898, it was reorganized as both a teaching and an examining body. The function of the academic department is to control the teaching branch, internal examinations, &c., and that of the external department to control external examinations, while the university extension system occupies a third department. The university is governed by a senate consisting of a chancellor, chairman of convocation and 54 members, whose appointment is shared by the Crown, convocation, the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Surgeons, the Inns of Court, the Law Society, the London County Council, City Corporation, City and Guilds Institute, University and King’s Colleges and the faculties. The faculties are theology, arts, law, music, medicine, science, engineering and economics. The schools of the University include University College, Gower Street, and King’s College, Somerset House (with both of which preparatory schools are connected), East London College and numerous institutions devoted to special faculties both within and without London. The university in part occupies buildings which formerly belonged to the Imperial Institute.
Other Educational Institutions.—The Board of Education directly administers the following educational institutions—the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, with its branch at Bethnal Green, from both of which objects are lent to various institutions for educational purposes; the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, with which is incorporated the Royal School of Mines; the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom and the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street; the Solar Physics Observatory, South Kensington; and the Royal College of Art, South Kensington. At Gresham College, Basinghall Street, City, founded in 1597 by Sir Thomas Gresham, and moved to its present site in 1843, lectures are given in the principal branches of science, law, divinity, medicine, &c.
Some further important establishments and institutions may be tabulated here:—
Architecture.—The Royal Institute of British Architects, Conduit Street, conducts examinations and awards diplomas.
Education.—The College of Preceptors, Bloomsbury, conducts examinations of persons engaged in education and awards diplomas.
Engineering.—A School of Practical Engineering is maintained at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham.
Law.—The Inns of Court are four—Middle Temple, Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn. A joint board of examiners examines students previous to admission. The Council of Legal Education superintends the education and subsequent examination of students. (See Inns of Court.) The Law Society is the superintending body for examination and admission in the case of solicitors.
Medical.—The Royal College of Physicians is in Pall Mall East, and the Royal College of Surgeons is in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The Society of Apothecaries is in Water Lane, City. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is in Red Lion Square, and the Royal Veterinary College at Camden Town. (The principal hospitals having schools are noted in the list of hospitals, Section VII.)
Military and Naval.—The Royal Military College and the Ordnance College are at Woolwich; the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
Music.—The principal educational institutions are—the Royal Academy of Music, Tenterden Street, Hanover Square; the Royal College of Music, South Kensington; Guildhall School, City, near the Victoria Embankment; London College, Great Marlborough Street; Trinity College, Manchester Square; Victoria College, Berners Street; and the Royal College of Organists, Bloomsbury.
Scientific Societies.—Numerous learned societies have their headquarters in London, and the following may especially be noticed here. Burlington House, in Piccadilly, built in 1872 on the site of a mansion of the earls of Burlington, houses the Royal Society, the Chemical, Geological, Linnaean and Royal Astronomical Societies, the Society of Antiquaries and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, of which the annual meetings take place at different British or colonial towns in succession. The Royal Society, the most dignified and influential of all, was incorporated by Charles II. in 1663. It originally occupied rooms in Crane Court, City, and was moved in 1780 to Somerset House, where others of the societies named were also located. The Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, was established in 1754 for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce. The Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, was founded in 1799, maintains a library and laboratories and promotes research in connexion with the experimental sciences. The Royal Geographical Society, occupying a building close to Burlington House in Savile Row, maintains a map-room open to the public, holds lectures by prominent explorers and geographers, and takes a leading part in the promotion of geographical discovery. The Royal Botanic Society has private gardens in the midst of Regent’s Park, where flower shows and general entertainments are held. The Royal Horticultural Society maintains gardens at Wisley, Surrey, and has an exhibition hall in Vincent Square, Westminster. The exhibitions of the Royal Agricultural Society are held at Park Royal, near Willesden. The Zoological Society maintains a magnificent collection of living specimens in the Zoological Gardens, Regent’s Park, a popular resort.
Museums, Art Galleries, Libraries.—In the British Museum London possesses one of the most celebrated collections in the world, originated in 1753 by the purchase of Sir Hans Sloane’s collection and library by the government. The great building in Bloomsbury (1828–1852) with its massive Ionic portico, houses the collections of antiquities, coins, books, manuscripts and drawings, and contains the reading-rooms for the use of readers. The natural history branch was removed to a building at South Kensington (the Natural History Museum) in 1881, where the zoological, botanical and mineralogical exhibits are kept. Close to this museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum (formerly South Kensington Museum, 1857) for which an extension of buildings, from a fine design by Sir Aston Webb, was begun in 1899 and completed in ten years. Here are collections of pictures and drawings, including the Raphael cartoons, objects of art of every description, mechanical and scientific collections, and Japanese, Chinese and Persian collections, and an Indian section. In the vicinity, also, is the fine building of the Imperial Institute, founded in 1887 as an exhibition to illustrate the resources of all parts of the Empire, as well as an institution for the furtherance of imperial intercourse; though not developed on the scale originally intended. Other museums are Sir John Soane’s collection in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the Museum of Practical Geology in Jermyn Street, while the scientific societies have libraries and in some cases collections of a specialized character, such as the museums of the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal Architectural Society, and the Society of Art and the Parkes Museum of the Sanitary Institute. Among permanent art collections the first place is taken by the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. This magnificent collection was originated in 1824, and the building dates from 1838, but has been more than once enlarged. The building of the National Portrait Gallery, adjoining it, dates from 1896, but the nucleus of the collection was formed in 1858. The munificence of Sir Henry Tate provided the gallery, commonly named after him, by the Thames near Vauxhall Bridge, which contains the national collection of British art. The Wallace collection of paintings and objects of art, in Hertford House, Manchester Square, was bequeathed to the nation by the widow of Sir Richard Wallace in 1897. Dulwich College possesses a fine series of paintings, of the Dutch and other schools, bequeathed by Sir P. F. Bourgeois in 1811. There are also notable collections of pictures in several of the mansions of the nobility, government buildings, halls of the City Companies and elsewhere. No gallery in London is exclusively or especially devoted to sculpture. Of the periodical art exhibitions that of the Royal Academy is most noteworthy. It is held annually at Burlington House from the first Monday in May to the first Monday in August. It consists mainly of paintings, but includes a few drawings and examples of sculpture. Earlier in each year exhibitions of works by deceased British artists and by old masters are held, and the Gibson and Diploma Galleries are permanent exhibitions. At the Guildhall special exhibitions are held from time to time. There are a number of art galleries in and about Bond Street and Piccadilly, Regent Street and Pall Mall, such as the New Gallery, where periodical exhibitions are given by the New English Art Club, the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours, other societies and art dealers.
Municipal provision of public libraries under acts of 1892 and 1893 is general throughout London, and these institutions are exceedingly popular for purposes both of reference and of loan. The acts are extended to include the provisions of museums and art galleries, but the borough councils have not as a rule availed themselves of this extension. The London County Council administers the Horniman Museum at Forest Hill, Lewisham. The City Corporation maintains the fine Guildhall library and museum. A few free libraries are supported by donations and subscriptions or charities. Besides the Government reference libraries at the British Museum and South Kensington there are other such libraries, of a specialized character, as at the Patent Office and the Record Office. Among lending libraries should be noticed the London Library in St James’s Square, Pall Mall.
Theatres and Places of Entertainment.—The principal London theatres lie between Piccadilly and Temple Bar, and High Holborn and Victoria Street, the majority being in Shaftesbury Avenue, the Haymarket, the neighbourhood of Charing Cross and the Strand. At these central theatres successful plays are allowed to “run” for protracted periods, but there are numerous fine houses in other parts of London which are generally occupied by a succession of touring companies presenting either revivals of popular plays or plays successful at the moment in the central theatres. The principal music halls (variety theatres) are in Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and the Strand. The Covent Garden theatre is the principal home of grand opera; the building, though spacious, suffers by comparison with the magnificence of opera houses in some other capitals, but during the opera season the scene within the theatre is brilliant. The chief halls devoted mainly to concerts are the Royal Albert Hall, close to the South Kensington museums, and Queen’s Hall in Langham Place, Regent Street. For a long time St James’s Hall (demolished in 1905) between Regent Street and Piccadilly was the chief concert hall. Oratorio is given usually in the Albert Hall, the vast area of which is especially suited for a large chorus and orchestra, and at the Crystal Palace (q.v.). This latter building, standing on high ground at Sydenham, and visible from far over the metropolis, is devoted not only to concerts, but to general entertainment, and the extensive grounds give accommodation for a variety of sports and amusements. Among other popular places of entertainment may be mentioned the exhibition grounds and buildings at Earl’s Court; similar grounds at Shepherd’s Bush, where a Franco-British Exhibition was held in 1908, an Imperial Exhibition in 1909, and an Anglo-Japanese in 1910; the great Olympia hall, West Kensington; the celebrated wax-work exhibition of Madame Tussaud in Marylebone Road; the Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill, an institution resembling the Crystal Palace; and the Agricultural Hall, Islington, where agricultural and other exhibitions are held. The well-known Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly was taken down in 1906, and the permanent conjuring entertainment for which (besides picture exhibitions) it was noted was removed elsewhere. Theatres, music halls, concert halls and other places of entertainment are licensed by the County Council, except that the licence for stage-plays is granted by the lord chamberlain under the Theatres Act 1843. The council provides for inspection of places of entertainment in respect of precautions against fire, structural safety, &c. The principal clubs are in and about Piccadilly and Pall Mall (see Club). A club for soldiers, sailors and marines in London, called the Union Jack Club, was opened in Waterloo Road by King Edward VII. in 1907.
Parks and Open Spaces: Administration.—The administration of parks and open spaces in and round London, topographical details of the principal of which are given in Section I., is divided between the Office of Works, the London County Council, the City Corporation and the borough councils. The Office of Works controls the Royal parks, the County Council controls the larger parks and open spaces not under Government or City control, and the borough councils the smaller; while the City Corporation controls certain public grounds outside the County of London. There are a few other bodies controlling particular open spaces, as the following list of public grounds exceeding 50 acres (in 1910) will show:—
|1. Under the Office of Works:—|
|St James’s Park||93||”|
|2. Under the War Office:—|
|3. Under the London County Council:—|
|Avery Hill, Eltham||80||”|
|Bostall Heath and Woods, Woolwich||1333||”|
|Brockwell Park, Herne Hill||1271||”|
|Hainault Forest, Essex||805||”|
|Ladywell Ground, Lewisham||511||”|
|Marble Hill, Twickenham||66||”|
|Peckham Rye and Park||1123||”|
|Tooting Bec Common||1513||”|
|Tooting Graveney Common||66||”|
|Victoria Park, East London||217||”|
|4. Under the City Corporation:—|
|Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire||375||”|
|Coulsdon Commons, Surrey||347||”|
|Epping Forest, Essex||55591||”|
|West Ham Park||77||”|
Wimbledon and Putney Commons are under a board of conservators. The London County Council’s parks and open spaces increased in number from 40 in 1890 to 114 in 1907, and in acreage from 2656 to 5006 in the same years. The expenditure in 1907–1908 was £131,582, which sum included £11,987 for bands. (See also separate articles on boroughs.)
Bathing (at certain hours) and boating are permitted in the ornamental waters in several of the parks, music is provided and much attention is paid to the protection of waterfowl and other birds, while herds of deer are maintained in some places, and also botanical gardens. Surplus plants and cuttings are generally distributed without charge to educational or charitable institutions, and to the poor. Provision is made for cricket, football and other games in a number of the parks. Large gatherings of spectators are attracted to the first-class cricket matches played at Lord’s ground, St John’s Wood, by the Marylebone Club and the Middlesex County teams, Eton College against Harrow School, and Oxford against Cambridge University; to the Kennington Oval for the matches of the Surrey club, and the Leyton ground for those of the Essex club. In the Crystal Palace grounds the final match for the English Association Football cup is generally played, and huge crowds from both the metropolis and the provinces witness the game. At Queen’s Club, West Kensington, the annual Oxford and Cambridge athletic meeting and others take place, besides football matches, and there is covered accommodation for tennis and other games. Professional association football teams are maintained locally in several parts of London, and much popular interest is taken in their matches. Rugby football is upheld by such notable teams as Blackheath and Richmond. Fashionable society takes its pastimes at such centres as the grounds of the Hurlingham and Ranelagh clubs, at Fulham and Barnes respectively, where polo and other games are played; and Rotten Row, the horse-track in Hyde Park, is the favourite resort of riders. In summer, boating on the lovely reaches of the Thames above the metropolis forms the recreation of thousands. The growth of popularity of the cycle, and later of the motor-car, has been a principal factor in the wide development of a tendency to leave London during the “week-end,” that is to say, as a rule, for Saturday afternoon and Sunday. With many this is a practice at all seasons, and the railway companies foster the habit by means of tickets at reduced fares to all parts. The watering-places of the Sussex, Kent and Essex coasts, and pre-eminently Brighton, are specially favoured for these brief holidays.
Port of London.—The extent of the Port of London has been variously defined for different purposes, but for those of the Port Authority it is taken to extend from Teddington Lock to a line between Yantlet Creek in Kent and the City Stone opposite Canvey Isle and in Essex. London Bridge is to outward appearance the up-river limit of the port. There are wharves and a large carrying trade in barges above this point, but below it the river is crowded with shipping, and extensive docks open on either hand.
Towards the close of the 19th century evidence was accumulating that the development of the Port of London was not keeping pace with that of shipping generally. In 1900 a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the existing administration of the port, the alleged inadequacy of accommodation for vessels and kindred questions, and to advance a scheme of reform. The report, issued in 1902, showed apprehension to be well founded. The river, it was ascertained, was not kept sufficiently dredged; the re-export trade was noted as showing an especially serious decline, and the administration was found to suffer from decentralization. The recommendations of the Commission included the creation of a single controlling authority to take over the powers of the Thames Conservancy Watermen’s Company, and Trinity House and the docks of the companies already detailed. This authority, it was advised, should consist of 40 members, of whom 11 should be nominated by the London County Council and 3 by the Corporation of the City (supposing these bodies to accept certain financial responsibilities proposed in the direction of river improvements), 5 by the governors of the Bank of England from the mercantile community, 2 by the London Chamber of Commerce, and 1 each by the Admiralty, Board of Trade and Trinity House. The remaining members should be elected by various groups, e.g. shipowners, barge owners, the railway companies interested, &c. Rival schemes, however, were proposed by the London County Council, which proposed to take over the entire control through a committee, by the City Corporation, which suggested that it should appoint 10 instead of 3 members to the new board; and by the London Chamber of Commerce, which proposed a Harbour Trust of ex-officio and elected members. The Thames Conservancy also offered itself as the public authority. In 1902 a Mansion House Conference was convened by the lord mayor and a deputation was appointed which in 1903 pressed the solution of the matter upon the government.
A noteworthy scheme to improve the condition of the Thames, first put forward in 1902–1903, was that of constructing a dam with four locks across the river between Gravesend and Tilbury. The estimated cost was between three Thames barrage scheme. and four millions sterling, to be met by a toll, and it was urged that a uniform depth, independent of tides, would be ensured above the dam, that delay of large vessels wishing to proceed up river would thus be obviated, that the river would be relieved of pollution by the tides, and the necessity for constant dredging would be abolished. This “barrage scheme” was discussed at considerable length, and its theoretical advantages were not universally admitted. The scheme included a railway tunnel beneath the dam, for which, incidentally, a high military importance was claimed.
In 1904 the Port of London Bill, embodying the recommendations of the Royal Commission with certain exceptions, was brought forward, but it was found impossible to carry Port authorities before 1909. it through. In 1908, however, the Port of London Act was passed, and came into force in 1909. This act provided for the establishment of a Port Authority, the constitution of which is detailed below, which took over the entire control of the port, together with the docks and other property of the several existing companies.
The principal dock companies, with the docks owned by them, were as follows:—
1. London and India Company.—This company had amalgamated all the docks on the north side of the river except the Millwall Docks. Following the river down from the Tower these docks, with dates of original opening and existing extent, are—St Katherine’s (1828; 101 acres), London (1805; 571 acres), West India, covering the northern part of the peninsula called the Isle of Dogs (1802; 1211 acres), East India, Blackwall (1806; 38 acres), Royal Victoria and Albert Docks (1876 and 1880 respectively), parallel with the river along Bugsby’s and Woolwich Reaches, nearly 3 m. in distance (181 acres) and Tilbury Docks, 25 m. below London Bridge, constructed in 1886 by the East and West India Docks Company (65 acres). Tilbury Docks are used by the largest steamers trading with the port.
2. Millwall Docks (1868), in the south part of the Isle of Dogs, are 36 acres in extent.
3. Surrey Commercial Docks, Rotherhithe (Bermondsey), occupy a peninsula between the Lower Pool and Limehouse Reach. There have been docks at Rotherhithe since the middle of the 17th century. The total area is 176 acres, a large new dock, the Greenland, being opened in 1904.
The principal railways have wharves and through connexions for goods traffic, and huge warehouses are attached to the docks. The custom house stands on the north bank, a short distance from London Bridge, in Lower Thames Street. It dates from 1817, the body of the building being by Laing, but the Corinthian façade was added by Smirke. It includes a museum containing ancient documents and specimens of articles seized by the customs authorities.
The chief authorities concerned in the government of the Port of London till 1909 were:—
1. Thames Conservancy.—For conservancy purposes, regulation of navigation, removal of obstruction, dredging, &c.
2. City Corporation.—Port sanitary purposes from Teddington Lock seawards.
3. Trinity House.—Pilotage, lighting and buoying from London Bridge seawards.
4. The Watermen’s and Lightermen’s Company.—The licensing authority for watermen and lightermen.
Besides these authorities, the London County Council, the Board of Trade, the Admiralty, the Metropolitan and City Police, police of riparian boroughs, Kent and Essex Fisheries Commissioners, all the dock companies and others played some part in the government and public services of the port.
Port Authority.—The Port of London Authority, as constituted by the act of 1908, is a body corporate consisting of a chairman, vice-chairman, 17 members elected by payers of dues, wharfingers and owners of river craft, 1 member elected by wharfingers exclusively, and 10 members appointed by the following existing bodies—Admiralty (one); Board of Trade (two); London County Council (two from among its own members and two others); City Corporation (one from among its own members and one other); Trinity House (one). The Board of Trade and the County Council must each, under the act, consult with representatives of labour as to the appointment of one of the members, in order that labour may be represented on the Port Authority. The first “elected” members were actually, under the act, appointed by the Board of Trade. The undertakings of the three dock companies mentioned above were transferred to and vested in the Port Authority, an equivalent amount of port stock created under the act being issued to each. The Port Authority has full powers to authorize construction works. All the rights, powers and duties of the Thames Conservancy, so far as concerns the Thames below Teddington Lock, were transferred to the Port Authority under the act, as also were the powers of the Watermen’s Company in respect of the registration and licensing of vessels, and the regulation of lightermen and watermen. The Port Authority fixes the port rates, which, however, must not in any two consecutive years exceed one-thousandth part of the value of all imports and exports, or a three-thousandth of the value of goods discharged from or taken on board vessels not within the premises of a dock. Preferential dock charges are prohibited and a port fund established under the act. The authority has powers to borrow money, but for certain purposes in this connexion, as in other matters, it can only act subject to the approval of the Board of Trade.
Commerce.—The following figures may be quoted for purposes of comparison at different periods:—
Value of Exports of Home Produce (1840), £11,586,037; (1874), £60,232,118; (1880), £52,600,929; (1902–1905 average), £60,095,294. Imports (1880), £141,442,907; (1902–1905), £174,059,316. These figures point to the fact that London is essentially a mart, and neither is itself, nor is the especial outlet for, a large manufacturing centre; hence imports greatly exceed exports.
Vessels entered and cleared (foreign and colonial trade):—
| 1841–1850 |
In the coastwise trade, in 1881, 38,953 vessels of 4,545,904 tons entered; in 1895, 43,704 vessels of 6,555,618 tons; but these figures include vessels trading within the Thames estuary (ports of London, Rochester, Colchester and Faversham), which later returns do not. Omitting such vessels, therefore, the number which entered in the coastwise trade in 1905 was 16,358 of 6,374,832 tons.
Business.—The City has been indicated as the business centre of the metropolis. Besides the Royal Exchange, in the building of which are numerous offices, including “Lloyd’s,” the centre of the shipping business and marine insurance, there are many exchanges for special articles. Among these are the Corn Exchange in Mark Lane, where the privilege of a fair was originally granted by Edward I.; the Wool Exchange, Coleman Street; the Coal Exchange, Lower Thames Street; the Shipping Exchange, Billiter Street; and the auction mart for landed property in Tokenhouse Yard. The Hop Exchange is across the river in Southwark. In Mincing Lane are the commercial sale-rooms. Besides the Bank of England there are many banking houses; and the name of Lombard Street, commemorating the former money dealers of Lombardy, is especially associated with them. The majority of the banks are members of the Clearing House, Post Office Court, where a daily exchange of drafts representing millions of pounds sterling is effected. The Royal Mint is on Tower Hill. The Stock Exchange is in Capel Court, and numbers of brokers have their offices in the vicinity of the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England.
Manufactures and Retail Trade.—No part of London can be pointed out as essentially a manufacturing quarter, and there is a strong tendency for manufacturing firms to establish their factories outside the metropolis. There are, however, several large breweries, among which that of Messrs Barclay & Perkins, on the riverside in Southwark, may be mentioned; engineering works are numerous in East London by the river, where there are also shipbuilding yards; the leather industry centres in Bermondsey, the extensive pottery works of Messrs Doulton are in Lambeth, there are chemical works on the Lea, and paper-mills on the Wandle. Certain industries (not confined to factories) have long been associated with particular localities. Thus, clock-makers and metal-workers are congregated in Finsbury, especially Clerkenwell and in Islington; Hatton Garden, near Holborn Viaduct, is a centre for diamond merchants; cabinet-making is carried on in Bethnal Green, Shoreditch and the vicinity; and large numbers in the East End are employed in the match industry. Silk-weaving is still carried on in the district of Spitalfields (see Stepney). West of the City certain streets are essentially connected with certain trades. The old-established collection of second-hand book-shops in Holywell Street was only abolished by the widening of the Strand, and a large proportion then removed to Charing Cross Road. In the Strand, and more especially in Fleet Street and its offshoots, are found the offices of the majority of the most important daily newspapers and other journals. Carriage and motor-car warehouses congregate in Long Acre. In Tottenham Court Road are the showrooms of several large upholstering and furnishing firms. Of the streets most frequented on account of their fashionable shops Bond Street, Regent Street, Oxford Street, Sloane Street and High Street, Kensington, may be selected. In the East End and other poor quarters a large trade in second-hand clothing, flowers and vegetables, and many other commodities is carried on in the streets on movable stalls by costermongers and hawkers.
Markets.—The City Corporation exercises a control over the majority of the London markets, which dates from the close of the 14th century, when dealers were placed under the governance of the mayor and aldermen. The markets thus controlled are:
Central Markets, Smithfield, for meat, poultry, provisions, fruit, vegetables, flowers and fish. These extend over a great area north of Newgate Street and east of Farringdon Road. Beneath them are extensive underground railway sidings. A market for horses and cattle existed here at least as early as the time of Henry II.
Leadenhall Market, Leadenhall Street, City, for poultry and meat. This market was in existence before 1411 when it came into the possession of the City.
Billingsgate Market, by the Thames immediately above the custom house, for fish. Formerly a point of anchorage for small vessels, it was made a free market in 1699.
Smithfield Hay Market.
Metropolitan Cattle Market, Copenhagen Fields, Islington.
Deptford Cattle Market (foreign cattle).
Spitalfields Market (fruit, vegetables and flowers).
Shadwell Market (fish).
Of other markets, the Whitechapel Hay Market and Borough Market, Southwark, are under the control of trustees; and Woolwich Market is under the council of that borough. Covent Garden, the great mart in the west of London for flowers, fruit and vegetables, is in the hands of private owners. It appears to have been used as a market early in the 17th century. Scenes of remarkable activity may be witnessed here and at Billingsgate in the early hours of the morning when the stock is brought in and the wholesale distributions are carried on.
Administration before 1888.—The middle of the 19th century found the whole local administration of London still of a medieval character. Moreover, as complete reform had always been steadily resisted, homogeneity was entirely wanting. Outside Vestries. the City itself a system of local government can hardly be said to have existed. Greater London (in the sense in which that name might then have been applied) was governed by the inhabitants of each parish in vestry assembled, save that in some instances parishes had elected select vestries under the provisions of the Vestries Act 1831. In neither case had the vestry powers of town management. To meet the needs of particular localities, commissioners or trustees having such powers had been from time to time created by local acts. The resulting chaos was remarkable. In 1855 these local acts numbered 250, administered by not less than 300 bodies, and by a number of persons serving on them computed at 10,448. These persons were either self-elected, or elected for life, or both, and therefore in no degree responsible to the ratepayers. There were two bodies having jurisdiction over the whole metropolis except the City, namely, the officers appointed under the Metropolitan Building Act of 1844, and the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers, appointed under the Commissioners of Sewers Act 1848. Neither body was responsible to the ratepayers. To remedy this chaotic state of affairs, the Metropolis Management Act 1855 was passed. Under that act a vestry elected by the ratepayers of the parish was established for each parish in the metropolis outside the City. The vestries so elected for the twenty-two larger parishes were constituted the local authorities. The fifty-six smaller parishes were grouped together in fifteen districts, each under a district board, the members of which were elected by the vestries of the constituent parishes. Metropolitan Board of Works. A central body, styled the Metropolitan Board of Works, having jurisdiction over the whole metropolis (including the City) was also established, the members of which were elected by the Common Council of the City, the vestries and district boards, and the previously established local board of Woolwich (q.v.). Further the area of the metropolis for local government purposes was for the first time defined, being the same as that adopted in the Commissioners of Sewers Act, which had been taken from the area of the weekly bills of mortality. The Metropolitan Board of Works was also given certain powers of supervision over the vestries and district boards, and superseded the commissioners of sewers as authority for main drainage. By an act of the same session it became the central authority for the administration of the Building Acts, and subsequently had many additional powers and duties conferred upon it. The vestries and district boards became the authorities for local drainage, paving, lighting, repairing and maintaining streets, and for the removal of nuisances, &c.
Acts of 1888 and 1899.—An objection to the Metropolitan Board of Works soon became manifest, inasmuch as the system of election was indirect. Moreover, some of its actions were open to such suspicion that a royal commission London County Council. was appointed to inquire into certain matters connected with the working of the board. This commission issued an interim report in 1888 (the final report did not appear until 1891), which disclosed the inefficiency of the board in certain respects, and also indicated the existence of corruption. Reform followed immediately. Already in 1884 Sir William Harcourt had attempted to constitute the metropolis a municipal borough under the government of a single council. But in 1888 the Local Government Act, dealing with the area of the metropolis as a separate county, created the London County Council as the central administrative body, possessing not only the powers of an ordinary county council, but also extensive powers of town management, transferred to it from the abolished Board of Works. Here, then, was the central body, under their direct control, which inhabitants of London had hitherto lacked. The question of subsidiary councils remained to be settled. The wealthier metropolitan parishes became discontented with the form of local government to which they remained subject, and in 1897 Kensington and Westminster petitioned to be created boroughs by the grant of charters under the Municipal Corporation Acts. These, however, were inapplicable to London, and it was realized that the bringing of special legislation to bear on special cases (as the petition of these two boroughs would have demanded) Metropolitan boroughs. would be inexpedient as making against homogeneity. Instead, the London Government Act of 1899 was evolved. It brought into existence the twenty-eight Metropolitan boroughs enumerated at the outset of this article. The county of London may thus be regarded from the administrative standpoint as consisting of twenty-nine contiguous towns, counting the City of London. As regards the distribution of powers and duties between the County Council and the Borough Councils, and the constitution and working of each, the underlying principle may be briefly indicated as giving all powers and duties which require uniformity of action throughout the whole of London to the County Council, and powers and duties that can be locally administered to the Borough Councils.
Summary of Administrative Bodies.—The administrative bodies of the County of London may now be summarized:
1. London County Council.—Consists of 118 councillors, 2 elected by each parliamentary division (but the City of London elects 4); and 19 aldermen, with chairman, vice-chairman and deputy-chairman, elected in council. Triennial elections of councillors by householders (male and female) on the rate-books. Aldermen hold office for 6 years.
2. Metropolitan Boroughs.—Councils consist of a mayor and aldermen and councillors in proportion as 1 to 6. The commonest numbers, which cannot be exceeded, are 10 and 60 (see separate article on each borough). Triennial elections.
3. Corporation of the City of London.—The legislation of 1855, 1888 and 1899 left the government of the small area of the City in the hands of an unreformed Corporation. Here at least the medieval system, in spite of any anomalies with respect to modern conditions, has resisted reform, and no other municipal body shares the traditions and peculiar dignity of the City Corporation. This consists of a Lord Mayor, 26 aldermen and 206 common councilmen, forming the Court of Common Council, which is the principal administrative body. Its scope may be briefly indicated as including (a) duties exercised elsewhere by the Borough Councils, and by the London County Council (although that body is by no means powerless within the City boundaries); and (b) peculiar duties such as control of markets and police. The election of common councilmen, whose institution dates from the reign of Edward I., takes place annually, the electors being the ratepayers, divided among the twenty-five wards of the City. An alderman (q.v.) of each ward (save that the wards of Cripplegate within and without, share one) is elected for life. The Lord Mayor (q.v.) is elected by the Court of Aldermen from two aldermen nominated in the Court of Common Hall by the Livery, an electorate drawn from the members of the ancient trade gilds or Livery Companies (q.v.), which, through their control over the several trades or manufactures, had formerly an influence over the government of the city which from the time of Edward III. was paramount.
Non-administrative Arrangements.—The Local Government Act of 1888 dealt with the metropolis for non-administrative purposes as it did for administrative, that is to say, as a separate county. The arrangements of quarter-sessions, justices, coroners, sheriffs, &c., were thus brought into line with other counties, except in so far as the ordinary organization is modified by the existence of the central criminal court, the metropolitan police, police courts and magistrates, and a paid chairman of quarter-sessions. The powers of the governing body of the City, moreover, are as peculiar in this direction as in that of municipal administration, and the act left the City as a county of a city practically unchanged. Thus the Lord Mayor and aldermen possess judicial authority, and the police of London are divided into two separate bodies, the Metropolitan and the City Police (see Police).
The chief courts for the trial of criminal cases are the Central Criminal Court and the Court of Quarter-sessions. The Central Criminal Court, taking the place of the provincial Assizes, was established by an act of 1834. There are Courts. twelve sessions annually, under the Lord Mayor, aldermen and judges. They were formerly held in the “Old Bailey” sessions-house, but a fine new building from designs of E. W. Mountford took the place of this in 1906. Quarter-sessions for the county of London are held thirty-six times annually, for the north side of the Thames at the Sessions-house in Clerkenwell (Finsbury) and for the south side at that in Newington Causeway, Southwark. For judicial purposes Westminster was merged with the county of London in 1889, and the Liberty of the Tower was abolished in 1894. The separate court of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen is held at the Guildhall. The Metropolitan police courts are fourteen in number, namely—Bow Street, Covent Garden; Clerkenwell; Great Marlborough Street (Westminster); Greenwich and Woolwich; Lambeth; Marylebone; North London, Stoke Newington Road; Southwark; South Western, Lavender Hill (Battersea); Thames, Arbour Street East (Stepney); West Ham; West London, Vernon Street (Fulham); Westminster, Vincent Square; Worship Street (Shoreditch). The police courts of the City are held at the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor or an alderman sitting as magistrate, and at the Guildhall, where the aldermen preside in rotation. The prisons within the metropolis are Brixton, Holloway, Pentonville, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubbs. In the county of London there are 12 coroners’ districts, 19 petty sessional divisions (the City forming a separate one) and 13 county court districts (the City forming a separate one). The boundaries of these divisions do not in any way correspond with each other, or with the police divisions, or with the borough or parish boundaries. The registration county of London coincides with the administrative county.
Parliamentary Representation.—The London Government Act contains a saving clause by which “nothing in or done under this act shall be construed as altering the limits of any parliamentary borough or parliamentary county.” The parliamentary boroughs are thus in many cases named and bounded differently from the metropolitan boroughs. The parliamentary arrangements of each metropolitan borough are indicated in the separate articles on the boroughs. In the following list the boroughs which extend outside the administrative county of London are noted. Each division of each borough, or each borough where not divided, returns one member, save that the City of London returns two members.
(a) North of the Thames. (1) Bethnal Green—Divs.: North-eastern, South-western. (2) Chelsea (detached portion in administrative county of Middlesex, Kensal Town). (3) Finsbury (detached portion in Middlesex, Muswell Hill)—Divs.: Holborn, Central, Eastern. (5) Fulham. (6) Hackney—Divs.: North, Central, South. (7) Hammersmith. (8) Hampstead. (9) Islington—Divs.: Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western. (10) Kensington—Divs.: Northern, Southern. (11) City of London. (12) Marylebone—Divs.: Eastern, Western. (13) Paddington (extending into Middlesex)—Divs.: Northern, Southern. (14) St George’s Hanover Square. (15) St Pancras—Divs.: Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western. (16) Shoreditch—Divs.: Hoxton, Haggerston. (17) Strand. (18) Tower Hamlets—Divs.: Bow and Bromley, Limehouse, Mile End, Poplar, St George, Stepney, Whitechapel. (19) Westminster.
A detached portion of the parliamentary division of Hornsey, Middlesex, is in the metropolitan borough of Hackney. London University returns a member.
(b) South of the Thames. (1) Battersea and Clapham—Divs.: Battersea, Clapham. (2) Camberwell (extending into Kent)—Divs.: Northern, Peckham, Dulwich. (3) Deptford. (4) Greenwich. (5) Lambeth—Divs.: Northern, Kennington, Brixton, Norwood. (6) Lewisham. (7) Newington—Divs.: Western, Walworth. (8) Southwark—Divs.: Western, Rotherhithe, Bermondsey. (9) Wandsworth. (10) Woolwich.
Part of the Wimbledon parliamentary division of Surrey is in the metropolitan borough of Wandsworth.
Ecclesiastical Divisions and Denominations.—London north of the Thames is within the Church of England bishopric of London, the bishop’s palace being at Fulham. In this diocese, which covers nearly the whole of Middlesex and a very small portion of Hertfordshire, are the suffragan bishoprics of Islington, Kensington and Stepney. The bishopric of Southwark was created in 1904, having been previously a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of Rochester. The county contains 612 ecclesiastical parishes. Westminster is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishopric in England, and Southwark is a bishopric. Among the numerous chapels of dissenting bodies there may be mentioned the City Temple, Congregational, on Holborn Viaduct; the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Baptist, in Southwark, the creation of which was the outcome of the labours of the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon (d. 1892); and Wesley’s Chapel, City Road, in the graveyard of which is the tomb of John Wesley; his house, which adjoins the chapel, being open as a memorial museum. In 1903 the Wesleyans acquired the site of the Royal Aquarium, near Westminster Abbey, for the erection of a central hall. The Great Synagogue of the Jews is in St James’ Place, Aldgate. The headquarters of the Salvation Army are in Queen Victoria Street, City. There are numerous foreign churches, among which may be mentioned the French Protestant churches in Monmouth Road, Bayswater and Soho Square; the Greek church of St Sophia, Moscow Road, Bayswater; and the German Evangelical church in Montpelier Place, Brompton Road, opened in 1904. (O. J. R. H.)
In addition to the provisions that have been mentioned above (Section VII.), the London Government Act 1899 simplified administration in two respects. The duties of overseers in London had been performed by most diverse bodies. In some parishes overseers were appointed in the ordinary manner; in others the vestry, by local acts and by orders under the Local Government Act 1894, was appointed to act as, or empowered to appoint, overseers, whilst in Chelsea the guardians acted as overseers. The act of 1899 swept away all these distinctions, and constituted the new borough councils in every case the overseers for every parish within their respective boroughs, except that the town clerk of each borough performs the duties of overseers with respect to the registration of electors. Again, with regard to rates, there were in all cases three different rates leviable in each parish—the poor rate, the general rate and the sewers rate—whilst in many parishes in addition there was a separate lighting rate. From the sewers rate and lighting rate, land, as opposed to buildings, was entitled to certain exemptions. Under the act of 1899 all these rates are consolidated into a single rate, called the general rate, which is assessed, made, collected and levied as the poor rate, but the interests of persons previously entitled to exemptions are safeguarded. Further, every precept sent by an authority in London for the purpose of obtaining money (these authorities include the London County Council, the receiver of the Metropolitan Police, the Central Unemployed Body and the Boards of Guardians) which has ultimately to be raised out of a rate within a borough is sent direct to the council of the borough instead of filtering through other authorities before reaching the overseers. The only exceptions to this rule are: (1) precepts issued by the local government board for raising the sums to be contributed to the metropolitan common poor fund; and (2) precepts issued by poor law authorities representing two or more poor-law unions; in both these cases the precept has of necessity to be first sent to the guardians. The metropolitan borough councils make one general rate, which includes the amount necessary to meet their own expenditure, as well as to meet the demands of the various precepting authorities. There was thus raised in the year 1906–1907 a sum of £15,393,956 (in 1898–1899 the amount was £10,401,441); of this £11,012,424 was for central rates, which was subdivided into £7,930,275 for county services and £3,082,149 for local services, leaving a balance of £4,381,532, strictly local rates. The total local expenditure of London for the year 1906–1907 was £24,703,087 (in 1898–1899 it was only £14,768,757), the balance of £9,761,734 being made up by receipts-in-aid and imperial subventions. This expenditure was divided among the following bodies:
|London County Council||£9,491,271|
|Metropolitan Borough Councils||5,009,982|
|Boards of Guardians||3,587,429|
|Metropolitan Water Board||2,318,618|
|Metropolitan Asylums Board||934,463|
|Central (Unemployed) Body||141,284|
|Overseers—City of London||34,757|
|Market Trustees (Southwark)||10,680|
|Local Government Board—Common Poor Fund||756|
|(1) Rate and Debt Accounts.|
|Estimated Income.||Estimated Expenditure.|
|Balances||£967,740||Debt (including management)||£3,905,135|
|Receipts in aid of expenditure (local taxation licences||Grants (mostly guardians)||645,913|
|and estate duty, beer and spirit duties, &c.)||513,541||Pensions||75,665|
|Government grants in aid of education||1,515,663||Establishment charges||232,045|
|Interest on loans advanced to local authorities, &c.||586,065||Judicial expenses||52,515|
|Contributions from revenue-producing undertaking||Main drainage||£295,650|
|for interest and repayment of debt||685,948||Fire brigade||263,575|
|Miscellaneous||3,633||Parks and open spaces||140,715|
|Rate contributions—||Bridges, tunnels, ferry||49,925|
|General, for other than education||2,698,610||Embankments||14,940|
|For education||3,675,694||Pauper lunatics||78,870|
|Weights and measures||14,830|
|Diseases of Animals Acts||19,260|
|(2) Revenue Producing Undertakings.|
|Estimated Income.||Estimated Expenditure.|
|Receipts—||Working class dwellings||£56,060|
|Working class dwellings||£173,443||Tramways||1,318,620|
|Tramways||2,089,955||Small Holdings and Allotments||621|
|Small Holdings and Allotments||410||Parks boating||2,965||£1,378,266|
|Interest on and repayment of debts||685,946|
|Transfer in relief of rates (parks boating)||2,000|
The total expenditure was equal to a rate in the pound of 11s. 4.4d.; the actual amount raised in rates was equivalent to a rate of 7s. 1.0d., receipts-in-aid were equivalent to a rate of 3s. 2.5d., and imperial subventions to a rate of 1s. 3.4d. Practically the whole amount contributed towards the support of public local expenditure, and a considerable amount of that contributed to public national expenditure is based on the estimated annual value of the immovable property situated within the county of London, which in 1876 was £23,240,070; in 1886 £30,716,719; in 1896 £35,793,672; and in 1909 £44,666,651. The produce of a penny rate was, in the metropolitan police district in 1908–1909, £226,739, and in the county of London (excluding the City) £161,806. A complete re-valuation of properties in the county of London is made every five years, valuation lists being prepared in duplicate by the borough councils acting as overseers of the parishes in their respective boroughs. They are revised by statutory assessment committees, who hear any objections by ratepayers against their valuation. These lists when revised are sent to the clerk of the County Council, who publishes the totals. By the Metropolitan Poor Act 1867, the metropolitan common poor fund, to which each union in London contributes in proportion to its rateable value, was established. Out of this fund certain expenses of guardians in connexion with the maintenance of indoor paupers and lunatics, the salaries of officers, the maintenance of children in poor-law schools, valuation, vaccination, registration, &c., are paid. The payments amounted in 1906–1907 to £1,662,942. Under the Local Government Act 1888, the London County Council makes grants to boards of guardians, sanitary authorities and overseers in London in respect of certain services. This grant is in lieu of the grants formerly made out of the exchequer grant in aid of local rates, and amounted in 1906–1907 to £619,489. Finally, in 1894, the fund called the Equalization Fund was established. This fund is raised by the rate of 6d. in the pound on the assessable value of the county of London, and redistributed among the boroughs in proportion to their population. It amounted in 1906–1907 to £1,094,946. But, in spite of attempts at equalization, rates remain very unequal in London, and varied in 1908 from 6s. 2d. in St Anne’s, Westminster, to 11s. 6d. in Poplar. The London County Council levied in 1909–1910 to meet its estimated expenditure for the year a total rate of 36.75d.; 14.50d. of this was for general county purposes, 19.75d. for education purposes and 2.50d. for special county purposes. The preceding tables show the estimated income and expenditure of the London County Council for 1909–1910.
Besides the annual expenditure of the various authorities large sums have been borrowed to defray the cost of works of a permanent nature. The debt of London, like that of other municipalities, has considerably increased and shows a tendency to go on increasing, although certain safeguards against too ready borrowing have been imposed. Every local authority has to obtain the sanction of some higher authority before raising a loan, and there are in addition certain statutory limits of borrowing. Metropolitan borough councils have to obtain the sanction of the Local Government Board to loans for baths, washhouses, public libraries, sanitary conveniences and certain other purposes under the Public Health Acts; for cemeteries the sanction of the Treasury is required, and for all other purposes that of the London County Council; poor law authorities, the metropolitan asylums board, the metropolitan water board and the central (unemployed) body require the sanction of the Local Government Board; the receiver for the metropolitan police district that of the Home Office, and the London County Council that of parliament and the Treasury. The following table gives the net loans outstanding of the several classes of local authorities in London at the 31st of March 1908:
|Local Authorities.||Loans outstanding|
31st March 1908.
|London County Council (excluding loans|
|advanced to other authorities)||£49,938,131|
|Metropolitan Asylums Board||3,113,612|
|Metropolitan Police (London’s proportion)||226,131|
|Metropolitan Water Board (proportion)||38,726,514|
|Central (Unemployed) Body||31,845|
|City of London Corporation||5,553,173|
|Metropolitan Borough Councils||12,551,204|
|Guardians and sick asylum managers||4,029,013|
Authorities.—Full details and figures relating to the finance of London will be found in the parliamentary papers Local Taxation Returns (England and Wales), part iv. published annually; Returns relating to the London County Council, published annually; the annual report and accounts of the Metropolitan Water Board, and the metropolitan police accounts. The publications of the London County Council, especially the tramways accounts, the annual estimates, London Statistics, and the Financial Abstract (10 years ended 31st March 1908) have much valuable information. (T. A. I.)
1. British and Roman to A.D. 449.—There is practically no record of British London, and considerable difference of opinion exists among antiquaries as to its very existence. Bishop Stillingfleet held that London was of Roman foundation and not older than the time of Claudius (Origines Brit., 1685, p. 43); and Dr Guest affirmed that the notion of a British town having “preceded the Roman camp has no foundation to rest upon” (Archaeological Journal, xxiii. 180). J. R. Green expressed the same opinion in The Making of England (p. 101). On the other side Kemble held that it was difficult to believe that Cair Lunden was an unimportant place even in Caesar’s day (Saxons in England, ii. 266); and Thomas Lewin believed that London had attained prosperity before the Romans came, and held that it was probably the capital of Cassivellaunus, which was taken and sacked by Julius Caesar (Archaeologia, xl. 59). The origin of London will probably always remain a subject of dispute for want of decisive facts.
The strongest reason for believing in a British London is to be found in the name, which is undoubtedly Celtic, adopted with little alteration by the Romans. It is also difficult to believe that Londinium had come to be the important commercial centre described by Tacitus (A.D. 61) if it had only been founded a few years before the conquest of Claudius.
The discovery by General Pitt Rivers in 1867 of the remains of pile dwellings both on the north and on the south of the Thames gives ground for an argument of some force in favour of the date of the foundation of London having been before the Roman occupation of Britain. Of Roman London we possess so many remains that its appearance can be conjectured with little difficulty.
During the centuries when Britain was occupied by the Romans (A.D. 43–409) there was ample time for cities to grow up from small beginnings, to overflow their borders and to be more than once rebuilt. The earliest Roman London must have been a comparatively small place, but it probably contained a military fort of some kind intended to cover the passage of the river.
The Roman general Paulinus Suetonius, after marching rapidly from Wales to put down a serious insurrection, found Londinium unfitted for a base of military operations, and therefore left the place to the mercy of Boadicea, Extent of Roman London. who entirely destroyed it, and killed the inhabitants. After this the need of fortifying Londinium must have been apparent, and a walled city of small dimensions arose soon after the defeat of the British queen. The earliest Roman city probably extended as far as Tower Hill on the east, and there is reason to believe that it did not include any ground to the west of Leadenhall. The excavations at the latter place in 1881 threw great light upon the early history of London. The foundation walls of a basilica were discovered, and from the time when that was built until the present day the ground has always been devoted to public uses. How far north the first wall was placed it is difficult to guess. One help towards a settlement of the question may be found in the discovery of burial places. As it was illegal in Roman times to bury within the walls, we are forced to the conclusion that the places where these sepulchral remains have been found were at one time extramural. Now no such remains have been found between Gracechurch Street and the Tower. The northern wall was placed by Roach Smith somewhere along the course of Cornhill and Leadenhall Street. The second extension of the city westwards was probably to Wallbrook.
In the latest or third Roman enclosure the line of the wall ran straight from the Tower to Aldgate, where it bent round somewhat to Bishopsgate. On the east it was bordered by the district subsequently called the Minories and Houndsditch. The line from Bishopsgate ran eastward to St Giles’s churchyard (Cripplegate), where it turned to the south as far as Falcon square; again westerly by Aldersgate round the site of the Greyfriars (afterwards Christ’s Hospital) towards Giltspur Street, then south by the Old Bailey to Ludgate, and then down to the Thames, where Dr Edwin Freshfield suggests that a Roman fortress stood on the site of Baynard’s Castle. This is most probable, because the Romans naturally required a special protection on the river at the west as well as at the east. So in later times when William the Conqueror planned the Tower he gave the site at the western extremity to his follower Ralph Baynard, where was erected the stronghold known as Baynard’s Castle. Roach Smith pointed out that the enclosure indicated above gives dimensions far greater than those of any other town in Britain. There can be no doubt that within the walls there was originally much unoccupied space, for with the single exception of the larger circuit south of Ludgate, up to where the river Fleet ran, made in 1276 for the benefit of the Black Friars, the line of the walls, planned by the later Romans, remained complete until the Great Fire (1666). The Thames formed the natural barrier on the south, but the Romans do not appear to have been content with this protection, for they built a wall here in addition, which remained for several centuries. Portions of this wall have been discovered at various times.
It is difficult even to guess when the third wall was erected. The emperor Theodosius came to London from Boulogne to mature his plan for the restoration of the tranquillity of the province. As Theodosius is said to have left Britain in a sound and secure condition it has been suggested that to him was due the wall of the later Londinium, but there is little or no evidence for this opinion, and according to an old tradition Constantine the Great walled the city at the request of his mother Helena, presumed to be a native of Britain. There is, however, some evidence in favour of the supposition that the wall was built at a much earlier date. It is not improbable that early in the 2nd century the wall was finished at the west portion and enclosed a cemetery near Newgate. Sir William Tite, in describing a tessellated pavement found in 1854 on the site of the Excise Office (Bishopsgate Street), expresses the opinion that the finished character of the pavement points to a period of security and wealth, and fixes on the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117–138), to which the silver coin found on the floor belongs, as the date of its foundation.
The historians of the Roman Empire have left us some particulars of the visits of emperors and generals to Britain, but little or nothing about what happened in London, and we should be more ignorant than we are of the condition of Londinium if it had not been that a large number of excavations have been made in various parts of the city which have disclosed a considerable amount of its early history. From these remains we may guess that London was a handsome city in the reign of Hadrian, and probably then in as great a position of importance as it ever attained. This being so, there seems to be reason in attributing the completed walls to this period.
The persistence of the relics of the walls of London is one
of the most remarkable facts of history. Pieces of the wall
are to be seen in various parts of the city, and are
frequently found when extensive excavations are
Roman Wall. made for new buildings. In some places where the Roman wall is not to be seen there still exist pieces of the old wall that stand upon Roman foundations. In Amen Court, where the residences of canons of St Paul’s and the later houses of the minor canons are situated, there stretches such a piece of wall, dividing the gardens of the Court from the Old Bailey. Of the few accessible fragments of the Roman wall still existing special mention may be made of the bastion in the churchyard of St Giles’s, Cripplegate; a little farther west is a small fragment in St Martin’s Court, Ludgate Hill (opposite the Old Bailey), but the best specimen can be seen near Tower Hill just out of George Street, Trinity Square. Early in the 20th century a fragment nearly 40 ft. long, together with the base of a bastion, was brought to light in digging for the foundation of some large warehouses in Camomile Street, at a depth of 10 ft. below the level of the present street. A considerable portion of the old wall was laid bare by the excavations for the new Post Office in St Martin’s-le-Grand. From a comparison of these fragments with the descriptions of Woodward, Maitland and others, who in the early part of the 18th century examined portions of the wall still standing, we learn that the wall was from 9 to 12 ft. thick, and formed of a core of rough rubble cemented together with mortar (containing much coarse gravel) of extraordinary hardness and tenacity, and a facing for the most part of stone—Kentish rag, freestone or ironstone—but occasionally of flints; about 2 ft. apart are double layers of tiles or bricks which serve as bonding courses. The wall appears to have been about 20 ft. high, the towers from 40 to 50 ft., but when described only the base was Roman. Upon that was raised a wall of rough rubble rudely faced with stone and flint, evidently a medieval work and about 21 ft. thick; then succeeded a portion wholly of brick, terminating in battlements topped with copings of stone.
Although the course of the later Roman walls is clear, we do not know with any certainty the position of the Roman gates. They were not the same as the medieval gates which have left the record of their names in modern London Gates and buildings. nomenclature. It follows, therefore, that the main streets also are not in line with the Roman ways, except perhaps in a few instances. Many ineffectual attempts have been made to connect the Watling street in the city with the great Roman road so named in medieval times. The name of the small street is evidently a corruption, and in the valuable Report of the MSS. of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s (Ninth Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, Appendix, p. 4) the original name is given as “Atheling Street,” and instances of this spelling are common in the 13th century. The form Watling Street seems to occur first in 1307. Stow spells it Watheling Street (Kingsford’s edition of Stow’s Survey, 1908, vol. ii. p. 352). Sir William Tite gave reasons for believing that Bishopsgate Street was not a Roman thoroughfare, and in the excavations at Leadenhall the basilica to which allusion has already been made was found apparently crossing the present thoroughfare of Gracechurch Street. Tite also agreed with Dr Stukeley’s suggestion that on the site of the Mansion House (formerly Stocks Market) stood the Roman forum, and he states that a line drawn from that spot as a centre would pass by the pavements found on the site of the Excise Office. Besides the forum Stukeley suggested the sites of seven other buildings—the Arx Palatina guarding the south-eastern angle of the city where the Tower now stands, the grove and temple of Diana on the site of St Paul’s, &c. No traces of any of these buildings have been found, and they are therefore purely conjectural. Stukeley’s industrious researches into the history of Roman London cannot be said to have any particular value, although at one time they enjoyed considerable vogue. As to the Temple of Diana, Sir Christopher Wren formed an opinion strongly adverse to the old tradition of its existence (Parentalia, p. 266). Although we know that the Christian church was established in Britain during the later period of the Roman domination, there is little to be learnt respecting it, and the bishop Restitutus, who is said to have attended an Ecclesiastical Council, is a somewhat mythical character. In respect to the discovery of the position of the Roman gates, the true date of the Antonini Itinerarium (q.v.) is of great importance, as it will be seen from it that Londinium was either a starting-point or a terminus in nearly half the routes described in the portion relating to Britain. This would be remarkable if the work dated back to the 2nd century. Probably in the later, as in the earlier time, Londinium had the usual four gates of a Roman city, with the main roads to them. The one on the east was doubtless situated near where Aldgate afterwards stood. On the south the entrance to Londinium must always have been near where London Bridge was subsequently built. On the west the gate could not have been far from the place afterwards occupied by Newgate. As to Ludgate there is reason to believe that if there was an opening there in Roman times it was merely a postern. On the north the gate may have been near Bishopsgate or at Aldersgate. If we take from the Itinerary the last station before Londinium in all the routes we shall be able to obtain some idea of the position of the gate entered from each route by drawing a line on the map of London to the nearest point. Ammianus Marcellinus (about A.D. 390) speaks twice of Londinium as an ancient town to which the honourable title of Augusta had been accorded. Some writers have been under the misapprehension that this name for a time superseded that of Londinium. The anonymous Chorographer of Ravenna calls the place Londinium Augusta, and doubtless this was the form adopted.
The most interesting Roman relic is “London Stone.” It has generally been supposed to be a “milliarium” or central point for measuring distances, but Sir Christopher Wren believed it was part of some more considerable monuments in the forum London Stone. (Parentalia, pp. 265, 266). Holinshed (who was followed by Shakespeare in 2 Henry VI., act 4 sc. 6) tells us that when Cade, in 1450, forced his way into London, he first of all proceeded to London Stone, and having struck his sword upon it, said in reference to himself and in explanation of his own action, “Now is Mortimer lord of this city.” Mr H. C. Coote, in a paper published in the Trans. London and Middlesex Arch. Soc. for 1878, points out that this act meant something to the mob who followed the rebel chief, and was not a piece of foolish acting. Mr Laurence Gomme (Primitive Folk-Moots, pp. 155, 156) takes up the matter at this point, and places the tradition implied by Cade’s significant action as belonging to times when the London Stone was, as other great stones were, the place where the suitors of an open-air assembly were accustomed to gather together and to legislate for the government of the city. Corroborative facts have been gathered from other parts of the country, and, although more evidence is required, such as we have is strongly in favour of the supposition that the London Stone is a prehistoric monument.
One of the most important questions in the history of London that requires settlement is the date of the building of the first bridge, that is whether it was constructed by Britons or by Romans. If the Britons had not already made The first London Bridge. the bridge before the Romans arrived it must have been one of the first Roman works. As long as there was no bridge to join the north and south banks of the Thames the great object of Roman rule remained unfulfilled. This object was the completion of a system of roads connecting all parts of the Empire with Rome.
Dio Cassius, who lived in the early part of the 3rd century (Hist. Rom. lib. lx. c. 20), states that there was a bridge over the Thames at the time of the invasion of Claudius (A.D. 43), but he places it a little above the mouth of the river (“higher up”). The position is vague, but the mouth of the Thames in these early times may be considered as not far from the present position of London Bridge. Sir George Airy held that this bridge was not far from the site of London Bridge (Proceedings of Institut. Civil Engineers, xlix. 120), but Dr Guest was not prepared to allow that the Britons were able to construct a bridge over a tidal river such as the Thames, some 300 yds. wide, with a difference of level at high and low water of nearly 20 ft. He therefore suggested that the bridge was constructed over the marshy valley of the Lea, probably near Stratford. It needs some temerity to differ from so great an authority as Dr Guest, but it strikes one as surprising that, having accepted the fact of a bridge made by the Britons, he should deny that these Britons possessed a town or village in the place to which he supposes that Aulus Plautius retired.
As the Welsh word for “bridge” is “pont,” and this was taken directly from the Latin, the inference is almost conclusive that the Britons acquired their knowledge of bridges from the Romans. Looking at the stage of culture which the Britons had probably reached, it would further be a natural inference that there was no such thing as a bridge anywhere in Britain before the Roman occupation; but, if Dion’s statement is correct, it may be suggested as a possible explanation that the increased intercourse with Gaul during the hundred years that elapsed between Julius Caesar’s raids and Claudius Caesar’s invasion may have led to the construction of a bridge of some kind across the Thames at this point, through the influence and under the guidance of Roman traders and engineers. If so, the word “pont” may have been borrowed by the Britons before the commencement of the Roman occupation. Much stronger are the reasons for believing that there was a bridge in Roman times. Remains of Roman villas are found in Southwark, which was evidently a portion of Londinium, and it therefore hardly seems likely that a bridge-building people such as the Romans would remain contented with a ferry. Roach Smith is a strong advocate for the bridge, and remarks, “It would naturally be erected somewhere in the direct line of road into Kent, which I cannot but think pointed towards the site of Old London Bridge, both from its central situation, from the general absence of the foundations of buildings in the approaches on the northern side, and from discoveries recently made in the Thames on the line of the old bridge” (Archaeologia, xxix. 160). Smith has, however, still stronger arguments, which he states as follows: “Throughout the entire line of the old bridge, the bed of the river was found to contain ancient wooden piles; and when these piles, subsequently to the erection of the new bridge, were pulled up to deepen the channel of the river, many thousands of Roman coins, with abundance of broken Roman tiles and pottery, were discovered, and immediately beneath some of the central piles brass medallions of Aurelius, Faustina and Commodus. All these remains are indicative of a bridge. The enormous quantities of Roman coins may be accounted for by consideration of the well-known practice of the Romans to make these imperishable monuments subservient towards perpetuating the memory, not only of their conquests, but also of those public works which were the natural result of their successes in remote parts of the world. They may have been deposited either upon the building or repairs of the bridge, as well as upon the accession of a new emperor” (Archaeological Journal, i. 113).
At the beginning of the 5th century the Roman legions left Britain, and the Saxon Chronicle gives the exact date, stating that never since A.D. 409 “have the Romans ruled in Britain”—the chronicler setting down the Roman sway at 470 winters and dating from Julius Caesar’s invasion. We learn that in the year 418 “the Romans collected all the treasures that were in Britain, and hid some of them in the earth, that no man might afterwards find them, and conveyed some with them into Gaul.”
2. Saxon (449–1066).—We are informed in the Saxon Chronicle that about A.D. 449 or 450 the invaders settled in Britain, and in 457 Hengist and Aesc fought against the Britons at Crayford, driving them out of Kent. The vanquished fled to London in terror and apparently found a shelter there. After this entry there is no further mention of London in the Chronicle for a century and a half. This silence has been taken by some historians of weight to imply that London practically ceased to exist. Dr Guest asserted “that good reason may be given for the belief that even London itself for a while lay desolate and uninhabited” (Archaeological Journal, xix. 219). J. R. Green and Mr Loftie strongly supported this view, and in Sir Walter Besant’s Early London (1908) the idea of the desolation of the city is taken for granted.
In answer to this contention it may be said that, although the silence of the Chronicle is difficult to understand, it is almost impossible to believe that the very existence of the most important city in the country could suddenly cease and the inhabitants disappear without some special notice. Battles and scenes of destruction are so fully described in other instances that one must believe that when nothing is related nothing special occurred. No doubt the coming of the Saxons, which entirely changed the condition of the country, must have greatly injured trade, but although there was not the same freedom of access to the roads, the Londoners had the highway of the river at their doors. Although the Saxons hated towns and refused to settle in London, they may have allowed the original inhabitants to continue their trade on condition that they received some share of the profits or a tribute. The only question really is whether London being an exceptional city received exceptional treatment.
Along the banks of the Thames are several small havens whose names have remained to us, such as Rotherhithe, Lambhith (Lambeth), Chelchith (Chelsea), &c., and it is not unlikely that the Saxons, who would not settle in the Saxon Settlement. city itself, associated themselves with these small open spots. Places were thus founded over a large space which otherwise might have remained unsettled.
If what is here suggested really occurred it may be that this separation of London from the surrounding country originated the remarkable position of London with its unparalleled privileges, which were continued for many centuries and kept it not only the leader among cities but distinct from all others. Laurence Gomme, in The Governance of London (1907), opposes the view that the city was for a time left deserted (a view which, it may be remarked, is a comparatively modern one, probably originating with Dr Guest). H. C. Coote in his Romans of Britain elaborated a description of the survival of Roman influence in English institutions, but his views did not obtain much support from London historians. Mr Gomme’s contention is to some extent a modification of Mr Coote’s view, but it is original in the illustrations that give it force. Londinium was a Roman city, and (as in the case of all such cities) was formed on the model of ancient Rome. It may therefore be expected to retain evidence of the existence of a Pomoerium and Territorium as at Rome. The Pomoerium marked the unbuilt space around the walls. Gomme refers to an open space outside the western wall of Dorchester still called the Pummery as an indication of the Pomoerium in that place; and he considers that the name of Mile End, situated 1 m. from Aldgate and the city walls, marks the extent of the open space around the walls of London known as the Pomoerium. This fact throws a curious light upon the growth of the “Liberties.” It has always been a puzzle that no note exists of the first institution of these liberties. If this open space was from the Origin of the Liberties. earliest times attached to the city there would be no need when it was built upon for any special act to be passed for its inclusion in London. “The Territorium of the city was its special property, and it extended as far as the limits of the territorium of the nearest Roman city or as near thereto as the natural boundaries.” This explains the position of Middlesex in relation to London. In connexion with these two features of a Roman city supposed to be found in Ancient London the author argues for the continuity of the city through the changes of Roman and Saxon dominion.
One of the most striking illustrations of the probable continuity of London history is to be found in the contrast between York and London. This is only alluded to in Gomme’s book, but it is elaborated in an article in the Cornhill Magazine (November 1906). These two were the chief Roman cities in Britain, one in the north and the other in the south. They are both equally good examples of important cities under Roman domination. York was conquered and occupied by the Saxons, and there not only are the results of English settlement clear but all records of Roman government were destroyed. In London the Saxon stood outside the government for centuries, and the acceptance of the Roman survival explains much that is otherwise unintelligible.
Gomme finds important evidence of the independence of
London in the existence of a merchant law which was opposed
to Anglo-Saxon law. He reprints and discusses the
celebrated Judicia Civitatis Lundoniae of King Æthelstan’s
of London. reign—“the ordinance” (as it declares itself) “which the bishop and the reeves belonging to London have ordained.” He holds that the Londoners passed “their own laws by their own citizens without reference to the king at all,” and in the present case of a king who according to Kemble “had carried the influence of the crown to an extent unexampled in any of his predecessors.” He adds: “What happened afterwards was evidently this: that the code passed by the Londoners was sent to the king for him to extend its application throughout the kingdom, and this is done by the eleventh section.” The view originated by Gomme certainly explains many difficulties in the history of the transition from Roman to English London, which have hitherto been overlooked by historians.
When the city is next referred to in the Saxon Chronicle it appears to have been inhabited by a population of heathens. Under the date 604 we read: “This year Augustine consecrated two bishops: Mellitus and Justus. He Arrival of Christianity. sent Mellitus to preach baptism to the East Saxons, whose king was called Sebert, son of Ricole the sister of Æthelbert, and whom Æthelbert had then appointed king. And Æthelbert gave Mellitus a bishop’s see in Lundenevic and to Justus he gave Rochester, which is twenty-four miles from Canterbury.” The Christianity of the Londoners was of an unsatisfactory character, for, after the death of Sebert, his sons who were heathens stirred up the multitude to drive out their bishop. Mellitus became archbishop of Canterbury, and London relapsed into heathenism. In this, the earliest period of Saxon history recorded, there appears to be no relic of the Christianity of the Britons, which at one time was well in evidence. What became of the cathedral which we may suppose to have existed in London during the later Roman period we cannot tell, but we may guess that it was destroyed by the heathen Saxons. Bede records that the church of St Paul was built by Æthelbert, and from that time to this a cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood upon the hill looking down on Ludgate.
After the driving out of Mellitus London remained without a bishop until the year 656, when Cedda, brother of St Chad of Lichfield, was invited to London by Sigebert, who had been converted to Christianity by Finan, bishop of the Northumbrians. Cedda was consecrated bishop of the East Saxons by Finan and held the see till his death on the 26th of October 664. He was succeeded by Wini, bishop of Winchester, and then came Earconuald (or St Erkenwald), whose shrine was one of the chief glories of old St Paul’s. He died on the 30th of April 693, a day which was kept in memory in his cathedral for centuries by special offices. The list of bishops from Cedda to William (who is addressed in the Conqueror’s Charter) is long, and each bishop apparently held a position of great importance in the government of the city.
In the 7th century the city seems to have settled down into a prosperous place and to have been peopled by merchants of many nationalities. We learn that at this time it was the great mart of slaves. It was in the fullest sense a Danish Invasions. free-trading town; neutral to a certain extent between the kingdoms around, although the most powerful of the kings conquered their feebler neighbours. During the 8th century, when a more settled condition of life became possible, the trade and commerce of London increased in volume and prosperity. A change, however, came about towards the end of the century, when the Scandinavian freebooters known as Danes began to harry the coasts. The Saxons had become law-abiding, and the fierce Danes treated them in the same way as in former days they had treated the Britons. In 871 the chronicler affirms that Alfred fought nine great battles against the Danes in the kingdom south of the Thames, and that the West Saxons made peace with them. In the next year the Danes went from Reading to London, and there took up their winter quarters. Then the Mercians made peace with them. In 886 Alfred overcame the Danes, restored London to its inhabitants, rebuilt its walls, reannexed the city to Mercia, and committed it to Ethelred, alderman of Mercia. Then, as the chronicler writes, “all the Angle race turned to him (Alfred) that were not in bondage of the Danish men.” In 896 the Londoners came off victorious in their encounters with the Danes. The king obstructed the river so that the enemy could not bring up their ships, and they therefore abandoned them. The Londoners broke up some, and brought the strongest and best to London. In 912 Æthelred, the alderman of the Mercians, who had been placed in authority by Alfred, died, and Edward the Elder took possession of London and Oxford, “and all the lands which thereto belonged.”
Under Æthelstan we find the city increasing in importance and general prosperity. There were then eight mints at work, a fact which exhibits evidence of great activity and the need of coin for the purposes of trade. The folk-moot met in the precincts of St Paul’s at the sound of the bell of the famous bell-tower, which also rang out when the armed levy was required to march under St Paul’s banner. For some years after the decisive battle of Brunanburh (A.D. 937) the Danes ceased to trouble the country. Fire, however, was almost as great an enemy to London as the Dane. Fabyan when recording the entire destruction of London by fire in the reign of Æthelred (981) makes this remarkable statement—“Ye shall understand that this daye the cytie of London had more housynge and buyldinge from Ludgate toward Westmynstre and lytel or none wher the chief or hart of the citie is now, except (that) in dyvers places were housyng, but they stod without order.”
In the reign of Æthelred II., called the Unready (but more correctly the Redeless), the Danes were more successful in their operations against London, but the inhabitants resisted stoutly. Snorre the Icelander tells us that the Danes fortified Southwark with ditch and rampart, which the English assailed in vain. In 982 London was burnt, and in 994 Olaf and Sweyn (the father of Canute) came with ninety-four ships to besiege it. They tried to set the city on fire, but the townsmen did them more harm than they “ever weened.” The chronicler piously adds that “the holy Mother of God on that day manifested her mercy to the townsmen, and delivered them from their foes.” The Danes went from the town and ravaged the neighbourhood, so that in the end the king and his witan agreed to give sixteen thousand pounds to be relieved of the presence of the enemy. This was the origin of the Danegelt. In the year 1009 the Danes frequently attacked London, but they had no success, and fared ill in their attempts. The Londoners withstood Sweyn in 1013, but in the end they submitted and gave him hostages. Three years after this, Æthelred died in London, and such of the witan as were there and the townsmen chose Edmund Ironside for king, although the witan outside London had elected Canute. Canute’s ships were then at Greenwich on their way to London, where they soon afterwards arrived. The Danes at once set to work to dig a great ditch by Southwark, and then dragged their ships through to the west side of the bridge. They were able after this to keep the inhabitants from going either in or out of the town. In spite of all this, after fighting obstinately both by land and by water, the Danes had to raise the siege of London and take the ships to the river Orwell. After a glorious reign of seven months Edmund died in London, and Canute became master of England. The tribute which the townsmen of London had to pay was £10,500, about one-seventh of the amount which was paid by all the rest of the English nation. This shows the growing importance of the city. From this time there appears to have been a permanent Danish settlement in London, probably Aldwich, referred to below.
There is little more to be said of the history of Saxon London than that Edward the Confessor held his Witanagemot there. On his death the Witan which had attended his funeral elected to succeed him Harold, the foremost man in England, and the leader who had attempted to check the spread of the Norman influence fostered by the Confessor. After his defeat and death on the hill on the Sussex Downs then called Senlac, the duke of Normandy had the country at his mercy, but he recognized the importance of London’s position, and moved forward with the greatest caution and tact.
Before proceeding with the history of London during the Norman period it is necessary to say something of the counties more especially connected with London.
The walled city of London was a distinct political unit, although it owed a certain allegiance to that one of the kingdoms around it which was the most powerful for the time being. This allegiance therefore frequently changed, but The “Home Counties.” London retained its identity and individuality all through. Essex seems seldom to have held an independent position, for when London first appears as connected with the East Saxons the real power was in the hands of the king of Kent. According to Bede, Wini, being expelled from his bishopric of Wessex in 635, took refuge with Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, of whom he purchased the see of London. Hence the Mercian king must then have been the overlord of London. Not many years afterwards the king of Kent again seems to have held some jurisdiction here. From the laws of the Kentish kings Lhothhere and Eadric (673–685) we learn that the Wic-reeve was an officer of the king of Kent, who exercised a jurisdiction over the Kentish men trading with or at London, or was appointed to watch over their interests.
The origin of the two counties in which London is chiefly situated opens up an interesting question. It is necessary to remember that London is older than these counties, whose names, Middlesex and Surrey, indicate their relative positions to the city and the surrounding county. We have neither record of their settlement nor of the origin of their names. Both must have been peopled from the river. The name Middle Saxons plainly shows that Middlesex must have been settled after the East and West Saxons had given their names to their respective districts. The name Surrey clearly refers to the southern position of the county.
Reference has already been made to a Danish settlement, and there seems some reason for placing it on the ground now occupied by the parishes of St Clement Danes and St Giles’s. For many centuries this district between Aldwich. London and Westminster was a kind of “no man’s land” having certain archaic customs. Gomme in his Governance of London (1907) gives an account of the connexion of this with the old village of Aldwich, a name that survived in Wych Street, and has been revived by the London County Council in Aldwych, the crescent which leads to Kingsway.
3. Norman (1066–1154).—To return to the condition of things after the great battle. The citizens of London were a divided body, and Duke William knowing that he had many friends in the city saw that a waiting game was the The Conquest. best for his cause in the end. The defeated chiefs retired on the city, led by Ansgar the Staller, under whom as sheriff the citizens of London had marched to fight for Harold at Senlac. They elected Edgar Atheling, the grandson of Edmund Ironside, as king, which the Saxon Chronicle says “was indeed his natural right.” On hearing of this action William marched towards London, when the citizens sallied forth to meet him. They were repulsed by the Norman horse, but with such loss to the latter that the duke thought it imprudent to lay siege to the city at that time, and he retired to Berkhampstead. It is reported that William sent a private message to Ansgar asking for his support. The result was that Edgar and Earls Edwin and Morkere and “the best men of London” repaired to Berkhampstead, where they submitted themselves and swore fealty to the Conqueror.
Thus ends the Saxon period, and the Norman period in London begins with the submission of the citizens as distinct from the action of the rest of the kingdom, which submission resulted soon afterwards in the Conqueror’s remarkable Changes in the City. charter to William the bishop and Gosfrith the portreeve, supposed to be the elder Geoffrey de Mandeville. A great change was at once made both in the appearance and in the government of the city under Norman rule. One of the earliest acts of the Conqueror was to undertake the erection of a citadel which should overawe the citizens and give him the command of the city. The Tower was situated at the eastern limit of the city, and not far from the western extremity Castle Baynard was built.
The position of the city grew in importance, but the citizens suffered from severe laws and from serious restrictions upon their liberties. In August 1077 occurred a most extensive fire, such a one, says the Chronicle, as “never was before since London was founded.” This constant burning of large portions of the city is a marked feature of its early history, and we must remember that, although stone buildings were rising on all sides, these were churches, monasteries, and other public edifices; the ordinary houses remained as before, small wooden structures. The White Tower, the famous keep of the Tower of London, was begun by Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, c. 1078. In 1083 the old cathedral of St Paul’s was begun on the site of the church which Æthelbert is said to have founded in 610. But four years afterwards the chronicler tells us “the holy monastery of St Paul, the episcopal see of London, was burnt, and many other monasteries, and the greatest and fairest part of the whole city.” In this same year (1087) William the Conqueror died. In 1090 a tremendous hurricane passed over London, and blew down six hundred houses and many churches. The Tower was injured, and a portion of the roof of the church of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, was carried off and fell some distance away, being forced into the ground as much as 20 ft., a proof of the badness of the thoroughfares as well as of the force of the wind. William Rufus inherited from his father a love for building, and in the year 1097 he exacted large sums of money from his subjects with the object of carrying on some of the undertakings he had in hand. These were the walling round of the Tower and the rebuilding of London Bridge, which had been almost destroyed by a flood. In 1100 Rufus was slain, and Henry I. was crowned in London. This king granted the citizens their first real charter, but this was constantly violated. When Stephen seized the crown on the death of Henry I., he tried successfully to obtain the support of the people of London. He published a charter confirming in general terms the one granted by Henry, and commanding that the good laws of Edward the Confessor should be observed. The citizens, however, did not obtain their rights without paying for them, and in 1139 they paid Stephen one hundred marks of silver to enable them to choose their own sheriffs. In this reign the all-powerfulness of the Londoners is brought prominently forward. Stephen became by the shifting fortune of war a prisoner, and the empress Matilda might, if she had had the wisdom to favour the citizens, have held the throne, which was hers by right of birth. She, however, made them her enemies by delivering up the office of justiciary of London and the sheriffwick to her partisan Geoffrey, earl of Essex, and attempting to reduce the citizens to the enslaved condition of the rest of the country. This made her influential enemies, who soon afterwards replaced Stephen upon the throne. The Norman era closes with the death of Stephen in 1154.
One of the most striking changes in the appearance of Norman London was caused by the rebuilding of old churches and the building of new ones, and also by the foundation of the great monastic establishments. The early history Early parishes. of the parishes of London is one of great difficulty and complexity. Although some of the parishes must be of great antiquity, we have little authentic information respecting them before the Conquest. The dedications of many of the churches indicate their great age, but the constant fires in London destroyed these buildings. The original churches appear to have been very small, as may be judged from their number. It is not easy, however, to understand how it was that when the first parishes were formed so small an area was attached to each. The parish church of which we have the most authentic notice before the Conquest is St Helen’s, Bishopsgate. It was in existence many years before the priory of the nuns of St Helen’s was founded. Bishop Stubbs in his Introduction to the Historical Works of Ralph de Diceto writes: “St Paul’s stood at the head of the religious life of London, and by its side, at some considerable interval, however, St Martin’s le Grand (1056), St Bartholomew’s, Smithfield (1123) and the great and ancient foundation of Trinity, Aldgate” (1108). The great Benedictine Religious foundations. monastery of Black Monks was situated away from the city at Westminster, and it was the only monastic house subject to the rule of St Benedict in the neighbourhood of London, although the houses of nuns, of which there were many dotted over the suburbs of London, were governed by this rule. In course of time there was a widespread desire in Europe for a stricter rule among the monks, and reforms of the Benedictine rule were instituted at Cluni (910), Chartreuse (about 1080) and Citeaux (1098). All these reforms were represented in London.
Cluniac Order.—This order was first brought to England by William, earl of Warren (son-in-law of William the Conqueror), who built the first house at Lewes in Sussex about 1077. The priory of Bermondsey in Surrey was founded by Aylwin Child, citizen of London about 1082.
Carthusians.—When this order was brought to England in 1178 the first house was founded at Witham in Somersetshire. In all there were nine houses of the order in England. One of these was the Charterhouse of London which was not founded until 1371 by Sir Walter Manny, K.G.
Cistercians.—It was usual to plant these monasteries in solitary and uncultivated places, and no other house, even of their own order, was allowed to build within a certain distance of the original establishment. This makes it surprising to learn that there were two separate houses of this order in the near neighbourhood of London. A branch of the order came to England about 1128 and the first house was founded at Waverley in Surrey. Very shortly after (about 1134) the abbey of Stratford Langthorne in Essex was founded by William de Montfichet, who endowed it with all his lordship in West Ham. It was not until two centuries afterwards that the second Cistercian house in the immediate neighbourhood of London was founded. This was the Abbey of St Mary Graces, East-Minster or New Abbey without the walls of London, beyond Tower Hill, which Edward III. instituted in 1350 after a severe scourge of plague (the so-called Black Death).
The two great Military Orders—the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem and the Templars—followed the Augustinian rule and were both settled in London. The Hospital or Priory of St John was founded in 1100 by Jordan Briset and his wife Muriel, outside the northern wall of London, and the original village of Clerkenwell grew up around the buildings of the knights. A few years after this the Brethren of the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem or Knights of the Temple came into being at the Holy City, and they settled first on the south side of Holborn near Southampton Row. They removed to Fleet Street or the New Temple in 1184. On the suppression of the order by command of the pope the house in Fleet Street was given in 1313 by Edward II. to Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, at whose death in 1324 the property passed to the knights of St John, who leased the new Temple to the lawyers, still the occupants of the district.
The queen of Henry I. (Matilda or Maud) was one of the chief founders of religious houses, and so great was the number of monasteries built in this king’s reign that it was said almost all the labourers became bricklayers and carpenters and there was much discontent in consequence.
4. Plantagenet (1154–1485).—Henry II. appears to have been to a certain extent prejudiced against the citizens of London on account of their attitude towards his mother, and he treated them with some severity. In 1176 the Fitzstephen’s description of London. rebuilding of London Bridge with stone was begun by Peter of Colechurch. This was the bridge which was pulled down early in the 19th century. It consisted of twenty stone arches and a drawbridge. There was a gatehouse at each end and a chapel or crypt in the centre, dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury, in which Peter of Colechurch was buried in 1205. The large amount of building at this time proves that the citizens were wealthy. Fitzstephen, the monk of Canterbury, has left us the first picture of London. He speaks of its wealth, commerce, grandeur and magnificence—of the mildness of the climate, the beauty of the gardens, the sweet, clear and salubrious springs, the flowing streams, and the pleasant clack of the watermills. Even the vast forest of Middlesex, with its densely wooded thickets, its coverts of game, stags, fallow deer, boars and wild bulls is pressed into the description to give a contrast which shall enhance the beauty of the city itself. Fitzstephen tells how, when the great marsh that washed the walls of the city on the north (Moorfields) was frozen over, the young men went out to slide and skate and sport on the ice. Skates made of bones have been dug up in this district. This sport was allowed to fall into disuse, and was not again prevalent until it was introduced from Holland after the Restoration.
In spite of Fitzstephen’s glowing description we must remember that the houses of London were wholly built of wood and thatched with straw or reeds. These houses were specially liable to be destroyed by fire, and in order to save the city from this imminent danger the famous Assize of Building known as “Fitz-Ailwyne’s Assize” was drawn up in 1189. In this document the following statement was made: “Many citizens, to avoid such danger, built according to their means, on their ground, a stone house covered and protected by thick tiles against the fury of fire, whereby it often happened that when a fire arose in the city and burnt many edifices and had reached such a house, not being able to injure it, it then became extinguished, so that many neighbours’ houses were wholly saved from fire by that house.”
Various privileges were conceded to those who built in stone, but no provision was made as to the material to be used in roofing tenements. This Assize, which has been described as the earliest English Building Act, is of great value from an historical point of view, but unfortunately it had little practical effect, and in 1212 what was called “Fitz-Ailwyne’s Second Assize,” with certain compulsory regulations, was enacted. Thenceforth everyone who built a house was strictly charged not to cover it with reeds, rushes, stubble or straw, but only with tiles, shingle boards or lead. In future, in order to stop a fire, houses could be pulled down in case of need with an alderman’s hook and cord. For the speedy removal of burning houses each ward was to provide a strong iron hook, with a wooden handle, two chains and two strong cords, which were to be left in the charge of the bedel of the ward, who was also provided with a good horn, “loudly sounding.”
Richard I. was a popular king, but his fighting in the Holy Land cost his subjects much. London had to pay heavily towards his ransom; and, when the king made his triumphal entry into London after his release from imprisonment, a German nobleman is said to have remarked that had the emperor known of the wealth of England he would have insisted on a larger sum. The Londoners were the more glad to welcome Richard back in that the head of the regency, Longchamp, bishop of Ely, was very unpopular from the encroachments he made upon the city with his works at the Tower.
The first charter by which the city claims the jurisdiction and conservancy of the river Thames was granted by Richard I. John granted several charters to the city, and it was expressly stipulated in Magna Charta that the city of London should have all its ancient privileges and free customs. The citizens opposed the king during the wars of the barons. In the year 1215 the barons having received intelligence secretly that they might enter London with ease through Aldgate, which was then in a very ruinous state, removed their camp from Bedford to Ware, and shortly after marched into the city in the night-time. Having succeeded in their object, they determined that so important a gate should no longer remain in a defenceless condition. They therefore spoiled the religious houses and robbed the monastery coffers in order to have means wherewith to rebuild it. Much of the material was obtained from the destroyed houses of the unfortunate Jews, but the stone for the bulwarks was obtained from Caen, and the small bricks or tiles from Flanders.
Allusion has already been made to the great change in the aspect of London and its surroundings made during the Norman period by the establishment of a large number of monasteries. A still more important change in the configuration of the interior of London was made in the 13th century, when the various orders of the friars established themselves there. The Benedictine monks preferred secluded sites; the Augustinians did not cultivate seclusion so strictly; but the friars chose the interior of towns by preference. At the beginning of the 13th century the remarkable evangelical revival, instituted almost simultaneously by St Dominic and St Francis, swept over Europe.
The four chief orders of Mendicant friars were magnificently housed in London:—
Blackfriars.—The Black, Preaching or Dominican Friars came to England in 1221 and their first house was at Oxford. Shortly after this they came London and settled in Holborn near Lincoln’s Inn, where they remained for more than fifty years. In 1276 Mendicant friars.they removed to the neighbourhood of Baynard Castle, and their house gave a name to a London district which it still retains.
Greyfriars.—The Greyfriars, Minorites or Franciscans, first settled in Cornhill, and in 1224 John Ewin made over to them an estate situated in the ward of Farringdon Within and in the parish of St Nicholas in the Shambles, where their friary was built. Christ Church, Newgate Street, occupies the site of the choir of the great church of the Greyfriars.
Austin Friars.—The house of the Austin Friars or Friars Eremites was founded in Broad Street Ward in 1253.
White Friars.—The Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel or Carmelites or Whitefriars came to London in 1241, and made their home on land between Fleet Street and the Thames given by Edward I.
Besides the four chief orders of friars there were the Crutched Friars in the parish of St Olave, Hart Street (about 1298), and the Friars of the Sac first outside Aldersgate (about 1257) and afterwards in the Old Jewry.
The names of places in London form valuable records of the habitations of different classes of the population. The monasteries and friaries are kept in memory by their names in various parts of London. In the same way the residences of the Jews have been marked. When Edward I. expelled the Jews from England in 1290 the district in which they had lived since William the Conqueror’s day came to be called the Old Jewry. On their return after many centuries of exile most of them settled in the neighbourhood of Aldgate and Aldersgate. There is a reminder of them in the names of Jewry Street near the former and of Jewin Street near the latter place. Jewin Street was built on the site of the burying-place of the Jews before the expulsion.
In the middle ages there was a constant succession of pageants, processions and tournaments. The royal processions arranged in connexion with coronations were of great antiquity, but one of the earliest to be described is that of Henry Pageants. III. in 1236, which was chronicled by Matthew Paris. After the marriage at Canterbury of the king with Eleanor of Provence the royal personages came to London, and were met by the mayor, aldermen and principal citizens to the number of 360, sumptuously apparelled in silken robes embroidered, riding upon stately horses. After the death of Henry III. (1272) the country had to wait for their new king, who was then in the Holy Land. Edward I. came to London on the 2nd of August 1274, when he was received with the wildest expressions of joy. The streets were hung with rich cloths of silk arras and tapestry; the aldermen and principal men of the city threw out of their windows handsful of gold and silver, to signify their gladness at the king’s return; and the conduits ran with wine, both white and red.
Dr Jessopp gives a vivid picture of what occurred when King Edward III. entered London in triumph on the 14th of October 1347. He was the foremost man in Europe, and England had reached a height of power and glory such as she had never attained before. Ten years after this, one of the most famous scenes in the streets of London occurred, when Edward the Black Prince brought the French King John and other prisoners after the battle of Poitiers to England. This was a scene unequalled until Henry V. returned from the glorious field of Agincourt in 1415. The mayor and aldermen apparelled in orient-grained scarlet, and four hundred commoners in murrey, well mounted, with rich collars and chains, met the king at Blackheath. At the entrance to London Bridge the towers were adorned with banners of the royal arms, and in the front of them was inscribed Civitas Regis Justicie.
During the troubles of the 15th century the authorities had seen the necessity of paying more attention to the security of the gates and walls of the city, and when Thomas Nevill, son of William, Lord Fauconberg, made his attack upon London in 1471 he experienced a spirited resistance. He first attempted to land from his ships in the city, but the Thames side from Baynard’s Castle to the Tower was so well fortified that he had to seek a quieter and less prepared position. He then set upon the several gates in succession, and was repulsed at all. On the 11th of May he made a desperate attack upon Aldgate, followed by 500 men. He won the bulwarks and some of his followers entered into the city, but the portcullis being let down these were cut off from their own party and were slain by the enemy. The portcullis was drawn up, and the besieged issued forth against the rebels, who were soon forced to flee.
When Richard, duke of Gloucester, laid his plans for seizing the crown, he obtained the countenance of the lord mayor, Sir Edmund Shaw, whose brother Dr Shaw praised Richard at Paul’s Cross. Crosby Hall, in Bishopsgate Street, then lately built, was made the lodging of the Protector. There he acted the accessible prince in the eyes of the people, for the last of the Plantagenets was another of the usurpers who found favour in the eyes of the men of London. His day, however, was short, and with the battle of Bosworth ends Plantagenet London.
5. Tudor (1485–1603).—It was during this period that the
first maps of London were drawn. No representation of the
city earlier than the middle of the 16th century has
been discovered, although it seems more than probable
of London. that some plans must have been produced at an earlier period. The earliest known view is the drawing of Van den Wyngaerde in the Bodleian Library (dated 1550). Braun and Hogenberg’s map was published in 1572–1573, and the so-called Agas’s map was probably produced soon afterwards, and was doubtless influenced by the publication of Braun and Hogenberg’s excellent engraving; Norden’s maps of London and Westminster are dated 1593. Some of these maps were pasted upon walls, and must have been largely destroyed by ordinary wear and tear. It is curious that the only two existing copies of Agas’s map were published in the reign of James I., although apparently they had not been altered from the earlier editions of Elizabeth’s reign which have been lost. By the help of these maps we are able to obtain a clear notion of the extent and chief characteristics of Tudor London. Henry VII. did little to connect his name with the history of London, although the erection of the exquisite specimen of florid Gothic at Westminster Abbey has carried his memory down in its popular name of Henry VII.’s chapel. Soon after this king obtained the throne he borrowed the sum of 3000 marks from the city, and moreover founded the excellent precedent of repaying it at the appointed time. The citizens were so pleased at this unexpected occurrence that they willingly lent the king £6000 in 1488, which he required for military preparations against France. In 1497 London was threatened by the rebels favourable to Perkin Warbeck, who encamped on Blackheath on the 17th of June. At first there was a panic among the citizens, but subsequently the city was placed in a proper state of defence, and the king himself encamped in St George’s Fields. On June 22 he entirely routed the rebels; and some time afterwards Perkin Warbeck gave himself up, and was conducted in triumph through London to the Tower.
As the chief feature of Norman London was the foundation of monasteries, and that of Plantagenet London was the establishment of friaries, so Tudor London was specially characterized by the suppression of the whole of these Suppression of religious houses. religious houses, and also of the almost numberless religious gilds and brotherhoods. When we remember that more than half of the area of London was occupied by these establishments, and that about a third of the inhabitants were monks, nuns and friars, it is easy to imagine how great must have been the disorganization caused by this root and branch reform. One of the earliest of the religious houses to be suppressed was the hospital of St Thomas of Acon (or Acre) on the north side of Cheapside, the site of which is now occupied by Mercers’ Hall. The larger houses soon followed, and the Black, the White and the Grey Friars, with the Carthusians and many others, were all condemned in November 1538.
Love of show was so marked a characteristic of Henry VIII. that we are not surprised to find him encouraging the citizens in the same expensive taste. On the occasion of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon the city was gorgeously ornamented with rich silks and tapestry, and Goldsmiths’ Row (Cheapside) and part of Cornhill were hung with golden brocades. When on the eve of St John’s Day, 1510, the king in the habit of a yeoman of his own guard saw the famous march of the city watch, he was so delighted that on the following St Peter’s Eve he again attended in Cheapside to see the march, but this time he was accompanied by the queen and the principal nobility. The cost of these two marches in the year was very considerable, and, having been suspended in 1528 on account of the prevalence of the sweating sickness, they were soon afterwards forbidden by the king, and discontinued during the remainder of his reign. Sir John Gresham, mayor in 1548, revived the march of the city watch, which was made more splendid by the addition of three hundred light horsemen raised by the citizens for the king’s service.
The best mode of utilizing the buildings of the suppressed religious houses was a difficult question left unsolved by Henry VIII. That king, shortly before his death, refounded Rahere’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital, “for the continual relief and help of an hundred sore and diseased,” but most of the large buildings were left unoccupied to be filled by his successor. The first parliament of Edward’s reign gave all the lands and possessions of colleges, chantries, &c., to the king, when the different companies of London redeemed those which they had held for the payment of priests’ wages, obits and lights at the price of £20,000, and applied the rents arising from them to charitable purposes. In 1550 the citizens purchased the manor of Southwark, and with it they became possessed of the monastery of St Thomas, which was enlarged and prepared for the reception of “poor, sick and helpless objects.” Thus was refounded St Thomas’s Hospital, which was moved to Lambeth in 1870–1871. Shortly before his death Edward founded Christ’s Hospital in the Grey Friars, and gave the old palace of Bridewell to the city “for the lodging of poor wayfaring people, the correction of vagabonds and disorderly persons, and for finding them work.” On the death of Edward VI. Lady Jane Grey was received at the Tower as queen, she having gone there by water from Durham House in the Strand. The citizens, however, soon found out their mistake, and the lord mayor, aldermen and recorder proclaimed Queen Mary at Cheapside. London was then gay with pageants, but when the queen made known her intention of marrying Philip of Spain the discontent of the country found vent in the rising of Sir Thomas Wyat, and the city had to prepare itself against attack. Wyat took possession of Southwark, and expected to have been admitted into London; but finding the gates shut against him and the drawbridge cut down he marched to Kingston, the bridge at which place had been destroyed. This he restored, and then proceeded towards London. In consequence of the breakdown of some of his guns he imprudently halted at Turnham Green. Had he not done so it is probable that he might have obtained possession of the city. He planted his ordnance on Hay Hill, and then marched by St James’s Palace to Charing Cross. Here he was attacked by Sir John Gage with a thousand men, but he repulsed them and reached Ludgate without further opposition. He was disappointed at the resistance which was made, and after musing a while “upon a stall over against the Bell Savadge Gate” he turned back. His retreat was cut off, and he surrendered to Sir Maurice Berkeley. We have somewhat fully described this historical incident here because it has an important bearing on the history of London, and shows also the small importance of the districts outside the walls at that period.
We now come to consider the appearance of London during the reign of the last of the Tudors. At no other period were so many great men associated with its history; the latter years of Elizabeth’s reign are specially interesting Tudor London. to us because it was then that Shakespeare lived in London, and introduced its streets and people into his plays. In those days the frequent visitation of plagues made men fear the gathering together of multitudes. This dread of pestilence, united with a puritanic hatred of plays, made the citizens do all they could to discountenance theatrical entertainments. The queen acknowledged the validity of the first reason, but she repudiated the religious objection provided ordinary care was taken to allow “such plays only as were fitted to yield honest recreation and no example of evil.” On April 11, 1582, the lords of the council wrote to the lord mayor to the effect that, as “her Majesty sometimes took delight in those pastimes, it had been thought not unfit, having regard to the season of the year and the clearance of the city from infection, to allow of certain companies of players in London, partly that they might thereby attain more dexterity and perfection the better to content her Majesty” (Analytical Index to the Remembrancia). When theatres were established the lord mayor took care that they should not be built within the city. The “Theatre” and the “Curtain” were situated at Shoreditch; the “Globe,” the “Swan,” the “Rose” and the “Hope” on the Bankside; and the Blackfriars theatre, although within the walls, was without the city jurisdiction.
In 1561 St Paul’s steeple and roof were destroyed by lightning, and the spire was never replaced. This circumstance allows us to test the date of certain views; thus Wyngaerde’s map has the spire, but Agas’s map is without it. In 1566 the first stone was laid of the “Burse,” which owed its origin to Sir Thomas Gresham. In 1571 Queen Elizabeth changed its name to the Royal Exchange. The Strand was filled with noble mansions washed by the waters of the Thames, but the street, if street it could be called, was little used by pedestrians. Londoners frequented the river, which was their great highway. The banks were crowded with stairs for boats, and the watermen of that day answered to the chairmen of a later date and the cabmen of to-day. The Bankside was of old a favourite place for entertainments, but two only—the bull-baiting and the bear-baiting—were in existence when Agas’s map was first planned. On Norden’s map, however, we find the gardens of Paris Garden, the bearhouse and the playhouse.
The settled character of the later years of Elizabeth’s reign appears to have caused a considerable change in the habits of the people. Many of the chief citizens followed the example of the courtiers, and built for themselves country residences in Middlesex, Essex and Surrey; thus we learn from Norden that Alderman Roe lived at Muswell Hill, and we know that Sir Thomas Gresham built a fine house and planned a beautiful park at Osterley. The maps show us much that remains somewhat the same as it was, but also much that has greatly altered. St Giles’s was literally a village in the fields; Piccadilly was “the waye to Redinge,” Oxford Street “the way to Uxbridge,” Covent Garden an open field or garden, and Leicester Fields lammas land. Moorfields was drained and laid out in walks in Elizabeth’s reign. At Spitalfields crowds used to congregate on Easter Monday and Tuesday to hear the Spital sermons preached from the pulpit cross. The ground was originally a Roman Cemetery, and about the year 1576 bricks were largely made from the clayey earth, the recollection of which is kept alive in the name of Brick Lane. Citizens went to Holborn and Bloomsbury for change of air, and houses were there prepared for the reception of children, invalids and convalescents. In the north were sprinkled the outlying villages of Islington, Hoxton and Clerkenwell.
6. Stuart (1603–1714).—The Stuart period, from the accession of James I. to the death of Queen Anne, extends over little more than a century, and yet greater changes occurred during those years than at any previous period. The early years of Stuart London may be said to be closely linked with the last years of Elizabethan London, for the greatest men, such as Raleigh, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, lived on into James’s reign. Much of the life of the time was then in the City, but the last years of Stuart London take us to the 18th century, when social life had permanently shifted to the west end. In the middle of the period occurred the civil wars, and then the fire which changed the whole aspect of London. When James came to the throne the term suburbs had a bad name, as all those disreputable persons who could find no shelter in the city itself settled in these outlying districts. Stubbs denounced suburban gardens and garden houses in his Anatomy of Abuses, and another writer observed “how happy were cities if they had no suburbs.”
The preparations for the coronation of King James were interrupted by a severe visitation of the plague, which killed off as many as 30,578 persons, and it was not till March 15, 1604, that the king, the queen and Prince Henry passed triumphantly from the Tower to Westminster. The lord mayor’s shows, which had been discontinued for some years, were revived by order of the king in 1609. The dissolved monastery of the Charterhouse, which had been bought and sold by the courtiers several times, was obtained from Thomas, earl of Suffolk, by Thomas Sutton for £13,000. The new hospital chapel and schoolhouse were begun in 1611, and in the same year Sutton died.
With the death of James I. in 1625 the older history of London may be said to have closed. During the reign of his successor the great change in the relative positions of London within and without the walls had set in. Before Social life. going on to consider the chief incidents of this change it will be well to refer to some features of the social life of James’s reign. Ben Jonson places one of the scenes of Every Man in his Humour in Moorfields, which at the time he wrote the play had, as stated above, lately been drained and laid out in walks. Beggars frequented the place, and travellers from the village of Hoxton, who crossed it in order to get into London, did so with as much expedition as possible. Adjoining Moorfields were Finsbury Fields, a favourite practising ground for the archers. Mile End, a common on the Great Eastern Road, was long famous as a rendezvous for the troops. These places are frequently referred to by the old dramatists; Justice Shallow boasts of his doings at Mile End Green when he was Dagonet in Arthur’s Show. Fleet Street was the show-place of London, in which were exhibited a constant succession of puppets, naked Indians and strange fishes. The great meeting-place of Londoners in the day-time was the nave of old St Paul’s. Crowds of merchants with their hats on transacted business in the aisles, and used the font as a counter upon which to make their payments; lawyers received clients at their several pillars; and masterless serving-men waited to be engaged upon their own particular bench. Besides those who came on business there were gallants dressed in fashionable finery, so that it was worth the tailor’s while to stand behind a pillar and fill his table-books with notes. The middle or Mediterranean aisle was the Paul’s Walk, also called the Duke’s Gallery from the erroneous supposition that the tomb of Sir Guy Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, was that of the “good” Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. After the Restoration a fence was erected on the inside of the great north door to hinder a concourse of rude people, and when the cathedral was being rebuilt Sir Christopher Wren made a strict order against any profanation of the sacred building. St Paul’s churchyard was from the earliest days of printing until the end of the 18th century the headquarters of the book trade, when it shifted to Paternoster Row. Another of the favourite haunts of the people was the garden of Gray’s Inn, where the choicest society was to be met. There, under the shadow of the elm trees which Bacon had planted, Pepys and his wife constantly walked. Mrs Pepys went on one occasion specially to observe the fashions of the ladies because she was then “making some clothes.”
In those days of public conviviality, and for many years afterwards, the taverns of London held a very important place. The Boar’s Head in Great Eastcheap was an inn of Shakespeare’s own day, and the characters he introduces Taverns. into his plays are really his own contemporaries. The “Mermaid” is sometimes described as in Bread Street, and at other times in Friday Street and also in Cheapside. We are thus able to fix its exact position; for a little to the west of Bow church is Bread Street, then came a block of houses, and the next thoroughfare was Friday Street. It was in this block that the “Mermaid” was situated, and there appear to have been entrances from each street. What makes this fact still more certain is the circumstance that a haberdasher in Cheapside living “’twixt Wood Street and Milk Street,” two streets on the north side opposite Bread and Friday Streets, described himself as “over against the Mermaid tavern in Cheapside.” The Windmill tavern occupies a prominent position in the action of Every Man in his Humour. The Windmill stood at the corner of the Old Jewry towards Lothbury, and the Mitre close by the Mermaid in Bread Street. The Mitre in Fleet Street, so intimately associated with Dr Johnson, also existed at this time. It is mentioned in a comedy entitled Ram Alley (1611) and Lilly the astrologer frequented it in 1640. At the Mermaid Ben Jonson had such companions as Shakespeare, Raleigh, Beaumont, Fletcher, Carew, Donne, Cotton and Selden, but at the Devil in Fleet Street, where he started the Apollo Club, he was omnipotent. Herrick, in his well-known Ode to Ben, mentions several of the inns of the day.
Under James I. the theatre, which established itself so firmly in the latter years of Elizabeth, had still further increased its influence, and to the entertainments given at the many playhouses may be added the masques so Theatres. expensively produced at court and by the lawyers at the inns of court. In 1613 The Masque of Flowers was presented by the members of Gray’s Inn in the Old Banqueting House in honour of the marriage of the infamous Carr, earl of Somerset, and the equally infamous Lady Frances, daughter of the earl of Suffolk. The entertainment was prepared by Sir Francis Bacon at a cost of about £2000.
It was during the reign of Charles I. that the first great exodus of the wealthy and fashionable was made to the West End. The great square or piazza of Covent Garden was formed from the designs of Inigo Jones about 1632. The The “West End.” neighbouring streets were built shortly afterwards, and the names of Henrietta, Charles, James, King and York Streets were given after members of the royal family. Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, was built about 1629, and named in honour of Henrietta Maria. Lincoln’s Inn Fields had been planned some years before. With the Restoration the separation of fashionable from city life became complete.
When the Civil War broke out London took the side of the parliament, and an extensive system of fortification was at once projected to protect the town against the threatened attack of the royal army. A strong earthen rampart, flanked with bastions and redoubts, surrounded the City, its liberties, Westminster and Southwark, making an immense enclosure.
London had been ravaged by plague on many former occasions,
but the pestilence that began in December 1664 lives in history
as “the Plague of London.” On the 7th of June 1665
Samuel Pepys for the first time saw two or three
houses marked with the red cross and the words
“Lord, have mercy upon us,” on the doors. The deaths daily
increased, and business was stopped. Grass grew in the area
of the Royal Exchange, at Whitehall, and in the principal streets
of the city. On the 4th of September 1665 Pepys writes an
interesting letter to Lady Carteret from Woolwich: “I have
stayed in the city till above 7400 died in one week, and of them
about 6000 of the plague, and little noise heard day or night but
tolling of bells.” The plague was scarcely stayed before the
whole city was in flames, a calamity of the first magnitude,
but one which in the end caused much good, as the seeds of
disease were destroyed, and London has never since been visited
by such an epidemic. On the 2nd of September 1666 the
fire broke out at one o’clock in the morning at a house in
The Great Fire.
Pudding Lane. A violent east wind fomented the
flames, which raged during the whole of Monday and
great part of Tuesday. On Tuesday night the wind
fell somewhat, and on Wednesday the fire slackened. On
Thursday it was extinguished, but on the evening of that day
the flames again burst forth at the Temple. Some houses were
at once blown up by gunpowder, and thus the fire was finally
mastered. Many interesting details of the fire are given in Pepys’s
Diary. The river swarmed with vessels filled with persons
carrying away such of their goods as they were able to save.
Some fled to the hills of Hampstead and Highgate, but Moorfields
was the chief resort of the houseless Londoner. Soon paved
streets and two-storey houses were seen in that swampy place.
The people bore their troubles heroically, and Henry Oldenburg,
writing to the Hon. Robert Boyle on September 10, says: “The
citizens, instead of complaining, discoursed almost of nothing but
of a survey for rebuilding the city with bricks and large streets.”
Within a few days of the fire three several plans were presented
to the king for the rebuilding of the city, by Christopher Wren,
John Evelyn and Robert Hooke. Wren proposed to build
main thoroughfares north and south, and east and west, to
insulate all the churches in conspicuous positions, to form the
most public places into large piazzas, to unite the halls of the
twelve chief companies into one regular square annexed to
Guildhall and to make a fine quay on the bank of the river
Wren’s scheme. from Blackfriars to the Tower. His streets were to be of three magnitudes—90 ft., 60 ft. and 30 ft. wide respectively. Evelyn’s plan differed from Wren’s chiefly in proposing a street from the church of St Dunstan’s in the East to the cathedral, and in having no quay or terrace along the river. In spite of the best advice, however, the jealousies of the citizens prevented any systematic design from being carried out, and in consequence the old lines were in almost every case retained. But though the plans of Wren and Hooke were not adopted, it was to these two fellows of the Royal Society that the labour of rebuilding London was committed. Wren’s great work was the erection of the cathedral of St Paul’s, and the many churches ranged round it as satellites. Hooke’s task was the humbler one of arranging as city surveyor for the building of the houses. He laid out the ground of the several proprietors in the rebuilding of the city, and had no rest early or late from persons soliciting him to set out their ground for them at once. The first great impetus of change in the configuration of London was given by the great fire, and Evelyn records and regrets that the town in his time had grown almost as large again as it was within his own memory. Although for several centuries attempts had been made in favour of building houses with brick or stone, yet the carpenters continued to be the chief house-builders. As late as the year 1650 the Carpenters’ Company drew up a memorial in which they “gave their reasons that tymber buildings were more commodious for this citie than brick buildings were.” The Act of Parliament “for rebuilding the city of London” passed after the great fire, gave the coup de grâce to the carpenters as house-builders. After setting forth that “building with brick was not only more comely and durable, but also more safe against future perils of fire,” it was enacted “that all the outsides of all buildings in and about the city should be made of brick or stone, except doorcases and window-frames, and other parts of the first story to the front between the piers,” for which substantial oaken timber might be used “for conveniency of shops.” In the winter of 1683–1684 a fair was held for some time upon the Thames. The frost, which began about seven weeks before Christmas and continued for six weeks after, was the greatest on record; the ice was 11 in. thick.
The revocation of the edict of Nantes in October 1685, and the consequent migration of a large number of industrious French Protestants, caused a considerable growth in the east end of London. The silk manufactories at Spitalfields were then established.
During the short reign of James II. the fortunes of the city were at their lowest, and nowhere was the arrival of the prince of Orange more welcomed.
William III. cared little for London, the smoke of which gave him asthma, and when a great part of Whitehall was burnt in 1691 he purchased Nottingham House and made it into Kensington Palace. Kensington was then an insignificant village, but the arrival of the court soon caused it to grow in importance.
Although the spiritual wants of the city were amply provided for by the churches built by Wren, the large districts outside the city and its liberties had been greatly neglected. The act passed in the reign of Queen Anne for building fifty new churches (1710) for a time supplied the wants of large districts.
7. Eighteenth Century.—London had hitherto grown up by the side of the Thames. In the 18th century other parts of the town were more largely built upon. The inhabitants used coaches and chairs more than boats, and the banks of the river were neglected. London could no longer be seen as a whole, and became a mere collection of houses. In spite of this the 18th century produced some of the most devoted of Londoners—men who considered a day lived out of London as one lost out of their lives. Of this class Dr Johnson and Hogarth are striking examples. The exhibitions of vice and cruelty that were constantly to be seen in the capital have been reproduced by Hogarth, and had they not been set down by so truthful an observer it would have been almost impossible to believe that such enormities could have been committed in the streets of a great city. A few days after his accession George I. addressed the representatives of the city in these words: “I have lately been made sensible of what consequence the city of London is, and therefore shall be sure to take all their privileges and interests into my particular protection.” On the following lord mayor’s day the king witnessed the show in Cheapside and attended the banquet at Guildhall. Queen Anne and the first three Georges were all accommodated, on the occasions of their visits to the city to see the show, at the same house opposite Bow church. In the time of Queen Anne and George I. David Barclay (the son of the famous apologist for the Quakers) was an apprentice in the house, but he subsequently became master, and had the honour of receiving George II. and George III. as his guests. There was a large balcony extending along the front of the house which was fitted with a canopy and hangings of crimson damask silk. The building, then numbered 108 Cheapside, was pulled down in 1861.
Early in the 18th century there was a considerable extension of building operations in the West End. Still, however, the north of London remained unbuilt upon. In 1756 and for some years subsequently the land behind Extension in the 18th century. Montague House (now the British Museum) was occupied as a farm, and when in that year a proposal was made to plan out a new road the tenant and the duke of Bedford strongly opposed it. In 1772 all beyond Portland Chapel in Great Portland Street was country. Bedford House in Bloomsbury Square had its full view of Hampstead and Highgate from the back, and Queen’s Square was built open to the north in order that the inhabitants might obtain the same prospect.
In 1737 the Fleet ditch between Holborn Bridge and Fleet Bridge was covered over, and Stocks Market was removed from the site of the Mansion House to the present Farringdon Street, and called Fleet market. On October 25, 1739, the first stone of the Mansion House was laid. Previously the first magistrates lived in several different houses. A frost almost as severe as the memorable one of 1683–1684 occurred in the winter of 1739–1740, and the Thames was again the scene of a busy fair. In 1758 the houses on London Bridge were cleared away, and in 1760–1762 several of the city gates were taken down and sold. Moorgate is said to have fetched £166, Aldersgate £91, Aldgate £177, Cripplegate £90, and Ludgate £148. The statue of Queen Elizabeth which stood on the west side of Ludgate was purchased by Alderman Gosling and set up against the east end of St Dunstan’s church in Fleet Street, where it still remains.
8. Nineteenth Century.—In 1806 London saw the public funerals of three of England’s greatest men. On the 8th February the body of Nelson was borne with great pomp from the Admiralty to St Paul’s Cathedral, where it was interred in the presence of the prince of Wales and the royal dukes. Pitt was buried on the 22nd of February, and Fox on the 10th of October, both in Westminster Abbey.
The first exhibition of Winsor’s system of lighting the streets with gas took place on the king’s birthday (June 4) 1807, and was made in a row of lamps in front of the colonnade before Carlton House. Finsbury Square was the first public place in which gas lighting was actually adopted, and Grosvenor Square the last. In the winter of 1813–1814 the Thames was again frozen over. The frost began on the evening of December 27, 1813, with a thick fog. After it had lasted for a month, a thaw of four days, from the 26th to the 29th of January, took place, but this thaw was succeeded by a renewal of the frost, so severe that the river soon became one immovable sheet of ice. There was a street of tents called the City Road, which was daily thronged with visitors. In 1838 the second Royal Exchange was destroyed by fire; and on October 28, 1844, the Queen opened the new Royal Exchange, built by Mr (afterwards Sir William) Tite. The Great Exhibition of 1851 brought a larger number of visitors to London than had ever been in it before at one time. The great and continuous increase in the buildings and the enlargement of London on all sides dates from this period.
London within the walls has been almost entirely rebuilt, although in the neighbourhood of the Tower there are still many old houses which have only been refronted. From the upper rooms of the houses may be seen a large number of old tiled roofs.
Unlike many capitals of Europe which have shifted their centres the city of London in spite of all changes and the continued enlargement of the capital remains the centre and headquarters of the business of the country. The Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the Mansion House are on the site of Ancient London.
In 1863 on the occasion of the marriage of King Edward VII. (when prince of Wales) the streets of London were illuminated as they had never been before. Among other events which made the streets gay and centred in processions to St Paul’s may be specially mentioned the Thanksgiving Day on the 27th of February 1872 for the recovery of the prince of Wales after his dangerous illness; and the rejoicings at the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, and the Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
The first great emigration of the London merchants westward was about the middle of the 18th century, but only those who had already secured large fortunes ventured so far as Hatton Garden. At the beginning of the 19th century it had become common for the tradesmen of the city to live away from their businesses, but it was only about the middle of the 19th century that it became at all usual for those in the West End to do the same.
During the first half of the 19th century the position of the City Corporation had somewhat fallen in public esteem, and some of the most influential men in the city were unconnected with it, but a considerable change took place in the latter half of the century. Violent attacks were made upon the Livery Companies, but of late years, largely owing to the public spirit of the companies in devoting large sums of money towards the improvement of the several industries in connexion with which they were founded, and the establishment of the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute, a complete change has taken place as to the public estimation in which they are held.
Much has been written upon the population of medieval London, but little certainty has resulted therefrom. We know the size of London at different periods and are able to guess to some extent as to the number of its inhabitants, but most of the Medieval Population. figures which have come down to us are mere guesses. The results of the poll-tax have often been considered as trustworthy substitutes for population returns, but Professor Oman has shown that little trust can be placed in these results. As an instance he states that the commissioners of the poll-tax reported that there were only two-thirds as many contributaries in 1381 as in 1377. The adult population of the realm had ostensibly fallen from 1,355,201 to 896,481. These figures were monstrous and incredible.
The Bills of Mortality of the 16th and 17th centuries are of more value, and they have been considered and revised by such able statisticians as John Graunt and Sir William Petty. It was not, however, before the 19th century that accurate figures were obtainable. The circuit of the walls of London which were left by the Romans was never afterwards enlarged, and the population did not overflow into the suburbs to any extent until the Tudor period. Population was practically stationary for centuries owing to pestilences and the large proportion of deaths among infants. We have no materials to judge of the number of inhabitants before the Norman Conquest, but we can guess that there were many open spaces within the walls that were afterwards filled up. It is scarcely worth while to guess as to the numbers in Saxon London, but it is possible that in the early period there were about 10,000 inhabitants, growing later to about 20,000. During the latter part of the Saxon period the numbers of the population of the country began to decay; this decay, however, was arrested by the Norman Conquest. The population increased during ten peaceful years of Henry III., and increased slowly until the death of Edward II., and then it began to fall off, and continued to decrease during the period of the Wars of the Roses and of the Barons until the accession of the first Tudor monarch. The same causes that operated to bring about these changes in the whole kingdom were of course also at work in the case of the City of London.
One of the earliest statements as to the population of London occurs in a letter of about the year 1199 written to Pope Innocent III. by Peter of Blois, then archdeacon of London, and therefore a man of some authority on the subject. He states that the City contained 120 parish churches and 40,000 inhabitants. These numbers have been very generally accepted as fairly correct, and Dr Creighton comes to the conclusion after careful consideration that the population of London from the reign of Richard I. to that of Henry VII. varied within a limit of about forty to fifty thousand inhabitants.
Dr Creighton points out that the number given by certain chroniclers of the deaths from the early pestilences in London are incredible; such for instance as the statement that forty or fifty thousand bodies were buried in Charterhouse churchyard at the time of the Black Death in 1348–1349. Plagues and Mortality. These numbers have been taken as a basis for calculation of population, and one statistician reasoned that if 50,000 were buried in one churchyard 100,000 should represent the whole mortality of London. If this were allowed the population at this time must have been at least 200,000, an impossible amount.
Although the mortality caused by the different plagues had a great effect upon the population of the country at large the city soon recovered the losses by reason of the numbers who came to London from outside in hopes of obtaining work. Although there were fluctuations in the numbers at different periods there is evidence to show that on the average the amount of forty to fifty thousand fixed by Dr Creighton for the years between 1189 and 1509 is fairly correct. The medieval period closed with the accession of the Tudor dynasty, and from that time the population of London continued to increase, in spite of attempts by the government to prevent it. One of the first periods of increase was after the dissolution of the religious houses; another period of increase was after the Restoration.
A proclamation was issued in 1580 prohibiting the erection within 3 m. of the city gates of any new houses or tenements “where no former house hath been known to have been.” In a subsequent proclamation Queen Elizabeth commanded that only one family should live in one house, that empty houses erected within seven years were not to be let and that unfinished buildings on new foundations were to be pulled down. In spite of these restrictions London continued to grow. James I. and Charles I. were filled with the same fear of the increasing growth of London. In 1630 a similar proclamation to that of 1580 was published. During the greater part of the 18th century there was a serious check to the increase of population, but at the end of the century a considerable increase occurred, and in the middle of the 19th century the enormous annual increase became particularly marked. To return to the 16th century when the Bills of Mortality came into existence. Mention is made of these bills as early as 1517, but the earliest series now Bills of Mortality. known dates from 1532. Dr Creighton had access to the manuscript returns of burials and christenings for five years from 1578 to 1582 preserved in the library at Hatfield House. The history of the Bills of Mortality which in the early years were intermittent in their publication is of much interest, and Dr Creighton has stated it with great clearness. The Company of Parish Clerks is named in an ordinance of 1581 (of which there is a copy in the Record Office) as the body responsible for the bills, and their duties were then said to be “according to the Order in that behalf heretofore provided.” John Bell, clerk to the company, who wrote an essay during the great plague of 1665, had no records in his office of an earlier date than 1593, and he was not aware that his company had been engaged in registering births and deaths before that year. The fire of 1666 destroyed all the documents of the Parish Clerks Company, and in its hall in Silver Street only printed tables from about the year 1700 are to be found. There is a set of Annual Bills from 1658 (with the exception of the years 1756 to 1764) in the library of the British Museum.
These bills were not analysed and general results obtained from them until 1662, when Captain John Graunt first published his valuable Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality. Sir William Petty followed with his important inquiries upon the population (Essay on Political Arithmetic, 1683).
It is not worth while to refer to all the wild guesses that were made by various writers, but Dr Creighton shows the absurdity of one of these calculations made in 1554 by Soranzo, the Venetian ambassador for the information of the doge and senators of Venice. He estimates the population to have been 180,000 persons, which Dr Creighton affirms to be nearly three times the number that we obtain by a moderate calculation from the bills of mortality in 1532 and 1535.
Following on his calculations from 1509, when the population may be supposed to have been about 50,000, Dr Creighton carries on his numbers to the Restoration in the following Population in 16th and 17th centuries.table:—
The numbers for 1661 are those arrived at by Graunt, and they are just about half the population given authoritatively in the first census 1801 (864,845). It therefore took 140 years to double the numbers, while in 1841 the numbers of 1801 were more than doubled.
These numbers were arrived at with much care and may be considered as fairly accurate although some other calculations conflict with a few of the figures. The first attempt at a census was in August 1631 when the lord mayor returned the number of mouths in the city of London and Liberties at 130,268, which is only about half the number given above. This is accounted for by the larger area contained in the bills of mortality compared with that containing only the city and its liberties. Howell’s suggestion that the population of London in 1631 was a million and a half need only be mentioned as a specimen of the wildest of guesses.
Petty’s numbers for 1682 are 670,000 and those of Gregory King for 1696, 530,000. The latter are corroborated by those of 1700, which are given as 550,000. Maitland gives the numbers in 1737 as 725,903. With regard to the relative size of 18th century. great cities Petty affirms that before the Restoration the people of Paris were more in number than those of London and Dublin, whereas in 1687 the people of London were more than those of Paris and Rome or of Paris and Rouen.
It is not necessary to give any further numbers for the population of the 18th century, as that has been already stated to have been almost stationary. This is proved by Gregory King’s figures for 1696 (530,000) when compared with those of the first census for 1801 (864,035). A corroboration is also to be found in the report of the first census for 1801, where a calculation is made of the probable population of the years 1700 and 1750. These are given respectively as 674,350 and 676,250. These figures include (1) the City of London within and (2) without the walls, (3) the City and Liberties of Westminster, (4) the outparishes within the bills of mortality and (5) the parishes not within the bills of mortality. No. 5 is given as 9150 in 1700, and 22,350 in 1750. It is curious to find that already in the 18th century a considerable reduction in the numbers of the city of London is supposed to have taken place, as is seen in the following figures:—
|City of London within the walls||139,300||87,000|
|City of London without the walls||69,000||57,300|
As the increase in Westminster is not great (130,000 in 1700 and 152,000 in 1750) and there is little difference in the totals it will be seen that the amount is chiefly made up by the increase in the parishes without the bills of mortality. The extraordinary growth of London did not come into existence until about the middle of the 19th century (see § IV. above).
We know little of the government of London during the Saxon period, and it is only incidentally that we learn how the Londoner had become possessed of special privileges which he continued to claim with success through many centuries. Saxon Period. One of the chief of these was the claim to a separate voice in the election of the king. The citizens did not dispute the right of election by the kingdom but they held that that election did not necessarily include the choice of London.
An instance of this is seen in the election of Edmund Ironside, although the Witan outside London had elected Canute. The remarkable instance of this after the Conquest was the election of Stephen, but William the Conqueror did not feel secure until he had the sanction of the Londoners to his kingship, and his attitude towards London when he hovered about the neighbourhood of the city for a time shows that he was anxious to obtain this sanction freely rather than by compulsion. His hopes and expectations were fulfilled when the gates of London were opened to receive him, as already related. Athelstan’s acceptance of the London-made law for the whole kingdom, as pointed out by Mr Gomme, is another instance of the independence of the Londoner. When William the Conqueror granted the first charter to London he addressed the bishop and the portreeve—the bishop as the ecclesiastical governor and the portreeve as the representative of the civil power.
The word “port” in the title “portreeve” does not indicate the Port of London as might naturally be supposed, for Stubbs has pointed out that it is porta not portus, and “although used for the city generally, seems to refer to it specially in its character of a Mart or City of Merchants.” The Saxon title of reeve was continued during the Norman period and the shire-reeve or sheriff has continued to our own time. There were originally several distinct reeves, all apparently officers appointed by the king. Some writers have supposed that a succession of portreeves continued in London, but J. H. Round holds that this title disappeared after the Conqueror’s charter. Henry I. granted to the city by charter the right of appointing its own sheriffs; this was a great privilege, which, however, was recalled in the reigns of Henry II. and Richard I., to be restored by John in 1199.
J. H. Round holds that the office of Justiciar was created by Henry I.’s charter, and as he was the chief authority in the city this somewhat takes off from the value of the privilege of appointing sheriffs.
In the 12th century there was a great municipal movement over Europe. Londoners were well informed as to what was going on abroad, and although the rulers were always willing to wait for an opportunity of enlarging their liberties, they remained ready to take advantage of such circumstances as might occur. Their great opportunity occurred while Richard I. was engaged abroad as a crusader.
In 1889 a medal was struck to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the mayoralty which according to popular tradition was founded in 1189. With respect to this tradition Round writes (Commune of London, p. 223): “The assumption that the mayoralty of London dates from the accession of Richard I. is an absolute perversion of history,” and he adds that “there is record evidence which completely confirms the remarkable words of Richard of Devizes, who declares that on no terms whatever would King Richard or his father have ever assented to the establishment of the Communa in London.”
In October 1191 the conflict between John the king’s brother and Longchamp the king’s representative became acute. The latter bitterly offended the Londoners, who, finding that they could turn the scales to either side, named the Commune The Commune. as the price of their support of John. A small party of the citizens under Henry of Cornhill remained faithful to the chancellor Longchamp, but at a meeting held at St Paul’s on the 8th of October, the barons welcomed the archbishop of Rouen as chief justiciar (he having produced the king’s sign manual appointing a new commission), and they saluted John as regent. Stubbs, in his introduction to the Chronicle of Roger de Hoveden, writes: “This done, oaths were largely taken: John, the Justiciar and the Barons swore to maintain the Communa of London; the oath of fealty to Richard was then sworn, John taking it first, then the two archbishops, the bishops, the barons, and last the burghers with the express understanding that should the king die without issue they would receive John as his successor.” Referring to this important event Mr Round writes: “The excited citizens, who had poured out overnight, with lanterns and torches, to welcome John to the capital, streamed together on the morning of the eventful 8th of October at the well-known sound of the great bell swinging out from its campanile in St Paul’s Churchyard. There they heard John take the oath to the ‘Commune’ like a French king or lord; and then London for the first time had a municipality of her own.”
Little is known as to what the Commune then established really was. Round’s remarkable discovery among the manuscripts of the British Museum of the Oath of the Commune proves for the first time that London in 1193 possessed a fully The Mayor and Échevins. developed “Commune” of the continental pattern. A striking point in this municipal revolution is that the new privileges extended to the city of London were entirely copied from those of continental cities, and Mr Round shows that there is conclusive proof of the assertion that the Commune of London derived its origin from that of Rouen. This MS. gives us information which was unknown before, but upsets the received opinions as to the early governing position of the aldermen. From this we learn that the government of the city was in the hands of a mayor and twelve échevins (skivini); both these names being French, seem for a time to have excluded the Saxon aldermen.
Twelve years later (1205–1206) we learn from another document, preserved in the same volume as the oath, that alii probi homines were associated with the mayor and échevins to form a body of twenty-four (that is, twelve skivini and an equal number of councillors). Round holds that the Court of Skivini and alii probi homines, of which at present we know nothing further than what is contained in the terms of the oaths, was the germ of the Common Council. We must not suppose that when the city of London obtained the privilege of appointing a mayor, and a citizen could boast in 1194 that “come what may the Londoners shall have no king but their mayor,” that the king did not occasionally exert his power in suspending the liberties of the city. There were really constant disagreements, and sometimes the king degraded the mayor and appointed a custos or warden in his place. Several instances of this are recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is very important to bear in mind that the mayors of London besides holding a very onerous position were mostly men of great distinction. They often held rank outside the city, and naturally took their place among the rulers of the country. They were mostly representatives of the landed interests as well as merchant princes.
There is no definite information as to when the mayor first received the title of lord. A claim has been set up for Thomas Legge, mayor for the second time in 1354, that he was the first lord mayor, but there is positively no authority whatever for this claim, although it is boldly stated that he was created lord mayor by Edward III. in this year. Apparently the title was occasionally used, and the use gradually grew into a prescriptive right. There is no evidence of any grant, but after 1540 the title had become general.
No record has been found of the date when the aldermen became the official advisers of the mayor. The various wards were each presided over by an alderman from an early period, but we cannot fix the time when they were united as a court Aldermen. of aldermen. Stubbs writes: “The governing body of London in the 13th century was composed of the mayor, twenty-five aldermen of the wards and two sheriffs.”
As we do not find any further evidence than the oath of the Commune alluded to of the existence of “échevins” in London, it is possible that aldermen were elected on the mayor’s council under this title. This, however, is not the opinion of Mr Round, who, as before stated, is inclined to believe that the body of échevins became in course of time the Court of Common Council. The aldermen are not mentioned as the colleagues of the mayor until the very end of the 13th century, except in the case of Fitz-Ailwin’s Assize of 1189, and this, of course, related specially to the duties of aldermen as heads of the wards of the city.
In March 1298–1299 letters were sent from “the Mayor and Commune of the City of London” to the municipalities of Bruges, Caen and Cambray. Although the official form of “The Mayor and Commune” was continued until the end of the 13th century, and it was not until early in the 14th century that the form “Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council” came into existence, there is sufficient evidence to show that the aldermen and common council before that time were acting with the mayor as governors of the city. In 1377 it was ordered that aldermen could be elected annually, but in 1384 the rule was modified so as to allow an alderman to be re-elected for his ward at the expiration of his year of office without any interval.
In 1394 the Ordinance respecting annual elections was repealed by the king (Richard II.). Distinct rank was accorded to aldermen, and in the Liber Albus we are told that “it is a matter of experience that ever since the year of our Lord 1350, at the sepulture of aldermen, the ancient custom of interment with baronial honours was observed.” When the poll-tax of 1379 was imposed the mayor was assessed as an earl and the aldermen as barons.
The government of the city by reeves dates back to a very early period, and these reeves were appointed by the king. The prefix of the various kinds of reeves made but little difference in the duties of the office, although the area of these duties Sheriffs. might be different. There was slight difference between the office of sheriff and that of portreeve, which latter does not appear to have survived the Conquest.
After the establishment of the Commune and the appointment of a mayor the sheriffs naturally lost much of their importance, and they became what they are styled in Liber Albus “the Eyes of the Mayor.” When Middlesex was in farm to London the two sheriffs were equally sheriffs of London and Middlesex. There is only one instance in the city records of a sheriff of Middlesex being mentioned as distinct from the sheriffs, and this was in 1283 when Anketin de Betteville and Walter le Blond are described as sheriffs of London, and Gerin as sheriff of Middlesex. By the Local Government Act of 1888 the citizens of London were deprived of all right of jurisdiction over the county of Middlesex, which had been expressly granted by various charters.
In 1383 it was ordained and agreed “that no person shall from henceforth be mayor in the said city if he have not first been sheriff of the said city, to the end that he may be tried in governance and bounty before he attains such estate of the mayoralty.”
The two courts—that of aldermen and that of the common council—were probably formed about the same time, but it is remarkable that we have no definite information on the subject. The number of members of the common council varied greatly Common Council. at different times, but the right to determine the number was indirectly granted by the charter of Edward III. (1341) which enables the city to amend customs and usages which have become hard.
There have also been many changes in the mode of election. The common council were chosen by the wards until 1351, when the appointments were made by certain companies. In 1376 an ordinance was made by the mayor and aldermen, with the assent of the whole commons, to the effect that the companies should select men with whom they were content, and none other should come to the elections of mayors and sheriffs; that the greater companies should not elect more than six, the lesser four and the least two. Forty-seven companies nominated 156 members. In 1383 the right of election reverted to the wards, but was obtained again by the livery companies in 1467.
The Common Hall was the successor of the folkmote, the meetings of which were originally held in the open air at the east end of St Paul’s and afterwards in the Guildhall. These general assemblies of the citizens are described in the old city Common Hall. records as immensa communitas or immensa multitudo civium. The elections in Common Hall were by the whole body of citizens until Edward I.’s reign, citizens were then specially summoned to Common Hall by the mayor. In Edward IV.’s reign the elections of mayor, sheriffs and other officers and members of parliament were transferred to liverymen. Various alterations were subsequently made and now the qualification of electors at the election of the corporate offices of lord mayor, sheriffs, chamberlain and minor offices in Common Hall is that of being a liveryman of a livery company and an enrolled freeman of London. The election of aldermen and common councilmen takes place in the wardmotes.
The recorder, the chief official, is appointed for life. He was formerly appointed by the city, but since the Local Government Act of 1888 he is nominated by the city and approved by the lord chancellor. The common sergeant was formerly Officials of the city. appointed by the city, but since 1888 by the lord chancellor. The town clerk is appointed by the city and re-elected annually.
The chamberlain or comptroller of the king’s chamber is appointed by the livery. He was originally a king’s officer and the office was probably instituted soon after the Conquest. The remembrancer is appointed by the common council.
The common hunt, an office abolished in 1807, was filled by John Courtenay in 1417. The sword-bearer is noticed in the Liber Albus (1419) and the first record of an appointment is dated 1426.
Few fundamental alterations have been made in the constitution
of the city, but in the reign of Charles II. the most arbitrary proceedings
were taken against its liberties. The king and
his brother had long entertained designs against the city,
Later history of
the corporation. and for the purpose of crushing them two pretexts were set up—(1) that a new rate of market tolls had been levied by virtue of an act of common council, and (2) that a petition to the king, in which it was alleged that by the prorogation of parliament public justice had been interrupted, had been printed by order of the Court of Common Council. Charles directed a writ quo warranto against the corporation of London in 1683, and the Court of King’s Bench declared its charter forfeited. Soon afterwards all the obnoxious aldermen were displaced and others appointed in their room by royal commission. When James II. found himself in danger from the landing of the Prince of Orange he sent for the lord mayor and aldermen and informed them of his determination to restore the city charter and privileges, but he had no time to do anything before his flight. The Convention which was summoned to meet on the 22nd of January 1689 was converted by a formal act into a true parliament (February 23). One of the first motions put to the House was that a special Committee should be appointed to consider the violations of the liberties and franchises of all the corporations of the kingdom “and particularly of the City of London.” The motion was lost but the House resolved to bring in a bill for repealing the Corporation Act, and ten years later (March 5) the Grand Committee of Grievances reported to the House its opinion (1) that the rights of the City of London in the election of sheriffs in the year 1682 were invaded and that such invasion was illegal and a grievance, and (2) that the judgment given upon the Quo Warranto against the city was illegal and a grievance. The committee’s opinion on these two points (among others) was endorsed by the House and on the 16th of March it ordered a Bill to be brought in to restore all corporations to the state and condition they were in on the 29th of May 1660, and to confirm the liberties and franchises which at that time they respectively held and enjoyed.
When the Act for the reform of Municipal Corporations was passed in 1835 London was specially excepted from its provisions. When the Metropolitan Board of Works was formed by the Metropolis Management Act of 1855 the city was affected to a certain extent, but by the Local Government Act of 1888 which founded the London County Council the right of appointing a sheriff for Middlesex was taken away from the city of London.
When the county of Middlesex was dissociated from the city of London one portion was joined to the administrative county of London, and the other to the county of Middlesex.
The lord mayor of London has certain very remarkable privileges
which have been religiously guarded and must be of great antiquity.
It is only necessary to mention these here, but each
of the privileges requires an exhaustive examination
Privileges of the
lord mayor. as to its origin. They all prove the remarkable position of Old London, and mark it off from all other cities of modern Europe. Shortly stated the privileges are four:
1. The closing of Temple Bar to the sovereign.
2. The mayor’s position in the city, where he is second only to the king.
3. His summons to the Privy Council on the accession of a new sovereign.
4. His position of butler at the coronation banquets.
The last may be considered in abeyance as there has not been any coronation banquet since that of George IV. In the case of the coronation of King Edward VII. the claim was excluded from the consideration of the Court of Claims under the royal proclamation. The terms of the judgment on a further claim are as follows: “The Court considers and adjudges that the lord mayor has by usage a right, subject to His Majesty’s pleasure, to attend the Abbey during the coronation and bear the crystal mace.”
Bibliography.—The earliest description of London is that written by the monk Fitzstephen in 1174 as an introduction to his life of Archbishop Thomas à Becket. This was first printed by Stow in his Survey. It was reprinted by Strype in his editions of Stow; by Hearne in his edition of Leland’s Itinerary (vol. 8), by Samuel Pegge in 1772, and elsewhere. The first history is contained in A Survey of London by John Stow (1598, 1603). The author died in 1605, and his work was continued by Anthony Munday and others (1618, 1633) and in the next century by John Strype (1720, 1754–1755). Stow’s original work was reprinted by W. J. Thoms in 1842 and a monumental edition has been published by C. L. Kingsford (Oxford, 1908).
The following are the most important of subsequent histories arranged in order of publication; James Howell, Londinopolis (1657); W. Stow, Remarks on London and Westminster (1722); Robert Seymour (John Mottley), Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster (1734, another edition 1753); William Maitland, History of London (1739, other editions 1756, 1760, 1769, continued by John Entick 1775); John Entick, A New and Accurate History of London, Westminster, Southwark (1766); The City Remembrancer, Narratives of the Plague 1665, Fire 1666 and Great Storm 1703 (1769); A New and Compleat History and Survey, by a Society of Gentlemen (1770, revised by H. Chamberlain, folio revised by W. Thornton 1784); J. Noorthouck, A New History (1773); Walter Harrison, A New and Universal History (1775); J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum or an Ancient History and Modern Description of London (1803); David Hughson (E. Pugh), London (1805–1809); B. Lambert, History and Survey of London (1806); Henry Hunter, History of London (1811); J. W. Abbott, History of London (1821); Thomas Allen, History and Antiquities of London (1827–1829, continued by Thomas Wright 1839); William Smith, A New History of London (1833); Charles Mackay, A History of London (1838); The History of London, illustrated by W. G. Fearnside (1838); George Grant, A Comprehensive History of London (Dublin, 1849); John Timbs, Curiosities of London (1855, later editions 1855, 1868, 1875, 1876); Old London Papers, Archaeological Institute (1867); W. J. Loftie, A History of London (1883); W. J. Loftie, Historic Towns (London, 1887); Claude de la Roche Francis, London, Historic and Social (Philadelphia, 1902); Sir Walter Besant, The Survey of London (1902–1908)—Early London, Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon and Norman (1908); Medieval London, vol. 1, Historical and Social (1906), vol. 2, Ecclesiastical (1906); London in the Time of the Tudors (1904); London in the Time of the Stuarts (1903); London in the Eighteenth Century (1902); H. B. Wheatley, The Story of London [Medieval Towns] (London, 1904).
The following are some of the Chronicles of London which have been printed, arranged in order of publication: R. Grafton, Chronicle 1189–1558 (1809); R. Arnold, London Chronicle (1811); A Chronicle of London from 1089 to 1483 written in the Fifteenth Century (1827); William Gregory’s Chronicle of London, 1189–1469 (1876); Historical Collections of a Citizen of London, edited by James Gairdner (Camden Society, 1876); Chronicles of London [1200–1516], edited by C. L. Kingsford (Oxford, 1905).
Many books have been published on the government of London, of which the following is a selection: City Law (1647, 1658); Lex Londinensis or the City Law (1680); W. Bohun, Privilegia Londini (1723); Giles Jacob, City Liberties (1733); Laws and Customs, Rights, Liberties and Privileges of the City of London (1765); David Hughson, Epitome of the Privileges of London (1816); George Norton, Commentaries on the History, Constitution and Chartered Franchises of the City of London (1829, 3rd ed. 1869); Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis, edited by H. T. Riley—vol. 1, Liber Albus (1419), vol. 2, Liber Custumarum (1859); Liber Albus: the White Book of the City of London, translated by H. T. Riley (1861); H. T. Riley, Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries (1868); De Antiquis Legibus Liber. Curante Thoma Stapleton (Camden Society, 1846); Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188–1274, translated from the Liber de Antiquis Legibus by H. T. Riley. French Chronicle of London 1259–1343 (1863); Analytical Index to the Series of Records known as the Remembrancia 1579–1664 (1888); Calendar of Letter-Books [circa 1275–1399] preserved among the Archives of the Corporation of London at the Guildhall, edited by Reginald R. Sharpe, D.C.L. (1899–1907); W. and R. Woodcock, Lives of Lord Mayors (1846); J. F. B. Firth, Municipal London (1876); Walter Delgray Birch, Historical Charters and Constitutional Documents of the City of London (1884, 1887); J. H. Round, The Commune of London and other Studies (1899); Reginald R. Sharpe, London and the Kingdom; a History derived mainly from the Archives at Guildhall (1894); G. L. Gomme, The Governance of London. Studies on the Place occupied by London in English Institutions (1907); Alfred B. Beaven, The Aldermen of the City of London temp. Henry III. (1908).
In connexion with the government of London may be noted works on the following: Inns of Court. William Herbert, Antiquities of the Inns of Court and Chancery (1804); Robert P. Pearce, History (1848). Artillery Company, Anthony Highmore, History of the Hon. Artillery Co. of London to 1802 (1804); G. A. Raikes, History of the Hon. Artillery Co. (1878). William Herbert published in 1837 History of the Twelve great Livery Companies of London, and in 1869 Thomas Arundell published Historical Reminiscences of the City and its Livery Companies. Since then have appeared The Livery Companies of the City of London, by W. Carew Hazlitt (1892); The City Companies of London, by P. H. Ditchfield (1904); The Gilds and Companies of London, by George Unwin (1908). Separate histories have been published of the chief London companies.
The following are some of the chief works connected with the topography of London: Thomas Pennant, Of London (1790, 1793, 1805, 1813, translated into German 1791); John T. Smith, Antient Topography of London (1815); David Hughson [E. Pugh], Walks through London (1817); London (edited by Charles Knight 1841–1844, reprinted 1851, revised by E. Walford 1875–1877); J. H. Jesse, Literary and Historical Memorials of London (1847); Leigh Hunt, The Town, its Memorable Character and Events (1848, new ed. 1859); Peter Cunningham, A Handbook of London past and present (1849, 2nd ed. 1850, enlarged into a new work in 1891); Henry B. Wheatley, London past and present; Vestiges of Old London, etchings by J. W. Archer (1851); A New Survey of London (1853); G. W. Thornbury, Haunted London (1865, new ed. by E. Walford 1880); Old and New London, vols. i.-ii. by G. W. Thornbury, vols. iii.-vi. by Edward Walford (1873–1878); Walter Besant, London, Westminster, South London, East London (1891–1902); East London Antiquities, edited by Walter A. Locks (East London Advertiser, 1902); Philip Norman, London vanished and vanishing (1905); Records of the London Topographical Society; Monographs of the Committee for the Survey of the Memorials of Greater London.
The following books on the population of London have been published: John Graunt, Natural and Political Observations on the Bills of Mortality (1661, other editions 1662, 1665, 1676); Essay in Political Arithmetick (1683); Five Essays on Political Arithmetick (1687); Several Essays in Political Arithmetick (1699, 1711, 1751, 1755); Essay concerning the Multiplication of Mankind (1682, 1683, 1686), all by Sir William Petty; Corbyn Morris, Observations on the past Growth and present State of the City of London (1751); Collection of the Yearly Bills of Mortality from 1657 to 1758 (ed. by T. Birch, D.D. 1759); Graunt’s Observations, Petty’s Another Essay and C. Morris’s Observations are reprinted in this collection. Graunt and Petty’s Essays are reprinted in Economic Writings of Sir W. Petty (1899). (H. B. W.*)
- See map in London Statistics (vol. xix., 1909), an annual publication of the London County Council, which besides these divisions shows “Water London,” the London main drainage area, and the Central Criminal Court district.
- Charing Cross station was the scene of a remarkable catastrophe on the 5th of December 1905, when a large part of the roof collapsed, and the falling débris did very serious damage to the Avenue theatre, which stands close to the station at a lower level.
- The report appeared in eight volumes, the first of which, containing the general conclusions to which allusion is here made, bore the number, as a blue-book. Cd. 2597.
- Over 200 local acts were repealed by schemes made under the act of 1899.
- A valuable article on “The Conqueror’s Footprints in Domesday” was published in the English Historical Review in 1898 (vol. xiii. p. 17). This article contains an account of Duke William’s movements after the battle of Senlac between Enfield, Edmonton, Tottenham and Berkhampstead.
- “A map of London engraved on copper-plate, dated 1497,” which was bought by Ferdinand Columbus during his travels in Europe about 1518–1525, is entered in the catalogue of Ferdinand’s books, maps, &c., made by himself and preserved in the Cathedral Library at Seville, but there is no clue to its existence.
- One is in the Guildhall Library, and the other among the Pepysian maps in Magdalene College, Cambridge.
- This map of London by Norden is dated 1593, as stated above. The same topographer published in his Middlesex a map of Westminster as well as this one of the City of London.
- Various changes in the names of the taverns are made in the folio edition of this play (1616) from the quarto (1601); thus the Mermaid of the quarto becomes the Windmill in the folio, and the Mitre of the quarto is the Star of the folio.
- The Great Revolt of 1381 (Oxford, 1906), p. 27.
- In a valuable paper on “The Population of Old London” in Blackwood’s Magazine for April 1891.
- The old Bills of Mortality, although of value from being the only authority on the subject, were never complete owing to various causes: one being that large numbers of Roman Catholics and Dissenters were not registered in the returns of the parish clerk who was a church officer. The bills were killed by the action of the Registration Act for England and Wales, which came into operation July 1, 1837. The Weekly Returns of the Registrar-General began in 1840.
- “The invention of ‘bills of mortality’ is not so modern as has been generally supposed, for their proper designation may be found in the language of ancient Rome. Libitina was the goddess of funerals; her officers were the Libitinarii our undertakers; her temple in which all business connected with the last rites was transacted, in which the account of deaths—ratio Libitinae—was kept, served the purpose of a register office.”—Journal Statistical Society, xvii. 117 (1854).
- The return was made “by special command from the Right Honourable the Lords of His Majesty’s Privy Council.” The Privy Council were at this time apprehensive of an approaching scarcity of food. The numbers (130,268) were made up as follows: London Within the Walls 71,029, London Without the Walls 40,579, Old Borough of Southwark (Bridge Without) 18,660.
- R. R. Sharpe, London and the Kingdom (1894), i. 541.