The seat of her majesty the Queen, and of her ancestors from the period of the Conquest. Eton College also is within a short distance.
If the reader be a stranger in London, visiting the great metropolis simply on pleasure, he will most probably wish to walk through the principal streets or thoroughfares first, to make himself acquainted with their peculiar characteristics, as a general basis upon which he may subsequently extend his rambles in different directions, according to the particular objects that attract him most, or the time he intends to remain. Selecting St. Paul’s as the starting point the visitor can proceed eastward or westward according to his own predilections. The man of business will probably prefer a visit to the centre of our commercial emporium, the heart of London and proceeding down Cheapside visit the Exchange and the other public buildings in the city, a description of which he will find in Bradshaw’s Guide to London.
Cheapside, in former days called Chepe, a market: as being the first great street of fine shops, we shall see how well the modern splendid warehouses and shops justify its former repute; signs of the various crafts were displayed in front of each shop in former days. Bennett, the well known watchmaker of the present day, exhibits from his establishment a projecting clock, illuminated at night, the striking peculiarity of which lies in the circumstance that it announces the hours, and chimes the quarters on large bells, each struck by a figure — the hour bell by a figure of Time, well modelled by Gechtor, and the the quarters, by the well known Guildhall statues of Gog and Magog, the tutelar deities of the city. The splendid steeple of St. Mary-le-Bow, one of the master-pieces of Sir Christopher Wren, is a conspicuous object in this street, the tower of which contains the time-honoured Bow Bells, that lured Sir Richard or Dick Whittington back to the city, and in course of time to be its thrice honoured mayor. All who are born within their sound are still avouched to have a just claim to the epithet of “Cockney”.
The majority of visitors will no doubt prefer going westwards first, and therefore we cannot do better than proceed with them in that direction, commencing our inspection of the sights of London by taking an exterior view of St. Paul’s. For this purpose the visitor should should walk entirely round it to observe all the architectural details, and enjoy the feelings of veneration and delight which the striking and impressive view of the cathedral is sure to produce. The extreme beauty and colossal proportions of this mighty temple are worthy of the highest admiration. The front view in particular at Ludgate Hill is very grand. The facade, consisting of a pediment, sustained by a double colonnade, and flanked by two towers, which though not particularly beautiful in themselves, harmonise well with the rest of the edifice, and give effect to the grandeur of the vast dome which, rising from the centre of the cross, is seen emerging from the two inferior towers, and swelling nobly and grandly high into mid-heaven.
In front of the cathedral formerly stood that famous Paul’s Cross, where sermons were preached to the people in the open air, and where politics and religion were mixed up in a manner to which the present times is a stranger. The site is now occupied by a fine statue of Queen Anne. Passing on to the left we enter the cathedral by the door of the northern portico to view the interior, or ascend to the top of the dome and look down on the scene below, at what may be considered the most stupendous and magnificent sight it is possible to imagine. The building is in the form of a cross, having, in its greatest length, a principal nave, divided from two side aisles by rows of massive pillars. Eight immense piers, each of them forty feet at the base, support the great dome of the central area. Over the intersection of the nave and transept swells the noble dome, so much admired from without. It is painted in fresco with subjects taken from the life of the patron saint and artists have recently been engaged in restoring those noble paintings, a work of considerable difficulty, when the dizzy height at which their labours must be carried on is taken into consideration.
Around about the aisles and angles of the vast pile are the monuments erected to the memory of the illustrious dead. They are not very fine specimens of art, but we forbear to criticise in the presence of the tombs of Nelson and Wellington, placed in the centre of the mighty temple, with the dome overhead and all that is grand and imposing around. We can only offer the tribute of our homage of mind and heart to these heroes, whose names loom out from the pages of our history like the giants of a past race whose example will stimulate the career of unborn Englishmen.
Pausing for a moment in thought, and recalling to mind the simplicity of character, the pure patriotism genius, and deeds of the heroes whose tombs we contemplate, we could not but associate with their names, that of the great architect, so worthy of being placed on the same tablet with theirs, and then turning to admire the noble simplicity of that inscription over the entrance to the choir, in honour of
Sir Christopher Wren, builder of this church and city, who lived more than ninety years, not for his own but the public good. Reader if you seek his monument look around you, and visit Sir J. Soane’s museum, in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, where his watch and other relics may be seen. On ascending to the whispering gallery the visitor can view the concave of the dome and its storied frescoes, then ascend upwards towards the summit, and in so doing admire the construction of the dome, which is really extraordinary. It consists of three separate shells, sprung from a common base, but separating and becoming distinct at the top. The inner one, which forms the dome as seen from within, is of the hemispheric form, it is built of brick. A short distance from its base, is a second dome, likewise of brick, which springs from the first, and ascending with a curve of a much greater circle, goes far above the inner shell, terminating in the key-stone and lantern which support the ball. Still encompassing the second shell is a third, which constitutes the dome as seen from without, and whose curve is thought to be singularly beautiful. It is formed of wood and iron most ingeniously combined, and protected from the weather by a sheeting of lead. It is ribbed and subdivided, not unlike an orange after the first peel is removed.
Alight gallery encircles the top of the dome, to reach which upwards of 500 stone steps must be ascended, and this is the station from which the most extensive and complete view of London is commanded, affording a glimpse of the most extensive mass of buildings in the world. On all sides, as far as the eye can reach, the solid mass extends itself, along the great avenues, into vast suburbs. The frequent occurrence of reserved squares and patches of green lawns, is the most pleasing feature in the scene. The most conspicuous object, however, is the river, winding its way like a huge artery, beautiful and picturesque bridges spanning the stream, while steamers, ferries, and sailing vessels pass up and down the river. Then the traffic in the streets, the movement along the great thoroughfares of equipages and vehicles, the myriads of human beings hurrying to and fro, are sights which are quite bewildering and overpowering; so that after extending one’s gaze over to the Surrey Hills, and admiring the outline of the Crystal Palace, one is glad to descend and leave the noble temple under the influence of feelings, strangely mingled, of admiration at its grandeur, veneration for the mind which had conceived the idea, the power which had executed this great work, and respect for that religion which could inspire the hearts of men to so stupendous an undertaking.
Proceeding on, we descend Ludgate Hill, and in so doing admire the handsome shops and elegant articles exhibited for sale. We pass under the railway bridge of the London, Chatham, and Dover. This bridge is ornamented in a style of artistic beauty, so as to harmonise with the splendour of the noble Cathedral and the surrounding neighbourhood. The Ludgate Hill station of this line, on its course through Farringdon Street to the Great Metropolitan Junction in Smithfield, is on this spot, and, like all the stations on this line, is a model of convenience and elegance. The noble Alexandra Bridge, spanning the Thames at Blackfriars, connecting the stations of Ludgate and Blackfriars, is really a magnificent structure, whether it be regarded in an engineering or architectural point of view. At the bottom of the hill we pass the crossing in Bridge Street, the obelisk of winch is erected to the memory of the celebrated John Wilkes, M.P for Middlesex, and Lord Mayor of London in the early part of the reign of George III. Bridge Street leads to the temporary wooden bridge erected by the corporation to be used during the building of the new Blackfriars’ Bridge, which, when completed, will be the most magnificent bridge in Europe. Not a vestige of the old bridge remains, so rapidly have modern appliances completed its destruction. The temporary wooden bridge across the Thames is well worthy of a visit, being a marvel of ingenuity and convenience, and completed within a few short months. Opposite Bridge Street is Farringdon Street leading to Holborn, Oxford Street, &c. The obelisk at the entrance was erected to the memory of Alderman Waithman, a popular member for the city during the reform agitation, and whose place of business was at the opposite corner of Bridge Street and Fleet Street.
Ascending Fleet Street, the great arterial thoroughfare of London towards the west, we pass the offices of the Morning Advertiser, Bell’s Messenger, the publishing office of Charles Knight, the offices of Punch, the Standard, Morning Herald, Morning Star, the Daily Telegraph, the London office of Bradshaw’s Guides, the Watchman, the Record, and the old established banking houses of Messrs. Hoares, Goslings, Praeds, and Childs, names familiar for centuries. Fleet Street was the favourite locality of Dr. Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, the Spectator, Thackeray, Douglas Jerrold, and other literary celebrities.
A short distance further on, we reach Chancery Lane, the well known thoroughfare, of legal repute, to the right. On the left are numerous avenues leading to the Temple, formerly the residences of the “Knights Templars,” and now leased by the common law students. There is in the tranquil retirement of these buildings, and garden facing the river, an appearance of delicious quietness, when contrasted with the noisy region of Fleet Street. Leaving this most interesting neighbourhood, we proceed through Temple Bar, the western boundary of the city, where the heads of criminals were formerly exhibited. Proceeding on the left side, we pass Essex Street, leading to the river, and the church of St. Clement’s Danes, facing which is the office of the Illustrated London News, and a few doors beyond is a magnificent building, constituting the establishment of Messrs. Smith and Son, the newspaper and railway advertising agents. Further on we reach the church of St. Mary’s, Strand, a beautiful edifice, possessing architectural features of great merit. We then observe a noble gateway on the left, which is the entrance archway to Somerset House, a magnificent pile of buildings, in the form of a quadrangle, with wings. Entering the court yard we observe Bacon’s allegorical sculpture of Father Thames, and the statue of George III. The edifice is now devoted to the business of Government, and consists of the offices for the collection of the Inland Revenue, the Audit, the Civil Department of the Admiralty, the Registrars General, &c. The east wing was built in 1835 by Smirke for King’s College; the fine west wing, fronting the Waterloo Road, was added in 1856, by Pennythorne; this latter is one of the most successful facades in modern London. The Venetian front of Somerset House, towards the river, is of striking magnificence, and its balustraded terrace affords a fine view of the river.
We will now survey Waterloo Bridge, which crosses the Thames in this neighbourhood. It is without exception the noblest work of the kind in Europe. It is a beautiful object, the arches being all of the same height, and the road quite level, which produces a fine effect. From the centre of the bridge there is a finer view of that part of London which lies on the banks of the Thames than from any other. Looking down the river, and immediately joining the bridge on the left, rises the noble front of Somerset House – the finest object of the kind in London, not excepting the new Houses of Parliament, which appear too low. A little further on, looking like a green oasis in the midst of a dark wilderness of warehouses and wharfs lay the pleasant gardens of the Temple. Behind these rise numerous spires, towers, &c. Lower down is Blackfriars Bridge, rising behind which in unrivalled grandeur and beauty is the dome and towers of St Paul’s Cathedral, and below this the Monument, the spires of other city churches, &c., receding till they are lost in the mist which always hangs over the city.
Looking up the river there is not much worthy of notice except the New Railway Bridge, an engineering triumph, and beyond, Westminster with the two Houses of Parliament, too far to be seen to advantage. We will therefore continue our ramble along the Strand to Charing Cross, in the vicinity of which, and opposite to the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, is the new and splendid terminus of the South Eastern Railway, and the Grand Hungerford Hotel, in front of which is erected the beautiful Eleanor Cross, the work of Mr. E. W. Barry, the son of the architect of the Houses of Parliament. This Cross is as near as possible a fac-simile of the famous cross erected by King Edward I. in memory of his Queen, Eleanor, at the then village of Charing, on the spot where the statue of Charles I. now stands. It was the last place where the body of the Queen was halted on its way for interment in the Abbey of Westminster. The Strand is a fine street running parallel with the river. This part of the town was formerly the favourite abode of our ancient nobility. Their mansions looked towards the Strand, while the space between them and the river was formed into gardens, terraces and steps conducting to the level of the stream, which was at that time the great highway.
At Charing Cross, a great many streets unite and pour their crowds of pedestrians in all directions. Northumberland House, the only noble residence that remains in this locale, surmounted by the proud Lion which guards the arms of that family, is a conspicuous object at the end of the Strand. The next is the much admired equestrian statue in bronze, of Charles I. In front to the right is Trafalgar Square, in the centre of which is the appropriate column and statue erected in honour of Nelson, and the recently erected statues of the late Generals Sir Chas. Napier and Sir Henry Havelock. Behind these is that singularly dull, heavy-looking building, the National Gallery, by the side of which, standing out in beautiful outline, is the celebrated church of St. Martin’s in-the-Fields, built by Gibbs.
The National Gallery extends along the whole of the north side of the square. Although this gallery of paintings is inferior to the great continental galleries, still it is a highly valuable collection, and has been enriched by gifts and bequests of works of art of great value. The collection began in 1824 with Mr. Angerstein’s and others’ pictures, to which Mr. Turner’s munificent bequest was added in 1861. Some of these, with the Vernon and Sheepshanks’ collections, have been removed to the South Kensington Museum. If, however, our National Gallery is not so rich in pictures as many of the museums of small cities abroad, it must not be concluded that the people ot this country do not value and appreciate the fine arts. It is only by accidental visits to the residences of noblemen and gentlemen who possess the greatest treasures of art that we obtain an idea of the almost boundless wealth of the country in this respect. We think it not hazarding too much to say that there are an equal number of fine pictures in England as in France and Germany together; and we doubt not that the National Gallery will, as it is in contemplation to remove it from its present site, and to make extensive purchases of valuable works of art, in process of time, through gifts and bequests, exhibit the most, splendid collection of pictures that has ever been accumulated in one establishment.
Instead of proceeding westward through Trafalgar Square, we will turn to the left, through the celebrated avenue of Government Offices, situated on both sides of Whitehall.
The first range of buildings of importance on the right is the Admiralty; and further on the Horse Guards, a fine stone building, surmounted by a small tower and clock. It is easily recognised by the mounted sentinels in the small recesses on the sides. The building opposite, built as a banquetting hall by Inigo Jones as a portion of the then proposed Royal Palace, is now the Chapel Royal, fronting which Charles I. was executed.
Beyond, on the right is the Treasury, with its fine massive exterior, reaching from the Horse Guards to Downing Street. The new Foreign Office, now in course of erection, will add considerably to the architectural beauty of this spot. Facing this, on the left, is Whitehall Gardens, in one of which mansions resided the late Sir Robert Peel, up to the period of his untimely and lamented death.
Proceeding on through Parliament Street, we come to the street leading to Westminster Bridge, and beyond to the open space, known as New Palace Yard, opposite Westminster Hall, the New Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. The view here is exceedingly grand and imposing. The statue of Canning seems to personify the best attributes of a constitutional minister of a great country.
Westminster Hall.–The external appearance of this celebrated edifice is far less noble than is generally anticipated. Nothing, however, can be simpler or grander than the effect of the hall when seen from within. You find yourself in a vast edifice, near three hundred feet in length, having on every side only plain walls of stone, and no column or obstruction of any sort to intercept the view and break the character of simplicity and vastness. High over head rises a bold and hardy roof, supported by no column, but propped up with inconceivable lightness and grace on a series of wooden groinings, springing from stone mullions on the side walls. This roof is built entirely of chesnut wood, carved all over, put together with the greatest ingenuity, and richly ornamented with the heraldic emblems of Richard II., by whom it was built. It is almost entirely the same as it was when constructed towards the commencement of the fifteenth century, and yet without any impress of decay. In the various specimens of Gothic architecture which are to be seen throughout the Continent, there is nothing which bears any resemblance whatever to this, for its eccentricity, beauty, and lightness, which no one can observe without astonishment and admiration.
The New Houses of Parliament, or the New Palace of Westminster, as it is called, is the largest Gothic edifice in the world. It comprises the Houses of Parliament, the Courts of Law, and Westminster Hall, in one edifice. If we proceed to the centre of Westminster Bridge, we shall obtain a fine view of the river frontage, which is divided into five principal compartments, pannelled with tracery, and decorated with rows of statues and shields. The terrace is appropriated to the exclusive use of the Speaker and the members of both Houses. The present view is much finer than whilst the high old bridge remained. The broad new iron one, very wide and very low, affords the best standing point in all London to view what is undoubtedly the chief modern architectural feature in the metropolis. Whatever beauty of design, whatever delicacy of detail exists in Barry’s Palace can be seen, and well seen now. Indeed if the object were as perfect as the view there would be nothing left to desire. The small towers give a picturesque effect to the river front, but the three principal ones, the Victoria, Central, and Clock, do not add to the beauty of the building.
Retracing our steps to New Palace Yard, we enter the Palace through Victoria Tower, a truly royal entrance.
The rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament is the most important architectural work which has been undertaken in this country since the re-edification of St. Paid’s Cathedral; and it may be added, that in arrangement, detail, warming, and ventilation combined, so perfect a structure was never before planned. The exterior of the House of Lords presents no enriched architectural features, but the interior is, without doubt, the finest specimen of Gothic civil architecture in Europe, its proportions arrangement, and decorations being perfect, and worthy of the great nation at whose cost it has been erected.
Entering the house from the Peers’ Lobby, the effect is magnificent in the extreme. The length and loftiness of the apartment, its finely proportioned windows, with the gilded and canopied niches between them, the Royal throne, glowing with gold, and colours, the richly-carved panelling which lines the walls, with its gilded emblazoned cove, and the balcony of brass, of light and elegant design, rising from the canopy; the roof, most elaborately painted ; its massy beams and sculptured ornaments, and pendants richly gilded; all unite in forming a scene of royal magnificence, as brilliant as it is unequalled.
The House of Commons is in a direct line with the House of Lords, at the north end of the structure. The aspect of the house altogether, is that of plain and business-like serenity, adapted to the deliberation of legislators. The Speaker’s chair is placed in such a position that, supposing all the doors open between them, the Chancellor on the woolsack and the Speaker in the chair would exactly face each other. Yet although this palace of the parliament cannot for centuries rival in its associations the humble structure of St. Stephen’s Chapel, let us hope that the future representatives of Great Britain will not prove inferior to their predecessors in genius and patriotism.
Westminster Abbey.–This noble pile, in magnificence of extent, grandeur of proportions, and elaborate beauty of construction, can most favourably be compared with the noblest specimens of Gothic architecture in Europe. It possesses a symmetrical and homogeneous character throughout. There appears one defect in the external appearance which is sufficiently obvious, and that is, the too great length compared with the height, though this, within, adds vastly to the character of grandeur and continuity, as you glance along the naves from, extremity to extremity. If, however, there are any impressions on the mind at variance with unqualified admiration in contemplating this grand structure without, those impressions vanish as the visitor enters the cloister, and, passing the noble portal, stands the midst of columns, arches, and swelling naves, surrounded by the mighty dead of England, treasured remains, sculptured effigies, and recorded epitaphs of those who have emblazoned our history with the brightness of their deeds, immortalised our language, and shed undying glory on our race. No one can wander through these precincts, the aisles of the Abbey, examine the monuments and read the inscriptions, without a feeling of awe and admiration, and offering the homage of his mind at the throne of departed genius.
In the chapel of Henry VII. the mind is awed by the gorgeous character of the architecture, and the splendour of the monuments which entomb the buried majesty of England’s Kings; while above are seen the swords, helmets, and waving banners of the Knights of some of the noblest orders of Christendom, to complete the impression of the scene, and fill the imagination with images of magnificence and pomp.
It is in the Poets’ Corner, however, that the pilgrim’s footsteps most fondly linger. It is there that his eyes trace and retrace names, and study lineaments, connected with his sublimest and tenderest associations. No place in the world is so capable of recalling to “memory’s light” so many associations connected with whatever is most god-like in human genius. Supposing each country to have – but alas it has not! – a like hallowed receptacle for the remains of its most honoured children, which is there of modem tunes that can boast such a name as Shakspeare? Where shall we look for the counterpart of the divine Milton? Where else for the genius which characterised Newton?
The monuments of the Poets’ Corner are blackened by time, but the memory of those to whom they are sacred is still, and will ever be, green in the hearts of their countrymen and their descendants, and in every region of the world inhabited by those who speak the language in which they wrote.
That venerable shrine where repose the ashes of our patriots, poets, and sages.
Upon leaving the Abbey, we will proceed through St. James’s Park, which we can glance at in passing, to the Duke of York’s Monument, at the bottom of Regent Street, and conclude our walk by a view of Carlton Gardens, Pall Mall, &c. The view from the statue over the park is exceedingly fine, embracing the towers of the Abbey and the new Houses of Parliament. On the other hand, the wide and noble avenue of Regent Street, the princely edifices of the nobility, many of them built in a grand and chaste style of architecture, and the magnificent Club Houses, render this one of the finest quarters in London.
Starting from this point the ensuing day, the visitor should wend his way up Regent Street, the first point of interest in which is where it opens into a circus, at the intersection of Piccadilly, leading to Hyde Park, Chelsea, Hammersmith, &c. – one of the greatest thoroughfares in London, or perhaps in the world. Continuing his walk up this fine street, the visitor cannot fail to admire it. The rows of symmetrical and ornamented edifices produce a fine effect – on each side are a collection of brilliant shops, filled with most costly articles, attesting at once the wealth, luxury, refinement of the land, and the acmé of excellence to which the manufactures of this country have attained.
Proceeding on, we reach the intersection of Oxford Street, where Regent street again opens out and forms a circus. This is another thoroughfare between the east and the west, the left leading to Oxford Street, Hyde Park, &c. – the right to Holborn and the City. Continuing our walk along Oxford Street we find the shops assume a still more elegant and fashionable appearance – their extent, neatness, and elegance of arrangement are admirable. Oxford Street consists of a straight line of shops, not less than two miles in length, with a broad footpath on each side, and a carriage-road in the centre. This street is perpetually thronged with splendid equipages, on account of its being the grand avenue in which run most of the side streets leading to the squares, &c., where the nobility and people of fashion reside. This is called the neighbourhood of the squares, and is deservedly the boast of London. In the whole of that part of the town, north of Oxford Street, there are scarcely any shops, most of the houses being occupied by persons of distinction. Fashion, however, migrates yearly farther westward.
From Regent Circus, Oxford Street, the visitor may proceed Northwards, passing All Soul’s Church with its quaint steeple, and up that street of palaces, Portland Place, to Regent’s Park, and the Zoological Gardens.
The Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park in the season, is perhaps the most fashionable resort of the metropolis. This is an institution which had its origin in that spirit of association which has achieved so much for England. The payment of a trifling subscription, by many people, has led to the creation of a beautiful garden, of a tasteful and pleasing arrangement. Specimens of rarer curious, and beautiful animals have been collected from every comer of the globe; and the study of the structure, character, and habits of what is most interesting in the works of the Creator is thus rendered easy and entertaining to the young. The arrangement of the species is made with great care and order, and many of the animals are lodged in rustic cottages, in the style of the country from which they come. Here, too, are strange exotic plants – so that a walkthrough this garden is in a measure like a rapid journey over the world.
Returning from Regent’s Park to the end of Oxford Street, the visitor can then enter Hyde Park, and walk through it to Kensington Gardens, which is also a beautiful place. Thence retracing his steps towards Hyde Park Corner, his attention will be attracted to the statue of Achilles in the Park, and the colossal equestrian statue upon the top of the Triumphal Arch on Constitution Hill; both erected in honour of the late Duke of Wellington. Apsley House, the residence of the late and present Duke, at the corner of Hyde Park, is also an object of general interest.
Proceeding up Piccadilly the visitor should not omit to walk up Bond Street, to take a view of this the most fashionable promenade of London, where the young men of family and ton take then: walks, and exhibit the latest fashions of the day. The shops here are not so ostentatious as those in the more general thoroughfares, but they are extremely elegant, and their articles most recherché, and here the ladies of aristocracy and wealth may be seen alighting from their carriages and splendid equipages to make some purchase, or examine the latest modes from Paris.
Retracing his steps to Piccadilly, the visitor should not omit to visit the Burlington Arcade, the prettiest gallery in London, It is a fac-simile of a portion of the Palais Royal, but the tradesmen, who occupy these shops are of a less wealthy class, and the place is considered as the fashionable gentleman’s lounge.
From Piccadilly the visitor should return towards the city through Leicester Square and Covent Garden Market, In the former, on the south side, is the Alhambra, formerly the Panopticon. Covent Garden Market is celebrated for being the mart for the most delicate and choicest fruit grown or imported into England.
From Covent Garden the visitor should take one of the streets leading to the Strand, whence he can easily regain his hotel; and the next day, starting again from St. Paul’s, go eastward, and extend his visit to the City, and entering Cheapside from St. Paul’s Churchyard, the first objects which attract our attention are the statue of Sir Robert Peel, and the General Post Office, in St. Martin’s-le-Grand. On the right, at no great distance, stands the celebrated Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, which is esteemed to be situated in the heart of the City of London, and all persons born within the sound of its bells are vulgarly designated “Cockneys.” The crowd of persons in Cheapside from morning till night is always very great, and prevents any one loitering to indulge in observation or remark. At the end of King Street, which runs northward from Cheapside, is Guildhall, the Civic Palace, where the principal business of the corporation is conducted and the magnificent civic banquets given. The hall contains some fine monuments, the two colossal figures of Gog and Magog; and a noble statue to the Great Duke, just completed. Returning to Cheapside, the next building worthy of notice is the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor. The Egyptian Hall is a lofty room of considerable splendour. Near it is seen the Church of St.‘Stephen’s, Walbrook, said to be the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren. The Bank of England is nearly opposite, the statue of the Duke of Wellington in front, and behind this the New Royal Exchange. The building of the Bank of England offers no feature worthy of notice, and the interior can only be visited by an order of one of the Governors. It is well worth a visit. The statue of the Great Duke is by Chantrey, and is indeed a noble ornament to the city. The Royal Exchange is a splendid piece of architecture, and should be examined in detail, to see how admirably it has been adapted to the purpose for which it is designed.
Cornhill on the right is as glittering as ever with jewellers’ shops, beyond which is Leadenhall Street. Beyond this there is nothing of interest to the visitor, who is recommended to retrace his steps to the side of the Wellington statue, and proceeding thence down King William Street, glance at the statue of the Sailor King, to the left of which is the Monument, and then walk on to London Bridge, the traffic over which, and the view of the river below, will afford him subjects of interesting contemplation respecting this metropolis of a country which, though inconsiderable in extent, with a climate healthful indeed, yet unsuited to rich productions, and on the whole unpropitious, its coasts destitute of natural harbours, and exposed to the inconvenience of frightful storms, has yet risen by commerce to an eminence of wealth, power, and consideration, of which the world has hitherto known no example.
Returning towards King William’s statue, the visitor should cross over and proceed down Little East Cheap, and Great Tower Street, in which are the offices of the wealthy city of London Wine Brokers, which will lead him by a short route to that most interesting spot called Tower Hill, and in sight of the Tower of London, which he will undoubtedly visit.
The Tower of London, erected by William the Conqueror, connects itself with every succeeding event in the history of our race. In more barbarous times than those in which we live, it has been the prison-house, and the place of execution of illustrious victims of tyranny. Perhaps there is no single spot in Europe, or in the world, so calculated to awaken impressive and profitable recollections, and so pregnant with interest to Englishmen, as this place. Within these venerable vaults, human nature has been exhibited in all its extremes. The pomp of royalty, wretchedness of solitude, horrors of murder and martyrdom, all stand associated with the eventful history of the building. The Yeomen of the Guard, better known as beefeaters, in the picturesque costume of the days of Elizabeth, conduct the visitors over it. Within the court-yard, a number of objects are pointed out that are rich in. historical interest, of the most romantic and mournful character. There stands the Bloody Tower in which the unfortunate young prince, Edward V. and his brother, are said to have been smothered by order of Richard III. The Beauchamp Tower is also shown, as the prison in which the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, and the highly gifted and unfortunate Lady Jane Grey were confined, and the small room in which the gifted Sir Walter Raleigh wrote his “History of the World,” and which he occupied fifteen years. The Armoury is one of the most extensive in the world. There is one immense room containing, it is said, two hundred thousand muskets, tastefully and beautifully arranged. On all sides are trophies of victories by land and sea, and in a noble gallery called the Horse Armoury, are arranged in complete panoply, mounted, with lance in hand, the effigies of many of England’s greatest monarch warriors, clad in the very armour which they had worn; and among the weapons possessing historical interest, which are here preserved, is the identical axe which severed the head of Anne Boleyn. The regalia of England is preserved in a very massive strong tower, without windows, and quite dark from, without, being lit by a powerful lamp, which exhibits the brilliancy and value of the precious stones. Everything is admirably arranged for exhibition ; the imperial crown, and other most precious articles are turned round, so as to be seen, on all sides, by means of ingenious machinery, touched by the ancient dame who exhibits them.
On quitting the Tower, the visitor can proceed to inspect some of the magnificent docks and warehouses further down the river – which are of surpassing importance to the Port of London, and the great commercial interests of the Kingdom, all of which cannot fail to prove of interest to the observant and inquiring traveller.
In the “Guide through London” just concluded, we have indicated the most noticeable objects in the several principal thoroughfares and resorts, but as this route-plan compelled us to omit many disconnected features which yet give a character to the town, we now furnish a London Summary.
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This ancient borough town, having been a British town before the Roman invasion, stands in a rich vale on the banks of the Medway.
Nature has eminently favoured this town by the salubrity of its air, the potency of its mineral springs, and the adjacent appendages of romantic and agreeable scenery.