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 Chambers's handy Guide to London - 1862

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Chambers's handy Guide to London, etc - By George Dodd - in 1862

MALT LIQUORS.- The beer and ale consumed in the metropolis is, of course, vast in quantity, though there are no means of determining the amount. If, by a letter of introduction, a stranger could obtain admission to Barclay & Perkins’s or Truman & Hanbury’s breweries, he would there see vessels and operations astonishing for their magnitude - bins that are filled with 2000 quarters of malt every week; brewing-rooms nearly as large as Westminster Hall; fermenting vessels holding 1500 barrels each; a beer-tank large enough to float an up-river steamer ; vats containing 100,000 gallons each; and 60,000 casks, with 200 horses to convey them in drays to the taverns of the metropolis!

Shops AND Bazaars - In the central and many other principal streets of London, the ground-stories of the houses are generally used as shops or warehouses. When the object is retail traffic, the whole range of front is usually formed into door and window, displaying goods to the best advantage to the passengers The exhibition of wares in the London shopwindows is among the greatest wonders of the place. Everything which the appetite can desire, or the fancy imagine, would appear there to be congregated In most other cities there is a. comparative limitation in the quantity and assortment; but here there is the most remarkable abundance, and that not merely in isolated spots, but along the sides of thoroughfares miles in length. In whatever way the eye is turned, this extraordinary amount of mercantile wealth is strikingly observable ; even in what appear obscure lanes or passages, the abundance of goods is found to be on a greater scale than in most provincial towns. In the wholesale establishments, such as those in Wood Street and its vicinity, New Gannon Street, and the south side of St Paul’s Churchyard, the stores of textile goods kept in stock are something prodigious; some of these structures have cost nearly £100,000 each. If a stranger chooses to devote a little attention to the business aspects of the vast metropolis, instead of limiting his notice to what are called the ‘sights,’ he will find much to excite his surprise, and to increase his range of information. There are between 7000 and 8000 streets, lanes, rows, &c. in the metropolis. There are more than 100,000 shopkeepers or owners of commercial establishments, who carry on more than 2000 different trades. Among these traders are 1800 butchers, 2500 grocers and. tea-dealers, 14.00 dairymen, 1 100 greengrocers and fruiterers, 2500 bakers, 900 cheesemongers, and 500 fishmongers. Then, among those who supply clothing, are 2800 tailors, 2800 shoemakers, 1000 linendrapers, and 500 hatters. All these are master-tradesmen or shopkeepers, irrespective of workmen, foremen, shopmen, clerks, porters, apprentices, and families. Among the shops of London may be mentioned those peculiar groups called Bazaars — such as the Soho, Pantheon, London Crystal Palace, and Baker Street Bazaars. These are groups of shops, so to speak, each group congregated under one roof ; the articles sold are chiefly of a fancy character; and the purchasers are mostly ladies and children. The Bazaar system of oriental countries, in which all the dealers in one kind of commodity are met with in one place, is not observable in London; yet a stranger may usefully bear in mind that, probably for the convenience both of buyers and sellers, an approach to the system is made. For instance, coach makers congregate in considerable number in Long Acre and Great Queen Street; watchmkers and jewellers, in Clerkenwell; Waters and leather-dressers, in Bermondsey; bird and bird-cage sellers, in Seven Dials; statuaries, in the Euston Road ; sugar-refiners, in and near Whitechapel; furniture dealers, in Tottenham Court Road; hatmkers, in Bermondsey and Southwark; dentists, about St Martin’s Lane ; &c. There is one bazaar, if so we may term it, of a very remarkable character-— namely, Paternoster Row. This street is a continuation of Cheapside, but is not used much as a thoroughfare, though it communicates by transverse alleys or courts with St Paul’s Churchyard, and, at its western extremity, by means of Ave-Maria Lane, leads into Ludgatc Hill. Paternoster Row, or ‘the Row,’ as it is familiarly termed, is a dull street, only wide enough at certain points to permit two vehicles to pass each other, with a narrow pavement on each side. The houses are tall and sombre in their aspect, and the shops below have a dead look, in comparison with those in the more animated streets. But the deadness is all on the outside. For a considerable period, this street has been the head-quarters of booksellers and, publishers, who, till the present day, continue in such numbers as to leave little room for other tradesmen — transacting business in the book-trade to a prodigious amount. At the western extremity of Paternoster Row, a passage leads from Amen Corner to Stationers' Court, in which is situated Stationers’ Hall, and also several publishing-houses. Messrs Longman’s premises, partly destroyed by fire in 1861, are being rebuilt.

MUDIE’s Lubrary - While on the subject of books, we may remind the visitor that the most remarkable lending library in the world is situated in London. Mudie’s, at the corner of New Oxford Street and Museum Street, affords a striking example of what the energy of one man can accomplish. At this vast establishment the volumes are reckoned by hundreds of thousands; and the circulation of them, on easy terms, extends to every part of the kingdom. The chief portion of the building is a lofty central gallery, of considerable beauty.

CLUBS; HOTELS; INNS; CHOP-HOUSES; TAVERNS; COFFEE-HOUSES; COFFEESHOPS.

CLUB-Houses.-—Duiing the last forty or fifty years, new habits amongst the upper classes have led to the establishment of a variety of Clubhouses—places of resort unknown to our ancestors. A London club-house is either the property of a private person, who engages to furnish subscribers with certain accommodation, on paying a fixed sum as entrance-money, and a specified annual subscription ; or else it belongs to a society of gentlemen who associate for the purpose. Of the first class, the most noted are Brookes‘s, White’s, and Boodle’s — all in St James’s Street. The second class of clubs is most numerous: the principal among them being the Carlton, Reform, Athenoeum, Oriental, Conservative, Travellers’, United University, Oxford and Cambridge, Army and Navy, Guards’, United Service, Junior United Service, Union, Arthur’s, and Windham clubs. The houses belonging to these clubs, respectively, are among the finest at the west end of London, and may easily be distinguished in and about Pall Mall, St James’s Street, and Waterloo Place. No fewer than nine of them are in Pall Mall, and six in St James’s Street. No member sleeps at his club; the accommodations extend to furnishing all kinds of refreshments, the use of a library, and an ample supply of newspapers and periodicals in the reading-room. The real object of these institutions is to furnish a place of resort for a select number of gentlemen, on what are really moderate terms. The Athenaeum Club (corner of Pall Mall), which consists chiefly of scientific and literary men, is one of the most important. It has 1200 members, each of whom pays twenty-five guineas entrance-money, and six guineas yearly subscription. As in all other clubs, members are admitted only by ballot. The expense of the house in building was £35,000, and £5000 for furnishing; the plate, linen, and glass cost £2500; library, £4000; and the stock of wine in cellar is usually worth about £4000. The other principal clubs vary from nine to thirty guineas entrance-fee, from six to eleven guineas annual subscription, and from 600 to 1500 members. During part of the life of the late M. Soyer, the kitchen. of the Reform Club—house was one of the sights of the west end. The Garrick Club, in King Street, Covent Garden, consists chiefly of theatrical and literary men. The Whittington Club, in the Strand, is the humblest of its class, and bears little resemblance to the others; it is rather a literary and scientific institution, with a refreshment department added.

THE ALBANY. — The Albany consists of a series of chambers, or suites of apartments, intended for ‘West-end bachelors.’ No person carrying on a trade or commercial occupation is allowed to live within its limits. There are two entrances, one in Piccadilly and one in Burlington Gardens. The chambers are placed in eleven groups, denoted by letters of the alphabet, A to L. There are about 60 suites of apartments, many of which are occupied by peers, members of parliament, honourables and right honourables, and naval and military officers. Canning, Byron, and Macaulay are named amongst those who have lived in this singular place.

Hotels AND Inns—It has been conjectured (though probably in excess of the truth) that at all times there are 150,000 strangers residing for a few days only in the metropolis; and to accommodate this numerous transient population, there is a vast number of lodging and boarding-houses, hotels, and other places of accommodation. There are more than 400 hotels, inns, and taverns. The fashionable hotels are situated west of Charing Cross — as, for instance, Mimvart’s, in Brook Street, Grosvenor Square ; Warren, in Regent Street ; Fenton’s, St James’s Street ; Lemmer’s, George Street, Hanover Square; the Clarendon, in New Bond Street; the Burlington, in Old Burlington Street ; Grillon’s, in Albemarle Street; Long’s, in Bond Street; the Queen’s, in Cork Street; and Wright’s, in Dover Street. We may add Morleys in Trafalgar Square. At all the fashionable and family hotels at the west end the charges being high, the majority of the respectable middle classes lodge at hotels and boarding houses east of Charing Cross. In and about Covent Garden, there are Several good hotels for single gentlemen; among others the Cavendish, the Bedford, the New and Old Hummums, and the Tavistock. There are several convenient hotels in Bridge Street, Blackfriars. Foreign hotels of a medium class are numerous in and about Leicester Square. Another class of hotels or inns are those from which stage-coaches at one time ran, and which were resorted to by commercial and other gentlemen; for example, the Golden Cross (now renovated and extended), near Charing Cross; the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly; the Bell and Crown, Holborn; the Saracen’s Head, Snow Hill; the Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane; the Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street; the Castle and Falcon, Aldersgate Street; and the Bull-in-Mouth, opposite the General Post-Office, in St Martin’s-le-Grand. These have all become comfortable middle-class hotels, with railway booking-offices attached; but the stage-coach trade has fallen to insignificance. To these we may add certain large inn and tavern establishments at other parts of the town —s uch as the Bridge House Hotel, at London Bridge; the Angel, at Islington; and the Elephant and Castle, Newington Causeway.

The almost universal defect of the older class of hotels in London is, that they are private dwellings extemporised for purposes of public accommodation—not buildings erected with the distinct object for which they are used. Hence the London hotels, generally, are confined and awkward in their arrangements — a huddle of apartments on different levels, narrow passages, and the offensive odour of cookery being common. In no case is there to parallel the larger hotels of New York, or the Hotel du Louvre at Paris. The nearest approach to these foreign establishments is found in certain hotels adjoining the railway termini, of recent construction. These are the Euston and Victoria Hotels, near Euston terminus; the Great Northern Hotel, adjoining the King’s Cross terminus; the Great Western Hotel, at the Paddington terminus; the Grosvenor Hotel, at the Pimlico terminus; the London Bridge Terminus Hotel, adjoining the Brighton Railway terminus; and the Westminster Palace Hotel, Victoria Street, near Westminster Abbey. The Grosvenor Hotel is, in the exterior, one of the most richly adorned modern structures in London. At these new and extensive hotels, the accommodation is on a better footing than in the older and generally small houses. But notwithstanding these additions, it is indisputable that the amount of hotel accommodation is still meagre and defective. The want of large good hotels in central situations, to give accommodation at moderate charges, remains one of the conspicuous deficiencies of the metropolis. Strangers who require furnished apartments will find an abundant choice in various streets running from the Strand, Regent Street, St James’s street, and Oxford Street.

Taverns AND Coffee Houses.—In and about London there are various large and respectable taverns, at each of which gentlemen are lodged in a comfortable manner; but they are principally designed for accommodating dinner and festive parties. Among these may be mentioned, the London Tavern, in Bishopsgate Street; the Albion, in Aldersgate Street; the Thatched House, St James’s Street; Freemasom’ Tavern, Great Queen Street; the British Coffee-house, Cockspur Street; and the London Coffee-house, Ludgate Hill. The last two are, however, properly hotels. There is, besides, a class of taverns, whose chief business is supplying dinners and slight refreshments, also the accommodation of newspapers, and which are resorted to chiefly by commercial men. Each of these has a distinct character. Garraway’s and Lloyd’s, at the Royal Exchange, were once coffee-houses, but now are associated with marine intelligence, stock-trading, and auctions; and in Cornhill, opposite, the North and South American Coffeehouse supplies American newspapers, and here also are to be seen the captains of Vessels who are preparing to sail to different ports in the western continent and islands. At the Jerusalem and East India Coffee-house, Cowper’s Court, Cornhill, information relating to East India shipping and captains may be obtained. Peele’s Coffee-house, in Fleet Street is celebrated for keeping files of newspapers, which may be consulted; this accommodation, as respects London papers, may also be had at some other places.

CHOP-HOUSES, Coffee-shops, AND DINING-ROOMS. — The next class of houses of this nature comprises Chop-houses, but also doing the business of taverns, and resorted to chiefly by business-men — as Dolly’s Chop-house, in Paternoster Row; Dr Johnson’s Tavern, in Bolt Court (a few doors from Farringdon Street), in Fleet Street ; the Mitre, the Cock, the Cheshire Cheese, and the Rainbow, in Fleet Street. Many such houses are to be met with near the Bank of England, in Cheapside, Bucklersbury, Threadneedle Street, Bishopsgate Street, and the alleys turning out of Cornhill ; among which are Joe’s and Ned’s, in Finch Lane. The Ship and Turtle, in Leadenhall Street, is a famous turtle-house.

London contains a very numerous class of Coffee-shops, of a much more humble though perhaps more useful nature, at which coffee, cocoa, tea, bread and butter, toast, chops and steaks, bacon and eggs, and cold meat, may be obtained at very moderate prices ; a few pence will purchase a morning or evening meal at such places; and many working-men dine there also. There is another class of Eating-houses or Dining-rooms, resorted to for dinners by large numbers of persons. The Excise Dining-romm in Bishopsgate Street ; Lake’s, His LOrdship's Larder, and one or two others, in Cheapside; several in and near Bucklersbury; the Chancery Dining-rooms, in Chancery Lane ; the Fish Ordinary at the Three Tune in Billingsgate, and at Simpson’s in Cheapside ; and several dining-rooms in and near the Haymarket and Rupert Street — may be reckoned among the number. A good but simple dinner may be had at these houses for from 1s. to 2s.; and a frugal man might manage still more cheaply. Donald’s, in the Quadrant ; the Wellington, in Piccadilly; the London, at the corner of Chancery Lane; and Simpson’s, in the Strand are of a higher grade.

Public-Houses. — The visitor need not be told much about public-houses and gin-palaces ; they unfortunately meet his view at every turn. As an evidence of the vastness of the metropolis, however, we may just mention the number of houses, in 1862, in which fermented drinks are regularly served. There are about 360 hotels, inns, taverns, and coffee-houses, where guests can be accommodated with bedrooms as well as refreshments. There are 4500 public-houses, licensed to sell malt liquors, wines, and spirits. There are about 70 private hotels not licensed, and therefore do not keep exciseable liquors for sale. Lastly, there are 1800 beer-shops, where malt liquors only, not spirits, are sold. In other words, beer and ale can be bought at about 7000 places in London. On the other hand, it is pleasant to be able to state that there are 1400 economical coffee-shops or breakfast and tea rooms; most of these, too, have bedrooms for hire by the night.




And Last updated on: Sunday, 17-May-2015 22:12:48 BST