« AnteriorContinua »
ground on which stood piles of warehouses, in the neighbourhood of London, and caused damage to the amount of a million and a half sterling. Mr. Braidwood, the able superintendent of the fire brigade, lost his life in assisting to extinguish this conflagration, which continued alight for some weeks. The total number of fires in London during 1861 was 1183, of which 53 ended in total destruction.
The police force of the Metropolis (exclusive of the city) consists of about 5800 men, who wear blue cloth dresses with the number and letter of the division of each man worked in white on the collar. The force was constituted under an act of Parliament passed in the tenth year of the reign of George IV., and is known as Peel's act. It has been of excellent service to the wellbeing of London. The stations are scattered over the metropolis, but the chief station is in Scotland Yard, Whitehall, where the Commissioners of Police, headed by Sir Richard Mayne, sit daily. The courts where police cases are heard are thirteen in number. They are presided over by Magistrates who are barristers, and these gentlemen are under the control of the Home Secretary. The courts of the Metropolitan police are in Bow Street; Clerkenwell ; Great Marlborough Street ; High Street, Marylebone ; Vincent Square, Westminster ; Bagnigge Wells Road, Clerkenwell ; Worship Street, Shoreditch ; Arbour Street, Stepney (Thames Police Office); Lower Kennington Lane, Lambeth ; Blackman Street, Southwark; Blackheath Hill, for Greenwich and Woolwich; Brick Lane, Hammersmith ; and Love Lane, Wandsworth. The vans sometimes seen about the streets, which in some respects resemble an omnibus, with policemen for drivers and conductors, are the vehicles employed to remove offenders from the policeoffices to prison.
Between 60,000 and 70,000 cases are annually brought before the magistrates of the City and Metropolitan police courts.
The City Police, a distinct body from the Metropolitan police, are under the control of a Commissioner whose office is at 26 Old Jewry. They consist of a body of 627 men, who are distinguished from other policemen by the city arms on the collars of their coats, and by the yellow colour of their numbers. The only two police courts in the city are at the Mansion House,
where the Lord Mayor presides, and at Guildhall, where an Alderman sits.
GAS LIGHTING. London at night is everywhere illuminated with coal gas, which has done almost as much as an improved system of police in abating robberies and acts of violence. It was first introduced by an ingenious German, named Winsor, who lighted the Lyceum Theatre with it in 1803. It does not appear to have been used for street illumination until 1807, when the same person employed it to light one side of Pall Mall. Two years later he sought to obtain a charter, but the evidence of Accum the chemist in support of the invention appeared so supremely absurd to Mr. Brougham that he made it a topic of most effective ridicule, and stopped the project. Even at a later period the scheme of illumination by gas seemed highly preposterous, for Sir Humphrey Davy asked “if it were intended to take the dome of St. Paul's for a gasometer." The first gas company was established in 1810-12. In 1814 Westminster Bridge was lighted on the new method, and at the end of that year the general lighting of the Metropolis began. But such was the alarm occasioned by an explosion in a gas seasoning-house, that many persons asserted that gas was too dangerous to be used for the purpose, and the Royal Society appointed a committee to inquire how far this assertion was true. The stronghold of fashion, Grosvener Square, held out against the innovation until 1842. At the doors of mansions in the older streets, the iron extinguishers may still be seen in which the links or torches of past times were put out.
There are now eighteen gas companies in the Metropolis, producing about 5000 millions of cubic feet of gas in the year. More than 2000 miles of pipes have been laid down. The charge to the public is about 6s. per 1000 feet.
CEMETERIES. The barbarous practice of interring human bodies within the precincts of the Metropolis has not yet been wholly abandoned, though of late years it has been much abated ; but not before several of the churchyards had become full to overflowing, and the neighbourhood had been rendered notoriously unhealthy, " the plague spots of the population.” Vaults and catacombs anderneath churches have been in many instances closed against the future deposit of coffins therein. The coffins previously there, if not removed by the relatives of the deceased, have been collected in one common vault, which has been closed and built up, never afterwards to be opened on any pretence whatever. Within the last few years numerous cemeteries have been formed in the environs of the Metropolis, of which the largest is at Woking in Surrey, 24 miles from London by the South Western Railway ; but the most accessible, and the one the best worth visiting, is Kensal Green Cemetery, about two miles northwest of Paddington Green. Omnibuses from the Edgeware Road take passengers to the Cemetery gates. Between 50 and 60 acres were laid out in 1832, and a considerable part of it has been well adorned with monuments of all sizes and shapes. The cemetery is open to visitors on all week-days throughout the day and on Sunday afternoons. Highgate Cemetery comprises about 22 acres. Lying on the south slope of the hill, below the church, it commands a good view of London. Nunhead Cemetery, near Peckham Rye, and Norwood Cemetery, near the Lower Norwood Station of the West End and Crystal Palace Railway, are to the south of London, and each contains about 50 acres. Near Stoke Newington, on the north, is the Abney Park Cemetery. In the West London Cemetery at Brompton Lord Cremorne has erected a splendid family tomb which cost upwards of £2000. It is of granite, and the design is Egyptian.
METEOROLOGY. A minute and very carefully-taken series of meteorological observations has been made for several years at Greenwich Observatory. Taking a series of 21 years, from 1840-1860, the mean temperature of the air is 49.2° Fahr.,* the highest annual mean during that period being 51.3° (1846), and the lowest 46.90 (1855). Taking the average of 89 years, the mean temperature of the four quarters of the year has been as follows :Winter (Jan-March), 38.4°; spring (April-June), 52.1°; summer (July-September), 59.5 °; autumn (October-December), 43.6°. The mean daily range of the thermometer during 19 years was found to be—for the year, 15.9° ; for autumn and winter, nearly 11.1°; for spring, 19.9°; and for summer, 19.7°. * The annual mean temperature of Paris is 51.5° Fahr., and of Rome 60.7° Fahr.
The mean pressure of the air during 19 years was 29.778 inches.
The mean annual fall of rain in the above-mentioned series of 21 years was 23.95 inches, ranging from 17 inches in 1858 to 34.4 in 1852. The mean annual fall, however, taking a series of 45 years, was 25.3 inches. The weight of vapour in a cubic foot of air, taking the mean of 19 years, was calculated to be 3.4 grains.
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
HOTELS-LODGINGS-RESTAURANTS—DINING Rooms—Coffee Houses
Hackney Carriages—Toll Gates—Omnibus Routes.
LARGE and well managed hotels, at which the charges are regulated by printed tariff, have been erected by companies at most of the railway stations; at the Paddington terminus of the Great Western Railway ; at King's Cross, the terminus of the Great Northern Railway ; at the terminus of the London and North-Western Railway (the Euston and Victoria Hotels); at the London Bridge Railway Station (an hotel containing 250 bedrooms); and at the Victoria Railway terminus, Pimlico, where a very handsome hotel, known as the Grosvenor Hotel, has been built. The Great Western Hotel cost, with its furniture, £86,000, and it has been highly successful as a commercial speculation. Besides these, two other large hotels have been lately erected by public companies, viz., the Westminster Palace Hotel at the east end of Victoria Street ; and the Palace Hotel, Buckingham Gate, about 450 yards from the Victoria Railway terminus, Pimlico. The former of these two, from its immense size, deserves a few words of description, as hotels of this class are much wanted in other parts of London.
The WESTMINSTER HOTEL, at the bottom of Victoria Street, Westminster, and in the immediate neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament and Courts of Law, is a new building erected by a company in the Renaissance style at a cost of £60,000. It is a large structure of eight storeys, with more than 400 rooms, but the India Board has obtained possession of nearly one-half, for which a rental of £6000 a year is paid. The coffee-room is 92 feet
in length, by 33 feet in width, and the dining-room is not much less. It is calculated that there are more than five acres of flooring in the hotel. Upon the site of this building stood the house and printing press of old Caxton; and here also stood the ancient Bede-house of Westminster Abbey.
As to houses in the hands of individuals, visitors will do well to obtain the recommendation of some friend before fixing upon an hotel ; but the following may be safely mentioned as deserving of patronage :
WEST END.--Claridge's, 42 Brook Street, Grosvenor Square ; the Clarendon, 169 New Bond Street ; Steven's, 181 New Bond Street ; Gullon's, 7 Albemarle Street ; Hawkins, 29 Albemarle Street ; Brown's, 21 Dover Street, Piccadilly ; Balt's, 41 Dover Street, Piccadilly ; Ellis's, 59 St. James' Street ; Fenton's, 63 St. James' Street; Farrance's, Belgrave Street, Belgrave Square ; Ford's, 127 Brook Street ; the Blenheim, Bond Street ; Long's, Bond Street ; the Gloucester, 76 Piccadilly ; Limmer's, Conduit Street ; Hatchett's, 67 Piccadilly; the Burlington, Cork Street ; the Queen's, same street ; and many other hotels in Piccadilly, Jermyn Street, and the neighbourhood.
CENTRAL. — Union, Cockspur Street; British, Cockspur Street ; Morley's, Trafalgar Square. In Covent Garden, chiefly used by bachelors, are the Bedford, New Hummums, Old Hummums, the Tavistock, and Richardson's. In or near Leicester Square, are several hotels frequented by the French, amongst which may be mentioned the Sablonière, Hotel de Provence, Hotel de Versailles, Hotel de l'Europe, Bertolini's, the Panton.
City.—Bridge House Hotel, London Bridge ; Keyser's Royal Hotel, Bridge Street, Blackfriars ; Radley's, same street; the Queen's, St. Martin's le Grand ; the Castle and Falcon, same street ; Cathedral Hotel, 48 St. Paul's Churchyard ; the Albion, Aldersgate Street ; the Queen's, same street.
LODGINGS are to be obtained in every part of London, at prices varying according to the situation and accommodation afforded. In the north (Islington, Pentonville, etc.), a single man may procure a clean bedroom and sitting-room, from 12s. to 20s. a week. In the more fashionable quarters, well-furnished rooms will cost him from two to five guineas a-week; and families must pay for a suite of handsomely furnished apartments, from ten to fifteen guineas. At the west end, the streets where lodgings are chiefly found are the streets leading out of Oxford