Category Archives: London Streets

Manchester Square, The Marchioness Of Hertford And A Very Old Lane

Manchester Square is the subject of this week’s post. Georgian architecture, a Marchioness who had intimate meetings with the Prince Regent and an original lane that once ran through fields and now runs through the streets of Georgian London.

Manchester Square is a short distance north of Oxford Street and a perfect example of how in London you can walk in a matter of minutes from streets crowded with people and traffic to a peaceful place that is full of history and wonderful architecture.

Manchester Square still has the much of the original Georgian and Regency period houses from when the square was built, along with an original London town house that occupies one full side of the square. In the centre of the square is a garden which looked fantastic when I visited on a sunny spring day.

Manchester Square 15

Construction of Manchester Square was part of the Georgian expansion of London. The land formed part of the Portman Estate (as it still does) and a lease on a plot of land was granted to George Montagu, fourth Duke of Manchester who commenced construction in 1776 of a house on the north side of the square.

Other builders purchased leases on the other three sides of the square, the central gardens were laid out, and Manchester Square came into existence, named after the Duke, as was his house, which on completion in 1788 became Manchester House.

Soon after the completion of his house, the Duke died. The house was then purchased by the Spanish Government as their London embassy, a role it occupied until 1797 when the second Marquis of Hertford purchased the lease and renamed the house as Hertford House (and this is where the Marchioness of Hertford became a rather scandalous London figure – more later in this post).

The second Marquis died on 1822 and the house passed to the third Marquis, then in 1842 to the fourth Marquis of Hertford who was a collector of art, furniture, china etc. scouring the auction rooms of Europe to put together a very large collection that was stored in his houses in London and Paris. The fourth Marquis of Hertford died in 1870. He was unmarried and with no children, left his entire collection to his friend Sir Richard Wallace (who was also a collector). Wallace made a number of changes and extensions to the house to form the building that we see today.

The combined collection became known as the Wallace Collection, and on the death of Sir Richard Wallace, the collection was bequeathed to the nation, and it is this collection which is now housed in Hertford House

Hertford House, home of the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square:

Manchester Square 14

Manchester House soon after completion and before it became Hertford House:

Manchester Square 22

Standing in Manchester Square it is hard to believe that you are only a couple of minutes from Oxford Street. The central gardens are an oasis of green, spring blossom is blowing across the street and the few people around are either heading to the Wallace Collection, or using the street as a local parking place for Oxford Street.

Manchester Square 16

The original plan for Manchester Square was for a church to be built in the central square, however this did not get built and the gardens were laid out between 1776 and 1788.

Manchester Square 2

The second Marquis of Hertford who purchased Manchester House and renamed it Hertford House was a good friend of the Prince of Wales (who would later become George IV) and the Prince of Wales was a regular visitor to Hertford House, however it was his interest in the Marchioness, Lady Hertford that appears to have been his main reason for making the journey to Manchester Sqaure. It was written at the time that “The Prince does not pass a day without visiting Lady Hertford, indeed so notorious did these calls on ‘the lovely Marchesa’ become that a scurrilous print inserted in its columns the following advertisement: Lost, between Pall Mall and Manchester Square, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent”.

The relationship between the Prince of Wales and Lady Hertford was also the subject of a number of satirical cartoons. The following cartoon from 1819 shows Lady Hertford and the Prince Regent, the Prince of Wales on one of the new velocipedes. The signpost on the left is pointing to Wales and Hertford.

Manchester Square 24

©Trustees of the British Museum

The following carton shows a room in Hertford House with Manchester Square seen through the windows. The Prince Regent on the right is walking towards Lady Hertford. The Prince is holding the Privy Purse and the small character inside the purse is John McMahon who at the time was the keeper of the Privy Purse and the official private secretary to the Prince.

The Prince is saying to Lady Hertford: “I am so partial to the Privy Purse my Lady; that I have turn’d it into a Ridicule that I may have it always about me.” and she replies: “Well! upon my Honor, our Friend has got a snug birth there indeed.”

The two men talking in the square seen through the window are talking about the bad news of the day being that McMahon is now the keeper of the Privy Purse (and will do exactly what the Prince requires) and the Prince is therefore holding the Privy Purse up to ridicule.

Manchester Square 25

©Trustees of the British Museum

The Marchioness, Lady Hertford was considered one of the reigning beauties of the day. The Irish poet, Thomas Moore, initially a good friend of the Prince wrote of Lady Hertford:

“Or who will repair unto Manchester Square,

And see if the lovely Marchesa be there?

And bid her to come, with her hair darkly flowing,

All gentle and juvenile, crispy and gay,

In the manner of Ackerman’s dresses for May.”

Portrait of Isabella Anne Ingram Shepherd, 2nd Marchioness of Hertford by Sir Joshua Reynolds:

Manchester Square 26

©Trustees of the British Museum

When Manchester Square was built, London was expanding rapidly to the west and north. The area to the north of Oxford Street was being turned from fields to wide, formal streets and squares. To see what the area was like immediately before Manchester Square was built, I turned to John Rocque’s map of 1746, just 30 years before construction started on Manchester Square.

The following map shows the area on which Manchester Square would be built.

Manchester Square 21

I wanted to see if I could place Manchester Square in Rocque’s map and whilst doing so, found what I believe to be an original street remaining from when the area was all fields.

See the two maps below. On the left is Roqcue’s map of the area and on the right a Google map of the same area. If you look to the lower right of both maps, the 1746 extent of building can be seen.

I have shown the modern street names in red on the Google map. In the 270 years since Roqcue’s map there have been some subtle changes in street names:

Wigmore Row in 1746 is now Wigmore Street

Wellbeck Street is now Welbeck Street (it has lost an ‘l’)

Wimple Street is now Wimpole Street

Henrietta Street is now Henrietta Place

The dotted line in the Google map is the location of Wimple Mewse which has disappeared since the Rocque map.

Manchester Square 23

The extent of the building in 1746 is along Marybone Lane, this is now Marylebone Lane. I have marked the name in red in the Google map, however where it gets really interesting is if you follow Marylebone Lane north across Wigmore Street you will see that it curves to the left, following roughly the same curved path as Marybone Lane in 1746.

Marylebone Lane today is different to the majority of other streets in the area. It is a much narrower street and is not a formal straight street as are nearly all the others in the area. Also, look just above Wigmore Row in the 1746 map and Marybone Lane curves to the left to avoid a pond in the field, I have marked the rough position of this pond on the Google map by the blue oval.

I suspect that Marylebone Lane today follows the same alignment as Marybone Lane when it originally ran through open fields and the curved route of today avoids a long lost pond that is now under the Holiday Inn Hotel between Welbeck Street and Marylebone Lane.

I have marked my estimate of where Manchester Square would later be built on the 1746 Roque map, in the middle of a rather large field.

If I am right, it is remarkable that with the considerable 18th and 19th century development of this area, and the laying out of wide streets in straight lines, it is still possible to walk down a street that once ran through open fields and is probably many hundreds of years old.

After that diversion, let’s return to Manchester Square to admire the architecture.

Manchester Square 4

Many of the buildings surrounding the square have the wrought iron balconies of the late Georgian / Regency period.

Manchester Square 5

And as you might expect, there are plenty of Blue Plaques to be found. This one for Alfred Lord Milner, who started as a journalist, then was a civil servant before becoming High Commissioner for South Africa and Governor of the Cape Colony during times of considerable tension which led to the 2nd Boer War. On return to London he was chairman of the Rio Tinto mining company, a Director of the Joint Stock Bank and continued to have a number of roles in the Government, continuing to travel widely.

Manchester Square 6

The south west corner of Manchester Square.

Manchester Square 7

Below is the south east corner of Manchester Square. The windows in these buildings clearly show the impact of the 1774 Buildings Act which took the 1709 requirement for the windows to be recessed by 4 inches and added the requirement for the sash box to be hidden behind the brickwork. The main reasons for these changes were to prevent the spread of fires and the risk of the sash window falling out, but was also driven by the fashion of an austere and simple window design.

Manchester Square 8

Blue plaque to Sir Julius Benedict, a German composer and conductor who spent the majority of his life in London.

Manchester Square 9

And in the same corner of the square a blue plaque to John Hughlings Jackson, a prominent neurologist, whose work on epilepsy resulted in an improved ability to diagnose and understand the condition.

Manchester Square 10

Blocked up windows on the side of one of the buildings in Manchester Square, possibly to reduce the amount of Window Tax paid by the occupiers. The windows are blocked on the side street from the square so the main frontage of the building onto Manchester Square has the full complement of windows. The owner would not want the view of his house facing to the square to be any different from his neighbours and savings would be made where parts of the house were less visible.

Manchester Square 17

A different architectural style on the north east corner of Manchester Square:

Manchester Square 19

One of the streets leading off Manchester Square (to the right of Hertford House) is Spanish Place – the name recalling the Spanish connection of Hertford House when it was home to the Spanish Embassy.

Manchester Square 27

Some of the original houses in Spanish Place. As with many of the houses in the main square, they have the Georgian form of windows as well as the fanlight, arched window above the door:

Manchester Square 11

With yet more blue plaques. This time to Captain Frederick Marryat, a Royal Naval officer and author and also to George Grossmith, who was a theatre director, actor and playwright.

Manchester Square 12

Manchester Square and the surrounding area is fascinating. This area grew considerably during the Georgian period as London expanded rapidly to the west and north of Oxford Street and there are many fine streets and squares to be found, and Marylebone Lane looks to be a survivor from the time when this area was all fields.

The legacy of the 4th Marquis of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace with the Wallace Collection housed in Hertford House is well worth a visit and whilst walking the rooms of Hertford House you are also walking the site of the Prince Regent, the Prince of Wales many visits to meet with the Marchioness, Lady Hertford.

alondoninheritance.com

Saint Giles Pound

The problem I find with this blog is that there is so much to discover and learn, each post really needs much more investigation than I currently have the time to do. This week’s post is an example.

My father took the following photo of a milestone in Highgate in 1948. It is just south of the Flask pub along Highgate West Hill. (For a view of the Flask and Highgate in 1948 see my post here.)

Saint Giles Pound 1

The milestone is still there. See my following photo of the milestone today. Nothing special you might think, but compare the mileage, five in 1948 and four today and the destination is a location that does not now exist in London, Saint Giles Pound.

Saint Giles Pound 2

So where and what was Saint Giles Pound?

Saint Giles refers to the parish of St. Giles in the Fields, the parish that took in the area around the church of the same name, just a short distance south-east from the junction of Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road.

In my usual London reference books I have found a number of references to the Saint Giles Pound which was a fenced area to hold sheep and cattle etc.

From “The History of the United Parishes of St. Giles in the Fields” by Rowland Dobie, published in 1829:

“The Pound and Cage originally adjoined each other, and stood in the middle of the High Street, from whence Parton informs us it was removed in 1656, to make way for the almshouses which were afterwards built there.

‘The Pound’ he adds, probably existed from a very early period, as a necessary appendage to the parish while a village, and abounding in pasture lands, though it is unnoticed in the books of the parish, till Lord Southampton’s grant of the ground on which it stood for the almshouses, where it is described as occupying a space of 30-feet, which was to the dimensions of the new Pound, therein directed to be removed to the end of Tottenham Court Road. The exact site of the Pound was the broad space where St. Giles High Street, Tottenham Court Road, and Oxford Street meet, where it stood till within memory. Noticed for the profligacy of its inhabitants, the vicinity of this spot became proverbial: witness the couplet of an old song.

‘At Newgate steps Jack Chance was found,

And bred up near St. Giles Pound’

it was finally removed about the year 1765, since when the neighbourhood has experienced many improvements, particularly by the erection of the great Brewery of Messrs. Meux and Co.

The Cage appears to have been used as a prison, not merely of a temporary kind, but judging from the parish records, with little lenity.”

Charles Knight in the Milestones section of his book, London, published in 1841 states:

“Again, St. Giles Pound, a real pound for cattle, which is marked upon the old plans, was a prominent object, standing in the village of St. Giles at the intersection of the roads from Hampstead and from Oxford. This also was something like the beginning of London: but Hicks’s Hall and St. Giles Pound have long since vanished; and the milestones which record their glory ought also to be swept away.”

The milestone therefore is alongside one of the old routes that was used to bring animals in from the north, through Highgate and down into London, and thankfully it has not been “swept away”.

The two photos of the milestones also have different distances, five in 1948 and four in 2016. The only reference I can find to this change is that it was made by a local resident of Highgate who was frustrated with the error. So is four miles correct? Although I have walked the route, I have not measured, so a quick check on Google maps, from Highgate West Hill at roughly the position of the milestone, to a point on New Oxford Street a very short distance past the end of Tottenham Court Road to allow for the possible siting of the Pound more towards St. Giles High Street. The following map confirms the distance as being exactly four miles (the blue dots). Even with some longer alternative routes, the distance does not reach five miles.

Saint Giles Pound 6

It would be interesting to know if the error in distance was from when the milestone was originally installed, or perhaps when the figures may have been re-cut as they do look very sharp in the 1948 photo with very little deterioration to the edge of the lettering. The key point is that today, the distance is correct.

A wider view of the milestone alongside Highgate West Hill.

Saint Giles Pound 3

Intriguingly, the Pound may be marked on a map. The following is an extract from John Rocque’s map of London from 1746. This is 19 years before the Pound was removed. Look in the lower right of the map, at the junction of Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and the High Street of St. Giles. There is a rectangular feature in the open area of the junction – could this be the Pound? The location fits perfectly the description given by Rowland Dobie in his book, quoted earlier.

Saint Giles Pound 4

Strange to think that this very busy junction, with the new Crossrail station being built, was once the location of a Pound, holding animals being brought down from the north.

The map extract is from the very lower right hand corner of the page. At the very bottom right corner is a street with only the word “Street” showing. This is Denmark Street featured in my post of a couple of weeks ago.

The map has some other references that point to the original use of this area. In the above map, the road running south from the junction is Hog Lane. The alley leading off from the top right of Hog Lane is Farmers Alley.

Hog Lane is now the northern section of Charing Cross Road. From “London” by George H. Cunnigham (1927):

“In Hogarth’s time this portion of the street was known as Hog Lane, later Crown Street, under which name it was widened and made part of Charing Cross Road.”

So after the Pound had disappeared, there was no longer an association with animals so the name changed, with finally as so often happens in London, the street being integrated in the lengthening and widening of a main street.

Returning to my opening comment at the start of today’s post, just finding this single milestone opens up so many questions.

Is there more information on the Pound, and is the original location marked on any maps? (the Rocque map shows the location after the move from St. Giles High Street). Are there any more of the milestones? I have not found any, however Knight’s book refers to another milestone in Camden at the two-mile point. What was the purpose of the Pound? Was it used as a stopping off point before heading into the City or did it serve the local area?

More questions for my ever-growing list of things to learn about London.

alondoninheritance.com

Denmark Street

London has always had areas which attracted specific types of trade, shops and industry, a number of which clustered around Tottenham Court Road underground station.

To the south, along Charing Cross Road was Foyles and a range of second hand bookshops (some of which remain, along with Foyles in their new location). To the north, along Tottenham Court Road was to be found a large number of electronics shops. It was here that I bought my first calculator whilst still at school in 1976, a Decimo Vatman, so called because as well as the normal addition, subtraction, multiplication and division keys, it also had a (revolutionary for the time), percentage key. When I last walked along Tottenham Court Road, nearly all of these electronics shops have now disappeared.

The Paolozzi mosaics at Tottenham Court Road underground station featured designs including cameras, electronics, music shops and saxophones to reflect the area around the station. It is these last two which feature in this week’s post, from a street I have been wanting to photograph for some time as the area is changing considerably. Walk a short distance south along Charing Cross Road and you will find Denmark Street, a street that has been the hub of the music industry for many decades.

I walked to Denmark Street early on a very sunny morning – not always the best for photography with the contrast between light and dark.

Looking back up towards the large building site at the top of Charing Cross Road, an indication of what is happening to the area:

Denmark Street 17

On the corner of Charing Cross Road and Denmark Street:

Denmark Street 29

Looking down Denmark Street from Charing Cross Road, a mix of architectural styles, with at the end of the street, a sign of things to come with the standard new build that can now be found anywhere across London.

Denmark Street 16

According to George Cunningham in “London – a Comprehensive Survey”, Denmark Street was built in 1689 and is the scene for the Noon drawing from Hogarth’s series Four Times of The Day. The drawing contrasts the different populations of the area, an elegant crowd leaving a French Huguenot Church, compared with a rowdy crowd of Londoners outside a tavern.

Numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 Denmark Street, although having had many alterations, are still much the original buildings from the 1689 construction of the street.

Denmark Street is now mainly guitar shops, but at the peak of the music industry here in the 1960s was also the home of music publishers, recording studios, and the music papers NME and Melody Maker.

Wunjo Guitars and the Gary O’Toole School of Music:

Denmark Street 28

There have been a number of recent closures, including this Saxophone shop which has now moved to Hampstead Road.

Denmark Street 27

The old signs still on the building:

Denmark Street 13

Number 6 Denmark Street, one of the remaining 17th century townhouses which was recently Grade II listed. The building was the home of the Sex Pistols for a time in the 1970s and has John Lydon’s graffiti still on the walls.

Denmark Street 23

Number 5 was the London home of Augustus Siebe who designed a version of the diving helmet which was detachable from the main body and included a valve in the helmet. This new design revolutionised diving for the construction, naval and salvage industries.

Denmark Street 24

Number 7, the Smoking Goat restaurant:

Denmark Street 22

Rose Morris, opened in Denmark Street in 1920:

Denmark Street 21

Plaque recording the alternative name sometimes used for the street:

Denmark Street 20

Music Room:

Denmark Street 18

Westside:

Denmark Street 5

Regent Sounds Studio. The original recording studios here were used by the Rolling Stones to record their first album. Others recording here included the Kinks and Black Sabbath:

Denmark Street 4

Guitars are everywhere:

Denmark Street 2

Taking photos of guitars in the sun:

Denmark Street 30

Hanks Guitar shop:

Denmark Street 7

Denmark Street 6

Denmark Place alley, adjacent to Hanks, closed now and subject to a stopping-up order due to the large development at the rear of Denmark Street:

Denmark Street 9

Denmark Place – an old alley, now with nowhere to go:

Denmark Street 10

Yet more guitars:

Denmark Street 15

Denmark Street 14

Looking back up Denmark Street towards Charing Cross Road:

Denmark Street 8

The opposite side of the street:

Denmark Street 11

At the end of Denmark Street is St. Giles-in-the Fields. Outside the church and looking back at the corner of Denmark Street. New building to the right:

Denmark Street 25

Looking down St. Giles High Street towards the Centre Point building which is now being redeveloped and will consist of “82 highly exclusive, superior luxury apartments” .

Denmark Street 26

The redevelopment will also apparently transform the area into “one of the most visited retail, leisure and prime residential hubs in the country”. I fully agree that the area around Centre Point was in need of development, however I fear this area will now become the hub of ridiculously expensive luxury apartments and global retail brands – much as can be found across the rest of London with no local character or acknowledgement of the areas history.

To see the scale of construction, walk down St. Giles High Street and turn left to see this example of facadism. The whole area at the rear of Denmark Street is being rebuilt and the old facade onto St. Giles High Street looks to be the only part that will possibly remain.

Denmark Street 1

Although the 1960s and 1970s were the peak for the music industry in Denmark Street, it still retains a very unique character, which I fear will be lost in the years ahead as the area sucumbs to the corporate development which is sanitising so much of London. Specialist shops will go online or disperse across London (as with the Sax shop) and the impact of clustering a specific trade will be lost.

For an in depth look at Denmark Street, I recommend the excellent Street of Sound photo blog.

alondoninheritance.com

A Walk Through 1980s London

When I get the time, it is great to have a walk round London without any fixed purpose other than look at the buildings, shops, streets and people. I always have a camera with me to record how London continues to change.

Last year I posted a number photos we took of 1980s London on a number of walks just exploring the city, and for this week’s post I have another selection of photos from across London in 1986. (The earlier posts can be found here and here)

Many of these shops and businesses have long since disappeared, however surprisingly a number still remain and thankfully many of the buildings have survived.

This was only thirty years ago, but in some ways, a very different City.

To start with, this is the shop of Amos Jones, theatrical chemist on the corner of Drury Lane and Long Acre, Amos Jones has long since disappeared however the building is still there and looking much the same.

Walk through 1980s London 14

S. Krantz & Son, Specialist Shoe Repairers, 180 Drury Lane. Another closed business, but the building remains.

Walk through 1980s London 15

L. Cornelissen & Son, Artists’ Colourmen in their original shop in Drury Lane. The business is still going and is now located at 105 Great Russel Street. The photo also has one of the parking meters that were so common on the streets in the 1980s (on the left, underneath the number 22). Funny how what was so common on the streets can disappear without really being noticed.

Walk through 1980s London 13

G. Smith & Sons – Smith’s Noted Snuff Shop Est 1869 at 74 Charing Cross Road. Lasted for over 120 years, but now closed. The building remains the same.

Walk through 1980s London 16

Dodds the Printers, 193 King’s Cross Road. Again, closed but the building is still much the same.

Walk through 1980s London 10

Covent Garden now and N. Mann, Picture Framers, closed many years ago.

Walk through 1980s London 5

Into the City, and the corner of Wood Street and Cheapside. The building is still there, but L & R Wooderson, Shirtmakers, have been replaced by a gift card shop.

Walk throgh 1980s London 1

Attenborough Jewelers, 244 Bethnal Green Road. The past 30 years must have been good to them as they now occupy the building to the right as well as the original building.

Walk through 1980s London 22

The Monmouth Coffee House at 27 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden. Still at the same location, but now called the Monmouth Coffee Company. Unfortunately the impressive display of coffee beans hanging above the shop are not there now.

Walk through 1980s London 4

Albert France & Son, not sure where this photo was taken, however they are still in business and based in Lamb’s Conduit Street.

Walk through 1980s London 3

James Smith & Sons, 53 New Oxford Street. Umbrella manufacturers since 1830. Still in the same shop with the same signage as back in 1986.

Walk through 1980s London 6

F. W. Collins & Son, 14 Earlham Street, Covent Garden. Run by seven generations of the Collins family, with each first-born son always being named Fred to ensure the continuity of the business. Closed around 2006.

Walk through 1980s London 8

J. Evans, Dairy Farmer on the corner of Warren Street and Conway Street. The shop has long closed, however the exterior decoration has remained and the shop is now a cafe.

Walk through 1980s London 7

LLoyd and Son, Dairy Farmers on the corner of River Street and Amwell Street. The shop has closed, but the building and the original exterior decoration is still in place.

Walk through 1980s London 18

Another photo of Lloyd & Son showing one of the shop windows. Corner shops like this just do not exist anymore.

Walk through 1980s London 19

Camden:

Walk through 1980s London 11

Another Camden shop – walk along Camden High Street today and the shops are much the same,

Walk through 1980s London 12

Syd’s Coffee Stall, opened in 1919 and still going strong on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Calvert Avenue.

Walk through 1980s London 21

Did not make a note of the location of this building – original signs on the walls. Do not recall having seen this building in recent years.

Walk through 1980s London 9

B. Flegg in Monmouth Street. I suspect these signs are not there anymore as I do not recall seeing them when I last walked down Monmouth Street as I would have taken another photo.

Walk through 1980s London 2

Advertising signs on building on the corner of Cambridge Gardens and Ladbroke Grove. The building is still there (much cleaner now) but the signs have gone.

Walk through 1980s London 20

F. Bowman, Engineer’s Pattern Makers, 13 Amwell Street. Although the business has long since closed, the shop front is still in place.

Walk through 1980s London 17

London is a fantastic city to walk, having a few hours to go on a walk with no clear direction and turning down streets at random just to see what is there often reveals so much about the city. Hopefully now that the lighter evenings are here with the hope of better weather, there will be plenty of opportunities for more long, random walks.

alondoninheritance.com

Tenison Street and Howley Terrace – Lost Streets On The Southbank

The area on the Southbank between Waterloo Station, the Thames, Waterloo Bridge and County Hall has seen considerable change over the last 70 years. Originally the location of industry and closely packed housing, post war the streets and buildings were almost completely erased and the Festival of Britain was built on the site in 1951.

Following the end of the Festival, the Royal Festival Hall remained with later additions including the Hayward Gallery and Purcell Room. On the area between Belvedere Road and Waterloo Station, Shell Centre, the UK head offices of the Royal Dutch Shell oil company were built, consisting of a tower block and upstream building to the west of Hungerford Bridge, with a downstream building to the east. The downstream building of Shell Centre was converted into flats some years ago, and currently the wings around the tower building are almost fully demolished ready for the construction of more residential towers (see my post covering a walk round the Shell Centre viewing gallery for more information).

My father took a number of photos of the area just after the war and during the building of the Royal Festival Hall. I have already covered posts on Building the Foundations of the Royal Festival Hall, the South Bank before the Royal Festival Hall, Construction of the Royal Festival Hall, and Sutton Walk.

Scanning through negatives, I have since found additional photos of the area and I feature these for this weeks post.

The map below is from the 1940 Bartholomew’s Atlas of Greater London and I have marked the locations and directions of view of this week’s photos.

More Southbank 12

The following photo is from position 1 on the map and was taken from the end of the footbridge that ran alongside Hungerford Railway Bridge. The Lion Brewery is on the left and the railway into Waterloo East and across the river to Charing Cross Station is on the right, with Waterloo Station being the building on the far right. The buildings at the end of the road alongside the railway are along Belvedere Road. The building with the white lower level is a pub, however I have been unable to confirm the name, there were a number of pubs along Belvedere Road but I cannot find the name of this one. Sutton Walk is to the left of the pub.

More Southbank 5

Enlarging the photo, the building to the right of the pub has the name “Westward Ho” on the sign above the ground floor door and window. Not sure what this was, however in the Survey of London volume for the area there is a drawing of the building, the online page can be found here. Unfortunately, the Survey of London does not shed any light on the name of the pub. It does confirm that these buildings were numbered 116 and 118, the only pubs I can find were the White Hart at number 35 and the Green Dragon at number 68.

These photos were taken in 1948, before demolition took place in 1949. Another view at a slightly different angle from the end of the footbridge:

More Southbank 6

The Royal Festival Hall now occupies the area on the left and the whole scene has changed dramatically. Standing on the end of the new footbridge alongside Hungerford Bridge, I took the following photo.

More Southbank 10

My father visited the area again as demolition was taking place. This must have been around 1949 as this was the time when the area was being cleared ready for construction of the Festival of Britain.

The following photo is from the same position on the end of the Hungerford Bridge footbridge and is looking slightly to the left of the above photos. Much of the Lion Brewery has now been cleared with only the entrance arch to Belvedere Road remaining. It also looks as if the pub has been gutted with empty windows now looking out onto the area.

More Southbank 3

The tall buildings in the background to the left all remain to this day. The church is St. Johns at Waterloo, the building to the left of the tall office block is the old Royal Waterloo Hospital for Women and Children.

I featured the following photo in my post on Sutton Walk. This was taken outside the pub with Sutton Walk running off to the right and part of the Lion Brewery directly opposite.

More Southbank 7

I have repeated this photo as the following photo was taken from roughly the same position after the brewery buildings had been demolished. The bollards confirm the location. This is looking from point 2 on the 1940 map.

The buildings that edge the open area are houses that ran along Howley Terrace.

More Southbank 2

Sutton Walk has changed location, however the following photo was taken from roughly the same location and looking in the same direction. This whole area is now occupied by the White House Apartment Building (the old Shell Centre Downstream Building).

More Southbank 8

Moving along Belvedere Road towards Waterloo Bridge, the following photo is looking along point 3 in the map, along what was Tenison Street. The buildings have all been demolished but the road, pavement and street lamps remain, however they will also soon go ready for the Festival of Britain.

More Southbank 1

It is difficult to get the precise location today as the White house building obscures the view of Waterloo Station, however I took the following looking in the direction of where I believe Tenison Street ran.

More Southbank 13

As I covered in one of my earlier posts on the area, many of the roads in this area were named after Archbishops of Canterbury. Tension Street was named after Thomas Tenison who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1695 to 1715.

Move a bit further along Belvedere Road, and the following photo is looking along Howley Terrace (view 4 in the above map). The approach road running up to Waterloo Bridge is to the left of the photo hence the large advertisement on the side of the building to catch the eye of those travelling across Waterloo Bridge from the north to the south.

More Southbank 4

As part of the reconstruction of the area, a new approach road was built up to Waterloo Bridge. This approach road covered some of the area occupied by most of the housing on the left. Today, at the end of the approach road to Waterloo Bridge, at the junction with York Road and Stamford Street is a large roundabout which covers the space occupied by the houses at the very end of Howley Terrace.

The following photo is looking along the same view today.

More Southbank 11

Remarkable how the area has changed. The original buildings along Howley Terrace (named after William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1828 to 1848) were crowded, multi-tenant housing with very basic facilities. Apartments in the White House now sell for between one and three million pounds.

William Kent in his 1951 edition of An Encyclopedia Of London has a couple of references to Tenison Street and Howley Terrace:

“The Lion Brewery has always been associated with a famous crime. In 1872 Dr. W.C. Minor, who had been a surgeon in the American Civil War, and on a visit to this country, was staying at 41 Tenison Street, shot a stoker, an employee of the Brewery in Belvedere Road. At the trial, he was found guilty but insane. From Broadmoor criminal lunatic asylum, where he was confined, he contributed between five and eight thousand quotations to Sir James Murray’s famous Oxford English Dictionary, and his name will be found in the acknowledged assistants to that great work.

In the process of making a site for the Festival of Britain, in the course of excavations, a skeleton was found near Howley Terrace. It was 12ft below ground and in 2ft of mud. It is believed to have been two hundred years old. Its legs were sprawled in odd directions, which seemed to indicate a violent end.”

Kent also states that during the preparation of the site for the Festival of Britain, sixty men used 93,000 tons of demolition material to build the river wall which is 1,691ft long,  so it is interesting to think that as you walk along the Southbank, next to the Thames, you may well be walking on all the materials that once made up the brewery and houses that occupied this area.

It is fascinating to walk around the Southbank with the photos from this and previous posts on the area. I can now build up a detailed photographic record of this small but fascinating part of London. I plan to bring these all together in a future post for a detailed walk around the area covering before, during and after the Festival of Britain to the current day.

alondoninheritance.com

Holly Bush Hill – Hampstead

After visiting the Chalybeate Well in Hampstead which I featured in my post of two weeks ago, I stayed in Hampstead and walked to the other side of Heath Street to visit Holly Bush Hill.

Sixty seven years ago in 1949, my father took the following photo looking up Holly Bush Hill from the walkway that leads up to Mount Vernon.

Holly Bush Hill 2

And in 2016, Holly Bush Hill looks much the same.

Holly Bush Hill 1

Turning to the right in 1949, the view looking down from Holly Bush Hill.

Holly Bush Hill 4

And the same view in 2016.

Holly Bush Hill 3

As with many of the side streets in Hampstead, there has been very little change over many decades. Both photos highlight the major change since 1949 which is how much cars have taken over the streets. In 1949 there were very few cars to be seen and street parking was minimal, however in 2016 cars are everywhere and the side streets are lined with parked cars.

I cannot find the origin of the name Holly Bush Hill. Many of the streets in this area use the name Holly, for example Holly Bush Vale and Holly Mount so there must be an original local meaning, perhaps the growth of holly bushes at the top of the hill. Other possible sources of the name refer to the local pub, The Holly Bush. This pub name has several possible meanings including the use of the Holly Bush by the Romans during their Saturnalia celebrations and also the custom of hanging a green branch or bush over the door of a building that sold wines and beers for advertisement.

Whatever the original source of the name, the holy on the pub sign has reduced over the years from a full holly bush in 1949 down to a sprig of holly in 2016.

old and new pub signs

Holly Bush Hill was not the original name of the street. George W. Potter in Hampstead Wells – A Short History Of Their Rise And Decline published in 1907 states that the original name was Cloth Hill “no doubt because it was anciently used as a drying or bleaching ground”.

George Potter records that before becoming a very fashionable area, Hampstead was the location for a large number of laundry businesses set-up to serve London. Hampstead was a perfect location due to the availability of a large number of springs with a good supply of clean water. No doubt the windy heights of Hampstead also helped with drying.

In the first 1949 photo there is a pub sign on the left and on the wall on the right the brewery name Benskins.

This refers to the pub “The Holly Bush” which, as can be seen by the 2016 pub sign, is still in existence and down the side street Holly Mount. The Holly Bush is a lovely old pub, built-in 1643 and a grade II listed building, one of the London locations that Dr. Johnson and Boswell drank in. Today it is a perfect stop after a walk around Hampstead.

Holly Bush Hill 8

In the top photo, look just along the street to the buildings on the right, these are also much the same.

Holly Bush Hill 7

On the far left of the buildings there is blue plaque recording that the artist, George Romney lived here. George Cunningham in “London” (1927) records the history of this building:

“Formerly the house and studio of George Romney. In 1796 George Romney, the artist, bought an old house and stable here, and in 1797-8, when his health had begun to decline, he built a new house and studio on the site and on land he had purchased at the back of it. Romney lived here until 1799, when he went back to Kendall to the wife he had deserted some thirty-five years before. This was his last London residence, and his stay here was a period of constantly increasing illness. The property was sold in 1801 and in 1807 it was purchased for use as assembly rooms and until 1860 it was a social centre for the neighbourhood. The Hampstead Literary and Scientific Society was formed here about 1833, and among its lecturers Dr. Lardner, Dr. Ure, Professor Lindsey, John Constable and others of equal prominence. The Conversazione Society was established in 1846 and held its meetings here. Since 1886 the Constitutional Club has been here.”

George Romney was a society portraitist, completing portraits of many prominent people of the time. A very skillful draughtsman, initially he did not have the confidence for major works of art, however in 1782 he met Emma Hart, the future Lady Emma Hamilton who became Lord Nelson’s mistress.

At the time of Romney’s meeting with Emma Hart, she was the mistress of Charles Greville who took her to Romney to have her portrait painted. Romney was fascinated by her, and she became his “artist’s muse”, sitting for him many times and featuring in a large number of Romney’s works.

Self portrait of George Romney, oil on canvas, 1784.

by George Romney, oil on canvas, 1784

©Trustees of the British Museum

One of George Romney’s drawings of Lady Hamilton.

Lady Hamilton

©Trustees of the British Museum

On the assumption that you may have stopped for a drink in The Holly Bush, when you come out, turn left along Holly Mount, then down Holly Bush Steps to Heath Street. Cross over, walk a short distance up Heath Street then stop , turn round and look back. This was the view in 1949.

Holly Bush Hill 6

And in 2016 (my apologies for the quality of the photo, it was a very sunny day and despite waiting for the sun to drop behind the buildings it still presented some contrast problems).

Holly Bush Hill 5

The entrance to Holly Bush Steps is just behind the furthest car in the 1949 photo.

Heath Street is an incredibly busy road and despite waiting for almost half an hour there was not a break in the traffic, however if you ignore the cars and focus on the buildings, the scene is almost exactly the same. I am sure that the trees in front of the white building on the right are the same.

The side streets of Hampstead have changed very little over the years. Take away the cars and I suspect George Romney would not find too many differences if he was to return to his house and studio.

alondoninheritance.com

London At Night – The Strand To The Monument

London at night is a very different city. The West End continues to be just as busy as during the day with thousands of people at the theaters, pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants that make this area the entertainment center of London, however head just beyond the West End and London takes on a very different aspect.

My father took a number of photos in 1951 of the streets at the northern end of Waterloo Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Monument. I do not know why he took photos of these locations, he was probably experimenting with nighttime photography which would have been a challenge for an amateur at the time given the camera and film available.

To take these, he must have taken a walk from Waterloo Bridge down to the Monument, so I thought I would take a late evening walk along the same route and take some photos of the same locations and more, along the route. I took many more than the five taken in 1951, the cost of film, home developing and printing all limited the number of photos that an amateur would have taken, and really brings home the differences with digital photography today.

I wanted to walk the route after the weather had been raining to get the same effect as in my father’s photos, so planned an evening when there should have been a rain shower, however as is typical with trying to forecast the weather, it failed to rain so my full walk of the route was in the dry. The evening before I published this article, it did rain so I headed out again, just to photo the first three locations to get the same effect, the rest of the photos are from my original walk.

The first location is from the approach road to Waterloo Bridge, looking to where the Strand crosses, the curve of Aldwych to the right, with Wellington Street running up on the left.

London after dark 28

Standing in the same position on a rain and wind-swept evening in February. The building on the right is the same as in my father’s photo, as is the building across the street. The public toilets that were in the middle of the road have disappeared.

London after dark 35

To also check that this is the right location, by enlarging the sign on the post in the original photo, we can see it reads “No crossing to Wellington Street”.

London after dark 31

Wellington Street is directly opposite the road that leads to Waterloo Bridge and today is blocked off for road traffic from the Strand. It is the location of the Lyceum Theater. The traffic signals appear temporary and are Police Signals, so this may have been some experimentation with traffic and pedestrian control at the end of Waterloo Bridge.

The next photo is from roughly the same position and is looking in the opposite direction down Waterloo Bridge:

London after dark 27

The same view today:

London after dark 34

The following photo should have been easy to locate given the bus stop clearly labelled as the Strand stop. I do not often use the bus in central London, preferring to walk, and was not sure where the Strand stop was located. Walking the length of the Strand, I could not find a stop with this name. What finally helped to locate the position of the photo is the wall on the right side of the photo.

London after dark 26

This is the wall at the side of the church of St. Mary-le-Strand and is the same in my 2016 photo below. The pillars in the original photo either side of the bus stop sign are still there, they are just hidden in the 2016 photo behind bushes running along the length of the church wall. The bus stop has been moved slightly along the street and the stop is now named “Aldwych”. Where the original bus stop and pillar box were located is now the entrance to the King’s College London, Strand Building.

London after dark 33

Having found these locations, it was time to walk down to the Monument. The Waterloo Bridge junction with the Strand seems to be a nighttime boundary. From the end of the bridge turn left and the streets are busy with people, turn right and it is a much quieter street with only a few late night walkers to be seen.

The church of St. Mary-le-Strand. The stone columns at the entrance to the church seen in my father’s photo can just be seen.

London after dark 32

Just a short distance along, turn right off the Strand, through the archway and into the courtyard of Somerset House. The buildings that surround the courtyard are brilliantly lit at night.

London after dark 25

Back on the Strand, bikes and buses:

London after dark 24

As with many other places across London, there are new buildings being constructed to the south of the Strand adjacent to the church of St. Clement Danes. I happened to notice this model of the area and the church lit up in one of the ground floor windows of the new building facing the Strand.

London after dark 23

The Royal Courts of Justice:

London after dark 22

Looking back at St. Clements Danes:

London after dark 21

I much prefer to walk London at night, but other options are available:

London after dark 20

The side roads from the Strand down to the Thames show how steeply the land slopes down to the river. The Oxo Tower on the south bank can be seen along many of these side roads.

London after dark 19

Now into Fleet Street and St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance:

London after dark 18

Fast food shops that are busy during the day are closed and silent at night:

London after dark 17

A very quiet junction of Fleet Street, Farringdon Street, New Bridge Street and Ludgate Hill.

London after dark 15

An empty City Thameslink station on Ludgate Hill.

London after dark 13

Late night drinkers on Ludgate Hill:

London after dark 12

St. Paul’s Cathedral from the south-east:

London after dark 11

The following is one of my father’s photos from 1951. In the immediate post war period the very top of the Cathedral was lit up by search lights that only a few years earlier had been used to search the sky for enemy aircraft trying to bomb a city that was hiding in the blackout. The post war lighting had the effect of highlighting the Golden Gallery, the Lantern and Cross. Today, the whole of the cathedral is illuminated.

London after dark 30

The above photo was taken from a point on the land now occupied by One New Change. At the time, this was still empty land having been cleared of all the bomb damaged buildings. I could not get far enough back to take a photo from the same position so the following photo is the nearest I could get. The base of the Cathedral is also obscured by the post war buildings that house the Cathedral School.

London after dark 10

This photo from my post on the “Post war view from the Stone Gallery” shows the land then used as a car park that my father was standing in to take the nighttime view of the Cathedral:

IMG02593-upload

Time to head on down Cannon Street in the direction of the Monument. Empty offices, still lit up, waiting for their occupants:

London after dark 9

The Cathedral follows you as you walk down Cannon Street:

London after dark 8

Another very quiet station, this time Cannon Street:

London after dark 6

The next photo is of Abchurch Lane, leading up to the church of St. Mary Abchurch in the heart of the City. Very busy during the day, however I stood here for about 10 minutes and did not see a single person along the length of the lane. It is in these alleys and lanes across the city that it is possible to imagine a much earlier London. Many more people would have lived in the City, but long after dark what reason would there be for people with legitimate business to be walking the streets?

London after dark 5

Back to the 21st century and the junction of Cannon Street with King William Street. Walking across the City at night, I find that there are very few people walking, but the main streets through the City are always busy with traffic.

London after dark 4

Walking down King William Street and a quick look over at Upper Thames Street. Roadworks for the Cycle Superhighway have closed one of the carriageways leading to queues of traffic long into the night. Upper and Lower Thames Streets form the southern route taking traffic east – west through the City. The roads were widened post war rather than build the Embankment extension which was one of the options put forward in the plan for post war reconstruction of the City (see last weeks post).

London after dark 3

The next photo is my father’s photo of the Monument in 1951. I can place where the photo was taken from by looking at the position of the viewing gallery, the photo was looking up at the Monument and the glow in the background is from the searchlights on St. Paul’s. It was taken from Lower Thames Street prior to the widening of the road and the new buildings which have now obscured the view.

London after dark 29

As I could not get a photo of the Monument from the same position due to the height of the buildings between the Monument and Lower Thames Street, this is the Monument from Monument Street with typical London building work on the right. Advertising for the new office building shows the view from the roof with office workers on the roof apparently able to look straight across to the tourists on the viewing gallery of the Monument.

London after dark 2

A close-up of the viewing gallery and very top of the Monument:

London after dark 1

It would have been much darker in 1951 when my father took the same route to photograph the Strand junction, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Monument which is probably why he did not take any photos between these locations, however walking London at night is still a very different experience to the day. The Strand and Ludgate Hill are relatively quiet compared to the day, but turn off the main streets through the City, away from the traffic and you can walk the lanes and alleys, often without seeing another person.

It is here that you can let your imagination run over the last two thousand years of London’s history and imagine who has walked and what has happened in this nighttime City.

alondoninheritance.com

Regent’s Park Power Station And The First Electric Lighting In Tottenham Court Road

Today, we take electricity for granted, however in the history of London it is only comparatively recently that the city has been lit and powered by electrical power.

The old power station at Bankside has been transformed to Tate Modern and the power station at Battersea is finally undergoing a major redevelopment, however before these two well known landmarks powered the city, there were a number of smaller stations built at the start of London’s electrical age at the end of the 19th century.

My grandfather worked in one of these during the 1930s and 1940s. I never met him as he died long before I was born, however I have always been interested in discovering where he worked and if I could find any history of the power station.

The site he worked at was the Regent’s Park Central Station, an unlikely name for such an industrial activity, but at the start of electrical generation in London, the technology available only supported small scale, local generation and there was a need for a station that could serve the area to the east of Regent’s Park.

The Regent’s Park Central Station was constructed by the Vestry of St. Pancras, the first local authority in London to start the transfer from gas street lighting to electric and to provide a supply to private consumers. Construction started in 1890 and the station started generating electricity in late 1891. (The Vestry of St. Pancras was the original Parish Administration before the change to a Metropolitan Borough following the London Government Act of 1899)

So where was this power station and what did it look like?

I have been searching a number of archives but have been unable to find any photos of the power station. I have found an aerial view taken by Aerofilms in 1926 which does show the chimney of the power station. See the photo below, the power station can be seen to the left of centre. (Aerofilms link here)

EPW015727

To highlight the location, and to show where it was relative to other landmarks, I have marked some locations in the photo below. The photo has been taken north of the power station, looking south. Tottenham Court Road is on the left, running from the junction with Euston Road away towards Oxford Street at the top of the photo. Regent’s Park can be seen to the right.

Regent's Park Power Station 9

I knew roughly where the power station was located as in the accounts written by my father of growing up in London during the war, he referred to the power station being in Longford Street and Stanhope Street, so my next challenge was to see if I could find the location today.

As with much of London, parts of this area have seen some significant change, particularly the major building work that has resulted in the Euston Tower and Triton Square office developments. The following map  (Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland) shows the location of the power station, built within an area of land surrounded by houses, bounded by Longford Street and Stanhope Street.

Regent's Park Power Station 8

An 1892 issue of The Engineer contains an article about the power station and includes a number of plans and drawings, including the following detailed plan of the power station (I have rotated by 90 degrees to roughly align with the map above).

Regents Park Power Station 14

The challenge with locating the site of the power station today is that the routing of Longford Street changed in the 1960s as part of the redevelopment of the area. The following map shows the area today.

Regent's Park Power Station 10

Compare this map to the 1895 Ordnance Survey map. In 1895, Longford Street ran straight to Stanhope Street which continued down to the Euston Road. Today, Stanhope Street has been cut off from Euston Road by the Triton Square development and Longford Street now curves up to meet the end of Stanhope Street and Drummond Street. As can be seen from the 1895 map, this curve to get to Drummond Street (the road that is not named to the right of the power station) means that Longford Street now cuts across the lower part of the power station.

Having found the location of the power station and how the streets have changed, it was time to visit the area. I have repeated the 1895 map, and have now marked the approximate positions of where I took the following three photos.

Regent's Park Power Station 15

For the first photo, I walked down Drummond Street, and came to the junction with Stanhope Street. This photo is taken from position 1 and is looking down the new routing of Longford Street down towards position 2. Westminster Kingsway College now occupies the site of the power station and the houses that ran along Stanhope Street. The southern end of the power station building housing the engine and dynamos would also have run across the area now occupied by Longford Street.

Regent's Park Power Station 5

This photo is taken from position 2, looking across the houses that ran along Longford Street and directly into the power station which occupied the centre and left area of the college buildings with the engine and dynamo building extending onto the road.

Regent's Park Power Station 6

And this photo was taken from position 3, standing in the original section of Longford Street, which originally ran straight on. The revised layout with the curve round to the left can be clearly seen.

Regent's Park Power Station 7

So what did the power station look like? The “Engineer” publication also included drawings of the power station. In photo 2 above I am looking directly into the South Elevation shown below.

Regent's Park Power Station 12

The roof of the power station was constructed from glass panels. In my father’s account of growing up in the area, written just after the last war he refers to this roof. During September and October 1940 my grandfather was working the night shift at the power station. The following is my father’s account of one particularly heavy night’s raid when a land mine landed close to their flat during this time:

“After perhaps two hours, a warden appeared, told us of our miraculous escape from the land mines – we were not yet aware of what had happened – and suggested we should make our way to the nearest rest centre. now that the raid appeared to be easing.  However, mother’s priority was to get to see father although the thought of the glass roof and the electrical apparatus under it was not exactly comforting.

Mum said her grateful goodbyes from both of us, then passing through the passageway beneath Windsor House out into Cumberland Market to walk the quarter mile or so to Longford Street. the moon was still there, and from the east came the distant rumbles and flashes in the sky, marking the dying hours of the raid. Neither of us said much and hurried along fearing a sudden blast should the mines explode. The usual smell of smoke, and the far off sound of planes, bells of emergency and fire service vehicles making their way as best they could and hardly anyone around on their feet.

Answering the ringing bell at the generating station gate, father was shocked to see us standing there. He knew from reports that Saint Pancras was being plastered that night, but little else. in the warm again and with dad, more tea and the raid diminishing all the time we slowly made a sort of recovery.”

The power station was built for the Vestry of St. Pancras. A municipal electricity service to provide electrical street lighting and provide power for industry and homes in the local area.

The annual statements for the power station remain and make fascinating reading to understand the process for building a power station in the late 19th century and how quickly the use of electricity was adopted in the immediate area.

The construction of the power station was authorised by the St. Pancras (Middlesex) Electric Lighting Order 188x (the last number was not readable, but I believe to be 1888).

Loans were raised to fund the construction including an initial £70,000 loan, a temporary bank loan of £21,269 then in 1891 a loan of £10,000 from the London County Council.

Land was purchased for a total of £10,827, which included a number of houses along Longford Street which then contributed rent into the accounts of the power station.

Initial site clearance and erection of a hoarding was done by George Tatum for £36. Additional hoarding was provided by F.H. Culverhouse & Co. for £4, 17s, 6d.

Machinery and plant cost £24,878 and the laying of mains cables and services including royalties (presumably to land owners) came to £33,787.

The initial batch of public lamps cost £6,723 and £3 was spent on posters and £40 on advertising.

The station started generating electricity in 1891. The following table shows how the number of consumers, electricity generated, lamps and motors grew in the first few months of operation.

    30th Nov 1891 31st Dec 1891 31st Jan 1892 28th Feb 1892 31st Mar 1892 30th April 1892 31st May 1892 30th June 1892
Number of Consumers 57 72 81 93 103 108 115 119
Daily Consumption (Units) Minumum 17 33 79 174 104 201 187 144
Maximum 390 1825 3105 1641 880 1248 842 861
Average 220 665 1145 1067 640 757 625 540
Number of Arc Lamps 68 71 68 67 83 83 85 85
Number of Motors 0 3 3 3 3 4 4 3

The annual accounts provide very detailed information on the performance of the power station. Two examples of the information recorded are shown below.

For the month of January 1893:

260 tons of coal delivered at a cost of £260
Station staff: 18
Outdoor staff: 11
Total units sold: 49,750
Customers: 167
Units to private houses: 3,973
Units to other than private houses: 43,775
Public Lighting: 20,211
Complaints as to supply to Consumers and Arc Lights: 6

and for the month of December 1893:

306 tons of coal delivered at a cost of £272
Station staff: 19
Outdoor staff: 24
Total units sold: 57,784
Customers: 238
Units to private houses: 5,119
Units to other than private houses: 49,268
Public Lighting: 27,252
Complaints as to supply to Consumers and Arc Lights: 5
589,690 Gallons of water used = 5.4 gallons per unit generated
672,000 lbs of Coal used = 6.1 lbs per unit generated

Interesting that whilst the Station Staff stayed almost static, the number of Outdoor Staff more than doubled. I assume this was due to the manpower required to connect a growing number of new customers to the supply system across an infrastructure that did not yet exist and to maintain the connections of existing customers.

The volume of coal and water needed to support generation gives some idea of the complex  infrastructure and supply chain required to continue round the clock operation.

Also note that at this early stage, utilities were recording the number of complaints, something that utilities would continue to do well over 100 years later.

The accounts also record the average number of units consumed per household. These are shown in the following table and show a considerable increase per household during the last decade of the 19th century. Presumably due to the increased use of electric lighting and new electrical appliances being developed and bought by householders:

1892 18.8 1896 47.7
1893 24.7 1897 63.12
1894 29.57 1898 82.91
1895 35.29 1899 102.86

The generation of electricity allowed the transition to start from gas to electric street lighting and the Vestry of St. Pancras were one of the first municipal authorities to start this change.

The Engineer article and the accounts refer to some of the drivers for moving to electric street lighting and also some of the other day to day events for the power station and Vestry:

– In consequence of the War in South Africa, great difficulty in obtaining supplies of smokeless steam coal. As a result, the price of smokeless coal has increased between 50% and 75% on previous years contracts;

– Numerous complaints have been received of smoke nuisance;

– Four workmen employed by the department who were reservists and have been called up. Their wives are receiving half pay;

– For the gas street lights still in use in 1897, the wages of the lamp lighters increased from 21s 6d to 24s per week.

Tottenham Court Road and Euston Road were some of the first streets to be lit using electricity from the Regent’s Park Central Station. A number of experiments were undertaken to identify the best position for street lamps, their height and the type of light generated by arc lamps.

The best position for lamps was identified as being in the centre of the road and close to side roads. This enabled an even spread of light across the road, with light penetrating down side roads. Lights were installed and connected to the supply from the Regent’s Park station and in January 1892, Tottenham Court Road became the first street to be lit by electric lamps and electricity supplied by the Vestry of St. Pancras. A committee from the Vestry visited Tottenham Court Road and were most satisfied by the lighting from the new street lamps, which provided twelve times more light than the gas lamps they replaced.

The following map shows the position of the new arc lamps installed by the Vestry of St. Pancras.

Regent's Street Power Station 2

The original design of the street lamps.

Regent's Park Power Station 13

These original street lamps are still in place, although converted to modern forms of lighting and electricity (the original power station produced Direct Current unlike the Alternating Current (AC) of today’s electrical system). Just before visiting Longford and Stanhope Street I walked along part of Tottenham Court Road to take a look. The streetlamp at the junction with University Street and Maple Street.

Regent's Park Power Station 3

Looking up Tottenham Court Road to the junction with Euston Road. The final two street lamps at the top of Tottenham Court Road which also appear to have lost their glass domes.

Regent's Park Power Station 4

The St. Pancras Vestry was the first municipal authority in London to generate electricity. Others swiftly followed. Hampstead Vestry in 1894 and Islington in 1896. Shoreditch implemented an innovative way of generating electricity and profit for rate payers by using their refuse destructor as a means of generating electricity and disposing of waste.

By the end of the 19th century there were some 200 miles of streets across London lit by electricity generated by municipal authorities.

Victorian London is often portrayed through the perspective of fog and Jack the Ripper. I much prefer the view of an innovative city with a growing infrastructure and the sophistication and organisation to start the delivery of services that today we take for granted.

I hope that one day I will find some photos of the Regent’s Park Central Station, however it was still a moving experience to stand in Longford Street early one January morning and look at the site where my grandfather worked many years ago.

alondoninheritance.com

Park Row – Knightsbridge

“Very few of the people who use London ever look at it. But, as they use it, it is continually altering to meet their demands, and so it becomes the record, the expression of the complex personality , of millions upon millions of people.”

The above paragraph could have been written today, but comes from the late 1920’s, from the first page of the book “The Romance of London” by Alan Ivimey. The paragraph that follows the above is though a clear indication of when the book was written, along with the author’s expected audience:

“This book is written for those who have never noticed London before, but are not unfamiliar with that amiable state of mind induced by a pipe of tobacco and a tankard at one’s elbow.”

Alan Ivimey was a writer and journalist who was also the first presenter of the BBC radio programme “Woman’s Hour” from the first broadcast on the 7th October 1946. The Radio Times introduced Alan Ivimey as a specialist “in writing for and talking to women.” He continued being the presenter of the programme for the first three months when presumably the BBC realised the incongruity of having a male presenter as a specialist in writing for and talking to women and Joan Griffiths took over the presenting role.

So what is the relevance of the above to today’s post? The book is from the collection of London books that my father built up and when I was browsing through, I found one of his printed photos tucked in the pages opposite a photo of the same scene in the book. The book tells a story of continuous change in London, but also researching the author provides some background to the social attitudes of the time, also an area of constant change.

The photo in question is shown below. This is my father’s photo from 1948 and appears to show the end of a street, signs of bomb damage on the buildings and a missing row of buildings on the right, presumably again lost through bomb damage.

This photo has been on my list of photos to hunt down the location as it is not immediately obvious. There is a street name sign to the left of the top of the lamp post with the first two words Hyde Park and the last word hidden behind branches of the tree.

I could not find a similar street with the first two words of Hyde Park in any of my pre-war maps.

Park Row 1

There were also two other photos I had scanned from the same strip of negatives of the same street. The first photo is looking further to the right, at the land where presumably houses once stood:

Park Row 6

And the final photo was taken turning further to the right and shows dustbins up against a wall:

Park Row 7

The dustbin on the left has Westminster at the top, so presumably from the council and underneath states that dry pig food should be put in the bin. A leftover from wartime recycling where food waste was used for pig food.

To identify the location of these photos is where Alan Ivimey’s book came to the rescue. The printed copy of my father’s photo was inserted opposite the page in the book, with the title and text:

A Nook Of Old Knightsbridge

Between the Kensington Road, just beyond the Brompton Road fork, and Hyde Park is the narrow entry to Park Row whose 18th century brick and woodwork are painted as prettily as the black-cloth for a scene from The Rivals.

The photo from the book shows the street as it was pre-war. This photo includes the houses that were on the right of the street and are to the same design as the houses on the left, captured in my father’s photo. The second photo above is looking directly at the area once occupied by these houses. This really was a lovely street of 18th century houses.

Park Row 4

The street name, Park Row, in the photo from the book is different to that in my father’s photo, but this did enable me to track down the location.

The street must have been too small to appear in my normal reference, the Bartholomew Street Atlas, however using the 1895 Ordnance Survey maps provided online by the National Library of Scotland I was able to locate Park Row. See the following extract from the map, with the location of Park Row highlighted by the red arrow (Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland)

Park Row 3

In the map, the junction to the right is the fork between Knightsbridge and the Brompton Road, with Knightsbridge running past the Hyde Park Barracks into the Kensington Road and Brompton Road heading south. Park Row is shown as the row of buildings at the end of the street, with the opposite side of the Park Row buildings facing onto Hyde Park. The part of the street leading up to the Park Row buildings is labelled Mill’s Buildings in the map.

Having found the exact location of Park Row I headed to Knightsbridge to see what, if anything remains, however this small part of Knightsbridge has seen considerable change and Park Row, the Mill’s Buildings and Albert Terrace (shown to the right on the map) have long gone.

Park Place, shown on the 1895 map to the left of Mill’s Buildings still exists (although now called Park Close) and maintains its alignment with the street on the opposite side of Knightsbridge so I had a starting point. Working back towards the junction, the following photo shows where I believe the Mill’s Buildings and Park Row were located:

Park Row 5

The 1895 map also shows a Public House almost opposite the entrance to the Mill’s Buildings and the Paxtons Head pub is still in the same position today, also helping to confirm the location.

The entrance to the Mill’s Buildings would have been roughly where the white van is in the above photo with the road to the left occupied by the buildings on the left of the original photo. The Park Row terrace would have been towards the end of this street, probably located around the end of the canopy that now covers the street.

A considerable change from the original street of 18th century houses.

I wanted to know more about this street. I checked the London County Council Bomb Damage Maps to confirm that bomb damage destroyed the buildings to the right, however these maps do not show any damage in the immediate vicinity of Park Row. I have often wondered if the Bomb Damage Maps did record all the bomb damage throughout London as it must have been a considerable task to record every event and area of damage. The Mill’s Buildings were accessed through an alley from Knightsbridge and if the buildings facing on to Knightsbridge were not damaged, I wonder if those surveying the city for damage just did not think to walk through into the Mill’s Buildings? I cannot believe that the buildings was demolished for any other reason soon after the war, with housing being in such short supply.

The Survey of London provides more information on Park Row and explains when the name change happened between the photo from the book and my father’s photo.

In 1776 Ralph Mills, a Knightsbridge carpenter-builder, took a lease on the original buildings and proceeded to redevelop the site. He built 26 houses consisting of Park Row and the Mill’s Buildings.

The houses that made up Mill’s Buildings were superior to those often found in small courts, but by the late 1820s several of the rate payers occupying these buildings were described as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor and aged’.

The Park Row buildings, constructed during the same period were of a higher status and had large bay windows facing onto Hyde Park.

The Chartist, poet and lecturer Thomas Cooper lived at number 5 Park Row and recorded that “We had no access to Hyde Park, but we looked into it from our really beautiful parlour, and had daily views of the Guards, and Royalty, and great people, passing by, in the Park.”

The Survey of London confirms that Park Row was renamed Hyde Park Row in 1939, but does not identify why the name change was made. The Survey also confirms that Park Row was demolished, but not when.

So, thanks to Alan Ivimey and his book, The Romance of London, I can confirm the location of another of my father’s photos, and as suggested by the author at the start of his book, I shall now get out my pipe of tobacco and tankard and finish reading his book with an amiable state of mind.

alondoninheritance.com

The Lamb And Flag, Rose Street

After the last few weeks of exploring the River Thames and beneath the city streets, this week it is time to return to London in the late 1940s.

This is my father’s photo of the Lamb and Flag pub in Rose Street, near Covent Garden, taken in 1948. The name Lamb and Flag can be seen just above the entrance to the Saloon. On many London pubs of the time, the name of the brewery was given much greater prominence than the name of the pub. Barclay, Perkins & Co. Ltd were a major London brewery operating from the Anchor Brewery in Park Street, Southwark. The brewery was originally founded in 1616, becoming Barclay, Perkins in 1781 when John Perkins and Robert Barclay took over. Barclay, Perkins merged with Courage in 1955 and the brewery closed in the early 1970s.

Lamb and Flag 2

And my photo of the same pub from the same location 67 years later in 2015.

Lamb and Flag 1

The Lamb and Flag occupies one of London’s older buildings. It was originally built at the same time as Rose Street in 1623 and much of the original timber frame survives although the front was rebuilt in 1958 as can be seen in the above two photos.

The 1958 rebuild of the front of the pub lost many of the original architectural features including what appears to be a parapet running the width of the building at the top of the wall.

A close-up from my father’s photo shows the carving of the Lamb and Flag at the centre of the parapet:

Lamb and Flag 3

The pub has a historic interior, unfortunately it was a bit too crowded for photos at the time of my visit.

To the right of the pub is an alleyway with a side entrance to the Saloon Bar. The alleyway leads  through to Lazenby Court.

Lamb and Flag 4

Halfway along the alleyway, the height of the ceiling drops and at this point is a plaque that records some of the history of the pub and the immediate area. The plaque looks very new, however the reference to Courage and Barclays beers rather than those of Fullers, the current brewery, indicates an older source for the text.

Lamb and Flag 10

The plaque makes reference to Charles Dickens as well as one Samuel Butler.

Butler died in a house on Rose Street and is buried nearby at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden. He was a royalist during the English Civil War and at the restoration had a number of posts with other royalists who held key positions close to Charles II.

Butler wrote “Hudibras”, a popular satirical poem directed mainly against religious sectarianism and due to his Royalist sympathies focused on the Roundheads and Puritans.

The plaque also records the attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 “at the instance of Louise de Keroualle, Mistress of Charles II” for allegedly having written some scurrilous verses about her.

Louise de Keroualle was unpopular in London for being both French and a Catholic, so may not have been the real culprit and an alternative person responsible for the attack was another alleged target of John Dryden’s writings, John Wilmot the Earl of Rochester.

At the time of the attack, Rose Street was a dark and narrow alley and an ideal place to carry out such a deed. Despite Dryden depositing £50 with Child’s Bank in Fleet Street as a reward, the guilty party, responsible for the attack was never identified and a Mistress of Charles II probably sounds a better attribute to the history of the Lamb and Flag than the Earl of Rochester.

Walking through the alleyway into Lazenby Court. This was probably  more open than it is now, forming a small courtyard behind the pub.

Lamb and Flag 5

The source of the name Lamb and Flag has a religious basis. The “lamb” is from the Gospel of St. John: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” and the flag being that of St. George.

The pub was also once known as the Bucket of Blood due to links with prize fighting.

An older sign for Lazenby Court is partly hidden behind the direction sign for the pub.

Lamb and Flag 6

Rose Street runs from Long Acre, adjacent to the map and travel bookshop, Stanfords, down to Garrick Street, however today, it is cut in half by Floral Street.

As with many London streets, it has changed over the years. The following extract from John Rocque’s survey of London from 1746, shows Rose Street, with the alley running up from where the street bends to the left, in exactly the same position as the alley of today, however in 1746 it led to Glastonbury Court rather than today’s Lazenby Court. A very narrow Rose Street runs up to Long Acre.

To the right of Rose Street is Little Hart Street. Today, this street has been renamed Floral Street and extended just past the end of Rose Street where it meets Garrick Street, a street also not yet built in 1746 which cuts diagonally from the junction of Long Acre and St. Martins Lane (the street on the left with just the word Lane showing) down to King Street.

As far as I can tell from checking maps, the part of Rose Street leading up to Angel Alley, along with Angel Alley was lost when Little Hart Street was extended and renamed Floral Street.

Lamb and Flag 11

Older sign for Rose Street above the modern name sign.

Lamb and Flag 7

In Rose Street, just in front and to the right of the Lamb and Flag is the Westminster Fire Office, one of the original fire insurance companies who also ran a private fire fighting service.

Lamb and Flag 9

The door to the building records key dates for the Westminster Fire Office. 1717 was the founding year of the company. Offices were originally based in nearby King Street, but as the company grew more space was needed and in 1875 the company expanded into the building in Rose Street.

Lamb and Flag 8

The Lamb and Flag pub is a fascinating historic pub close by Covent Garden and Rose Street is an original street from the development of this part of London. They are both well worth a visit.

alondoninheritance.com