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Bridge 89,640 foot-passengers; 1,240 coaches ; 485 gigs and taxed carts ; 769 wagons; 2,924 carts and drays; and 764 horses. It has been stated, though somewhat loosely perhaps, that 125,000 persons in all daily pass over London Bridge at present.
The bridges over the Thames at London are doubtless among the most magnificent structures of the kind in the world.
In passing through the metropolis on the river above London Bridge, we find the shores fined with coal-barges, many deep, for a great portion of the way; and on the middle of the river, in every direction, are darting and playing the light, sharp-built, and rapid wherries of the watermen, with an occasional heavy-loaded barge floating on the tide. Small steamers are also running up and down the river. Below London Bridge are all the appearances, symptoms, and din of foreign commerce. There one plunges into the midst of shipping, and can hardly make way through it for miles, besides the liability in a wherry of being run down by the steamers that are dashing up and down the river, and occupying the narrow channel left open for a common highway.
The steeples and towers of London are less numerous than might be supposed. They cluster somewhat in the city indeed, but in other portions of the metropolis they are rarely seen. I have never been in a situation to count them, when the atmosphere was sufficiently clear to allow me to do it, nor have I ever seen the number of them published.
The highest estimate of churches and chapels oi all denominations in the metropolis, which I have seen, is 459. The dissenting chapels are generally plain buildings, scarcely any of which have a tower or steeple. Not being permitted to ring a bell, they have no occasion for a place to put it in. Many of them, indeed, that were built in times of great religious intolerance, were purposely placed out of sight to escape unpleasant visitation from public authorities and the mob. In these days they are more bold, and show their fronts on the streets; but they are so modest, that a foreigner, not knowing the features by which they are distinguished, might pass by scores of them without observing their character.
The steeples of London are not particularly attractive. St. Bride's, Fleet-street, is one of Sir Christopher Wren's best. It was originally two hundred and thirty-four feet high; but was lowered a little after having been injured by lightning. Bow Church steeple, Cheapside, is more admired than that of St. Bride's. It is over two hundred feet high. The lantern of St. Dunstan's (new), Fleet-street, is satisface
tory of its kind. St. Clement Danes and St. Mary's, in the Strand, are fine models. St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, at least because it stands alone, will be looked at. All Souls, Langham Place, is remarkable for its perfect conical form, coming to a point without a vane. St. Luke's, Chelsea, as a Gothic edifice, must be admired. St. Pancras, in the North of London, taking in the whole edifice, is certainly attractive as Grecian architecture. The Scotch National Church, Regent's Square, built for Mr. Irving, from which he was ejected by Presbytery, is worthy of particular notice. In addition to these some twenty or more of an ordinary class of towers and steeples are scattered over the metropolis, that would be worth looking at, if one had nothing else to do.
Westminster Abbey is a thing to be treated of by itself, and cannot be named but with great respect, as a piece of ancient and magnificent Gothic architecture.
But from whatever position in London, or its environs, the eye can overlook the town, there is St. Paul's, a mountainous pile, rising majestic above every thing around, which in itself might be great, overshadowing with its wings the mighty world beneath it, and seeming, with great dignity, composure, and self-possession, day after day, year after year, and age after age, as if conscious of its trust, to watch over and protect the numerous brood of towers and steeples by which it is surrounded. And yet, vast as are the dimensions of this building, and imposing as its aspects are, when seen and thought of by itself, standing in the heart of that great metropolis, it might be conveniently deposited, and leave much space besides, within the walls and under the dome of St. Peter's at Rome.
The levels of London above high-water mark are all considerably within 100 feet; for the most part within 50; and many parts even below the highest tide. All parts of London south of the Thames are very low.
The circle of hills on the north of London, about four miles from St. Paul's, is not far short of 440 feet high. Jack Straw's Castle, Hampstead Heath, the highest point, is 443 feet above the Thames. The southern range of hills, in Surrey, from six to ten
miles distant, is probably about 500 or 550 feet above the Thames. This last estimate I offer as a conjecture.
The great thoroughfares of London, or principal avenues, are as follows, assuming the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange as a central position. Westward from this point, Cheapside is a throat, through which every thing going east and west by the great centre of business passes. It is less than half a mile long. There is probably no other avenue in the city through which an equal number pass in the course of a day. At the end of Cheapside the current
divides into two principal streets, one leading in the line of Ludgate Hill, Fleet-street, and Strand, towards Charing Cross and Piccadilly; the other passes through Newgatestreet and Holborn, to Oxford-street. The great thoroughfare from the bank to the north is the City-road, branching at the Angel Inn into the New-road towards Paddington, on the left; and on the right, through Islington to Birmingham, York, &c. On the east from the bank, the two great thoroughfares into the country are by Bishopsgate-street and Shoreditch, through Kingsland and Hackney; and by Whitechapel and Mile-end-road ; both towards Cambridge and Essex. There is another great thoroughfare, the Commercial-road, branching off at Whitechapel, and leading to the West and East India Docks, as well as to other places on the river. The first five bridges over the Thames, including Westminster, lead directly from the northern regions of the metropolis to two central points, on the south side, viz., the Elephant and Castle and Bricklayers' Arms, both about a mile from the river, where every thing passing that way between London and the country meet.
In crossing the river, the three bridges that are free of toll, Westminster, Blackfriars, and London, draw the great currents, which are in motion in these directions.
These are some of the principal avenues of the metropolis, through which immense tides of population are constantly rolling on foot and in vehicles of all descriptions. They have the same relation and discharge the same offices to the innumerable other channels of circulation, as the principal arteries to the smaller ones and to the veins of the human body. I had almost forgotten to mention, that the Thames itself is a grand thoroughfare of its own kind, bearing on its tides of ebb and flood more than could conveniently be counted.
The Tower of London is at the extreme and lower point of the city on the river. Immediately beyond it are St. Catharine's Docks, next the London Docks, then the New Dock. These docks are large artificial basins, inland from the river, crowded with shipping from all parts of the world. The two great West India Docks, one for lading and the other for unlading, are some two or three miles below. The East India Docks are still beyond, at Blackwall ; the latter being about 10 miles from London Bridge by the channel of the river, and from three to four by land. There are also several spacious and important docks on the opposite side of the river. The shipping that lies in the river is mostly engaged in coasting and the channel trade; that engaged in foreign commerce more generally lades and unlades in the docks.
The bustle of the city and the heavy drudgery of those parts of the metropolis connected with the shipping, present
a very different scene from the holyday aspects of the court end of the town, from day to day, the year out and in. In the former is toil; in the latter is pleasure, where, for about half the year, from midwinter to midsummer, the most splendid equipages roll along in never-ending currents in the latter part of the day. The other half of the year the west end is deserted, while the city and the eastern parts of the metropolis present the same busy scene from the beginning to the end of the year.
A dead silence reigns throughout the west end in the early hours of morning, even when the town is most crowded. The fashionable world, who dissipate during the night, do not get in motion again before the public till the latter part of the day. They go to bed about the crowing of the cock.
SOME THINGS IN LONDON.
The Coffee and Dining rooms—The Swedenborgians-London Charity
Schools and their Singing in Churches-A Scene at St. Andrew's The bad system of Hackney Coaches, &c.-Sin in the Law.
To go back a little, the first morning I awoke in London, and went below to order breakfast, I found myself in a room divided into stalls some six feet deep from the walls and. four broad, with a narrow board for a table as a fixture in each, with wooden benches for the length thereof, and partitions rising as high as one's head while sitting, and above these corresponding scarlet stuff-curtains run on a brass wire, supported at the extremities by small brass posts about an inch in diameter—the whole apparatus constituting a line of recesses entirely round the room, into which any one, two, three, or four persons may retreat, and partake of a breakfast, dinner, tea, or supper, without any connexion with other persons in the apartment. This description, with little variation, may answer for most of the coffee and dining rooms of London, kept for the ins and outs of transient persons, who have occasion. to visit them for the purpose of refreshment. Nobody is supposed to know his neighbour in an adjoining stall, or to have any thing to do with him. There may be two, fifty, or a hundred at the tables at the same time, all strangers to each other-some going out, while others are coming in-some in the middle, while others are in any supposable stage of their repast; servants being always ready to serve breakfast at any hour of the morning at the shortest notice; dinner at any hour, or between certain specific hours of the afternoon, such as may be notified; and tea and supper, as may be ordered;
the bills of fare for the most part, especially at coffee and dining rooms not connected with hotels, having the price of each item of the provisions for the time marked, so that any one may know the amount of his own bill while he is ordering it. There is no ceremony in these rooms. People come in and go out at their own convenience; sit and eat with their hats on or off; often, perhaps, in the majority of instances, with hats on.
In the better houses, indeed, stalls are wanting, and tables are set for individuals, or small parties, in a common room, where private apartments are not preferred. If travellers, lodging at inns and hotels, choose to order separate rooms for their meals and for sitting, they expect, as is reasonable, to pay for them. The common room is often called the commercial room, especially in country towns. At hotels a common table is sometimes set, where single individuals, not otherwise connected with parties, make a party for the time by consent, though strangers to each other. It is not pleasant, however, as one cannot know what company he will fall into.
I remember I was once asked by the head waiter in one of the principal hotels at Glasgow on the Sabbath, if I would dine at the common table. Supposing it would be less trouble for the servants, as indeed it would, I said yes. I found myself at table with some half dozen gentlemen of good manners, but more disposed to sit and drink wine after dinner than to go to church. For myself I asked to be excused, as soon as I could find a fit place. On leaving next morning I discovered in my bill an enormous item for wine the previous evening. I remonstrated; but the waiter said, it was customary to divide the bill for wine drank at a common table equally among those who had sat there. I said, “it was matter of conscience with me: I would not be supposed to be connected with company who drank so much wine on Sundays, or any other day. I had neither ordered nor drank it, and was no more concerned in it than a man in the moon. Why did you put me there?" The waiter felt the force of my reasoning, as a stranger to the custom, but no doubt had law on his side if I had been disposed to carry the matter to an extremity. A magistrate would undoubtedly have decided that he could not interfere in such a case, although he might have been sorry for my ignorance. The waiter said, “ that whatever abatement he should make in my bill, as rendered, would be so much loss to himself, as a servant in the house, he being responsible for it, which would be a hard case.” I therefore paid the bill.
I suppose a man might be an habitual visiter of the same coffee and dining rooms in London for months and years, and no one, not even the waiter, would be able to know his name, place of abode, or his business, if he were disposed