The Eighteenth-Century Metropolis

Extent of the Metropolis

Eighteenth-century London, the capital and the principal port of the empire, encompassed the Cities of London and Westminster and the area between, and an expanding area around them.

Robert Morden (1701):

Its length from Lime-house to Mill-bank, is 7500 Paces, about 7 Miles and a half; its breadth, from White-chappel to St. George's fields, about 3 Miles. It contains 600 Streets and Lanes, above 100000 Houses, upwards of 800000 Souls, besides the Multitude of Strangers, and Mariners of all Nations. It can bring into the Field above 150000 fighting Men.


John Strype (1720):

The City of London, taking in that also of Westminster, with the adjacent Parts which begirt them, may not improperly be divided into four Parts. The First is the City of London within the Walls and Freedom, which is inhabited by wealthy Merchants and Tradesmen, with a Mixture of Artificers, as depending on Trade and Manufacture. Secondly, The City or Liberty of Westminster, and the adjacent Parts, which are taken up by the Court and Gentry, yet not without a mixture of eminent Tradesmen and Artificers. Thirdly, That Part beyond the Tower, which compriseth St. Katharines, East Smithfield, Wapping, Shadwell, Ratcliff, Limehouse, and so Eastward to Blackwall. Which are chiefly inhabited by Seafaring Men, and those that by their Trades, or otherwise, have their Dependance thereon. And, Fourthly, Southwark, which taking in all the Borough almost as far as Newington Southwards, to Rotherhith in the East, and to Lambeth in the West, is generally inhabited and fitted with Tradesmen, Artificers, Mariners, Water-men, and such as have their Subsistence by and on the Water: Besides abundance of Porters and Labourers, useful in their kind to do the most servile Work in each of the four Parts.

All these four Parts taken together have a vast Extent: For from the farthest End beyond Petty-France Westward, unto Blackwall in the East, is reckoned above five Miles; and from the farthest End of Shoreditch Northwards, to the End of Blackmoore Street in Southwark Southwards, is about three Miles, making in Circumference above 15 Miles.

This great and populous City contains in the whole 6 or 7000 Streets, Lanes, Alleys, Courts, and Yards of Name, and generally very full of Inhabitants. Before the late dreadful Fire of London, the Houses within the Walls were computed to be about 13000; and that is accounted not above a sixth Part of the four Parts: And in these late Years whole Fields have been converted into Builded Streets, Alleys, and Courts; as the great Buildings about the Abby of Westminster, Tuthill Fields, and those Parts: Then the greatest Part of St. James's Parish, as St. James's Fields, Albemarle Buildings, St. James's Street, Piccadilly, Golden Square, all the Streets in the Soho Fields, wherein St. Ann's Parish; also all Bloomsbury, Kings Square, and the new Streets thereabouts: the several Streets by St Giles's Church, Red Lyon Square, and the several Streets abutting thereon; all Hatton Garden, and the Streets on the Back Part of Purple Lane towards the Fields, as Liquorpond Street, &c The Great and Little Lincoln Inn Fields, all Covent Garden, and the several Streets abutting thereon, the several Streets in Cock and Pye Fields; also York Buildings, Beauford Buildings, Salisbury Buildings, Durham Yard, Exeter Buildings, Arundel Buildings, all Norfolk Buildings, Essex Buildings; the several Streets by Clare Market: All which are very populous, and full of Courts and Alleys; and in the East and North Parts, the Spittle Fields, Goodman's Fields, with divers other Places too tedious to name. All which were only Fields and waste Grounds. Besides these, there hath been a very great Encrease of Buildings, in converting of Gardens and great Houses into Courts, Squares, and Alleys, throughout the whole City.

Beyond the City's 26 wards, Strype included the following parishes and liberty in his 1720 plan of the City of London, Westminster, and Southwark:

  1. Christ Church Southwark
  2. Lambeth
  3. Spittlefields Hamlet
  4. St. Andrew's Holborn
  5. St. Anne's Soho
  6. St. Botolphs Aldgate
  7. St. Clement Danes
  8. St. Clement Danes (detached)
  9. St. Dunstan's Stepney
  10. St. George's Southwark
  1. St. Giles Cripplegate
  2. St. Giles in the Fields
  3. St. James's Clerkenwell
  4. St. James's Westminster
  5. St. John's Wapping
  6. St. Katherine's by the Tower
  7. St. Leonard's Shoreditch
  8. St. Margaret's Westminster
  9. St. Martin in the Fields
  10. St. Mary le Strand
  1. St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey
  2. St. Mary Rotherhithe
  3. St. Mary Whitechapel
  4. St. Olave Tooley Street
  5. St. Paul's Covent Garden
  6. St. Paul's Shadwell
  7. St. Saviour's Southwark
  8. St. Sepulchre's Without
  9. Tower Liberty

John Noorthouck (1750):

In strict language, London is still confined to its walls, and the limits of the corporate jurisdiction of the City; but as a contiguity of buildings has connected it with Westminster and all the neighbouring villages and hamlets, the name in common usage has extended over them all, and rendered their respective proper names no more than subdivisions of one great metropolis. In this general view, therefore, London may now be said to include two cities, one borough, and forty-six ancient villages: viz. the City of London properly so called, the City of Westminster, borough of Southwark, the villages of Finsbury, Clerkenwell, Hoxton, Shoreditch, Norton-falgate, the Spital, Whitechapel, Mile End, New Town, Mile End, Old Town, Bethnal-Green, Stepney, Poplar, Limehouse, Blackwall, Ratcliff, Shadwell, Wapping, East Smithfield, the Hermitage, St. Catharine's, the Minories, St. Clements-Danes, the Strand, Charing-Cross, St. James's, Knights-Bridge, Soho, St. Martin's in the Fields, St. Giles's in the Fields, Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Portpool, Saffron-Hill, Holborn, Vauxhall, Lambeth, Lambeth-Marsh, Kennington, Newington-Butts, Bermondsey, the Grange, Horsleydown, and Rotherhithe. Beside which the villages of Chelsea, Paddington, Islington, Hackney, Bow, and Deptford, are so near being united, that they might, without any great impropriety, have been added to the list, and considered as appendages to this immense capital.

Length and breadth.

Mr. Maitland informs us that in the year 1732, he measured the length and breadth of this city and suburbs with a perambulator, and found the extent as under.

  Miles. Yards.
Length, from the upper end of Knightsbridge in the west, to Robin Hood-lane at the lower end of Poplar in the east. 176
Ditto, from Robin Hood-lane, back again, coasting the river westward, to Peterborough house, at the south end of Millbank row, above the Horse-ferry Westminster. 352
Breadth, from Jeffrey's alms houses in Kingsland road to the upper end of Camberwell road Newington Butts. 3 170½

Number of streets and houses.

Within this extensive area there were computed to be 5,099 streets, lanes, squares, &c. composed of 95,968 houses. But so many of the old streets have been since altered, and so many new streets added, that if this computation was accepted as exact at that time, it is no longer so. With regard to the number of houses, it is a vain expectation to endeavour at any thing near the truth; the variations between different estimates are so great, and the alterations so continual, that little confidence can be reposed in them. 


Samuel Lewis (1831):

London may be said to consist of several divisions, viz.:

"The City," properly so called, comprehends the most ancient and central part of London, and is almost exclusively occupied by shops, warehouses, and public offices devoted to business. The East End of the Town includes Wapping, Shadwell, Ratcliffe-highway, &c., extending from Tower hill, eastward, to the East India Docks; the inhabitants of this large district being in general connected with the shipping interests, and consisting of shipwrights, ship-owners, and captains of vessels, merchants, sailors, shop keepers, and others, who are supported by the business of the port. This division of London has, within the last thirty years, assumed an importance unknown to preceding ages, and vast commercial docks and warehouses have been here constructed. The West End is the most modern and elegant part of London: it is inhabited by the nobility and gentry, and is the seat of Government and of the Court, as well as the centre of fashion; and consists principally of handsome squares and streets: it may be said to extend westward from the meridian of Charing Cross. Southwark, which lies on the south bank of the Thames, comprehends five parishes, connected with others by extensive ranges of houses. Its population chiefly consists of merchants, traders, and manufacturers. It had formerly only one main street, called the Borough High-street, extending from London bridge towards Newington, but the increase of buildings has since added numerous others, stretching in various directions, and has formed it into a town, several miles in extent.

That part of the metropolis lying on the northwest, and which may be considered as the latest enlargement, and the most elegant, as well as the most systematic in its arrangement of squares and streets, comprehends an immense mass of new buildings between Holborn and Somers-town, and in the parishes of St. Mary-le-bone and Paddington. Besides which, the villages of Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Paddington, Camden-town, Pentonville, Islington, Mile-End, Lime-house, Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Newington, Camberwell, Lambeth, &c., united, from the contiguity of their buildings, may be considered as appendages to this immense capital. Thus regarded, the extent of London, from west to east, along the banks of the Thames, or, from the upper end of Knightsbridge to the lower end of Poplar, is seven miles and a half, and its breadth from north to south, or from Islington to Kennington, is about five miles and a half; its circumference is full thirty miles, hence it may be fairly estimated, that the buildings of this metropolis cover at least twenty square miles, extending in length seven miles. This space contains between eight thousand and nine thousand streets and smaller avenues, more than seventy squares, and one hundred and seventy thousand houses, besides an immense number of public buildings.


from The New Description and State of England, Containing the Mapps of the Counties of England and Wales, in Fifty three Copper-plates, Newly Design'd, by Robert Morden (1701)

LONDON, the most Famous and the most Trading City, not only of England, but of the whole World, is call'd in Latin Londinum, by Tacitus Londinium, by the Britains Lundayn or Caer-Lud, by the Saxons Londenceaster; by foreigners Londra and Londres. 'Tis supposed the name is deriv'd from the British Words Lhong a Ship and Dinas or Dinum a City or Harbor for Ships, because it admits of Ships of the greatest Burden that the Tide brings up to its Houses.


'Tis built upon the Banks of the River of Thames; its first Founder is not so well known as its Antiquity, for Tacitus mentions it as a Rich and Trading City in his time. Constantine first Fortified it with a Wall at the request of his Mother Helena. It had 7 Gates to the Land, Ludgate and Newgate in the West, on the North Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Moregate and Bishopsgate, on the East Aldgate, two more were on the Riverside, Belingsgate and Dowgate. But the number of the Citizens and their Warlike Courage is such, that as the Primitive Spartans they trust more to their Arms than to their Walls. It stands in a wholesome Air upon a rising Ground, most of it Gravel, having a stately Bridge of 19 Arches of Stone, with a Draw-bridge that leads over the River into Surrey.



Since its first Foundation, it hath suffer'd much by War and Fire; Q. Boadicia and her party destroy'd it in hatred of the Romans. A. 830. It felt the Danish fury, and in the Years 851, 872, 1013, 1016, it could not escape again their Rage. But accidental Fire as well as War, has often laid it desolate. Besides the frequent Fires that have destroyed some particular Streets, in the Years 983, 1077, 1086, 1175, 1212, memorable Fires happened in this City which reduc'd to Ashes its principal Streets, and one time Burnt the Bridge that was formerly of Wood, with the Church of St. Pauls. But the last Fire was the fiercest and the greatest that ever befell this City, A. 1666 the 2d. of September. It began in Pudding Lane, where now stands a Monument erected A. 1671, &c. in the Mayoralty of Sir Richard Ford Knt. and in his Successors, of White Stone, 202 Foot high, 15 Foot Diameter, the Pedestal is 40 Foot high and 21 Foot square, with winding Stairs to the top, where is an Iron Balcony, and a Brass representing the Flames. This dreadful Fire in three days time consum'd 89 Churches, the Guild-Hall, the Schools, Libraries, Hospitals, 15 entire Wards of 26, 8 of the other were much Shatter'd, 400 Streets, 13200 Houses. So that there appear'd nothing from the Bridge to the Temple and Holborn, but a sad and lamentable Desolation. But that which is more wonderful, as it was Burnt in 3 days time, It was rebuilt again in 3 Years time, with more State and Glory, and within a few Years more, the Additions to the City have been as large and as considerable as the Body of it, and perhaps more; this bespeaks the Riches, Wealth, and Power of London.


Its length from Lime-house to Mill-bank, is 7500 Paces, about 7 Miles and a half; its breadth, from White-chappel to St. George's fields, about 3 Miles. It contains 600 Streets and Lanes, above 100000 Houses, upwards of 800000 Souls, besides the Multitude of Strangers, and Mariners of all Nations. It can bring into the Field above 150000 fighting Men.


The Tower is the first place to be consider'd. 'Twas built as 'tis reported by Julius Cesar. It has a Mile in compass well furnish'd with Guns and Arms for 60000 Men. Here the Jewels and Regalia of the Crown are kept, and the Records of the Kingdom in Wakefield Tower, the latter by a Keeper, whose Salary is 500 l. per Annum, his place is at the disposal of the Master of the Rolls; from 7 to 11 a Clock liberty is grated to search the Records, except Sundays, &c. In this Tower is the Mint of England, and several Houses appointed for the Officers, and one Parish Church call'd Sancti Petri ad vincula infra Turrim. 'Tis under the command of a Constable and a Lieutenant of the Tower, whose Jurisdiction reaches over 21 Hamlets call'd the Liberties of the Tower. The next Officers are the Gentleman Porter, 24 Yeomen Warders, and the Gunners.

From the Tower along Thames-street, we meet with the Custom-House, a noble, stately, and convenient Fabrick, for receiving the King's Customes, of all Goods Exported and Imported, which in London alone amounts to above 400000 per Annum. The River presents to the Eye a delightful prospect of many Ships, till we come to the Bridge, a noble Structure with a fair street over the River. From thence the spacious streets are, Grace-Church-street, and Fish-street Hill, and turning upon the left, Thames-street, Canon-street, Lombard-street, Cheapside, Fleet-street and Holborn, &c. leading to Westminster, and the Western part, where we may take notice of Bowsteeple in Cheapside of curious Workmanship, with a pleasant Ring or Bells, and Guild-hall where the City Courts of Judicature are kept, and all publick Meetings of the Mayor and Aldermen.


The Church of St. Paul deserves our next Observation, a most Magnificent Fabrick rising out of its Ashes. It was first built by Sebert a Saxon Prince, and dedicated to St. Paul, where stood formerly Diana's Temple. The Area was reckon'd to be 690 Foot long, 130 Foot broad, and its Spire formerly cover'd with Lead 534 Foot high. It has often been consum'd by Celestial and Casual Fires, as A. 1087, 'twas burnt by Lightning. But now when this Fabrick is rebuilt, 'twill be the most magnificent and glorious Structure of the World. To this Church belong besides the Bishop, a Dean, a Precentor, a Chancellor, a Treasurer, 5 Arch-deacons 30 Prebendaries and other Officers. We must return to the Royal Exchange, first erected by Sir Tho. Gresham, and named by Q. Eliz. appointed for the meeting of Merchants, the Mercer's Company have the greatest Propriety in it. I pass over the several Halls of the several Companies which are stately Fabricks, as Mercer's-Hall, Grocer's-Hall, Draper's-Hall, Fishmonger's-Hall, Goldsmith's, Skinner's, Merchant-Taylor's, Halls, &c. To these Structures we may add such as are design'd for Charity, as Christ's-Church Hospital founded by Edw. 6. St. Bartholomew's, the Charter-House, Bridewell, Bedlam, or Bethlehem, for such as are out of their Sences, a famous Building facing Moor-fields resembling a Prince's Pallace rather than an Infirmary. This City stands in 51 deg. and 30 min. Latitude; I might wish good reason boast of all the Neat and Beautiful Churches erected since the Fire of Portland Stone.

A. 610.

The Inns of Court are not to be forgotten, they are 14, 2 Sergeant's Inns, 4 Inns of Court, and 8 Inns of Chancery, appointed for the Students of the Law, the chief are the Temple, Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, New Inn, Clement's Inn, Lyon's Inn, &c.

The Inns of Court.

The Civil Government of the City, is by a Lord Mayor chosen Annually on Michaelmas day out of the 26 Aldermen by the Livery Men. After he is elected Proclaim'd and Sworn, he is install'd the 29th of October, in great State; after that, he is row'd in Pomp to Westminster Hall to be sworn before the Barons of the Exchequer. The Ceremonies in this Case are sufficiently known. The other Officers of this City, are 26 Aldermen over the 26 Wards, 2 Sheriffs and a Recorder and a Chamberlain; under them are Common-Councilmen, Constables, Scavengers, Beadles, &c. Each Sheriff has under him an under-Sheriff, a Secondary and 5 other Clerks, &c. The Citizens are divided into 70 Companies, of them there are 12 Principal Companies Mercers, Grocers, &c. considerable Privileges are granted to the Freemen all over England, they have an excellent Government among themselves, subordinate to the Lord Mayor.


The City Militia consists of 6 Regiments of Foot, making about 9000 Men, the Hamlets, of the Tower 2 Regiments, and one Regiment in Southwark, two Regiments of Westminster, each of 2000 Men, in all there are 11 Regiments, besides the Auxiliaries raised from the Apprentices in time of need. For a supply of Commanders, there is the Artillery Company, who are to exercise every Tuesday Fortnight, in the Artillery Ground.


Westminster, is a City of it self, under the Civil and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, who has within his Precincts, St. Martin le Grand and other places in Essex and elsewhere. The chief Officer is, the Steward of Westminster, who is commonly a Noble Man; under him are a Deputy-Steward, a Bayliff, and two Burgesses Annually chosen.


The first thing that offers it self to our View in Westminster, is the famous Abbey-Church dedicated to St. Peter, a stately Pile where are the Tombs of our Kings and Princes and of the Prime Nobility, and a curious Chappel erected and adorned by Hen. VII. To this Foundation belong a Dean and 12 Prebendaries, besides other Officers who have large Revenues. Next is Westminster-Hall, for our Courts of Judicature, to which belong 12 Judges, the King's Bench, Chancery; Common-pleas, Exchequer; and White-Hall built by Cardinal Wolsey, but now by an unhappy Fire it lies in Ruins. It has been the Habitation, since its Building, of our Kings and Queens. Adjoyning to it is a pleasant Park, well furnish'd with Trees, Deer, Tame and Wild Foul; St. Jame's Pallace, belonging to the Royal Family, stands on the North-East side, with another Park at the end call'd Hide Park. 'Tis not possible in this narrow compass to contain or mention the 100dth part of the many Sumptuous Pallaces, stately Buildings, &c. within these two Noble Cities, in Soho-Square, in the Golden-Square, in Red-Lyon-Square, in Lincolns-Inn-Square, in Southampton-Square, in St. James-Square, &c.

The Abbey.

There are belonging to both Cities within the Liberties, and without, 134 Parishes besides several Chappels, 97 within the Walls, 16 without the Walls, 14 out Parishes, in Middlesex and Surrey, 7 Parishes in the City and Liberties of Westminster.


The Publick Schools are Westminster, a Royal Foundation, with a Master, 2 Ushers, 40 King's Schollars, and 4 Lord's Schollars. Paul's-School, Merchant-Taylor's-School, the Charter-House, Mercer's-Chappel, &c. all well Endowed by several Benefactors.



from A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster Book II, by John Strype (1720)

Having thus in a Generality handled the Original of the City, the Walls, Gates, Ditches, and fresh Waters of it; its Bridges, Towers and Castles, the Houses of Law, the Colleges and Schools of Learning, the Hospitals, and charitable Foundations; I am now to set down the Distribution of this City into Parts, and more especially to declare the Antiquities Note-worthy in every of the same. And then, afterwards, how both the Whole and Parts have been from time to time ruled and governed.


The City of London, taking in that also of Westminster, with the adjacent Parts which begirt them, may not improperly be divided into four Parts. The First is the City of London within the Walls and Freedom, which is inhabited by wealthy Merchants and Tradesmen, with a Mixture of Artificers, as depending on Trade and Manufacture. Secondly, The City or Liberty of Westminster, and the adjacent Parts, which are taken up by the Court and Gentry, yet not without a mixture of eminent Tradesmen and Artificers. Thirdly, That Part beyond the Tower, which compriseth St. Katharines, East Smithfield, Wapping, Shadwell, Ratcliff, Limehouse, and so Eastward to Blackwall. Which are chiefly inhabited by Seafaring Men, and those that by their Trades, or otherwise, have their Dependance thereon. And, Fourthly, Southwark, which taking in all the Borough almost as far as Newington Southwards, to Rotherhith in the East, and to Lambeth in the West, is generally inhabited and fitted with Tradesmen, Artificers, Mariners, Water-men, and such as have their Subsistence by and on the Water: Besides abundance of Porters and Labourers, useful in their kind to do the most servile Work in each of the four Parts.

London divided into four Parts.


All these four Parts taken together have a vast Extent: For from the farthest End beyond Petty-France Westward, unto Blackwall in the East, is reckoned above five Miles; and from the farthest End of Shoreditch Northwards, to the End of Blackmoore Street in Southwark Southwards, is about three Miles, making in Circumference above 15 Miles.

Its Extent.

This great and populous City contains in the whole 6 or 7000 Streets, Lanes, Alleys, Courts, and Yards of Name, and generally very full of Inhabitants. Before the late dreadful Fire of London, the Houses within the Walls were computed to be about 13000; and that is accounted not above a sixth Part of the four Parts: And in these late Years whole Fields have been converted into Builded Streets, Alleys, and Courts; as the great Buildings about the Abby of Westminster, Tuthill Fields, and those Parts: Then the greatest Part of St. James's Parish, as St. James's Fields, Albemarle Buildings, St. James's Street, Piccadilly, Golden Square, all the Streets in the Soho Fields, wherein St. Ann's Parish; also all Bloomsbury, Kings Square, and the new Streets thereabouts: the several Streets by St Giles's Church, Red Lyon Square, and the several Streets abutting thereon; all Hatton Garden, and the Streets on the Back Part of Purple Lane towards the Fields, as Liquorpond Street, &c The Great and Little Lincoln Inn Fields, all Covent Garden, and the several Streets abutting thereon, the several Streets in Cock and Pye Fields; also York Buildings, Beauford Buildings, Salisbury Buildings, Durham Yard, Exeter Buildings, Arundel Buildings, all Norfolk Buildings, Essex Buildings; the several Streets by Clare Market: All which are very populous, and full of Courts and Alleys; and in the East and North Parts, the Spittle Fields, Goodman's Fields, with divers other Places too tedious to name. All which were only Fields and waste Grounds. Besides these, there hath been a very great Encrease of Buildings, in converting of Gardens and great Houses into Courts, Squares, and Alleys, throughout the whole City.

Streets, Lanes, Courts, &c.

Number of Houses.

Great Additions of Buildings.

But now to shew how London was anciently, and to this Day divided.


The ancient Division of this City was into Wards, or Aldermanries: And therefore I will begin at the East, and so proceed through the high and most principal Streets of the City to the West, after this manner.

The City of London divided from East to West into a South half and a North half.

First, Through Aldgate Street, to the West-Corner of St. Andrew's Church, called Undershaft, on the Right Hand, and Lime Street Corner on the Left; all which is of Aldgate Ward. From thence through Cornhill Street to the West Corner of Leadenhall; all which is of Lime Street Ward. From thence, leaving the Street that leadeth to Bishopsgate on the Right Hand, and the Way that leadeth into Grasse Street on the Left, still through Cornhill Street, by the Conduit, to the West Corner against the Stocks; all which is in Cornhill Ward. Then by the said Stocks (a Market Place both of Fish and Flesh standing in the midst of the City) through the Poultry (a Street so called) to the great Conduit in West Cheap, and so through Cheap to the Standard, which is of Cheap Ward, except on the South Side from Bow Lane to the said Standard, which is of Cordwainer Street Ward. Then by the Standard to the great Cross, which is in Cripplegate Ward on the North Side, and in Bread Street Ward on the South Side: And to the little Conduit by Paul's Gate, from whence (of old time) the said High Street stretched strait on to Ludgate, all in the Ward of Farringdon within, then divided truly from East to West: But since that, by means of the burning of Paul's Church, which was in the reign of William the First, surnamed Conqueror, Mauricius, then Bishop of London, laid the Foundation of a new Church, so far in Largeness exceeding the old, that the Way towards Ludgate was thereby greatly straitned as before I have discoursed.

The high and principal Street.

The Stocks Market the midst of the City.

St. Paul's Church burned in the Conqueror's Time.

Now, from the North to the South, this City was (of old time) divided, not by a large High Way, or Street, as from East to West, but by a fair brook of sweet Water, which came from out the North Fields, through the Wall and midst of the City, into the River of Thames; and which Division is (till this Day) constantly and without Change maintained. This Water was called (as I have said) Walbrooke [not Gallus Brook, of a Roman Captain, slain by Asclepiodatus, and thrown therein, as some have fabuled, but] of running through, and from the Wall of this City. The Course whereof, (to prosecute it particularly) was and is from the said Wall to St. Margaret's Church in Lothberry; from thence beneath the lower part of the Grocer's Hall, about the East Part of their Kitchen, under St. Mildred's Church, somewhat West from the said Stocks Market: From thence through Buckelsberry, by one great House builded of Stone and Timber, called the Old Barge, because Barges out of the River of Thames were rowed up so far into this Brook, on the back Side of the Houses in Walbrooke Street, (which Street taketh Name of the said Book) by the West End of St. John's Church upon Walbrooke, under Horshoe Bridge, by the West Side of Tallow Chandler's Hall, and of the Skinner's Hall, and so behind the other Houses to Elbow Lane, and by a part thereof, down Greenwich Lane into the River of Thames.

The City divided from North to South into an East half and a West half.

The Course of Walbrooke, and Reason of the Name.

This is the Course of Walbrooke, which was (of old time) bridged over in divers Places, for Passage of Horses and Men, as need required: But since, by means of Encroachment on the Banks thereof, the Channel being greatly straightned, and other Annoyances done thereunto; at length the same (by common consent) was arched over with Brick, and paved with Stone, equal with the Ground where-through it passed, and is now in most Places builded upon, that no Man may by the Eye discern it. And therefore the Trace thereof is hardly known to the common People.

The Course of Walbrooke arched over.

This City being thus divided from East to West, and from North to South; I am further to shew how the same was (of old time) broken into divers Parts, called Wards, whereof Fitzstephen, more than four hundred Years ago, writeth thus: This City (saith he) even as Rome, is divided into Wards; it hath yearly Sheriffs instead of Consuls; it hath the Dignity of Senators in Aldermen, &c.

This City divided into Wards.


The Number of these Wards in London, were both before, and in the Reign of Henry III. 24 in all; whereof 13 lay on the East Side of the said Walbrooke, and 11 on the West of the same. Notwithstanding, these 11 grew much more large and big than those on the East: And therefore in the Year of Christ 1393, the 17th of Richard II. Faringdon Ward, which was then one entire Ward, but mightily encreased of Buildings without the Gates, was by Parliament appointed to be divided into twain, and to have two Aldermen, to wit, Faringdon within, and Faringdon without, which made up the Number of 12 Wards on the West Side of Walbrooke; and so came the whole Number of 25 on both Sides.

Wards in London 24. Patent Record.

Moreover, in the Year 1550, the Maior, Commonalty. and Citizens of London, purchasing the Liberties of the Borough of Southwark: appointed the same to be a Ward of London; and so became the Number of 13 Wards on the East, 12 on the West, and one on the South of the River Thames, lying in the said Borough of Southwark, in the County of Surry; which in all arise to the Number of 26 Wards, and 26 Aldermen of London to govern them.

Wards in London 25.

Wards in London and the Borough of Southwark, 26.

The Names of the Wards on the East Part of Walbrooke are these:

1. Portsoken Ward without the Walls.
2. Tower Sreet Ward.
3. Ealdgate Ward.
4. Lime Street Ward.
5. Bishopsgate Ward, within the Walls and without.
6. Broad Street Ward.
7. Cornhill Ward.
8. Langbourne Ward.
9. Billingsgate Ward.
10. Bridge Ward within.
11. Candlewick Street Ward.
12. Walbrooke Ward.
13. Downgate Ward.

Names of Wards in London.

These Wards on the West Side of Walbrooke are these:

14. Vintry Ward.
15. Cordwainer Street Ward.
16. Cheap Ward.
17. Coleman Street Ward.
18. Bassingshall Ward.
19. Cripplesgate Ward, within and without.
20. Aldersgate Ward, within and without.
21. Faringdon Ward within.
22. Bread Street Ward.
23. Queenhithe Ward.
24. Castle Baynard Ward.
25. Faringdon Ward without the Walls.



from A Topographical Dictionary of England vol. III, by Samuel Lewis (1831)

London, the metropolis of the United Kingdom, the seat of Government, and the principal port of the empire, forming a city and county of itself, is situated on the northern bank of the Thames, about sixty miles from its mouth, in 51° 31' (N. Lat.), and 5' (W. Lon.) from the meridian of Greenwich observatory, 395 miles (S.) from Edinburgh, and 338 (S.E.) from Dublin, and contains, including some of the adjoining parishes, 1,225,694 inhabitants, according to the census of 1821; of this number, 56,874 are in the city of London Within the Walls, 69,260 in the city of London Without the Walls (not including any part of the borough of Southwark, in which there are 84,098 inhabitants), and 182,085 in the city and liberties of Westminster ; the increase of population during the twenty years preceding the last census was 360,849, and since that period it has been augmenting with greater celerity.

The earliest notice that we find of London, which is now the most important, if not the most extensive, city in the world, is in Julius Cæsar's account of his two exploratory expeditions from Gaul to Britain, styled his Commentaries. Its situation identifies it with the Civitas Trinobantum, or city of the Trinobantes, by which people it was probably selected on account of its peculiarly fine situation: on the north, it was protected by an eminence, a forest, and a morass; on the west, by the deep ravine called the Fleet; on the east, by another ravine, since called Wal-brook; and on the south was the Thames, connected with extensive marshes, sheltered by the Kent and Surrey hills; thus combining, with other advantages, all the natural defences that could be desired by an uncivilized people. At a very early period of its history it was considered peculiarly eligible as a seat of commerce, the proximity to the sea being sufficient to afford the full advantage of the tide, at the same time that the distance was great enough to furnish a perfect security against any sudden attack from the naval force of an enemy. The name Londinium is, according to the most prevailing opinion, a Latinization of the British compound Lyn-din, the town on the lake; the vast æstuary formed by the Thames here, at that time, being a peculiarity attaching to no other British town; whilst Lun-dun, the town in the grove, and Llhong-din, the city of ships, the next two most probable etymons, are liable to insuperable objections, the former name expressing a feature said by Cæsar to have been common to all British towns, which he describes as fortified woods; and the latter being inapplicable before the place became known as a naval station. The Saxons called this city Lunden-ceaster, which affix, as well as those of wick, and byrg or byrig, occasionally used by them in place of it, appears to have been dropped at the time of the Norman Conquest.

The earliest event recorded of London is its destruction by Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, in the reign of Nero, in the year 60. Its progress since the time of Cæsar had been so rapid, that Tacitus describes it, at this period, as "the chief residence of merchants, and the great mart of trade;" though not then dignified, like Camalodunum (Maldon, or Colchester), and Verulamium (St. Alban's), with the name of a colony, nor, as it appears, fortified in the Roman manner. A few years afterwards, the Romans made it a permanent station, subject to the authority of their own laws. It is agreed to have been surrounded by a wall in the fourth century; and, according to Dr. Stukeley, the Roman city occupied an oblong square, extending in length from Ludgate to Wal-brook, and in breadth, from Maiden-lane, Lad-lane, and Cateaton-street, to the Thames. This space was between the river Fleta, on the west, and the stream called Wal-brook, on the east, and comprised about one-fifth of the area subsequently surrounded by a wall; the height of which, when perfect, was twenty-two feet, throughout its whole circuit: it commenced at the Palatine tower, proceeded in a straight line along the eminence of Ludgate-hill, as far as Newgate, and was then suddenly carried eastward, to a spot a little beyond Aldersgate, running thence straight in a northerly direction, almost as far as Cripplegate, from which spot it returned, in a direct easterly course, as far as Bishopsgate, where a large remnant of the wall, called "London Wall," remained standing until the late removal of Bethlehem hospital. From Bishopsgate the wall assumed a gentle curvature to the Tower, over the site of which it originally passed, and probably finished in a castellum at this, as it did at the western extremity. Another wall skirted the river, and ran the whole length of Thames-street. Strong towers and bastions, of Roman masonry, to the number of fifteen, increased the strength of these fortifications; to which, in after times, was added a broad deep ditch; and at Barbican stood the Specula, or Watch-tower, so named. Four gates afforded entrance from the great military roads which then intersected South Britain: the Prætorian way, improved from the British Watling-street, passed under one of those gates, at the spot where Aldersgate formerly stood; whence it proceeded along that street to Billingsgate, and thence continued, on the opposite bank of the Thames, to its southern termination at Dovor. The Ermin-street led from a trajectus, or ferry, which crossed from Stony-street, Southwark, to Dowgate, and passing by Bishopsgate, pursued the course of the present road northwards, to Ad Fines (Braughing). Another road passed through Newgate, by Holborn and Oxford-street, to Ad Pontes (Staines), from which there was a branch road, in a north-easterly direction, by Portpool-lane, Clerkenwell, Old-street, and Hackney, to Duroleiton, the modern Layton in Essex. Bishopsgate, Moorgate, Ludgate, &c., were added as new roads were formed. Temple-bar is modern, not having been built until after the great fire, in 1670. Roman antiquities, consisting of foundations of houses, temples, walls, and streets; tesselated pavements, sepulchral monuments, urns, glasses, coins, articles of dress, and numerous other remains of the same period, have been discovered on the site of the present metropolis. The London stone, in Cannon-street, is considered, by most antiquaries, as part of a Roman milliary, and the central point from which the great Roman roads diverged.

London continued to improve under the Romans, and had greatly increased in importance before the year 211, when we find it recorded as "a great and wealthy city, illustrious for the vast number of merchants who resorted to it, for its widely-extended commerce, and for the abundance of every species of commodity it could supply." Antoninus, at this period, makes seven of his fifteen itinera terminate here, and its early importance is further evinced by its having been a municipium, or free city, and the residence of the Vicars of Britain, under the Roman Emperors. In the year 359, no less than eight hundred vessels are said to have been employed in the exportation from London of corn alone, and its commerce is stated to have increased proportionally, until the end of the fourth century. On the abandonment of Britain by the Romans, a new and fierce race succeeded to their dominion. The warlike Saxons, under their leaders Hengist and Horsa, landed, in 448, at Upwines fleet (the present Ebbs-flete), in the Isle of Thanet. The Britons, however, remained masters of London at least nine years after that event; for, being defeated in 457, at Creccanford, now Crayford, they evacuated Kent, and fled to the capital. On Hengist's death, in 498, having then been for some time in the possession of the Saxons, it was retaken by Ambrosius, and retained by the Britons during a considerable part of the following century. In the year 604, London seems to have recovered from the ravages of the invaders, so that Bede terms it "a princely mart town;" and its chief magistrate was called portgrave, or portreeve.

London was the chief town of the Saxon kingdom of Essex, and, on the conversion of the East Saxons to Christianity, it became an episcopal see. Sabert was the first Christian king of Essex; and his maternal uncle, Ethelbert, King of Kent, founded here, about the commencement of the seventh century, a church, dedicated to St. Paul, of which Mellitus was consecrated the first bishop. In the years 764, 788, and 801, the capital suffered severely from fires, as it did also in 849, on an invasion of the Danes, who entered the Thames with two hundred and fifty ships, plundered and burnt the city, and massacred the inhabitants. In a similar attempt with an increased naval force, two years afterwards, they were completely defeated by Ethelwulph and his son Ethelbald; yet London suffered more from these two invasions than it had ever done before. Under Egbert, London, though not the seat of government, was advancing fast in importance, a wittenagemote having been held in 833, to consult on the means of repelling the Danes. Alfred restored this city, and constituted London the capital of all England, but had the mortification, in 893, to see it almost entirely reduced to ashes by an accidental fire, which raged with the more uncontrollable fury as the houses were, at that time, almost wholly built of wood. It was a second time rebuilt, and, for its better government, divided by Alfred into wards and precincts; that monarch also instituted the office of sheriff in London, as in other parts of the kingdom. In 925, King Athelstan had a royal palace here, and appointed eight mints for the coinage of money. The city increased in importance during the succeeding reigns, until the year 1015, when Canute the Dane, with his fleet, sailed up the Thames and besieged it; but he was repulsed, and after having blockaded it and made several unsuccessful attempts, a compromise was agreed upon between the two kings, Edmund Ironside and Canute, whereby London was conceded to the latter. The comparative opulence of the city, at this time, is indicated by its having paid a seventh part of the tax levied on the whole nation by that monarch, the total amount of which was £72,000. In a wittenagemote at Oxford, to determine the succession after the death of Canute, we find the "pilots of London" summoned thereto, meaning its magistrates, or leading men. Edward the Confessor granted to London the court of Hustings, and by his charter, in which the city is called Tray-novant, gave it pre-eminence over all his cities: he moreover confirmed its right of manumission of slaves who had resided there a year and a day, from which is thought to be derived the custom of calling the city "The King's Free Chamber."

On the successful invasion of England by William the Norman, the magistrates of London, in conjunction with the prelates and nobility, invited him to accept the title of king, and he was crowned at Westminster. In return, that prince granted to the city two charters, confirming the whole, of the privileges it had enjoyed under the Saxon kings, and adding several others. The government of London, at this time, appears to have been vested in the bishop and a portreeve. In the year 1077, another fire having destroyed a great part of the city, with St. Paul's cathedral, Maurice, Bishop of London, laid the foundation of a new church, on a more extended scale than the former. That part of the city which had been destroyed by the last-mentioned fire was soon rebuilt more magnificently than before; and the White Tower, now forming part of the Tower of London, was erected by William I., in 1078. Domesday-book contains no notice of London at this time, owing, it is supposed, to a separate survey having been made of it, which is now lost, but mentions, as part of the suburbs, a vineyard in Holborn, in the possession of the crown, and ten acres of land, near Bishopsgate, belonging to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's: the latter is the present manor of Norton-Falgate; and both are now situated within the limits of the metropolis. In 1090, a tremendous hurricane overthrew about six hundred houses, with several churches, and damaged the Tower of London. This fortress was repaired by William Rufus, and strengthened by additional works: the same king, in 1097, founded Westminster hall. Henry I., as a reward for the ready submission of the men of London to his usurped authority, granted to the city the first charter in which its privileges were circumstantially detailed; amongst them were the perpetual shrievalty of Middlesex, which enabled the citizens to unite the power of the two shrievalties of the city of London and of the county of Middlesex, in freemen of their own nomination. The standard of weights and measures was granted to them about the same time; and, by the same king's charter, it was further stipulated, that the city of London should have all its ancient privileges, as well by land as by water. In the first year of the reign of Stephen, another fire, beginning near London stone, consumed all the houses eastward to Aldgate, and westward to St. Paul's, together with London bridge, which was then of wood: this occasioned, in 1192, an order to the mayor and aldermen, that "all houses thereafter erected in the city, or liberties thereof, should be built of stone, with party walls of the same, and covered either with slate or tiles, to prevent the recurrence of fires, which had been occasioned by the houses having been built of wood, and thatched with straw, or reeds;" but this order does not appear to have been extensively carried into effect.

Of the state of London at this early period, an admirable picture is afforded in the description by Fitz-Stephen, a contemporary monk, wherein he informs us that the city was strongly walled and fortified; that it abounded in churches, convents, and public buildings; carried on an extensive commerce with distant parts of the world; and had a large disposable military force. It was supplied with water from numerous wells, among which were Clerkenwell, Clement's well, Holywell, and others. Moorfields was a great lake, the Magna Nora of the Conqueror; all the suburbs are described as being filled with the gardens and summerhouses of the citizens, and watered with streams of pure water, which turned the numerous mills employed in grinding corn for the subsistence of the inhabitants. "The chief improvement during the reign of Henry II. was the foundation, in 1176, of a new London bridge, of stone, which was completed in 1209. The year 1189 is memorable in the metropolitan annals for the cruel massacre of the Jews, which took place at the coronation of Richard I. In the year 1210, King John empowered "the barons of London," as they are styled, to choose their mayor annually, or continue him from year to year at pleasure; but in 1252 a by-law was made, ordaining that no one should be mayor longer than one year. In 1212 occurred a tremendous fire, wherein, according to Stowe, as many as three thousand persons perished. In 1214, the Town ditch, surrounding the city walls, was commenced, and, after several hundred persons had been employed upon it for upwards of two years, was completed in 1218. In 1215, the citizens taking part with the barons against King John, opened their gates to Louis the Dauphin and his army. In the same year happened a great fire, which began in Southwark, and extended to London bridge, where it destroyed three thousand persons, who were prevented from escape by another fire breaking out at the Middlesex end of the bridge.

The increase of the metropolis in buildings, from the reign of Henry I. to the period last named, had kept pace with the extension of its municipal privileges. In this interval, of little more than a century, twelve large monasteries were founded in London and its suburbs, including the magnificent establishments of the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers, the superb priory of the Holy Trinity, in Aldgate, whose prior was an alderman of London, and others of nearly equal magnitude. Several additional gates had also been erected, in consequence of the formation of new roads; as well as magnificent mansions built by the wealthy citizens, such as Gerard's Hall, Basing Hall, the Ledyn Porch, &c.; and various parochial churches rebuilt on a grander and more substantial scale. In consequence of the extensive foundations above mentioned, and the increased number of private houses, in the reign of Henry III., the supply of water furnished from Old-bourne (Holborn), Wal-brook, and Ley-bourne, was found insufficient, and a new supply was obtained from the springs in the village of Tyburn; and, in 1285, a conduit in Cheapside was first supplied with this water, by leaden pipes. The fee-farm of Queen-hythe had, previously to this period, been purchased from Richard, Earl of Cornwall, by the corporation, subject to an annual quit-rent of £50, thus affording additional facilities for the increased commerce of the metropolis. In 1258, a dreadful famine was experienced in London, in consequence of the high price of corn, and twenty thousand persons are said to have died of hunger. In 1262, a considerable part of West-cheap was reduced to ashes by a fire wilfully caused by some unknown incendiaries. In 1266, the Earl of Gloucester, in rebellion against Henry III., entered the city with an army, and built bulwarks, cut trenches, &c.

In 1296, in the reign of Edward I., the wards of London, first formed by Alfred, but uncertain as to their number, were extended to twenty-four, with each a presiding alderman, and common council-men appointed to be chosen annually, as at present, for the several precincts: a common seal was also granted to the city. In 1320, a fish-market was first established. In 1325, the Bishop of Exeter, high treasurer to Richard II., and custos of the city, on the king's departure from London to the West of England, was seized by the citizens, and beheaded at the Cross in Cheapside: they afterwards seized the constable of the Tower, and took possession of that fortress. Edward III., who began his reign on the 25th of January, 1327, granted that the mayor should be one of the judges of Oyer and Terminer, or gaol delivery of Newgate; that the citizens should not be compelled to go to war out of the city; and, moreover, that the liberties and franchises of the city should not, after this time, on any pretext, be taken into the king's hands: he also granted that the mayor should be the only escheator within the city. In 1338, the Serjeants of the mayor and sheriffs of London were empowered to bear maces of silver gilt, with the king's arms engraven on them, and in 1340, tolls were imposed for paving the streets. In 1348 occurred a great plague; and in the course of the same year, Sir Walter Manny founded the Charter House, near Smithfield, with Pardon churchyard adjoining, to be a place of burial for such as died of it. In 1354, the aldermen of London, having been hitherto changed yearly, it was ordained that they should not be removed without some special cause. In 1356, the opulence of the citizens was strikingly displayed by Henry Piccard, the mayor, feasting at one entertainment the Kings of England, France, Cyprus, and Scotland, with other great personages. In 1380 occurred Wat Tyler's rebellion, when William Walworth, mayor, was knighted in the field, together with several aldermen, for their gallant behaviour on the occasion; and the dagger is said to have been added to the city arms on account of Walworth having killed, with that weapon, the rebel Tyler, in Smithfield. In 1406, London was afflicted with another great plague, which swept away upwards of thirty thousand people. In 1410, Stocks' market-house was erected, on the site of the present mansion-house. In 1416, Sir Henry Barton, mayor, ordained that lanterns, with lights, should be hung out on winter evenings, between Hallowtide and Candlemas; and in the following year this custom was general. In 1417, a new guildhall was built on the site of the present edifice, in lieu of a mean cottage, formerly occupied as such, in Aldermanbury; and in 1419 Leadenhall was erected, as a public granary. The supply of water being found insufficient, in 1443, pipes were laid from Paddington. A few years afterwards the city ditch was cleansed, and the walls repaired. In 1449, the Kentish rebel, Jack Cade, made his entry into London.

About the year 1460 occurs the earliest notice of the use of brick in the buildings of London: this material was first made in Moorfields, and afterwards gradually superseded wood, and became generally used in erecting dwelling-houses. New conduits, and cisterns for water, were also constructed. In 1469, the Tower of London being delivered to the mayor and his brethren, the aldermen, they set at liberty King Henry VI., who was confined there. Under Richard III. and Henry VII. various additions were made to the royal palace at Westminster; and the latter monarch, besides founding his magnificent chapel at the abbey adjoining, also rebuilt Baynard's castle, in Thames-street. In the thirteenth year of his reign, several gardens in Finsbury were destroyed, and formed into a field for archers, whence the origin of the present Artillery Company. During this reign also the river Fleet was made navigable, Hounsditch was arched over, and many less works of utility, or ornament, completed. Henry VIII. continued the improvements of the metropolis; and during his reign the police was better regulated, many nuisances were removed, the streets and avenues were mended and paved, and various regulations were carried into effect for supplying the metropolis with provisions sufficient to answer the demands of its increasing population. The greatest alteration made in the aspect of the city, during this reign, was effected by the dissolution of religious houses, of which there had been upwards of twenty, founded between the reign of Edward I. and the period of the dissolution, besides those before mentioned: this event took place in the year 1535, and rendered London entirely a commercial city. The religious establishments, usually occupying large plots of ground, now gave way to the erection of schools, hospitals, manufactories, noblemen's mansions, and other edifices. There were fifty-four larger monasteries in London at the dissolution, exclusively of minor establishments. Two royal palaces, St. James' and Bridewell, were among the splendid buildings erected by Henry VIII.; and to the same monarch is to be attributed a considerable part of the buildings in New Palace Yard, Westminster, and at Whitehall, particularly the cock-pit, and the fine gateway by Holbein, which formerly stood at the latter palace, as also the laying out of St. James' park. Until the Reformation, the government of Westminster had been vested solely in its abbot, but, in the settlement of that great revolution, it was placed, first in the hands of a bishop, and subsequently in those of the Dean of Westminster, in whom it still, in some degree, continues. Near this period, notwithstanding there had been a recent revival of commerce, and that the metropolis had been enlarged, it is stated that there were not above four merchant vessels exceeding one hundred and twenty tons' burden in the river Thames; and afterwards it is observed, in a letter from a London merchant to Sir William Cecil, that there was "not a city in Europe, having the occupying that London had, that was so slenderly provided with ships:" yet a spirit of enterprise was then very general among our merchants. The events which chiefly characterise the reign of Edward VI., as regards London, are, the conversion of Bridewell palace into an hospital, the refounding of that of St. Thomas, and the completion of Christ's and St. Bartholomew's hospitals, which had been begun by his father; all which establishments still remain, and will hereafter be described. By an act, in the seventh year of this king's reign, for the general regulation of taverns and public-houses, it was directed, that there should be only forty in the city and liberties of London, and three in Westminster. In this reign also Southwark was annexed to London, and constituted a twenty-sixth ward, under the name of "Bridge ward Without."

The commencement of Elizabeth's reign was distinguished by the building of the Royal Exchange, and various other works of public utility. In the year 1580, from the great increase of the city, that queen prohibited the erection of any new buildings within three miles of the city gates, and ordained that only one family should inhabit each house. Another proclamation, in 1583, commanded that no new building should be erected within three miles of London and Westminster, that one dwelling-house should not be converted into two or more, and that the commons within three miles of London should not be enclosed. At this period, notwithstanding the danger that was anticipated by increasing the size of the metropolis, it appears, from contemporary plans, that the greater part of London was contained within the walls, and even in those narrow limits there were numerous gardens, upon the sites of which have since been formed lanes, courts, and alleys. In the whole of the space now constituting the parishes of St. Margaret, Westminster; St. Martin in the Fields; St. Paul, Covent Garden; St. Anne, Soho; St. Giles in the Fields; St. George, Bloomsbury; and even including the extensive parish of St. Mary le bone, there were not at that time two thousand houses. All the north side of the city, continuing through Clerkenwell, as far as Shoreditch church, was very thinly scattered with dwellings; the whole of Spitalfields, Goodman's fields, Bethnal-green, and Stepney and Limehouse fields, were, what their names import, open spaces of ground, having here and there groups of cottages and gardens: and on the Surrey side of the river, with the exception of the borough of Southwark, Bermondsey, and part of Lambeth parish next to the Thames, the entire space was devoid of houses. In 1594, the Thames water was first conveyed into houses, by means of an engine of a pyramidical form, erected at Broken wharf, to which succeeded the London-bridge Water-Works;" and, in 1613, that great public benefit, the New River, which was projected and executed by Sir Hugh Myddelton, was brought to its head at Clerkenwell, from Amwell in Hertfordshire. In 1616, the sides of the principal streets, which had before been laid with pebbles, were paved with broad stones and flags.

Building continued to advance after the death of Elizabeth; and we find that most part of Spitalfields and about three hundred and twenty acres to the south and south-east of it, were then covered with houses. James I., alarmed at this rapid growth of the metropolis, issued his proclamation, in 1618, against the erection of new buildings. The suburbs, notwithstanding, had greatly increased in 1640, especially to the westward, in the parishes of St. Giles in the Fields, and St. Paul, Covent Garden. In 1643, Cheapside cross was demolished, by the authority of the common council, as a relic of superstition, thus increasing unintentionally the width and accommodation of that great central thoroughfare. Another attempt was made, during the Protectorate, in 1656, to prevent the enlargement of the metropolis; for which purpose, all houses built since the year 1620, within ten miles of it, were taxed, and fines were imposed on those who raised new buildings within that distance. About 1661, a great many streets, on the site of St. James' parish, were built, or finished, particularly St. James' street, Pall-Mall, and Piccadilly; other streets were ordered to be widened; and candles, or lights in lanterns, were to be hung out by the occupier of every house fronting the street, between Michaelmas and Lady-day, from nightfall until nine o'clock, when it was presumed that people retired to bed. The dreadful plague, in 1665, put a temporary stop to the increase of the metropolis. This infection was generally thought to have been brought from Holland, about the close of the year 1664, and made its appearance in the neighbourhood of Drury-lane: sixty-eight thousand five hundred and ninety-six persons are calculated to have perished in the course of the year 1665, during which, London was so far deserted by its inhabitants, that grass grew in the principal streets.

"The great fire of London," the most terrible conflagration that the metropolis ever suffered, succeeded "the Plague year," as it is emphatically styled: it broke out on Sunday, the 2nd of September, 1666, at the house of a baker in Pudding-lane, Thames-street. The houses being then for the most part of wood, with projecting stories, the uppermost of which, from the narrowness of the streets, almost met each other, and a strong easterly wind blowing at the time, the fire spread rapidly and continued raging until Thursday, when it was nearly extinguished, having destroyed thirteen thousand two hundred houses, and eighty-nine churches, exclusively of the venerable Cathedral of St. Paul, the greater part of the corporation halls, London bridge, and other public edifices, covering a plot of four hundred and thirty-six acres of ground with ruins. The value of the property involved in this destruction was calculated at upwards of £10,000,000. To perpetuate the remembrance of this melancholy event, "The Monument, on Fish-street-hill, was erected, by order of parliament: it was commenced in 1671, and finished in 1677, from a design by Sir Christopher Wren, and is composed wholly of Portland stone. The column, rising from a pedestal forty feet high, and twenty-eight square at the base, is two hundred and two feet in height from the pavement; it is fluted, and of the Doric order; within is a staircase of black marble, leading to the summit. Above the capital of the column is a balcony of iron, encompassing a meta thirty-two feet high, supporting a blazing urn of brass gilt. On three sides of the pedestal are inscriptions, and on the fourth an emblematical representation, commemorative of the object of its erection. In rebuilding the city, many improvements were effected; the streets, which were before so narrow that, according to Sir William Davenant's facetious remark, "they seemed to have been contrived in the days of wheelbarrows," were widened; many conduits and other obstructions were removed; and the buildings in general were constructed on a more substantial and regular plan. An increased number of houses, amounting to nearly four thousand, was added, by building on the sites of the gardens belonging to the halls and merchants' residences; and although the noble plans of Wren and Evelyn, for rebuilding the metropolis, were rejected, it arose, on the whole, with increased splendour. In 1670, an act was passed for widening the streets, and for restoring the navigation of the Fleet ditch. An order in council, issued in 1674, prohibited the building of new houses. Many houses in Southwark having been destroyed by an extensive fire, in 1676, an act was passed for rebuilding them of brick, instead of wood.

In 1685, the population in Spitalfields and St. Giles' was much increased by the settlement of French Protestant manufacturers, who had left their native country in consequence of the revocation of the edict of Nantes; and the same year, the western suburbs increasing, two new parishes were formed, namely, those of St. Anne, Soho, and St. James, both which were previously parts of the parish of St. Martin in the Fields. In 1689, the district called the Seven Dials was built on a spot called Cock and Pye Fields. In consequence of the great increase of the commerce and shipping of London, the suburbs to the east of the Tower were become so populous in 1694, that a new parish was constituted, by the name of St. John, Wapping. Soho-square and Golden-square were built at the close of this century. At this time, also, that useful institution called the Penny Post had its origin, a proof of the enlargement of the capital; and the number of hackney coaches, which, in Cromwell's time had been limited to three hundred, had increased to nine hundred, exclusively of two hundred sedan chairs. A few years afterwards, in the reign of Queen Anne, fifty new churches were erected in the metropolis and its vicinity. In 1722, the Chelsea Water-Works Company was established, for supplying the city of Westminster and the western suburbs with water. In a few years afterwards, Hanover-square, Cavendish-square, and the streets adjacent; Bedford-row, Red-Lion-square, Hatton Garden, &c., were built. The streets from Leicester-square and St. Martin's-lane to the Hay-market and Soho, and thence nearly to Knightsbridge, were finished in the reign of George II. In 1729, the north side of Oxford-street was partly built, and many streets near it were completed. In 1730, the hamlet of Spitalfields became so populous, in consequence of the prosperity of the silk manufacture, as to make it necessary to form it into a distinct parish, which received the name of Christ Church. About the same period the parishes of St. George in the East, St. Anne, Limehouse, and St, Matthew, Bethnal-green, were separated from Stepney, and the parish of St. Luke was formed out of that of St. Giles, in Farringdon ward Without.

The improvements in the construction of the buildings, and in the local regulations of the metropolis, during the period last described, and principally in the reign of George III., were as follows. About the year 1760, most of the city gates were taken down. In 1762, an act was passed to remove the shop-signs, which, projecting from almost every house into the middle of the street, materially obstructed the light and air; and at the same time the water-spouts, which projected in like manner, were taken down: by this act also, the names of the streets were ordered to be affixed at the corners of each. In the building of dwelling-houses great improvement, both as regarded safety and uniformity of appearance, was effected, by the Building Act. In 1768, commissioners were appointed by act of parliament for paving, cleansing, lighting, and watching the streets, and for regulating the stands of hackney coaches. In 1774, an act was passed for placing firecocks in the water-pipes, with conspicuous notices of their distances and situations, and for keeping fire-engines and ladders in every parish. About 1795, in pursuance of an act of parliament authorising a lottery for the purpose, called "The City Lottery," Snowhill, and the western side of Temple bar, were materially widened and improved. During this period also, several new companies were established for supplying the metropolis with water, and subsequently for lighting the streets, shops, &c., with gas.

London is eminently fortunate in being situated on rising ground, and on a river of ample extent, which, flowing through the town, is agitated twice in twenty-four hours, by a tide which ascends fifteen miles above it. The mean breadth of the Thames here is about four hundred yards, and is crossed by five magnificent stone bridges, besides a sixth of cast-iron: the river, by its winding in this part of its course, greatly contributes, not only to the embellishment, but to the healthful ventilation, of the metropolis. Occupying a gentle slope on the north side of the river, which extends from east to west in a kind of amphitheatre, together with a level tract on the southern bank, it is surrounded on every side, for nearly twenty miles, by thickly-scattered villages and seats. The streets are regularly paved, having a central carriage way, and a foot-path on each side ; the pavement of the former is composed of small square blocks of Scotch granite, and the latter is laid with large flags; some of the wider streets in the western part of the metropolis are Macadamized. The foot-paths are in general broad, particularly those of the principal thoroughfares, and have a regular curb-stone, raised some inches above the carriage way, which latter has a slight convexity in the middle, to allow the water to pass off into channels on each side. Underneath are large vaulted sewers, communicating with every house by smaller ones, and with every street by convenient openings and gratings, to carry off to the river all impurities that can be conveyed in that manner. All mud and rubbish accumulating on the surface of the streets are taken away by scavengers employed for that purpose. Nearly all the streets and principal shops are lighted with gas, supplied by several incorporated companies. Almost the whole of the houses, those of ancient date excepted, are constructed of brick; the more modern and larger edifices being built of stone, or stuccoed to resemble it. Excellent water is plentifully conveyed from the Thames and the New River reservoirs to almost every house; spring water is obtained from pumps, erected in various parts of the town.

[...] The town, in the direction of east and west, is traversed by two principal ranges of streets, which may be termed the great southern and northern lines, forming a communication from one end to the other. The most southern of them, for the greater part of its course, runs within a quarter of a mile of the Thames: it commences at Knightsbridge, and is continued, under successive names, to the Tower, and thence by Ratcliffe-highway to the extremity of Shadwell. The northern line commences on the west at Tyburn, and is continued to Whitechapel, and Mile-End, and thence may be said to extend as far as Stratford-le-Bow, a course of nearly eight miles. The streets running north and south, which connect the above-mentioned lines, are comparatively short, as are also those from the southern line to the river. Those from the northern line to the New-road are longer; but, with the exception of Tottenham-Court-road, and its continuation to Camden-town, St. John's street, to the extremity of Islington, and Bishopsgate-street, Shoreditch, and some others, are all of moderate length. The longest single street in the metropolis is Oxford-street, the length of which is two thousand three hundred yards; the Commercial-road, extending from the back of Whitechapel church to the East India Docks, is more than double that length, but its buildings are not yet entirely continuous. Portland-place is the widest street in London, and at the same time the most magnificent: the one which ranks next to it, for breadth and the varied elegance of its buildings, is the newly-formed Regent-street, as continued from Portland-place, by the Quadrant and Waterloo-place, to St. James' Park.

The environs are greatly enhanced in beauty by a chain of hills to the north of the town, forming a second amphitheatre, entirely enclosing the first, of which Hampstead, Highgate, and Muswell hills, are the most prominent features. On the east and west are extensive plains, stretching twenty miles, in each direction, along the banks of the Thames, and forming a most fertile, populous, and interesting valley; those which lie eastward of the town feeding numerous herds of cattle, and those westward being chiefly employed in the production of vegetables for the supply of the London market. That part of the metropolis which is situated south of the Thames occupies a flat surface, bounded by a landscape beautifully varied from west to east by the heights of Richmond, Wimbledon, Epsom, Norwood, and Blackheath, and terminating in the horizon with Leith hill. Box hill, the Reigate hills, the Wrotham hills, and Shooter's hill. On every side the approaches are spacious and kept in admirable order, and, like the town, lighted at night with gas, and well watched and patrolled. Country houses of opulent merchants and tradesmen, or the mansions of the nobility, standing detached and surrounded by plantations, or arranged together in successive handsome rows, are every where to be seen, either on the sides, or in the vicinity, of these roads, together with numerous villages, some of which imitate the commercial activity of the metropolis.

The increase of London since the commencement of the present century has exceeded, if possible, that of the last in celerity and extent. It is visible on all sides, but perhaps more especially so on the western and northern, where the buildings in the parishes of Paddington, St. Mary-le-bone, Bloomsbury, and St. Pancras, have been amazingly extended, by the formation of an incredible number of new streets, squares, and places, for the most part after elegant designs. In the same quarter of the town also, the Regent's park has been laid out, and surrounded with stately ranges of brick buildings, stuccoed so as to resemble stone. A great number of excellent residences has been lately completed on the space behind Gower-street, formerly called the Long Fields, and these again are adjoined eastward by the new church of St. Pancras, and the elegant streets in its neighbourhood, together with a continued mass of building, extending along the south side of the New-road, and the City-road, as far as Old-street. On the Southwark side of the Thames is Newington, with the streets adjacent to it, connecting Camberwell with Southwark; while Kennington, Brixton, Clapham, and Battersea-fields, have numerous, extensive, and continually-increasing, ranges of building. Proceeding along the outskirts, towards the east, we perceive the village of Islington to have joined London on one side, St. Pancras on the other, and to have stretched itself over the White Conduit fields (formerly celebrated amongst our early places of amusement) to the hamlet of Holloway, and through that link to Highgate and Hornsey. In the parishes of Shoreditch, Hackney, Stratford-le-Bow, &c., the extent of buildings has every where immensely increased; and at the direct eastern extremity of London are the East and West India, the London, and the St. Katherine's, docks. On viewing the surface of the parishes of Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Walworth, Newington, Camberwell, and Lambeth, on the south side of London, much ground is yet occupied as fields or gardens; these parishes may be said, however, to form an immense connected town in many places, and are again joined to Deptford and Greenwich, to the east; and Peckham, Stockwell, Clapham, Battersea, &c., to the south and south-west. As evidence of the great extent of building mentioned, it is conjectured that, within the last fifty years, sixty thousand houses, at least, have been erected in London and its neighbourhood; and that these afford habitations for nearly three hundred thousand additional persons.

The improvements at the west end of the town include the widening of the Strand, &c.; the new and elegant buildings on the site of Carlton House and gardens; the laying-out of St. James' Park, and various alterations and buildings in the interior, and at the entrances to Hyde Park; the immense mass of new streets and mansions on the north side of Pimlico, and various additions to the buildings of the Regent's Park and its neighbourhood, as well as on the intermediate space connecting Westminster with St. Mary-le-bone, formed by the fine line of Regent-street, and the various branch streets and places leading from it. The Strand Improvements extend to the whole neighbourhood, between the King's mews and St. Martin's lane, and beyond to the north boundary of Chandos-street, reaching westward to the Strand, and having its eastern termination beyond the late Exeter 'Change. To correspond with the beautiful edifices of the Union Club-house, and the College of Physicians at Pall-Mall (East), there is to be an elegant opposite range of buildings, consisting of a row of public offices, to form a new metropolitan police station, instead of the present inconvenient one at Bow-street, and which will extend in a line with St. Martin's church: the cemetery of the latter will be railed in, and adjoined by the vicarage-house and parochial schools, and the whole, with the noble portico of St. Martin's church, will be thrown open from Pall-Mall: the north side, where was the Royal Riding-house, is to be occupied by a new National Gallery and Royal Academy, and the south side of this quadrangle to lay open to Charing Cross. The grand line of street is to be from West to East, by Pall-Mall, passing the front of the National Gallery, and is to enter the Strand facing Hungerford-street, the Strand being widened as far as the New church, to a road-way of sixty feet. Another wide carriage way is to run from the new line of street into Leicester-square, through Hemming's row; and there is to be a second communication between Castle-court and Bedford-street; as well as a fine new street continued over the site of the late English Opera-house, in a line with Waterloo-place and bridge, to meet Great Charlotte-street, Bloomsbury. The open spaces of ground contiguous to St. Martin's church, &c., will be formed into squares. It is calculated that nearly two millions of money are necessary to carry these several improvements into effect. The alterations on the site of Carlton House and gardens consist in the erection of a corresponding side, or completion of the square begun by Waterloo-place, and will form a commodious communication between Regent-street and St. James' Park.

The latest improvements in building, in the vicinity of Whitehall, include the entire renovation of the front of Whitehall chapel, and Mr. Soane's erection opposite for the Council-office, Board of Trade, &c.; the latter exhibits a long row of stone columns, with an enriched entablature and parapet, possessing considerable elegance, but justly found fault with as being too low, and wanting a balancing end on the north, for which there is no space but by destroying the fine line of street of Whitehall. Richmond-terrace is an elegant row of first-rate mansions, built on the site of the late Richmond House. Belgrave-square and Wilton-crescent, erected on that part of Chelsea called the Five Fields, are both exceedingly elegant: the former contains four symmetrical rows of first-rate houses, with spacious isolated villas at the angles, the whole being partly stuccoed and partly of stone, ornamented in the Corinthian order. Before the houses in the crescent, which are also first-rate in size and appearance, there is a handsome plantation, communicating right and left with the square: a foot and carriage road have been completed from Knightsbridge to the King's road, for the convenience of the occupants of these new buildings, which are mostly inhabited by the nobility and gentry. Eaton-square, of an oblong form, adjoins the preceding, and contains buildings of nearly equal splendour, together with a new, spacious, and handsome church at its east end. Of these improvements, effected at the expense of Earl Grosvenor, Belgrave-square alone is reckoned to have cost half a million of money.

To particularise the public buildings included in the above-mentioned improvements would far exceed the limits of this article; but their number and consequence may be inferred from the circumstance that no less than fifty new churches have been erected, by the commissioners appointed under the late act of parliament, all having districts allotted to them, many of which already contain a vast and daily increasing population. So numerous are the improvements constantly being projected and carried into effect, that scarcely a month passes in which there is not brought forward some plan of elegant embellishment, of public or private utility; or of civil or commercial advantage. In size, population, and wealth; in the extent, grandeur, and number of its religious edifices, its public establishments, its charitable institutions, its commercial docks, and its bridges in the elegance of its squares, and the commodiousness of its habitations, the superiority of the English metropolis over that of every other country is manifest.