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posal of colonial produce, this elegant building was erected, in Mincing Lane, by subscription, for the accommodation of public sales, and for conveniences for sale by private contract, so as to form a complete market for sugar, cotton, coffee, tobacco, indigo, and other imported goods.
The building is composed of two principal parts. The front consists of an entirely new edifice, 644 feet long, and 39 feet deep, with a stone front, ornamented with six columns of the Ionic order. The whole of the grouud floor is occupied by a magnificent coffee room, at one end of which, between two columns, appear the stairs leading to two public sale-rooms, one of which is about 35 feet by 30, and again on the upper floor to three more sale rooms, each about 25 by 20 feet.
In the second building the lower floors are divided into a number of counting houses, the upper into five show rooms, the largest of which, sixty feet long, is appropriated for the exhibition of goods intended for sale.
Particular attention has been paid to the lights in these rooms, and by a succession of sky-lights slopping to the north the perfect light of day is admitted, and the sun effectually excluded. The space between these buildings, and that behind the latter on the ground floor, is occupied by a number of rooms lighted in the same way, all of which are intended for the sale of sugars.
This national establishment has been removed from the Tower to the north-east corner of Tower Hill, where a beautiful building has been erected, with suitable and extensive establishments for the business of the coinage.
Here are steam-engines, and all those conveniences, and mechanical contrivances, which long were only to be seen at the Soho, near Birmingham, where, till removed to this place, the coin of the realm had latterly been produced.
It is, however, inaccessible to strangers, except on special introduction to some of the officers.
The Auction Mart.
This fine establishment, which serves as a focus for the sale of estates and other property by public auction, stands in Bartholomew Lane, opposite the Bank of England.
Besides its eminently useful purposes, it is as a building one of the ornaments of the City, and its arrangements and economy, as well as the beauty of its interior, merit the notice of every stranger.
This building, situated on St. Bennet's Hill, is usually called The Herald's Office. It is a brick edifice, having a front facing the street, with an arched gateway, leading to a handsome quadrangle. It belongs to a Corporation of great antiquity, consisting of the following thirteen members:-three Kings at Arms, six Heralds at Arms, and four Pursuivants at Arms, all nominated by the Earl Marshal of England, holding their places by patent during good behaviour.
Their office is to keep records of the blood of all the families of the kingdom, and all matters belonging to the same, such as the bearing coats of arms, &c. ;-to attend his Majesty upon great occasions;-to make proclamations in certain cases; to marshal public processions, &c. One Herald, and one Pursuivant, attend the College daily, in rotation, to answer all questions relative to armorial bearings, &c. &c.
In this office all grants of arms for families south of the Tweed, or for any new Corporation, are granted. The privilege of granting supporters to new nobility, Baronets, or Knights of the Bath, is in the office of Garter Principal King at Arms.
The fee for a common search is five shillings, and for a general search one guinea; the fees for a new coat of arms are from ten pounds upwards, according to the labour employed. This is the proper office for registering the births of children.
This is an old brick building of considerable extent, situated in Great Knight Rider Street, a little to the south of St. Paul's Churchyard. It consists chiefly of two squares. The establishment is properly a College for students of the civil and ecclesiastical laws, and contains various courts, in which those laws are administered, subject to the common
and statute law of the land; and several cffices belonging to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London The epithet of Commons is given to this place from the civilians commoning together, as in other Colleges. The Courts, Maritime and Ecclesiastical, are five in number, viz. 1. Arches. 2. Admiralty. 3. Prerogative. 4. Delegates. And 5. Consistory; in all of which the business is carried on chiefly in writing, according to the forms of the Roman civil law, by the Doctors and Proctors.
The Prerogative Office opens at nine o'clock in the morning, from October till March, and shuts at three; the remaining six months it continues open till four. The usual public holidays are kept; any of which happening on a Sunday, are kept on a Monday. Searches for wills are here made at one shilling each, and copies, which are always stamped, are to be had on application. They are registered from the year 1383. There are several interior registries in the Commons, viz. the Bishop of London's, in Knight Rider Street; the Bishop of Winchester's, in Paul's Chain, &c. The Proctor's Office remains open from about nine in the morning till seven or eight in the evening the year round.
Sessions House, Old Bailey.
This Court is held in an elegant but dirty modern building, situated in the Old Bailey, at the south end of the prison of Newgate, where sessions are held eight times in the year, for the trial of capital and other criminal offences committted in London, or the county of Middlesex.
The trials take place before three of the twelve Judges, the Lord Mayor, three of the Aldermen in rotation, and the Recorder, or Common Serjeant. Both the Sheriffs also generally attend.
The Juries are composed of householders in the City, for offences committed in the City, and for the county, of freeholders or householders in Middlesex.
The crimes tried are those that subject the prisoner to any of the various punishments inflicted by the penal code, and the trials are frequently very interesting.
A stranger will at any time obtain admission on the pay
ing a shilling to the door-keepers, unless in very important trials, when they sometimes demand a much higher price. The principal counsel are Messrs. Gurney, Bolland, Alley, Arabin, Adolphus, Gleed, Reynolds, and Andrews.
The Halls of the City Companies.
There are in London no less than forty-nine magnificent halls belonging to various guilds or incorporated Companies of Traders and Artizans, Citizens of London. Many of these may be found interesting objects to strangers, either for their architecture, or their magnitude, and expression of opulence. Among the best are:-Ironmongers' Hall, in Fenchurch Street; Merchant Taylors' Hall, in Threadneedle Street; Goldsmiths' Hall, in Foster Lane; Grocers' Hall, Grocers' Hall Court, Poultry; Skinners' and Tallow Chandler's Halls, Dowgate Hill; Drapers' Hall, Throgmorton Street; Mercers' Hall, Cheapside; Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge; Stationers' Hall, Stationers' Court, Ludgate Street; and Apothecaries' Hall, Blackfriars.
These halls are erected for the management of the affairs of the Companies respectively; and are also used for feasts, on certain public days, and peculiar occasions. Many of the Companies are extremely rich, possessing clear annual revenues of 30, 40, and 50,000l. Among the most wealthy are the Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Tailors, Haberdashers, and Ironmongers.
In all these halls are pictures more or less curious or excellent, many of them of great age or by eminent masters, and reliques of interesting characters or events. Thus, for example, in Fishinongers Hall, is still to be seen the very dagger with which Sir W. Walworth killed Wat Tyler; in Mercers' Hall, some reliques of Whittington, &c. &c.
The Citizens of London, possessing an amiable feature in common with the bulk of their countrymen, never forget, in the midst of their abundance, the wants of others. The sums distributed annually to the indigent, by the City Companies, from various funds given for the purpose,
amount to more than 26,000l. A few of them give respectively from 1000l. to 4000l. per annum.
East India Company's Warehouses.
Among the public commercial buildings, may well be placed these warehouses, but it is not easy to give an idea of their grandeur, unless the extent of them, with the va lue of their merchandize, are comprehended in the view.
The Company's warehouses in New Street, Bishopsgate, are very extensive, and have grand fronts of severa! hundred feet in length. The western side next Bishopsgate Street consists of a body and two wings. The entrance is in the south wing, whence they extend up the south side of New Street. The great height of the buildings, the number of stones, multitudes of windows, and curious cranes for hoisting up the goods, all create surprise and wonder. Two handsome houses terminate these warehouses near Hounsditch, in which the officers who govern them reside. To carry on the erection of these buildings, several wretched streets, and some hundreds of miserable habitations, were removed. Beside these, the Company have a great many others, some of which are built in a good style of architecture. They have also several temporary warehouses, cellars, &c.
The Fire Offices.
The establishments of these wealthy Companies are several of them ornamental of the metropolis.
But there are two Insurance Offices incorporated by charter, viz. the Royal Exchange, whose offices are over the Royal Exchange, and the London, the business of which is transacted in a handsome building in Birchin Lane.
These two offices are established by Act of Parliament, and are the only bodies corporate or otherwise, who can make insurances on shipping. And it is a singular circumstance, that the whole of the marine insurances, except the small portion done by the two chartered Companies, are done by private underwriters. This business is mostly transacted at Lloyd's Coffee-house.
Among those more particularly meriting notice is the ALBION, at the corner of Great Bridge Street.