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characters; among the dead were Benjamin Pingo, Esq. York Herald, and J. C. Brooke, Esq. Somerset Herald.
On the twenty-third of July, about three o'clock in the afternoon, a dreadful fire broke out at Cock Hill, Ratcliffe, which, in its progress, consumed more houses than any one conflagration since the great fire of London, 1666. On a survey of the extent of the damage, taken by the warden and other officers of Ratcliffe Hamlet, it was found, that out of 1200, of which the hamlet consisted, not more than 570 remained unconsumed.
The year 1797 was distinguished by the stoppage of Bank payments in specie.
On the nineteenth of December, 1797, the day appointed for a national thanksgiving, for the three great victories obtained by Lord Howe, over the French, in June, 1794; by Sir John Jarvis, over the Spaniards, in February, 1797; and by Admiral Duncan, over the Dutch, in October, 1797; their Majesties, with most of the Royal Family Officers of State, principal nobility, &c. attended Divine service at St. Paul's Cathedral. The procession was extremely splendid; and was conducted with great order, notwithstanding the pressure of an immense multitude of spectators which lined the streets, and thronged every
On the evening of Thursday, October the fifteenth, 1807, a shocking accident happened at Sadler's Wells, through a mistaken alarm of fire. The audience were thrown into the greatest confusion, and in the sudden effort made to quit the house by the people in the gallery, many were thrown down whilst descending the stair-case, and the pressure from above preventing all possibility of aid, eighteen persons, male and female, were totally deprived of life.
On the morning of the twentieth of September, 1808, the whole of Covent Garden Theatre was destroyed by fire, together with several adjoining houses. But the destruction of the Theatre itself formed but a small part of the calamity an engine had been introduced within the avenue opening from the Piazza, when, dreadful to relate, the covering of the passage fell in, and involved all beneath in the burning rubbish. The remains of fourteen unfor
tunate sufferers were afterwards dug out, in a most shocking state; and sixteen others, in whom life remained, were sent to the hospital, most miserably mangled and burnt.
About two o'clock, on the morning of the twenty-first of January, 1809, an accidental fire broke out in the King's Palace, St. James's, and destroyed a considerable part of the building before it could be got under. The damage, in the destruction of property, &c. was estimated at 100,0001.
On the twenty-fourth of February, about eleven o'clock at night, the superb theatre of Drury Lane was discovered to be on fire, and though such a vast building, it was entirely consumed by four o'clock on the following morning. The entrance of his Majesty into the fiftieth year of his reign, on October the twenty-fifth, 1809, was celebrated as a Jubilee; and every part of the kingdom, but more particularly the metropolis, partook the rejoicings which this event produced.
The year, 1814, was a year of remarkable metropolitan splendour, owing to the visit of the Emperor of Russia, King of Prussia, and numerous other foreign Princes, who passed a fortnight in London, in June, and were magnificently entertained by the Prince Regent, the Corporation of London, and other public bodies.
LONDON stretches from west to east, along the banks of the river Thames, being distant from the sea about sixty miles, and consists of three principal divisions; the city of London, the city of Westminster, and the borough of Southwark, with their respective suburbs. The two former
divisions are situated on the northern side of the Thames, in the county of Middlesex, great part of them lying on hills, and forming a grand and beautiful amphitheatre round the water; the latter, on the southern bank, in the county of Surrey, on level ground, and anciently an entire
The length of London, from Hyde Park Corner to Poplar is about seven miles, exclusive of houses that on each side line the principal roads to the distance of several miles in every direction; the breadth is irregular, being, at the narrowest part, not more than two, and at the broadest, almost four miles.
The soil is chiefly a bed of gravel, but is in many places mixed with clay. The air and climate are neither so settled nor temperate as some other parts of the world; yet London is, perhaps, the most healthy city of Europe, from a variety of circumstances which we shall have occasion to notice. The tide in the river flows 15 miles higher than London; but the water is not salt in any part of the town, and it is naturally very sweet and pure. The river is secured in its channel by embankments, and, when not swelled by the tide or rains, is not more than a quarter of a mile broad, nor in general more than 12 feet in depth; at spring-tides it rises 12 and sometimes 14 feet above this level, and of course its breadth is increased.
The principal streets are wide and airy, and surpass all others in Europe, in their convenience for trade, and the accommodation of passengers of every description; they are paved in the middle for carriages with large stones in a very compact manner, forming a small convexity to pass the water off by channels; and on each side is a broad level path, formed of flag stones, raised a little above the centre, for the convenience of foot-passengers. Underneath the pavements are large vaulted channels called sewers, which communicate with each house by smaller ones, and with every street by convenient openings and gratings, to carry off all filth that can be conveyed in that manner into the river. All mud or other rubbish that accumulates on the surface of the streets, is taken away by persons employed by the public for the purpose.
London does not excel in the number of buildings celebrated for grandeur or beauty; but in all the principal streets, the metropolis is distinguished by an appearance of neatness and comfort. Most of the great streets, appropriated to shops for retail trade, have an unrivalled aspect of wealth and splendour. The shops themselves are handsomely fitted, and decorated with taste; but the manufactures with which they are stored form their chief ornament.
It has been estimated that London contains about 8,000 streets, lanes, alleys, and courts; 60 squares, and 160,000 houses, warehouses, and other buildings. It abounds with markets, warehouses, and shops, for all articles of necessity or luxury; and, perhaps, there is no town in which an inhabitant, who possesses the universal medium of exchange, can be so freely supplied as here, with the produce of nature or art from every quarter of the globe. As in the present work the advantages which are enjoyed by London will most of them be recapitulated, it is but just, in these introductory remarks, to cursorily notice its most striking effects. Among these, one of the principal is its irregularity. The plan of London, in its present state, will, to the least competent judge, appear highly inconvenient, when considered as a grand commercial city, built on the banks of so noble a river as the Thames. The wharfs and quays on each of its shores are many of them extremely mean, confined, and inconvenient what they ought to be may perhaps be best conectured by contemplating the new docks, with all their warehouses and appurtenances, that have been lately erected, and which exhibit a spectacle of commercial grandeur, such as the world must envy, but cannot equal.
The modern part of London excepted, there is a winding irregularity and want of uniform appearance in many of the streets of London, by which it is greatly disfigured, and all grandeur of aspect lost. Seen from a height, or even from such open places as Westminster Bridge, London presents a forest of spires, steeples, and turrets, appertaining to churches and other public buildings; yet these churches are so built in and blocked up among alleys, courts, and streets, that, with a few exceptions,
strangers may traverse the whole metropolis without the least knowledge that such large buildings have any
London possesses greater architectural beauties than foreigners are willing to allow: many of them indeed lie concealed, except from the eye of determinate research; but as expense, and the manners of the English, have occasioned the houses of this city to be built of brick, and generally on a confined scale, that grandeur which massy stones and lofty structures create, is seldom to be seen in this city; it is, therefore, accused very inconsiderately, of being contemptible in its buildings. To live within his own family, free from interruption, contest, or intrusion; to have apartments that are clean and warm, adapted to their several purposes, and in every respect convenient, is the Englishman's delight; and to effect all these, the architect exerts his utmost skill. Even in the mansions of rank and opulence, grandeur is seldom more than a secondary object. To build with brick, therefore, in a manner not sufficiently durable to stand for ages, is here especially requisite, and would, indeed, be every where be neficial; for improvements are continually made, by which convenience is increased. For this reason, whatever vanity or magnificence (be it real or imaginary) may boast, there is no city on earth the inhabitants of which enjoy so many of the accommodations which architecture can afford as those of London. Nations that prefer the parade of pomp to the enjoyments of social comforts, and the convenient performance of social duties, must include the buildings of London among its greatest defects; truth and common sense will esteem them to be one of its characteristic blessings.
The original plan and construction of London are due to an age when narrow streets were probably conceived to be necessary to safety, because more easily guarded against an enemy, since they were common to all Europe: the public spirit which now appears determined to rectify so great an evil cannot be too highly applauded.
Most of the houses in London are built on a uniforın plan. They consist of three or four stories above ground, with one under the level of the streets, containing the