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seventy squares, nine thousand streets, lanes, places, alleys, rows, courts, &c., and that the houses amount to about one hundred and sixty thousand. There are two principal ranges of streets, forming chief avenues from east to west, through the heart of the metropolis. The northern and most direct of these routes commences at Mile-end, and passes along Whitechapel, Leadenhall-street, Cornhill, Cheapside, Newgate-street, Skinner-street, Holborn, Broad-street, and Oxford-street. The other avenue, beginning at the Tower, is continued through Tower-street, Eastcheap, Cannon-street, Watling-street, St. Paul's Churchyard, Ludgate-hill, Fleet-street, the Strand, Pall Mall, St. James's-street, and Piccadilly, to Hyde Park Corner. These avenues run so nearly parallel to each other, and are connected by transverse streets at such frequent intervals, that a stranger in London, by pursuing either of them, as may suit his convenience, will find his progress facilitated from any one part of the metropolis to another, except near its northern boundary, where the line of the City Road, and its continuation, the New Road, may be more advantageously pursued..

Of the relative extent of the principal Streets and other avenues in London, some estimate may be formed from the following table:

Streets. Yards in length.

Streets. Yards in length.

Shoreditch is .......... 715 St. James's-street


Whitechapel, High-st. 1281 Bond-street





1045 Piccadilly


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654 Oxford-street

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Lower Thames street.. 460 Regent-street
Upper Thames-street.. 1331 Baker-street






High Holborn ...


Pall Mall.........

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357 Tottenham Court Rd. 1177 374 New Road...........


286 City Road


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In taking a review of the Extent and Progressive Increase of London at different periods, the accession of William the First, usually styled the Conqueror, may be fixed on as an æra, since which the gradual augmentation and architectural improvements of the capital may be traced, with a degree of accuracy sufficient to render the subject interesting.

From the Domesday Book we learn, that Holborn then consisted of only a few houses, near Middle-row, on the banks of the Old-bourn, a stream which flowed into the river Fleet; and Norton Falgate, at the end of Bishopsgate-street, was a small manor belonging to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's. Besides the royal erections at the Tower, the two castles of Baynard and Montfichet were built within the city, in the reign of the Conqueror, by two Norman barons, whose names they bear, William of Malmesbury, the monkish historian, who wrote in the reign of King Stephen, calls London "a noble city, renowned for the opulence of its citizens, and filled with merchandize, brought by the merchants of all countries, but chiefly by those of Germany:" he adds, that "in case of scarcity of corn in other parts of England, it is a granary, where it may be purchased cheaper than any where else." The reigns of Henry the First and Stephen were distinguished for the foundation of a great number of religious houses in the metropolis, more having been erected in those reigns than at any preceding or subsequent period of equal extent.

William Fitz-Stephen, a monk of Canterbury, in a curious tract written about 1174, entitled, "Descriptio Nobilissima Civitatis Londini," has given an interesting picture of the metropolis and its customs, as they existed in the reign of Henry the Second. It appears that the city was then bounded on the land-side by a high wall, furnished with turrets, and seven double gates, and had, in the east part, a tower palatine, and in the west, two castles, well fortified. Further westward, about two miles, on the banks of the river, was the royal palace, at Westminster, "an incomparable structure, guarded by a wall and bulwarks. Between this and the city was a continued suburb, mingled with large and beautiful gardens and or

chards belonging to the citizens, who were themselves every where known and respected above all others, for their civil demeanour, their goodly apparel, their well-furnished tables, and their discourse!" The number of conventual churches in the city and its suburbs was thirteen, besides 126 "lesser parochial ones." On the north side were open meadow and pasture lands; and beyond a great forest, in the woody coverts of which lurked “the stag, the hind, the wild-boar, and the bull." With the three principal churches were connected, by "privilege and ancient dignity," three" famous schools;" and other schools had been established in different parts: upon holydays, the scholars, "flocking together about the church where the master had his abode," were accustomed to argue on different subjects, and to exercise their abilities in oratorical discourses. The handicraftsmen, the venders of wares, and the labourers for hire, were every morning to be found at their distinct and appropriated places, as is still common in the Bazars of the East; and on the river's bank was a public cookery and eating-place, belonging to the city, where, "whatsoever multitude," and "however daintily inclined" might be supplied with proper fare. Without one of the gates also, in a certain plain field [Smithfield] on every Friday, unless it happened to be a solemn festival, was a great market for horses, whither earls, barons, knights, and citizens repaired, to see and to purchase." To this city" merchants brought their wares from every nation under Heaven. The Arabian sent his gold; the Sabæans, spice and frankincense; the Scythians, armour; Babylon, its oil; Egypt, precious stones; India, purple vestments; Norway and Russia, furs, sables, and ambergris; and Gaul, its wines." "I think there is no city," continues Fitz-Stephen, that hath more approved customs, either in frequenting the churches, honouring God's ordinances, observing holy-days, giving alms, entertaining strangers, fulfilling contracts, solemnizing marriages, setting out feasts and welcoming the guests, celebrating funerals, or burying the dead. The only plagues are, the irtemperate drinking of foolish people and the frequent fires. Most of the bishops, abbots, and nobles of England have fair dwellings in London, and often resort hither."

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The building of the first stone bridge across the Thames, was begun in 1176, according to Stowe. It consisted of nineteen arches, and was completed in 1209. In the time of Edward I. the houses of London were mostly built with wood, and had thatched roofs of straw or reeds; which mode of construction was the chief cause of those fires by which the city was frequently devastated. The supply of water was derived from the Thames, and from brooks which flowed through some of the principal streets. The latter were :—1. The River of Wells, so called from several springs uniting to form its stream. It had its rise to the north-west of the city, and ran into Fleet Ditch, at the bottom of Holborn Hill. This brook had several mills on it, and was thence called Turnmill brook. The Oldbourn, which flowed down Holborn into Fleet Ditch.3. The Fleet, which had its course through Fleet-street. -4. Wall-brook, which entering the city between Bishopsgate and Moorgate, after many turnings, emptied itself into the Thames at Dowgate.


5. The Langbourn-brook, which rose near the east end of Fenchurch-street and ran into the Wall-brook on Dowgatehill. These streams were connected with large ponds, one of which was in Smithfield, and another, called Crowder's Well, near Cripplegate. — The reservoirs, or Conduits*, erected to supply the place of these. streams when they were spoiled or dammed up by the increase of buildings, were filled with water from six springs in the village of Tyburn. These conduits appear to have been large leaden cisterns, cased with stone. Stowe informs us, that it was customary for the lord mayor, accompanied by the aldermen and principal citizens, to visit, on horseback, the spring-heads whence the conduits were supplied, annually, on the 18th of September, when they hunted a hare before dinner and a fox after it, in the fields near St. Giles's.

In 1410, Stock's market was erected where the Mansion-house now stands; and about the same time, Guild

*The first and largest of the conduits stood in West-cheap, and was erected in 1285. The number of them was subsequently increased to about twenty. That which stood on Snow Hill was taken down in 1742.

hall was built, previously to which, a small building, situated in Aldermanbury, was used as the city hall.

In the reign of Henry V. the city was first lighted at night by means of lanterns, slung on ropes, which extended across the streets: and, at the same period, Leadenhall was erected for a public granary, or corn market by Sir Thomas Eyre, lord mayor. It was afterwards used as a market for wool, and various foreign commodities; subsequently it was converted into an armoury, and at length, so far as its remains extend, occupied as a market for meat, &c. About the year 1474 occurs the first notice of the making of bricks, which were burnt in Moorfields for the purpose of repairing the city-walls.

In the reign of Henry VII. was erected the beautiful Chapel adjoining Westminster Abbey, which bears the name of that monarch. At the same period Houndsditch was arched over; and the river Fleet was made navigable to Holborn Bridge. Several gardens were destroyed in Finsbury in 1497, and a field for archery formed in their place, whence originated the present Artillery-ground. The houses were still generally built of wood, and numbers of them even thatched with straw. Up to this period, and, indeed, long afterwards, the civic and domestic economy of London was truly wretched. The streets were filled with lay-stalls of all manner of filth and garbage, which the people were in vain ordered to remove from their own doors; the sewers were in a very neglected state; in many streets there was no pavement; and the access of pure air was prevented by the projecting houses, almost meeting at the top, while the intervening space was filled with enormous sign-boards. In regard to the interior of the houses, "the floors," Erasmus says in his letters," are commonly of clay, strewed with rushes, which are occasionally renewed; but underneath lies unmolested, an ancient collection of beer, grease, fragments of fish, spittle, the excrements of dogs and cats, and every thing that is nasty.' Even in the subsequent reign of Elizabeth, the presence chamber of Greenwich Palace was, according to Paul Hentzner, "strewed with hay, after the English fashion."

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In the reign of Henry VIII., however, in consideration

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