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The projected Tunnel under the Thames is not only a novel object in this part of London, but, should it ever be accomplished, it will be a wonderful triumph of human talents over seeming impossibilities. This work was projected by Mr. Brunel, and intended to form a subterraneous road of communication between the opposite sides of the river from Rotherhithe to Wapping. After the scientific engineer had proceeded nearly half way under the Thames, the water burst into the tunnel, and interrupted the works.
On tracing the face of the map through the parishes of Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Walworth, Newington, Camberwell, and Lambeth, on the south side of London, we perceive much ground fortunately still covered with grass or appropriated to gardens. These parishes, however, may be said 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. In each and all of these places we perceive a vast augmentation of new buildings recently "put up "," and others in various stages of progress. To mark and define the exact amount of these enlargements, commonly called improvements, at stated periods, would be certainly very desirable, and interesting to the political economist; but they have recently been so rapid and
* This is a technical and very descriptive phrase used by some of the modern builders, who "put up" houses, with such slight materials, and such rapidity of placing together, that they can only last for a very short time, and for that time be comfortless and insecure. Our legislators and respectable architects should revise, amend, and enforce the provisions of the London Building Act, of 14th George III.
numerous, that they seem to baffle calculation, and to confound the judgment.
Although so many useful and even important improvements have been recently effected in the metropolis, there are yet many things left undone that ought to be done, and others proceeding in a manner that will neither be creditable nor beneficial. The widening and opening of New Streets from Pall Mall to the British Museum; from that national repository to Waterloo Bridge, skirting the two theatres; from the Strand to Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, and thence to Holborn; and again to Covent Garden;from Charing Cross to Somerset House; from Oxford Road to Bloomsbury Square and Holborn; - from Blackfriars Bridge to Clerkenwell, removing and clearing away that nuisance in a public thoroughfare, Fleet Market; from Moorfields to the Bank, and thence obliquely to Southwark Bridge; - widening and opening the area around St. Paul's Cathedral, are all calculated to be very beneficial to the public. Other essential alterations are still required; and the legislature, as well as all publicspirited individuals, should co-operate to promote them. The formation of open, respectable quays, terraces, and streets, on the banks of our fine river, is an event greatly to be desired; and when we see the advantageous effects of such a system at Somerset House, the Privy Gardens, the Adelphi, the Temple, and Waterloo Bridge, we can only wonder and regret there should be so much perversity and selfishness in man, as to oppose the substitution of such places for the miserable and filthy hovels, mud basins, and warehouses which now exist: though fully aware that trade and commerce are the legitimate objects of the river's banks, we are persuaded that these might be better and more eligibly accom
modated, in unison with exterior beauties, or, at least, pleasantness. To remove Smithfield Market*, and Bartholomew Fair, from the heart of the metropolis to different stations at its extremities; to establish spacious Slaughter-houses, with open roofs for air, in different places at the very outskirts of the town; to form large Cemeteries in ten or twelve different spots, also in the environs; and thus to imitate our neighbours and rivals, the French, in their best practices, and shun their worst, would be worthy of London, of England, and of its patriotic natives. These, in fact, are reformations that must
Gwynn, in his "London and Westminster improved," very justly reprobated this as a nuisance, in 1766, when he said, "The intolerable practice of holding a market for the sale of live cattle in the centre of the metropolis, has been loudly and justly complained of for many years past; but no redress has yet been given, nor indeed any attention paid to the repeated remonstrances made against a nuisance alone extremely dangerous as well as inelegant and inconvenient, the almost total inattention of the generality of mankind to every thing which does not immediately concern their own interest, has hitherto prevented the citizens of London from taking cognizance of a nuisance, which it is undoubtedly both their interest and duty to remove. He then states, that when the market was first established, its site was a field, i. e. Smith's-field; on the outskirts of the city, at the same time the Slaughter-houses were in Butcher-Hall Lane, also on the outside of London, and contiguous to the market. We hear, with much regret, that the Corporation of the City, eager to preserve the rights and revenues arising out of Smithfield Market, are contemplating the formation of a series of Slaughter-houses, &c. on the northwest side, immediately adjoining to the market. Surely some plan might be devised by which the City coffers would receive an equal supply, from appropriating the present ground of Smithfield to respectable buildings, and purchasing a site for a new market. Even if a little were sacrificed, there are such things as taste, good sense, and patriotism to be consulted and gratified,
inevitably grow out of the progress of knowledge and refinement; and should the benign Sun of Peace shine on us for another period of ten years, we may reasonably expect to see them executed within that space of time. Much might be accomplished, almost without expense, by a judicious use of the means which the Government now possesses; namely, by employing the military on public works. Standing Army might thus be rendered a standing advantage to the country; and not, as at present, be regarded as an useless and idle mass of soldiers, living upon the toils of the husbandman and tradesman, and scarcely bringing one grain of corn into the public granary. We would therefore recommend, that all public roads, canals, railways, buildings, &c. should be made and kept in repair by our soldiery; who, as they have already attained, if not exceeded, the utmost reach of Roman valour, would thus become equally renowned for their utility and patriotic occupation.
The vastly-increasing population of London, has occasioned a great augmentation of Churches and Chapels, both for congregations of the establishment, and for dissenters. In consequence of urgent, and argumentative appeals by some truly pious and benevolent Christians, the Legislature has granted a large sum for the purpose of aiding parochial committees, to build new churches or enlarge their old ones. The prelates, clergy, and many of the laity, have also entered into subscriptions, and formed themselves into a society for promoting this express object. Hence we find, that many sacred edifices have been raised in different parts of the metropolis, and that others are in progress. It would be gratifying, could we conscientiously applaud the architectural character of the works that
have been executed; but herein our wishes and decision are at variance; for by some unaccountable perversity of circumstances, there is scarcely one, out of the many, that approaches perfection there is much to find fault with, and little to praise. The architects say, in extenuation or justification, that the system of concealed competition the discordance of opinions that prevail in committees the querulous ordeal that an artist has to undergo in obtaining the passport of different bodies - the influence, and conflicting tendencies of church commissioners, and parish committees, and the misnamed economy of employing that builder who sends in the lowest tender, however he may be deficient in skill and judgment, must jointly preclude all grandeur of composition - all attempts at fine and elegant works and all hopes of originality and invention. It is much to be regretted that the plea is too well founded, and that the fault rests with the employers, and not with the Architects.*
* The following remarks on the subject now under discussion, are immediately applicable to our times and purpose :
"It is a common-place remark, that our ARCHITECTS are deficient in genius, and unqualified to be placed in comparison with the applauded names of antiquity; but is not the fault rather national than personal? Does it not arise from the education and habits of the people the state of the country. the nature of our government, and the freedom and independence of Englishmen? Absolute monarchs, as well as domineering monks, in former times, impressed and oppressed their subjects and flocks; commanded and enforced obedience; raised the Vatican, the Thuilleries, and numerous Cathedral Churches: but in England, under our present laws, the King, as well as the architect of national edifices, must pass the ordeal, or scrutiny of a Parliament, and is alike amenable to public opi