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Title: Chelsea - The Fascination of London
Author: Mitton, G. E. (Geraldine Edith)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chelsea - The Fascination of London" ***

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The Fascination of London


       *       *       *       *       *


Cloth, price 1s. 6d. net; leather, price 2s. net, each.









       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CHELSEA OLD CHURCH.

After an etching by Miss E. Piper.]

The Fascination of London




Edited by Sir Walter Besant

Adam & Charles Black


A survey of London, a record of the greatest of all cities, that should
preserve her history, her historical and literary associations, her
mighty buildings, past and present, a book that should comprise all that
Londoners love, all that they ought to know of their heritage from the
past--this was the work on which Sir Walter Besant was engaged when he

As he himself said of it: "This work fascinates me more than anything
else I've ever done. Nothing at all like it has ever been attempted
before. I've been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I
find something fresh in it every day."

He had seen one at least of his dreams realized in the People's Palace,
but he was not destined to see this mighty work on London take form. He
died when it was still incomplete. His scheme included several volumes on
the history of London as a whole. These he finished up to the end of the
eighteenth century, and they form a record of the great city practically
unique, and exceptionally interesting, compiled by one who had the
qualities both of novelist and historian, and who knew how to make the
dry bones live. The volume on the eighteenth century, which Sir Walter
called a "very big chapter indeed, and particularly interesting," will
shortly be issued by Messrs. A. and C. Black, who had undertaken the
publication of the Survey.

Sir Walter's idea was that the next two volumes should be a regular and
systematic perambulation of London by different persons, so that the
history of each parish should be complete in itself. This was a very
original feature in the great scheme, and one in which he took the
keenest interest. Enough has been done of this section to warrant its
issue in the form originally intended, but in the meantime it is proposed
to select some of the most interesting of the districts and publish them
as a series of booklets, attractive alike to the local inhabitant and the
student of London, because much of the interest and the history of London
lie in these street associations. For this purpose Chelsea, Westminster,
the Strand, and Hampstead have been selected for publication first, and
have been revised and brought up to date.

The difficulty of finding a general title for the series was very great,
for the title desired was one that would express concisely the undying
charm of London--that is to say, the continuity of her past history with
the present times. In streets and stones, in names and palaces, her
history is written for those who can read it, and the object of the
series is to bring forward these associations, and to make them plain.
The solution of the difficulty was found in the words of the man who
loved London and planned the great scheme. The work "fascinated" him, and
it was because of these associations that it did so. These links between
past and present in themselves largely constitute The Fascination of

                                                              G. E. M.


PREFATORY NOTE                                                       vii


CHELSEA SOUTH OF THE KING'S ROAD                                       1


CHELSEA NORTH OF THE KING'S ROAD                                      55


THE ROYAL HOSPITAL AND RANELAGH GARDENS                               67

INDEX                                                                 97

_Map at end of Volume._



The name Chelsea, according to Faulkner and Lysons, only began to be used
in the early part of the eighteenth century. During the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries the place was known as Chelsey, and before that
time as Chelceth or Chelchith. The very earliest record is in a charter
of King Edward the Confessor, where it is spelt Cealchyth. In Doomsday
Book it is noted as Cercehede and Chelched. The word is derived
variously. Newcourt ascribes it to the Saxon word _ceald_, or _cele_,
signifying cold, combined with the Saxon _hyth_, or _hyd_, a port or
haven. Norden believes it to be due to the word "chesel" (_ceosol_, or
_cesol_), a bank "which the sea casteth up of sand or pebble-stones,
thereof called Cheselsey, briefly Chelsey, as is Chelsey [Winchelsea?] in
Sussex." Skinner agrees with him substantially, deriving the principal
part of the word from banks of sand, and the _ea_ or _ey_ from land
situated near the water; yet he admits it is written in ancient records
Cealchyth--"chalky haven." Lysons asserts that if local circumstances
allowed it he would have derived it from "hills of chalk." Yet, as there
is neither hill nor chalk in the parish, this derivation cannot be
regarded as satisfactory. The difficulty of the more generally received
interpretation--viz., shelves of gravel near the water--is that the
ancient spelling of the name did undoubtedly end in _hith_ or _heth_, and
not in _ea_ or _ey_.


The dividing line which separated the old parish of Chelsea from the City
of Westminster was determined by a brook called the Westbourne, which
took its rise near West End in Hampstead. It flowed through Bayswater and
into Hyde Park. It supplied the water of the Serpentine, which we owe to
the fondness of Queen Caroline for landscape gardening. This well-known
piece of water was afterwards supplied from the Chelsea waterworks. The
Westbourne stream then crossed Knightsbridge, and from this point formed
the eastern boundary of St. Luke's parish, Chelsea. The only vestige of
the rivulet now remaining is to be seen at its southern extremity, where,
having become a mere sewer, it empties itself into the Thames about 300
yards above the bridge. The name survives in Westbourne Park and
Westbourne Street. The boundary line of the present borough of Chelsea is
slightly different; it follows the eastern side of Lowndes Square, and
thence goes down Lowndes Street, Chesham Street, and zigzags through
Eaton Place and Terrace, Cliveden Place, and Westbourne Street, breaking
off from the last-named at Whitaker Street, thence down Holbein Place, a
bit of Pimlico, and Bridge Road to the river.

In a map of Chelsea made in 1664 by James Hamilton, the course of the
original rivulet is clearly shown. The northern boundary of Chelsea
begins at Knightsbridge. The north-western, that between Chelsea and
Kensington, runs down Basil and Walton Streets, and turns into the Fulham
Road at its junction with the Marlborough Road. It follows the course of
the Fulham Road to Stamford Bridge, near Chelsea Station. The western
boundary, as well as the eastern, had its origin in a stream which rose
to the north-west of Notting Hill. Its site is now occupied by the
railway-line (West London extension); the boundary runs on the western
side of this until it joins an arm of Chelsea Creek, from which point the
Creek forms the dividing line to the river.

The parish of Chelsea, thus defined, is roughly triangular in shape, and
is divided by the King's Road into two nearly equal triangles.

An outlying piece of land at Kensal Town belonged to Chelsea parish, but
is not included in the borough.

The population in 1801 was 12,079. In the year 1902 (the latest return)
it is reckoned at 73,842.

Bowack, in an account of Chelsea in 1705, estimates the inhabited houses
at 300; they are now computed at 8,641.


The first recorded instance of the mention of Chelsea is about 785, when
Pope Adrian sent legates to England for the purpose of reforming the
religion, and they held a synod at Cealchythe.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor Thurstan gave Chilchelle or
Chilcheya, which he held of the King, to Westminster Abbey. This gift was
confirmed by a charter which is in the Saxon language, and is still
preserved in the British Museum. Gervace, Abbot of Westminster, natural
son of King Stephen, aliened the Manor of Chelchithe; he bestowed it upon
his mother, Dameta, to be held by her in fee, paying annually to the
church at Westminster the sum of £4. In Edward III.'s reign one Robert de
Heyle leased the Manor of Chelsith to the Abbot and Convent of
Westminster during his own lifetime, for which they were to make certain
payments: "£20 per annum, to provide him daily with two white loaves, two
flagons of convent ale, and once a year a robe of Esquier's silk." The
manor at that time was valued at £25 16s. 6d. The Dean and Chapter of
Westminster hold among their records several court rolls of the Manor of
Chelsea during the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. With the
exception that one Simon Bayle seems to have been lessee of the Manor
House in 1455, we know nothing definite of it until the reign of Henry
VII., after which the records are tolerably clear. It was then held by
Sir Reginald Bray, and from him it descended to his niece Margaret, who
married Lord Sandys. Lord Sandys gave or sold it to Henry VIII., and it
formed part of the jointure of Queen Catherine Parr, who resided there
for some time with her fourth husband, Lord Seymour.

Afterwards it appears to have been granted to the Duke of Northumberland,
who was beheaded in 1553 for his attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the
throne. The Duchess of Northumberland held it for her life, and at her
death it was granted to John Caryl, who only held it for a few months
before parting with it to John Bassett, "notwithstanding which," says
Lysons, "Lady Anne of Cleves, in the account of her funeral, is said to
have died at the King and Quene's majestys' Place of Chelsey beside
London in the same year."

Queen Elizabeth gave it to the Earl of Somerset's widow for life, and at
her death it was granted to John Stanhope, afterwards first Lord
Stanhope, subject to a yearly rent-charge. It is probable that he soon
surrendered it, for we find it shortly after granted by Queen Elizabeth
to Katherine, Lady Howard, wife of the Lord Admiral. Then it was held by
the Howards for several generations, confirmed by successive grants,
firstly to Margaret, Countess of Nottingham, and then to James Howard,
son of the Earl of Nottingham, who had the right to hold it for forty
years after the decease of his mother. She, however, survived him, and in
1639 James, Duke of Hamilton, purchased her interest in it, and entered
into possession. He only held it until the time of the Commonwealth, when
it was seized and sold; but it seems that the purchasers, Thomas Smithby
and Robert Austin, only bought it to hold in trust for the heirs of
Hamilton, for in 1657 Anne, daughter and coheiress of the Duke of
Hamilton, and her husband, Lord Douglas, sold it to Charles Cheyne. He
bought it with part of the large dower brought him by his wife, Lady Jane
Cheyne, as is recorded on her tombstone in Chelsea Church. Sir Hans
Sloane in 1712 purchased it from the then Lord Cheyne. He left two
daughters, who married respectively Lord Cadogan and George Stanley. As
the Stanleys died out in the second generation, their share reverted by
will to the Cadogans, in whom it is still vested.


Beginning our account of Chelsea at a point in the eastern boundary in
the Pimlico Road, we have on the right-hand side Holbein Place, a modern
street so named in honour of the great painter, who was a frequent
visitor at Sir Thomas More's house in Chelsea. Holbein Place curves to
the west, and finally enters Sloane Square.

In the Pimlico Road, opposite to the barracks, there stood until 1887-88
a shop bearing the sign of the "Old Chelsea Bun House." But this was not
the original Bun House, which stood further eastward, outside the Chelsea
boundary. It had a colonnade projecting over the pavement, and it was
fashionable to visit it in the morning. George II., Queen Caroline, and
the Princesses frequently came to it, and later George III. and Queen
Charlotte. A crowd of some 50,000 people gathered in the neighbourhood on
Good Friday, and a record of 240,000 buns being sold on that day is
reported. Swift, in his Journal to Stella, 1712, writes: "Pray are not
fine buns sold here in our town as the rare Chelsea Buns?" In 1839 the
place was pulled down and sold by auction.

The barracks, on the south side of the road, face westwards, and have a
frontage of a thousand feet in length. As a matter of fact, they are not
included in the borough of Chelsea, though the old parish embraced them;
but as they are Chelsea Barracks, and as we are here more concerned with
sentiment than surveyor's limits, it would be inexcusable to omit all
mention of them.

The chapel stands behind the drill-yard at the back. It is calculated
that it seats 800 people. The organ was built by Hill. The brass lectern
was erected in 1888 in memory of Bishop Claughton. The east end is in the
form of an apse, with seven deeply-set windows, of which only two are
coloured. The walls of the chancel are inlaid with alabaster. Round the
walls are glazed tiles to the memory of the men of the Guards who have
died. The oak pulpit is modern, and the font, cut from a solid block of
dark-veined marble and supported by four pillars, stands on a small
platform of tessellated pavement. Passing out of the central gateway of
the barracks and turning northward, we come to the junction of Pimlico
Road and Queen's Road. From this point to the corner of Smith Street the
road is known as Queen's Road. Along the first part of its southern side
is the ancient burial-ground of the hospital. At the western end of this
the tombstones cluster thickly, though many of the inscriptions are now
quite illegible. The burial-ground was consecrated in 1691, and the first
pensioner, Simon Box, was buried here in 1692. In 1854 the ground was
closed by the operation of the Intramural Burials Act, but by special
permission General Sir Colin Halkett was buried here two years later. His
tomb is a conspicuous object about midway down the centre path. It is
said that two female warriors, who dressed in men's clothes and served as
soldiers, Christina Davies and Hannah Snell, rest here, but their names
cannot be found. The first Governor of the Royal Hospital, Sir Thomas
Ogle, K.T., was buried here in 1702, aged eighty-four, and also the first
Commandant of the Royal Military Asylum, Lieutenant-Colonel George
Williamson, in 1812. The pensioners are now buried in the Brompton
Cemetery. For complete account of the Royal Hospital and the Ranelagh
Gardens adjoining, see p. 67.

At the corner between Turks Row and Lower Sloane Street there is a great
red-brick mansion rising several stories higher than its neighbours. This
is an experiment of the Ladies' Dwelling Company to provide rooms for
ladies obliged to live in London on small means, and has a restaurant
below, where meals can be obtained at a reasonable rate. The first block
was opened in February, 1889. It is in a very prosperous condition, the
applications altogether surpassing the accommodation. The large new flats
and houses called Sloane Court and Revelstoke and Mendelssohn Gardens
have been built quite recently, and replace very "mean streets." The
little church of St. Jude's--district church of Holy Trinity--stands on
the north side of the Row, and at the back are the National and infant
schools attached to it. It was opened for service in 1844. In 1890 it was
absorbed into Holy Trinity parish. It seats about 800 persons. From Turks
Row we pass into Franklin's Row. On Hamilton's map (corrected to 1717) we
find marked "Mr. Franklin's House," not on the site of the present Row,
but opposite the north-western corner of Burton's Court, at the corner of
the present St. Leonard's Terrace and Smith Street. The name Franklin has
been long connected with Chelsea, for in 1790 we find John Franklin and
Mary Franklin bequeathing money to the poor of Chelsea. At the south end
is an old public-house, with overhanging story and red-tiled roof; it is
called the Royal Hospital, and contrasts quaintly with its towering
modern red-brick neighbours.

The entrance gates of the Royal Military Asylum, popularly known as the
Duke of York's School, open on to Franklin's Row just before it runs
into Cheltenham Terrace. The building itself stands back behind a great
space of green grass. It is of brick faced with Portland stone, and is of
very solid construction. Between the great elm-trees on the lawn can be
seen the immense portico, with the words "The Royal Military Asylum for
the Children of the Soldiers of the Regular Army" running across the

The building is in three wings, enclosing at the back laundry, hospital,
Commandant's house, etc., and great playgrounds for the boys. Long low
dormitories, well ventilated, on the upper floors in the central building
contain forty beds apiece, while those in the two wings are smaller, with
thirteen beds each. Below the big dormitories are the dining-rooms, the
larger one decorated with devices of arms; these were brought from the
Tower and arranged by the boys themselves. There are 550 inmates,
admitted between the ages of nine and eleven, and kept until they are
fourteen or fifteen. The foundation was established by the Duke of York
in 1801, and was ready for occupation by 1803. It was designed to receive
700 boys and 300 girls, and there was an infant establishment connected
with it in the Isle of Wight. In 1823 the girls were removed elsewhere.
There are a number of boys at the sister establishment, the Hibernian
Asylum, in Ireland. The Commandant, Colonel G. A. W. Forrest, is allowed
6½d. per diem for the food of each boy, and the bill of fare is
extraordinarily good. Cocoa and bread-and-butter, or bread-and-jam, for
breakfast and tea; meat, pudding, vegetables, and bread, for dinner. Cake
on special fête-days as an extra. The boys do credit to their rations,
and show by their bright faces and energy their good health and spirits.
They are under strict military discipline, and both by training and
heredity have a military bias. There is no compulsion exercised, but
fully 90 per cent. of those who are eligible finally enter the army; and
the school record shows a long list of commissioned and non-commissioned
officers, and even two Major-Generals, who owed their early training to
the Chelsea Asylum. The site on which the Asylum stands was bought from
Lord Cadogan; it occupies about twelve acres, and part of it was formerly
used for market-gardens.

One of the schoolrooms has still the pulpit, and a raised gallery running
round, which mark it as having been the original chapel; but the present
chapel stands at the corner of King's Road and Cheltenham Terrace. On
Sunday morning the boys parade on the green in summer and on the large
playground in winter before they march in procession to the chapel with
their band playing, a scene which has been painted by Mr. Morris, A.R.A.,
as "The Sons of the Brave." The chaplain is the Rev. G. H. Andrews. The
gallery of the chapel is open to anyone, and is almost always well
filled. The annual expenditure of the Asylum is supplied by a
Parliamentary grant.

On Hamilton's Survey the ground now occupied by the Duke of York's School
is marked "Glebe," and exactly opposite to it, at the corner where what
is now Cheltenham Terrace joins King's Road, is a small house in an
enclosure called "Robins' Garden." On this spot now stands Whitelands
Training College for school-mistresses. "In 1839 the Rev. Wyatt Edgell
gave £1,000 to the National Society to be the nucleus for a building
fund, whenever the National Society could undertake to build a female
training college." But it was not until 1841 that the college for
training school-mistresses was opened at Whitelands. In 1850 grants were
made from the Education Department and several of the City Companies, and
the necessary enlargements and improvements were set on foot. Some of the
earlier students were very young, but in 1858 the age of admission was
raised to eighteen. From time to time the buildings have been enlarged.
Mr. Ruskin instituted in 1880 a May Day Festival, to be held annually,
and as long as he lived, he himself presented to the May Queen a gold
cross and chain, and distributed to her comrades some of his volumes.
Mr. Ruskin also presented to the college many books, coins, and pictures,
and proved himself a good friend. In the chapel there is a beautiful east
window erected to the memory of Miss Gillott, one of the former
governesses. The present Principal is the Rev. J. P. Faunthorpe,

On the west side is Walpole Street, so called from the fact that Sir
Robert Walpole is supposed to have lodged in a house on this site before
moving into Walpole House, now in the grounds of the Royal Hospital.
Walpole Street leads us into St. Leonard's Terrace, formerly Green's Row,
which runs along the north side of the great court known as Burton's
Court, treated in the account of the Hospital. In this terrace there is
nothing calling for remark. Opening out of it, parallel to Walpole
Street, runs the Royal Avenue, also connected with the Hospital. To the
north, facing King's Road, lies Wellington Square, named after the famous
Wellington, whose brother was Rector of Chelsea (1805). The centre of the
square is occupied by a double row of trees. St. Leonard's Terrace ends
in Smith Street, the southern part of which was formerly known as Ormond
Row. The southern half is full of interest. Durham House, now occupied by
Sir Bruce Maxwell Seton, stands on the site of Old Durham House, about
which very little is known. It may have been the town residence of the
Bishops of Durham, but tradition records it not. Part of the building was
of long, narrow bricks two inches wide, thus differing from the present
ones of two and a half inches; some of the same sort are still preserved
in the wall of Sir Thomas More's garden. This points to its having been
of the Elizabethan or Jacobean period. Yet in Hamilton's Survey it is not
marked; instead, there is a house called "Ship House," a tavern which is
said to have been resorted to by the workmen building the Hospital. It is
possible this is the same house which degenerated into a tavern, and then
recovered its ancient name. Connected with this until quite recently
there was a narrow passage between the houses in Paradise Row called Ship
Alley, and supposed to have led from Gough House to Ship House. This was
closed by the owner after a lawsuit about right of way.

A little to the north of Durham House was one of the numerous dwellings
in Chelsea known as Manor House. It was the residence of the Steward of
the Manor, and had great gardens reaching back as far as Flood Street,
then Queen Street. This is marked in a map of 1838. This house was
afterwards used as a consumption hospital, and formed the germ from which
the Brompton Hospital sprang. On its site stands Durham Place. Below
Durham Place is a little row of old houses, or, rather, cottages, with
plaster fronts, and at the corner a large public-house known as the
Chelsea Pensioner. On the site of this, the corner house, the local
historian Faulkner lived. He was born in 1777, and wrote histories of
Fulham, Hammersmith, Kensington, Brentford, Chiswick, and Ealing, besides
his invaluable work on Chelsea. He is always accurate, always
painstaking, and if his style is sometimes dry, his is, at all events,
the groundwork and foundation on which all subsequent histories of
Chelsea have been reared. Later on he moved into Smith Street, where he
died in 1855. He is buried in the Brompton Road Cemetery.

The continuation of St. Leonard's Terrace is Redesdale Street; we pass
down this and up Radnor Street, into which the narrow little Smith
Terrace opens out. Smith Street and Smith Terrace are named after their
builder. Radnor House stood at the south-eastern corner of Flood Street,
but the land owned by the Radnors gave its name to the adjacent street.
At the northern corner of Radnor Street stands a small Welsh chapel built
of brick. In the King's Road, between Smith and Radnor Streets, formerly
stood another manor-house. Down Shawfield Street we come back into
Redesdale Street, out of which opens Tedworth Square. Robinson's Street
is a remnant of Robinson's Lane, the former name of Flood Street, a
corruption of "Robins his street," from Mr. Robins, whose house is
marked on Hamilton's map. Christ Church is in Christchurch Street, and is
built of brick in a modern style. It holds 1,000 people. The organ and
the dark oak pulpit came from an old church at Queenhithe, and were
presented by the late Bishop of London, and the carving on the latter is
attributed to Grinling Gibbons. At the back of the church are National
Schools. Christchurch Street, which opens into Queen's Road West (old
Paradise Row), was made by the demolition of some old houses fronting the
Apothecaries' Garden.

At the extreme corner of Flood Street and Queen's Road West stood Radnor
House, called by Hamilton "Lady Radnor's House." In 1660, when still only
Lord Robartes, the future Earl of Radnor entertained Charles II. here to
supper. Pepys, the indefatigable, has left it on record that he "found it
to be the prettiest contrived house" that he ever saw. Lord Cheyne
(Viscount Newhaven) married the Dowager Duchess of Radnor, who was at
that time living in Radnor House. After the death of the first Earl, the
family name is recorded as Roberts in the registers, an instance of the
etymological carelessness of the time. In Radnor House was one of the
pillared arcades fashionable in the Jacobean period, of which a specimen
is still to be seen over the doorway of the dining-room in the Queen's
House. On the first floor was a remarkably fine fireplace, which has
been transferred bodily to one of the modern houses in Cheyne Walk. At
the back of Radnor House were large nursery-gardens known as "Mr. Watt's
gardens" from the time of Hamilton (1717) until far into the present
century. An old hostel adjoining Radnor House was called the Duke's Head,
after the Duke of Cumberland, of whom a large oil-painting hung in the
principal room.

From this corner to the west gates of the Hospital was formerly Paradise
Row. Here lived the Duchess of Mazarin, sister to the famous Cardinal.
She was married to the Duke de la Meilleraie, who adopted her name. It is
said that Charles II. when in exile had wished to marry her, but was
prevented by her brother, who saw at the time no prospect of a Stuart
restoration. The Duchess, after four years of unhappy married life with
the husband of her brother's choice, fled to England. Charles, by this
time restored to his throne, received her, and settled £4,000 on her from
the secret service funds. She lived in Chelsea in Paradise Row. Tradition
asserts very positively that the house was at one end of the row, but at
which remains a disputed point. L'Estrange and others have inclined to
the belief that it was at the east end, the last of a row of low
creeper-covered houses still standing, fronted by gardens and high iron
gates. The objection to this is that these are not the last houses in the
line, but are followed by one or two of a different style.

The end of all, now a public-house, is on the site of Faulkner's house,
and it is probable that if the Duchess had lived there, he, coming after
so comparatively short an interval, would have mentioned the fact; as it
is, he never alludes to the exact locality. Even £4,000 a year was quite
inadequate to keep up this lady's extravagant style of living. The gaming
at her house ran high; it is reported that the guests left money under
their plates to pay for what they had eaten. St. Evremond, poet and man
of the world, was frequently there, and he seems to have constituted
himself "guide, philosopher, and friend" to the wayward lady. She was
only fifty-two when she died in 1699, and the chief records of her life
are found in St. Evremond's writings. He, her faithful admirer to the
end, was buried in Westminster Abbey.

A near neighbour of the Duchess's was Mrs. Mary Astell, one of the early
pioneers in the movement for the education for women. She published
several volumes in defence of her sex, and proposed to found a ladies'
college. She gave up the project, however, when it was condemned by
Bishop Burnet. She was ridiculed by the wits of her time--Swift, Steele,
and Addison--but she was undoubtedly a very able woman.

The Duke of St. Albans, Nell Gwynne's son, also had a house in Paradise
Row. The Duke of Ormond lived in Ormond House, two or three doors from
the east corner. In 1805 the comedian Suett died in this row. Further
down towards the river are enormous new red-brick mansions. Tite Street
runs right through from Tedworth Square to the Embankment, being cut
almost in half by Queen's Road West. It is named after Sir W. Tite, M.P.
The houses are modern, built in the Queen Anne style, and are mostly of
red brick. To this the white house built for Mr. Whistler is an
exception; it is a square, unpretentious building faced with white

At different times the names of many artists have been associated with
this street, which is still a favourite one with men of the brush. The
great block of studios--the Tower House--rises up to an immense height on
the right, almost opposite to the Victoria Hospital for Children. The
nucleus of this hospital is ancient Gough House, one of the few old
houses still remaining in Chelsea. John Vaughan, third and last Earl of
Carbery, built it in the beginning of the eighteenth century. He had been
Governor of Jamaica under Charles II., and had left behind him a bad
reputation. He did not live long to enjoy his Chelsea home, for Faulkner
tells us he died in his coach going to it in 1713. Sir Robert Walpole,
whose land adjoined, bought some of the grounds to add to his own.

In 1866 the Victoria Hospital for Children was founded by a number of
medical men, chief of whom were Edward Ellis, M.D., and Sydney Hayward,
M.D. There was a dispute about the site, which ended in the foundation of
two hospitals--this and the Belgrave one. This one was opened first, and
consequently earned the distinction of being the first children's
hospital opened after that in Ormond Street. At first only six beds were
provided; but there are now seventy-five, and an additional fifty at the
convalescent home at Broadstairs, where a branch was established in 1875.
The establishment is without any endowment, and is entirely dependent on
voluntary subscriptions. From time to time the building has been added to
and adapted, so that there is little left to tell that it was once an old
house. Only the thickness of the walls between the wards and the
old-fashioned contrivances of some of the windows betray the fact that
the building is not modern. Children are received at any age up to
sixteen; some are mere babies. Across Tite Street, exactly opposite, is a
building containing six beds for paying patients in connection with the
Victoria Hospital.

Paradise Walk, a very dirty, narrow little passage, runs parallel to Tite
Street. In it is a theatre built by the poet Shelley, and now closed. At
one time private theatricals were held here, but when money was taken at
the door, even though it was in behalf of a charity, the performances
were suppressed. Paradise Row opens into Dilke Street, behind the
pseudo-ancient block of houses on the Embankment. Some of these are
extremely fine. Shelley House is said to have been designed by Lady
Shelley. Wentworth House is the last before Swan Walk, in which the name
of the Swan Tavern is kept alive. This tavern was well known as a resort
by all the gay and thoughtless men who visited Chelsea in the seventeenth
century. It is mentioned by Pepys and Dibdin, and is described as
standing close to the water's edge and having overhanging wooden
balconies. In 1715 Thomas Doggett, a comedian, instituted a yearly
festival, in which the great feature was a race by watermen on the river
from "the old Swan near London Bridge to the White Swan at Chelsea." The
prize was a coat, in every pocket of which was a guinea, and also a
badge. This race is still rowed annually, Doggett's Coat and Badge being
a well-known river institution.

Adjoining Swan Walk is the Apothecaries' Garden, the oldest garden of its
kind in London. Sir Hans Sloane, whose name is revered in Chelsea and
perpetuated in one of the principal streets, is so intimately associated
with this garden that it is necessary at this point to give a short
account of him. Sir Hans Sloane was born in Ireland, 1660. He began his
career undistinguished by any title and without any special advantages.
Very early he evinced an ardent love of natural history, and he came over
while still a youth to study in London. From this time his career was one
long success. When he was only twenty-seven he was selected by the Duke
of Albemarle, who had been appointed Governor of Jamaica, to accompany
him as his physician. About a year and a half later he returned, bringing
with him a wonderful collection of dried plants.

Mr. Sloane was appointed Court physician, and after the accession of
George I. he was created a Baronet. He was appointed President of the
Royal Society on the death of Sir Isaac Newton in 1727. He will be
remembered, however, more especially as being the founder of the British
Museum. During the course of a long life he had collected a very valuable
assortment of curiosities, and this he left to the nation on the payment
by the executors of a sum of £20,000--less than half of what it had cost
him. In 1712 he purchased the Manor of Chelsea, and when the lease of the
Apothecaries' Garden ran out in 1734, he granted it to the Society
perpetually on certain conditions, one of which was that they should
deliver fifty dried samples of plants every year to the Royal Society
until the number reached 2,000. This condition was fulfilled in 1774. Sir
Hans Sloane died in 1753.

A marble statue by Rysbach in the centre of the garden commemorates him.
It was erected in 1737 at a cost of nearly £300. Mr. Miller, son of a
gardener employed by the Apothecaries, wrote a valuable horticultural
dictionary, and a new genus of plants was named after him.

Linnæus visited the garden in 1736. Of the four cedars--the first ever
brought to England--planted here in 1683, one alone survives.

Returning to the Embankment, we see a few more fine houses in the
pseudo-ancient style. Clock House and Old Swan House were built from
designs by Norman Shaw, R.A. Standing near is a large monument, with an
inscription to the effect: "Chelsea Embankment, opened 1874 by Lt.-Col.
Sir J. Macnaghten Hogg, K.C.B. Sir Joseph W. Bazalgette, C.B., engineer."
The Embankment is a magnificent piece of work, extending for nearly a
mile, and made of Portland cement concrete, faced with dressed blocks of
granite. Somewhere on the site of the row of houses in Cheyne Walk stood
what was known as the New Manor House, built by King Henry VIII. as part
of the jointure of Queen Catherine Parr, who afterwards lived here with
her fourth husband, Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral. Here the young
Princess Elizabeth came to stay with her stepmother, and also poor little
Lady Jane Grey at the age of eleven. The history of the Manor House, of
course, coincides with the history of the manor, which has been given at
length elsewhere. Lysons, writing in 1795, states that the building was
pulled down "many years ago." It was built in 1536, and thus was probably
in existence about 250 years. More than a century after, some time prior
to 1663, James, Duke of Hamilton, had built a house adjoining the Manor
House on the western side. The palace of the Bishops of Winchester at
Southwark had become dilapidated, and the Bishop of that time, George
Morley, purchased Hamilton's new house for £4,250 to be the episcopal
residence. From that time until the investment of Bishop Tomline, 1820,
eight Bishops lived in the house successively. Of these, Bishop Hoadley,
one of the best-known names among them, was the sixth. He was born in
1676, the son of a master of Norwich Grammar School. He was a Fellow of
Catherine's Hall at Cambridge, and wrote several political works which
brought him into notice. He passed successively through the sees of
Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester. He was succeeded by the Hon.
Brownlow North, to whom Faulkner dedicated his first edition of
"Chelsea." Lady Tomline, the wife of the Bishop of that name, took a
dislike to the house at Chelsea and refused to live there. The great hall
was forty feet long by twenty wide, and the three drawing-rooms extended
the whole length of the south front. The front stood rather further back
than the Manor House, not on a line with it. The palace stood just where
Oakley Street now opens into Cheyne Walk. The houses standing on the
sites of these palaces are mostly modern. No. 1 has a fine doorway which
came from an old house at the other end of the row. In the next Mr.
Beerbohm Tree and his wife lived for a short time after their marriage.

No. 4 has had a series of notable inmates. William Dyce, R.A., was the
occupant in 1846, and later on Daniel Maclise, R.A. Then came George
Eliot, with Mr. Cross, intending to stay in Chelsea for the winter, but
three weeks after she caught cold and died in this house. Local
historians have mentioned a strange shoot which ran from the top to the
bottom of this house; this has disappeared, but on the front-staircase
still remain some fresco paintings executed by Sir J. Thornhill, and
altered by Maclise. In 1792 a retired jeweller named Neild came to No. 5.
The condition of prisoners incarcerated for small debts occupied his
thoughts and energies, and he worked to ameliorate it. He left his son
James Neild an immense fortune. This eccentric individual, however, was
a miser, who scrimped and scraped all his life, and at his death left all
his money to Queen Victoria. The gate-piers before this house are very
fine, tall, and square, of mellowed red brick, surmounted by vases. These
vases superseded the stone balls in fashion at the end of the Jacobean
period. Hogarth is said to have been a frequent visitor to this house. In
the sixth house Dr. Weedon Butler, father of the Headmaster of Harrow,
kept a school, which was very well known for about thirty years. In the
next block we have the famous Queen's House, marked by the little
statuette of Mercury on the parapet. It is supposed to have been named
after Catherine of Braganza, but beyond some initials--C. R. (Catherine
Regina)--in the ironwork of the gate, there seems no fact in support of
this. The two Rossettis, Meredith, and Swinburne came here in 1862, but
soon parted company, and D. G. Rossetti alone remained. He decorated some
of the fireplaces with tiles himself; that in the drawing-room is still
inlaid with glazed blue and white Persian tiles of old design. In his
time it was called Tudor House, but when the Rev. H. R. Haweis (d. 1901)
came to live here, he resumed the older name of Queen's House. It is
supposed to have been built by Wren, and the rooms are beautifully
proportioned, panelled, and of great height.

The next house to this on the eastern side was occupied for many years by
the artistic family of the Lawsons. Thomas Attwood, a pupil of Mozart and
himself a great composer, died there in 1838. The house had formerly a
magnificent garden, to the mulberries of which Hazlitt makes allusion in
one of his essays. No. 18 was the home of the famous Don Saltero's
museum. This man, correctly Salter, was a servant of Sir Hans Sloane, and
his collection was formed from the overflowings of his master's. Some of
the curiosities dispersed by the sale in 1799 are still to be seen in the
houses of Chelsea families in the form of petrified seaweed and shells.
The museum was to attract people to the building, which was also a
coffee-house; this was at that time something of a novelty. It was first
opened in 1695. Sir Richard Steele, in the _Tatler_, says: "When I came
into the coffee-house I had not time to salute the company before my eye
was diverted by ten thousand gimcracks round the room and on the
ceiling." Catalogues of the curiosities are still extant, and one of them
is preserved in the Chelsea Public Library.

Of the remaining houses none have associations. The originals were too
small for the requirements of those who wished to live in such an
expensive situation, and within the last score of years they have been
pulled down and others built on their sites. One of these so destroyed
was called the Gothic House; in it lived Count D'Orsay, and it was most
beautifully finished both inside and out. The decorative work was
executed by Pugin, and has been described by those who remember it as
gorgeous. In another there was a beautiful Chippendale staircase, which,
it is to be feared, was ruthlessly chopped up. In the last house of all
was an elaborate ceiling after the style of Wedgwood. The doorway of this
house is now at No. 1.

The garden which lies in front of these houses adds much to their
picturesqueness in summer by showing the glimpses of old walls and red
brick through curtains of green leaves. In it, opposite to the house
where he used to live, there is a gray granite fountain to the memory of
Rossetti. It is surmounted by a bronze alto-relievo bust modelled by Mr.
F. Madox Brown.

A district old enough to be squalid, but not old enough to be
interesting, is enclosed by Smith and Manor Streets, running at right
angles to the Embankment. New red-brick mansions at the end of Flood
Street indicate that the miserable plaster-fronted houses will not be
allowed to have their own way much longer. No street has changed its name
so frequently as Flood Street. It was first called Pound Lane, from the
parish pound that stood at the south end; it then became Robinson's
Lane; in 1838 it is marked as Queen Street; and in 1865 it was finally
turned into Flood Street, from L. T. Flood, a parish benefactor, in whose
memory a service is still held every year in St. Luke's Church.

Oakley Street is very modern. In a map of 1838 there is no trace of it,
but only a great open space where Winchester House formerly stood. In No.
32 lives Dr. Phené, who was the first to plant trees in the streets of
London. Phené Street, leading into Oakley Crescent, is named after him.
The line of houses on the west side of Oakley Street is broken by a
garden thickly set with trees. This belongs to Cheyne House, the property
of Dr. Phené; the house cannot be seen from the street in summer-time.
The oldest part is perhaps Tudor, and the latest in the style of Wren.
One wall is decorated with fleurs-de-lys. In the garden was grown the
original moss-rose, a freak of Nature, from which all other moss-roses
have sprung. In the grounds was discovered a subterranean passage, which
Dr. Phené claims fixes the site of Shrewsbury or Alston House. It runs
due south, and indicates the site as adjacent to Winchester House on the
west side. Faulkner, writing in 1810, says: "The most ancient house now
remaining in this parish is situated on the banks of the river, not far
from the site of the Manor House built by King Henry VIII., and appears
to have been erected about that period. It was for many years the
residence of the Shrewsbury family, but little of its ancient splendour
now remains." He describes it as an irregular brick building, forming
three sides of a quadrangle. The principal room, which was wainscotted
with oak, was 120 feet long, and one of the rooms, supposed to have been
an oratory, was painted in imitation of marble. Faulkner mentions the
subterranean passage "leading towards Kensington," which Dr. Phené has
opened out.

Shrewsbury House was built in the reign of Henry VIII. by George, Earl of
Shrewsbury, who was succeeded in 1538 by his son Francis. The son of
Francis, George, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who succeeded in his turn, was
a very wealthy and powerful nobleman. He was high in Queen Elizabeth's
favour, and it was to his care that the captive Mary, Queen of Scots, was
entrusted. Though Elizabeth considered he treated the royal prisoner with
too much consideration, she afterwards forgave him, and appointed him to
see the execution of the death-warrant. He married for his second wife a
lady who had already had three husbands, each more wealthy than the last.
By the second of these, Sir William Cavendish, she had a large family.
Her husband left his house at Chelsea wholly to her. She outlived him
seventeen years, and with her immense wealth built the three magnificent
mansions of Chatsworth, Oldcotes, and Hardwick, and all these she left to
her son William Cavendish, afterwards created Baron Cavendish and Earl of
Devonshire. A son of a younger brother was created Marquis of Newcastle,
and his daughter and coheiress was Lady Jane, who brought her husband,
Charles Cheyne, such a large dower that he was enabled to buy the Manor
of Chelsea.

After the death of the Earl of Devonshire, Shrewsbury House became the
residence of his widow until her death in 1643. It then was held by the
Alstons, from whom it took its secondary name, and was finally in the
possession of the Tates, and was the seat of a celebrated wall-paper
manufactory. "The manufacture of porcelain acquired great celebrity. It
was established near the water-side.... Upon the same premises was
afterwards established a manufactory of stained paper." This seems to
point to Shrewsbury House as the original home of the celebrated Chelsea
china. But, on the other hand, all later writers point authoritatively to
Lawrence Street, at the corner of Justice Walk, as the seat of the china
manufacture. There seems to be some confusion as to the exact site of the
original works, for in "Nollekens and his Times" it is indicated as being
at Cremorne House, further westward. One Martin Lister mentions a china
manufactory in Chelsea as early as 1698, but the renowned manufactory
seems to have been started about fifty years later. The great Dr. Johnson
was fired with ambition to try his hand at this delicate art, and he went
again and again to the place to master the secret; but he failed, and one
can hardly imagine anyone less likely to have succeeded. The china
service in the possession of Lord Holland, known as Johnson's service,
was not made by him, but presented to him by the proprietors as a
testimony to his painstaking effort. The first proprietor was a Mr.
Nicholas Sprimont, and a jug in the British Museum, bearing date "1745
Chelsea," is supposed to be one of the earliest productions.

The first sale by auction took place in the Haymarket in 1754, when table
sets and services, dishes, plates, tureens, and épergnes were sold. These
annual sales continued for many years. In 1763 Sprimont attempted to
dispose of the business and retire owing to lameness, but it was not
until 1769 that he sold out to one Duesbury, who already owned the Derby
China Works, and eventually acquired those at Bow also.

The Chelsea china was very beautiful and costly. An old tradition is
mentioned in the "Life of Nollekens" that the clay was at first brought
as ballast in ships from China, and when the Orientals discovered what
use was being made of it, they forbade its exportation, and the
Englishmen had to be content with their own native clay. Nollekens says
that his father worked at the pottery, and that Sir James Thornhill had
furnished designs. The distinctive mark on the china was an anchor, which
was slightly varied, and at times entwined with one or two swords.
Walpole in 1763 says that he saw a service which was to be given to the
Duke of Mecklenburg by the King and Queen, and that it was very beautiful
and cost £1,200.

From the corner of Oakley Street to the church, Cheyne Walk faces a
second garden, in which there is a statue of Carlyle in bronze, executed
by the late Sir Edgar Boehm and unveiled in 1882. This locality is
associated with many famous men, though the exact sites of their houses
are not known. Here lived Sir Richard Steele and Sir James Northcote,
R.A. Somewhere near the spot Woodfall, the printer of the famous "Letters
of Junius," lived and died. A stone at the north-east corner of the
church (exterior) commemorates him. In the Chelsea Public Library is
preserved the original ledger of the _Public Advertiser_, showing how
immensely the sales increased with the publication of these famous

In this part there was a very old inn bearing the name The Magpie and
Stump. It was a quaint old structure, and the court-leet and court-baron
held sittings in it. In 1886 it was destroyed by a fire, and is now
replaced by a very modern structure of the same name. Further on there
are immense red-brick mansions called Carlyle Mansions, and then, at
right angles, there is Cheyne Row, the home for many years of one of
England's deepest and sincerest thinkers. Carlyle was the loadstar who
drew men of renown from all quarters of the civilized globe to this
somewhat narrow, dark little street in Chelsea. The houses are
extraordinarily dull, of dark brick, monotonously alike; they face a row
of small trees on the west side, and Carlyle's house is about the middle,
numbered 24 (formerly 5). A medallion portrait was put up by his admirers
on the wall; inscribed beneath it is: "Thomas Carlyle lived at 24, Cheyne
Row, 1834-81." The house has been acquired by trustees, and is open to
anyone on the payment of a shilling. It contains various Carlylean
relics: letters, scraps of manuscript, furniture, pictures, etc., and
attracts visitors from all parts of the world. There is no need to
expatiate on the life of the philosopher; it belongs not to Chelsea, but
to the English-speaking peoples of all countries. Here came to see him
Leigh Hunt, who lived only in the next street, and Emerson from across
the Atlantic; such diverse natures as Harriet Martineau and Tennyson,
Ruskin and Tyndall, found pleasure in his society.

At the north end of Cheyne Row is a large Roman Catholic church, built
1896. Upper Cheyne Row was for many years the home of Leigh Hunt. A small
passage from this leads into Bramerton Street. This was built in 1870
upon part of what were formerly the Rectory grounds, which by a special
Act the Rector was empowered to let for the purpose. Parallel to Cheyne
Row is Lawrence Street, and at the corner, facing the river, stands the
Hospital for Incurable Children. It is a large brick building, with four
fluted and carved pilasters running up the front. The house is four
stories high and picturesquely built. In 1889 it was ready for use. The
charity was established by Mr. and Mrs. Wickham Flower, and had been
previously carried on a few doors lower down in Cheyne Walk. Voluntary
subscriptions and donations form a large part of the income, and besides
this a small payment is required from the parents and friends of the
little patients. The hospital inside is bright and airy. The great wide
windows run down to the ground, and over one of the cots hangs a large
print of Holman Hunt's "Light of the World," a gift from the artist
himself, who formerly lived in a house on this site and in it painted the
original. The ages at which patients are received are between three and
ten, and the cases are frequently paralysis, spinal or hip disease.

Lawrence or Monmouth House stood on the north side of Lordship Yard. Here
Dr. Smollett once lived and wrote many of his works; one of the scenes of
"Humphrey Clinker" is actually laid in Monmouth House. The old parish
church stands at the corner of Church Street. The exterior is very
quaint, with the ancient brick turned almost purple by age; and the
monuments on the walls are exposed to all the winds that sweep up the
river. The square tower was formerly surmounted by a cupola, which was
taken down in 1808 because it had become unsafe. The different parts of
the church have been built and rebuilt at different dates, which makes it
difficult to give an idea of its age. Faulkner says: "The upper chancel
appears to have been rebuilt in the fifteenth century; the chapel of the
Lawrence family at the end of the north aisle appears to have been built
early in the fourteenth century, if we may judge from the form of the
Gothic windows, now nearly stopped up. The chapel at the west end of the
south aisle was built by Sir T. More about the year 1522, soon after he
came to reside in Chelsea. The tower was built between the years 1667 and

The interior is so filled up with tombs and a great gallery, that the
effect is most strange, and the ghosts of the past seem to be whispering
from every corner. There are few churches remaining so untouched and
containing so miscellaneous a record of the flying centuries as Chelsea
Old Church. A great gallery which hid Sir Thomas More's monument was
removed in 1824. Soon after the church was finished it was enlarged by
the addition of what is now known as the Lawrence Chapel on the north
side. This was built by Robert Hyde, called by Faulkner 'Robert de
Heyle,' who then owned the manor-house. In 1536 the manor was sold to
King Henry VIII., who parted with the old manor-house and the chapel to
the family of Lawrence. There are three monuments of the family still
existing in the chapel. The best known of these is that against the north
wall, representing Thomas Lawrence, the father of Sir John, kneeling with
folded hands face to face with his wife in the same attitude. Behind them
are respectively their three sons and six daughters. This is the monument
which Henry Kingsley refers to through the mouth of Joe Burton in his
novel "The Hillyars and the Burtons."

Not far from this is a large and striking monument to the memory of Sarah
Colvile, daughter of Thomas Lawrence. She is represented as springing
from the tomb clothed in a winding-sheet. The figure is larger than life
and of white marble, which is discoloured and stained by time. Overhead
there was once a dove, of which only the wings remain, and the canopy is
carved to represent clouds. The third Lawrence monument is a large tablet
of black marble set in a frame of white marble, exquisitely and richly
carved. This hangs against the eastern wall, and is inscribed to the
memory of Sir John Lawrence. A hagioscope opens from this chapel into the
chancel, and was discovered accidentally when an arch was being cut on
the north wall of the chancel to contain the tomb of Lord Bray. This tomb
formerly stood in the "myddest of the hyghe channcel," but being both
inconvenient and unsightly, it was removed to its present position in
1857. It possessed formerly two or three brasses, which have now
disappeared. This is the oldest tomb in the church, dated 1539.

The Lawrence Chapel was private property, and could be sold or given away
independently of the church. Between it and the nave--or, more
accurately, over the north aisle, at its entrance into the nave--is a
great arch which breaks the continuity of line in the arch of the
pillars. This is the Gervoise monument, and may have originally enclosed
a tomb. Of this, however, there is no evidence. In the chancel opposite
to the Bray tomb stands the monument of Sir Thomas More, prepared by
himself before his death, and memorable for the connection of the word
"heretics" with thieves and murderers, which word Erasmus afterwards
omitted from the inscription. More's crest, a Moor's head, is in the
centre of the upper cornice, and the coats-of-arms of himself and his two
wives are below. The inscription is on a slab of black marble, and is
very fresh, as it was restored in 1833. The question whether the body of
Sir Thomas More lies in the family vault will probably never be
definitely answered. Weever in his "Funeral Monuments" strongly inclines
to the belief that it is so. "Yet it is certain," he says, "that
Margaret, wife of Master Roper and daughter of the said Sir Thomas More,
removed her father's corpse not long after to Chelsea."

Sir Thomas More's chapel is on the south side of the chancel. It was to
his seat here that More himself came after service, in place of his
manservant, on the day when the King had taken his high office from him,
and, bowing to his wife, remarked with double meaning, "Madam, the
Chancellor has gone." The chapel contains the monuments and tombs of the
Duchess of Northumberland and Sir Robert Stanley. The latter is at the
east end, and stands up against a window. It is surmounted by three urns
standing on pedestals. The centre one of these has an eagle on the
summit, and is flanked by two female figures representing Justice and
Solitude in flowing draperies. The one holds a shield and crown, the
other a shield. In the centre pedestal is a man's head in alto-relievo,
with Puritan collar and habit. On the side-pedestals are carved the heads
of children. The whole stands on a tomb of veined marble with carved
edges, and slabs of black marble bear the inscriptions of Sir Robert
Stanley and two of his children. The tomb of the Duchess of
Northumberland which stands next, against the south wall, has been
compared to that of Chaucer in Westminster Abbey. This has a Gothic
canopy, and formerly contained two brasses, representing her eight sons
and five daughters kneeling, one behind the other, in the favourite style
of the time. The brass commemorating the sons has disappeared.

A little further south, in the aisle, formerly stood the tomb of A.
Gorges, son of Sir A. Gorges, who was possessor of the chapel for many
years. This blocked up the aisle and was taken to pieces. The black slab
which was on the top is set in the floor, and the brasses containing an
epitaph in doggerel rhyme, attributing all the merits in the universe to
the deceased, hang on the wall on the north side. The date of the chapel,
1528, is on the capital of one of the pillars supporting the arch which
divides the chapel from the nave. The capitals are beautifully executed,
though the design is grotesque. In one of them the rough end of stone is
left unfinished, as if the builder had been called hastily away and had
never been able to complete his task. The chapel was recently bought by
the church on the death of its owner, and is now inalienably possessed by
the parish.

Just below the south aisle is the Dacre tomb, the richest and most
striking in the church. It contains two life-size effigies of Lord and
Lady Dacre lying under a canopy which is supported by two pillars with
gilded capitals; above is a semicircular arch. The whole interior of the
arch and the background is most richly carved and gilded. Above the arch
are the Dacre coat-of-arms and two shields, while two smaller pillars,
wedge-shaped like Cleopatra's Needles, rise at each corner. At the feet
of the figures lie two dogs, and the effigy of a small child lies on a
marble slab below the level of its parents. By Lady Dacre's will certain
presentations to some almshouses in Westminster are left to the parish on
condition of the tombs being kept in good repair. The tomb was
redecorated and restored in 1868.

The south and west walls are covered with monuments, and careless feet
tread on inscribed stones in the aisle. On the northern wall below the
north aisle is a monument which immediately attracts attention from its
great size and striking design. It is that of Lady Jane Cheyne, daughter
of William, Duke of Newcastle. It is an effigy of Lady Jane in white
marble, larger than life-size; she lies in a half-raised position. Below
is a black marble tomb with lighter marble pillars. Overhead is a canopy
supported by two Corinthian columns. The inscription, which states it was
with her money her husband bought the Manor of Chelsea, is on a black
marble slab at the back. The monument is by Bernini.

All these tombs, with their wealth of carving and bold design, give a
rich and furnished look to the dark old church, an effect enhanced by the
tattered colours hanging overhead. The principal one of these colours was
executed by Queen Victoria and her daughters for the volunteers at
Chelsea when an invasion was expected. The shelf of chained books by a
southern window is interesting. These formerly stood against the west
wall, but were removed here for better preservation. They include a
"Vinegar" Bible, date 1717, a desk Prayer-Book, and Foxe's "Book of
Martyrs." The Communion-rails and pulpit are of oak, and the font of
white marble of a peculiarly graceful design. Outside in the south-east
corner of the churchyard is Sir Hans Sloane's monument. It is a funeral
urn of white marble, standing under a canopy supported by pillars of
Portland stone. Four serpents twine round the urn, and the whole forms a
striking, though not a beautiful, group.

The church has been the scene of some magnificent ceremonies, of which
the funeral of Lord Bray was notable. It was in this church that Henry
VIII. married Jane Seymour the day after the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Church Lane, near at hand, is very narrow. Dean Swift, who lodged here,
is perhaps one of the best-known names, and his friend Atterbury, who
first had a house facing the Embankment, afterwards came and lived
opposite to him. Thomas Shadwell, Poet Laureate, was associated with the
place, and also Bowack, whose "Antiquities of Middlesex," incomplete
though it is, remains a valuable book of reference. Bowack lived near the
Rectory, and not far from him was the Old White Horse Inn, famous for the
beauty of its decorative carving.

Petyt's school was next to the church. The name was derived from its
founder, who built it at his own expense for the education of poor
children in the beginning of the eighteenth century. William Petyt was a
Bencher of the Inner Temple, Keeper of the Records in the Tower, and a
prolific author. A tablet inscribed with quaint English, recording
Petyt's charity, still stands on the dull little block building of the
present century, which replaced the old school.

Dr. Chamberlayne was another famous inhabitant of Church Street. His
epitaph is on the exterior church wall beside those of his wife, three
sons, and daughter, the latter of whom fought on board ship against the
French disguised in male attire. Chamberlayne wrote and translated many
historical tracts, and his best-known work is the "Present State of
England" (1669). He was tutor to the Duke of Grafton, and later to Prince
George of Denmark, and was one of the original members of the Royal

The Rectory was built by the Marquis of Winchester. It was first used as
a Rectory in 1566. It is picturesque, having been added to from time to
time, and has a large old garden. The list of Rectors includes many
well-known men. Dr. Littleton, author of a Latin dictionary, was
presented to the living in 1669, and held it for twenty-five years. He
was succeeded by Dr. John King, whose manuscript account of Chelsea is
still extant. Reginald Heber, the father of the celebrated Bishop Heber,
came in 1766. Later on the Hon. and Rev. Dr. Wellesley, brother to the
first Duke of Wellington, was Rector from 1805, and still more recently
the Rev. Charles Kingsley, father of the two brothers who have made the
name of Kingsley a household word by the power of their literary talent.

The next turning out of the Embankment after Church Street is Danvers
Street, and an inscribed stone on the corner house tells that it was
begun in 1696. Danvers House, occupied, (some authorities say built,) by
Sir John Danvers in the first half of the seventeenth century, seems,
with its grounds, to have occupied almost the whole space from the King's
Road to the Embankment. Thus Paulton's Square and Danvers Street must
both be partly on its site. The gardens were laid out in the Italian
style, and attracted much notice. Sir John Danvers was knighted by James
I. After he had been left a widower twice and was past middle age, he
began to take an active part in the affairs of his time. He several times
protested against Stuart exactions, and during the Civil War took the
side of the Parliament. He was one of those who signed Charles I.'s
death-warrant. He married a third time at Chelsea, and died there in
April, 1655. His house was demolished in 1696. The house has gained some
additional celebrity from its having been one of the four supposed by
different writers to have been the dwelling of Sir Thomas More. This
idea, however, has been repeatedly shown to be erroneous. More's house
was near Beaufort Street.

The next opening from the Embankment to the King's Road is Beaufort
Street. There is no view of More's house known to be in existence, and,
as stated above, four houses have contended for the honour--Danvers,
Beaufort, Alston, and that once belonging to Sir Reginald Bray. Dr. King
went very carefully into the subject, and one of his manuscripts
preserved at the British Museum is "A letter designed for Mr. Hearn
respecting Sir Thos. More's House at Chelsea." His reasons cannot be
given better than in his own words:

"First, his grandson, Mr. Thomas More, who wrote his life ... says that
Sir Thomas More's house in Chelsea was the same which my lord of Lincoln
bought of Sir Robert Cecil. Now, it appears pretty plainly that Sir
Robert Cecil's house was the same which is now the Duke of Beaufort's,
for in divers places [are] these letters R.C., and also R.c.E., with the
date of the year, viz., 1597, which letters were the initials of his name
and his lady's, and the year 1597, when he new built, or at least new
fronted, it. From the Earl of Lincoln that house was conveyed to Sir
Arthur Gorges; from him to Lionel Cranford, Earl of Middlesex; from him
to King Charles I.; from the King to the Duke of Buckingham; from his
son, since the Restoration, to Plummer, a citizen, for debts; from the
said Plummer to the Earl of Bristol; and from his heirs to the Duke of
Beaufort, so that we can trace all the Mesne assignments from Sir Robert
Cecil to the present possessor."

He goes on to add that More built the south chancel (otherwise the
chapel) in the church, and that this belonged to Beaufort House until Sir
Arthur Gorges sold the house but retained the chapel. When Sir Thomas
More came to Chelsea he was already a famous man, high in the King's
favour. The house he lived in is supposed to have stood right across the
site of Beaufort Street, not very far from the river. It is unnecessary
here to sketch that life, already so well known and so often written, but
we can picture that numerous and united household which even the second
Lady More's mean and acrid temper was unable to disturb. Here royal and
notable visitors frequently came. The King himself, strolling in the
well-kept garden with his arm round his Chancellor's neck, would jest
pleasantly, and Holbein, in the dawn of his fame, would work for his
patron, unfolding day by day the promise of his genius. Bishops from
Canterbury, London, and Rochester came to confer with More. Dukes and
Lords were honoured by Sir Thomas's friendship before his fall. The barge
which so often carried its owner to pleasure or business lay moored on
the river ready to carry him that last sad journey to the Tower; and
sadder still, to bring back the devoted daughter when the execution was
accomplished, and later also when she bore her gruesome burden of a
father's head, said to have been buried with her in Chelsea Church.

After his death, More's estates were confiscated and granted to Sir
William Paulet, who with his wife occupied the house for about fifty
years. It then passed through the possession of the Winchesters and the
Dacres, the same whose tomb is such an ornament in the church, and by
will Lady Dacre bequeathed it to Sir Robert Cecil, who sold it (1597) to
the Earl of Lincoln, from which time we have the pedigree quoted from Dr.
King. On the death of the Duke of Beaufort, Sir Hans Sloane bought it for
£2,500 and pulled it down (1740).

Beaufort Street has not the width of Oakley Street, but it is by no means
narrow, and many of the houses, which are irregularly built, have gardens
and trees in front. A few yards further westward is Milman Street, so
called after Sir W. Milman, who died in 1713. The site of his house is
not definitely known, but the street marks it with sufficient accuracy.
It is interesting to reflect that these great houses, described in
detail, stood in their own grounds, which reached down to the water's
edge, whence their owners could go to that great London, of which Chelsea
was by no means an integral part, to transact their business or pleasure.
The water highway was by far the safest and most convenient in those days
of robbery and bad roads. "The Village of Palaces," as Chelsea has been
called by Mr. L'Estrange, is no purely fanciful title.

Milman Street at present does not look very imposing. The houses and
shops are squalid and mean. Near the King's Road end is the Moravian
burial-ground, which is cut off from the street by a door, over which are
the words "Park Chapel National School, Church of England." The
burial-ground is small in extent, and is a square enclosure surrounded by
wooden palings, and cut into four equal divisions by two bisecting paths.
One of its walls is supposed to be the identical one bounding Sir T.
More's garden. At one end it is overshadowed by a row of fine elms, but
in the plot itself there are no trees. What was formerly the chapel, at
the north end, is now used as a school-house. Now and then the Moravians
hold meetings there. The gravestones, laid horizontally in regular rows,
are very small, and almost hidden by the long grass. The married men are
in one quarter, and the bachelors in another, and the married and single
women are separated in the same way. On the side of the chapel is a slab
to the memory of Count Zinzendorf, who died in 1760.

Not far from the corner (eastward), as we turn on to the Embankment, is
the famous Lindsey House, which claims to be the second oldest house in
Chelsea, the first being Stanley House (see p. 55). The original house
was built by Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, some time before the middle of
the seventeenth century. De Mayerne was Court physician to Henry IV. and
Louis XIII. of France. About twenty years later it was bought by Montague
Bertie, second Earl of Lindsey, whose son rebuilt or altered it largely.
It remained in the Lindsey family until 1750. The family of the Windsors
leased it for some time, and one of them was married in the parish church
to the widow of the unjust Judge Jeffreys. In 1750 the Earl of Lindsey,
created Duke of Ancaster, sold it to the Count Zinzendorf mentioned
above, who intended to make it the nucleus for a Moravian settlement in
Chelsea. Ten years later he died, and some time after his death the
Moravians sold Lindsey House. It is now divided into five houses, and the
different portions have been so much altered, by the renovations of
various owners, that it is difficult to see the unity of design, but one
of the divisions retains the old name on its gateway. It is supposed that
Wren was the architect. Amongst other notable residents who lived here
were Isambard Brunel, the engineer; Bramah, of lock fame; Martin, the
painter, who was visited by Prince Albert; and Whistler, the artist.
Close by Lindsey Row the river takes an abrupt turn, making a little bay,
and here, below the level of the street, is a little creeper-covered
house where the great colourist Turner lived for many years, gaining
gorgeous sky effects from the red sunsets reflected in the water. The
house is numbered 118, and has high green wooden pailings. It is next to
a public-house named The Aquatic, and so will be easily seen. The turning
beyond is Blantyre Street. Turner's real house was in Queen Anne Street,
and he used to slip away to Chelsea on the sly, keeping his whereabouts
private, even from his nearest friends. He was found here, under the
assumed name of Admiral Booth, the day before his death, December 19,
1851. The World's End Passage is a remembrance of the time when the
western end of Chelsea was indeed the end of the world to the folks of
London. Beyond World's End Passage were formerly two houses of
note--Chelsea Farm, afterwards Cremorne Villa, and Ashburnham House. The
first of these lay near what is now Seaton Street. If we pass down
Blantyre Street, which for part of the distance runs parallel to World's
End Passage, we find three streets running into it at an obtuse angle.
The first of these, from the King's Road end, is Seaton Street. It was
just beyond this that the Earl of Huntingdon, about the middle of the
eighteenth century, built Chelsea Farm. His widow, who lived there after
his death, was connected with the Methodist movement, and built many
chapels. She left the farm in 1748. It was then sold, and passed through
various hands, until it came into the possession of Baron Dartrey,
afterwards Viscount Cremorne, from whom it gained its later name. Lady
Cremorne was frequently visited by Queen Charlotte. This Lady Cremorne
was a descendant of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. After her
death the villa and grounds were sold. In 1845 the place was opened as
Cremorne pleasure-gardens. These gardens, though famous, never rivalled
successfully those of Ranelagh, at the eastern extremity of Chelsea. They
were only open for thirty-two years, but during that time acquired the
reputation for being the resort of all the rowdies in the neighbourhood.
The noise made by the rabble passing along the river side after the
closing at nights caused great annoyance to the respectable inhabitants,
and finally led to the suppression of the gardens. L'Estrange says that
the site extended over the grounds of Ashburnham as well as Cremorne

Cremorne Road is an offshoot of Ashburnham Road. Ashburnham House was
built in 1747 by Dr. Benjamin Hoadley, son of the Bishop of that name,
and author of "The Suspicious Husband." However, the house is remembered,
not by his name, but by that of its second purchaser, the Earl of
Ashburnham, who had here a collection of costly paintings. The grounds
were very well laid out, and adorned with statues.

Lots Road, running parallel to the river, retains in its name a memory
of the "lots" of ground belonging to the manor, over which the
parishioners had Lammas rights.

Burnaby Street, running out of it, is named after a brother of Admiral
Sir William Burnaby, who lived for some time in the neighbourhood. Beyond
is Stadium Street, named after Cremorne House when it was used as a
national club, and bore the alternative name of The Stadium. To the south
of Lots Road are the wharves of Chelsea and Kensington. Chelsea Creek
runs in here, cutting past the angle of Lots Road and turning northward
to the King's Road, where it is crossed by Stanley Bridge. The West
London railway-line has its Chelsea station just above the bridge.

Even this remote corner of Chelsea is not without its historical
associations. Just across the bridge, on the Fulham side, but usually
spoken of as belonging to Chelsea, is the old Sandford Manor House,
supposed to have been the home of Nell Gwynne. This house is connected
with Addison, who wrote from here many beautiful letters to little Lord
Warwick, who became his stepson on his marriage with the Dowager Countess
in 1716. In one of these he says: "The business of this is to invite you
to a concert of music, which I have found in a neighbouring wood. It
begins precisely at six in the evening, and consists of a blackbird, a
thrush, a robin redbreast and a bullfinch. There is a lark that, by way
of overture, sings and mounts until she is almost out of hearing ... and
the whole is concluded by a nightingale."

It would be difficult to find a wood affording such a concert in the
vicinity of Chelsea Creek now.


Chelsea may be roughly divided into two great triangles, having a common
side in the King's Road. Allusion has now been made to all the southern
half, and there remains the northern, which is not nearly so interesting.
Beginning at the west end where the last part finished, we find,
bordering the railway, St. Mark's College and Schools. The house of the
Principal is Stanley House, the oldest remaining in the parish. There has
been some confusion between this and Milman House, as both were the
property of Sir Robert Stanley, the former coming into his possession by
his marriage with the daughter of Sir Arthur Gorges. The Stanley monument
in More's chapel will be also recalled in this connection. Stanley House
as it now stands was built in 1691, and is not at all picturesque. The
original building, which preceded it, was known as Brickills, and was
leased by Lady Stanley from her mother, Lady Elizabeth Gorges. In 1637,
when Lady Gorges died, she left the house and grounds to her daughter by
will, and the Stanleys lived there until 1691, when the last male
descendant died. At this time the present house was built. The Arundels
occupied it first, and after them Admiral Sir Charles Wager, and then the
Countess of Strathmore. It was purchased from her by a Mr. Lochee, who
kept a military academy here. Among the later residents were Sir William
Hamilton, who built a large hall to contain the original casts of the
Elgin Marbles. These casts form a frieze round the room, and detached
fragments are hung separately. This room alone in the house is not
panelled. The panelling of the others was for many years covered with
paper, which has been gradually removed. The drawing-room door, which
faces the entrance in the hall, is very finely carved. The house and
grounds were bought from Sir W. Hamilton in 1840 by the National Society,
at the instigation of Mr. G. F. Mathison, whose untiring efforts resulted
in the foundation of St. Mark's College for the training of
school-masters. The first Principal was the Rev. Derwent Coleridge, son
of S. T. Coleridge. His daughter Christabel has given a charming account
of the early days of St. Mark's in a little book published in the
Jubilee year. In the early part of 1841 ten students were residents in
the college. The chapel was opened two years later, in May, 1843.

The Chapel has always been famous for its music and singing. It was among
the first of the London churches to have a choral service. The students
now number 120, and a large majority of these take Holy Orders. The
grounds are kept in beautiful order, and the great elms which overshadow
the green lawns must be contemporary with the house.

The King's Road was so named in honour of Charles II., and it was
notorious in its early days for footpads and robbers. In the eighteenth
century the Earl of Peterborough was stopped in it by highwaymen, one of
whom was discovered to be a student of the Temple, who lived "by play,
sharping, and a little on the highway." There was an attempt made at
first to keep the road for the use of the Royal Family, and later on,
those who had the privilege of using it had metal tickets given to them,
and it was not opened for public traffic until 1830.

At no part of its length can King's Road claim to show any fine vista,
and at the west end the buildings are particularly poor and squalid. In
Park Walk stands Park Chapel, an old-fashioned church with a gallery in
no particular style of architecture. It was founded in 1718, and in it
General Gordon received the Holy Communion before he left for Khartoum.
Park Walk is marked on Hamilton's Survey as Lovers' Walk, and forms the
western boundary of the ancient Lord Wharton's Park, which extended from
the King's Road to Fulham Road and contained forty acres. Faulkner says
that it was part of the estate purchased by Sir Thomas More. There was an
attempt made in 1721 to encourage the manufacture of raw silk; for this
purpose the park was planted with mulberry-trees. The scheme, however,
failed. The park is now thickly covered with houses; its eastern side was
bounded by the "Road to the Cross Tree"--in other words, to what was
called the Queen's Elm. This name still survives in a public-house at the
north corner of what is now Church Street. It was derived from a
tradition that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth stood here to shelter from a
shower under a great elm-tree, accompanied by her courtier Lord Burleigh.
The tree is mentioned in the parish books in 1586. At the top of Church
Street, near the Fulham Road, there is a high stone wall enclosing the
Jews' Burial-ground. The graves lie in long rows, but are not divided
according to sex as with the Moravians. Overlooking the burial-ground is
the Hospital for Women founded in 1871. It is a red-brick building with
ornate stone facing. Beyond it is the Consumption Hospital, which is
only an off-shoot of the main building over the road in the borough of
Kensington. Arthur Street (formerly Charles Street), a few yards further
on, leads us into the South Parade, which forms the northern side of
Trafalgar Square. The square is wide, with a garden in the centre. At the
south-western corner it is adjacent to Carlyle Square, which faces the
King's Road.

This is a most picturesque little square with a country-like profusion of
trees in its green garden. On the eastern side the road through Trafalgar
Square runs on under the name of Manresa Road. This is lined with
studios, and abounds in artists and sculptors.

In Manresa Road are the Chelsea Public Library and the Polytechnic for
South-west London north of the river. The latter cannot be claimed
exclusively by Chelsea, and therefore is not described in detail. The
library was opened temporarily in 1887, and by 1891 the new building was
ready. The librarian is Mr. J. H. Quinn, who has been there since the
inauguration. The rooms have, since the opening, been greatly improved,
and the library is now exceptionally interesting. On the ground-floor is
a gallery open from 3 to 9 p.m. every week-day, except Wednesday, when
the time of opening is two hours later. Here there is a collection of
water-colour paintings and old prints illustrative of old Chelsea, and
anyone who has taken any interest in the magnificent old mansions that
made Chelsea a village of palaces will be well advised to go to see what
these buildings were actually like. In the gallery also are cases
containing the Keats collection, deposited by Sir Charles Dilke during
his lifetime, but at his death to go to Hampstead, on account of the
poet's connection with that place. Here are to be seen the editions of
Shakespeare and Bacon annotated by Keats' own hands, and his
love-letters; also a letter from his publishers, abusing him furiously,
which shows how much the contemporary judgment of the poems differed from
that of posterity.

The reference-room in the library upstairs is exceptionally fine, and
especial care has been taken to make the local topographical department
as rich as possible. Among the volumes of the greatest value are Bowack's
"Middlesex," which formerly belonged to Lord Brabourne; Faulkner's
two-volume edition of "Chelsea," which has been "grangerized," and is
illustrated by innumerable portraits, letters, views, etc., and in the
process has been expanded into four large quarto volumes. There is also
the original manuscript of Faulkner's account of the Royal Military
Asylum and the Royal College and Hospital, with all the author's

Manresa Road runs into the King's Road, and after the next turning
eastward there is an old burial-ground, given to the parish by Sir Hans
Sloane, and consecrated 1736. Cipriani, the engraver, a foundation member
of the Royal Academy, is buried here, and there is a monument erected to
his memory by his friend and contemporary, Bartolozzi. When the Sydney
Street burial-ground was opened in 1810, this was used for interment no
more. Chelsea Workhouse stands just behind it, and the old women use the
burial-ground for exercise. It is a quaint sight to see them through the
tall iron railings wandering about dressed in their bright red-and-black
check shawls, blue cotton dresses, and white frilled caps. The workhouse
was begun in 1787, but has been largely added to since then. The
Guardians' offices adjoin the burial-ground, and on the opposite side of
the street, a little further eastward, is the Town Hall, with a row of
urns surmounting its parapet. The borough Councillors have their offices

Further on is Sydney Street, formerly Robert Street, running out of the
King's Road on the north side. Here stands St. Luke's Church. The
foundation-stone of this building was laid in 1820, and it was
consecrated in 1824. For many years previously a discussion concerning
the desirability of further church accommodation had been going on. The
church was built on the old burial-ground, and the tombstones which were
removed in the course of erection are placed in long rows round a low
wall. The building is of Bath stone, and has flying buttresses and a high
square tower. In the interior it presents the greatest possible contrast
to the old church. Here there is great height, the arches are pointed,
the stonework light. The spire is 142 feet high, and the interior 130
feet long by 60 broad. From the interior vault of the roof to the
pavement the height is 60 feet. Over the Communion-table is "The
Entombment of Christ," an oil-painting by J. Northcote, R.A. To the north
of the church lies Pond Place, a remembrance of the time when a "pond and
pits" stood on Chelsea Common hereabouts.

Not far from the top of Sydney Street, in the Fulham Road, is the Cancer
Hospital, founded by William Marsden, M.D., in 1851. It was only on a
small scale at first, but public donations and subscriptions now enable
100 patients to receive all the care and treatment necessary to alleviate
their terrible infliction, and more than 1,500 are treated as
out-patients. The chief fact about the hospital is that it is absolutely
free. The disease itself is the passport of admittance. In this respect
there is only one other hospital in London like it, and that is the Royal
Free Hospital in Gray's Inn Road, which was founded by the same
benefactor. The small chapel attached, in which there is daily service,
was built about ten years ago, and consecrated by the Bishop of London.
There is almost an acre of garden. Following the Fulham Road eastwards,
we come to Marlborough Road. There is a tradition that the Duke of
Marlborough at one time occupied a house here, but there seems to be no
truth in it whatever.

Cale Street was named after one Judith Cale, who was a benefactor to the
parish. South of it we have Jubilee Place, recalling the jubilee of
George III., and Markham Street and Markham Square. At the corner of the
former is an old house still called the Box Farm, and bearing the date
1686. In Markham Square is a large Congregational chapel, opened in

Cadogan Street contains St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, almshouses,
school and cemetery. The actual fabric of this church was founded in
1879, but the mission of which it is the development began in 1812, and
was at first established on the opposite side of the road. The building
is of stone, and is in the Early English style, from designs by J.
Bentley. Two oil-paintings on the pillars at the entrance to the chancel
are by Westlake. There is also a large oil-painting over the altar. A
statue to the memory of the founder of the mission, the Abbé Voyaux de
Franous, stands in the northern aisle, and a small chapel on the
southern side has a magnificent carved stone altarpiece by the younger
Pugin, supposed to have been executed from a design by his father.

Halsey Street and Moore Street lead northward into Milner Terrace, in
which stands the modern church of St. Simon Zelotes. We now get back into
the aristocratic part of Chelsea in Lennox Gardens, which open out of
Milner Terrace.

At the west end of Pont Street stands the Church of St. Columba, opened
1884. Here the services are conducted according to the use of the
Established Church of Scotland in London. The building, which is of red
brick with stone dressings, is in the style of the thirteenth century. It
was opened in 1884, and seats about 800 people. The pillars in the
interior are of granite, and the pulpit of carved Aubigné stone. There
are several stained-glass windows. The architect was Mr. Granderson.

Pont Street is built entirely of red brick, the houses being in a
modernized seventeenth century style. From Pont Street opens out Cadogan
Square. This square is very modern, and stands on part of the site of
Princes' Cricket-ground.

Hans Place deserves more special mention. "L. E. L." (Letitia Elizabeth
Landon), the poetess who was "dying for a little love," spent the greater
part of her life here. She was born at No. 25, and educated at No. 22,
both of which have now disappeared. Shelley stayed here for a short
time, and Miss Mitford was educated at a school (No. 2) which turned out
several literary pupils. Hans Place was laid out in 1777 by a Mr.
Holland, who built a great house called the Pavilion, as a model for the
Prince of Wales's Pavilion at Brighton; it was pulled down in 1879. The
grounds comprised twenty-one acres of land, and contained a large piece
of ornamental water. To the west of Hans Place, in Walton Street, is St.
Saviour's Church, founded in 1839. A handsome chancel was added in 1890,
and opened by the Bishop of London. At the same time a new organ was
added. The chief feature of interest is a fine oak screen, on which the
carving represents the nine orders of angels.

On the east is Pavilion Road: the derivation of the name is obvious. It
runs parallel to the whole length of Sloane Street. Sloane Street itself
is exactly a mile long from the square to Knightsbridge. The Church of
Holy Trinity, just above the square, is in an unusual style of
architecture; its two tall towers of red brick faced with stone add an
imposing detail to the architecture of the street. The first church was
consecrated in 1830, but pulled down in 1889 and replaced by the present
one, due to the generosity of Earl Cadogan. The architect was F. R.
Sedding, F.R.I.B.A. Within, the building is very light and high, and all
the fittings are exquisitely finished. The pulpit is of marble with
inlaid panels. The east window is very fine, and the stained glass was
designed by Burne-Jones, R.A., and supplied by Morris. The wrought-iron
gates and brass panels on the chancel stalls are worth notice, also the
graceful figure supporting the lectern, which is the work of H. H.
Armstead, R.A. The handsome organ screen of iron, gilded over, and
oxidized copper is a memorial gift, and the frontal picture on the chapel
altar is by Reynolds Stephens.

East of Sloane Street is the aristocratic Lowndes Square, of which the
name is evidently derived from a former owner, for on a map of Chelsea,
1741-45, this spot is marked "Lowndes, Esq." Cadogan Place lies a little
further south, and is open to Sloane Street on one side. Chelsea House,
Earl Cadogan's town residence, is in the north-east corner, and is marked
by its stone facing in contrast with its brick neighbours. Below Cadogan
Place is a network of little, unimportant streets. Byron stayed in Sloane
Terrace with his mother in 1799, when he came to London for medical
advice about his foot. The Court theatre in the square has been erected
within the last thirty years. Sloane Gardens runs parallel to Lower
Sloane Street, and behind is Holbein Place, from which we started on our
perambulations. We have now made a complete circuit through Chelsea,
looking into every street and commenting on every building or site of
importance in the parish.



Chelsea College originally stood on the site of the present Royal
Hospital, and was founded by Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter in 1610,
as a school for polemical discussion. It was nicknamed by Laud
"Controversy College." King James I. called it after himself, and gave
all the timber required for building purposes from Windsor Forest free of
charge, and, according to the manner of Princes in those days, issued
royal letters inciting his subjects to contribute to his own scheme.
Sutcliffe spent £3,000 on the portion of the building which was
completed. The original intention was to have two large quadrangles
ornamented by towers and cloisters, but only one eighth of this was ever
completed--one side only of the first quadrangle, "which," remarks
Fuller, "made not of free stone, though of free timber, cost--oh the
dearness of church and college work!--full three thousand pounds!"

An Act of Parliament, secured by the King as an endowment for the
college, empowered the authorities to raise water from the Hackney
Marshes to supply the City of London; but this was rendered useless by
the success of Sir Hugh Middleton's scheme for supplying London with
water in the same year. The constitution of the college included a
Provost and twenty Fellows, of whom eighteen were to be in Holy Orders.
Dean Sutcliffe himself was the first Provost. In 1616 the building
stopped altogether for want of funds.

The King issued a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury exhorting him to
stir up the clergy to incite the people to contribute. This had little
effect. Probably collections then going on for repairs at St. Paul's
militated against it. Sutcliffe died in 1628, leaving to the College four
farms in Devonshire, the benefit of an extent on Sir Lewis Stukeley's
estate, valued at between three and four thousand pounds, a share in the
_Great Neptune_ (a ship at Whitby), a tenement at Stoke Rivers, his books
and goods in the College, and part of his library at Exeter, all subject
to the proviso "that the work of the college be not hindered."

In 1669 the King presented the buildings to the newly-incorporated Royal
Society, but they were in such a ruinous condition that the society could
make no use of them, and after thirteen years resold the site to Sir
Stephen Fox, for the use of the King. The buildings were then destroyed
to make way for the present Royal Hospital.


The solid and yet harmonious building designed by Sir Christopher Wren is
the nucleus of Chelsea. Indeed, the inhabitants locally call the hospital
itself "Chelsea." In all prints later than the end of the seventeenth
century the central cupola rising above the two great wings forms a
conspicuous landmark. In the days of William and Mary the gardens sloping
down to the Thames were laid out in the stiff, formal Dutch style.
Canals, in the shape of a capital L, with the foot reaching to the river,
intersected prim gardens, and rows of little limes, pollarded like
willows, edged the banks. It was only in 1852 that these canals were
finally filled in, and the limes transplanted in the avenue bordering
Ranelagh Gardens, where they still flourish. The Court favourite of
Charles II., Nell Gwynne, whose name is strongly associated with Chelsea,
is said to have suggested the idea of this home for aged and infirm
soldiers. Evelyn evidently considers the merit to belong to Sir Stephen
Fox, who certainly was a great benefactor. It has been suggested that
the latter persuaded the favourite to use her influence with the King,
which seems probable. The idea, at all events, commended itself to
Charles, who accordingly set about getting his subjects' money to carry
it out. He gave £6,787 odd from unsupplied secret service money. To this,
Tobias Rustat, an under-keeper of the Royal Palace of Hampton Court, and
yeoman of the robes to Charles II., described by Evelyn as "page of the
back stairs, a very simple, ignorant, but honest and loyal creature,"
contributed £1,000. However simple this man was, his simplicity
manifested itself in a commendable direction. He is said to have given
away his whole fortune in charity. It is to him we owe the statue of
Charles II. in Roman dress which stands in the centre of the Hospital
court. This statue is made of bronze, and there is a companion one of
James II., a gift from the same benefactor, in Whitehall. Walpole
attributes one of these to Grinling Gibbons, but which one is uncertain.

Sir Stephen Fox had been faithful to King Charles II. during his exile,
and at the Restoration he received the reward of his services. He sat in
the House of Commons from then until his death, twice representing
Westminster. He was made Paymaster-General of the Forces and one of the
Lords of the Treasury. He seems to have been an active-minded man, with
considerable business propensity. He devised a scheme for paying the
troops out of his private purse, and levying a certain percentage on them
for the convenience. As the pay of the army was much in arrears, and at
all times irregular, this arrangement was thankfully accepted. The King
saw in it the germ of an idea by which he might raise money for the
Hospital. Accordingly, in 1683 he directed by letters of Privy Seal that
one third of the money raised by imposing a poundage on the troops should
go to the Hospital. He also added a clause to the effect that this was to
be retrospective, to take effect from 1681. Hence the first haul amounted
to over £20,000. Emboldened by success, Charles in the following year
added to his demands one day's pay from every man in the army.

But the building of the Hospital was more expensive than he had
anticipated. It cost altogether £150,000, and when finished it would need
an endowment. Charles had, therefore, recourse to the Stuart device of
stirring up the people to give, by means of letters to the clergy, but
without result, and in 1686 he directed that two-thirds of the army
poundage should go to the continuance of the building, and finally that
the whole should be devoted to this purpose after deductions for
necessary expenses.

James II. carried on the design of his predecessor during his short
reign, but the building was not completed until 1694, under William and
Mary. Sir Stephen Fox became chairman of the first Board of
Commissioners, an office which has been ever since attached to the

Some legacies have been bequeathed to the Hospital since the foundation,
and various sums of unclaimed prize-money were also applied to this
object, amounting in the aggregate to nearly £600,000. The income at
present drawn from the above sources is a mere trifle in comparison with
the expenditure, only amounting to little over £3,000 yearly.

The building--which is wonderfully well adapted for its object, being, in
fact, a barracks, and yet a permanent home--was, when completed, just as
it is at present, without the range of outbuildings in which are the
Secretary's offices, etc., and one or two outbuildings which were added
in the beginning of the present century. The out-pensioners were not
included in the original scheme, but when the building was ready for
occupation, it was round that nearly one hundred applicants must be
disappointed owing to want of room. These men received, accordingly, a
small pension while waiting for vacancies. From this small beginning has
sprung an immense army of out-pensioners in all parts of the world,
including natives who have served with the British flag, and the roll
contains 84,500 names. The allowances vary from 5s. to 1½d. a day, the
latter being paid to natives. The usual rate is about 1s. for a private,
and 2s. 6d. for a sergeant. The in-pensioners, of whom 540 are at Chelsea
and 150 at the sister hospital of Kilmainham in Ireland, receive sums
varying from one shilling to a penny a day for tobacco money, and are
"victualled, lodged, and clothed" in addition. They have rations of cocoa
and bread-and-butter for breakfast; tea and bread-and-butter in the
evening; mutton for dinner five days in the week, beef one day, and beef
or bacon the remaining one. The allowance of meat is thirteen ounces, and
the bread one pound, per diem. Besides this they have potatoes and
pudding. They are clothed in dark blue in the winter, the coats being
replaced by scarlet ones in the summer. Peaked caps are worn usually, and
cocked hats with full dress. H. Herkomer's picture "The Last Muster" is
too well known to need more than a passing comment. The scene it
represents is enacted every Sunday in the Hospital at Chelsea. Twenty
thousand men have ended their days peacefully in the semi-military life
which in their long service has become second nature to them, and 500,000
have passed through the list of out-pensioners.

The establishment is now kept up by annual Parliamentary grants, of
which the first vote, for £550, was passed in 1703. Up to 1873 sums
varying from £50,000 to £100,000 were voted annually, but these were
embodied with the army votes. Since that year the Hospital grants have
been recorded separately. They amount to three and three-quarter
millions, but part of this is repaid by the Indian Government in
consideration of the men who have served in the Indian Army. In 1833 the
levies from the poundage of the army ceased.

The annual expenditure of the Hospital now equals £1,800,000, and 98 per
cent. of this goes to the out-pensioners. In 1894 the question was raised
as to whether the money now supplied to the in-pensioners could not be
better used in increasing the amount of the out-pensions. A committee was
appointed to "inquire into the origin and circumstances attending the
formation of Chelsea and Kilmainham, and whether their revenues could not
be more advantageously used for the benefit of the army." Numbers of the
old soldiers themselves, as well as the Governor and all the Hospital
officials, were examined. One or two of the old men seemed to imagine
that they would prefer a few pence a day to spend as they pleased instead
of shelter and food, but the majority were decisive in their opinion that
on no attainable pension could they be so comfortable as they were at
present. Consequently the committee embodied their resolution in the
following words: "That no amount of increased pension that it would be
practicable to give would enable the men to be cared for outside the
Hospital as they are cared for at present."

The life led by the old men is peculiar, partaking as it does somewhat of
a military character. The side-wings of the Hospital, built of red brick
faced with stone, and darkened by age, are 360 feet in length and four
stories in height. Each story contains one ward, which runs the whole
length of the wing. The wide, shallow old staircase, the high doors, the
wainscot, are all of oak coloured by age. The younger men and the least
infirm occupy the highest wards, which look out upon the quadrangles by
means of windows on the roof. Each ward contains about five-and-twenty
men, including two sergeants, who have rather larger apartments than the
rest, one at each end. An open space, like the between-decks of a ship,
occupies half the longitudinal space, and the other half is partitioned
off into separate cubicles containing a bed and a box, and these are open
at the top and into the room. There is a large stove and one or two
high-backed settles in each ward. Here the old fellows sit and smoke and
warm up any food they have reserved from the last meal. One or two have
attempted to furnish their cubicles with pictures cut from the
illustrated papers, but they do not seem to care much, as a rule, for
anything but warmth and a pipe.

All the Waterloo veterans have died out, but Crimea and Indian Mutiny men
there are in plenty. At each end of the wings are the staircases, which
lead into passage halls. At the extreme end of the eastern wing is the
Governor's house, built in exactly the same style as the rest of the
wing, and looking like part of it.

In the Governor's house there is a magnificent state-room, 37 feet in
length and 27 in width. It has the immense height of 27 feet, occupying
two complete stories. The effect of height within the room is, however,
diminished by a cornice which projects quite a foot all round, about
two-thirds of the way up. The ceiling, which has been frequently alluded
to by writers on Chelsea, but never fully described, has an immense oval
in the centre, surrounding a circle of acorns and oak-leaves, from the
middle of which the chandelier is suspended. On either side of this are
two smaller circles, containing the letters G.R. and C.R. intertwined.
The oval does not quite touch the walls of the room, and at either end
there are the letters J.R., surrounded by a semicircular device of
leaves, surmounted by a crown. At each side of the oval are the national
arms. In every one of the four corners is a wreath of roses,
passion-flowers, and fruit in very heavy relief, and the interstices are
filled by guns, arms, and accoutrements. The proportions of the room may
be best understood by the statement that there are three windows at the
end and four at the sides. The walls are all panelled and disfigured by
hideous light pink paint, done, probably, in the same period of taste
when an attempt was made to whitewash the statue of bronze in the court
to make it look like marble! This disfigurement extends even to the
magnificent trophy of arms and accoutrements carved round the great
mirror over the mantelpiece, and, of course, supposed to be the work of
the great Gibbons. The fireplace and mantelpiece are of white marble,
with an inner setting of veined marble. The edges of many of the panels
on the walls are also carved. The magnificent series of pictures give
character and dignity to the room. Occupying almost two-thirds of the
north end is an oil-painting of King Charles I. and his family, by
Vandyck, in 1632. There is a mournful expression on all the faces, even
those of the two small children in the front. On the east wall, on one
side of the fireplace, are large oil-paintings of George III. and his
consort, Caroline, by Allan Ramsay; and on the other a copy of
Winterhalter's picture of Queen Victoria as Empress of India, by Hanson
Walker, R.A.

Between the southern windows are portraits of King James II. and King
Charles II., by Sir Godfrey Kneller and Sir Peter Lely respectively. As
the windows are set very deeply in the walls, the light is bad, and these
magnificent pictures are not seen to advantage. Occupying similar
positions on the west are life-size portraits of George I., by Sir
Godfrey Kneller; George II. and his consort, Caroline, by Enoch Seeman.
Thus the fair, placid Caroline smiles down from the wall not many hundred
yards from the house where she so often came to consult with the potent
Sir Robert Walpole on the affairs of the nation and the liaisons of the

All the pictures in the room are the official property of successive
Governors. The last three mentioned were bequeathed by William Evans in
1739. We can pass from this room through the vestibule, and along the
wards, and thus reach the central wing, and pass under the colonnade into
the hall beneath the cupola, without once going into the outer air. From
this central hall open off the chapel and great hall on the east and west
sides respectively. In this central hall it is possible to look right up
into the hollow interior of the cupola at an immense height. Both hall
and chapel are considerably raised above the ground-level, and are
reached by a flight of steps. They are of the same dimensions--108 feet
by 37 feet--but, as the roof of the hall is flat, and that of the chapel
hollowed out, the former looks much larger.

In the 'History of the Diocese of London' Newcourt gives the following
quotation from the Bishop of London's Registry: 'The chappel of this
Hospital (which is a very large and stately one, as is also the hall,
which is of the same dimensions) is 108 feet long, and 37 feet and 9
inches wide ... consecrated by the Right Reverend Father in God, Henry,
Lord Bishop of London, on Sunday, August 30, 1691.' The prelate here
referred to was Bishop Compton.

The chapel is paved with black and white marble, and all the fittings and
wainscoting are of oak. The altar-rails and the side of the wainscot
compartments are carved by Grinling Gibbons. Over the altar is an immense
painting, made to fit the apse-like end. It represents the Resurrection,
and was executed by Sebastian Ricci. The altar itself is heavy and
ugly--a great oak canopy supported by Corinthian columns in oak. The
feature of the chapel is, however, the number of standards which are
suspended from either wall all down the nave. The greater number were
transferred here from the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, and India House, by
order of King William IV., in 1835. Captain J. Ford, to whose laborious
and painstaking work is due the record of the tombstones in the old
burial-ground, made also a list of these flags, and drawings of those
recognisable. This collection was purchased by Queen Victoria, who caused
it to be made into a book, and presented it to the Hospital, adding an
autograph inscription. The flags are chiefly American and French. There
are also several French eagles and some native Indian flags. On the
latter the mark of a hand, supposed by the natives to be the impress of
their chief's hand, recorded by supernatural agency, can be clearly seen.
Every Sunday all the veterans who are not disabled by ill-health or
infirmity take their places in the body of the chapel, almost filling it.
Visitors and the Hospital officials sit in transverse pews of an
old-fashioned shape, which run down the sides of the walls. The organ,
presented by Major Ingram in 1691-92, is in a gallery at the west end,
and immediately beneath the gallery on the right-hand side is the
Governor's pew.

The Chaplain is the Rev. J. H. S. Moxley. The service is short and
simple, and at its conclusion the old men all march out together before
the visitors leave. The service of plate presented by James II. is valued
at £500. It includes three flagons, four chalices, six salvers, and a
pair of candlesticks, all of silver-gilt. After service dinner is the
order of the day, and a visit to the kitchens, fitted with all the latest
modern improvements, is necessary. It does not seem as if the regimen
were very strictly adhered to. Great savoury pies of mutton and kidney,
roast sirloin, and roast pork, with baked potatoes, are allotted to the
various messes, to be followed by steaming plum-puddings.

The men do not dine in hall, as they used to do, but those who are on
orderly duty wait there to receive the rations, and then carry them up to
their comrades in the wards to be divided. The messes vary in number;
some contain eight, some ten, some even fourteen. On either side of the
central gangway in the hall are tables where the old men can sit and
smoke, and play dominoes, cards, and bagatelle. There is a raised daïs at
the western end, in the centre of which, facing the door, is a bust of
Queen Victoria, and right across the end of the room, and continuing for
the width of the daïs, on the sides is an immense allegorical painting of
Charles II., with the Hospital in the background. This was executed by
Antonio Verrio and Henry Cooke. All round the panels of the hall hang
portraits of military commanders, with the dates and names of the battles
in which they have taken prominent parts. These were collected by a
former Governor of the Hospital, General Sir J. L. Pennefather, G.C.B.
Above them are other standards tattered beyond recognition and hanging
mournfully over the heads of the men below. At the east end is a large
painting of the Duke of Wellington in allegorical style. The
court-martial on the conduct of General Whitelock was held in this hall;
here the Duke of Wellington lay in state for seven days from the 10th to
the 17th of November, 1852; and several courts of inquiry have been held.
For some years it was used as a place of examination for military
candidates, but this was rightly considered to be an abuse, and was
discontinued in 1869. Formerly a dining-room, the hall is now a
recreation-room, and must be a great boon to those whose wards lie up
four flights of stairs.

Passing down the steps, through the vestibule, and under the colonnade on
the south front, we see two monuments to the men of the _Birkenhead_ and
the _Europa_. The loss of the former in 1852 has often been quoted as an
heroic instance of self-command; when the ship struck, the men went down
standing shoulder to shoulder as if on parade. Their names are all
inscribed here. The _Europa_ was burnt at sea, and the twelve private
soldiers who lost their lives with it are here also commemorated. There
are other memorials, brasses, and a marble slab, to the memory of various
officers. But the most striking monument, in the centre of the grounds,
near the Embankment gate, is that of the Battle of Chillianwallah, at
which nearly 30 officers and more than 700 privates were killed. The
monument takes the form of a great obelisk, with the names inscribed on
the sides. Two of the guns which stand beside it were captured on the
same occasion. A little higher up, between the bronze Charles and the
Chillianwallah obelisk, is a cross to commemorate 243 officers and
privates who were killed in suppressing the Sepoy Mutiny. The veterans
are thus surrounded by a halo of gallant deeds; on every hand the memory
of their comrades in arms greets them.

Further on down the colonnade we pass westward, through the west wing, to
a continuation of the main building, in which is the library. This faces
the next court, which, like the east, is filled in the centre with
evergreen shrubs. The library contains 4,000 volumes, including Captain
Ford's Manuscripts. There are two rooms, and here the men can see the
daily papers, which are afterwards passed on into the great hall. In the
west court is the Chaplain's house, and immediately across the road is
the infirmary. In 1808 it was suggested that an infirmary for the
pensioners should be established, and for this purpose the Commissioners
fixed upon Sir Robert Walpole's old house, which was conveniently near.
The land on which this stands was leased to William Jephson in 1687 for
sixty-one years. Some years later the lease was passed on to Edward
Harley, Earl of Oxford, who lived here in 1707. Apparently he assigned it
to Sir Richard Gough, who paid the rent from 1714 to 1719. In 1723 Sir
Robert Walpole, the great statesman who virtually ruled England for more
than twenty years, became the lessee. He had had some connection with the
Hospital since 1714, when he had been made Paymaster-General, and had
held a seat on the Board of Commissioners by virtue of his office. His
influence in the reign of George II. still continued, and while the King
was absent on the Continent, Walpole House was the seat of power in the
kingdom. Here came office-seekers and busy flatterers. L'Estrange says
"it was thought remarkably convenient that state documents should only
have to travel from Chelsea to Kensington Palace."

The grottos, which, according to the fashion of the time, were built in
the garden, and richly decorated, must have seen some interesting sights.
One in which Queen Caroline was royally entertained in 1729 was taken
down in 1795. The entertainment was extremely sumptuous. The last of
these grottos disappeared only when the Embankment was being made. In
1741 the Minister retired with the title of Earl of Orford, which
afterwards descended to his well-known son, Horace, and a pension of
£4,000 a year.

The house afterwards passed through the hands of John, Earl of Dunmore,
and George Aufrere, and we find it in 1796 assigned to Charles, Lord
Yarborough, who was living here in 1808. The building being then required
by the Hospital, he consented to give up the remainder of his lease, a
period of seventeen years, upon compensation being paid to the amount of
£4,775 15s. Sir John Soane, the architect, who had all through been
strongly in favour of adding on to Walpole House instead of purchasing
new ground, designed the necessary additions. The building, like the
Hospital itself, consists of two wings, east and west, abutting out from
a connecting flank, with a vestibule in the front. The eastern wing is
Walpole House. The room which was originally the dining-room is now one
of the wards, and contains eight beds. It is strange to see the worn,
homely faces of the infirm pensioners, in contrast with the magnificent
white marble mantelpiece and the finely moulded ceiling. The connecting
wing holds the Matron's room in addition to the wards. The patients
suffer from the complaints of old age, rheumatism, blindness, paralysis;
few of them are permanently in the infirmary, and with the season of the
year the numbers vary. In the summer it is found possible to close one
ward entirely. There is a staff of nurses, and the old men are well
looked after. Besides Walpole House, it was considered advisable to have
a supplementary infirmary. So when the lease of Gordon House fell in, it
was adapted for the purpose. It stands in the southwest corner of the
grounds, about 150 yards from the infirmary, and will be familiar to
those who visited the Military and Naval Exhibitions, at which period it
was used as a refreshment-house. The first recorded lease of the land on
which it was built was in 1690.

The charity is directed by Royal Commissioners, who include
representatives of the War Office, Horse Guards, Treasury, and the
Hospital itself, through its Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.

The Governor is Sir Henry Norman. The officers who reside at the
Hospital, under the authority of the Governor, are: Mayor and
Lieutenant-Governor; six Captains of Invalids; Adjutant; Quartermaster;
Chaplain; Physician and Surgeon; Deputy Surgeon.

Besides these there is a large staff, including Matron, Dispenser,
Organist, etc. The pensioners themselves are formed into six companies,
and their pension varies according to their rank, from the
colour-sergeants at a shilling a day to privates of the third rank at a
penny. The grounds of the Hospital were originally only twenty-eight
acres, but have been added to by purchase from time to time; they now
amount to between sixty and seventy. A portion in the south-western
corner was let on building leases not long ago.

The large open space exactly opposite to the Hospital, on the north side
of the Queen's Road, is known as Burton's Court. How it came by the name
is a matter of doubt. In Hamilton's Survey it is called College Court.
Lysons refers to it as follows: "To the north of the college is an
enclosure of about thirteen acres, planted with avenues of limes and
horse-chestnuts." Its dimensions have since been reduced by the land
given up to the parish for road-making. In 1888 it was decided to allow
the soldiers quartered at the adjacent barracks to use it as a
recreation-ground. Through the centre of it runs an avenue of trees in
direct continuation from the Hospital gates. This opens on to St.
Leonard's Terrace in two fine iron gates with stone pillars, surmounted
by military arms in stone. Beyond these gates, still in the same straight
line, runs the Royal Avenue, formerly known as White Stiles. It is
mentioned very early in the Hospital records, payments for masonry and
carpentry work being noted in 1692. Faulkner repeats a tradition to the
effect that Queen Anne intended to have extended this avenue right
through to the gates of the palace at Kensington, and was only prevented
from carrying it out by her death. At present the avenue intersected by
Queen's Road and St. Leonard's Terrace is disjointed and purposeless.


The site of Ranelagh Gardens, which in their zenith eclipsed even the
Vauxhall Gardens as a place of entertainment, is now included in the
grounds of the Royal Hospital.

Richard, Earl of Ranelagh, Paymaster-General of the Forces in the reign
of James II., was a thoroughly unscrupulous but an able man. He was three
times censured for appropriating the public money to his own private use,
and was finally expelled from his office in the fourth year of Queen
Anne's reign. Notwithstanding this, he obtained a grant of some land
belonging to the Royal Hospital in 1690, when the building was nearly
completed. This land lay to the south of the burial-ground, and between
the Hospital and what is now known as Bridge Road. This was leased to him
for sixty-one years at an annual rent of £15 7s. 6d. He built a house on
it, and soon after obtained fifteen acres more at £30 4s. per annum, and
finally a third grant, which in 1698 was confirmed to him with that
portion he already held, to be held in fee on condition of his paying an
annual rent of £5 to the Hospital. This Earl, described by Swift as the
"vainest old fool I ever saw," seems to have had great delight in
landscape-gardening. He laid out his land with fastidious care, and thus
paved the way for the public gardens of the future. His grounds are
described in "Views of the Gardens near London, December, 1691," by

"My Lord Ranelagh's garden being but lately made, plants are but small;
but the plats, borders, and walks are curiously kept and elegantly
designed, having the advantage of opening into Chelsea College walks. The
kitchen-garden there lies very fine, with walks and seats, one of which
being large and covered was then under the hands of a curious painter.
The house here is very fine within, all the rooms being wainscoted with
Norway oak, and all the chimneys adorned with carving, as in the Council
Chamber in Chelsea College."

Lord Ranelagh died in 1712, and with him the earldom became extinct. The
Ranelagh property passed to his unmarried daughter, Lady Catherine Jones.
In 1715 King George I. was entertained by her at Ranelagh House, together
with a great number of lords and ladies. In 1730 the property was vested
in trustees by an Act of Parliament; the greater part of it was bought by
Swift and Timbrell, who afterwards leased it to Lacey, the patentee of
Drury Lane Theatre. They proposed to turn it into a place of public
amusement, but soon abandoned the idea, and relet it. In 1744 one
Crispe, who then held the lease, became bankrupt, and the property was
divided into thirty-six shares of £1,000 each.

It was in the time of Crispe that the great rotunda was built. This
rotunda was 150 feet in interior diameter, and was intended to be an
imitation of the Pantheon at Rome. The pillars which supported the roof
were of great magnificence, painted for half their height like marble,
and the second half fluted and painted white; they were crowned by
capitals of plaster of Paris. The orchestra was at first in the centre,
but was afterwards removed to one of the porticos, and the centre was
used for a fireplace, which, if the old prints are to be trusted, was
large enough to roast half a score of people at once. We have "A
Perspective View of the Inside of the Amphitheatre in Ranelagh Gardens,"
drawn by W. Newland, and engraved by Walker, 1761; also "Eight Large
Views of Ranelagh and Vauxhall Gardens," by Canaletti and Hooker, 1751.
The roof of this immense building was covered with slate, and projected
all round beyond the walls. There were no less that sixty windows. Round
the rotunda inside were rows of boxes in which the visitors could have
refreshments. The ceiling was decorated with oval panels having painted
figures on a sky-blue ground, and the whole was lighted by twenty-eight
chandeliers descending from the roof in a double circle. The place was
opened on April 5, 1742, when the people went to public breakfasts,
which, according to Walpole, cost eighteenpence a head. The gardens were
not open until more than a month later. The entertainments were at first
chiefly concerts and oratorios, but afterwards magnificent balls and
fêtes were held.

Walpole, writing to Sir Francis Mann, says: "Two nights ago Ranelagh
Gardens were opened at Chelsea. The Prince, Princess, Duke, and much
nobility, and much mob besides, were there. There is a vast amphitheatre,
finely gilt, painted, and illuminated, into which everybody that loves
eating, drinking, staring, or crowding, is admitted for 12d. The building
and disposition of the gardens cost £16,000. Twice a week there are to be
ridottos at guinea tickets, for which you are to have a supper and music.
I was there last night, but did not find the joy of it. Vauxhall is a
little better, for the garden is pleasanter and one goes by water." The
doors were opened in the evening at six, and until the time of the
entertainment, some hours later, people seem to have had nothing better
to do than to walk round and stare at each other--a method of passing the
time described by the poet Bloomfield, in a poem which has been often
quoted in fragments but seldom in entirety. It appeared in _The
Ambulator_ (London and its Environs) in 1811, at full length, as

    "To Ranelagh once in my life
    By good-natur'd force I was driven;
    The nations had ceased their long strife,
    And Peace beamed her radiance from heaven.
    What wonders were there to be found
    That a clown might enjoy or disdain?
    First we traced the gay ring all around--
    Ay, and then we went round it again.

    "A thousand feet rustled on mats,
    A carpet that once had been green;
    Men bow'd with their outlandish hats,
    With corners so fearfully keen!
    Fair maids who at home in their haste
    Had left all clothing else but a train
    Swept the floor clean as slowly they paced,
    And then walk'd round and swept it again.

    "The music was truly enchanting!
    Right glad was I when I came near it;
    But in fashion I found I was wanting,
    'Twas the fashion to walk and not hear it!
    A fine youth, as beauty beset him,
    Look'd smilingly round on the train;
    'The King's nephew!' they cried, as they met him,
    Then we went round and met him again.

    "Huge paintings of heroes and Peace
    Seem'd to smile at the sound of the fiddle,
    Proud to fill up each tall shining space
    Round the lantern that stood in the middle.
    And George's head, too--Heaven screen him!
    May he finish in peace his long reign;
    And what did we when we had seen him?
    Why, went round and saw him again.

    "A bell rang announcing new pleasures,
    A crowd in an instant pressed hard;
    Feathers nodded, perfumes shed their treasures,
    Round a door that led into the yard.
    'Twas peopled all o'er in a minute,
    As a white flock would cover a plain;
    We had seen every soul that was in it,
    Then we went round and saw them again.

    "But now came a scene worth the showing,
    The fireworks, midst laughs and huzzas;
    With explosions the sky was all glowing,
    Then down streamed a million of stars.
    With a rush the bright rockets ascended,
    Wheels spurted blue fire like a rain;
    We turned with regret when 'twas ended,
    Then stared at each other again.

    "There thousands of gay lamps aspir'd
    To the tops of the trees and beyond;
    And, what was most hugely admired,
    They looked all upside-down in a pond.
    The blaze scarce an eagle could bear
    And an owl had most surely been slain;
    We returned to the circle, and there--
    And there we went round it again.

    "'Tis not wisdom to love without reason,
    Or to censure without knowing why;
    I had witness'd no crime, nor no treason;
    'Oh, life, 'tis thy picture,' said I.
    'Tis just thus we saunter along;
    Months and years bring their pleasure or pain.
    We sigh midst the right and the wrong;
    And then we go round them again!"

Though Bloomfield's metre can be scarce held faultless, yet his power of
detailed description has preserved us a living picture of Ranelagh in the
height of its glory. Balls and fêtes succeeded each other. Lysons tell us
that "for some time previously to 1750 a kind of masquerade, called a
Jubilee Ball, was much in fashion at Ranelagh, but they were suppressed
on account of the earthquakes in 1750."

The masked balls were replaced by other festivities. In 1775 a famous
regatta was held at Ranelagh, and in 1790 a magnificent display of
fireworks, at which the numbers in attendance reached high-water mark,
numbering between 3,000 and 4,000 exclusive of free admissions. In 1802
an aeronaut ascended from the gardens in a balloon, and the last public
entertainment was a ball given by the Knights of the Bath in 1803. The
following year the gardens were closed. Sir Richard Phillips, writing in
1817, says that he could then trace the circular foundation of the
rotunda, and discovered the broken arches of some cellars which had once
been filled with the choicest wines. And Jesse, in 1871, says he
discovered, attached to one or two in the avenue of trees on the site of
the gardens, the iron fixtures to which the variegated lamps had been
hung. The promenades at Ranelagh, for some time before its end, were
thinly attended and the place became unprofitable. It was never again
opened to the public after July 8, 1803.

In 1805 Ranelagh House and the rotunda were demolished, the furniture and
fittings sold, and the organ made by Byfield purchased for the church of
Tetbury, in Gloucestershire. Lysons adds that the site was intended to be
let on building leases. This plan was, however, never carried out, and
the ground reverted to the Royal Hospital. The gardens are now quite
differently planned from what they were originally. The public is
admitted to them under certain restrictions. One or two massive elms,
which must have seen the Ranelagh entertainments blossom into life and
fade away, are the only ancient relics remaining.

With this account of the Ranelagh Gardens we close our description of
Chelsea, having wandered west and east, north and south, and found
everywhere some memento of those bygone times, which by their continuity
with the present constitute at once the glory and fascination of London,
the greatest city in the world.


Addison, 54
Alston House, 30
Apothecaries' Garden, 22
Arthur Street, 59
Ashburnham House, 52, 53
Astell, Mrs. Mary, 19
Atterbury, 44
Attwood, Thomas, 28

Bartolozzi, 61
Beaufort Street, 46, 49
Blantyre Street, 52
Bowack, 44
Braganza, Catherine of, 27
Bramah, 51
Bramerton Street, 36
Bray, Sir Reginald, 5
Brunel, 51
Burial-ground, 8
Burnaby Street, 54
Burton's Court, 14, 87
Butler, Dr. Weedon, 27
Byron, 66

Cadogan Place, 66
Cadogan Square, 64
Cadogan Street, 63
Cale Street, 63
Carlyle, 35
Carlyle Square, 59
Caroline, Queer, 84
Chamberlayne, Dr., 45
Chelsea Barracks, 8
Chelsea china, 32
Chelsea College, 67
Chelsea Creek, 54
Chelsea Embankment, 24
Chelsea House, 66
Chelsea Public Library, 59
Chelsea Workhouse, 61
Cheyne, Charles, 6, 32
Cheyne House, 30
Cheyne, Lady Jane, 6, 32, 43
Cheyne Row, 35
Cheyne Walk, 24, 34
Church Lane, 44
Church Street, 37
  Christ, 17
  St. Columba, 64
  Holy Trinity, 65
  St. Jude's, 10
  Lawrence Chapel, 39
  St. Luke's, 61
  St. Mary's (Roman Catholic), 63
  Old Parish, 37
  Park Chapel, 57
  St. Saviour's, 65
  St. Simon Zelote's, 64
Cipriani, 61
Cleves, Anne of, 6
Clock House, 24
Cremorne Villa, 52
Cremorne Pleasure Gardens, 53

Dacre Tomb, 42
Dacres, The, 49
Danvers House, 46
Danvers, Sir John, 46
Danvers Street, 46
Doggett's Coat and Badge, 22
D'Orsay, Count, 29
Duke of York's School, 10
Durham House, 14
Durham Place, 15
Dyce, William, 26

Elgin marbles, 56
Eliot, George, 26
Elizabeth, Princess, 25
Emerson, 35

Faulkner, 16
Flood Street, 17, 29
Fox, Sir Stephen, 69
Franklin's Row, 10

Gordon, General, 58
Gordon House, 86
Gothic House, 29
Gough House, 20
Grey, Lady Jane, 25
Gwynne, Nell, 54, 69

Halsey Street, 64
Hamilton, Duke of, 6
Hamilton, Sir William, 56
Hans Place, 64, 65
Haweis, Rev. H. R., 27
Hazlitt, 28
Heber, Reginald, 45
Hoadly, Bishop, 25
Hoadly, Dr. Benjamin, 53
Hogarth, 27
Holbein Place, 7, 66
  Cancer, 62
  Consumption, 59
  Incurable Children, 36
  Royal, 67
  Victoria, 20
Howard, James, 6
Howard, Lady, 6
Hunt, Holman, 36
Hunt, Leigh, 35, 36

Jews' Burial-ground, 58
Johnson, Dr., 33
Jubilee Place, 63

Keats collection, 60
King, Dr. John, 45
Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 45
King's Road, 57, 60

Landon, Letitia Elizabeth, 64
Lawrence House, 37
Lawrence Street, 36
Lennox Gardens, 64
Letters of Junius, 34
Lindsey, Earl of, 51
Lindsey House, 50
Lindsey Row, 51
Linnæus, 24
Lot's Road, 54
Lower Sloane Street, 9, 66
Lowndes Square, 66

Maclise, Daniel, 26
"Magpie and Stump," The, 34
Manor House, 15
Markham Square, 63
Markham Street, 63
Marlborough Road, 63
Martin, 51
Martineau, Harriet, 36
Mazarin, Duchess of, 18
Mendelssohn Gardens, 10
Meredith, 27
Miller, Mr., 24
Milman Street, 49
Milner Terrace, 64
Mitford, Miss, 65
Monmouth House, 37
Moore Street, 64
Moravian Burial-ground, 50
More, Sir Thomas, 46

Neild, James, 26
New Manor House, 24
Norman, Sir Henry, 86
North, Hon. Brownlow, 25
Northcote, R.A., Sir James, 34
Northumberland, Duke of, 5
Nottingham, Countess of, 6

Oakley Crescent, 30
Oakley Street, 30
Old Chelsea Bun House, 7
Old Swan House, 24
Ormond, Duke of, 20
Ormond Row, 14

Palace of the Bishops of Winchester, 25
Paradise Row, 18, 22
Paradise Walk, 22
Park Walk, 57
Parr, Queen Catherine, 5
Paulet, Sir William, 49

Pavilion Road, 65
Petyt's School, 44
Phené, Dr., 30
Pimlico Road, 7
Pont Street, 64
Prince's Cricket Ground, 64

Queen's Elm, 58
Queen's House, 27
Queen's Road, 8
Queen's Road West, 17

Radnor House, 16, 17
Radnor Street, 16
Ranelagh, Earl of, 88
Ranelagh Gardens, 67, 88
Rectory, The, 45
Redesdale Street, 16
Revelstoke, 10
Robinson's Street, 16
Rossetti, D. G., 27
Royal Avenue, 14, 87
Royal Military Asylum, 10
Ruskin, Mr., 13, 36

Saltero, Don, 28
Sandford Manor House, 54
Sandys, Lord, 5
Seaton Street, 52
Seymour, Lord, 5
Shadwell, Thomas, 44
Shawfield Street, 16
Shelley, 65
Shelley House, 22
Shrewsbury House, 31
Sloane Court, 10
Sloane Gardens, 66
Sloane, Sir Hans, 7, 22, 43, 49
Sloane Street, 65
Sloane Terrace, 66
Smith Street, 14, 16
Smith Terrace, 16
Smollett, Dr., 37
South Parade, 59
St. Albans, Duke of, 20
St. Leonard's Terrace, 10, 14, 37
St. Mark's College, 55
Stadium Street, 54
Stanhope, Lord, 6
Stanley House, 55
Steele, Sir Richard, 34
Suett, 20
Swift, Dean, 44
Swinburne, 27
Sydney Street, 61

Tedworth Square, 16
Tennyson, 36
Tite Street, 20
Trafalgar Square, 59
Tree, Mr. Beerbohm, 26
Tudor House, 27
Turk's Row, 9
Turner, 51
Tyndall, 36

Walpole House, 85
Walpole, Sir Robert, 14, 83
Walpole Street, 14
Walton Street, 65
Wellesley, Hon. and Rev. Dr., 45
Wellington Square, 14
Wentworth House, 22
Westbourne, The, 2
Whistler, Mr., 20, 51
Whitelands Training College, 13
Winchester House, 30
World's End Passage, 52

Zinzendorf, Count, 51


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CHELSEA.

Published by A. & C. Black, London.]

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