I love travelling in Portugal and I have just enjoyed some days spent mainly in the Alentejo. Easyjet took us to Lisbon late in the day and we spent the first night at the Pousada of Palmela, originally a monastery for the Knights of the Order of St James of the Sword. Continue reading
Bradshaw says ‘Opposite [St John’s Church] are the vast premises forming the London Terminus of the South West Railway.’ The original thinking was to create a rail link between Southampton and London for trade, and the first station opened at Nine Elms in London in 1838. However, rail travel rapidly became very popular and so the company (the London and South Western Railway) decided to extend the line close to the end of the new Waterloo Bridge, built 1811-17. The line opened in 1848 and because it crossed marshy ground it was raised on arches, a viaduct. The station faced York Road.
By the end of the 1900s the station was both delapidated and confusing and it was decided to rebuild. However, WWI intervened and the new station was only opened in 1922 by Queen Mary (full coverage here). Only the roof over platforms 18-21 and supporting walls and columns remain from the first station, although the line of the viaduct is still clear.
Underneath the station there are apparently large vaults (photographs here).
The London Necropolis Railway opened in 1854, running between Waterloo Station and Brookwood Cemetery. London cemeteries were overcrowded and the authorities used the new railways to take burials out of the town, to a newly built cemetery in Surrey. The trains ran on the existing London and South West Railway tracks but there was a special station at Waterloo, with private waiting rooms for the mourners. 121 Westminster Bridge Road for the London Necropolis Railway. Waterloo Station needed to expand and so in 1902 the terminus was moved to Westminster Bridge.
The Peabody Trust was founded in 1862 by George Peabody, an extraordinary American banker and business man who lived and worked in London. He wanted to ‘..ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of this great metropolis, and to promote their comfort and happiness..’ and in March 1862 he launched the Peabody Donation Fund with a gift of £150,000. In 1869 he increased his gift with a further £350,000. Today the Peabody Trust in London has an annual turnover of c.£150,000,000.
He had initially considered paying for drinking fountains, or contributing to the ‘ragged schools’, but then decided to establish a model dwellings company. ‘The first block was built in Spitalfields, and further housing estates followed in Islington, Poplar, Shadwell, Chelsea, Westminster, Bermondsey, and elsewhere. By 1882 the Trust housed more than 14,600 people in 3,500 dwellings. By 1939 it owned more than 8,000 dwellings..’.
The Peabody Square between Blackfriars Bridge Road and Webber Road was designed by Henry Darbishire and completed in 1871. While somewhat austere, the building around a central square was very different from the tenements which existed before and influenced subsequent social housing. Today the buildings are Grade II listed.
Bradshaw says ‘..The Waterloo Road, leading to Waterloo Bridge, is a broad but ill-built thoroughfare..’.About half-way down, on the eastern side, is the Victoria Theatre, a cheap place of minor dramatic entertainment, and opened as the Coburg Theatre in 1818.’ Well, haven’t times changed – the theatre is now the very prestigious Old Vic! Continue reading
Bradshaw says ‘..At the junction of the London Road with the Blackfriars Road is an obelisk standing in the centre of the open ground whence six roads branch off in different directions. It is now considered merely as the indicator of various distances [but] it was placed there in 1771 to commemorate the independent and patriotic spirit with which Brass Crosby, then Lord Mayor, released a printer who had been seized, contrary to law, by the House of Commons, and for committing the Messenger of the House to prison…’. (Patrick Sweeney’s post on St George’s Fields is excellent, and I recommend you to it for full information.)
‘..Nearby at the corner of Blackfriars Road is the Surrey Theatre, originally opened in 1782 as a Circus by Messrs Hughes and Dibdin..’. The theatre was actually called the Royal Circus and Equestrian Philharmonic Academy! It burned down and was rebuilt in 1806 as theatre. After several changes of management, and of use, the building was closed in 1924 and the site is now flats.
‘A short distance from [the Surrey Theatre], in the Blackfriars Road, is the Magdalen Hospital established in 1758 for the relief and reformation of those unfortunate females, who, having strayed from the paths of virtue and become outcasts from society, may here find a refuge and a home.’. The institution was started in Whitechapel by Robert Dingley and Jonas Hanway to help prostitutes, particularly those under 30 years. Institutional life could be harsh but the women were trained in needlework and laundry. In 1772 the Magdalen Hospital for Penitent Prostitutes moved to St George’s Fields and was eventually sold to the Peabody Trust and the Hospital moved again in c.1866, to Streatham. In 1934 it became a Approved School for young offenders but closed in 1966 and the Trust was dissolved in 1973.
‘Lower down… is the octagon building known as Rowland Hill’s Chapel, originally erected in 1784.’. In 1881 it was changed for commercial use and in 1910 it became a boxing ring! The building was destroyed by bombing in 1940-41. It stood in Charlotte Street which no longer exists, on the north side of Nelson Square on the site now occupied by TfL’s Palestra House.
You may be interested in
The Obelisk The Ring - excellent article
The Surrey Theatre
Magdalen Hospital, Streatham
The Magdalen Hospital Trust
Books about the Magdalen Hospital
The Magdalen Hospital & similar charities
West Square was built between 1791-1810. The Temple-West family owned c.two acres in St George’s Fields and leased land to a Mr Hedger to build houses. The Hedger family owned the Dog & Duck tavern and from the 1780s James Hedger was building low-quality housing on St George’s Fields where the family owned leases on the land. The houses built in West Square, however, were substantial. There were owned by the wealthy and influential, including the Hedger family, and reflected the increasing affluence of Walworth and the area around the Elephant and Castle at the end of 18C. Continue reading
An interesting article appeared this morning – Exploring London writes about the excavation of a former Bedlam burial ground in Liverpool Street in the City of London. The site lies underneath the eastern ticket hall of the new Crossrail Station and contains the remains of c.20,000 people. A new database names those buried there.
You may be interested in
A post on this subject
Bradshaw describes ‘…Bethlehem Hospital, a noble institution, designed for the reception of those who are suffering from that most awful of human maladies, mental aberration….. Old ‘Bedlam’ in Moorfields, having been taken down in 1814, the present structure was raised in St George’s Fields on the site of a notorious tavern called The Dog and Duck…’. Continue reading