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Literary London  —  £ 3.99

Go to the eBook Shop Elsie M. Lang was an author, translator and very early feminist. She was also extremely well-read, with an apparently encyclopaedic knowledge of English literature. Here is her A-Z of over 500 places in London with literary connections stretching back over 500 years.

Brontë, Byron, Chaucer, Cibber, Dickens, d'Israeli, Garrick, Hunt, Johnson, Macaulay, Marryat, Milton, More, Pope, Raleigh, Reynolds, Thackeray, Shakespeare, Shelley, Swift, Walton, Wesley etc., etc., etc. She describes where they lived, wrote, ate, drank and (sometimes) misbehaved. Carry this book around with you and see in whose footsteps you are treading.

This eBook version contains the entire text and all 42 photographs, as originally published in 1906. Please see the extract below for a list of the illustrations and some of the places beginning with C.

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The photographs were taken "specially for this book" in the early days of both photography and transferring them to print. I have optimised them for viewing on an eReader but the composition of some is a little basic. My favourite is Wesley's Chapel where the building is completely obscured by trees! However, they are still a fascinating record of the time - no motor vehicles but plenty of horse droppings on the streets - with inconvenient, bemused or in one case, painted in, passers-by.


The text and any images below are identical to the eBook; however, depending on the typeface, etc., that you select, they may not display here exactly as they do on your eReader. Also, pages turn as normal, rather than the scrolling effect seen here.


List of Illustrations

Pope's Grotto
St Paul's Cathedral
Fleet Street
Adelphi Terrace
St Clement Danes Church
Amen Court (1)
Amen Court (2)
Bolingbroke House, Battersea
Water Gate in Embankment Gardens
Dr Watts' Tomb
John Bunyan's Tomb
Canonbury Tower
Goldsmith's Tomb
Charter House Courtyard
Catalpa Tree in Gray's Inn
Carlyle Statue
No. 24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea
No. 4 Upper Cheyne Row
St Luke's Church, Chelsea
St John's Gate
No. 5 The Pavement, Clapham Common
Clifford's Inn
The Old Sardinian Chapel
No. 17 Gough Square
Jacobean Chimney-piece of Cock Tavern
Interior of Cheshire Cheese
Fountain Court
Chancery Lane Entrance to Staple Inn
The Doves Public-house
Holborn Frontage of Staple Inn
No. 10 Staple Inn
No. 58 Lincoln's Inn Fields
A happy Hunting-ground for Dickens Lovers
Defoe's Tomb
Sterne's Grave
Wesley's Chapel, City Road
Entrance to old Burial-ground containing Sterne's Grave
Twickenham Parish Church
Chester House, Wimbledon Common
No. 48 Doughty Street
No. 26 Wellington St., Strand
Interior of St. Clement Danes Church



At Hanover Cottage, Southampton Street, Camberwell, Robert Browning was born on 7th May 1812. At a very early age he was sent to a school kept by a lady at a stone's-throw from his home. Then after a period of home teaching, during which his father constantly took him to the Dulwich Gallery, which was within a pleasant walk, he was placed with the Misses Ready, who prepared him for entering the school of their brother, the Rev. Thomas Ready, then considered the best in the neighbourhood. Here he remained until he was fourteen. For the next two years he studied at home, and in his eighteenth year attended a Greek class at the London University. In the same year, and with his father's approval, he definitely determined to adopt literature as a profession, and prepared himself for it by reading and digesting the whole of Johnson's Dictionary. At the age of twenty he wrote "Pauline," which was accepted by Saunders and Ottley of Conduit Street, and published by them in 1833. Between 1834 and 1836 he contributed five poems to The Monthly Repository, one of which was "Porphyria's Lover." In 1835 his first publishers issued "Paracelsus," which he had written in the preceding winter. The chief event connected with its publication was John Forster's appreciative article in The Examiner, which was the beginning of a long and sincere friendship between the two. Soon afterwards the Browning family removed to Hatcham.


At Holly Lodge, Campden Hill, Lord Macaulay spent the last three years of his life, dying there on the 28th December 1859. He loved to gather round him his youthful nephews and nieces. Holly Lodge still stands at the top of Campden Hill next to Argyll Lodge.


Dryden was married to Lady Elizabeth Howard at the Church of St Swithin in this street on 1st December 1663. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, but rebuilt by Wren.


Goldsmith lived for a number of years in this house, nothing of which now remains but the old brick tower, which stands in Canonbury Square at the junction of Compton Road and Canonbury Place. It was a favourite resort of the literary world. Here he composed "The Deserted Village" and a part of the "Vicar of Wakefield." Washington Irving wrote: "It is an ancient brick Tower hard by 'Merry Islington,' the remains of a hunting seat of Queen Elizabeth... It was here Goldsmith resided when he wrote the 'Deserted Village,' I was shown the very apartment." This apartment was said to have been an old oak room on the first floor (now entirely changed) where he slept in a large press bedstead in the eastern corner.


Here Johnson lodged for a time in 1737, and here he wrote "London."


Here Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was occasionally to be found before her long absence from England.


For many years Mrs Jameson lived with her sister in a house a few doors from Cavendish Square, then numbered 7 Mortimer Street.


Here in 1833 Charles Dickens had bachelor chambers.


Izaak Walton lived in Chancery Lane from 1627 to 1644 "in what was then the seventh house on the left hand as you walk from Fleet Street to Holborn." No. 120 now stands on the site.

It was in Chancery Lane that Coleridge, after his hasty departure from Cambridge, saw the notice: "Wanted a few smart lads for the 15th Elliot's Light Dragoons," which caused him to enlist.

Chichester Rents marks the site of "Symond's Inn," described by Dickens in "Bleak House" as the abiding-place of "Mr Vholes."


Here the blacking business, known as Warren's Blacking Manufactory, in which Dickens was employed, was transferred, and here he continued to cover his pots, to the amusement of the passers-by, the work now being done in a window facing the street. The building was demolished in 1889; it stood next the shop at the corner of Bedford Street, now the Civil Service Stores. Opposite was the eating-place where he went for his dinner, which was taken down in 1888, the site now being occupied by buildings connected with the Charing Cross Hospital.


(See Cornhill.)


Lamb and his sister lived at No. 45 for three years, removing thither immediately after their mother's tragic death. It was while here that he saw and loved, but never knew, the beautiful Quakeress, whom he immortalised in the poem, "When such Maidens as Hester die." The house has been rebuilt, and the locality, then gardens and green fields, entirely built over.


At No. 45 stands the "Ship," a direct descendant of the Rummer Tavern, which in Charles II.'s reign was kept by Samuel Prior, the uncle of Matthew Prior, with whom the latter lived during his boyhood. It remained in the possession of the family until 1702.

"Lockitt's Coffee-House" was two doors off, on the site now occupied by Drummond's Bank, where Pope had a banking account.

The "Turk's Head" used to stand next door to No. 17 Charing Cross.

On the site recently occupied by part of the premises of Mr Edward Stanford, and now covered by the offices of the London County Council, once stood the British Coffee-House, which was frequented by Dr Johnson, Boswell, Gibbon, Colman, Goldsmith, John Home, Lord Brougham, and Smollett, then a struggling surgeon in Downing Street. Here Smollett read aloud to his friends his poem, "The Tears of Scotland," after the battle of Culloden in 1745. Here John Home came with his tragedy Douglas in 1758, and here he dined with Gibbon and Goldsmith before they sallied forth to support the production of Colman's Man of Business.

At No. 30 James Thomson, author of "The Seasons" lodged in 1705, in the first-floor rooms over the shop, then a bookseller's, now a musical instrument maker's. Here, poor and unknown, he lived and wrote part of his "Summer."

The "Golden Cross" Hotel in West Strand is not the same house, nor on quite the same site, as the famous inn from which "Mr Pickwick" and his friends set forth on 13th May 1827 on their famous journey; but the old archway under which the coach passed may still be seen in Duncannon Street, which runs from 449 West Strand to Trafalgar Square. This was the archway which called forth "Mr Jingle's" warning: "Heads, heads; take care of your heads," and his illustration of the same: "Terrible place – dangerous work – other day – five children – mother – tall lady, eating sandwiches – forgot the arch – crash – knock children look round – mother's head off shocking, shocking!" It was to the "Golden Cross" that "David Copperfield" came when he first went out into the world after his schooldays. He described it as "a mouldy sort of establishment in a close neighbourhood. A waiter showed me into the coffee-room, and a chamber-maid introduced me to my small bed-chamber, which smelt like a hackney-coach, and was shut up like a family vault." That night he went to his first play, on his return from which he found "Steerforth," who insisted on his room being changed from No. 44 to No. 72, which, "Copperfield "says, was "a great improvement on my old one, it not being at all musty, and having an immense four-post bedstead in it, which was quite a little landed estate. Here, among pillows enough for six I soon fell asleep in a blissful condition and dreamed... until the early morning coaches rumbling out of the archway underneath, made me dream of thunder and the gods."


In 1839 Lord Lytton was living in this street in a house which James Smith described as "a splendidly and classically fitted-up mansion. One of the drawing-rooms is a facsimile of a chamber which our host visited at Pompeii. Vases, candelabra, chairs, tables to correspond." Sidney Smith lived at No. 32 (formerly 33) Charles Street from 1837 to 1839.


Here Edmund Burke lived in 1781; and here Crabbe was a welcome visitor.


Here Theodore Hook was born in 1788.

At No. 6 still stands the drawing academy of Mr Henry Sass, immortalised as "Gandish's" in "The Newcomes."


The Charter House stands in Charter House Square, in the heart of Smithfield. The school was transferred to Godalming in 1874, but the portion known as the Home of the Poor Brethren, so vividly described in the "Newcomes," and where "Colonel Newcome" died, is still intact. In the passage leading to the chapel is a tablet in memory of Thackeray. Among the famous men who were educated in this school were the following:-

Richard Lovelace, the poet, who left in 1634.

Richard Steele, who was sent here in 1684, and for three years was the school-friend of Addison a friendship which lasted all their lives. Thackeray wrote: "I am afraid no good report could be given by his master and ushers of that thick-set, square-faced, black-eyed, soft-hearted little Irish boy. He was very idle. He was whipped deservedly a great number of times. ... Addison did his best themes. Addison wrote his exercises. He ran on Addison's messages, fagged for him and blacked his boots; to be in Joe's company was Dick's greatest pleasure, and he took a sermon or a caning from his monitor with the most boundless reverence, acquiescence and affection."

Joseph Addison, whose earliest associations with London were connected with this school. He left in 1687.

John Wesley, who was sent here at an early age, leaving in 1720. He was wont to attribute much of his good health in after life to the fact that, in obedience to his father's wish, he used to run round the Charter House playground three times every morning.

Thomas Day, the author of "Sandford and Merton," who was sent here in 1757, at the age of nine, and remained for seven years. George Grote, who remained here till 1810, when, at sixteen years of age, he was flogged for giving a farewell supper to some of his schoolfellows at the Albion Tavern, Aldersgate Street.

Thackeray, who came here direct from Calcutta, a pretty, gentle, rather timid boy, with no skill in games, but popular among the boys who really got to know him. He evidently was not very happy here, at any rate at first, and wrote to his mother: "There are but 370 in the school, and I wish there were only 369." He gives a graphic description of it and its then headmaster in "Pendennis." He revisited the school from time to time in after life, and always with his pockets full of tips for the boys. He was present there for the last time on Founders' Day, 12th December 1863, a fortnight before his death. His daughter gave the bed on which he died to the Charter House, and ever since it has been used by the head gown boy. Thackeray mentions the school in many of his books. Young "Rawdon Crawley," "George Osborne" and his son, "Arthur Pendennis," "Philip Ringwood," "Colonel Newcome" and his son "Clive," "Philip Ferrier," and several others, were educated here.


The famous "Mermaid" Tavern used to stand on the south side of Cheapside, between Bread and Friday Streets. Here were held the meetings of the celebrated "Mermaid "Club, said to have been founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, and regularly attended for many years by Shakespeare, Spenser, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton, Carew, Martin, Donne, and many others. Beaumont wrote: "What things we have seen done at the Mermaid"; and Ben Jonson in his poem "inviting a friend to supper," wrote:

"But that which most doth take my muse and me
 Is a pure cup of rich canary wine,
 Which is the Mermaid's now, but shall be mine."

In 1591 Robert Herrick was born in Cheapside, where his father was a goldsmith. He wrote:

"Never again shall I with finne oar,
 Put from, or draw into, the faithful shore;
 And landing here, or safely landing there,
 Make way to my beloved Westminster
 Or to the golden Cheapside, where the earth
 Of Julia Herrick, gave to me my birth."

In St Vedast's, Foster Lane, Herrick was baptised in 1591. This church was rebuilt by Wren.

In 1816 Keats was living with his brother in apartments on the second floor of a house over an archway, now numbered 77 Cheapside. It is almost directly opposite Ironmonger Lane.


Sir Thomas More's country house was at Chelsea. It was built in 1521, and stood immediately facing the present Battersea Bridge, about 100 yards from the waterside, where Beaufort Street now runs. It was taken down in 1740. Aubrey describes it as having a gatehouse which was "flat on the top, leaded, from whence was a most pleasant prospect of the Thames and the fields beyond. Here the Lord Chancellor was wont to recreate himself and contemplate." At this house Holbein was presented to Henry VIII.; and Erasmus was a visitor. His record is: "All its inhabitants, male and female, applied their leisure to liberal studies and profitable reading, although piety was their first care. No wrangling, no idle word, was heard in it; no one was idle; every one did his duty with alacrity, and not without a temperate cheerfulness."

Sir Thomas More's headless corpse was buried in Chelsea church, near the middle of the south wall. The spot is marked by an inscription which Erasmus said was written by Sir Thomas himself, but has undergone several alterations. He had made a chapel for his family tomb at the east end of the south aisle, and put up a black slab to record the fact. His head, after its exhibition on London Bridge and rescue by Margaret Roper, was buried in the family vault in St Dunstan's Church, Canterbury.

John Locke wrote the larger part of his "Essay on the Human Understanding "at Lord Shaftesbury's country house at Chelsea, which stood on the site now occupied by the workhouse belonging to St George's, Hanover Square. Thomas Shadwell, Poet Laureate, who died in Church Street (formerly Church Lane), was buried in St Luke's Church, Chelsea, on the 24th November 1692, but no tablet records the fact.

Addison at one time lived in Chelsea, and there are letters from him to the young Earl of Warwick dated from Chelsea, but the place of his residence is not known.

In 1711 Swift lodged in Chelsea, half-a-mile beyond Chelsea church, in Church Lane (now Church Street), which runs from the river to the Fulham Road. He used to walk thither from Suffolk Street, where the Van Homrighs lived – a distance which he estimated at "two good miles and 5,748 steps."

Tobias Smollett went to live in Chelsea in 1750 in a house which stood at the corner of Lawrence Street and Upper Cheyne Row, and the site of which is now occupied by the playground of the Board School. It was, as he himself describes in "Humphrey Clinker," "a plain yet decent habitation, which opened backwards into a very pleasant garden," and was open every Sunday "to all unfortunate brothers of the quill, whom he treated with beef, pudding, and potatoes, port punch, and Calvert's entire butt-beer." Here he wrote "Humphrey Clinker "and "Sir Launcelot Greaves."

At No. 18 Cheyne Walk, facing the river, once stood Don Saltero's Coffee-House, which is vividly described by Steele in The Tatler. It is now a private house. Benjamin Franklin, Smollett, and Steele were amongst its most frequent visitors.

Benjamin Franklin relates in his "Autobiography" the story of his long swim from Chelsea to Blackfriars.

In 1834 Thomas Carlyle went to live at No. 5 Great Cheyne Row, now 24 Cheyne Row, remaining there until his death in 1881. The house, which remains exactly as it was in his day, is used as a sort of museum of relics of the great man, and shown to visitors on payment of a small fee. It has a tablet put up by the Society of Arts. He wrote to his wife when he had arranged to take it: "The street runs down to the river... at a distance of fifty yards on the left... The street is flag-paved, sunk-stoned, iron-railed, all old-fashioned and tightly done up. The house itself is eminent, antique, wainscoted to the very ceiling... a most massive, roomy, sufficient old house... rent thirty-five pounds. We lie safe at a bend of the river, away from all the great roads, have air and quiet hardly inferior to Craigenputtock... and see nothing of London except by day the summits of St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, and by night the gleam of the great Babylon." In the Embankment garden at the end of the street is a statue of Carlyle seated in a chair, "his face grim as granite, and his eyes with sad prophetic gaze."

At 4 Upper Cheyne Row (formerly No. 10), now marked by a tablet, Leigh Hunt lived in 1834, at the time when he said he was harassed with "doubts whether I shall be able to have bread for my family from day to day, with constant dunnings at the door, withholding of the family linen by the washerwoman, the sight of my children in rags, and twenty other mortifications and distresses profound." He never heard a knock at the door without thinking it was someone "to take me away from the family," Carlyle, a constant visitor, writing of it, said: "Hunt's house excels all you have ever read of a poetical Tinkerdom, without parallel even in literature... Yet the noble Hunt receives you... in the spirit of a king, apologises for nothing, places you in the best seat, takes a window-sill himself if there is no other, and then... commences the liveliest dialogue on philosophy and the prospects of man (who is to be beyond measure happy yet)... a most interesting, pitiable, lovable man, to be used kindly but with discretion."

On 5th September 1840 Carlyle wrote from this house to his brother John: "Some weeks ago, one night, the poet Tennyson and Matthew Allen were discovered here sitting smoking in the garden... A fine, large-featured, dim-eyed, bronze-coloured, shaggy-bearded man is Alfred; dusty, smoky, free and easy... A most restful, brotherly, solid-hearted man." Horace Walpole spent the greater part of his youth in his father's house at Chelsea, which was afterwards turned into the Infirmary of Chelsea Hospital, Ward No. 7 being the old drawing-room.

In "Queen's House," Chelsea, Dante Gabriel Rossetti lived after his wife's death. He took it in conjunction with George Meredith and Swinburne; but the former, though he paid his share of the first quarter's rent, never took possession of his rooms. Swinburne, on the other hand, wrote many of his best poems here. Rossetti kept in the garden a most extraordinary collection of animals, mostly in wire cages, from which they frequently escaped: hedgehogs, wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, chameleon, etc., and even a laughing jackass.

Thackeray described this house in "Esmond" as the house of the old "Dowager of Chelsey." The Rev. H. R. Haweis was one of its later tenants, occupying it for fourteen years, until his death.

Charles Kingsley's father was the rector of St Luke's, Sidney Street, Chelsea; and Charles and Henry lived in the rectory in the days of their youth, the latter describing it in one of his best-known novels.

Here Dickens was married in 1836 to Catherine Hogarth.

The "Cremorne Arms Tavern" stands close to the site of what used to be the famous Cremorne Gardens, now partly built over, and partly occupied by nursery gardens, in which may still be seen the entrance to the "Hermit's Cave," one of the chief attractions of Cremorne.

"George Eliot" (Mary Ann Cross) died at her husband's house, 4 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, on 22nd December 1880, little more than eight months after her marriage.


Abraham Cowley spent his last days at Cowley House, Guildford Street, Chertsey, near the railway station. "It was a little house, with ample gardens, and pleasant meadows attached ... with a fine old oak staircase... and one or two wainscoted chambers." The house has since been rebuilt. Here he died in 1666. Charles II. remarked, on hearing of his death: "Mr Cowley has not left behind him a better man in England."


(See Chelsea.)


Pope was living at Chiswick about the year 1717, and a part of the "Iliad" was written on envelopes addressed to "Mr Pope at his house in Ye New Buildings, Chiswick." These buildings, afterwards called Mawson Row, are a group of five three-storeyed red-brick houses, on the west side of Chiswick Lane, at the corner of Mawson Lane.


Christ's Hospital, also known as the Bluecoat School, was founded in 1553, and the boys still wear the dress designed for them by Edward VI. The buildings were pulled down in 1904, and the school removed to Horsham. Many eminent men have been educated here. Among others, Samuel Richardson, who left in 1705, at the age of sixteen, to be apprenticed to a printer. Coleridge, who entered the school on 18th July 1782, when he was a "playless day-dreamer," who, as he himself confesses, at a very premature age, even before his fifteenth year, bewildered himself in metaphysics and theological controversy. He tells us how highly delighted he was if, during his friendless wanderings on leave days, any passenger, especially if he were dressed in black, would enter into conversation, which he soon found means of directing "to his favourite subjects of fixed fate, freewill, and foreknowledge absolute." Lamb, who entered the school in the same year, says of Coleridge: "Come back into memory, like as thou wert in the dayspring of thy fancies, with hope like a fiery column before thee – the dark pillar not yet turned – Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Logician, Metaphysician, Bard! – How I have seen the casual passer-by through the Cloisters stand still entranced with admiration... to hear thee unfold in thy deep and sweet intonation, the mysteries of Tamblichus or Plotinus... or reciting Homer in his Greek, or Pindar, while the walls of the old Grey Friars re-echoed to the accents of the inspired Charity-boy." Of Lamb, Talfourd tells us he was at this period "an amiable, gentle boy, very sensible and keenly observing, indulged by his schoolfellows and by his masters on account of his infirmity of speech." Not long after Coleridge and Lamb had left, Leigh Hunt became a scholar here. He described the school very vividly in his "Autobiography": "There is a quadrangle with cloisters; and the Square inside the cloisters is called the Garden, and most likely was the monastery garden. Its only delicious crop for many years has been pavement... In Newgate Street is seen the hall, or eating-room, one of the noblest in England, adorned with enormously long paintings, by Verrio and others, and with an organ."


(See Chelsea.)


No. 47 City Road, facing the City Road Chapel, the foundation stone of which he laid in 1777, was once the residence of John Wesley, and here he died in 1791. He lies in the little burial-ground behind the chapel, under a monument erected to his memory by his followers, the Wesleyans. The funeral, though performed secretly, between five and six in the morning, was attended by several hundred persons, one of whom was Samuel Rogers.


In 1700 Samuel Pepys went to live at Clapham, in a house described by Evelyn in his "Diary" as "a very noble and wonderfully well-furnished house, especially with Indian and Chinese curiosities; the offices and gardens well accommodated for retirement." Here he died on the 26th May 1703. No trace of the house now remains.

Lord Macaulay lived at No. 5 the Pavement, Clapham, when he was a boy, in a house that faces the Common, the seventh from the Plough Inn. It was described as "roomy and comfortable, with a very small garden behind, and in front a very small one indeed." This very small front garden has been converted into a shop. Macaulay went to school in Clapham while the family lived here; they left in 1818.


Elizabeth Carter lodged on the first floor of No. 20 in 1762, and at intervals for many years afterwards. She ultimately settled at No. 21, and died there in 1806 at the age of eighty-nine.

Lord Macaulay lodged at No. 3 in 1838, and here he wrote his essay on Clive.

Thackeray's "Beatrix," when Baroness Bernstein, in the "Virginians" lived in this street, and here "held her card-parties, her Wednesday and Sunday evenings, save during the short season when Ranelagh was open on a Sunday."


Izaak Walton lived in this neighbourhood after he retired from business, but the site of his house is not known. Two of his sons, both named Izaak, and both of whom died in infancy, were baptised in St James's Church in 1650 and 1651; and in 1653 was issued "a book of eighteen pence price called the Compleat Angler; or contemplative man's recreations, being a discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy of perusal."

Dr Johnson worked for Edward Cave, founder and proprietor of The Gentleman's Magazine, at St John's Gate, Clerkenwell, in 1737. He did hack-work at a paltry sum per sheet, "eating his food behind a screen, being too shabby for publicity." The chair he used is still preserved. Here he first met Richard Savage. St John's Gate is one of the oldest and most interesting structures in London, and still stands just as it was in Johnson's day. The room in which Johnson worked is that now occupied by the St John's Ambulance Association.

In 1752 John Wesley converted the New Wells, a place of amusement, into a tabernacle, and preached there. It stood on the site of the houses numbered 5, 6, 7, and 8 Lower Rosoman Street.

The "Old Baptist's Head" at No. 30 St John's Lane, Clerkenwell, is built on the site of the old tavern bearing the same name, which was a favourite resort of Goldsmith. Johnson too was frequently to be found here.

On a house in Wilderness Row, Clerkenwell Road, is a tablet bearing the inscription: "William Makepeace Thackeray lived here 1822-1824." Here Thackeray was a boarder with some fifty other boys in Mr Penny's house, when he first went to Charter House School, at the age of eleven.


Theodore Hook was living at No. 5 in 1827 a house facing the Chapel Royal, and recently demolished.


In this street (then called Norfolk Street) the Dickens family lodged in 1816, on the occasion of Charles Dickens's first visit to London. At No. 10 in the same street Charles Dickens stayed in 1831.

"Colonel Newcome" and "James Binnie," after their return from India, rented a "vast melancholy house here, with great black passages, a large black stone staircase, a cracked conservatory and dilapidated bathroom." Here "Clive" entertained his friends ("The Newcomes").


Charles Lamb's friend, George Dyer, used to live in Clifford's Inn. In one of the "Essays of Elia" Lamb speaks of him here: "Where, like a dove on the asp's nest, he has long taken up his unconscious abode, amid an incongruous assembly of attorneys' clerks, apparitors, promotors, vermin of the law, among whom he sits, 'in calm and sinless peace'... drudging at low rates for unappreciating booksellers, – wasting his fine erudition in silent corrections of the classics, and in those unostentatious but solid services to learning which commonly fall to the lot of laborious scholars, who have not the heart to sell themselves to the best advantage. He has published poems which do not sell, because their character is unobtrusive like his own... his prose is the best of the sort in the world, and exhibits a faithful transcript of his own healthy, natural mind, and cheerful innocent conversation." Dyer eventually married, or rather was married by, Mrs Mather, a widow who had lived with her third husband in the chambers opposite his.

At No. 15 Samuel Butler, author of "Erewhon," etc., lived for many years.

In Portsmouth Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, is an old curiosity shop, which, legend tells us, was the original "Old Curiosity Shop" from which Dickens's "Little Nell" and her grandfather set out on their long journey.


Pepys was elected master of the Clothworkers' Company in 1677, and left it a silver cup, which is still in existence. The new hall, erected in 1860, stands on the site of the old one.


In Dickens's day this was known as Little College Street, and here, in a house demolished in 1890, Charles Dickens lodged in 1824, when he was twelve years old, and engaged in the blacking factory – his family at the time being resident in the Marshalsea. Mrs Roylance, his landlady, was the original of "Mrs Pipchin" in "Dombey & Son."


Here Boswell lodged in 1772, and Dr Johnson drank tea with him.

Here Mrs Jameson lodged in the spring of 1860, and here she died in March of the same year.


Dr Johnson was a frequent visitor at the house of Mr Diamond, an apothecary, in this street; and in 1752 he used to dine here nearly every Sunday, accompanied by his blind protégé, Mrs Williams, the poetess.


From 1685 to 1695 Daniel Defoe kept a hosier's shop in Freeman's Court, Cornhill – a street no longer in existence.

On the 29th July 1703 he was placed in the pillory before the Royal Exchange, on the charge of writing a "scandalous and seditious pamphlet" entitled "The Shortest Way with Dissenters." Forster records that "his health was drunk with acclamations as he stood here and nothing harder than a flower was flung at him." "The people were expected to treat me very ill," he said, "but it was not so. On the contrary they were with me, wished those who had set me there were placed in my room, and expressed their affection by loud shouts and acclamations when I was taken down."

On the 7th November 1716 Thomas Gray was born in a house on the south side of Cornhill, on the site of what is now No. 41.

In Change Alley once stood Caraway's, a city tavern frequented by Swift. Its site is marked by a tablet on a building that faces Birchin Lane.


At the Church of St Paul's, Covent Garden, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was christened in 1690.

Samuel Butler, Aubrey tells us, was buried, "according to his own appointment, in the Church yard of St Paul's, Covent Garden, in the north part next the Church at the east end. His feet touch the wall. His grave two yards distant from the pilaster of the dome (by his desire) six foot deepe. About twenty-five of his old acquaintance at his funeral; I myself being one." The tablet which was put up to his memory was destroyed when the Church was burnt down in 1786, and there is no memorial of him in the present building.

Mrs Centlivre was buried here in 1723, but there is now no trace of her grave.

Thomas Southerne was buried in this church, but no trace of his grave now remains. John Wolcot ("Peter Pindar") also lies here, "as near as possible to the bones of old Hudibras Butler."

Wycherley was buried in the vaults of this church in 1715.

At the old Hummum's Hotel in Covent Garden, Crabbe generally stayed when he visited London.

Lord Tennyson stayed here in July 1844.


Is described by Fielding in "Humphrey Clinker," and also by Thackeray.


Mark Akenside lived in this street in 1759, when he was appointed physician to St Thomas's Hospital.

Benjamin Franklin, when in London in 1757, as the representative of the American colonies, stayed at No. 7, in lodgings which proved so satisfactory and comfortable that he continued in them during the whole of his subsequent long visits to London, embracing in all about fifteen years. This house has been rebuilt, and is marked by a tablet of the Society of Arts.

James Smith spent the last years of his life at No. 27, now a private hotel, and died here on 24th December 1839, "with all the calmness of a philosopher." Lady Blessington relates that he suffered a good deal from gout, but "retained an almost youthful buoyancy of mind, referring with glee to the merry meetings of former times, indulging in his pleasant modes of jest and anecdotes, or singing with his nieces from morning till night."



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