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THE OLD COURT SUBURB.
Horticultural Gardens, is St. Stephen's Church, very pleasant-sounding name of “Hogmire Lane" built in 1866, from the designs of Mr. Joseph -a name, however, suggestive of farm-yards and Peacock, and is an architectural ornament to the piggeries, which then, doubtless, were plentiful in neighbourhood. In this immediate locality was the neighbourhood. Orford Lodge, built on the site of the “Old Florida Christ Church, in the Victoria Road, is a fine Tea Gardens,” for the late Duchess of Gloucester, edifice, of Gothic design, dating from the year after whom Gloucester Road is named. The 1851, and accommodating about 800 persons. Lodge was subsequently tenanted by the Princess All its seats are open. It was built from the Sophia, and also by the Right Hon. George Can- designs of Mr. Benjamin Ferrey. The architecture ning, who was here visited by Queen Caroline. is of the Decorated style, varying from geometrical The house was taken down in the year 1852. The to flowing. It comprises a nave and chancel, thoroughfare which connected Chelsea with the tower and spire. The windows throughout are of great western road through the village between the flowered quarries ; that at the east end is a rich Gore and Kensington Square rejoiced in the not diaper pattern, copied from one in York Minster.
KENSINGTON (continued). "Faith, and it's the Old Court Suburb that you spoke of, is it? Sure, an' it's a mighty fine place for the quality.”—Old Play. The Old Court Suburb-Pepys at “Kingly Kensington"-The High Street-Thackeray's “Esmond ”-Palace Gate-Colby House-Singular
Death-Kensington House : its Early History-Famous Inhabitants-Old Kensington Bedlam- The New House - Young Street- Kensington Square-Famous Inhabitants-Talleyrand-An Aged Waltzer-Macaulay's Description of Talleyrand - The New Parish Church-The Old Building—The Monuments—The Bells—The Parish Registers - The Charity School-Campden House—“The Dogs"-Sir James South's Observatory-A Singular Sale-Other Noted Residents at Kensington-Insecurity of the Kensington Road-A Remarkable Dramatic Performance-A Ghost Story—The Crippled Boys' Home--Scarsdale House—The Roman Catholic University College-Roman Catholic Chapels—The Pro-Cathedral — The “Adam and Eve."
lier era, and, courth on the annals and anna
has fourished eve
HITHERTO, since leaving the side of the river at town, standing in a wholesome air, not above three Chelsea, we have been mostly passing over modern miles from London, has ever been resorted to by ground, which a century ago was scantily dotted persons of quality and citizens, and for many years with private residences, and which, therefore, can past honoured with several fine seats belonging scarcely be expected as yet to have much of a past to the Earls of Nottingham and Warwick. We history. But now, as we look round the “Old cannot, indeed, find it was ever taken notice of Court Suburb" of Kensington, and its venerable in history, except for the great western road and somewhat narrow High Street, we find our through it, nor hath anything occurred in it that selves again confronted with houses and persons of might perpetuate its name, till his late Majesty, an earlier era, and, consequently, we shall be able King William, was pleased to ennoble it with his to dwell at greater length on the annals and anec court and royal presence. Since which time it dotes of which Kensington has been the scene. has fourished even almost beyond belief, and is The Palace and the Church, of course, will form inhabited by gentry and persons of note; there is our central objects, to which, perhaps, we ought to also abundance of shopkeepers, and all sorts of add that old-world haunt of fashion, Kensington artificers in it, which makes it appear rather like Square. The old town of Kensington consisted part of London than a country village. It is, principally of one long street, extending about with its dependencies, about three times as big three-quarters of a mile in length, from the Gore to as Chelsea, in number of houses, and in summer Earl's Terrace; but even that thoroughfare is of time extremely filled with lodgers, for the pleasure comparatively modern growth, for the only high- of the air, walks, and gardens round it, to the way for travellers westward, in former times, was great advantage of its inhabitants. The buildings the old Roman (or present Uxbridge) Road, then are chiefly of brick, regular, and built into streets ; bending southerly (as it still branches) to Turnham the largest is that through which the road lies, Green. Within the last century a number of small reclining back from the Queen's House, a constreets have been built on either side. Bowack, siderable way beyond the church. From the in his “ History of Middlesex,” thus describes the church runs a row of buildings towards the north, place in the middle of the last century :—"This called Church Lane; but the most beautiful part of it is the Square, south of the road, which, up from Westminster, and that took the part of for beauty of buildings, and worthy inhabitants, the regiment at Kensington.” The sequel is soon exceed several noted squares in London.”
told, and it shall here be told, in the words of Kensington — “kingly Kensington," as Dean “Esmond :"_“With some delays in procuring Swift called it—is not very frequently mentioned horses, we got to Hammersmith about four o'clock by Pepys, as that country village had not, in his on Sunday morning, the ist of August (1714), and days, become the “court suburb.” He mentions, half an hour after, it then being bright day, we however, accompanying “my lord” (the Earl of rode by my Lady Warwick's house, and so down Sandwich) to dine at Kensington with Lord Camp- the street of Kensington. Early as the hour was, den, at Campden House, and afterwards to call at there was a bustle in the street, and many people Holland House. With two other trivial exceptions, moving to and fro. Round the gate leading to this is all that we learn about Kensington from the the palace, where the guard is, there was especially old gossip's “ Diary;" neither does the place figure a great crowd ; and the coach ahead of us stopped, in the “Memoirs of the Count de Gramont.” It is and the bishop's man got down, to know what the on record that George II. admired the flat grounds concourse meant. Then presently came out from of Kensington and Kew, as reminding him of the gate horse-guards with their trumpets, and a “Yarmany." It is described by Bowack, in 1705, company of heralds with their tabards. The as being about three times as big as Chelsea. trumpets blew, and the herald-at-arms came forThe manor of Abbots' Kensington, which occu- ward, and proclaimed 'George, by the grace of pies an area of about 1,140 acres in all, extends God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, northwards so far as to include all the Gravel Pits Defender of the Faith.' And the people shouted and Notting Hill.
"God save the King !"" Thus was the first soveAlthough Kensington is so near London, and reign of the Hanoverian line proclaimed in the contains so many new buildings, the High Street High Street of Kensington; and there, with the has a considerable resemblance to that of a country sound of King George's trumpets, were the last town. The houses, for the most part, are of mode- hopes of the Stuart line scattered to the winds of rate size, and considerable variety is displayed in heaven. The spot where this proclamation took the style of building, so that the fronts of scarcely place is surely an object of historic interest to any two houses are alike. Faulkner, writing in after ages. 1820, remarks: “The town, being in the direct Almost at the entrance of the High Street is the road for the western parts of England, is in a con- Palace Gate, with its sentinels on duty, and opposiderable bustle, and resembles the most populous site to it stood, till recently, a good, moderatestreets in London, especially in an evening, when sized house-a sort of undergrown mansionthe mail-coaches are setting out for their various which, as Leigh Hunt says, looked as if it "had destinations." The chief coaching-inn and posting- been made for some rich old bachelor who chose house, at that time, was the “Red Lion,” at the to live alone, but liked to have everything about back of which is still to be seen a curious sun-dial, him strong and safe.” Such was probably the bearing the date 1713. Readers of Thackeray's case, for it was called Colby House, and was the “ Esmond” will not have forgotten the picture he abode of Sir Thomas Colby, of whom Dr. King has given of the scene which might have been tells us in his “ Anecdotes of his Own Times," that witnessed from the tavern at the corner of the being worth £200,000, and having no near relatives, old High Street, on the occasion of the accession he met with his death by getting up from his warm of King George I. :"Out of the window of the bed on a winter night to fetch the key of his cellar, tavern, and looking over the garden wall, you which he had forgotten, for fear his servant might can see the green before Kensington Palace, the help himself to a bottle of wine. The house was palace gate (round which the ministers' coaches inhabited, when Faulkner wrote his “History of are standing), and the barrack building. As we Kensington," by one of the leading magistrates of were looking out from this window in gloomy dis- the county. Its former eccentric owner was buried traction, we heard presently the trumpets blowing, in the parish church. The house was standing till and some of us ran to the window of the front about 1872, when it was pulled down, along with room looking into the High Street, and saw a regi- the large red house, Kensington House, adjoining, ment of horse coming. “It's Ormond's Guards,' to make a site for Baron Grant's mansion. says one. 'No, by G-; it's Argyle's old regi- Kensington House, a dull and heavy building of ment !' says my general, clapping down his crutch. red brick on the south side of the high road, It was indeed Argyle's regiment that was brought nearly facing the Palace gates, was for some years
inhabited by the notorious Duchess of Portsmouth, much arnongst Frenchmen as if I had been sudone of the many mistresses of Charles II. The denly transferred to a Parisian college. Having house was long and low in proportion, and was got this peep at the gaiety of the school into screened from the road by a high wall. It is which I was to be introduced, I was led, with recorded that King Charles supped here the night my companion, to a chamber covered with faded before he was seized with the illness which proved gilding, and which had once been richly tapestried, his last. The house was afterwards turned into a where I found the head of the establishment, in school, kept by Elphinstone, who was known as the person of a French nobleman, Monsieur le the translator of Martial, and as a friend of Dr. Prince de Broglie." Jortin, Benjamin Franklin, and Dr. Johnson. He Here, in 1821, whilst the house was still in the was ludicrously caricatured by Smollett, in “Rode- hands of the Jesuits, died—it is said, from the effects rick Random,” which was consequently a forbidden of tight lacing-Mrs. Inchbald, the authoress of book in his school. At the outbreak of the first the “Simple Story.” She had resided in several French Revolution the house was occupied by other houses in Kensington before coming here. some French emigrant priests, members of the She had written many volumes, which she had by Jesuit Order, who kept here a college for the youth her in manuscript; but on her death-bed, from of the French and some of the English aristocracy, some motive or other, she requested a friend to under the assumed name of “Les Pères de la Foi.” tear them to pieces before her eyes, not having the The late Mr. Richard Lalor Sheil was sent here strength to perform the heroic deed of immolation when a boy, and he tells us how the school was with her own hands. Mr. and Mrs. Cosway, visited by - Monsieur”—as Charles X., afterwards too, resided here for a short time, after leaving King of France, was then called-in his brother's Stratford Place, and before settling down in the lifetime.
Edgware Road. The building has been described as follows by The building was subsequently turned into a Mr. Sheil* :-“I landed at Bristol, and with a private lunatic asylum, and was then popularly French clergyman, the Abbé de Grimeau, who had known as Old Kensington Bedlam. It was purbeen my tutor, I proceeded to London. The abbé chased in 1873 by “ Baron" Albert Grant, who informed me that I was to be sent to Kensington pulled it down and erected a modern Italian palace House, a college established by the Pères de la on its site. The cost of the building and grounds Foi—for so the French Jesuits settled in England is stated to have exceeded one million sterling. at that time called themselves—and that he had The mansion contained a grand hall and staircase, directions to leave me there upon his way to built entirely of white marble, drawing-rooms, Languedoc, from whence he had been exiled in library, picture gallery, three dining-rooms en suite, the Revolution, and to which he had been driven and a spacious ball-room. In the construction of by the maladie de pays to return. Accordingly, we the windows, numbering over a hundred, no less set off for Kensington House, which is situated than three tons of stone were used. In the exactly opposite the avenue leading to the palace, formation of the grounds, which are twelve acres and has the beautiful garden attached to it in in extent, Mr. Grant purchased an Irish colony front. A large iron gate, wrought into rustic situated in the rear of the Kensington High Street flowers, and other fantastic forms, showed that the —formerly called the “Rookery” and “ Jenning's Jesuit school had once been the residence of some Buildings ”—both of which had been a nuisance to person of distinction. . . . It was a large old- the parish for years past. These places were fashioned house, with many remains of decayed entirely demolished, and the ground was consplendour. In a beautiful walk of trees, which verted into a picturesque lake, three acres in ran down from the rear of the building through the extent, with two small islands in the centre. play-ground, I saw several French boys playing at Baron Grant got into difficulties, and the house, swing-swang; and the moment I entered, my ears after various efforts to secure a sale, in order that were filled with the shrill vociferations of some it might be converted into a club or hotel, was hundreds of little emigrants, who were engaged in sold piecemeal as so much old materials, and finally their various amusements, and babbled, screamed, pulled down in 1883 to make way for smaller laughed, and shouted, in all the velocity of their houses. rapid and joyous language. I did not hear a word Continuing our way westward, we come to the of English, and at once perceived that I was as turning at Young Street, which leads into the
square above alluded to. It is an old-fashioned, • Quoted by Leigh Hunt, in "The Old Court Suburb.” oblong enclosure, and bears the name of Ken
sington Square. It was commenced in the reign some of Montaigne's “Essays." It is said that, of James II., and finished about 1698, as appeared finding little or no information in the chapters as by a date at one time affixed at the north-east to the subjects their titles promised, he closed corner. It is described by Bowack, in 1705, as the book more confused than satisfied. “What “the most beautiful part of the parish south of think you of this famous French author ?" said a the main road," and as “exceeding several noted gentleman present. “Think ?” said he, smiling : squares in London for beauty of its buildings and “why, that a pair of manacles, or a stone doublet, (for) worthy inhabitants.” While the Court was at would probably have been of some service to that Kensington, most of the houses were inhabited by author's infirmity.” “Would you imprison a man
“persons of quality," ambassadors, gentry, and I for singularity in writing ?” “Why, let me tell clergy; and at one time, as Faulkner tells us, up- you," replied Addison, “if he had been a horse wards of forty carriages were kept by residents in he would have been pounded for straying; and and about the neighbourhood. In the reigns of why he ought to be more favoured because he is a William and Anne and the first two Georges, this man, I cannot understand.” We shall have more, square was the most fashionable spot in the suburbs; however, to say of Addison when we come to indeed, in the time of George II., the demand for Holland House. lodgings here was so great, "that an ambassador, a Somewhere about the south-west corner of the bishop, and a physician have been known to occupy square lived, for several years, physician to King apartments in the same house.” The celebrated William III., and butt of all the wits of the time, Duchess de Mazarin appears to have resided here Sir Richard Blackmore, the poet, of whom we have in 1692; and here she probably had among her spoken in our account of Earl's Court. Hough, visitors her “adoring old friend, Saint Evremond, the good old Bishop of Winchester, lived here for with his white locks, little skull cap, and the great many years; as also did Mawson, Bishop of Ely; wen on his forehead.” Here, too, Addison lodged and Dr. Herring, Bishop of Bangor, and afterwards for some time; and here it was that he read over | Archbishop of Canterbury. Among other noted
with his whira adoring old probably had amided here Sir