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THE NEW CHURCH OF ST. PANCRAS.
Street, the lower end of which, adjoining Bedford edifice is after the ancient temple of Erectheus, Square, we have noticed in the preceding volume.* at Athens; and this church is said to have been Among the residents in the upper part of it was the first place of Christian worship erected in "Jack" Bannister, the actor, as already mentioned. Great Britain in the strict Grecian style. Mr. Sir George Rose, not less known for his wit and William Inwood was the architect. The steeple, vivacity than for those talents which he displayed as upwards of 160 feet in height, is from an Athenian a lawyer, was a near neighbour of Bannister, living model, the Temple of the Winds, built by Pericles; on the opposite side of the street. One day, as he it is, however, surmounted by a cross in lieu of was walking, he was hailed by Bannister, who said, the Triton and his wand, the symbols of the “Stop a moment, Sir George, and I will go over to winds, in the original. The western front of the you." "No," said the good-humoured punster, “I church, of which we give an engraving on page 349, never made you cross yet, and I will not begin now." has a fine portico of six columns, with richlyHe joined the valetudinarian, and held a short sculptured capitals. Towards the east end are conversation, and immediately after his return home, lateral porticoes, each supported by colossal female wrote
statues on a plinth, in which are entrances to the On meeting the Young Veteran toddling up Gower catacombs beneath the church; each of the figures Street, when he told me he was sevenly.
bears an ewer in one hand, and rests the other on “ With seventy years upon his back
an inverted torch, the emblem of death. These Still is my honest friend young Jack,
figures are composed of terra-cotta, formed in Nor spirits checked, nor fancy slack, But fresh as any daisy.
pieces, and cemented round cast-iron pillars, which Though time has knocked his stumps about,
in reality support the entablatures. The eastern He cannot bowl his temper out,
end of the church differs from the ancient temple And all the Bannister is stout,
in having a semi-circular, or apsidal, termination, Although the steps be crazy.”
round which, and along the side walls, are terraThis good-natured jeu d'esprit, we may here remark, cotta imitations of Greek tiles. The interior of was left by its author almost immediately afterwards the new church is in keeping with its exterior. at Bannister's door.
| Above the communion-table are some verd antique A chapel at the north end of this street, within scagliola marble columns, copied from the Temple a few yards of the Euston Road, was at one time of Minerva. The pulpit and reading-desk are the head-quarters of open and avowed Antinomian made of the celebrated Fairlop Oak, which stood doctrines.
in Hainault Forest, in Essex, and gave its name to No. 40, Upper Gower Street was for many the fair at Easter-tide long held under its branches. years the residence of that most powerful landscape Gilpin mentions this tree in his “ Forest Scenery." painter, Peter de Wint, the effect of whose broad “The tradition of the country,” he says, “traces it and masterly touch throws nearly every other artist, half way up the Christian era.” The tree was excepting Turner, into the shade. At No. 15 blown down in 1820. When the new church was lived and died Francis Douce, the antiquary. erected in the New Road the fields to the north In 1822 Charles Dickens as a boy was living with were quite open; and we have seen a print showing his parents for a short time in this street, but the the unfinished edifice rising out of a surrounding place has no reminiscences of his early youth, as desert of brick-fields. the future “Boz” was employed during that time | Of the several vicars of St. Pancras, since this as a drudge in the blacking warehouse at Hunger- new church was built, none, perhaps, have been ford Stairs.
more popular than the Rev. Thomas Dale, who Three or four well-built streets running out | afterwards became Canon of St. Paul's, and subseof the south side of Euston Square, lead into quently, for a very few months, Dean of Rochester. Gordon and Tavistock Squares, which we have | The son of well-to-do parents, he was born in already dealt with, when describing the adjacent | Pentonville, then almost a country village, at the neighbourhood, in the previous volume.
close of the last century. Losing both his parents At the south-east corner of the square stands when quite a child, he was placed by his friends in the New Church of St. Pancras. The foundation- Christ's Hospital, and in due course he found his stone was laid by the Duke of York in July, 1819, way to Cambridge. In 1818, while still an underand the church was consecrated by the Bishop graduate, he published “The Widow of Nain, of London in April, 1822. The model of the and other Poems,” which were well received by the
public, and ran through several editions. On * See Vol. IV., p. 567. See Vol. IV., pp. 572-3.. | leaving Cambridge, Mr. Dale employed himself
for a time in taking pupils, and was soon appointed Mr. Dale was succeeded in the living of St. to the incumbency of St. Matthew's Chapel, Den- Pancras by the Rev. William Weldon Champneys, mark Hill, Camberwell. In 1835 Sir Robert Peel grandson of a former vicar of this parish. Born at conferred upon him the vicarage of St. Bride's, Camden Town in 1807, he was ordained in 1831, Fleet Street, and here he became extremely popular and having held one or two curacies in Oxford, as a preacher. In 1843 he accepted a canonry of became afterwards rector of Whitechapel, where St. Paul's, which was vacated by the death of he continued till his appointment to this vicarage, Canon Tate. Three years later he resigned St. in 1860. He succeeded Canon Dale in the Bride's, on accepting the larger and more im- ' canonry vacated by him in St. Paul's Cathedral,
portant living of St. Pancras, which he held for) and in 1868 he was nominated to the Deanery of more than fourteen years. Already-namely from Lichfield, which he held till his decease. His son, 1840 to 1849—he had held what is known as the Rev. Weldon Champneys, succeeded him. the “Golden Lectureship" at St. Margaret's, Loth- From 1869 till 1877 the Vicarage was held by Dr. bury. He accepted this lectureship not so much | Thorold, now Bishop of Rochester, who was sucfor the emolument (though that was considerable), ceeded by Canon Spence. as to break up the evils connected with it. The From St. Pancras Church, a walk of a few principal source from which the income was de minutes, in a southward direction, by way of rived was the rent of a notoriously bad but licensed | Woburn Place and Tavistock Square, brings us once house near Temple Bar. This evil, so great a blot more to Guilford Street, the southern boundary of on the lectureship, he determined to root out, and the parish of St. Pancras. The Foundling Hospital, therefore he not only refused to renew the lease, which stands on the north side of this street, but but turned out the tenants, keeping the house just within the limits of the parish of which we have empty and himself with a greatly reduced income, been treating, having been unavoidably passed by in until he could find a respectable person willing to our previous perambulation in this neighbourhood, take it.
will form the subject of the following chapter.
“The helpless young that kiss no mother's hand
A sight to gladden Heaven."--Thomson.
--Wholesale Admission of Children-Tokens for the Identification of Children deposited in the Hospital-Withdrawal of the Parliamentary Grant-Rules and Regulations-Form of Petition for the Admission of Children-- Baptism of the Infants-Wet-nurses-Education of the Children-Expenditure of the Establishment-Extracts from the Report of the Royal Commission-Origin of the Royal Academy of ArtsHogarth's Liberality to the Institution--His “ March of the Guards to Finchley Common"- The Picture Gallery --The Chapel-Handel's Benefactions to the Hospital-Lamb's Conduit Fields-Biographical Notice of Captain Coram-Hunter Street-A Domestic Episode in
High Life-Tonbridge Chapel-The British College of Health. This quaint and dull old-fashioned looking build- | hospital for all helpless children as may be brought ing, which reminds us of the early days of the last to it, “in order that they may be made good century, stands on the north side of Guilford servants, or, when qualified, be disposed of to the Street, and forms part of the south-eastern boundary sea or land services of His Majesty the King." of the parish of St. Pancras. It is constructed of The governors first opened a house for "foundbrick, with stone dressings, and consists mainly of a lings " in Hatton Garden, in 1740-1; any person centre and wings, with a large open space before bringing a child, rang the bell at the inner door, it for the exercise of the children, and extensive and waited to hear if the infant was returned from gardens at the back. These gardens, including the disease or at once received ; no questions whatever court in front, which is laid down in turf, cover were to be asked as to the parentage of the child, some acres. The hospital was first established by or whence it was brought; and when the full royal charter, granted in 1739 to Thomas Coram number of children had been taken in, a notice (master of a trading vessel), for the reception, of “The house is full” was affixed over the door. maintenance, and education of exposed and de Often, we are told, there were 100 children offered, serted young children, after the example of similar when only twenty could be admitted ; riots ensued, institutions in France, Holland, and other Christian and thenceforth the mothers balloted for the adcountries. The first intention of Captain Coram, i mission of their little ones by drawing balls out of however, was modified after his death, because it a bag. was feared that the hospital would prove in prac- It was not until some years after the granting of tice only an encouragement of vice, if illegitimate the charter that the governors thought of building children were admitted as long as there was room, the present hospital. Fresh air is as necessary without any restriction ; and the restrictions im- for children as for plants; and so the governors, posed so far diminished the applications, that in wandering round the then suburbs in search of a few cases the doors were thrown open for the some healthy spot whereunto they could transfer reception of some legitimate children of soldiers. their tender “nurslings," found it in the balmy
In the petition which Coram makes for a charter, meads of Lamb's Conduit Fields, then far away backed by “a memorial signed by twenty-one ladies out in the green pastures, five minutes' walk from of quality and distinction,” he recites that, “no Holborn. The governors bought fifty-five acres of expedient has been found out for preventing the these fields from the Earl of Salisbury, for £5,500; frequent murders of poor infants at their birth, or in fact, the governors bought the whole estate, for suppressing the custom of exposing them to not because they required it, but because the earl, perish in the streets, or putting them out to nurses” its owner, would not sell any fractional part of it. (i.e., persons trading in the same manner as the As London increased, the city approached this baby-farmers of more recent times), “who, under-property; and in course of time a considerable taking to bring them up for small sums, suffered part of the estate-indeed, all that was not actually them to starve, or, if permitted to live, either turned absorbed in the hospital and its contiguous them out to beg or steal, or hired them out to grounds-became covered with squares and streets persons, by whom they were trained up in that way of houses, the ground-rents producing an annual of living, and sometimes blinded or maimed, in income equal to the purchase-money. The new order to move pity, and thereby become fitter building was at once commenced, the west wing instruments of gain to their employers." In order being completed first, the east wing afterwards ; to redress this shameful grievance, the memorialists the chapel, connecting the two, was finished last. express their willingness to erect and support a | The edifice was built from the designs of Jacobson.
TOKENS FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF INFANTS.
should effect, that was issued
The children, 600 in number, were removed hither that they had not been fairly dealt with ; and a in 1754, when the expenses of the establishment person was actually tried for infanticide, and would amounted to something very considerably above have been hung, were it not that he was able the income. The governors, nevertheless, who to prove that the crime was committed by the had long been desirous of making it a Foundling carrier. In order to secure the parents against Hospital on the largest scale, found in the known any such suspicion, in 1757 a notice was issued favourable inclinations of the king towards them by the governors to the effect, that all persons an excellent opportunity for pushing their scheme. bringing children should leave some token by London was not then a sufficient field for their which, in case any certificate should be wanted, exertions, and they accordingly applied to Parlia- it might be found out whether such child had been ment, who voted them £10,000, and sanctioned taken into the hospital or not. From that date all the general admission of children, the establishment the children received had some token attached to of county hospitals, &c.
their person, and in course of time a goodly collecA basket was hung at the gate of the hospital tion of these was accumulated. Dr. Wynter, in an in London in which the children were deposited, article on this subject in the Shilling Magazine, the persons who brought them ringing a bell to give enumerates several of these tokens, which are still notice to the officers in attendance. In order to preserved in the hospital. Here are a few of forward the “little innocents” up from the country, them :-“Coins of an ancient date seem to have a branch of the carrying trade was established, and been the favourite articles used for this purpose, babies arrived in London in increasing numbers but there are many things of a more curious from the most distant parts of the country. Large nature. A playing card—the ace of hearts-with prices were, in some instances, paid for their con- a dolorous piece of verse written upon it; a ring veyance, a fact which more than hints at the with two hearts in garnets, broken in half, and position of the parents; and as the carriage was then tied together; three or four padlocks, inprepaid, there was a strong inducement on the tended, we suppose, as emblems of security; a part of the carriers to get rid of their burthens on nut; an ivory fish; an anchor; a gold locket; the way. Many of the infants were drowned; all a lottery ticket. Sometimes a piece of brass, of them were neglected, and that, in the large either in the shape of a heart or a crescent majority of cases, was equal to their death. It was moon, was used as a distinguishing mark, generally publicly asserted in the House of Commons that engraved with some little verse or legend. Thus one man, having the charge of five infants in one has these words upon it, ‘In amore hæc sunt baskets—they appeared to have been packed like vitia ; ' another has this bit of doggerel :so many sucking-pigs--and happening to get drunk
"6"You have my heart; on his journey, lay asleep all night on a common,
Though we must part.' and in the morning three out of the five were found Again, a third has engraved upon it a hand holding dead. Many other instances of negligence on the a heart. Whilst we were musing over these curious part of carriers, resulting in the death of infants mementoes of the past, the obliging secretary of the entrusted to them for carriage to London, are on hospital brought us a large book, evidently bulged record. Even the clothing in which the children out with enclosures between its leaves: this proved were dressed was often stolen on the way, and the to be a still more curious recollection of the past, babes were deposited in the basket just as they as it enclosed little pieces of work, or some article were born. It is reported that a foundling who I of dress worked by the mother as a token, with lived to become a worthy banker in the north of some appeal for kind treatment attached. In many England, but who was received into the hospital cases the token was a finely-worked cap, quaintly at this time, being in after life anxious to make fashioned in the mode of the time; sometimes some inquiry into his origin, applied at the hospital, it was a fine piece of lace. We remarked a bookwhen all the information he could obtain from marker worked in beads, with the words, “Cruel this source was that it appeared on the books of separation ;' and again, a fine piece of ribbon, the establishment that he was put into the basket which the mother had evidently taken from her at the gate naked.
own person. All of these tokens in the book On the first day of this general reception of indicated that the maternal parents were of the infants, June 2nd, 1756, no less than 117 children better class—many of them that they were of the were deposited in the basket. The easy manner best class.” Now these tokens are no longer in which the children were thus disposed of led wanted. The letters of the alphabet and figures naturally to suspicion, on the part of neighbours, are prosaically made to supply their place.