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10,000 patients are annually relieved here. Patients fashioned structure of plaster and brickwork, stood are admitted free, on the production of a sub- near what is now the western entrance to Victoria scriber's ticket; otherwise a small fee is paid by Park down to about the year 1850. out-patients and in-patients.
In this neighbourhood, at the time of the forAt the eastern end of Hackney Road formerly mation of Victoria Park, was swept away a wretched stood the Cambridge Heath turnpike gate, which village of hovels, formerly known as “ Botany Bay," was removed a few years ago, when tolls upon the from so many of its inhabitants being sent to metropolitan highways were abolished; its site is “another place” bearing that name. now marked by an obelisk set up in the centre of By the side of the park gates is a picturesque the roadway. From this point, Mare Street, of lodge-house of the Elizabethan character, built from which we shall have more to say presently, branches the designs of Mr. Pennethorne; it is constructed off to the left ; Cambridge Road, on our right, leads chiefly of red bricks, and has a lofty tower and past the Bethnal Green Museum, and so on to the porch. The ground now forming Victoria Park Whitechapel Road and Mile End. Prospect Place, was purchased by the Government with the proceeds which extends eastward from the Hackney Road, of the sale of York (now Stafford) House, * St and its continuation, Bishop's Road, leads direct to James's, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament the principal entrance to Victoria Park.
passed in 1840 for that purpose. It is bounded on On the east side of Bonner's Road, which here the south-east by Sir George Duckett's Canal—a branches off to the right, leading to Old Ford Road, branch cut from the Regent's Canal, near Bonner's stands an Orphan Asylum, or Home for outcast Hall Farm, crossing the Grove Road, and comchildren ; and also the City of London Hospital municating with the river Lea, near Old Ford; on for Diseases of the Chest. The latter edifice is a the north-east by Old Ford Lane, or Wick Lane; large and well-proportioned building of red brick, on the north-west by Grove Street and lands consisting of a centre and wings, in the Queen belonging to Sir John Cass's charity and to St. Anne style, and was constructed from the designs Thomas's Hospital; and on the west by the of Mr. Ordish. It has a central campanile, and a Regent's Canal. small Gothic chapel on the north side, connected Victoria Park is nearly 300 acres in extent, with the main building by a covered corridor. The with avenues which one day with an ampler growth hospital, which was opened by Prince Albert in will be really superb, a lake, or chain of lakes, on 1848, for “the relief of indigent persons afflicted which adventurous spirits daily learn to "tug the with consumption and other diseases of the chest,” labouring oar," and such a pleasant arrangement was first of all located in Liverpool Street, Fins- of walks, shrubberies, green turf, gay flowers, and bury, and by the end of the year 1849 about 900 shady trees, that if the place were situated in the patients were relieved. Since its removal to the western suburbs, it would, perhaps, become the neighbourhood of Victoria Park its accommodation resort of the élite of fashion. On an island upon has vastly increased, so that in the year 1875 about one of the lakes is a two-storeyed Chinese pagoda, 700 in-patients and 12,000 out-patients had expe- which, with the trees and foliage surrounding it, has rienced the benefits of this most excellent charity. a pretty effect. Here, as in the West-end parks, The hospital stands upon a large triangular plot of floriculture has been greatly extended of late; and ground, surrounded by a light iron railing; and the through the summer months, its variegated parterres grounds are laid out in grass plats, and flower-beds, are aglow with flowers of every hue, making altoand are well planted with shrubs and trees. Some gether a glorious show. Among the large foliage of the latter are the remains of an avenue formerly plants which have found their way here, may be reextending from the Old Ford Lane to the principal marked, on one sheltered slope, a group of Ficus entrance of Bonner's Hall, which stood on the elastica, the india-rubber tree, and close by is a east side of where the hospital now stands. The specimen of the Yucca gloriosa, which has the more old building is traditionally said to have been the popular name of " Adam's needle,” the tradition residence of Bishop Bonner, and certainly to have probably being that one of its pointed leaves been his property. The surrounding land down to helped to make the fig-leaf apron. Tropical plants a comparatively recent date was known as Bishop of different varieties are to be found in the snug Bonner's Fields, names which are now preserved nooks and recesses which abound here. As to in the two roads above mentioned. The site of the flowering plants, such as the geranium, calBishop Bonner's Hall was occupied by some private ceolaria, verbena, lobelia, &c., reliance is placed buildings in the early part of the present century; and Bishop Bonner's Hall Farm, a curious old.
• See Vol. IV., P. 192.
was occupieda. The site sa nooks and
chiefly upon masses of colour instead of the narrow and striking contrasts of colour, are, of course, a bands adopted in the other parks. In the Regent's continual source of pleasure for these struggling Park, as we have already seen,* great skill has been artisans, and gladden many a moment when, shown in grouping and composition; there is an perhaps, work is not too plentiful, and home attempt in landscape-gardening at something of the thoughts are not very happy. In Victoria Park effects of landscape painting, using Nature's own the plants and flowers are labelled in letters which colours, with the ground for canvas. In Hyde he who walks may read without need of getting Park the red line of geraniums between Stanhope over fence or bordering. This is not always the Gate and Grosvenor Gate is as well known among case in the other parks, where the labels, from gardeners as the “thin red line” at Balaclava dirt or the smallness of the characters, are often among soldiers. But in Victoria Park the old practically illegible. One of the lakes is devoted to gardening tactics prevail ; for the most part, masses miniature yacht sailing. This amusement seems of colour are brought to bear upon the eye in oval, almost confined to East London; and here on a round, and square ; and with a wide area of turf summer evening, when a capful of wind is to be in which to maneuvre our floral forces, these had, the surface of the lake is whitened by some tactics are probably the most effective that could forty or fifty toy boats and yachts, of all rigs and be adopted. More ingenious designs, however, are sizes, while here and there a miniature steamboat is not wanting. Near the ornamental water, a pretty puffing and panting. There is even a yacht-club, effect is produced by scrolls of purple verbena en- whose members compete with their toy-yachts for closed by the white-leaved Cerastium tomentosum, silver cups and other prizes. The expense of looking like amethysts set in silver. In another keeping up a yacht here is not considerable, and part of the park this design is reversed, and the whole squadron may be laid up until wanted the blue lobelia is made a frame for a central in a boat-house provided for the purpose. But the pattern of the same delicate silvery foliage plant, matches and trials of these tiny crafts are a special lit up by an occasional patch of scarlet, with a attraction of the park, and draw together every background of dahlias and evergreens. Elsewhere evening hundreds of people. Bathing, too, is we come upon a fanciful figure which, after some largely indulged in during the summer. Ample study, resolves itself into an outstretched butterfly space is available for cricket, and in the two of enormous size, with wings as vividly coloured as gymnasia candidates for swinging, jumping, and those of any that fly in the sun. For borderings climbing appear to be never wanting. . the Amaranthus melancholicus and the usual foliage In one open part of the grounds stands a plants of small growth are employed.
very handsome drinking-fountain, surrounded by In fine weather, when the band plays, over parterres of flowers. It was erected by Lady 100,000 persons are frequently collected in this Burdett-Coutts, whose care for the social welfare park. The people are orderly, most of them being of the poor of London, and particularly in the of the humbler class, and their appreciation of the East-end districts, we have already had occasion flowers is quite as keen as that of the frequenters to mention. In the part devoted to cricket and of the West-end parks. Some of the dwellers in such like sports, some of the semi-octagonal the East-end have a great fondness for flowers, and recesses, which afforded shelter for foot-passengers contrive somehow or other, in the most unlikely on old Westminster Bridge,t have been re-erected, places, to rear very choice varieties. In small, and serve as alcoves. wretched-looking yards, where little air and only On the north side of Victoria Park is a large the mid-day sun can penetrate, may be seen plot of ground, which since the end of the last patches of garden, evidently tended with un- century has been used as a burial-place for the common care, and yielding to their cultivators a Jewish community, belonging to the Hamburg fair reward in fragrance and in blossom. In some synagogue. places may be descried bits of broken glass and Making our way through Grove Street, we reach a framework which just holds together, doing duty the south-west corner of Hackney Common. Close as a greenhouse; and in this triumph of patience by this point stands the French Hospital, a large and ingenuity the poor artisan spends much of his and ornamental building of dark red brick, with leisure, happy when he can make up a birthday stone dressings, which presents a pleasing contrast bouquet for some friend or relation. The flowers to the foliage of the trees which surround it. The in the neighbouring park, with their novel grouping institution was established as far back as 1708, for
* See ante, p. 266.
+ See Vol. III., p. 299.
the “support of poor French Protestants and their arched and foliated ribs; the chancel has a stone descendants."
roof, and the walls of the apse are painted and A short walk through Lammas Road and Groom- diapered-red with fleur-de-lis, and blue powdered bridge Road, which skirt the western side of the with stars. All the windows are filled with painted, Common, brings us to Grove Street, by the end of stained, or richly-diapered glass. The tower has King Edward Road, where stands the large and a fine peal of eight bells. handsome church of St. John of Jerusalem, the Before proceeding with a description of the old parish church of the recently-formed district of town of Hackney, upon which we are now entering, South Hackney. The church, which is built of we may remark that it has been suggested, and
Kentish rag-stone, is in the best Pointed style of with considerable probability, that the name of the the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and was place is derived from “Hacon's ey," or the island erected in 1846 from the designs of Mr. E. C. which some Danish chief named Hacon had, in Hakewell, to supersede a church erected in Well the mild method prevalent among the warriors of Street early in the present century. The plan of fifteen hundred years ago, appropriated to himself. the edifice is cruciform, with a tower and spire of But authentic history is silent upon the point ; equal height, together rising nearly 200 feet; the and, indeed, almost the earliest record we find of latter has graceful lights and broaches, and the the place is that the Knights Templars held the four Evangelists beneath canopies at the four manor, which afterwards became the property of angles. The nave has side aisles, with flying their rivals, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. buttresses to the clerestory; each transept is lit Of late years the parish has been styled by by a magnificent window, about thirty feet high, the name of St. John at Hackney, as though and the choir has an apse with seven lancet it belonged to the fraternity of the Knights of windows. The principal entrance, at the western St. John of Jerusalem, who had, as it is said, a end, is through a screen of open arches. The mansion and other possessions in the parish; roof, of open work, is very lofty, and has massive | but from ancient records preserved in the Tower
of London it is found to be written, Ecclesia of Hackney," describes it as an ancient, extensive, Parochialis S. Augustini de Hackney. The Temple and populous village, “ situated on the west side of Mills, in Hackney Marshes, even now preserve the the river Lea, about two miles and a half from memory of the priestly warriors of the Templar the City of London, within the division of the order.
Tower Hamlets, in the hundred of Ossulston, in In the reign of Henry III., when the first the county of Middlesex.” “In former times," mention of the place occurs as a village, it is he adds, “ many noblemen, gentlemen, and others, called Hackenaye, and Hacquenye; and in a of the first rank and consequence, had their country patent of Edward IV., granting the manors of seats in this village, on account of its pleasant and Stepney and Hackney to Thomas Lord Wentworth, healthy situation.” In the parish of Hackney are it is styled Hackeney, otherwise Hackney. “The comprised the nominal hamlets of Clapton (Upper parish, no doubt," says Dr. Robinson, “derived and Lower), Homerton, Dalston, Shacklewell, the its appellation from circumstances of no common greater part of Kingsland, and that part of Stoke nature, but what they were it is at this time difficult Newington which lies on the eastern side of the to conjecture; and no one will venture to assert high road to Tottenham ; but modern Hackney, that it received its name from the Teutonic or considered as an assemblage of dwellings, is quite Welsh language, as some have supposed.”
united to Homerton and Lower Clapton, on the We may conclude this chapter by remarking east and north, and also by rows of buildings on that Dr. Robinson, in his “History and Antiquities | the west to the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch.
CHAPTER XLI. THE NORTH-EASTERN SUBURBS.-HACKNEY (continued). "I had a parcel of as honest religious girls about me as ever pious matron had under her tuition at a Hackney boarding-school."
Tom Brown: Madam Cresswell to Moll Quarles. Hackney in the Last Century--Its Gradual Growth-Well Street-Hackney College-Monger's Almshouses—The Residence of Dr. Frampton
St. John's Priory-St. John's Church-Mare Street-Hackney a Great Centre of Nonconformity-The Roman Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist-The “Flying Horse" Tavern-Elizabeth Fry's Refuge-Dr. Spurstowe's Almshouses-Hackney Town Hall — The New Line of the Great Eastern Railway-John Milton's Visits to Hackney–Barber's Barn-Loddidge's Nursery-Watercress-beds—The Gravel-pit Meeting House-The Church House-The Parish Church-The “Three Cranes"-The Old Church Tower-The Churchyard - The New Church of St. John-The Black and White House-Boarding Schools for Young Ladies--Sutton Place-The "Mermaid” Tavern—"Ward's Corner"-The Templars' House-Brooke House-Noted Residents at Hackney-Homerton-The City of London Union-Lower Clapton -John Howard, the Prison Reformer-The London Orphan Asylum-Metropolitan Asylum for Imbeciles-The Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Females-Concluding Remarks on Hackney.
In treating of this parish we have no Pepys or of merchants and wealthy persons, that it is said Boswell to guide or interest us, and to gossip there are near a hundred gentlemen's coaches with us over this neighbourhood, and to furnish us kept.” The writer enumerates its several hamlets, with stores of anecdote ; but, fortunately, we have viz., "Clapton on the north, Dorleston (Dalston] the assistance of Strype, who, in his edition of and Shacklewell on the west; and on the east, Stow's “ London," includes Hackney in his “Cir- Homerton, leading to Hackney Marshes." cuit Walk on the North of London.” He styles it. There is still an old-fashioned air about Hackney a "pleasant and healthful town, where divers nobles itself; but Dalston has thrown out lines of commonin former times had their country seats,” enu- place villas across the fields and orchards on the merating among its residents an Earl of Northum- south-west ; Clapton has developed itself on the berland, a Countess of Warwick, and a Lord north ; Victoria Park has initiated a new town on Brooke. Still, the houses and their walks, for the the south ; a busy railway station stands near the most part, have no stories connected with them, tower of the old church, of which we shall speak carent quia vate sacro, and the whole district sup- presently; and down in the Marshes are now large plies us but scanty materials, historical, topogra- | hives of manufacturing industry. phical, and biographical, as compared with St. The town (if considered independently of its Pancras or Hampstead.
hamlets), down to a comparatively recent date, Hackney is described in the “ Ambulator," in consisted chiefly of four streets, termed Church 1774, as "a very large and populous village, on Street, Mare (or Meare) Street, Grove Street, and the north of London, inhabited by such numbers Well Street; but such has been the growth of the