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turned into a brewery, and the race, down to about with boats, and the utmost anxiety evinced by the the year 1873, ended at the new “Swan," higher friends of the contending parties. In former times up the river, as mentioned above.
. it was customary for the winner on his arrival to be The “Swan,” very naturally, was a favourite sign saluted with shouts of applause by the surrounding for inns by the waterside, and Mr. J. T. Smith, in spectators, and carried in triumph on the shoulders his “Book for a Rainy Day," or rather a water- of his friends into the tavern. man who speaks in his pages, enumerates a goodly On a vacant space of ground in front of the list of “Swans” between London and Battersea Swan Brewery stood formerly a mansion, erected in bridges in 1829:-"Why, let me see, master," he the reign of Queen Anne, which was for many years writes, “there's the ‘Old Swan'at London Bridge inhabited by Mrs. Banks, the mother of Sir Joseph
-that's one; then there's the ‘Swan' in Arundel | Banks. Street—that's two; then our's here” (at Hungerford “The Physic Garden,” to which we now come, Stairs), “three; the ‘Swan'at Lambeth—that's down was originated by Sir Hans Sloane, the celebrated though. Well, then there's the Old Swan' at physician, and was handed over in 1721 by him, Chelsea, but that has been long turned into a brew- by deed of gift, to the Apothecaries' Company, who house; though that was where our people" (the still own and maintain it. The garden, which watermen) “rowed to formerly, as mentioned in bears the name of the “Royal Botanic," was preDoggett's will; now they row to the sign of the sented to the above company on condition that it · New Swan' beyond the Physic Garden-we'll say " should at all times be continued as a physicthat's four. Then there's two ‘Swans' at Battersea garden, for the manifestation of the power, and -six.”
wisdom, and goodness of God in creation ; and We have already spoken at some length of that the apprentices might learn to distinguish good Tom Doggett, the famous comedian,* and of the and useful plants from hurtful ones.” Various adannual rowing match by Thames watermen for the ditions have been made to the “ Physic Garden” honour of carrying off the “coat and badge,” at different periods, in the way of greenhouses and which, in pursuance of his will, have been com- hot-houses ; and in the centre of the principal walk peted for on the ist of August for the last 150 was erected a statue of Sir Hans Sloane, by Michael years; suffice it to say, then, that in the year Rysbraeck. 1873 the old familiar "Swan” inn was demolished “We visited," writes P. Wakefield in r814, “the to make room for the new embankment. The old Physic or Botanic Garden,' commenced by the “Swan” tavern enjoyed a fair share of public Company of Apothecaries in 1673, and patronised favour for many years. Pepys, in his “ Diary,” thus by Sir Hans Sloane, who granted the freehold of mentions it, under date April 9, 1666 :—“By the premises to the company on condition that coach to Mrs. Pierce's, and with her and Knipp, they should present annually to the Royal Society and Mrs. Pierce's boy and girl abroad, thinking to specimens of fifty new plants till their number have been merry at Chelsea; but being come should amount to two thousand. From a sense of almost to the house by coach, near the waterside, gratitude they erected in the centre of the garden a house alone, I think the "Swan,' a gentleman a marble statue of their benefactor. Above the walking by called to us to tell us that the house spacious greenhouse is a library, furnished with a was shut up because of the sickness. So we, with large collection of botanical works, and with numegreat affright, turned back, being holden to the rous specimens of dried plants. We could not gentleman, and went away (I, for my part, in great quit these gardens without admiring two cedars of disorder) to Kensington.” In 1780 the house was great size and beauty.” converted into the Swan Brewery; and the landing “At the time the garden was formed," writes of the victor in the aquatic contest thenceforth took the author of " London Exhibited in 1851," " it place, as above stated, at a house bearing the same must have stood entirely in the country, and had sign nearer to Cheyne Walk. Since the demo- every chance of the plants in it maintaining a lition of this house the race has been ended close healthy state. Now, however, it is completely in to the spot where the old tavern stood. This the town, and but for its being on the side of the rowing match-although not to be compared in any river, and lying open on that quarter, it would be way to the great annual aquatic contest between altogether surrounded with common streets and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge-occa houses. As it is, the appearance of the walls, grass, sions a very lively scene, the river being covered plants, and houses is very much that of most
London gardens-dingy, smoky, and, as regards the * See Vol. III., P. 308.
plants, impoverished and starved. It is, however,
ce's, andiri abroad, being code gratiti
THE OLD BUN-HOUSE.
interesting for its age, for the few old specimens it mob; and in one day more than £250 has been contains, for the medical plants, and, especially, taken for buns. because the houses are being gradually renovated,' The following curious notice was issued on Wedand collections of ornamental plants, as well as those nesday, March 27th, 1793 :-“ Royal Bun House, which are useful in medicine, formed and cultivated Chelsea, Good Friday.--No Cross Buns. Mrs. on the best principles, under the curatorship of Hand respectfully informs her friends and the Mr. Thomas Moore, one of the editors of the public, that in consequence of the great concourse
Gardener's Magazine of Botany.'” In spite of of people which assembled before her house at a the disadvantages of its situation, here are still very early hour, on the morning of Good Friday, grown very many of the drugs which figure in the last, by which her neighbours (with whom she has “ London Pharmacopæia.” The two cedars of always lived in friendship and repute) have been Lebanon, which have now reached the age of much alarmed and annoyed; it having also been upwards of 150 years, are said to have been pre- intimated, that to encourage or countenance a sented to the garden by Sir Joseph Banks, the dis- tumultuous assembly at this particular period might tinguished naturalist, who here studied the first be attended with consequences more serious than principles of botany. Of Sir Hans Sloane, and of have hitherto been apprehended; desirous, therehis numerous public benefactions, we have already fore, of testifying her regard and obedience to spoken in our account of the British Museum.* It those laws by which she is happily protected, she only remains, therefore, to add that he was a con- is determined, though much to her loss, not to sell tributor of natural specimens of rocks from the Cross Buns on that day to any person whatever, Giant's Causeway to Pope's Grotto at Twickenham; but Chelsea buns as usual.” that he attended Queen Anne in her last illness at The Bun-house was much frequented during the Kensington ; and that he was the first member of palmy days of Ranelagh, after the closing of which the medical profession on whom a baronetcy was the bun trade declined. Notwithstanding this, on conferred.
Good Friday, April 18th, 1839, upwards of 24,000 During the last century, and early in the present, buns were sold here. Soon after, the Bun-house a pleasant walk across green fields, intersected with was sold and pulled down ; and at the same time hedges and ditches, led the pedestrian from West- was dispersed a collection of pictures, models, minster and Millbank to “The Old Bun House" grotesque figures, and modern antiques, which had at Chelsea. This far-famed establishment, which for a century added the attractions of a museum to possessed a sort of rival museum to Don Saltero's, the bun celebrity. Another bun-house was built stood at the end of Jew's Row (now Pimlico Road), in its place, but the olden charm of the place had not far from Grosvenor Row. The building was a filed, and Chelsea buns are now only matters of one-storeyed structure, with a colonnade projecting history. over the foot pavement, and was demolished in Sir Richard Phillips, in his “Morning's Walk 1839, after having enjoyed the favour of the public from London to Kew," a few years before the for more than a century and a half. Chelsea has demolition of the old Bun-house, after describing been famed for its buns since the commencement his ramble through Pimlico, writes : “I soon turned of the last century. Swift, in his “ Journal to the corner of a street which took me out of sight Stella," 1712, writes, “Pray are not the fine buns of the space on which once stood the gay Ranelagh. sold here in our town as the rare Chelsea buns? I... Before me appeared the shop so famed for bought one to-day in my walk," &c. It was for Chelsea buns, which for above thirty years I have many years the custom of the Royal Family, and never passed without filling my pockets. In the the nobility and gentry, to visit the Bun-house in original of these shops-for even of Chelsea buns the morning. George II., Queen Caroline, and the there are counterfeits—are preserved mementoes of princesses frequently honoured the proprietor, Mrs. domestic events in the first half of the past century, Hand, with their company, as did also George III. The bottle-conjuror is exhibited in a toy of his and Queen Charlotte ; and her Majesty presented own age; portraits are also displayed of Duke Mrs. Hand with a silver half-gallon mug, with five William and other noted personages; a model of a guineas in it. On Good Friday mornings the Bun- British soldier, in the stiff costume of the same age; house used to present a scene of great bustle- and some grotto-works, serve to indicate the taste upwards of 50,000 persons have assembled here, of a former owner, and were, perhaps, intended to when disturbances often arose among the London rival the neighbouring exhibition at Don Saltero's.
These buns have afforded a competency, and even . See Vo!. IV., p. 494.
| wealth, to four generations of the same family;
and it is singular that their delicate flavour, light- Chelsea would seem at one time to have enjoyed ness, and richness, have never been successfully a reputation not only for buns, but for custards, if imitated.”
we inay judge from the following allusion to them In the Mirror for April 6, 1839, are two views by Gay, in his “ Trivia :"of the old Bun-house, which were taken just before “ When W-- and G--, mighty names, are dead, its demolition.
Or but at Chelsea under custards read.”
CHELSEA (continued).—THE HOSPITAL, &c.
"Go with old Thames, view Chelsea's glorious pile,
Rogers's "Pleasures of Memory."
of the College to the Royal Society-The Property sold to Sir Stephen Fox, and afterwards given as a Site for the Hospital-Lord Ranelagh's Mansion-Dr. Monsey-The Chudleigh Family—The Royal Hospital described-Lying in State of the Duke of WellingtonRegulations for the Admission of Pensioners—A few Veritable Centenarians-The “Snow Shoes" Tavern-The Duke of York's School
Ranelagh Gardens, and its Former Glories—The Victoria Hospital for Sick Children. On the west side of the Physic Garden, with its Christopher Wren. Chelsea has yet a stronger lawns and flower-beds stretching almost down to claim upon our sympathies, since, according to the river, stands a noble hospital, the counterpart popular tradition, the first idea of converting it into of that at Greenwich, still providing an asylum for an asylum for broken-down soldiers sprang from the invalid soldiers—as its rival did, till recently, for charitable heart of Nell Gwynne, the frail actress, sailors worn out in the service of their country with whom, for all her frailties, the English people
It is well known that the foundation of this can never be angry. As the story goes, a wounded splendid institution was the work of Charles II. and destitute soldier hobbled up to Nellie's coachJohn Evelyn has the following entry in his “Diary,” window to ask alms, and the kind-hearted woman under date 27th of January, 1682 :—“This evening was so pained to see a man who had fought for his Sir Stephen Fox acquainted me againe with his country begging his bread in the street that she Majesty's resolution of proceeding in the erection prevailed on Charles II. to establish at Chelsea a of a royal hospital for merited soldiers, on that permanent home for military invalids. We should spot of ground which the Royal Society had sold to like to believe the story; and, indeed, its veracity his Majesty for £1,300, and that he would settle may not be incompatible with a far less pleasant £5,000 per annum on it, and build to the value of report, that the second Charles made a remarkably £20,000, for the reliefe and reception of four com- good thing, in a pecuniary sense, out of Chelsea panies—viz., 400 men, to be as in a colledge or Hospital.” monasterie.". It appears that Evelyn was largely Before entering upon an account of Chelsea Hosconsulted by the king and Sir Stephen Fox as pital, it may be desirable to notice here a collegiate to the details of the new building, the growth of building which formerly occupied the site of this whose foundations and walls he watched constantly, great national edifice. This college was originated, as he tells us in his “ Diary."
soon after the commencement of the seventeenth It was not without a pang that the British public century, by Dr. Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter, saw Greenwich “disestablished ;” and, observes a for the study of polemical divinity. King James I. writer in the Times, “ the parting with the wooden- laid the first stone of the edifice, in May, 1609, and legged veterans, in their antique garb, and with their bestowed on it the name of “King James's College at garrulous prattle--too often, it is to be feared, Chelsey.” According to the Charter of Incorporaapocryphal--about Nelson, Duncan, Jervis, and tion, the number of members was limited to a Collingwood, was like the parting from old friends. I provost and nineteen fellows, seventeen of whom The associations connected with Chelsea Hospital,” were required to be in holy orders; the other two continues the writer, “possess nearly the same his might be either laymen or divines, and they were to torical interest with those awakened by Greenwich. be employed in recording the chief historical events Both piles—although that upon the river-bank is by of the era. Dr. Sutcliffe was himself the first far the more splendid edifice-were built by Sir | provost, and Camden and Hayward were the first
71 historians. Archbishop Laud called the institution it was afterwards granted to the Royal Society. “Controversy College;" and, according to “Alleyn's This body, in turn, sold the property to Sir Stephen Life," " the Papists, in derision, gave it the name of Fox, for Charles II., who "generously gave” it an alehouse.”
as a site for a Royal Hospital for Aged and DisIt is, perhaps, worthy of a passing note that abled Soldiers, but at the same time pocketing Dr. Archbishop Bancroft left the books which formed Sutcliffe's endowment, and leaving the building to the nucleus of the library at Lambeth Palace, to be erected at the cost of the nation. his successors in the see of Canterbury, with the On part of the site of the college was erected, condition that if certain stipulations were not com- towards the close of the seventeenth century, the plied with, his legacy should go to Chelsea College, mansion of the Earls of Ranelagh, whose name was if built within six years of his own decease. I perpetuated in that of the gardens which were
From a print of the original design, prefixed ultimately opened to the public on that spot. to Darley's “Glory of Chelsey College new Re- We read in the Weekly Post, of 1714, a rumour vived” (a copy of which is published in Faulkner's to the effect that “ the Duke and Duchess of Marl“ History of Chelsea ”), it would appear that the borough are to have the late Earl of Ranelagh's buildings were originally intended to combine two house at Chelsea College;" but the arrangement quadrangles, of different, but spacious, dimensions, does not appear to have been carried out, for in with a piazza along the four sides of the smaller 1730 an Act was passed, vesting the estates of the court. Only one side of the first quadrangle, Earl of Ranelagh in trustees; and a few years later however, was completed, and the whole collegiate the house and premises were sold in lots, and establishment very soon collapsed. Evelyn tells shortly afterwards opened as a place of public us that the plan of Chelsea College embraced a entertainment, of which we shall have more to say quadrangle, with accommodation for 440 persons, presently. Lord Ranelagh's house and gardens “after the dimensions of the larger quadrangle at are thus described by Bowack, in 1705:—“The Christchurch, Oxford.” Shortly after the death house, built with brick and cornered with stone, is of the third provost, Dr. Slater, which occurred not large, but very convenient, and may well be in 1645, suits were commenced in the Court of called a cabinet. It stands a good distance from Chancery respecting the title to the ground on the Thames. In finishing the whole, his lordship which the college stood, when it was decreed that has spared neither labour nor cost. The very Dr. Sutcliffe's estates should revert to his rightful greenhouses and stables, adorned with festoons and heirs, upon their paying to the college a certain urns, have an air of grandeur not to be seen in sum of money. The college buildings were after- | many princes' palaces.” wards devoted to various inappropriate purposes, Again, in Gibson's “View of the Gardens near being at one time used as a receptacle for prisoners London,” published in 1691, these grounds are of war, and at another as a riding-house.
thus described :-"My Lord Ranelagh's garden Its next destination would appear to have been being but lately made, the plants are but small, of a higher order; for it appears that the king gave but the plats, border, and walks are curiously kept it, or offered it, to the then newly-founded Royal and elegantly designed, having the advantage of Society. John Evelyn writes, in his “Diary," opening into Chelsea College walks. The kitchenunder date September 24th, 1667:—“Returned to garden there lies very fine, with walks and seats ; London, where I had orders to deliver the posses- one of which, being large and covered, was then sion of Chelsey Colledge (used as my prison during under the hands of a curious painter. The house the wart with Holland, for such as were sent from there is very fine within, all the rooms being wainthe Fleete to London) to our Society (the Royal scoted with Norway oak, and all the chimneys Society), as a gift of his Majesty, our founder.” adorned with carving, as in the council-chamber in And again, under date September, 14th, 1681, Chelsea College.” The staircase was painted by Evelyn writes :-“ Din'd with Sir Stephen Fox, Noble, who died in 1700. who proposed to me the purchasing of Chelsey A portion of the old college seems to have College, which his Majesty had some time since remained standing for many years, and ultimately given to our Society, and would now purchase it to have become the residence of Dr. Messenger again to build a hospital or infirmary for soldiers Monsey, one of Dr. Johnson's literary acquaintances, there, in which he desired my assistance, as one of and many years Physician to the Royal Hospital. the council of the Royal Society.”
From Boswell's “Life of Johnson” we learn that On the failure of the college, the ground es- the character of Dr. Monsey, in point of natural cheated to the Crown, by whom, as stated above, humour, is thought to have borne a near resem
London.". cribed : " Methe plantse curiously ke Pop
& the Curious
der the hich,
blance to that of Dean Swift; and like him, he too tration, the reversion of his place had been sucwill be long remembered for the vivid powers of his cessively promised to several medical friends of the mind and the marked peculiarity of his manners. Paymaster-General of the Forces. Looking out of “ His classical abilities were indeed enviable, his his window one day, and observing a gentleman memory throughout life was wonderfully retentive, below examining the college and gardens, who he and upon a variety of occasions enabled him, with | knew had secured the reversion of his place, the an inexhaustible flow of words, to pour forth the doctor came down stairs, and going out to him, treasures of erudition acquired by reading, study, accosted him thus :—Well, sir, I see you are and experience; insomuch that he was truly allowed examining your house and gardens, that are to be,
to be a storehouse of anecdote, a reservoir of and I will assure you that they are both very curious narrative for all weathers; the living pleasant and very convenient. But I must tell you chronicle, in short, of other times. The exuber- one circumstance: you are the fifth man that has ance of his wit, which, like the web of life, was of had the reversion of the place, and I have buried a mingled yarn, often rendered his conversation them all. And what is more, continued he, lookexceedingly entertaining, sometimes indeed alarm-ing very scientifically at him, there is something ingly offensive, and at other times pointedly in your face that tells me I shall bury you too.' pathetic and instructive; for, at certain happy The event justified the prediction, for the gentleintervals, the doctor could lay aside Rabelais and man died some years after; and what is more Scarron to think deeply on the most important extraordinary, at the time of the doctor's death subjects, and to open a very serious vein.” The there was not a person who seems to have even following anecdote, told in Faulkner's “ History of solicited the promise of the reversion.” Chelsea," is very characteristic of the doctor's turn | Dr. Monsey's death is recorded as having taken of temper, and is said to be well attested :—“He place in December, 1788, “at his apartments in lived so long in his office of Physician to Chelsea Chelsea College,” at the great age of ninety-five. Hospital, that, during many changes of adminis- | Johnson, though he admired his intellect, disliked