We return to Oxford Street and just beyond Argyll Street should find the Pantheon, converted in 1834 into a Bazaar. (Pictures here.) However, the building was demolished in 1937 and the site is now M&S.
The Princess’s Theatre was opposite The Pantheon – ‘..the interior is elegantly decorated, and will contain about 1,800-2,000 persons..’. The Theatre finally closed in 1902, and the site was eventually occupied by the HMV store.
‘..Soho Square is chiefly tenanted by music publishers and those connected with the music profession..’, according to Mr Bradshaw. Today media companies can be found, so perhaps continuation of purpose again? Nos 10 and 15 are the only original houses, dating from 1670-80, when the square was laid out.
Current construction work makes photography difficult and this was the best I could manage. No.10 Soho Square was originally two houses, built c.1680, and brought together in 1691, and No.15 Soho Square is similar in appearance. These must have been very elegant homes in their time – I wonder if there is any chance of restoration?
St Patrick’s Church is a very large Roman Catholic Parish Church in Soho Square with extensive catacombs (which apparently spread deep under the Square and further afield). It was consecrated as a chapel in 1792. (Interesting post & lovely photographs here.) It was quiet and peaceful when I visited, and I lit a candle and remembered.
The French Protestant Church was founded by King Edward VI with a Royal Charter in 1550, in Fenchurch Street, in the City. The current building by Aston Webb in Soho Square dates to 1891–93. (There were apparently 23 Huguenot Churches in London in 1700; this is the only one remaining.) (Article here on the flight of the Protestants from France.)
The Soho Bazaar used to occupy the site of nos.4, 5, and 6 Soho Square. ‘..The Bazaar was owned and built by John Trotter, who ‘.. made his fortune supplying the British Army during the Napoleonic wars. He became concerned with the plight of the widows and daughters of Army Officers, who were often left financially destitute, [and so turned] one of his warehouses into an indoor market, .. enabling these ladies to hire stalls, sell homemade goods and provide themselves with a much needed income..’. Essentially this was a shopping arcade, and the Bazaar in Soho Square was the first of many. The Bazaar closed in 1885. John Trotter himself lived at no.7 Soho Square, and Dryham Park, so business was very good!
The first building at St Giles was a leper hospital, founded by Queen Matilda, wife of Henry I, outside the walls of London. (The map below shows ‘the fields’.) In 1623 the second church was built, although the story is complicated and there were probably other chapels or churches. The area between St Giles and Seven Dials, St Giles Rookery, was an infamous slum (ghastly picture here, and descriptions here and here), and the conditions are considered to have led to the outbreak of the plague in 1665. In one month there were c.1,300 burials and, according to The London Encyclopaedia, the excessive number of burials undermined the foundations of the Church! By 1711, under the 50 New Churches Act, a new church was under discussion. St Giles in the Fields parish church built by Henry Flitcroft in 1730-34 (not 1784 as stated by Mr Bradshaw), the third church on the site.
I am directed to the interior of the church, and the monuments, but people were at prayer, and the light was fading so photographs and exploration were not possible. The churchyard is unkempt but I think this tomb, on the eastern side, may belong to George Chapman.
I could not find ‘..a flat stone, having upon it some faint vestiges of what was once a coat-of-arms..’, the first burial site of James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater, executed at Tower Hill. There were two plague pits in this area and by the late 18C the graveyard was full and the Church bought more land at St Pancras Old Church. I need to visit.
A lych gate at St Giles was built in 1687, and replaced in 1800 to include the tympanum from the original gate, ‘..an elaborate and curious specimen of bronze sculpture, representing the Last Judgement, [was] brought from Florence and placed on the gate of the old church in 1686..’, says Mr Bradshaw. It was apparently known as the ‘Resurrection Gate’ and the sculpture based on Michelangelo’s work. The gate moved to its current position in 1865.
This map by Hollar gives a fascinating view of the area of this post in 1658.
Seven Dials was intended as a genteel residential area, but by the 19C it was a notorious slum (yet another). Now, through the regeneration of Covent Garden it has attained a ‘buzz’ and liveliness as a retail centre, with bijoux clothing and food boutiques, shops, and eateries.
Drury Lane, now the most uninviting street in London for a residence, was, up to the reign of William III, rather a genteel and fashionable locality..’, says Mr Bradshaw. I concur. The pub was interesting, however! There has been a pub on the site of The White Hart since the 15C.
The Via de Aldwych and was a very old road in an area allotted to the Danes by Alfred the Great (871-899), and became Drury Lane after Sir William Drury (1527-79). He was a statesman and soldier, and a Knight of the Garter, who died in Ireland – in a duel. Drury House, a large mansion with a beautiful garden, stood on the corner of Drury Lane and Wych Street, and was replaced by Craven House.
Drury Lane became increasingly associated with theatres: The Cockpit (The Phoenix Theatre, c.1616-65), the Royal Olympic Theatre (1805-1904, built on the site of Drury House), the Novelty Theatre in Great Queen Street ( ), and now the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1812-, probably the fourth theatre on the site). Of this theatre Mr Bradshaw remarks ‘..we are afraid “Old Drury” can never be again so famous a theatre as it has been..’, remembering the productions of Dryden, Congreve and others at the previous theatre which burned down in 1809.
Great Queen Street was built in 1629 and named after Henrietta Maria, Charles I’s Queen. It is the continuation of Long Acre to Lincoln’s Inn Fields. In this area one is very much aware of the Masonic Order, with the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England on the site of Inigo Jones’ original buildings on the south side of the street. (Mr Bradshaw does not mention the Masons.)
I should finally note the Baptist Chapel in Little Wild Street, where an annual sermon was preached to commemorate ‘..the great storm of November, 1703..’. ‘..The street is so-called from Weld House and gardens..’, all demolished now. It is curious that there is no image and little information about Weld House, c.1650, regarded as an important new house (and certainly expensive!) in London.
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