The Marylebone Baths and Wash-houses, built in 1850, offered ‘..107 separate baths, besides two large swimming baths, with a constant supply of tepid water..’.
The baths were situated opposite Lisson Grove and planned to accommodate 5,000 people daily! By the 1890s the facilities were delapidated through excessive use and in 1895 the new baths were opened by the Duke and Duchess of York. These baths were intended ‘..for the exclusive benefit of the working classes, who, for the low charge of three half-pence an hour, have the full use of the above-described appliances and conveniences, all of the most approved modern style and manufacture..’ – swimming pools and baths, and facilities for laundering clothes.
Today only part of the building remains, attached to the Westminster Magistrates Court.
Marylebone New Church, opposite York Gate, was designed by Thomas Hardwick, and built between 1813-17. This is apparently the fourth parish church: the first church was near Marble Arch and dedicated to St John the Evangelist (demolished in c.1400!); the second was further north and the interior was painted by William Hogarth in 1735, showing the Rake’s Marriage. The parish was growing so quickly that by 1722 a Chapel of Ease was necessary, and this was the Church of St Peter, in Vere Street.
A new church was built on the same site and opened in 1742, but demolished in 1949, and the site is now a public garden. The current church was almost completed when it was decided it would become the Parish Church. The portico with columns was added, based on the Pantheon in Rome, and a steeple topped with a ‘temple’ and caryatids instead of a cupola.
The crypt under the church, with catacombs on the west side, was used for burials, but bricked up in 1853. In 1957 it was reopened and the coffins (850) reinterred at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey.
Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett were married in this church.
Leaving the Church I walked eastwards down Marylebone Road to find Fitzroy Square, completed in 1793, and Euston Square (1800s), named after the land owners – the Dukes of Grafton and the Earls of Euston (sons of the Dukes of Grafton). (Fitzroy was the family name of the Dukes of Grafton, and the 1st Duke was the illegitimate son of Charles II.)
Fitzroy Square was a speculative development targeting wealthy buyers, like many other squares we have seen. The 4th Duke of Grafton commissioned Robert Adams (his only London square): ‘..Leases for the eastern and southern sides, designed by Robert Adam, were granted in 1792; building began in 1794 and was completed in 1798 by Adam’s brothers James and William. These buildings are fronted in Portland stone brought by sea from Dorset..’.
The north and west sides were only built between 1827-45, the delay caused by a slump in building because of the Napoleonic Wars. The current layout of the garden is by John Brooks, and the pedestrianisation was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe.
Euston Square was originally two parallel strips on either side of the Euston Road (the New Road, used for taking cattle to market at Smithfields). The southern side is now buildings on Endsleigh Gardens. Here we should note ‘..the stately terminus of the North Western Railway, which was first opened to Birmingham on September 17 1838..’, i.e. Euston Station. This was the first mainline terminus to be built in a capital city, and was designed by Philip Hardwick who placed a Greek Arch at the entrance to the station. The arch, 70′ high, was a Doric Propylaeum – a monumental gateway, based on the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens – and two lodges, also in Greek Classical style, were built on either side of the arch. Quite different from the ugly and noisy bus terminus in front of the equally ugly station.
I visited St Pancras New Church earlier so just one photograph – of the rather fierce caryatids!
The Presbyterian Church in Regent Square (the National Scottish Church) was consecrated in 1827 and ‘..built for [Edward] Irving of “unknown tongue” celebrity. It is a large Gothic structure of little architectural merit..’. The church was designed by Sir William Tite as a copy of York Minster in miniature and built to accommodate 1,800 people. (Perhaps Mr Bradshaw was being ungenerous?)
Bombing in WWII compromised the church which was demolished and completely rebuilt in 1965. (Photograph of interior below & history here.)
‘Crossing Brunswick Square into Guildford Street the Foundling Hospital is seen to the left, founded in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram for poor illegitimate children whose mothers are known…about 460 children are maintained and educated..’.
Brunswick Square was originally ground belonging to the Hospital and was sold in 1790 for housing development in order to raise money; none of the houses remain. The Hospital was built on 56 acres of Lamb’s Conduit Fields, bought from the Earl of Salisbury for £6,500 according to the London Encyclopaedia.i
Captain Coram was a clever man, with influential friends, including William Hogarth who painted his portrait. Hogarth became a major benefactor of the Hospital and persuaded other artists to donate portraits. This attracted the public and eventually there was an annual exhibition which raised money – a strategy which would work today!
Handel was another benefactor to the Hospital, offering benefit concerts to fund the completion of the Chapel, seen in a photograph of 1912. He donated an organ to the Hospital and a benefit performance of the Messiah in 1750 was so popular that he gave an annual performance until his death in 1759, raising c.£7,000 (£500,000 in today’s money according to the Foundling Museum site). The performances continued until 1777 and helped establish the work in the English music repertoire.
In 1926 the hospital was moved out of London, the site sold, and the buildings demolished apart from some fragments and interiors still in the museum today. In 1954, with changes in childcare, the hospital ceased to exist. The charities remain, and a museum.
Bunswick Square lies in front of the Hospital, and has the most amazing old plane trees.
In the fading light I walked on to ‘..Lamb’s Conduit Street, deriving its name from a conduit that stood in the fields near Holborn, … erected in 1577 at the expense of a benevolent clothworker of that name..’. William Lamb was a gentleman in the court of Henry VIII and he created a conduit by connecting several springs in the fields to form a dam, which then ran water via a lead pipe to Snow Hill to supply water to the residents of the City. (Source of image.) He also supplied 120 pails to women for carrying water, commemorated in a statue in Guildford Place.
You may be interested in
Baths and Washhouses
Baths and Washhouses for the Industrious Classes & other extracts
Marylebone Magistrates Court
Number 6 Fitzroy Square
The past inhabitants of Fitzroy Square
The Euston Station and its Arch (NB: Photographs of original station from this post)
The Scottish Church in Regent Square (lots of information, history, and the photographs shown here)
Foundling Voices (images of the Hospital)