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Victoria Park, BETHNAL GREEN and HACKNEY, was formed under the authority of an Act passed in 1842. The first cost of formation was covered by the purchase-money of York House, St. James's, received from the Marquis of Stafford (afterwards Duke of Sutherland), to whom the remainder of the Crown lease was sold in 1841 for £72,000. The entire cost was about £ 100,000. A plot of land was purchased 265 acres in extent, bounded on the south by Sir George Duckett's canal (sometimes called the Lea Union Canal); on the west by the Regent's Canal ; on the east by Old Ford Lane, leading from Old Ford to Hackney Wick; and on the north by an irregular line of fields, but of this a sixth (45 acres) was by the Act reserved for building sites. Twenty-one acres were so employed, but in 1872 the Metropolitan Board of Works purchased the remaining 24 acres for £24,000, and these by an Act of that year were incorporated with the park, which now, therefore, comprises 244 acres.
The ground, a long and comparatively narrow, curved area, was laid out with much judgment and taste, every irregularity of form and inequality of surface being turned to account, planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers in prettily arranged beds, and two moderate sized sheets of water formed, with islands for the shelter of aquatic birds, and boats for the recreation of juvenile oarsmen. A portion of the park is set aside as cricket and play grounds. Formed out of open fields, iti had necessarily at first a somewhat bare aspect, but it is now a very fine park, and an immense and thoroughly appreciated boon to a poor and thickly-populated district. It serves as a lung to the north-east part of London, and is said to have perceptibly improved the health as well as added to the enjoyment of the inhabitants of Bethnal Green and Spitalfields. It is said by the “Parks Preservation Society”— which was a main instrument in procuring the addition in 1872
—that the population of the districts surrounding the park, which was 309,367 at the census of 1841, had increased to 839,647 in 1871.
Near the Hackney entrance is a large and handsome Gothic Drinking Fountain, designed by Mr. H. A. Darbyshire, and erected by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts in 1862 at a cost of over £ 5000. It is an octagon in plan, 28 feet in diameter, crowned by a cupola 60 feet high. The base is of granite, the columns of coloured red granite ; marble figures pour water from vases into a capacious basin, and at the angles are vases for holding living flowers. On the skirts of the park have been erected the French Hospital (Hospital for poor French Protestants and their descendants) (see French Hospital], and the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest (founded 1848), opened by the Prince Consort in 1855.
Victoria Railway Station. [See Victoria Street, Westminster.]
Victoria Square, BUCKINGHAM PALACE ROAD, Pimlico, was built circ. 1836, or rather scooped out of the back gardens of Arabella Row and Ranelagh Street. The last London residence of Thomas Campbell, author of the Pleasures of Hope, was at No. 8 in this square. He went there in January 1841, and left in September 1843.
Victoria Street, HOLBORN, the name first given to the continuation of Farringdon Street northward. It is now called FARRINGDON ROAD, and extends from the Holborn Viaduct, or Charterhouse Street, to King's Cross Road. The church seen at the distance is St. James's, Clerkenwell; the dome adjoining is part of Clerkenwell Sessions House.
Victoria Street, WESTMINSTER, a street 3080 feet long and 80 feet wide between the kerbs, with footways 20 feet wide, extending from the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, to Pimlico. It was projected 1844 by H. R. Abraham, architect, and opened in August 1851, at a cost of £215,000. It was at a standstill for some years and took slowly for building purposes, in fact it was only completely filled up in 1887. The street is lined with lofty “mansions” let out in “flats” as residences—at the time of their erection a novelty in London—and large blocks of chambers. At the Westminster end is the spacious Westminster Palace Hotel. At the Pimlico end is the Victoria Station of the London, Chatham and Dover; and London, Brighton and South Coast Railways, connected with which, by a subterranean passage, is the Victoria Station of the Metropolitan District Railway. Near the centre of Victoria Street, north side, is Christ Church.
Victoria Theatre, WATERLOO ROAD, LAMBETH, originally The Cobourg, and called The Victoria for the first time in the reign of William IV., when her present Majesty was only heir-presumptive to the crown. The first stone of the Cobourg Theatre was laid September 14, 1816 (Rudolph Cabanel, architect), and the house opened in 1818. It was opened as the Victoria Theatre, July 1, 1833, with the play of Black-eyed Susan, T. P. Cooke sustaining the part of William. It was for many years a favourite resort of the inhabitants of the district, and was noted for the blood and thunder character of the entertainments, widely known as the “Vic.” After being some time closed, the lease was purchased by a limited association with the view of trying whether the working classes of that part of London could be attracted by musical entertainments of a popular character, but divested of what was objectionable in the lower class of music halls. It was accordingly altered and handsomely decorated at the cost of a few friends interested in the experiment, and opened early in 1881 as the Royal Victoria Coffee Music Hall. Smoking is allowed; and tea, coffee, and light beverages are provided, but all "alcoholic drinks” are prohibited. [See Cobourg Theatre).
Vigo Street, REGENT STREET. The original name was Vigo Lane, bestowed in honour of the action at Vigo Bay in 1702, and it applied to the whole lane from Bond Street to Glasshouse Street. The portion behind Burlington House was afterwards called Burlington Gardens. Lane was not changed to Street for many years after the formation of Regent Street; it stands, indeed, as Vigo Lane in Elmes's London Streets, 1831.
April 28, 1761.—There has been a terrible fire in the little traverse street at the upper end of Sackville Street. Last Friday night, between 11 and 12, I was sitting with Lord Digby in the coffee-room at Arthur's : they told us there was a great fire somewhere about Burlington Gardens. I, who am as constant at a fire as George Selwyn at an execution, proposed to Lord Digby to go and see where it was. We found it within two doors of that pretty house of Fairfax, now General Waldegrave's. I sent for the latter, who was at Arthur's, and for the Guard from St. James's. Four houses were in flames before they could find a drop of water : eight were burnt.Walpole to Montag:, vol. iii. p. 397.
Villiers Street, STRAND, built circ. 1674,1 and so called after George Villiers, second and last Duke of Buckingham of the Villiers family. [See York House.] Eminent Inhabitants.—John Evelyn.
November 17, 1683.—I tooke a house in Villiers Streete, York Buildings, for the winter, having many important concerns to dispatch, and for the education of my daughters.-Evelyn. Sir Richard Steele, after his wife's death, from 1721 to 1724. In 1725 the rate-books of St. Martin's have the word "gone" against his name. He died in Wales in 1729.
In this street was a Music Room almost as celebrated in its day as the Hanover Square Room at a later period. There was also for a time a Music Room in Charles Street, Covent Garden, which was frequently coupled with it. Among Aaron Hill's Miscellanies (vol. iv. p. 106) is “A Prologue for the third night of Zara, when first played at the Great Musick Room, in Villars Street, York Buildings," 1735. On this occasion a gentleman named Bond, who was acting the part of Lusignan, fell dead upon the stage.
About three years previous to Mr. Garrick's appearing at the Theatre in Goodman's Fields, he performed Chamont in the Tragedy of the Orphan, at a small house called the Duke's Theatre, in Villiers Street, York Buildings, which was situated within a few doors of the bottom of the street, on the right-hand side. The play was got up by the Scholars of Eton College. The ladies who were present at Mr. Garrick's professional debut were so fascinated by his splendid powers that they offered him their purses and trinkets from the Boxes.—Anthony Pasquin, Children of Thespis, p. 208, note,
All the houses on the right-hand side of Villiers Street were removed to make way for the Charing Cross Station and Hotel.
Vincent Square, WESTMINSTER, built early in this century on the site of the Bear Garden in Tothill Fields, was so called after William Vincent, Dean of Westminster (d. 1816). The church of St. Mary the Virgin was designed by Edward Blore, F.S.A., and consecrated October 12, 1837. Here is the Westminster Police Court, removed, 1845, from Queen Square, where it had been fixed so long as to be quite identified with the locality. Here, too, are the Coldstream Guards' Hospital, and a hospital for women and children.
1 Rate-books of St. Martin's.
Vine Court, MIDDLE TEMPLE. Finetti Philoxenis, a curious little book of Court Ceremonies of the time of James I. and Charles I., was printed in 1656 “by T. R. for H. Twyford and G. Bedell, and are to be sold at their shops in Vine Court, Middle Temple, and the Middle Temple Gate.” The author was Sir John Finett, master of the ceremonies to James I. and Charles I. The first edition of Cocker's Arithmetic, 1671, was also published by “Henry Twyford in Vine Court, Middle Temple."
Vine Street, PICCADILLY. Here, after his removal from Old Palace Yard, was the studio of Scheemakers the sculptor, in which Joseph Nollekens learned his art. Mrs. Scheemakers had such an opinion of her husband's pupil that she declared "Joey was so honest she could trust him to stone the raisins."
Little Vine Street now contains little more than the back of St. James's Hall and the Police Office. The old Watch-house was pulled down in 1868 and rebuilt on a larger scale.
Vine Street, SAFFRON Hill, so called from the vineyard of old Ely Gardens. (See Ely Place.]
Vine Street, WESTMINSTER, on the south side of St. John's
Famed Vine Street,
Gave me an old house and an older aunt.
Vinegar Yard, DRURY LANE, properly Vine Garden Yard, or Vineyard, was built circ. 1621.2
February 4, 1624.-Buried Blind John out of Vinagre Yard.—Burial Register of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields.
In the Beggar's Opera this yard is mentioned as a rival to Lewknor's Lane and Hockley in the Hole; and in Pope's “Instructions to a Porter how to find Mr. Curll's authors,” “the schoolmaster with carbuncles on his nose” is made a resident of “the Hercules and Hell in Vinegar Yard.” Clayrender's letter, in Roderick Random, to her “Dear Kreeter,” is written from “Wingar Yeard, Droory Lane." Its contiguity to the theatre is not overlooked in the Rejected Addresses :
And one, the leader of the band,
i Harleian MS., 7344.
2 Rate-books of St. Martin's.
“The Crown Tavern,” in the yard, was a favourite place of “The Eccentrics,” a celebrated Club of Londoners, who allowed drink and eccentricities to prevail. The club does not now exist.
Vintners' Hall, No. 68, on the south side of UPPER THAMES STREET. The Vintners' Company is the eleventh on the list of the twelve Great Companies of London. The Vintners, comprising the Vinetarii, or wine importers and merchants, and the Tabernarii, tavernkeepers or retailers of wine, were an ancient fraternity, and were incorporated in the 15th of Henry VI. (1436-1437). They are a wealthy company, maintain considerable hospitality, and dispense large charities. John de Stody, who held the lordship of the village of Stody, in Norfolk, 1344, was Sheriff of London 1352, free of the Vintners' Company, and Lord Mayor 1357. “He gave the company the site of the quadrant, where the Vintners' Hall is built, yet called Stody's Lane.”] The hall was burnt down in the Great Fire and rebuilt from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren in 1671. It is of moderate size and comparatively plain, but has some good carved oak in the great room. Only the Council Chamber remains, as the hall was rebuilt 1820-1823. In the court-room are full-length portraits of Charles II., James II., Marie d'Este, and Prince George of Denmark, and a painting ascribed to Vandyck of St. Martin, the patron saint of the Company, dividing his cloak with a beggar. There is also a good and wellpreserved piece of tapestry representing St. Martin. Among the Company's plate is a remarkably fine parcel gilt salt-cellar ascribed to Cellini. One of the churches in the ward of Vintry is dedicated to the Company's patron saint. It is called St. Martin-in-the-Vintry.
Vintry (The), says Stow, was—
A part of the bank of the river Thames, where the merchants of Burdeaux craned their wines out of lighters and other vessels, and there landed and made sale of them. -Slow, p. 89.
Prior to the 28th of Edward I. the merchants had to make sale of their wines within forty days of unlading from the ships, but in that year, on their setting forth the loss and inconvenience they suffered, their complaint was “redressed by virtue of the King's writ. . . since the which time many fair and large houses, with vaults and cellars for stowage of wines, and lodging of the Bordeaux merchants have been built” along the wharfs on the river's side, and the place acquired the name it retained for centuries of the Vintry. This was the first patent of the kind granted to foreign merchants, but it was followed three years later by another extending cognate privileges to all foreign merchants who “sell by wholesale only.”
In the reign of Henry IV., the young Prince Henry Shakespeare's Prince Hal], Thomas, Duke of Clarence, John, Duke of Bedford, and Humfrey, Duke of Glocester, the King's sons, being at supper among the merchants of London in the Vintry, in the house of Lewes John, Henry Scogan sent them a ballad beginning thus :“My noble Sonnes and eke my lordes deare."--Stow, p. 90.
1 Norfolk Tour, p. 792.