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Piazzas, Covent Garden, they come in large bodies, armed with couteaus, and attack whole parties, so that the danger of coming out of the play-houses is of some weight in the opposite scale, when I am disposed to go to them oftener than I t. Shenstone to Jago, March 1744.
Unfortunately for the fishmongers of London the Dory resides only in the Devonshire Seas ; for could any of this company but convey one to the Temple of Luxury under the Piazza,' where Macklin the high priest daily serves up his rich offerings to the goddess, great would be the reward of that fishmonger.---Fielding, A Voyage to Lisbon, 1754.
Otway has laid a scene in The Soldier's Fortune in Covent Garden Piazza; and Wycherley a scene in The Country Wife. In Cocks's auction-rooms (afterwards Langford's, then George Robins's) Hogarth exhibited his “Marriage-à-la-Mode” gratis to the public; and “in the front apartments, now (1828) used as breakfast-rooms by the proprietor of the Tavistock Hotel,” lived Richard Wilson, the landscape painter.2 He had a model made of a portion of the Piazza, the whole measuring about 6 feet from the floor, which he used as a receptace for his painting implements “The rustic work of the piers was divided into drawers, and the openings of the arches were filled with pencils and oil bottles.”3 It appears, from the baptismal register of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden, during the reigns of Charles II., James II., William III., and even later, that “Piazza” was a favourite name for parish children. The baptismal registers are rife with Peter and Mary Piazza, John Piazza, Paul Piazza, etc. The reason may be well imagined :
For, bating Covent Garden, I can hit on
No place that's called Piazza in Great Britain.—Byron's Beppo. Eminent Inhabitants. 4Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, the poet; he was living here, in the north-west angle, in 1637. Thomas Killigrew, the wit; he was living in the north-west angle, between 1637 and 1643, and in the north-east angle, 1660-1662. Denzill Holles, in 1644, under the name of “Colonel Hollis ;” and in 1666 and after in a house on the site of Evans's Hotel, afterwards inhabited by Sir Harry Vane; the younger (1647), and by Sir Kenelm Digby (1662).
Since the restauration of Ch. II. he (Sir Kenelm Digby] lived in the last faire house westward in the north portico of Covent Garden, where my Ld. Denzill Holles lived since. He had a laboratory there. I think he dyed in this house. -Aubrey's Lives, vol. ii. p. 327. Nathaniel Crew, third and last Lord Crew, and Bishop of Durham from 1681 to 1689, in the same house. It appears, from the books of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, that almost all the foundlings of the parish were laid at the door of the house of the Bishop of Durham. Aubrey de Vere, the twentieth and last Earl of Oxford ; in the northeast angle, from 1663 to 1676; he lived in what was Killigrew's house. Sir Peter Lely, from 1662 to his death in 1680; at the north-east, where Robins's auction-room afterwards was; the house
1 “The Great Piazza Coffee-room in Covent 3 Ibid., vol. i. p. 142. Garden, late Macklin's."-Advertisement in the 4 From the Rate-books of St. Martin's and St. Public Advertiser, March 6, 1756.
Paul's, Covent Garden, and other sources. 2 Smith's Nollekons, vol. ii. p. 213.
Sed qu. 1 North's Lives of the Norths, ed. 1826, vol. ? Life of Radcliffe, by Pittis, 8vo, 1736. iii. P. 227.
was inhabited by Roger North, the executor of Lely," and by his eminent brother, Sir Dudley North, who died in it, December 31, 1691. It is now a portion of the Tavistock Hotel. Viscountess Muskerry, in 1676; in the north-west angle, corner of James Street. This was the celebrated Princess of Babylon of De Grammont's Memoirs. Sir Godfrey Kneller ; he came into the Piazza the year after Lely died, and the house he occupied was near the steps into Covent Garden Theatre ; he had a garden at the back, reaching as far as Dr. Radcliffe's, in Bow Street, “which was extremely curious and inviting, from the many exotic plants, and the variety of flowers and greens which it abounded with.” Here, therefore, and not in Great Queen Street, the scene of the well-known anecdote of Kneller's and Radcliffe's comical quarrel must be laid. Kneller lived here for twenty-one years. He had left in 1705.3 Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.
I have quitted my old lodging, and desire you to direct your letters to be left for me with Mr. Smibert, painter, next door to the King's Arms Tavern, in the Little Piazza, Covent Garden. — Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, August 24, 1726 (Berkeley's Lit. Relics, p. 160). Russell, Earl of Orford.
Hard by the church and at the end of the Piazzas (now Evans's Hotel] is the Earl of Orford's house. He is better known by the name of Admiral Russell, who in 1692 defeated Admiral de Tourville near La Hogue, and ruined the French fleet. --A New Guide to London, 12mo, 1726, p. 26. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu lived in the Piazza for some time: there is a letter from Pope addressed to her here.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is dangerously ill at her house in the Piazza, Covent Garden.—Grub Street Journal, September 17, 1730. Lankrink and Closterman, painters ; in the house lately Richardson's Hotel, now rebuilt and occupied as Lockhart's Cocoa Rooms. Sir James Thornhill, in 1733; in the second house eastward from James Street. Zoffany, the clever theatrical portrait-painter; in what was afterwards Robins's auction-room, in the north-east wing of the Piazza. Here he painted Foote, in the character of Major Sturgeon.
Piccadilly. A street consisting of shops and fashionable dwellinghouses—running east and west, which extends from the top of the Haymarket to Hyde Park Corner. The earliest allusion to it was thought to be in Gerard's Herbal, where we read “ that the small wild buglosse grows upon the drie ditch bankes about Pickadilla," but the passage does not occur in the earliest edition, 1596, and is only to be found in that of 1633. The origin of the name is more than doubtful. Robert Baker, of the parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, by his last will, dated April 14, 1623, bequeathed the sum of £2:105. in money, and 10s. in bread, to the poor of the parish in which he lived. He had a wife and family and a good deal to leave. He speaks of his houses in the Strand, before Britain's Burse, of a tenement in his own occupation, with its garden and cowhouse, and of a piece of land of about two acres “in the fields behind the Mews,” which he had enclosed with a brick wall. The entry of the £3 in the Accounts of the Overseers of the Poor of St. Martin's tells us who Robert Baker was, and how his nameless tenement was known.
3 Daily Courant of March 1705.
Of Robte Baeker of Pickadilley Halle gewen
by wille, iijli. Here, then, is the earliest mention of Piccadilly Hall which has yet been discovered, and the bequest and entry are additionally important, when we contrast the silence of Baker in his will when he refers to the tenement in his possession, known as Piccadilly Hall, with the particular description made by the overseers in the entry of the payment. There is reason to believe that Robert Baker did not care to have his tenement described as Piccadilly Hall; let us hear Blount :
A Pickadil is that round hem, or the several divisions set together about the skirt of a garment or other thing ; also a kinde of stiffe collar, made in fashion of a band. Hence, perhaps, the famous ordinary near St. James's, called Pickadilly, took denomination, because it was then the utmost, or skirt house of the suburbs, that way. Others say it took name from this; that one Higgins, a Tailor, who built it, got most of his estate by Pickadilles, which in the last age were much worn in England. --Blount's Glossographia, ed. 1656, first ed. Minsheu, 1627, describes it as "a peece fastened about the top of the coller of a doublet.” The word occurs in several of our old dramatic writers; thus Ben Jonson :
Ready to cast at one whose band sits ill,
And then leap mad on a neat pickardill. Epistle to a Friend (Master Colby); also The Devil is an Ass, Act ii. Sc. 1. His editor, Gifford, has a note upon the subject. "Piccadil," says Gifford, “is simply a diminutive of picca (Span. and Ital.), a spear-head, and was given to this article of foppery from a fancied resemblance of its stiffened plaits to the bristled points of those weapons.” It was in fashion when Barnaby Rich wrote in 1614. “He that some fortie or fifty years sithens,” says Rich, "should have asked after a Pickadilly, I wonder who could have understood him, or could have told what a Pickadilly had been, either fish or flesh."1 Taylor the Water Poet speaks of a “Tyburn Pickadill.”
Baker, it appears, had built on “the fields behind the Mews,” and his widow increasing the number of tenements, the Overseers of the Poor of St. Martin's claimed Lammas money of her, for building on ground over which, after Lammas, the parishioners of St. Martin's had a right of common. In the books of the Overseers from April 18, 1640, to May 2, 1641, the sum is placed under the head of “Lamas Ground Receipts," and the entry is as follows :
1 A fresh etymology may be hazarded was a place of entertainment as well as a gaming. Spanish picadillo means hashed or minced meat, house, took its name from a popular dish as from and it is as probable that Piccadilly Hall, which a fashionable collar.
Of Mrs. Mary Baker, widdowe, in Lieu of the Lamas Common, of certaine grounds neere the Winde Mill at the Cawsey head, builded upon by her late husband deceased, and now usually called Pickadilly, xxxd. Windmill Street preserves a recollection of “the Winde Mill at the Cawseyhead;" Panton Square and Panton Street, the name of Colonel Panton, to whom Mrs. Baker sold Piccadilly Hall; and Coventry Street, the name of Mr. Secretary Coventry of the reign of Charles II., whose garden wall ran along part of Panton Street and Oxenden Street. The situation of Piccadilly Hall, at the north-east corner of the Haymarket, is laid down in the maps of London by T. Porter and W. Faithorne, both published before 1660; and these show that over against Windmill Street stood the Gaming-house or Shaver's Hall; and at the corner of Windmill Street and Coventry Street Piccadilly Hall.
In the afternoon of the same day (in 1641), Mr. Hyde going to a place called Piccadilly (which was a fair house for entertainment and gaming, with handsome gravel walks with shade, and where were an upper and lower bowling green, whither very many of the nobility and gentry of the best quality resorted, both for exercise and conversation), as soon as ever he came into the ground, the Earl of Bedford came to him, and told him “He was glad he was come thither, for there was a friend of his in the lower ground who needed his counsel.”—Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, ed. 1826, vol. i. p. 422. Sir John Suckling, the poet (d. 1641), was one of the great frequenters of Piccadilly Hall, Aubrey preserving a story of “his sisters coming to Peccadillo Bowling-green, crying for the feare he should lose all [their] portions.” Another well-known person was Phil Porter.
Farewell, my dearest Piccadilly,
Notorious for great dinners ;
Alas ! too good for sinners.
Phil Porter's Farewell (Wit and Drollery), 12mo, 1682, p. 39. Lammas money was paid on account of Piccadilly House and Bowling Green as late as 1670, and the house itself pulled down circ. 1685. The Fives Court attached to the Gaming-house remained standing in Windmill Street a very few years back. The Tennis Court of Shaver's Hall remained in James Street until 1887, when it was rebuilt; a tablet now marks the place.
February 7, 1638.-A sentence in the Star Chamber this term hath demolished all the houses about Piccadilly ; by midsummer they must be pulled down, which have stood since the 13th of K. James (1615): they are found to be great nuisances, and much foul the springs of water which pass by those houses to Whitehall and to the City.-Garrard, Strafford Letters, vol. ii. p. 150.
April 14, 1657.—The Clause about manners and loose persons was read. : .. Sir William Strickland said, “Certainly this work is very requisite, and abundance of loose persons are about town; at Piccadilly and other nurseries of vice.”Journals of Parliament, Burton, vol. ii. p. 35.
July 31, 1662.-I sat with the Commissioners about reforming buildings and streets of London, and we ordered the paving of the way down St. James's north, which was a quagmire, and also of the Haymarket about Piquidillo. ---Evelyn.
Cordelio. At last
Volscius the great this dire resolve embraced :
Baynes. So, let me see.
Enter Prince Volscius going out of town.
The Rehearsal (1671), Act. iii. The first Piccadilly, taking the word in its modern acceptation of a street, was a very short line of road, running no farther west than the foot of Sackville Street, and the name Piccadilly Street occurs for the first time in the Rate-books of St. Martin's under the year 1673. Sir Thomas Clarges's house, on the site of the present Albany, is described in the London Gazette of 1675 (No. 982) as “near Burlington House, above Piccadilly." From Sackville Street to Albemarle Street was originally called Portugal Street, after Catherine of Braganza, Queen of Charles II., and all beyond was the great Bath Road, or, as Agas calls it (1560), “the way to Reding.” The Piccadilly of 1708 is described as “a very considerable and publick street, between Coventry Street and Portugal Street ;" and the Piccadilly of 1720 as “a large street and great thoroughfare, between Coventry Street and Albemarle Street.” 1 Portugal Street gave way to Piccadilly in the reign of George I. That part of the present street, between Devonshire House and Hyde Park Corner, was taken up, as Ralph tells us, in 1734, by the shops and stone-yards of statuaries, just as the Euston Road is now—a statement confirmed by Lloyd in The Cit's Country Box, and by Walpole in a letter to Mann of June 6, 1746.
And now from Hyde Park Corner come
Lloyd, The Cit's Country Box, 1757. When do you come? If it is not soon you will find a new town. I stared to-day at Piccadilly like a country squire ; there are twenty new stone houses. At first I concluded that all the grooms that used to live there had got estates and built palaces.—Walpole to Montagu, November 8, 1759. We may read the history of Piccadilly in the names of several of the surrounding streets and buildings. Albemarle Street was so called after Christopher Monk, second Duke of Albemarle, to whom Clarendon House was sold in 1675, by the sons of the great Lord Clarendon. Bond Street was so called after Sir Thomas Bond, of Peckham, to whom Clarendon House was sold by the Duke of Albemarle when in difficulties, a little before his death. Jermyn Street was so called after Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans, who died 1683-1684; Burlington House after Boyle, Earl of Burlington; Dover Street after Henry
1 Hatton, 1708 ; Strype, 1720.