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July 13, 1620; and on April 29, 1621, he records his having placed three men and seven women in the ten houses.
They were rebuilt in 1707, and again rebuilt in 1874, from the design of Mr. T. J. Hill, architect to the Gift Estate Commission. The alms-houses have been enlarged to provide accommodation for twentytwo persons.
Allington House, High HOLBORN. A house known as Warwick House. (See Warwick House].
In 1665 it was ordered that the Right Hon. Charles Earl of Warwick, in consideration of the sum of twenty pounds to be by him paid to the Treasurer of Gray's Inn, shall have, for a term of forty years, a piece of ground belonging to Gray's Inn, and lying in a brick wall erected by Mrs. Allington, deceased, on the north side of her then dwelling-house in High Holborn,—then called Allington House, and now Warwick House, containing seven roods . . . north towards Gray's Inn Field's.---Douthwaite's Gray's Inn, p. 105.
Almack's, a suite of Assembly Rooms in King Street, St. James's, designed by Robert Mylne in 1765. So called after Almack, a native of Scotland (d. 1781), the original proprietor; and later “Willis's Rooms," after a subsequent proprietor. The great room (100 feet by 40 feet) was finished in December 1767.
April 5, 1764.-Almack is going to build most magnificent rooms behind his house, one much larger than at Carlisle House. -Mrs. Harris to her son (Earl of Malmesbury), Malms. Corr., vol. i. p. 107.
The balls at Almack's were managed by a Committee of Ladies of high rank, and the only mode of admission was by vouchers or personal introduction.
The new Assembly Room at Almack's was opened the night before last, and they say is very magnificent, but it was empty; half the town is ill with colds, and many were afraid to go, as the house is scarcely built yet. Almack advertised that it was built with hot bricks and boiling water : think what a rage there must be for public places, if this notice, instead of terrifying, could draw everybody thither. They tell me the ceilings were dripping with wet ; but can you believe me when I assure you the Duke of Cumberland [the hero of Culloden) was there ? nay, had a levee in the morning, and went to the Opera before the Assembly.—Horace Walpole to the Earl of Hertford, February 14, 1765.
There is now opened at Almack's, in three very elegant new-built rooms, a ten guinea subscription, for which you have a ball and supper once a week for twelve weeks. You may imagine by the sum the company is chosen ; though, refined as it is, it will be scarce able to put old Soho (Mrs. Corneleys’s] out of countenance.Gilly Williams to George Selwyn, February 22, 1765.
Our female Almack's flourishes beyond description. If you had such a thing at Paris you would fill half a quire of flourished paper with the description of it. Almack's Scotch face, in a bag-wig, waiting at supper, would divert you, as would his lady, in a sack, making tea and curtseying to the duchesses.-Gilly Williams to George Selwyn, March, 1765.
The female club I told you of is removed from their quarters, Lady Pembroke objecting to a tavern ; it meets, therefore, for the present, at certain rooms of Almack's, who for another year is to provide a private house. The first fourteen who imagined and planned it settled its rules and constitutions. These were formed upon the model of one of the clubs at Almack's. There are seventy-five chosen (the whole number is to be two hundred). The ladies nominate and choose the gentlemen, and vice versa ; so that no lady can exclude a lady, or gentleman a gentleman ! The Duchess of Bedford was at first blackballed, but is since admitted. Duchess of
Grafton and of Marlborough are also chosen. Lady Hertford wrote to beg admittance and has obtained it; also Lady Holderness, Lady Rochford, are blackballed ; as is Lord March, Mr. Boothby, and one or two more who think themselves pretty gentlemen du premier ordre, but is plain the ladies are not of their opinion. Lady Molineux has accepted, but the Duchess of Beaufort has declined, as her health never permits her to sup abroad. When any of the ladies dine with the society they are to send word before, but supper comes of course, and is to be served always at eleven. Play will be deep and constant probably.--Mrs. Boscawen to Mrs. Delaney, vol. iv. p. 362.
All on that magic List depends ;
By Jove you can do nothing right.-Luttrell's Julia, Letter i. The mixed club died out, and was succeeded by a series of balls in the season, which became famous. They were managed by a Committee of Ladies of high rank, and were confined almost exclusively to the aristocracy. At length the barrier began to be broken through by plebeian invasions, the prestige was lost, and in 1863 Almack's ceased to exist. With a brief interval, during which they were used for clubhouse purposes, the rooms have since been let for dinners, concerts, balls, and public meetings.
Almack's Club was founded in 1764 by Almack in Pall Mall, on the site of the house occupied by the Marlborough Club. The gaming was of the most extravagant kind. The play, wrote Walpole, was “for rouleaus of £50 each, and generally there is said to have been £10,000 in specie on the table.” Lord Lauderdale informed Mr. Croker (Boswell's Johnson, p. 501) that “Mr. Fox told him that the deepest play he had ever known was between 1772 and the American War. Lord Lauderdale instanced £5000 being staked on a single card at Faro, and he talked of £7000 lost and won in a night." Fox was one of the deepest players and sufferers.
At Almack's of pigeons I'm told there are flocks ;
Jesse's Selwyn, vol. iii. p. 159. Lord Holland is said to have paid above £20,000 for his two sons. The brothers, the eldest under twenty-five, lost £32,000 in two nights. They borrowed largely of Jew money-lenders; and Charles Fox called the outer room, where these accommodating persons waited till he rose from play, the Jerusalem Chamber.
It soon became notorious for deep play. “There have been deep doings at Almack's," wrote Horace Walpole to Lady Ossory, January 5, 1772 ; and he tells his friend in Florence
The gaming at Almack's, which has taken the pas of White's, is worthy the decline of our empire, or commonwealth, which you please. The young men of the
age lose five, ten, fifteen thousand pounds in an evening there. Lord Stavordale, not one and twenty, lost £11,000 there last Tuesday, but recovered it by one great hand at hazard : he swore a great oath. Now if I had been playing deep, I might have won millions.-Walpole to Mann, February 2, 1770 (Letters, vol. v. p. 226).
July 12, 1773.-I was in London yesterday, where there is scarce a soul but Maccaroni's lolling out of the windows at Almack's like carpets to be dusted.-Walpole to Lord Nuneham (Letters, vol. v. p. 486).
Reynolds was anxious to join the Club; and Gibbon, the historian, was elected a member June 5, 1776, and dates several of his letters from it.
Town grows empty, and this house, where I have passed very agreeable hours, is the only place which still invites the flower of the English youth. The style of living, though somewhat expensive, is exceedingly pleasant; and, notwithstanding the rage of play, I have found more entertainment and even rational society here than in any other club to which I belong.–Gibbon to Holroyd, Almack's, June 24, 1776.
In a later letter (1771) to the same friend, Gibbon says, “Charles Fox is now at my elbow, declaiming on the impossibility of keeping America.” And again, June 12, 1778, “Their chief conversation at Almack's is about tents, drill-serjeants, sub-divisions, firings, etc.; and I am revered as a veteran.”
In 1778 Brooks, a wine merchant and money-lender, took Almack's and removed the Club to St. James's Street. [See Brooks's Club.] The old house still continued to be occupied as a club, and was known as Goosetrees.
Almonry (The), or, THE ELEEMOSYNARY; corruptly called, in Stow's time and in our own, THE AMBRY, a low rookery of houses off Tothill Street, Westminster, where the alms of the adjoining Abbey were wont to be distributed. The first printing-press ever seen in England was set up by William Caxton, citizen and mercer (d. 1491), while residing in this Almonry, under the patronage of Esteney, Abbot of Westminster. Douce possessed what would now be called a handbill, or advertisement, of great interest; it is now in the Library of Brasenose College, Oxford.
If it plese ony man, spirituel or temporel, to bye ony pyes of two or thre comemoracio's of Salisbure use, enprynted after the forme of this preset lettre, whiche ben wel and truly correct, late hym come to Westmonester, in to the Almonesryre, at the reed pale, and he shal haue them good chepe. Supplico stet cedula. The house in which he is said to have lived, called “The Reed (Red] Pale,"1 and long an object of attraction, is described by Bagford as a brick building with the sign of the King's Head, but this house was of a much later date than Chaucer's time. It stood on the north side of the Almonry, with its back to the back of those on the south side of Tothill Street,% and fell down from sheer neglect, in November 1 Douce s Catalogue of Books, p. 305.
3 Gentleman's Magasine for April, 1846, p. 2 Knight's Caxton, p. 147.
362. view of it by George Cooke, 1827.
There is also a
1845. The place was divided into two parts, called respectively the Great Almonry and the Little Almonry.
For about twenty years before he died (except his imprisonment) he [James Harrington, author of Oceana) lived in the Little Ambry (a faire house on the left hand), which lookes into the Dean's Yard in Westminster. In the upper story he had a pretty gallery, which looked into the yard (over . . . court) where he commonly dined, and meditated, and tooke his tobacco.-Aubrey's Lives, vol. iii. p. 375.
Almonry Office.—The office of the Hereditary Grand Almoner, and the High Almoner, from the time of Richard I., has usually been held in the Royal Palace, but in 1820 it was moved to an old house in Middle Scotland Yard. It is now at 36 Spring Gardens.
The distribution of alms on the Thursday before Easter, or Maundy Thursday, takes place in Whitehall Chapel; but the distribution at Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas, is made at the office.
Alpha Cottages, on the west side of the REGENT'S Park. Here the Rev. Henry F. Cary, the translator of Dante and friend of Lamb, took up his first abode in London.
It is situated very pleasantly about half a mile to the left of the Edgware Road, as you come into London, near Upper Baker Street. It is very retired, and looks to the fields.-H. F. Cary, May 3, 1810.
He left in 1813 for Kensington Gravel Pits.
At No. 21, during the height of his London popularity, lived the Hungarian patriot, Louis Kossuth. Ugo Foscolo, the Italian poet and patriot, had a villa on the banks of the canal, which he called Digamma Cottage, he having written an article in the Quarterly Review on that subject.
Alphage (St.), ALDERMANBURY, by LONDON WALL. A church in Cripplegate Ward, built 1774-1777, by Sir William Staines, on the site of the chapel of the old Hospital or Priory of St. Mary the Virgin, "for the sustentation of one hundred blind men,” founded by William Elsing, mercer, and of which Spital the founder was the first prior. The original church of St. Alphage, which was in existence in the year 1068, was situated on the north side of London Wall. In the reign of Henry VIII. it had become ruinous, and the parishioners petitioned to be allowed to rebuild it. This was not granted, but the King let them have the chapel of St. Mary Elsing for £100. The old church was pulled down and some of the materials sold; the rest were used in repairing the chapel, and making it into the parish church. In 1774 the church, which escaped the Fire, was in danger of falling, and it was agreed that a new building should be erected. Against the north wall of the church is a monument to Sir Rowland Hayward, Lord Mayor of London in 1570 and 1590 (d. 1593); he is represented kneeling, with his first wife and eight children on his right, and his second wife and her eight children on his left. The living, a rectory, valued at £1350, is in the gift of the Bishop of London. The brick wall which formerly shut in the churchyard from the street was removed in 1872, and a light iron railing substituted, the churchyard being at the same
time laid out very prettily as a flower-garden. These alterations exposed to view a portion of the old city wall, which is now very properly kept clear.
The name of Alphage has undergone many variations of form; and it appears as St. Taphyns in Norden's Map of London, 1593.
Alsatia, a cant name given before 1623 to the precinct of Whitefriars, then and long after a notorious place of refuge and retirement for persons wishing to avoid bailiffs and creditors. The earliest use of the name is contained in a quarto tract by Thomas Powel, printed in 1623, and called “Wheresoever you see mee, Trust unto Yourselfe: or, The Mysterie of Lending and Borrowing." The second in point of time is in Otway's play of The Soldier's Fortune (4to, 1681), and the third in Shadwell's celebrated Squire of Alsatia (4to, 1688), Sir Walter Scott's authority for some of his admirable scenes in the Fortunes of Nigel.
This place (Whitefriars] was formerly, since its building in houses, inhabited by gentry; but some of the inhabitants taking upon them to protect persons from arrests, upon a pretended privilege belonging to the place, the gentry left it, and it became a sanctuary unto the inhabitants, which they kept up by force against law and justice ; so that it was sufficiently crowded with such disabled and loose kind of lodgers. But, however, upon a great concern of debt, the sheriff with the posse comitatus forced his way in, to make a search ; and yet to little purpose ; for the time of the sheriff's coming not being concealed, and they having notice thereof, took flight either to the Mint in Southwark, another such place, or some other private place, until the hurly-burly was over, and then they returned. But of late the Parliament taking this great abuse into its consideration, they made an Act [8 and 9 Will. III., C. 27, 1697] to put down all such pretended privileged places upon penalties; yet not so well observed as it ought to be.---Strype, B. iii. p. 278. (See Whitefriars. ]
The particular portions of Whitefriars forming Alsatia were RamAlley, Mitre Court, and a lane called in the cant language of the place by the name of Lombard Street. Shadwell has described the class of inhabitants in the dramatis personæ before his play :
Cheatly. A rascal, who by reason of debts dares not stir out of Whitefryers, but there inveigles young heirs in tail, and helps them to goods and money upon great disadvantages; is bound for them, and shares with them till he undoes them. A lewd, impudent, debauched fellow, very expert in the cant about the town.
Shamwell. Cousin to the Belfonds; an heir who, being ruined by Cheatly, is made a decoy-duck for others; not daring to stir out of Alsatia, where he lives; is bound to Cheatly for heirs, and lives upon 'em, a dissolute, debauched life.
Capt. Hackum. A block-headed bully of Alsatia ; a cowardly, impudent, blustering fellow, formerly a serjeant in Flanders, run from his colours, retreated into Whitefryers for a very small debt, where, by the Alsatians, he is dubbed a Captain ; marries one that lets lodgings, sells cherry-brandy, and is a bawd.
Scapeall. A hypocritical, repeating, praying, psalm-singing, precise fellow, pretending to great piety, a godly knave, who joins with Cheatly, and supplies young heirs with goods and money.-Squire of Alsatia, 4to, 1688.
No. 50 of Tempest's Cries of London (drawn and published in James II.'s reign) is called “The Squire of Alsatia,” and represents a young gallant of the town with cane, sword, hat, feather, and Chedreux wig.