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MR. PETER CUNNINGHAM's Handbook of London: Past and Present, was first published in 1849 in two volumes post octavo, and a revised edition appeared in the following year in a single volume. The book at once took a high position in the literature of its subject on account of the fulness of information and accuracy of detail which distinguished it, and a new edition has long been called for. On the death of the author in May 1869, at the comparatively early age of fiftythree, his brother Colonel Francis Cunningham undertook the revision of the book for a new edition, but although he was energetic in the search for information, he put little of his extensive knowledge upon paper. On Colonel Cunningham's death the correction of the book and its completion to the present time was undertaken by the late Mr. James Thorne, author of Rambles by Rivers and of the Handbook of the Environs of London, who thoroughly revised the work and added much fresh information and many illustrative quotations. On Mr. Thorne's lamented death his MS. was handed to me for revision previous to publication.
I have been enabled to add considerably to the previous collections, and I may mention as one instance the account of the various buildings and localities in Southwark, in which department I have been greatly assisted by the kindness of Mr. W. Rendle, the historian of Southwark, whose knowledge of the history of that borough is most extensive. Many of the articles also had to be rewritten on account of the great changes that have occurred during the preparation of the work for the press. It will be seen that the stores of information contained in the Calendars of State Papers, and the remarkable report of Mr. Maxwell Lyte on the manuscripts in St. Paul's Cathedral, have been utilised, as well as other sources of information not generally known. I wish to express in the strongest terms my appreciation of the value of the
labours of Mr. Thorne, but as considerable alterations and additions have since been made, and I have seen the book through the press, I must be held responsible for the accuracy of the work as it now appears, and I trust that those who feel inclined to criticise its pages will consider the many opportunities of falling into error to which a compiler is liable who has to deal with the many thousands of facts connected with the sequence of London history for some thousand years. A reference to the index will show how many and various are the allusions to the great men and women who have been associated with the wonderful life of this great City.1
The year 1850, when the Handbook was last issued, exactly divides the nineteenth century in half, but equally it divides off a period of little change from one almost of revolution. Although before 1850 great changes, such as the formation of Regent Street in 1813-1820 and of New Oxford Street in 1847, had been carried out, yet large districts of London still remained unaltered.
As property, however, grew in value it was found that the enhanced value made it profitable to erect handsome buildings in place of poor houses, and the City was gradually rebuilt. In time the same process was carried out in the West End, and dwelling-houses were turned into offices, while the suburbs in consequence increased in extent, owing largely to the requirements of the shopkeeper, who left his house in town to the undisputed claims of business.
But this rebuilding is not all that has to be considered. Institutions have been altered and charities reorganised to an extent that is only fully recognised by one who has worked on this subject. Every attempt has been made to note all these changes, and to bring the information up to the date of publication.
Mr. Cunningham in his Preface expressed his thanks to the many gentlemen who had assisted him in the compilation of his work, and among these are such distinguished names as the Right Hon. John Wilson Croker ; Mr. Samuel Rogers, the poet; Mr. Lockhart ; Earl Stanhope ; Mr. Forster; and Mr. T. Hudson Turner. I too wish to express my cordial thanks to those who have assisted me; they are numerous, for in all instances I have received cordial assistance from the officers of institutions to whom I have applied, as well as others.
I wish, however, to mention a few. I am much indebted to MajorGeneral Sir Edmund Ducane, K.C.B., Surveyor-General of Prisons ; E. Maunde Thompson, Esq., F.S.A., Principal Librarian of the British
1 The compiler will be greatly obliged to any of his readers who will be so good as to send him
any corrections or references to further information,
Museum ; Professor Flower, C.B., F.R.S., Director of the Natural History Museum ; George Scharf, Esq., C.B., Keeper and Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery ; M. S. S. Dipnall, Esq.; A. J. Hipkins, Esq., F.S.A. ; F. G. Hilton Price, Esq., F.S.A.; John Biddulph Martin, Esq. ; Sir Owen Roberts, F.S.A., Clerk of the Clothworkers' Company; Rev. W. H. Milman, Librarian of Sion College ; J. B. Bailey, Esq., College of Surgeons; John Inglis, Esq., Secretary of the Trinity House; Rev. W. J. Loftie, F.S.A.; G. L. Gomme, Esq., F.S.A. ; Professor Hales, F.S.A.; Danby P. Fry, Esq. ; W. Rendle, Esq. (already mentioned); Philip Norman, Esq., F.S.A., who communicated to me valuable information respecting such old inscriptions on houses as may still exist; R. F. Sketchley, Esq., who placed at my disposal the collections of years connected with the celebrated dead buried in the churches of ancient London; J. E. Gardner, Esq., F.S.A., who gave me information from his own extensive knowledge and references to his matchless collection of London views.
In an especial manner I feel that my warmest thanks are due to two gentlemen who have seen the proofs, and have with unwearied pains helped me throughout the work with information and valuable suggestions. I allude to Mr. Richard B. Prosser and Mr. Wyatt Papworth, F.R.I.B.A. I suppose no man living has so extensive a knowledge of the buildings of London and their architects as Mr. Papworth. This unique knowledge has been with unstinted kindness placed at my disposal. No words of mine can express adequately my sense of the value of the assistance I have received in the prosecution of this great work, but I wish, while thanking my friends, to make it clearly understood that they are not responsible for any mistakes I may have made. For these I take all the responsibility, but I trust, in spite of some such, that in the future the present work will obtain the same credit for accuracy that in its old form it has obtained in the past.
H. B. W.
Page 34, Quotation from M'Crie's Life of Knox should be transferred to p. 32.
Page 2, line 18 from top, for “Jupp in 1799" read “Japp in 1796."
second Earl of Holland and sixth Earl of Warwick." Page 264, line 15 from top, for “sympanum" read “ tympanum." Page 351, line 18 from top, for “ daughter" read “grand-daughter" and omit
"then." Page 382, line 23 from top, omit “Dryden” and quotation. Page 391, line 30 from top, transpose sentence and place “and another set" after
" Venus and Adonis."
VOL. III Page 59, line 14 from bottom, for “ Usher” read “ Ussher." Page 134, line 14 from top, for “Lord Grey and Lord North” read “Lord Grey
and North." Page 202, line 13 from bottom, for “Cave, Underhill” read “Cave Underhill." Page 265, line 14 from bottom, for “so called from Charles Howard, Earl of
Carlisle, who built the house between 1786 and 1790,” read “ so called from the Ho Earls of Carlisle,"