Category Archives: London

Item of the Day: Description of The Asylum, or House of Refuge, Surry [1808-1810]

Found In: Microcosm of London. Vol. I. London: R. Ackermann, [1808-1810].


Is in the parish of Lambeth, in Surry, and was instituted in the year 1758, for the reception of friendless and deserted girls, the settlemnt of whose parents cannot be found. It was incorporated in 1800.

The annexed print is an interesting representation of the objects of this benevolent institution at their repast, in the presence of some of their guardians, who seem to contemplate the good order, cheerfulness, innocence, and comforts of their little wards, with all that interest and delight, that luxury of fine feeling, which irradiates the countenance when the heart is glowing with benevolence, animated with the exercise of an important duty, and gratified by the conviction that their virtuous endeavours are crowned with success. The coup d’oeil of the print is most impressive, and does great honour to the talents and feelings of the artists. The sweet innocence of the children, the benevolence of the guardians, and the chaste and matron-like simplicity of the building, aided by a fine breadth of effect, form a whole, which at the same time that the parts are in perfect harmony with each other, is admirably calculated to awaken the tender emotions of the human heart, and excite the spectator to the exertion of those tender and kindly feelings, which do honour to our nature.

This charity owes its establishment to that vigilant and active magistrate, Sir John Fielding; who had long observed, that though the laws of this kingdom provided a parish settlement for every person, by birth, parentage, apprenticeships, &c. yet many cases continually occurred, in which such settlements were difficult, if not impossible, to be ascertained; and therefore he and others were solicitous to remove, in part, this source of female wretchedness. By their exertions, and the continued endeavours of those who have hitherto conducted the plan, their benevolent intentions have been rewarded with the most signal success. The generous and discerning public has bestowed the means, which have prospered in the hands of the guardians, by whose care two hundred deserted femals are daily sheltered and protected from vice and want, supplied with food and raiment, and taught whatever can render them useful in their situation, or comfortable and happy in themselves.

Carefully instructed in the principles of religion; in reading, writing, needlework, and household business, they are trained to habits of industy and regularity, by which means there is a supply of diligent and sober domestics for the use of that public, which, by its contributions, has so nobly acquired a right to their services.

The particular objects of this charity are, the children of soldiers, sailors, and other indigent persons, bereft of their parents, at a distance from any of their relations; who being too young to afford the necessary information respecting settlements, are often left destitute of protection and support, at an age when they are incapable of earning a subsistence, and contending with surrounding dangers.

Females of this description are, in a particular manner, the objects of compassion, and have also a double claim to the care of the humane and virtuous, from being not only exposed to the miseries of want and idleness, but, as they grow up, to the solicitations of the vicious, and the consequent misery of early seduction.

The following are some of the regulations for the government of this charity, which have been made by the guardians from time to time, and now continue in force.


Qualifications of Guardians.

The qualification of an annual guardian is, a yearly subscription of three guineas or upwards.

The qualification of a perpetual guardian is, a subscription of thirty guineas or upwards.

Legacies bequeathed to the use of this charity of one hundred pounds or upwards, when paid, shall entitle the first-named acting executor to to be a perpetual guardian.

The guardians, conceiving it to be very essential for promoting one of the chief objects of this institution, earnestly solicit the ladies, who are particularly qualified for that purpose, frequently to visit the charity, inspect the management of the house, and particularly the employment of the children; also to see that they are properly instructed in housewifery, so as to be qualified for useful domestic servants; and from time to time communicate to the committee, by letter or otherwise, such observations as they shall deem proper to make.


Employment of Children.

The children are to make and mend their own linen; make shirts, shifts, and table-linen; to do all kinds of plain needle-work, and to perform the business of the house and kitchen; to which latter twelve are appointed weekly, according to their age and abilities, to assist the cook, to wash, iron, and get up all the linen. They are likewise taught to read the Bible, write a legible hand, and understand the first four rules in arithmetic.

All kinds of plain needle-work are taken in at the Assylum, and performed by the children at certain rates, which are regulated by the committee.


The following ar the Rules for placing out the Children.

They are to be bound apprentices for seven years, at the age of fifteen, or sooner, as domestic servants to reputable families in Great Britain.

No girl shall be apprenticed until the character of the master or mistress applying for the same, shall have been enquired into, and approved of by the committee.

Every person applying for an apprentice must appear at the committee, to give the necessary information respecting their station, unless such appearance be dispensed with by the committee.

When any girl shall become qualified to be an apprentice, the guardian who presented her shall be acquainted therewith, in order to know if such guardian has any place in view for her.

The guardians, desirous of encouraging the children to serve their apprenticeship faithfully, have empowered the committee to grant any orpahn apprenticed from the charity, who shall produce to the committee a certificate, signed by her master or mistress (or both if living), of her good behaviour during her apprenticeship, the sum of five guineas, such orphan having first returned public thanks in the chapel for the protection she has received.

The committee are empowered to put out at any time, to any trade they shall think proper, such orphans as may have contracted any disease or infirmity, which may render them incapable of domestic service, with a premium not exceeding ten pounds. . . .




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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Eighteenth century, England, London, Poor, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reform, Women

Item of the Day: Microcosm of London [1808-1810]

Full Title: Microcosm of London. Vol. I. London: R. Ackermann, [1808-1810].



To expatiate the general utility of a work of this description, is hardly necessary; it embraces such a variety of subjects (dissimilar, it must be acknowledged, to each other), that some of them must be interesting to almost every man; and as the plates will be arranged alphabetically, the whole will form a sort of dictionary, that may be referred to for any particular subject.

Among the numerous inhabitants of this great city, there are some whose particular pursuits have so much engrossed their time and thoughts, that they know little more of the scenery which surrounds them than barely the names. Such a work as this may reasonably be expected to rouse their dormant curiosity, and induce them to notice and contemplate objects so worthy of their attention. Those to whom these scenes are familiar, it will remind of their various peculiarities, and this publication may possibly point out some which have hitherto escaped their observation. To such occasional visitors of the metropolis as wish to know what is most worthy of their attention and examination in this mighty capital of the British empire, it will afford information which cannot easily be estimated.

The great objection that men fond of the fine arts have hitherto made to engravings on architectural subjects, has been, that the buildings and figures have almost invariably been designed by the same artists. In consequence of this, the figures have been generally neglected, or are of a very inferior cast, and totally unconnected with the other part of the print; so that we may sometimes see men and women in English dresses delineated in an English view of an Italian palace, and Spanish grandees in long cloaks, and ladies in veils, seated in one of our own cathedrals.

To remove these glaring incongruities from this publication, a strict attention has been paid, not only to the country of the figures introduced in the differnet buildings, but to the general air and peculiar carriage, habits, &c. of such characters as are likely to make up the majority in particular places.

The architectural part of the subjects that are contained in this work, will be delineated, with the utmost precision and care, by Mr. Pugin, whose uncommon accuracy and elegant taste have been displayed in his former productions. With respect to the figures, they are the pencil of Mr. Rowlandson, with whose professional talents the public are already so well acquainted, that it is not necessary to expatiate on them here. As the follwing list comprises almost every variety of character that is found in this great metropolis, there will be ample scope for the exertion of his abilities; and it will be found, that his powers are not confined to the ludicrous, but that he can vary with his subject, and, whenever it is necessary, descend

From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

As six numbers will form a volume, the whole will be comprised in four handsome volumes, with each of which will be given a beautiful frontispiece; so that each volume will contain twenty-five highly finished plates, correctly designed and coloured from nature, with near two-hundred pages of letter-press.

As every possible attention will be paid to executing the different parts in a superior style, and rendering this work wothy of approbation and encouragement, the publisher is not afraid of obtaining it.




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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Eighteenth century, England, London, North America, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas (1793)

Full Title: Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas: Being a New Set of County Maps from Actual Surveys. Exhibiting All the Direct & Principal Cross Roads, cities, Towns, and most considerable Villages, Parks, Rivers, Navigable Canals &c. Preceded by a General Map of South Britain, Shewing the Connexion of one Map with another. Also A General Description of each County, and Directions for the junction of Roads from one County to Another. London: Printed for John Cary, engraver & Map-seller, No. 181, near Norfolk Street, Strand, Published as the Act directs Jany. 1st, 1793.


For the more ready application of the Turnpike Roads given in this work, it is to be observed, that they are connected on the Maps from one country to another by reference letters at the extremity of each Map, unless adjacent places belonging to the adjoining county are given to each, so as to answer the same purpose of connecting by affording a similar reference.

The Route to London is also particularly described by London Road, or to London being added to such roads as lead to the Metropolis, so, on the contrary, may be traced the road from London to any distant place, being vice versa of the foregoing rule, and which, it is presumed, will answer the purpose intended, that of rendering a route, however detached in separate Maps, as easy to trace as if wholly connected.


The liberal encouragement which the Public are always ready in shewing to works where utility and improvement have been a principal object, induced the Proprietor to undertake the present Publication, full of the idea that his labour, in proportion to its merit, would find its reward: possessed of that opinion, he determined that no exertion on his part should be wanting to render the ENGLISH ATLAS as complete as the size of it could possible admit: that it is more so than any other work of this kind now extant, he thinks himself warranted in asserting: from having recurse to better materials than hitherto used for a work of this nature. The kind encouragement already shewn to this publication, by a very numerous and respectable subscription, has been a flattering testimony of the approbation of the Public, to whom the Proprietor begs leave to tender his sincerest acknowledgments for the partiality they have shewn him.

Added to the Descriptions of the Counties, the Directions for the Junction of the Roads (which was all that was at first intended to accompany the Maps) a complete Alphabetical List of the Market Towns is given, with the Days on which their Markets are held, and their distance from the metropolis; to which is subjoined, a Correct List of all the Post and Sub-Post Towns, with the Receiving Houses under each, throughout England and Wales; shewing the Rates of Postage, the Time of Arrival of the Post in the Country, and its Dispatch for London. –For which Information, as well as other Material Assistance in the completion of this work, the Proprietor is indebted to the liberal permission he was honoured with by the Right Hon. the Post-Masters-General, to resort to such official documents as enable him to vouch for the correctness and accuracy of these important articles.

Sanctioned by the kind protection the Public have shewn him, he presumes to offer to their notice a large MAP of ENGLAND and WALES, upon a scale of five miles to an inch, a size which enables him to lay down every Parish, (those excepted which are situated in large Towns) with the principal Gentlemen’s Seats, Roads, Rivers, and Navigable Canals, as well as other useful matter; and a particular attention will be paid to the Orthography of this Map, a circumstance so frequently complained of, (owing to the difference of pronunciation from the locality of situation) and which experience only can obviate.

N.B. A Specimen of the Work may be seen at J. Cary’s, Strand.



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Filed under 1790's, Atlas, England, Geography, Great Britain, London, Maps, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1776)

Full Title: A Bold Stroke for a Wife. A Comedy, as written by Mrs. Centlivre. Distinguishing also the Variations of the Theatre, as performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. Regulated from the Prompt-Book, by Permission of the Managers, by Mr. Hopkins, Prompter. Bell’s Edition. London: Printed for John Bell, near Exeter-Exchange, in the Strand, and C. Etherington, at York, MDCCLXXVI [1776].

In: Bell’s British Theatre, consisting of the most esteemed English Plays. Volume the Sixth. Being the Third Volume of Comedies. Containing –A Bold Stroke for a Wife, by Mrs. Centlivre. –The Miser, by Henry Fielding, Esq. –The Provok’d Husband, by Sir John Vanburgh, and Colley Cibber, Esq. –Love Makes a Man, by C. Cibber, Esq. –She Wou’d, and She Wou’d Not, by Colley Cibber, Esq. London: Printed for John Bell, near Exeter Exchange, in the Strand, and C. Etherington, at York, MDCCLXXVI [1776].

To his Grace PHILIP, Duke and Marquis of Wharton, &c.

My Lord,

It has ever been the custom of poets, to shelter productions of this nature under the patronage of the brightest men of their time; and ’tis observed, that the uses always met the kindest reception from persons of the greatest merit. The world will do me justice as to the choice of my patron; but will, I fear, blame my rash attempt, in daring to address your grace, and offer at a work too difficult for our ablest pens, viz. an encomium on your grace. I have no plea against such reflections, but the disadvantage of education, and the privilege of my sex.

If your grace discovers a genius so surprising in this dawn of life, what must your riper years produce! Your grace has already been distinguished in a most peculiar manner, being the first young nobleman that ever admitted into a house of peers before he reached the age of one and twenty: but your grace’s judgment and eloquence soon convinced that august assembly, that the excellent gifts of nature ought not to be confined to time. We hope the example that Ireland has set, will shortly be followed by an English house of lords, and your grace made a member of that body, to which you will be so conspicuous an ornament.

Your good sense, and real love to your country, taught your grace to persevere in the principles of your glorious ancestors, by adhering to the defender our our religion and laws; and the penetrating wisdom of your royal master saw you merited your honours e’re he conferred them. It is one of the greatest glories of a monarch to distinguish where to bestow his favours; and the world must do ours justice, by owning your grace’s titles most deservedly worn.

It is with the greatest pleasure imaginable, the friends of liberty see you pursuing the steps of your noble father: your courteous affable temper, free from pride and ostentation, makes your name adored in the country, and enables your grace to carry what point you please. The late lord Wharton will be still remembered by every lover of his country, which never felt a greater shock than what his death occasioned: their grief had been inconsolable, if heaven, out of its wonted beneficence to this favourite isle, had not transmitted all his shining qualities to you, and phoenix-like, raised up one patriot out of the ashes of another.

That your grace has a high esteem for learning, particularly appears by the large progress you made therein: and your love for the muses shews a sweetness of temper, and generous humanity, peculiar to the greatness of your soul; for such virtues reign not in the breast of every man of quality.

Defer no longer then, my lord, to charm the world with beauty of your numbers, and shew the poet, as you have done the orator; convince our unthinking Britons, by what vile arts France lost her liberty: and teach them to avoid their own misfortunes, as well as to weep over Henry IV. who (if it were possible for him to know) would forgive the bold assassin’s hand, for the honour of having his fall celebrated by your grace’s pen.

To be distinguished by persons of your grace’s character, is not only the highest ambition, but the greatest reputation to an author; and it is not the least of my vanities, to have it known to the public, I had your grace’s leave to prefix your name to this comedy.

I wish I were capable to cloathe the following scenes in such a dress as might be worthy to appear before your grace, and draw your attention as much as your grace’s admirable qualifications do that of all mankind; but the muses, like most females, are least liberal to their own sex.

All I dare say in favour of this piece, is, that the plot is entirely new, and the incidents wholly owing to my oven invention; not borrowed from our own, or translated from the works of any foreign poet; so that they have a t least the charm of novelty to recommend them. If they are so lucky, in some leisure hour, to give your grace the least diversion, they will answer the utmost ambition of,

My Lord,

Your Grace’s most obedient, most devoted,

And most humble Servant, Susannah Centlivre.





To-night we come upon a bold design,

To try to please without one borrow’d line;

Our plot is new and regularly clear,

And not one single tittle from Moliere.

O’er bury’d poets we with caution tread,

And parish sextons leave to rob the dead.

For you, bright British fair, in hopes to charm ye,

We bring to-night a lover from the army;

You know the soldiers have the strangest arts,

Such a proportion of prevailing parts,

You’d think that they rid post to women’s hearts.

I wonder whence they draw their bold pretence;

We do not chuse them sure for our defence:

That plea is both impolitic and wrong,

And only suits such dames as want a tongue.

Is it their eloquence and fine address?

The softness of their language? –Nothing less.

Is it their courage, that they bravely dare

To storm the sex at once? Egad! ‘tis there,

They act by us as in the rough campaign,

Unmindful of repulses, charge again:

They mine and countermine, resolv’d to win,

And, if a breach is made, –they will come in.

You’ll think by what we have of soldiers said,

Our female wit was in the service bred:

But she is to the hardy toil a stranger,

She loves the cloth indeed, but hates the danger:

Yet to this circle of the brave and gay,

She bid one, for her good intentions say,

She hopes you’ll not reduce her to half-pay.

As for our play, ‘tis English humour all:

Then will you let our manufacture fall?

Would you the honour of our nations raise,

Keep English credit up, and English plays.



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Filed under 1770's, Great Britain, London, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Theater

Item of the Day: Part of London shewing the Improvements propos’d about the Mansion-House, Royal-Exchange, Moor-Fields, &c. (1766)

Full Title: London and Westminster Improved, Illustrated by Plans. To which is prefixed, A Discourse on Publick Magnificence; with Observations on the State of Arts and Artists in this Kingdom, wherein the Study of Polite Arts is recommended as necessary to a liberal Education: Concluded by Some Proposals relative to Places not laid down in the Plans. By John Gwynn. London: Printed for the author, 1766.

[One of the four engraved and hand-colored maps showing the proposed improvements to Westminster and London found in Gwynn’s London and Westminster, Improved.]

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Filed under 1760's, London, Maps, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: London and Westminster Improved, Illustrated by Plans. (1766)

Full Title: London and Westminster Improved, Illustrated by Plans. To which is prefixed, A Discourse on Publick Magnificence; with Observations on the State of Arts and Artists in this Kingdom, wherein the Study of Polite Arts is recommended as necessary to a liberal Education: Concluded by Some Proposals relative to Places not laid down in the Plans. By John Gwynn. London: Printed for the author, 1766.

[John Gwynn, one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1768, a civil engineer, architect and architect critic, was a key figure in the introduction of the Building Act of 1774. Gwynn believed that the Great Fire of the previous century had created a great opportunity to plan and improve London. This volume includes four engraved and hand-colored maps showing the proposed improvements to Westminster and London.]



When historians give us the rise, progress and declension of any state, they generally relate its fall to have proceeded from some political error in government, or from luxury; a very vague and undetermined expression, which if it signifies excesses created by inordinate desire, stimulated by riches, has been justly marked as the vice of a nation. But if in the place of it we substitute delicacy, we shall find it the great source of liberal arts, and of every improvement not immediately necessary to life.

Thus it becomes a promoter of industry and ingenious labour, and finds employment for those superfluous hands that can be spared from agriculture &c. and while the hand of affluence thus affords the means of subsistence to the ingenious artisan, it finds employment for itself, without which life would become a burden.

Suppose a colony of emigrants first settling in any climate, the calls of nature are few. Building huts, and tillage, are the first objects of their attention; and their cloathing [sic] the skins of beasts. These supply them with food, and defend them from the inclemencies [sic] of the seasons, until encreasing [sic] in numbers, and their improvements advancing equally, their lands produce more than they consume, and they are able to supply the wants of their neighbours. This introduces commerce and navigation. The demands for exportation stimulate the manufacturer, wealth arises, and artificial wants encrease; the rich inhabitants look out for the means of ease, pleasure and distinction; these produce the polite arts, and the original formation of huts is now converted into architecture; painting and sculpture contribute to the decoration, and stamp that value on canvas and marble which is acknowledged by taste and discernment, and mark those necessary distinctions between the palace and the cottage.

Publick magnificence may be considered as a political and moral advantage to every nation; politically, from the intercourse with foreigners expending vast sums on our curiosities and productions; morally, as it tends to promote industry, to stimulate invention and to excite emulation in polite and liberal arts; for those industrious hands who find agriculture, &c. overstocked with labourers, naturally fall into those employments where they may expect more encouragement, in proportion, as more ingenuity is required.

We all know that the chief sources of wealth to many fallen states, are the remains of their ancient magnificence, and the constant confluence of foreigners to those places supply the deficiencies of manufactures or commerce.

The sums expended by foreigners may be considered as a laudable tax on their curiosity, whose ideas being excited by fame, can never be satisfied but by ocular demonstration. And had we more ample means of gratifying that thirst after novelty and amusement, numbers would continually flock over to our nation, as we continually do to theirs.

Let us consider the man of affluence, actuated by that beneficent spirit, the mere delight of doing good, and rendering himself acceptable to his Creator; he is furnished with the means, and by employing the ingenious and laborious artizans [sic], adds to the necessity of labour, the desire of excellence: A villa rises, and estate is improved, and a manufacture established; these create the proper distinction between the Prince and the peasant, the merchant and the workman; these characterize the genius of a nation, mark the area of its excellence, raise it from obscurity to fame, and fix it as the standard of taste to latest posterity.

In speaking of the ignorance of early times it is natural to charge them with want of genius; but the natural qualities of every nation are alike. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who have made such a great progress in the sciences, were not actuated by supernatural causes, or any innate principles in their original formation; the mind is a mere blank, but capable of receiving such impressions as custom, education, or any other relative cause shall make upon it. It increases in vigour, according to its sensibility of such application, and, by degrees, so far exalts its powers, that it seems to obtain new faculties in seeing, hearing and feeling those objects to which it is most familiarized; it perceives defects and excellencies which the ignorant and unexperienced [sic] never apprehend. The man becomes eminent in his profession in proportion as his perception is more or less acute; and you easily distinguish the man of genius, or the inventor of original designs, from the servile copyist; who, though he may pretend to be an ingenious man, can have no title to the praise of genius.

But to return. If we examine the remains of the Roman magnificence, we shall see their first intentions were to procure the conveniences of life and health of the inhabitants; these are visible to this day, in their aqueducts and subterraneous drains. Next to these considerations, was the honouring of the gods by magnificent temples. Then arose cities, palaces and private buildings, which were adorned with every production of science.

The English are now what the Romans were of old, distinguished like them by power and opulence, and excelling all other nations in commerce and navigation. Our wisdom is respected, our laws are envied, and our dominions are spread over a large part of the globe.

Let us, therefore, no longer neglect to enjoy our superiority; let us employ our riches in the encouragement of ingenious labour, by promoting the advancement of grandeur and elegance.

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Filed under 1760's, Culture, London, Posted by Caroline Fuchs