Esoteric London

No. 989: Strand, WC2

Posted in Amusements, Architectural, Clubs, Political London, Royal London by esotericlondon on December 12, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_5875 copy

Strand, London, WC2. Photo © Roger Dean 2013

Dickens’s Dictionary of London, An Unconventional Handbook – Charles Dickens, [Jr.], 1882:

Hampton Court.—An old-fashioned village on the Thames, about two miles above Kingston, well known for the old palace of Cardinal Wolsey. Presented by the great Cardinal to Henry VIII. it was for many years a royal residence, and, curiously enough, was a favourite abode of both Charles I. and Oliver Cromwell. At present suites of apartments are granted in the palace to ladies and gentlemen favoured by the Crown. Cavalry barracks are attached to the palace, which are generally occupied by a detachment of the household brigade or some other corps d’elite. There are many pictures of great interest, principally in their relation to English History; the beauties of the court of the second Charles, limned by Sir Peter Lely, being in this respect particularly noticeable. There are also pictures by Holbein, Kneller, Titian, and other masters, but it may be noted that many of the Hampton Court pictures are but of doubtful authenticity. The principal attractions at the Court, however, to the general public are the gardens, with quaint old-world arrangement, and the fish-ponds, which contain patriarchal carp, which might even have competed for crumbs from the hand of William the Silent, as they now do from those of ‘Arry the Noisy. The maze is a never-ending source of hilarious enjoyment to crowds of holiday visitors, and the great vine annually attracts its thousands of sightseers.

[The photograph above shows a detail of one of two ceramic plaques that can be found on the corners of Strand with Savoy Buildings. The one pictured reads “In this court in the 18th century stood the Fountain Tavern where the political opponents of Sir Robert Walpole met using the title of The Fountain Club also the Coal Hole the meeting place of The Wolf Club of which about 1826 Edmund Kean was a leading member”. R.D.]