In the year of grace one thousand nine hundred and nine the citizens of London are celebrating their Pageant, a mighty spectacle representing some of the stately scenes of splendour and magnificence which London streets have witnessed from the days of Alfred to the nineteenth century. It is perhaps fortunate that these volumes of the Memorials of Old London should appear when the minds of the people of England are concerned with this wonderful panorama of the past history of the chief city of the Empire. The Pageant will be all very beautiful, very grand, instructive and edifying, and profoundly interesting; but, after all, London needs no Pageant to set forth its attractions, historical and spectacular. London is in itself a Pageant. The street names, the buildings, cathedral, churches, prisons, theatres, the river with its bridges, and countless other objects, all summon up the memories of the past, and form a Pageant that is altogether satisfying. Many books have been written on the greatest city of England's Empire—some learned and ponderous tomes, others mere guide books; some devoted to special buildings and foundations, others to the life, manners, and customs of the citizens. This work differs from other books in that each chapter is written by an expert who has made a special study of the subject, and is therefore authoritative, and contains all the information which recent investigations have brought to light. It is not exhaustive. London contains so much that is of profound interest, that many additional volumes would be needed in order to describe all its treasures. The city of Westminster, the suburbs and the West End, have for the most part been excluded from the plan of this work, and possibly may be treated of in a subsequent volume. The domain of the city of London, not of the London County Council, provides the chief subjects of these volumes, though occasionally our writers have strayed beyond the city boundaries.
We have endeavoured to give sketches of London, its appearance, its life and manners, at various stages of its history. We have tried to describe its historic buildings, its fortress, its churches, the Exchange, and other houses noted in its annals. Monastic London is represented by the Charterhouse. Legal London finds expression in the histories of the Temple and the Inns of Court. Royal London is described by the story of its Palaces; and the old city life of the famous merchants and traders, artizans and 'prentices, is shown in our glimpses of Mediæval London, the histories of the Guildhall, the City Companies, the Hanseatic League, Elizabethan London, and in other chapters. Old inns, coffee-houses, clubs, learned societies, and literary shrines present other phases of the life of the old city which are not without their attractions, and help to complete the picture which we have tried to paint.
All the chapters have been specially written for this work, and my most grateful thanks are due to each of the contributors for their valuable papers, as well as to those who have supplied photographs, old prints, or drawings. I desire especially to thank Mr. Philip Norman for his coloured sketches which form the pleasing frontispieces of the two volumes; to Mr. Harold Sands for his skilfully constructed plan of the Tower of London; and to Mr. Tavenor-Perry for his valuable drawings of St. Bartholomew's Church, Smithfield, and the bridges that span the Thames.
P. H. Ditchfield.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
London in Early Times—Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and Norman By Rev. W. J. Loftie, B.A., F.S.A.
The Tower of London By Harold Sands, F.S.A.
St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield By J. Tavenor-Perry
The London Charterhouse By Rev. A. G. B. Atkinson, M.A.
Glimpses of Mediæval London By George Clinch, F.G.S., and the Editor
The Temple By Rev. H. G. Woods, D.D. (Master)
Holborn and the Inns of Court and Chancery By E. Williams
The Guildhall By C. Welch, F.S.A.
The City Companies of London By the Editor
London and the Hanseatic League By J. Tavenor-Perry
The Arms of the City and See of London By J. Tavenor-Perry
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