The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 18 Bloomsbury and Districts to the North

Gray's Inn Road

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To the east of the Foundling Hospital Guilford St. ends at GRAY'S INN ROAD, a long and uninteresting commercial thoroughfare running to the north-west from Holborn to King's Cross, which may be taken as the east boundary of Bloomsbury. To the east of it lies Clerkenwell. In Gray's Inn Road is the Royal Free Hospital founded in 1828, with 165 beds. Attached to it (in Hunter St.).is the London School of Medicine for Women (1874). Holy Trinity Church, just south of the hospital, has a chapel dedicated in 1925 to 'the Brave Women of the War.' At its Holborn end Gray's Inn Road (tramways and omnibuses numerous) skirts Gray's Inn, beyond which Theobalds Road diverges on the left, Clerkenwell Road on the right. Benjamin Disraeli was born at 22 Theobalds Road (then 6 King's Road) in 1804. At the corner of Clerkenwell Road is Holborn Hall, the headquarters of the Primitive Methodist Connexion. From this point Rosebery Avenue runs north-east, crossing Farringdon Road and passing Sadlers Wells Theatre to join St. John St. a little south of the 'Angel'. At the junction of Rosebery Avenue and Farringdon Road is Mount Pleasant, with the Parcel Post Office, built in 1900 on the site of the Coldbath House of Correction, a prison from 1794 till 1877. Here is also the Returned Letter Office. King's Cross Road, which prolongs Farringdon Road to the north, traverses the site of Bagnigge Wells, a popular place of entertainment from about 1760 to 1842. In Granville Place, leading to Granville Square, the curious visitor may identify the 'Riceyman Steps' of Arnold Bennett's novel. At No. 33 Ampton St., leading to the right from Gray's Inn Road immediately beyond the Royal Free Hospital, Carlyle lodged for three months in 1831. On the opposite side of Gray's Inn Road Sidmouth St. leads west to Regent Square, in which is the Presbyterian church built in 1824-27 for Edward Irving. Carlyle and his wife often came to hear Irving preach, and here frequently took place the 'speaking with unknown tongues' before Irving's expulsion on account of his heretical opinions. The church was designed by Tite on the model of the west front of York Minster. In Argyle Square, still farther to the north, is the New Jerusalem Church of the Swedenborgians.