The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 14 Oxford Street

High Holborn

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Before New Oxford St. was constructed in 1849 through the poverty stricken and congested region known as the ' rookery of St. Giles,' the main thoroughfare followed the shallow curve on the south, via High St., Holborn, and Broad St. to High Holborn. In High St. is the church of St. Giles in the Fields, built in 1731-33 by Henry Flitcroft, in Imitation of St. Martin's. Above the modern gate to the churchyard is a bas-relief of the Day of Judgment, originally erected in 1687. Two previous churches stood on this site. George Chapman (1559 ?-1634), translator of Homer, is commemorated by a tombstone, erected by Inigo Jones at his own expense (now within the church; inscription modern), and outside, near the south-east corner of the church, is the altar-tomb of Richard Penderel (died 1672), styled ' unparalleled Pendrell' in the epitaph, the yeoman who secured the escape of Charles II. after the battle of Worcester. James Shirley, the dramatist (died 1780), Lord Herbert of Cherbury (died 1648), Sir Roger L'Estrange (died 1704), Andrew Marvell (died 1678), and John Flaiman (died 1826), the sculptor, are likewise buried here. The line of Oxford St. is continued east by High Holborn, which soon crosses the improved thoroughfare formed by Kingsway, on the south, and Southampton Row, on the north Southampton Row has absorbed Kingsgate St., the residence of Sarah Gamp in ' Martin Chuzzlewit.' Near its south end (on the east) is the Baptist Church House, with a statue of Bunyan at the corner of Eagle St. Next comes the London Day Training College, adjoined by the Arts and Crafts School of the London County Council. Gray, the poet, had rooms in Southampton Row, overlooking ' Bedford Gardens.' To the south of High Holborn, farther on, lies Lincoln's Inn Fields, with the Soane Museum. To the north Red Lion St. leads to Lamb's Conduit St. and (half a mile) the Foundling Hospital. Various more or less handsome office-buildings rise on both sides of the main thoroughfare. Chancery Lane, on the south, leads into the heart of legal London. On the north side of High Holborn is the Chancery Lane Station of the Central London Railway, and a few yards farther, beyond the fine old gateway leading into Gray's Inn, we reach the south end of Gray's Inn Road and note the small obelisks that mark the beginning of 'the City.' Hence to St. Paul's see Walk 22.