The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 20 Covent Garden, Kingsway, Lincoln's Inn Fields


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Beyond the Stoll Picture House, at the north corner of Sardinia St., is the large Office of the Public Trustee, opened in 1916. In Sardinia St. stood the Roman Catholic chapel of the Sardinian minister, destroyed in the �No Popery� riots of 1780, and finally removed in 1910. Fanny Burney, authoress of �Evelina,� was married in this chapel to General D'Arblay in 1793. In the street opposite lived Benjamin Franklin (at a rent of 1/6 a week), while working as a journeyman printer in the adjacent Wild Court (1725). Nearly opposite is Kingsway Hall, with the headquarters of the West London Mission (Wesleyan Methodist). On the right (No. 36) are the Offices of the Province of Quebec. We now intersect Great Queen Street, named after Queen Henrietta Maria, leading from Lincoln's Inn Fields to Drury Lane. This street contains the Kingsway Theatre (north) and Freemasons� Hall (south), the London headquarters of the Masonic craft. Lord Herbert of Cherbury died in Great Queen St. in 1648; Sir Thomas Fairfax, the Parliamentarian general, here received in 1647 the congratulatory visit of members of both houses on the victorious conclusion of the Civil War. Great Queen St. was the abode also of Sir Heneage Finch (1621-82), Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), Sir Charles Sedley (1658), John Opie (1761-1807), and Richard Wilson (1714-82). Joshua Reynolds was apprentice (1740-43) to Hudson, in the house adjoining the Freemasons� Hall on the west, and William Blake was apprentice to the engraver Basire in a house on the north-west side. Sheridan is said to have written �The School for Scandal� at No. 55 (south side; rebuilt). Boswell, Mrs. Robinson ('Perdita'), and Dr. Wolcot are among other famous inhabitants. Unfortunately the present appearance of the street in no way reflects its interesting associations. On the right side of Kingsway, beyond Great Queen St., are the Roman Catholic church of SS. Anselm and Cecilia, built in 1909 to replace the Sardinian Chapel, and an admirable block of offices known as Africa House, Trinity Church (open 12-3), on the left, a little higher up, occupies the site of the house in which Mary Lamb, in a fit of insanity, killed her mother in 1796. Where Kingsway ends at High Holborn, we see the Holborn Tube Station on our right, and the Holborn Restaurant on our left.