The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 24 The Thames Embankment, Westminster to St Paul's

Blackfriars Bridge and Bridewell

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The next large building is the City of London School, founded in 1835 in Milk St., Cheapside, and removed in 1878 to these spacious premises, designed by Messrs. Emanuel and Davis. The Earl of Oxford and Asquith and Sir J. R. Seeley were educated at this school. The playground behind was the site of the Duke's Theatre (1671-1709). The Embankment ends at Blackfriars Bridge. The bronze statue of Queen Victoria is by C. P. Birch (1896). From Blackfriars Bridge Queen Victoria St. runs north-east to the Bank (see Walk 27) and Thames St. runs east towards the Tower (see Walk 32). We, however, continue our route to St. Paul's by following New Bridge Street, leading to the north. On the right are Blackfriars Station, and Ludgate Hill Station (Southern Railway). On the left, between New Bridge St. and Bridewell Place and extending to the Thames, once stood the notorious old prison of Bridewell, taking its name from the holy well of St. Bride. No. 14, a doorway surmounted by a relief of the head of Edward VI., is the entrance to the modern offices of the Bridewell Royal Hospital, the hall of which contains the charter-painting (not by Holbein) of Edward VI. presenting the palace of Bridewell to the City, portraits of Charles II. and James II. by Lely, and portraits of former presidents, including one of Sir Peter Lawrie (died 1861), unjustly satirized as 'Alderman Cute' by Dickens in 'The Chimes.' The stately palace of BRIDEWELL, built here in 1515-23 by Henry VIII. on the west bank of the Fleet, was the residence of himself and Queen Catherine during the latter's trial in 1529. It was afterwards occupied successively by the French and German ambassadors, but, partly at the intercession of Bishop Ridley, it was granted to the City of London by Edward VI. in 1553 and handed over in 1556 as a prison and workhouse for vagrants, beggars, and immoral women. Here the inmates had to beat hemp, and the floggings administered to men and women were notorious; and the name 'bridewell' became a synonym for house of correction. The building, which included a school for apprentices, was partly destroyed in the Great Fire, but was rebuilt in 1688, and in 1729 the institution was united with Bethlehem Royal Hospital. New Bridewell, built in 1829, was used latterly for short-sentence cases. In 1864 it was pulled down and superseded by Holloway Prison. Bridewell Royal Hospital now maintains the King Edward's Schools at Witley in Surrey. New Bridge St. ends at Ludgate Circus. Hence to St. Paul's Cathedral.