The Garden Guide

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

Sion College

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On the Embankment parapet, opposite the east end of the gardens, is a memorial tablet to W. T. Stead (born 1849; drowned on the 'Titanic' in 1912), by Frampton. Here, too, rises the Submarine War Memorial (1922), designed by A. H. R. Tenison, with sculptures by F. B. Hitch. We have now reached the Temple and its gardens, beyond which are Hamilton House (Employers' Liability Assurance Corporation) and the Office of the Accountant General of the General Post Office. In the river is moored the new 'President,' one of the mystery ships of the Great War, brought here in 1922 to act as the training-ship of the Naval Volunteer Reserve; its officers technically include most of the Staff Officers at the Admiralty. Next come the buildings of the Exchequer and Audit Department (by Arthur F. Briggs) and the Metropolitan Asylums Board (by Edwin T. Hall). Beyond Carmelite St. are the offices of the Port of London Authority (River Department) and the Gothic buildings of Sion College and Library, designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield (1886). Sion College (visitors admitted on application) was founded in 1623 as a college and almshouse, and until 1886 stood on the site of Elsing Spital in London Wall. At the time of the removal the almshouse was abolished and pensions granted instead. The College exists for the benefit of the Anglican clergy of London and the Home Counties. The Library, founded about the same time as the College, has from the first been its chief glory. It has 200,000 volumes (mainly theological) and includes the York Breviary (1322), the second folio of Shakespeare (1634), and other rarities. Thomas Fuller, whilst gathering materials for his 'Church History,' lived in the college and used the library, dating his book from Sion College.