The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 30 The City To The East Of The Bank

Bishopsgate and Liverpool St Station

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The old Bishopsgate (taken down in 1760) stood at the point where Camomile St. (noted for Eastern curios) leads to the east and Wormwood St. to the West Down to 1910 the parts of the street to the south and north of this point were known as Bishopsgate St. Within and Bishopsgate St. Without. To the left, opposite Houndsditch, is the church of St. Botolph Bishopsgate, rebuilt by James Gold in 1725-29 and restored in 1912 (open 10-4, except Saturday). Edward Alleyn was baptized here in 1566 and John Keats on October 31st, 1795. Some of the stained glass is good of its kind. On the staircase on the north side of the chancel is a monument to Sir Paul Pindar (died 1650), whose house stood not far off. In the churchyard is a memorial cross erected in 1916 to Lord Kitchener (died 1916), members of the Honourable Artillery Company who fell in the Great War, and John Cornwell, the boy-hero of the battle of Jutland (May 31st, 1916). Devonshire House (No. 136) was the headquarters of the Society of Friends from 1866 till 1926. Just beyond this point, to the left, is Liverpool St., with the huge Liverpool Street Station of the London & North Eastern Railway, including a large hotel on the site of the first Bethlem Hospital, and adjoined on the west by the Broad Street Station of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Liverpool St. Station was a frequent target for German airmen during the War and was damaged in the daylight raid of June 13th, 1917. To the right in Bishopsgate (No. 230) stands the Bishopsgate Institute (concerts and lectures), opened in 1894. The library (open 10-6, Saturday 10-2) contains 55,000 volumes (including many works on the history and topography of London) and prints of Old London. Bishopsgate is prolonged towards the north by Norton Folgate and Shoreditch High Street to Shoreditch Station, opposite which (right) is the church of St. Leonard, a large building of about 1740. The fine Flemish glass in the east window dates from 1634. A memorial (1914) on the north wall commemorates Richard Burbage (died 1619) and other actors buried in the churchyard (now a public garden). Near Curtain Road, which runs parallel with High St. on the west, The Theatre (tablet on Nos. 85-88), the first theatre in London, was built in 1577 by James Burbage (died 1597; father of Richard) on ground leased for 21 years within the former precincts of Holy well Priory. In 1598, owing to a difficulty about the renewal of the lease, the primitive wooden structure was hurriedly pulled down at night by Burbage's sons and the materials used in the construction of the Globe Theatre in Southwark. In this vicinity stood also the Curtain Theatre, erected almost searly, which survived until near the end of the 17th century. The preShakespearean 'Hamlet' and Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus' were performed at The Theatre, and 'Romeo and Juliet' was produced, in 1598, probably for the first time, at the Curtain; while it is not unlikely that Shakespeare trod the boards of both theatres, sometimes, no doubt, in his own plays. A stained-glass window erected in St. James's Church, Curtain Road, in 1886, exactly 800 years after Shakespeare first came to London, commemorates his somewhat conjectural connection with these theatres.