The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 3 Westminster

Parliament Square

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3. WESTMINSTER. STATIONS: Westminster, St. James's Park, and Victoria, all on the District Railway. Victoria Terminus of the Southern Railway, OMNIBUSES to Westminster Abbey; along Victoria St., Nos. 11, 24, 29, 39, 76; to the Tate Gallery, Nos. 32, 51, 80, 88, 89. The official area of the City of Westminster (population 141,317 in 1921), incorporated by royal charter, includes practically all that is understood by the term 'West End', from Temple Bar to Chelsea and from Oxford St. to the Thames. But in the everyday usage of the Londoner the name Westminster refers to a much smaller area, including the immediate neighbourhood of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and a district, with somewhat vague limits, extending thence to the west and south-west in the direction of Victoria Station and Vauxhall Bridge to meet the district known as Pimlico. Even the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral barely comes within this region, to which the present route is confined. PARLIAMENT SQUARE, the open space on which Parliament St. debouches, extends as a kind of garden vestibule to the Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Its north side commands an interesting view. On the south rise the towers of Westminster Abbey (Walk 5) above St. Margaret's Church; on the south-east are the dignified buildings of the Houses of Parliament (Walk 4) with Westminster Hall in front of them; while due east a glimpse is obtained of the new County Hall, the home of London's civic parliament, beyond the river. In the grassy enclosures of the square are statues of eminent statesmen. On the north side, Sir Robert Peel (died 1850), by Matthew Noble; on the east side, Lord Palmerston (died 1865), by T. Woolner, and Lord Derby (died 1869), by Noble; on the south side, facing Westminster Abbey, Lord Beaconsfield (died 1881), by Raggi; and on the west side,George Canning (died 1827), by Westmacott, and (in front of the Middlesex Guildhall) Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), a replica of the statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at Chicago, placed here in 1920. On April 19th ('Primrose Day') Beaconsfield's statue is annually decorated with primroses, his alleged favourite flower. The Gothic Fountain at the corner of Great George St. was erected in 1869 in honour of Sir Powell Buxton and the other pioneers of the abolition of slavery in the British dominions. We follow the east side of the square, with New Palace Yard, the enclosed courtyard to the north of Westminster Hall, on our left. In front of us, close to Westminster Abbey, and immediately opposite Westminster Hall, is Margaret's Church.