The Garden Guide

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

Westminster Hall and Old Palace Yard

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Opposite the east end of St. Margaret's is Westminster Hall, by the side of which is a Statue of Oliver Cromwell, by Sir Hamo Thornycroft (1899). To the south of Westminster Hall opens Old Palace Yard, between the House of Lords on the east, and the east end of Westminster Abbey, with the chapter house, on the west Near its north end stands an admirable bronze Statue of Richard I., by Marochetti (1860). Entrance to the Poets' Corner - Abingdon Street and Millbank lead hence to the south to the Thames at Lambeth Bridge, flanked by handsome blocks of offices. On the left stretch the Victoria Tower Gardens, from the farther parapet of which, overhanging the Thames, we enjoy fine views of the river and the opposite bank, especially picturesque in the evening. At the north end of the gardens is a bronze replica (1915) of a Group by Rodin (erected at Calais in 1895), representing the devoted Burghers of Calais, who surrendered themselves to Edward III. in 1347 to save their city from destruction. The too lofty pedestal and the site overshadowed by the Victoria Tower were both chosen by the artist. Behind the houses of Abingdon St., opposite (and seen from College Mews, off Great College St), is the Jewel Tower (no admission), a low L-shaped tower of the 14th century, built probably as a royal treasure house and now containing part of the Board of Trade collection of weights and measures, rooms for testing weights and scales, and a collection of false weights and measures. From Millbank Dean Stanley St. leads to the west to SMITH SQUARE, in the centre of which rises the church of St. John the Evangelist, a spacious but clumsy edifice by Thos, Archer, completed in 1728 and described by Dickens in 'Our Mutual Friend' as resembling' a petrified monster on its back with its legs in the air.' The four angle towers are said to have been added to the original design in order to cause the swampy foundations to settle uniformly. Charles Churchill (1731-64), the satirist, was for some years an unsatisfactory curate here. The home of Jenny Wren, the dolls' dressmaker in 'Our Mutual Friend,' was at the north-west corner of Dean Stanley St. (then Church St.).