The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 8 Pall Mall and St. James's

Pall Mall and Waterloo Place

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Pall Mall, the centre of 'Clubland,' runs due west from George III.'s statue to St. James's Palace. Like the Mall, it derives its name from 'pail mail' or 'paille-maille,' which was played here in the 17th century, before the construction of the Mall. Its south side is now almost monopolized by a series of stately club-houses. The first in order is the United Service Club, the earliest service-club in London, founded in 1815. The handsome club-house was built by Nash in 1828 and afterwards extended. Separated from it by Waterloo Place (see below) is the Athenaeum Club, the leading literary and learned club of London, the 'Megatherium' of Thackeray. The building was erected in 1830 by Decimus Burton, and is embellished with a reproduction of the Parthenon frieze. The topmost story was added in 1899 by T. E. Collcutt. Thackeray wrote some of his works in the library, and in the front hall he and Dickens were reconciled after a long estrangement. Macaulay, Richard Burton, and Andrew Lang likewise wrote here. In the drawing-room Anthony Trollope announced his intention of killing Mrs. Proudie, and in the billiard room Herbert Spencer (whose cue is owned by the club) exhibited a proficiency that, in his case at least, was not a proof of a misspent youth. The club has a library of 70,000 volumes and many works of art. WATERLOO PLACE, an oblong space intersecting Pall Mall at this point, is characterized by its banks and insurance offices and its numerous statues. The group to the north of Pall Mall commemorates the Crimean War (1854-55). In the centre is the Guards' Monument, by John Bell, with figures of three guardsmen and a trophy of Russian guns. On the right is a statue of Lord Herbert of Lea (died 1861; by Foley), secretary for war during the campaign, and on the left, one of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), 'the lady with the lamp,' by Walker (1913). In the centre of the south portion of Waterloo Place is an equestrian statue of Edward VII. (died 1910), by Sir B. Mackennal (1921). On the left (east) are statues of Captain Scott (died 1912), the Antarctic explorer, by Lady Scott (1915); Lord Clyde (died 1863), the saviour of Lucknow, by Marochetti; and Lord Lawrence (died 1879), Viceroy of India, by Boehm. On the right (west) are statues of Sir John Franklin (died 1847), the Arctic explorer, by Noble, and Sir John Burgoyne (died 1871), the Crimean general, by Boehm. At the south end of Waterloo Place rises the DUKE OF YORK'S COLUMN, a granite Tuscan column, 124 feet in height, erected in 1833 and surmounted by a bronze statue, by Westmacott, of the Duke of York (died 1827), second son of George III. and once Commander-in-chief of the British Army. An internal spiral staircase (no admission) ascends to the top. Beyond the column the Waterloo or Duke of York's Steps descend to the Mall and St. James's Park. Just short of the York Column Waterloo Place is adjoined by Carlton House Terrace, one of the most aristocratic residential streets in London, commanding fine views across St. James's Park. Its name recalls Carlton House, which stood on the site now marked by the York Column. This house, originally built for Henry Boyle, Baron Carleton, soon after 1709, was sold in 1732 to Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III. George IV., when Prince of Wales, set up his establishment here in 1783, and the house was much altered and embellished with a Corinthian portico, while a screen of columns was erected towards Pall Mall. The house was pulled down in 1826, and some of its columns now grace the facade of the National Gallery. No. 9, beside Waterloo Steps, is the German Embassy. On the west, the terrace is continued by Carllon Gardens; Lord Palmerston once lived at No. 4, Gladstone at No. 11, Lord Kitchener at No. 2, while the New Armies were bring raised (1914-15). No. 10 is now the Union Club, founded in 1805 and said to be the oldest 'members' club' in London; it still has the reputation of being a little old-fashioned. In Pall Mall the Athenaeum Club is adjoined by the Travellers' Club, the nominal qualification for membership of which is a journey of not less than 500 miles in a direct line from London. The club, founded by Lord Castlereagh in 1820, occupies a house built by Barry in 1832 on the model of the Palazzo Pandolfini at Florence, enclosing a quadrangle. The south facade is considered the finest. Next door to the Travellers' is the Reform Club, the Premier Liberal Club, established in 1836, in a fine building likewise by Barry; and next door to that is the premier Conservative club, viz. the Carlton Club, founded by the Duke of Wellington in 1832. Built in 1836 by Sir Robert Smirke and rebuilt by Sydney Smirke in 1854 on the model of Sansovino's Library of St. Mark's, at Venice, it was refaced in 1923 by Sir Reginald Blomfield, and extended backwards to include 7 Carlton Gardens. Nearly opposite, on the north side of Pall Mall, is the Junior Carlton Club, founded in 1864, occupying a palatial building by Brandon (1867), extended in 1881. To the west of it is the Army and Navy Club, familiarly known as 'the Rag,' a contraction for 'rag and famish,' a phrase used by a dissatisfied member to characterize his entertainment. The fine building by Parnell and Smith (1846-51) in a Venetian Style is adorned with symbolical carvings.