THE ROYAL EXCHANGE, BANK, &c. (Page 304.)
THE foreground in this Plate is Mansionhouse-street, a spacious area in front of the Mansion-house. The coup-d'œil eastward is as rich and various as any in London. The extensive building with the lofty tower is the Royal Exchange; whose principal front is in Cornhill, on the right of the Plate, and the other in Treadneedle-street, the extremity of the Plate on the left. The range of houses in the centre is Bank-buildings, with Richardson and Goodluck's Lottery-office immediately in front. The Bank is the noble building, with colonnades, on the left. The front is a sort of vestibule; the base rustic; the ornamental columns above Ionic. It was built in 1733 upon the site of the house of Sir John Houblon, who was at the same time Lord Mayor of London, a Lord of the Admiralty, and the First Governor of the Bank of England.
The church of St. Bartholomew is beyond; and in the background is seen the dome of the church of St. Peter le Poor, Broad-street, rising above the north end of the Royal Exchange. On the right of the Plate is seen part of the beautiful Gothic tower of St. Michael's, and beyond the spire of St. Peter's, both in Cornhill. At the bottom of Cornhill, and in the corner house, which divides the former from Lombard Stand (now occupied by a glover), stands the house and shop in which the celebrated Thomas Guy, by the exercise of the pious trade of selling Bibles and Prayer-books, made the greatest fortune ever accumulated by the industry of one individual. Besides building and endowing three wards of St. Thomas's Hospital, he was the sole founder of another which bears his name. The expense of the erection amounted to 18,793l. 16s. and he left the enormous sum of 219,499l. to endow it. Besides his public expenses, he allowed small annuities, during his life, to many of his poor relations and others; and to his aged relations he left by his will 870l. in annuities; and to his younger relations and executors 75,589l.! This incredible fortune was amassed from a very small beginning, chiefly by purchasing seamens' tickets in the reign of Queen Anne, by his great success in buying and selling South Sea Stock, and by the sale of Bibles: thus profiting both of God and Mammon.
The active part of this scene is uncommonly curious. A prodigious crowd is seen passing in Cornhill; and another in front of the Bank. Beyond the carriage from which a lady is stepping, and over its roof, is seen a stage-coach, with passengers on its top. In the foreground, on the left, is a brewer's dray, with porter-butts; and under the north-west corner of the Royal Exchange is one of the Islington stages.