The map below shows the major points of interest picked out in Fores’s New Guide for Foreigners, containing the most complete and accurate description of the Cities of LONDON and WESTMINSTER, and their Environs, That has yet been offered to the Public (the title continues for quite a while after this). This dual-language French and English guide was published around 1789 by Samuel William Fores, one of the major London printsellers, whose shop at No. 3 Piccadilly was opposite the office for the Paris Diligence. For more detailed information on the guide, see my introduction.
The pale green icons on the map below designate places from the guide’s chapter giving ‘Descriptions of the principal public buildings’; the darker green icons show the locations on the lists of entertainments at the beginning of the guide. Three brown arrows indicate locations off the edge of Horwood’s Plan. Clicking on an icon brings up the text from the guide. The guide text can also be read sequentially using the legend below the map; clicking on the icon next to the texts of these entries locates the places described on the Plan.
|St James’s Palace.
St James's Palace - On the spot where this building is erected, there was formerly a hospital dedicated to St James. It was suppressed by Henry VIII. who, having caused it to be pulled down, erected a palace in its place, which retains the name of the hospital, and has been inhabited by our sovereigns ever since the destruction of Whitehall by fire, in 1697. It has a sorry exterior appearance, nevertheless, it contains some large and handsome apartments, that may be seen when the court is not there.
|St James’s Park.
St James's Park - This Park is about two miles in circumference, with handsome and spacious walks shaded with elms, &c. and is much frequented by the inhabitants of the city as well [as] Westminster. The canal is very long and its banks are adorned with detached clumps of trees. The part allotted for pasture is of a beautiful verdure, and forms an agreeable object. An herd of cows are generally seen to range there during the day. The park affords a charming prospect from the king’s apartments, and the houses of people of fashion are built on the verge of it. On Sundays in the afternoon, one may sometimes see upwards of fifty thousand people passing to and fro in it.
|The Queen’s Palace.
The Queen's Palace - It belonged formerly to the Duke of Buckingham, from whence it is called Buckingham House, ’till the year 1762, when his present majesty made the purchase of it; and since that time, it has been called the Queen’s Palace. It is a very handsome edifice, and the apartments uncommonly elegant. The celebrated cartoons of Raphael are placed in the grand saloon, and the finest pictures of the Italian and Flemish masters, are to be seen in all the apartments. Behind there is a very large garden, &c. &c. &c. &c.
By the side of the Queen’s Palace is the Green Park, which leads to Hyde Park, where people of fashion take the air on horse-back. Those who inhabit one end of Piccadilly, have a view of the Green Park, the bason, &c. &c. From the street, there are doors of communication. Persons belonging to the court, may pass through this park on horseback, or in their carriages.
Westminster Abbey - This church was founded in the year 612, and dedicated to St. Peter, by Sibert the first christian king who embraced christianity. This antient and venerable place is appointed for the coronation, and for the burial of our kings; and contains upwards of 150 monuments erected in memory of the most illustrious personages of the nation.
The length of this church is 360 feet, the nave is 72 feet in breadth, and the part which forms the cross is 195. The arches are gothic architecture. In order to take the most advantageous view of the inside, you must enter at the west door, when the whole body of the church presents itself at once to the view.
This abbey contains a great number of curiosities, and any one may see them on paying six-pence. There are persons always attending to shew and explain them.
|The House of Lords
The House of Lords - Is a spacious, lofty, and handsome apartment, hung with tapestry, that represents the destruction of the Spanish armada. At the upper end of it is the king’s throne; on the right of which, is the seat of the prince of Wales; and on the left, that of the first prince of the blood after his royal highness.—Behind the throne, are places for the young peers, who are not of age to give their votes in parliament. At the foot of it, and to the right, are the seats of the archbishops; and a little lower, those of the bishops. The peers above the rank of barons, sit on the opposite side. In the middle, the judges are seated on wool-packs, to mark that wool is a very important object of national commerce. The place for the lord chancellor is nearest the throne.—His lordship is the speaker of the house of peers.
|The House of Commons
The House of Commons - Is a large and lofty apartment; on each side, &c. there is a narrow gallery, where persons who are not members of parliament are admitted. At the upper end is the chair of the speaker; and before him, there is a table for the clerk of the house, &c. &c.—Both houses of parliament have several additional handsome rooms belonging to them, with a matted gallery of communication.
Westminster Hall - This edifice was built by William Rufus, son of William the conqueror, in 1099, but was rebuilt by Richard II. in 1397. It is 272 feet in length, 74 breadth, and 90 in height, and is supported by buttresses without any pillar whatever. Since the reign of Henry III. the principal courts of justice are held there; that is to say, the high court of Chancery, the court of King’s bench, the court of Common-Pleas, and the Exchequer, where matters relative to the King’s revenues are determined. In this hall also peers of the realm are tried. To form an idea of the bar, you must attend the court of Chancery and that of the King’s-bench during term time.
Westminster Bridge - This bridge was begun in 1739, and was finished in 1750. Its length is 1230 feet by 44 in breadth, and it has 15 arches. Though its construction is simple, it possesses great elegance. The middle arch in 76 feet wide, and the others diminish regularly four feet on each side. The expence of building this bridge, amounted to 389,500l.
The Horseguards - This large edifice consists of a center and two wings. It is called the Horse-guards, because the troops called by that name, mount guard there; two of them, compleatly armed and on horseback, are constantly on duty as centinels, under two handsome pavilions detached from the building, which were to shelter them from the weather. In the centre is a vaulted passage which leads into St. James’s Park.
|The Banquetting-House of Whitehall.
The Banqueting House - This unrivalled piece of architecture was added to the palace of Whitehall by James I. after the design of Inigo Jones. This structure consists chiefly of a royal chapel, the cieling of which was painted by Peter Paul Rubens; there is divine service every day at eleven o’clock, when any person may have admittance. It was from this pavilion (several of whose windows are walled up) that king Charles passed to go to the scaffold. Behind the building is a statue of James II. upon a pedestal, which is esteemed to be one of the finest of its kind in England.
The Admiralty - This is a large building which contains the offices and apartments for the lords, who exercise the office of high admiral; the portico is composed of four ionic columns with a pediment which does not merit any praise. Besides a large hall, &c. &c. there are seven spacious houses for the lords commissioners of the admiralty.—The wall in front of the court is built in a very elegant manner.
|The Equestrian Statue of Charles I.
The Equestrian Statue of Charles I - This statue is placed at the top of Charing-Cross; it is of bronze, and bears a strong resemblance of its original. In the heat of rebellion it was put up for sale, and was bought by a cutler, who advertised his design of making it into knives; the demand was great, and all the partisans of the king were purchasers of them. At the restoration of Charles II, the cutler who had buried the statue, made a present of it to the king, who ordered it to be re-placed.
The Mews - This place was originally appropriated for keeping birds of prey, and was the falconry of the King. Henry VIII. converted it into a stable:—the north front is a noble building, and was begun in 1732. The horses and coach of state, which is used by the king on days of great ceremony are worthy of attention.
|Saint Martin’s Church.
Saint Martin’s Church - This parish church is built of Portland stone, and is one of the finest churches in London. The portico consists of six Corinthian columns, possessing the finest architectural proportions. It may be considered as a chef d’œuvre in its kind. The steeple which springs from thence, is 215 feet in heighth, and of a beautiful form.
|Somerset-Place in the Strand.
Somerset-Place - This building is one of the most superb edifices in England. It contains several public offices.
|The New Church.
The New Church - This church is the master-piece of [James] Gibbs the celebrated architect; the front towards the street highly merits the attention of the curious.
Temple Bar - This gate is of modern architecture, and divides the city of London from that of Westminster. It is adorned with four statues, that of Charles I. and Charles II. Queen Elizabeth, and James I. The heads of persons executed for high treason are generally fixed upon this gate.
The Temple - The antient habitation of the knight’s Templars in England.—It is at present, the residence of the different ranks of lawyers, &c.—There are two libraries, spacious courts, &c. with gardens and a terrace, which looks upon the river.
|New Bridge Street
To the south between Fleet-Street and Ludgate Hill, is a very broad and beautiful street called Bridge-Street[.]
|Black Friar’s Bridge.
Black Friar’s Bridge - This bridge is nearly centrical both as to the city at large, and that part of the Thames which washes its banks. Each pier forms a height of from 15 to 18 feet, a kind of semicircular projection, which supports two ionic columns. The piers were formed in caissoons on piles of fir. The parapets of ballustrades, are of a moderate height, and afford a view of the river on both sides, which offers one of the richest prospects which can be conceived.—The foot-ways are also very commodious.—This bridge is composed of nine arches, which being elliptical, afford very spacious apertures for the navigation. The length of it from quay to quay, is 995 feet. The central arch is 100 feet wide; and the other arches, reckoning from the centre to the shore, possess, the respective spans of 98, 93, 83, and 70 feet wide. The breadth of the coach way is 28 feet, and the foot ways are 7 feet wide &c. &c. This structure, which is the most elegant of its kind in England, and perhaps in Europe, was compleated in 20 years, and cost 150,840l.
Justice Hall - This is a modern edifice of Portland stone, and of rustic architecture. Here the sessions are held at 8 distinct periods, for the trial of prisoners for offences committed in the city of London, and the county of Middlesex. On each side of the hall, are commodious galleries for the convenience of those who wish to hear the trials, who are admitted on making a present to the servants of the lord mayor, &c. &c.
|The Prison of Newgate.
Newgate Prison - This is very large building, the exterior walls are of Portland stone, and the foundations are sunk 20 feet beneath the surface. The keeper’s house is situate in the centre, and on each side are the lodges of the turnkeys. It is the most spacious, convenient, and magnificent prison of its kind in Europe.—The criminals that are to be tried, are conveyed to justice hall, by means of a vaulted communication that runs under the court. The place of execution is opposite the prison.
|The Cathedral of St. Paul.
St. Paul's Cathedral - This cathedral is the most magnificent christian church in the world, after that of St. Peter’s, at Rome. The western front has a very noble and striking appearance, and is adorned with a superb portico, and grand pediment, and two stately turrets.—In the area before this front, is a statue of Queen Anne in white marble and elevated on a pedestal, round which are the emblematical figures of Britain, France, Ireland and America. The dome which rises from the centre of the building, has a most noble and majestic appearance. On the top of it, there is an elegant balcony, from whence rises a lantern, adorned with columns, and the whole is crowned with a large gilded ball and cross.
This vast structure is surrounded with a wall, upon which is fixed the most magnificent ballustrade of cast iron, that there is perhaps in the world. This enclosure has several beautiful iron gates, the materials of which, with the railing, weight upwards of 200 tons.
On entering the church by the west door, its magnificence appears to the greatest advantage. The vaulted roof which is supported by lofty and massy pillars, divides the building into the body and two ailes, and the view is terminated by the altar, which is at the extremity of the choir.
The first stone of this sumptuous and magnificent building, was laid June the 21st, 1675. The work was continued at the expence of the nation, amounting in the whole to near 750,000l and in 1701, the stupendous fabrick was compleated, under the inspection of that great architect Sir Christopher Wren.
For one shilling each person, every part of the church may be seen, even to the ball. At the north door, proper people are always in attendance for the purpose of shewing it. The view of London from the dome of this cathedral, affords a prospect that baffles all description.
A Table of the Dimensions of this Church [edited for clarity]
The whole length of the church and portico - 500ft
Breadth within the doors of the porticos - 250ft
The exterior diameter of the dome - 145ft
The height from the ground to the top of the cross - 340ft
The extent of the ground plot on which the church of St. Paul’s stands, is two acres, 16 perches, 23 yards, and 1 foot.
|Cheapside. [and St Mary-le-Bow]
Cheapside - Is a principal street, remarkable for the richness and beauty of its shops, which are always full of customers. It is one of the most frequented streets of the capital, as it leads to the bank, the royal exchange and the general post office.
In this street, on the right hand, is the church of St. Mary-le-bow, whose steeple is, perhaps, one of the most elegant in Europe. It is composed of the five orders of architecture, and is 235 feet in height.
The bishops are consecrated in this church.
The Guildhall - This building serves as a place of assembly to the different officers and liverymen of the city of London. The lord mayor gives a ball and entertainment there, in the month of November, to celebrate his election; and in this hall the king dines with that magistrate on his coming to the throne.—It is 150 feet in length, 48 wide, and 60 in height. In a kind of gallery are the figures of two giants of an enormous size, who represent an ancient Briton, and a Saxon. The walls are adorned with the portraits of William the III. queen Mary and queen Anne, of George I George II. queen Caroline, and their present Majesties. There are also the portraits of 22 judges, which were placed there as a memorial of their signal services performed by them to the city.
There is also, a noble statue in marble of William Beckford, who died during his second mayoralty in 1770, and a superb monument to William Pitt, earl of Chatham, which was erected in the year 1782.
This edifice serves also for the election of the lord mayors, sheriffs, members of parliament, &c. and here is held the courts of justice for the jurisdiction of the city.
The Mansion House - Was begun in 1739, and finished in 1752. It is built in a very substantial manner of Portland stone, and is adorned with a large portico of six fluted corinthian columns, with interior pillars of the same order. These columns support a noble pediment enriched with a basso relieveo, allegorically describing the dignity and opulence of the city of London.
This magnificent building cost £42,638. 18s. 8d. but the whole is heavy, and placed in a very injudicious as well as inconvenient situation.
|St. Stephen’s, Walbrook.
St. Stephen’s, Walbrook - This church is considered as the most beautiful piece of architecture in the city of London, and was built by Sir Christopher Wren.
|The Royal Exchange.
The Royal Exchange - This building is certainly the most respectable object in the commercial city of London. It was first built by Sir Thomas Gresham, and fell a sacrifice to the fire of London, in 1666; and in the place of it, the present superb structure was erected. The ground plot of the Royal Exchange in 203 feet in length, and 171 in breadth. The area contains 61 square perches, and is surrounded with a regular and substantial stone building of rustic architecture. In both the principal fronts which are north and south, there is a portico, in the centre of which are the two grand entrances.
The interior part of the area is surrounded by an arcade, which serves as a kind of a mercantile promenade, and to shelter the merchants at the times of their assembling, from the inclemency of the weather. In the intercolumnation there are 24 niches, twenty of which are filled with statues of the kings of England.
In this place the merchants, &c. &c. meet every day between the hours of twelve and three. One sees at that time, as it were in miniature, the four quarters of the world assembled.
|The Bank of England.
The Bank of England - It is a stone edifice, which, of its kind, is without a parallel for the grandeur, convenience, and variety of its apartments, as well as for the importance of the business transacted in it, and the number of persons employed. The front towards the street, consists of a beautiful colonade without windows.
The Bank was founded in 1694, and that administration of it is under the direction of a governor, a deputy governor, and twenty-four directors. The vast wealth and credit of this bank, is known throughout the world. The hours of business are from nine in the morning, to five in the afternoon. Holidays excepted.
Leadenhall Market - Which is the largest market in London, and perhaps in Europe, for all kinds of table provisions.
|The India House.
The India House - This is a noble edifice of Portland stone, and one of the richest commercial magazines in the kingdom.
The Monument - This doric column, which is the loftiest in the world, was begun by Sir Christopher Wren in the year 1671, and was finished in 1677. It was erected as a memorial of the fire in 1666, which reduced to ashes 400 streets, 13,200 houses, the cathedral of St. Paul’s, 87 parish churches, 6 chapels, the greatest part of the principal public edifices, and 50 halls of the London companies. The whole loss of which is estimated at 10,703,500l.
This conflagration was succeeded by a war, and the plague, but notwithstanding these calamities, London was rebuilt in a very few years, and is now become the largest and most magnificent town in Europe.
This pillar is 202 feet in height, and from the top, affords a most delightful prospect on all sides, &c.
London Bridge - It is the most ancient bridge in the city. About thirty years ago, it was burthened with houses, on each side, but in 1756, the corporation came to a resolution to pull them down, in order to make the bridge more commodious. It has 15 arches, is 915 feet in length, 73 feet in breadth and 43½ in height.
The machine, which occupies a part of it, and furnishes the neighbouring quarter of the city with water, merits attention.
|Barclay, Perkins & Co. Brewery.
Barclay Perkins & Co. Brewery - About a quarter of a mile from this bridge [London Bridge], in the borough of Southwark, there is one of the largest breweries in London. Where there are vessels that contain from seven to eight hundred tons of vinegar.
The Custom House - Is a convenient building, and was erected in the year 1718, for receiving the king’s duties on all the merchandize exported and imported. Beneath, and on each side of it there are very spacious warehouses, and a long extent of quays on the side of the river for the convenience of loading and unloading vessels.
The business of the custom-house is under the direction of nine commissioners, whose jurisdiction also extends over all the ports of the kingdom.
|The Tower of London.
The Tower of London - It is a very ancient fortress, which commands the Thames, and is a mile in circumference. It was originally a royal palace, and consisted only of that part of it which is called the White Tower, and was built by William the Conqueror, in the year 1079.
At present the Tower is a repository for the national archives, a mint for coining money, a magnificent armoury, the jewel office, which contains the royal regalia, and other apartments furnished with various objects of curiosity.
The wild beasts are generally visited the first, as their situation presents itself on entering the outer gate.
At the principal gate of the Tower, a yeoman of the guard receives the curious visitors, and accompanies them to all the different places which are worthy of their attention.
The different prices to be paid for seeing the curiosities [with some edits for clarity],
The lions, each person - 6d
But if a single person desires to see the foot armoury, train of artillery, horse armoury, and Spanish armoury, he pays twice the price above mentioned.
|The British Museum.
The British Museum - This noble mansion was bought by parliament, in the year 1752, and for these thirty years past has been open to the inspection of the public. It is situated in Great Russell-street, Bloomsbury-square.
All the different parts of this magnificent edifice are so admirably arranged, for containing its curious collections, that the British museum, may be considered with great justice, as an institution that does honour to the English nation.
Any number of persons not exceeding fifteen, who wish to see it, must send their names to the porter’s lodge, that they may be properly registered, and in a few days, tickets will be made out, specifying the day and hour, in which they are to be admitted.
The museum is divided into three grand departments. The first contains the manuscripts, medals and coins; the second the national and artificial productions: and the third, the printed books, &c. without comprehending many articles, &c. in the hall, the first room above stairs, and in other chambers.
The first apartment contains two collections of manuscripts.
The second division contains natural and artificial productions.
The last chamber of this apartment, is filled with the productions of art, arranged in cabinets.
The last division of the whole is, that which contains the printed books.
Bedlam - This hospital is destined for lunatics, &c.—It is one of the largest edifices in the capital, and is situate in Moorfields. Two figures representing melancholy and raving madness, adorn the pediment of the principal gate.—They are of admirable sculpture, and do honour to Cibber the statuary, whose chissel produced them.
This magnificent edifice was built in 15 months, and cost £17,000—It is 540 feet long by 40 broad and contains a great number of convenient cells for its unfortunate inhabitants, who are maintained there without any charge to their friends, but the article of bedding.
Bridewell - This hospital was formerly a royal palace. Edward VI. converted it into a prison for vagabonds, who are there employed in beating hemp, and other manual labours.—The street-walkers and pilferers, are shut up and punished there according to the nature of their offences.
|The Foundling Hospital.
The Founding Hospital - This hospital was built in 1747, on the north side of the town, for the reception of foundlings, and merits the attention of the curious.—The stove in the chapel demands a particular examination.
Smithfield - It is a large irregular place, where every Tuesday and Friday there is a very great market for oxen, sheep, &c.—It is well worthy of a visit from the curious stranger.
To Greenwich Hospital - It is impossible to consider this hospital in any other light, than the palace of a great monarch.
The building consists of two wings, which are separated by a vast oblong court.—It contains two thousand invalid sailors and officers; though its funds are charged with certain salaries to keep five thousand out-pensioners.—The chambers are kept extremely clean, and do not possess any thing like the appearance of poverty. The invalids have clean linen twice a week, and a small allowance in money.—They are served on tables of marble, with cleanliness and comfort.—The stair-case is handsome, and geometrically constructed.
The chapel is large, and elegantly decorated.
The royal hall opposite the chapel, is painted by Sir James Thornhill, who has there displayed the triumphs of Great-Britain.
A certain number of the children of sailors who have died in the service of their country, receive a marine education at the expence of the hospital.
Upon the hill in the park is the royal observatory, and is the best furnished with astronomical instruments of any in Europe.
Greenwich is situate on the banks of the Thames, about seven miles from London.
Chelsea Hospital - This hospital is destined to be an asylum for the veteran soldiery. It is situate in the middle of the village of Chelsea, on the banks of the Thames, and about a mile and half from St. James’s Park.
This edifice was begun by Charles II. continued by James II. and finished by William III. It is a noble brick building; and in the centre of the court is a pedestrian statue of Charles II. The gardens are charming, well kept, and watered by the Thames. This building was erected according to the plan of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s.—It is admired very much for its great regularity, and an happy subordination of its parts.—It cost £150,000 and the whole extent of its situation is upwards of forty acres.—The Invalids are provided with cloaths, provisions, washing, lodgings, &c.
In the same village is the Botanic Garden belonging to the Apothecaries Company, which was first established by Sir Hans Sloane; and well merits the attention of the curious.
|Italian Opera, Haymarket.
ITALIAN Opera, Haymarket - a recommended place for winter entertainment.
|Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Theatre Royal, Drury-Lane - a recommended place for winter entertainment.
|Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden - a recommended place for winter entertainment.
The Pantheon - A great variety of Concerts and Balls [...] are open to the Subscription of genteel people.
Ranelegh, a place of very fashionable resort.—It is open three times a week during the Spring, with Musical Performances and the refreshments of Tea and Coffee.—The Gardens are pleasant, but the Rotunda in which the Company assemble, is the finest room, of its kind, in Europe.
|The Little Theatre in the Haymarket.
The little Theatre in the Haymarket - a recommended place for summer entertainment.
Sadler’s Wells,—for Tumbling, Rope-dancing, Musical Pieces, and Pantomimes.
|The Royal Grove
The Royal Grove—Horsemanship, Tumbling, &c. [burned down in 1794; became Astley's New Amphitheatre of the Arts]
|The Royal Circus
The Royal Circus—Ditto. [Horsemanship, Tumbling, &c.; as the Royal Grove].
Vauxhall Gardens—The admittance to this delightful place of entertainment is one shilling; for which you have a very fine Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, the pleasure of Walking in charming Gardens, and fine Apartments, illuminated with the utmost elegance, and in seeing all the beauty and fashion of the Metropolis.—It is doubtless, the best calculated place of Summer Amusement near the Metropolis, and the very great improvements made every season, does much credit to the present spirited Proprietors.—Refreshments of every kind are to be had, at stated prices, of which there are printed accounts hung up in the different Boxes.
Bermondsey Spa.—Burlettas are performed here; and a Gallery of curious paintings of what is called Still Life.—At certain times, Fire-works are exhibited at the place.—Admittance one shilling.
|White Conduit House
To White Conduit House [Public Tea Gardens in Islington].
Bagnigge Wells [Public Tea Gardens].
To Florida Gardens [Public Tea Gardens adjoining Hale House in Brompton].
|The Dog and Duck
The Dog and Duck [Public Tea Gardens].
|The Leverian Museum
The LEVERIAN MUSEUM, near Black Friar’s Bridge, which contains one of the finest collections of Natural History in Europe, is open every day.—Admittance 2s. 6d.
The text above is taken from the copy owned by the Lewis Walpole Library (Call Number: 62 790 F716). An incomplete copy can be viewed on Google Books. Many thanks to Susan Walker for bringing the guide to my attention.