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Mayfair, Belgravia, and Bayswater The Fascination of London   By:

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The Fascination of London

MAYFAIR, BELGRAVIA, AND BAYSWATER

IN THIS SERIES.

Cloth, price 1s. 6d. net; leather, price 2s. net each.

THE STRAND DISTRICT.

By SIR WALTER BESANT and G. E. MITTON.

WESTMINSTER.

By SIR WALTER BESANT and G. E. MITTON.

HAMPSTEAD AND MARYLEBONE.

By G. E. MITTON. Edited by SIR WALTER BESANT.

CHELSEA.

By G. E. MITTON. Edited by SIR WALTER BESANT.

KENSINGTON.

By G. E. MITTON. Edited by SIR WALTER BESANT.

HOLBORN AND BLOOMSBURY.

By SIR WALTER BESANT and G. E. MITTON.

HAMMERSMITH, FULHAM, AND PUTNEY.

By G. E. MITTON and J. C. GEIKIE.

[Illustration: HYDE PARK CORNER]

The Fascination of London

MAYFAIR, BELGRAVIA AND BAYSWATER

by

G. E. MITTON AND OTHERS

Edited by Sir Walter Besant

London Adam & Charles Black 1903

PREFATORY NOTE

A survey of London, a record of the greatest of all cities, that should preserve her history, her historical and literary associations, her mighty buildings, past and present, a book that should comprise all that Londoners love, all that they ought to know of their heritage from the past this was the work on which Sir Walter Besant was engaged when he died.

As he himself said of it: "This work fascinates me more than anything else I've ever done. Nothing at all like it has ever been attempted before. I've been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day."

Sir Walter's idea was that two of the volumes of his survey should contain a regular and systematic perambulation of London by different persons, so that the history of each parish should be complete in itself. This was a very original feature in the great scheme, and one in which he took the keenest interest. Enough has been done of this section to warrant its issue in the form originally intended, but in the meantime it is proposed to select some of the most interesting of the districts and publish them as a series of booklets, attractive alike to the local inhabitant and the student of London, because much of the interest and the history of London lie in these street associations.

The difficulty of finding a general title for the series was very great, for the title desired was one that would express concisely the undying charm of London that is to say, the continuity of her past history with the present times. In streets and stones, in names and palaces, her history is written for those who can read it, and the object of the series is to bring forward these associations, and to make them plain. The solution of the difficulty was found in the words of the man who loved London and planned the great scheme. The work "fascinated" him, and it was because of these associations that it did so. These links between past and present in themselves largely constitute The Fascination of London.

G. E. M.

Some attempt has been made in this volume to indicate the quality of the district described by inserting one or two names of present occupiers; but these names are only representative, and must not be considered as constituting in any sense exhaustive lists.

MAYFAIR, BELGRAVIA, AND BAYSWATER

Mayfair is at the present time the most fashionable part of London, so much so that the name has come to be a synonym for wealth or pride of birth. Yet it was not always so, as he who runs may read, for the derivation is simple enough, and differs from most cases in that the obvious meaning is the right one. In James II.'s reign a permission was given for a fair to be held on the north side of Piccadilly, to begin on the first day of May, and to last for fifteen days. This fair, we are told, was "not for trade and merchandise, but for musick, showes, drinking, gaming, raffling, lotteries, stageplays and drolls." It was immensely popular, and was frequented by "all the nobility of the town," wherein, perhaps, we see the germs of the Mayfair we know. It must be remembered that Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares, with their diverging streets, were not then begun, and that all this land now covered by a network of houses lay in fields on the outskirts of London, while Hyde Park Corner was still the end of the world so far as Londoners were concerned... Continue reading book >>




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