James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1852 – London Tavern

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1852 – London Tavern

A great dinner was given to Sir James Brooke at the London Tavern, on the 30th April [1852], attended by over two hundred men of distinction, and among the many speeches that were made, one by Baron Alderson was especially remarkable. He observed, that the greatest benefactors of the human race have been most abused in their own lifetime, but notwithstanding this, he promised him the approbation of his own conscience, the approbation of all good and reasonable men, and of Almighty God, who does justice and who will reward.

The speech of the evening, however, was that of the guest. Those who had never heard him before were surprised and delighted. His noble presence, his refined manner, the charm of his voice, quite captivated them, whilst his words carried conviction. He wound up by saying, ‘Do not disgrace your public servants by inquiries generated in the fogs of base suspicions; for, remember, a wrong done is like a wound received the scar is ineffaceable. It may be covered by glittering decorations, but there it remains to the end.’ Prophetic words!

Lord Derby’s Government was now in office, and Lord Malmesbury settled with Sir James Brooke that he should be appointed Her Majesty’s representative in the Further East, to enable him to negotiate treaties with foreign powers. He was to begin with Siam and Cochin China. A General Election, however, took place in the autumn of [1852], which sealed the fete of the Conservative Ministry. Sir James had already been named Envoy to Siam, and would have proceeded at once to that country by the special wish of Chaufe Mungkut, the new king, when the Mission was suddenly and unexpectedly put off, owing to His Majesty’s desire to have further time to complete the elaborate funeral ceremonies required by custom for his brother, the late king. Ever since our mission to Siam in [1850], Chaufe Mungkut had kept up a private correspondence with the Rajah of Sarawak, in whose doings he showed great interest.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siamese Affairs

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siamese Affairs

We soon started again for Sarawak, and on the 17th of January the Rajah left us for Singapore on his way to England. His three offices were thus filled Mr Scott, afterwards Sir John Scott, was in charge of the Colony of Labuan; Captain Brooke of the Principality of Sarawak; and I remained as acting Commissioner.

I should mention that whilst we were away attending to Siamese affairs, Mr Balestier, Special Envoy from the United States, went to Sarawak in a frigate, the bearer of a letter from the President to Sir James Brooke, as ruler of the State of Sarawak, proposing a convention between the two countries. As a British official, Sir James thought it right to submit the subject to Lord Palmerston, who found nothing objectionable in the proposed arrangement; however, amid the heated controversy that was in progress, the question was unfortunately neglected.

We had all hoped that this visit to Europe was for health’s sake; but the requisite rest could not be obtained, as Sir James found himself at once pursued by the malignity of his enemies Mr Wise and the Eastern Archipelago Company who had found channels to diffuse their false accusations, as I have before noticed, in Mr Hume and Mr Cobden. In the debates in the House, Lord Palmerston spoke out strongly and clearly, and the majority was absolutely crushing; but Joseph Hume did not know when he was beaten, and brought the question again and again before Parliament.

Sir James now turned on his enemies; dragged the Eastern Archipelago Company into court, and the case ended by it being declared that The directors had signed a false certificate, knowing it to be false. This was in regard to their capital. Their charter was therefore abrogated and the seal torn off that document. These directors must have bitterly regretted having joined Wise in his campaign against the Rajah.

Sir James was also busy in answering hostile attacks, and his letters addressed to Mr Drummond, [M.P.], on Mr Hume’s assertions, were considered masterly compositions, completely establishing his case the view entertained by all reasonable men. Mr Sidney Herbert also determined to break a lance with the Rajah, but soon repented of his temerity and retired discomfited from the field. Sir James had this advantage over his adversaries, that his conduct in Borneo had been marked by so much courage, and was so straightforward and honourable, that they could find no weak point in his armour.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siam Mission

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Siam Mission

On our arrival in Singapore we received the particulars of the debate of July 12, [1850], which had taken place in the House of Commons concerning our proceedings against the Seribas pirates. Though Mr Hume’s motion had been rejected by a great majority, Sir James justly complained that no minister had stood up to express their approval of his policy.

However, though these attacks might irritate, they could not do away with the pleasure afforded by the good news from Sarawak. The civil war which had broken out in Sambas between the Chinese goldworking companies and the Sultan, backed by the Dutch, had caused about 4000 Chinese agriculturist to fly from that country and take refuge in Sarawak. This was a welcome addition, for wherever Chinese settle there are trade and cultivation, and revenue follows in their footsteps.

As soon as we could send off the papers connected with the Siam Mission we proceeded to Sarawak to find great activity there. The Chinese were spreading about the town and in the interior, and the Rajah was soon busy regulating the affairs of the country, preventing the encroachments of the Chinese on the Dyaks, to which they were very prone, and visiting various inland tribes to mark their progress. At one of those villages we were struck by the intelligent questions put by several of the Dyaks regarding Siam and the neighbouring states, and on inquiry we found that before the advent of the white Rajah the rulers of the country were accustomed to send them to pull an oar in the pirate fleets which then cruised throughout these seas. They had evidently used their eyes to some purpose whilst thus employed. A very severe attack of fever and ague interrupted the Rajah’s activity, and he was at length persuaded to listen to the voice of his medical man, and to return to England for the benefit of his health. But he first visited Labuan, which he found still making but slow progress; and, though it appeared at one time that there was really about to be an influx of Chinese and Malays from the capital, when it was found that the Governor was returning to England they made up their minds not to move until he came back. Some of the latter had had their prahus towed over by the Nemesis but they soon went away again, and the contemplated movement never took place. The fact was that at that time they trusted only the English Rajah, and if he were not in Labuan to protect them they would not risk exciting the hostility of the Brunei Government.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Chaufa Mungkut

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Chaufa Mungkut

Sir James Brooke was soon satisfied that, under the then reigning king, success was hopeless, as he had imbibed a strong prejudice against foreigners through the unjustifiable conduct of an English merchant, who had nearly ruined the prospects of our trade by an attempt to coerce the King into buying a steamer at four times its value. But what proved of importance was the confidential intercourse which took place with Chaufa Mungkut, the legal heir to the throne. This prince had retired to a monastery to avoid the persecution of the King, who was an illegitimate elder brother.

We readily gathered sufficient information as to the King’s ill-treatment of various British subjects to warrant our Government acting against him; but all our present advances were rejected. I may again repeat that had we arrived with a strong squadron, with ships which could have entered the river, and decided to proceed to Bangkok in a war vessel, there would have been little opposition to signing a treaty; but Sir James thought that not much would be gained by forcing a convention on the Siamese.

Satisfied that nothing could be done, Sir James sent to the Foreign Minister the value of all presents received, and we started for the mouth of the river in the state barges, and soon found ourselves on board the Sphynx on our way to Singapore. Our only success had been the discovery that Chaufa Mungkut was favourable to the English, that he was an educated prince, who could converse and correspond in our language, and that when he came to the throne he would be ready to negotiate.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Amusing Scene

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Amusing Scene

Early in August we left Singapore for Siam in the Sphynx, attended by the Company’s steamer Nemesis, and were soon at our destination. Captain Brooke and I were sent in to the forts at the mouth of the river to make arrangements for the Envoy’s suitable reception.

We found the people on shore in great alarm, and we heard that a heavy boom had been placed across the river to prevent the steamers proceeding to the capital. When we had settled our business we returned to Sir James, and it was arranged that he should enter the river next morning in the larger ship. It appeared to a landsman that no sufficient precautions were taken to mark the deepest passage, but we trusted to a native pilot, who speedily ran us on a sandbank. There was no help for it, as the Sphynx could not be moved, but to be transferred to the Nemesis and we then steamed on to the forts.

The minister charged with foreign affairs had come down to receive us, so the first meeting between him and the English Envoy took place at the village close to the mouth of the river.

It was an amusing scene. The arrogance of this half-civilised people was extreme, and the minister, to show his disdain, had the seats intended for the English Envoy and his suite placed in a position of marked inferiority. He himself was seated on a divan, with soft cushions, and surrounded by his gold betel boxes and tea service, whilst his followers crouched behind him, and no native approached, except on his hands and knees, crawling like an insect along the floor. The minister rose as we entered, and pointing to some chairs, motioned us to be seated, but Sir James passed them by. He approached the minister and shook hands, and sat down opposite to him; we all followed suit, and did the same, placing our chairs beside that of our chief. The minister was breathless with astonishment, but he resumed his seat, and in a short time recovered his composure, and the usual routine of questions and answers followed. He said that the Government had built a house for the reception of the mission, and that state barges were being prepared to convey the Envoy and his suite to the capital. Had the Sphynx been able to enter the river, we might have insisted on going to the capital in the Nemesis but it was settled that we should proceed in the state barges. Captain Brooke and I went first to inspect the temporary house allotted to us, but finding it unsuitable, we accepted the offer of an English merchant to take his house for the mission, and use the other for our escort and for visitors from the ships.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Special Envoy

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1850 – Special Envoy

We left Labuan at the end of February, and after calling in at Sarawak, proceeded to Singapore, where a budget of news awaited us. The English Governor had appointed Sir James as Special Envoy to proceed to Siam and Cochin China to form treaties with those states; at the same time we heard of the renewal of virulent attacks on the Rajah’s policy by certain journals and Members of Parliament. After a pleasant stay of a fortnight, we proceeded to Penang in the hope that we should all shake off the fever and ague contracted during our exhausting expeditions.

No man loved nature more than did the Rajah, and he enjoyed his stay on this lofty hill. He could ride, or wander among the lovely flowers and plants of the Governor’s garden, or he could gaze on the beautiful scenery which unfolded itself around us. Those six weeks were indeed delightful, and we often looked back on our quiet sojourn there and its refreshing rest. We busied ourselves also in preparing for our missions to Siam and Annam, to which I had been appointed secretary.

As the ship of war which was to have taken us to Siam was soon expected, we would not wait for the mail steamer, but left Penang in a sailing vessel, and took seventeen days to reach Singapore, a distance of only four hundred miles; in our case it was the greater haste the less speed.

On our arrival in Singapore we found that there was no vessel ready for us, and we had to wait weary months there before one was placed at our disposal. At first we were to have had the Hastings battleship; then, from some personal reason, it was decided by Admiral Austen, brother to Jane Austen, no doubt the ‘William’ of Mansfield Park that we were to have H.M.’s steamer Sphynx to show Captain Shadwell. It was quite useless ourselves in Siam without a commanding force, if we wished to secure a favourable treaty. It was known that the King of Siam had become hostile to Europeans, and nothing but fear would work on his prejudiced mind. Had we appeared off the Menam River with a strong squadron, our mission would have been respected.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

London – Markets – Milk & Cheese

This is the third and final part of our three part series on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

London – Markets – Milk & Cheese

The annual consumption of butter in London amounts to about 11,000, and that of cheese to 13,000 tons. The money paid annually for milk is supposed to amount to £1,250,000. although the number of cows kept in the neighbourhood of the metropolis does not exceed 10,000. One grazier at Islington keeps between six and seven hundred cows, and another between four and five hundred.

The wretched quality of the London milk is proverbial; and although the cow-keepers do not water it themselves, they not only permit the milkmen to do it openly, but have pumps convenient for the purpose.

The quantity of poultry annually consumed in London is supposed to cost between seventy and eighty thousand pounds; that of game depends on the fruitfulness of the season and the kindness of country friends. There is nothing, however, more surprising than the sale of rabbits. One salesman in Leadenhall market, during a considerable portion of the year, is said to sell 14,000 rabbits weekly. The way in which he disposes of them is, by employing between 150 and 200 men and women, who hawk them through the streets.

As the buildings and population of London increase, new markets are opened in different parts of the town; they are, however, all open marts of trade, and can never be subject to the abuses which have prevailed in those of the city, where the markets were farmed to collectors, so extortionate, that in 1696, on a petition of the market people, a Committee of the Common Council was appointed to investigate the charges.  The report was favourable to the complainants, and actions were commenced against the farmers to Leadenhall Stocks, Honey Lane, and Newgate markets, who were guilty of arbitrary and extravagant proceedings, whereby they had extorted an annual rent of £10,896. 9s. 10d. for stalls, and fines amounting to £2194 1s 6d. The farmers were compelled to refund the several sums thus unjustly levied.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Markets – Fruit & Veg

 

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This is the second part of our article on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – Markets – Fruit & Veg

The fruits and vegetables consumed in the metropolis are principally produced in the environs; and it is calculated that there are upwards of 6000 acres of ground cultivated as gardens within twelve miles of the metropolis, giving employment to 30,000 persons in winter, and three times that number in summer. It is the opinion of the intelligent author of the Pomarium Britannicum, that gardening has conferred a great blessing on the metropolis, in the prevention of pestilential diseases, by making cleanliness a matter of profit, and giving a ready sale and liberal price for the soil, which might otherwise be suffered to accumulate.

Numerous calculations have been made of the annual consumption of food in the metropolis, but this is not easily ascertained with any degree of accuracy, as, although we may know the number of cattle and sheep, yet we have no means of learning their weight, which, by the modern improvement in feeding, has been considerably increased. Of the quantity of cattle sold in Smithfield market, we have the most accurate returns, and find that in the year [1822], the numbers were 149,885 beasts, 24,609 calves, 1,507,096 sheep, and 20,020 pigs. This does not, however, by any means form the total consumed in London, as large quantities of meat in carcases, particularly pork, are almost daily brought from the counties around the metropolis. It would appear that the inhabitants of London have become more partial to mutton than formerly, for the quantity of cattle consumed has not increased in proportion to that of sheep; the quantity of cattle sold at Smithfield in the year 1701, being 88,304, or more than half the number sold in [1822], while the number of sheep was only 480,000, or less than a third sold in the latter year. The total value of the cattle sold in Smithfield is calculated at £8,500,000. It is supposed that a million a year is expended in fruit and vegetables; the consumption of wheat amounts to a million of quarters annually; of this, four-fifths are supposed to be made into bread, being a consumption of 64 millions of quartern loaves every year in the metropolis alone. Until within the last few years the price of bread was regulated by assize, and it may afford some idea of the vast amount of money paid for this ‘staff of life,’ when it is stated, that an advance of one farthing on the quartern loaf formed an aggregate increase in expense for this article alone, in London, of upwards of £13,000 a week.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – Markets – Provision Consumption

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 This is the first part of our article on the early provision consumption of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – Markets – Provision Consumption

Great as the population of London is, there is no city “so drained and so supplied” with all the necessaries, comforts, and even luxuries of life. In Paris, where the population and the consequent consumption is much less, the supply of provisions is regulated by the government, and there are greniers de reserve for storing up grain, in order that bread may be kept at a moderate price: a rather necessary policy on the part of a government which has to pay a certain sum annually, in order to keep the price of bread lower in Paris than in the provinces. In London, freedom of trade and the spirit of competition render the interference of government as unnecessary as it would be considered unconstitutional, and without any regulation, the metropolis has a constant and an abundant supply.

Although there is scarcely a street, with the exception of those occupied by persons of fortune at the west end of the town, that is without a dealer in some article of provisions, yet there are large markets for the more general sale. Smithfield is the grand mart for the sale of live stock, which is held on Mondays and Fridays. Newgate and Leadenhall markets take the lead for butcher’s meat, poultry, etc. although there are several other markets in various parts of the metropolis, where the business is equally respectable though not so extensive. Covent Garden market is celebrated for the early and abundant supply of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The only fish market in London is that of Billingsgate, which is supposed to have derived its name from Belinus, the son of Dunwallo, who built a gate here, which he ordered to be surmounted with an urn containing his ashes, after his death. It has long been a matter of regret that the sale of fish should be confined to one market, as, owing to the monopoly thus established, the supply of that article is neither so abundant nor so reasonable as it would otherwise be. In the mackarel season, if that fish is very plentiful, the dealers will rather throw their cargo over-board, or sell it for manure, than, by bringing it to town, reduce the price.

Salmon, which is often very plentiful and sold as cheap as at Berwick, or in Yorkshire, and Durham, whence it is supplied, is brought to London packed in ice. Turbot, though caught in great quantities on the Yorkshire coast, and sold there at about fourpence a lb., is always extravagantly dear in London;  so dear, indeed, as to render it a luxury attainable only to the wealthy.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

This is the second part of our article on the early retail trade of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

Of all the retail traders, the Haberdashers, though dealing in such small wares, seem to carry on business to the greatest extent. One single house in the city is known to take on an average, a million and a half sterling a year, or more than four thousand guineas a day; one half of this vast sum is received in cash for-goods sold at the counter, and the other, wholesale at a short credit. There are at least two other houses in the same business whose returns are £1000 a day.

The proprietor of one of these establishments, which is necessarily large on account of the business being almost wholly retail, always gives the  persons in his employment an extra allowance for supper when the receipts of the day amount to £1000: thus expressing his own gratitude, and rewarding and encouraging the exertions of those around him. Nor are haberdashers the only tradesmen who carry on extensive business, or amass large fortunes; there is Exeter Change, long celebrated for its cutlery and hardwares, etc. where the Prince of retail dealers, the eccentric Thomas Clark, amassed a million of money, and while he paid £7000 a year to government as income tax, spent only a shilling on his own dinner.

About ten or dozen years ago a number of establishments somewhat similar to Exeter Change, which is not confined to any one particular branch of trade, sprung up in London, to which the oriental term of Bazar was given, which literally means a market. Of these, only two remain; the Western Bazar, in Bond Street, and that of Mr. Trotter, in Soho-square. The latter is a very extensive and well regulated establishment. Several large rooms are fitted up with counters, drawer, shelves, etc. for the sale of almost every species of light articles, where between five and six hundred females attend and trade on their own account; in the various articles of domestic manufacture. The price paid is in proportion to the space occupied. The utmost care is taken that none but persons of the strictest moral character are admitted, and that they shall not be subject to any insult from the idle and dissolute loungers of the other sex.

Two other marts for retail trade have been formed, the Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly, and the Royal Arcade, in Pall Mall; both are elegant architectural improvements but they are too recently established to enable us to speak decisively of their success.

The streets most celebrated for retail trade are Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s church-yard, Cheapside, the Poultry, and Cornhill, in the city; in the Strand, King Street, and Henrietta Street, Covent Garden; Cockspup Street, Pall Mall, St. James’s Street, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, and Bond Street, at the west end of the town. The recent improvements, in opening a communication from Carlton House to the Regent’s Park, has created a new and spacious street for retail business, called Regent Street; and the Regent’s-quadrant, which has on each side a grand colonade.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

 

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