Westminster

Westminster

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Westminster by Sir Walter Besant

Published:

1902

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Westminster

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With a Chapter on the Abbey by Mrs. A. Murray Smith.

Book Excerpt

round in any case can have been only low-lying, for large marshy pools remained until comparatively recent times, one of which was known as the Scholars' Pond. Dean Stanley has aptly termed these fields the Smithfield of West London. Here everything took place which required an open space--combats, tournaments, and fairs.

In a map of the middle of the eighteenth century we see a few scattered houses lying to the south of Horseferry Road just below the bend, and Rochester Row stretching like an arm out into the open ground. Two of the great marshy pools are also marked. If all accounts are to be believed, this spot was noted for its fertility and the beauty of its wild-flowers. From Strype's Survey we learn that the fields supplied London and Westminster with "asparagus, artichokes, cauliflowers and musk melons." The author of "Parochial Memorials" says that the names of Orchard Street, Pear Street and Vine Street are reminiscent of the cultivation of fruit in Westminster, but these names more probably

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