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  • Writer's pictureLondon On The Ground

Ancient buildings of John Thomas Smith's London

Updated: Jun 30

Late 18th century engravings of London buildings that were already old then (spot the few that remain today!).

John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Sion College, built 1630

John Thomas Smith captured London in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as it underwent massive change and development.

 

Summer schedule of walks available for booking

For a schedule of forthcoming London On The Ground guided walks through to September, please click here.

 

The artist, engraver and writer created portrayed buildings, streets and a diverse range of people in the burgeoning metropolis, often just before they were lost.


He also published images of London buildings that had already been demolished.


He wrote and illustrated a number of books on London's antiquities and was well known by Britain's leading artists of his time, including JMW Turner and John Constable.


In a previous post I selected some of the old houses of John Thomas Smith's London.


For this post I have chosen some of his images of public buildings from his book Antiquities of London (published 1791). Only a very small number of these scenes can still be seen today.

John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Barber Surgeons Hall, Monkwell Street. 15th century origins, largely rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, destroyed in 1940 (World War II). The company has a post-War hall on the same site.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Barber Surgeons Hall from St Giles Churchyard. Part of the Hall built onto a bastion of the Roman city wall.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Bruce Castle, Tottenham. 15th century origins, remodelled in 18th and 19th. Now a museum. The land was once owned by the House of Bruce, which produced two 14th century Scottish kings.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Christ's Hospital, Newgate Street, from the Steward's office 1763. Founded 1553, rebuilt after the Great Fire by Wren, the school moved to Horsham in Sussex in 1902 when the buildings were demolished.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Christ's Hospital, Newgate Street, the West Front of the Mathematical School 1770s. Demolished 1902.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Clarendon House, Piccadilly. Built 1660s, demolished 1683.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Cleveland House, Cleveland Row (St James's). Built 1620, demolished 1841, replaced by Bridgewater House.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Craven House, Drury Lane. Built c1600 for Sir William Drury and originally called Drury House, demolished early 19th century. The Earl of Essex and accomplices met here to plot against Queen Elizabeth I.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
"A curious gate at Stepney", known in the 1790s as King John's Gate. Built for a manor house c.1450-1550, extended late 16th century by the Marquis of Worcester. Demolished 1858.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
The remains of Duke's Place. Part of a 16th century house built on the site of the priory of the Holy Trinity. An arch from the priory church remains inside a City office block.

Could the arch in the picture above be the one in the office block? Click here for related post.

John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Guildhall Chapel, 13th century origins, 15th century rebuilt, survived the Great Fire, demolished 1820.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Lambeth Palace. 13th century origins, much of it is from the 14th and 15th centuries. It still stands as the Archbishop of Canterbury's residence.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Leathersellers Hall, St Helen's Place off Bishopsgate. Built 1543, demolished 1799, but the company remains on this site.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Lincoln's Inn Gate, Chancery Lane. Built 1517-1521, it still stands.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Monmouth House, Soho Square. Built 1681/2, possibly designed by Wren for the Duke of Monmouth (eldest of Charles II's illegitimate children), demolished 1773
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Newgate, one of the City gates. Roman origins, rebuilt many times, housed a jail from the 12th Century. Demolished 1767.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
The second Theatre Royal Drury Lane, opened 1674, replaced 1791. Today's theatre on the site opened 1812.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Savoy Palace, origins 13th century, destroyed in Peasants' Revolt 1381, rebuilt as a hospital early 16th century, became barracks 18th century, demolished 1816-20 to make way for Waterloo Bridge.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Savoy Prison, built 1695, demolished early 19th century.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Sion College, London Wall, built 1630, demolished after the College moved to new premises in the 1880s.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Gate to St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield. Originally a doorway to the priory church built in the 12th Century, the gate still stands.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Staple Inn, Holborn. 16th century Tudor origins, survived the Great Fire, restored after World War II bomb damage. It still stands.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
The Bloody Tower, Tower of London, built in the 13th century. It still stands.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Traitors' Gate, Tower of London, built in the 13th century. It still stands.
John Thomas Smith Antiquities of London
Wood Street Compter, a prison built 1555, demolished 1816
 

Summer schedule of walks available for booking

For a schedule of forthcoming London On The Ground guided walks through to September, please click here.


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