Page images

ornamented at the top with a gilt Imperial Crown. Over the North gate, opposite the King's table, was erected a large balcony for the trumpets, kettle-drums, and other music, and in the centre over them was fixed an organ. It was under this music, that the Champion, attended by the Lord High Constable, and the Earl Marshal, made their entrée, on horseback, into the hall.

A platform was likewise erected from the upper end of Westminster Hall, where the Procession commenced, which continued through New Palace-yard, Parliament Street, and Bridge Street, into King Street, and so round through the West door of the Abbey on to the Choir, where his Majesty was crowned (Vide the plan). In view of this platform, the houses on each side were lined with scaffolding, the seats on which were let at the most exorbitant prices. The front seats in the galleries of the Abbey were let at ten guineas each; and those in commodious houses along the Procession, at no less prices. The terms, in ordinary houses, were from one guinea to five, so that a small house in Coronation-row, after the scaffolding was paid for, cleared 7001. and some large houses upwards of 1,0001. * In the Coronation Theatres, as they were called, which were large temporary erections, capable of containing from 12 to 1,500 seats, the prices were

* It is generally understood that there is a clause in the leases of those houses which command a view of the Procession, stating that the possession of them shall revert back to the landlord for a certain period at a Coronation.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

beyond all precedent, though some, who fitted up houses and scaffolds on this occasion, lost considerably through the greatness of their demands. The ground-rent where the scaffolding was built, was proportionably extravagant. That in the Broad Sanctuary was 31. 138. 6d. per foot; and that within the rails inclosing the Abbey, was five guineas.

But a better idea of the appearance of the streets

may be conceived by the following extract from the account of an eye-witness, published at the time.—“Conceive to yourself the fronts of the houses in all the streets that could command the least point of view, lined with scaffolding, like so many galleries or boxes, raised one above another to the very roofs. These were covered with carpets and cloths of different colours, which presented a pleasing variety to the eye, and if you consider the brilliant appearance of the spectators who were seated in them (many being richly drest), you will easily imagine that this was no indifferent part of the show. Add to this that though we had nothing but wet and cloudy weather for some time before, the day cleared up, and the sun shone auspiciously as it were in compliment to the grand festival."

The following are also some curious specimens of advertisements connected with those seats, which appeared in the public prints for 1761.

“To be Lett, for the Coronation, a whole House in New Palace-yard, which has a full view of the Champion and Procession, with Beds in it,


and all other conveniences, to bring their own servants for their attendance; or it may be divided for separate companies, not less than twelve in each, all to be within doors. Enquire at the Sadler's the corner of Parliament Street."

[ocr errors]

Public Advertiser, Friday, Sept. 11, 1761.

“CORONATION. Places to be let on scaffolding in the front of a House in King Street, with the use of the furniture, and rooms adjoining to each story, with all convenient and necessary accommodations."

“CORONATION Row. To be Lett, for seeing the Procession, an entire first floor, consisting of a commodious Balcony and Dining Room, with a large Bedchamber, in a substantial Brick House, which commands an uninterrupted view of the Procession and the Spectators for above 200 yards, and has a back door, through which a most convenient access may be had directly into the house at any hour, without coming through the crowd. No house has a more extensive prospect of the Procession or the Company, nor more convenient accommodations.”


Public Advertiser, Satnrday, Sept. 12, 1761.

In a notice for the commencement of the Westminster Assembly, it is stated, that “the view of the Coronation is as various and extensive as the best, and the apartments and conveniences far exceed

any in the neighbourhood, especially for the Ladies.”

« PreviousContinue »