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this were contained a hall, pamphlet-room, and committee-room, on the ground-floor; three reading-rooms on the first-story, furnished with cases for illustrated volumes, books of reference, and some of the most recent and interesting works; and above were the apartments of the Principal Librarian. The other house crossed the end of the street, and comprised the room for newspapers on the ground-story, with three very long floors over it, extending the entire space of both the houses, which were formed into galleries lined with cases for containing the larger portion of the books. An official advertisement announced that "the Library and Reading-rooms of the London Institution having been removed from the Old Jewry, to No. 7, King's Arms Yard, Coleman-street, would be Opened for the use of the Proprietors and Subscribers on Monday, February 24th, 1812.”

It was soon evident that these premises could not properly be regarded as either a desirable or a permanent situation for the Establishment. They were partly freehold and partly leasehold, the apartments were in all instances both low and narrow, and the second reading-room and that appropriated to the newspapers, were extremely dark: the libraries were also detached from the reading-rooms, the house was entirely deficient in a room fitted for the delivery of lectures, and even in one spacious enough for the meetings of the Proprietors; and the approach for carriages was particularly inconvenient. It became, therefore, the immediate object of the Proprietors to direct an enquiry to be made into the most practicable method of improving the Establishment, and of accomplishing the whole of the original design, especially as it regarded the delivery of Lectures. After several propositions and estimates had been considered for making additions to the old premises,-it was determined that the most advantageous course would be to procure a freehold site, on which a new building might be erected, properly adapted to the rank and purposes of the Institution. So early as 1809 the Corporation of London had been solicited for a portion of the unoccupied ground of Moorfields, that such a design might be carried into effect; when the request was referred to the Committee for Letting the City's Lands. In March, 1813, the Proprietors were informed that a site had been offered them, on a lease for sixty years, at a rent of £105 per annum; which was

approved of at a General Court, convened especially for taking the proposal into consideration. It was not, however, at that time accepted, but an offer was subsequently made by the Managers, for the purchase of a site, which, they announced in their Report of April, 1815, had been received with a liberality not less honourable to the Corporation, than it was advantageous to the Institution. The terms then obtained were, to grant a lease for sixty-one years, at £100 per annum, commencing from Midsummer, 1817, of a piece of ground on the north side of Moorfields, 88 feet wide in the front, towards the proposed Circus, and 124 feet at the back, opposite Wilson-street, on which the house of the London Institution was to be erected, within the space of five years, of an elevation in front consistent with the character and importance of a public building. Upon its completion, the Corporation agreed to assign the Freehold to the Institution for the sum of £1500.a

This arrangement was immediately resolved upon; and a sum having been fixed for the amount of the building, a particular description of the site and intended edifice was drawn up, and an advertisement issued, inviting Architects to send in designs, on or before June 1st, 1815. Fifteen plans were received from so many different artists, several of which possessed great merit, though none were entirely satisfactory to the Board. That which was the most generally approved of, was the design of Mr. William Brooks; and it was received upon condition of his altering and enlarging it so as to meet the entire sanction of the Managers, and also furnishing a new series of drawings with another specification. At the same time it was found advisable to solicit the Corporation for a grant of additional space in the front line of the intended site; partly for the purpose of extending the façade of the building, but chiefly for that

The immense improvement and difference between the ancient and modern state of the ground in this part of London, is remarkably exemplified in the following statement of Stow, when contrasted with the valuation given above. "This Fenne, or Moor-field, stretching from the wall of the City betwixt Bishopsgate and the Postern called Cripplegate, to Fensbury and to Holy-well,- continued a waste and unprofitable ground a long time, so that the same was all letten for Four Marks (£2 13s 4d) the year, in the reign of Edward II.," or the commencement of the fourteenth century. Stow's Survey of London, Edit. by the Rev. John Strype. Lond. 1720. Folio. Vol. ii. book iv. chap. ii. page 54. An extremely curious and interesting account of that part of the Liberty of Finsbury called Moorfields, will be found in The History and Antiquities of the Parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, by Sir Henry Ellis. Lond. 1798. 4to. pages 156-179.

of separating it from the adjoining houses, so as to give it additional ornament, and render it less liable to the possibility of fire. This request was acceded to by the Corporation with the greatest liberality, and the Institution received an additional grant equal to half the original quantity of ground, without any increase of the original terms. For the erection of the structure estimates were delivered by nine different builders, and the contract was assigned to Mr. Thomas Cubitt. The First Stone of the edifice was laid on Saturday, November 4th, 1815, by the Right Honourable Samuel Birch, Lord Mayor; which event was commemorated in the following Inscription, composed by the Rev. John Russell, A. M., Master of the Charter House School,deposited with the usual medallic memorials beneath the stone.


















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The ceremony of founding the edifice was also further commemorated and concluded, by an excellent Inaugural Oration, composed and delivered by Mr. Charles Butler, the Counsel of the Institution," upon the Advantages which Science and Commerce derive from each other."a Considerable difficulties were encountered in the erection of so large a building upon such a site; but after great exertion the present Library was sufficiently finished for the meeting of a General Court of Proprietors on April 30th, 1818. The premises in King's Arms Yard were closed for the removal of the books on July 18th, in the same year; but from the difficulty of adapting the old shelves and cases to their future situations in the new gallery, and of making various alterations in the position of other shelves to conform to the improved arrangement,—a delay was occasioned which prevented the Opening of the present house of the Institution until Wednesday, April 21st, 1819.

The mansion which now forms so very ornamental a feature of that part of the metropolis in which it is situated, is erected in the centre of the north side of Finsbury Circus. It is built of brick, faced with Portland stone, and in front is 102 feet 6 inches wide, exclusive of the side doors, which are 15 fect each: the height is nearly 60 feet to the apex of the pediment. The house comprises a basement-story within a sunken-area, a groundfloor, and two stories above, consisting of the Library and Gallery, each of which are lighted by nine windows. The principal feature of the edifice, on the exterior, is an elegant portico in the centre, about 35 feet broad; the wings being finished with an attic ballustrade. The Order is Corinthian, and a modification of the celebrated example taken from the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli. On the ground-floor the portico is supported by two solid piers, and as many Doric columns. The disposition of the interior of the building may be seen by the Plans contained in the Frontispiece to the present volume, which will not require

The above Oration, with an Introduction, and an account of the ceremony of Laying the First Stone of the London Institution, was printed in a separate pamphlet, 1816, 8vo.; and some of the same pieces will be found in the Theological and Biographical Works of Charles Butler, Esq. Lond. 1817. 8vo. vol. iv. Essay v. pages 277309; and also in his Reminiscences, Lond. 1822. 8vo. voli. page 280, Appendix, pages 309-318.-The Address, and an account of the ceremony of Laying the Foundation Stone, and of the subsequent Festival, are also printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for November and December, 1815, volume lxxxv. part 2. pages 459-463, 545-550.

any further illustration than the Descriptive References immediately following this Preface. The hall is supported by eight Ionic columns of Bath-stone, and is separated by glazed doors from a very handsome and spacious staircase, with branching flights of stone stairs, lighted by a broad window in the back wall. The principal apartment occupies the whole of the first floor, and may be considered one of the finest rooms in England, being 97 feet in length, by 42 in width, and 28 in height. The interior area is in shape an octagonal parallelogram, with four small apartments at the angles, as indicated in the Plan; and the sides are divided by piers faced with pilasters, into recesses containing double bookcases. The piers also support a light but substantial Gallery, extending completely round the apartment, and lined with bookcases: the books contained in the whole room amount to upwards of 26,000. The peculiar arrangement of the various classes of books in this Library, will be found copiously stated in the Description of the Engraved Plans annexed to this Preface.

It had been originally anticipated by the Managers, that the entire expenses of erecting the new Institution, would not exceed £20,625, but in consequence of the erection of the Theatre, not at first contemplated, and other unavoidable expenses, the total cost of the edifice amounted to £31,124. 10s. 6d.; and at the time of opening the new Institution, there was a very considerable deficiency in the funds appropriated to this purpose. Under these circumstances it was determined to raise the sum of £12,000, partly by soliciting from each Proprietor a subscription of at least ten guineas, and partly by offering additional perpetual admissions at a certain rate. Within three months the amount of £12,760 was most liberally subscribed and paid by less than one half of the Proprietors, and by April, 1820, it was increased to £13,200; but even then there remained such heavy claims on the Institution, that to have defrayed them by the sale of its funded property would have reduced the means for the annual expenditure of the Establishment far below the rate at which it could be supported. The Board of Management, therefore, being convinced that unless a considerable increase of income could be procured from sources which might be permanently

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