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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th November 1905 George Bernard Shaws Major Barbara, premieres in London
18th November 1852 State funeral of duke of Wellington (London)
18th November 1836 Born today: William Schwenck Gilbert, London, composer (Gilbert and Sullivan)
History of Golden Square
The statue in Golden Square was accidentally won at auction.
Location: Golden Square, London
Description: Only a few property's exist as they did in Victorian times. In Nicholas Nickleby, Ralph Nickleby ‘lived in a spacious house in Golden Square’.
Charles Dickens wrote, ‘Although a few members of the graver professions live about Golden Square, it is not exactly in anybody’s way to or from anywhere… Its boarding houses are musical, and the notes of pianos and harps float in the evening time round the head of the mournful statue, the guardian genius of a little wilderness of shrubs, in the centre of the square.’
The statue in question still stands in the garden at the centre of the square and is reputed to be of George II (1683–1760).
The statue was in the process of being auctioned, so the tale goes, when an old friend of the auctioneer walked in and nodded a greeting. The price of the unintentional purchase proved so low that the man considered it inconsequential and, having paid up, presented it as a gift to the residents of Golden Square.
It was formerly called Gelding Square, and it was built soon after the Revolution of 1688-9, in what were then called the Pest-house Fields. In those fields, Lord Craven built a lazaretto, which, during the dreadful plague of 1665, was used as a pest-house, and hence arose the name.
Tagged in this Tour: Charles Dickens' London