About this book
The Literary History Of The Adelphi And Its Neighbourhood. INTRODUCTION THE Literary History of the Adelphi has journeyed from one side of the neighbourhood to the other, from west to east. That is to say, its publication has been acquired by Mr. Fisher Unwin, hence the removal of the book from York Buildings to Adelphi originally called Royal, and still so marked on the old plansterrace. This peregrination gives me the opportunity of supplementing the original work with some interesting particulars which have just come into my possession. Who would think that within a short distance of the Strand, if not actually within the proverbial stones throw, there are cottages, and cottages, too, with trees and flowers and lawns, and a mighty river, for prospect yet such is the case, although it is no wonder that the rate collector who is new to this part of London has much ado to find Adelphi cottages. They belong to that mysterious region which lies underneath the Strand level of the Adelphi and is vaguely known as the arches. If the reader will glance at the illustration which faces page 32 The Buildings called the Adelphi he will see, at the top of the arches and under the terrace, some fifteen semi-circular recesses. These are really spacious rooms, and from the windows there of the view of the Embankment Gardens and the Thames is considerable compensation for the tediousness and deviousness of the approach. The cottages were originally attached to the houses on the terrace above, and, until recent years, they were inhabited. Now, however, the majority of them are let separately and are used as stores or workshops. One of them, however, is still occupied as a dwelling place, and, whatever else it may be, this habitation is certainly unique. Underneath the Adelphi cottages, and extending below the houses of the terrace, and John, Robert, and Adam Streets, are the famous arches, which few people, either Londoners, who know nothing of their own city, or Americans, who are versed in the lore of our ancient streets, have ever visited. Truth to tell, the expedition to the Adelphi arches is not to be undertaken with too light a heart. The gloomy recesses do not conduce to joy, and, although the foot-pad has scant opportunity for indulging in his nefarious practices, he would be a venturesome person, a stranger to these parts, who would wander alone in this underground world after the sun, which never enters these passages, had ceased to illumine the earth above. This very darkness and dismalness has its advantages at times.