Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A Visit To Dr Meade's House

April 30 1738
Dined at Kentish Town Mr Paynes Gave Maid 1/-

May 3 Spent Mr Henson in Gutter Lane 8d
May7 Spent at Kensington Mr Millner 9d
10 Spent at Charing Cross Mr Byfields 7d

13 Bout a pair of Sisers in Cheapside 2/6
Two Shoo Brushes 12d Blac. Ball 12d
Bout a Common prayer Book 2/-

Do you think "Blac. Ball" was shoe polish? This carries on for a bit.. various shopping with the tradesmen mentioned but generally little idea of what he bought. However, then we get a more interesting entry.

May 29 Spent with my Bror at Lyons Inn Coffee House

Lyons Inn was one of the Inns of Court and the coffee house must have been close to it. It’s position in Wych Lane, just off the Strand, is shown by the red block on this map. Thomas uses a lot of abbreviations "Bror" is brother and is John Tye who was older than him.

I can’t find a picture of the coffee house but here is the Inn of Court.

And this is a later view down Wych Lane but the houses are 17th Century so Thomas must have seen them. And that is St Clement Dane's tower you can see above the rooftops.

30 Went with my Bror & Mr Hall to Dr Meades House and see all his House and Raritys that he brot from a Broad an Egiptian Mummy Gave Man 2/-

Well, Dr Mead was a very important and interesting person. To quote from Old and New London: Volume 4, by Edward Walford (1878)

"The house at the corner of Powis Place (No. 49), now incorporated into the Hospital for Sick Children, was the last home of Dr. Richard Mead, the celebrated physician and "archiator" of King George II., who died there in 1754. Born at Stepney in the year 1673, Dr. Mead lived to become the friend of Drs. Radcliffe, Garth, and Arbuthnot, and he had sufficiently established his reputation as a physician as to be called in consultation to the sick room of Queen Anne, two days before her death. On the accession of George II. Dr. Mead was appointed Physician in Ordinary. He had in the meantime held several important positions, including the post of Physician to St. Thomas's Hospital. The doctor's last, and perhaps the most useful, of all his works is his "Medical Precepts and Cautions."

Dr. Mead, no less celebrated as a patron of artistic and literary genius than in his own walk of life, was one of the first collectors of a private gallery, which he threw open freely to art-students and to private amateurs. His house, indeed, may be said to have been the first academy of painting in London. At the bottom of the garden at the back of his house the doctor had constructed a museum, in which was brought together a large collection of pictures and antiquities, besides which he had an extensive and valuable library. His doors were always open to the poor and indigent for advice; men of intellect were sure of finding from Dr. Mead all help and aid. He kept continually in his pay a number of scholars and artists of all kinds, who were continually at work for him, or, rather, for the public. No foreigner of taste and learning came to London without being introduced to him, and being asked to dine at his table. His library was open to every one who wished to consult it, and he allowed his books to be borrowed by the studious. Dr. Mead's library, medals, and pictures were sold by auction and dispersed after his death, in 1754."

This is Dr Mead

This reference came from British History online, a wonderful searchable resource.

1 comment:

  1. Alexander Pope consulted Doctor Mead as he records in Epistles VI (google books will give you the text online)