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St. James's Palace


Stands at the south-west end of Pall Mall, where an hospital of the same name formerly stood. It has been the acknowledged town residence of the English kings since Whitehall was consumed in 1695; but though it is pleasantly situated along the north side of the park, and possesses many elegant and convenient apartments, calculated for state purposes, yet it is an irregular brick building, without a single external beauty to recommend it as a palace. In the front next St. James's street, little more than an old gatehouse appears, which serves as an entrance to a little square court, with a piazza on the west of it, leading to the grand staircase. The buildings are low, plain, and mean; beyond which are two other courts, which have little of the air of a king's palace. The state apartments look towards the park; and this side, though certainly not imposing, cannot with truth be pronounced mean. It is of one story, and has a certain regular appearance not to be found in other parts of the building.

Before the marriage of his royal highness the Prince of Wales (now Prince Regent,) the state apartments were very poorly furnished. But now, though there is nothing very superb or grand in their furniture or decorations, they are commodious and handsome. They are entered by a staircase, which opens into the principal court, neat to Pall Mall. At the top of the staircase are two guard-rooms; one to the left, called the queen's, and the other the king's guard-room, leading to the apartments mentioned. Immediately beyond the king's guard-room is the PRESENCE CHAMBER, now used only as a passage to the principal rooms. There is a range of five of these, which open into each other successively. The presence chamber opens into the centre room, called the privy chamber, in which there is a canopy, under which his majesty was accustomed, to receive the society of quakers. On the right of the canopy are two drawing-rooms, one within the other. At the upper end of the farther room is a throne with its canopy, on which the king was accustomed to receive the addresses of corporate bodies. The canopy was made for the queen's birth-day, immediately following the union of Ireland with Great Britain: it is of crimson velvet, with broad gold lace, having embroidered crowns, set with fine pearls. The shamrock, the national badge of Ireland, forms one of the decorations of the crown, and is very finely executed. In this apartment the king and queen were accustomed to be present on certain days; the nearer room being a kind of ante-chamber, in which the nobility were permitted to sit down during the presence of their majesties in the farther room, being furnished with numerous stools and sofas for the purpose.

On the left, on entering the privy chamber, from the king's guard-room and presence-chamber, are two levee rooms, the nearer serving as an ante-chamber to the other: these several apartments are covered with tapestry of exquisite workmanship. Several pictures, also, adorn the apartments.

SOURCE: New Picture of London, Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand; by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819.

Other London Buildings:

St. James's Palace

Buckingham House Palace

Carlton House

Kensington Palace

Lambeth Palace

St. James's Park

The Green Park

Hyde Park

The Regent's Park

Westminster Hall

The House of Lords

House of Commons

Courts of Justice

Tower of London

The New Mint

The Monument

Mansion House

The Bank of England

The Royal Exchange

The Auction Mart

Trinity House

New Custom House

Excise Office

General Post Office


Temple Bar

The Adelphi

Somerset House

Charing Cross

Horse Guards

The Treasury

Admiralty Office


King's Mews

New Court House, or Westminster Guildhall

Northumberland House

General List of other Noblemen's Residences

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819