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In consequence of an act of parliament, the original structure was demolished, and the present edifice was erected for the accommodation of the public offices.
The grand entrance by three arches is from the Strand, and the front consists of a rustic basement, with columns in the Corinthian order, surmounted by an Attic story adorned with a ballustrade. The court is adorned with a statue of his Majesty, with an emblematic figure of the Thames at his feet.
The Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and the Royal Academy, have rooms in Somerset Place, and several public offices occupy the other part of this extensive structure.
Business is transacted with remarkable order and dispatch in the public offices at Somerset-Place, of which there are at present no less than 21; namely, Survey of Crown Lands, Lord Treasurers, Navy, Navy Pay, Comptroller of the Pipe, Salt, Sick and Hurt, Stage Coach Duty, Hackney Coach, Stamps, Tax, Victualling, Auditor of Ima prests, Clerk of the Estreats, Duchy Courts of Lancaster and Cornwall, Hawkers and Pedlars, Horse Duty, Remembrancers, Lottery, Signet, and Wine Licence.
THE CUSTOM HOUSE
Is situated to the west of the Tower, on the bank of the Thames, and appropriated to the receiving of the dutics, called the customs, on import and exports.
THE EXCISE OFFICE
Is a stone building, erected in 1763, and appropriated to the receipt of the excise duues.
THE GENERAL POST OFFICE
Iš situated near Lombard-street, This excellent commercial institution is of the utmost impor. tance to the prosperity of the community, and admirable for the regularity, dispatch and security, with which letters are conveyed to every part of the United Kingdom.
The receiving houses for letters are open in Westminster till four o'clock, and in the city till five o'clock, in the afternoon. Bellmen collect letters till six o'clock, and at the General Post-Office, letters are received till seven o'clock.
By a regulation adopted in June 1802, no letters are to be returned.
The following are the rates of postage of single letters, from
any post office in England or Wales. For any distance
Pence. not exceeding 15 miles .
.3 25 & not exceeding 30......4 30
...6 130. .7 170.
80... 130... 170...
230. .9 230.
Above the distance of 300 miles, the postage is increased progressively one penny for 100 miles.
The postage must be paid for all letters to the undermentioned foreign places :
Pence. For France, Flanders, & Holland ..10 For Italy, by Hamburgh.
...16 For the north of Europe, Germany & Turkey 16 For Spain & Minorca....
.22 For Lisbon..
.26 For America & the West-Indies..
.22 A letter box is provided at the India House for the reception of letters to the East Indies.,
Another excellent regulation is the Two-penny Post Office. There are several receiving houses in the metropolis and its environs, for letters to be conveyed by the Twopenny post. The two principal offices are, one at the General-Post Office, Lombard-street, and the other in Gerrard-street, Soho. Six collections and deliveries of letters are made in the metropolis every day (Sundays excepted).
Next to the abovementioned commercial institutions, which are under the controul of Government, may be classed those structures erected by the Core poration of London and the East-India Company.
THE MANSION HOUSE.
This structure is of Portland stone ; the portico is adorned with six fluted columns of the Corinthian order, which support a pediment adorned with emblematic figures.
The Mansion house is situated westward of Cornhill, and is the residence of the Lord-Mayor of London.
This Gothic edifice is the public hall of the City, where the citizens assemble to chuse their representatives in parliament, and their public officers. There are apartments in this building in which the courts of the city are held. Guildhall is worthy the attention of the curious stranger, who will easily obtain admittance.
Besides the public buildings beforementioned there are others appropriated to commerce, deserving of notice, either for the elegance of architecture, or their extent and convenience. The most remarka
The East-India House, in Leadenhall-street, which is adorned with an elegant front of Portland stone.
The South-Sea House; The Trinity House ; The Corn-Exchangc; the Coal Exchange; and the fortynine Halls of the City Companies, are also worthy of observation.
PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS, and SCHOOLS.
The Temple was founded by the Knights-Templars, in the year 1185. It is an irregular building of considerable extent: the two entrances are from Fleet-street; and its gardens, which are open to the public in summer, extend along the bank of the Thames, and in fine weather present the beautiful and interesting scene
of a crowded nade. The church of the Temple is one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Europe. This church belongs to the two societies of Law-students which now occupy the Temple.
Among the various Inns of Court, Lincoln's-Inn, situated on the west side of Chancery-Lane, is most worthy of observation, on account of its extent; the beauty of its gardens, which are open to the public; and the magnificence of the range of modern stone buildings, with the front towards the gardens.
Gray’s-Inn is situated on the northern side of Holborn; it contains a handsome squaro, but is chiefly remarkable for its gardens, covered in summer with beautiful verdure, and adorned with lofty groves. Staples-Inn, Clifford's-Inn, Barnard's-Inn, Furnival's-Inn, Lyon's-Inn, and Clement's-Inn, contain nothing worthy of description.
The College of Physicias, instituted by Henry VIII. is a brick building, adorned with a portico of stone. It is situated in Warwick-Lane, and forms a contrast to the disgusting fetor and filth of the shambles in its vicinity:
The Rolls Chapel, situated in Chancery-Lane, is the repository of the modern records of the realm.
Doctor's Commons, where courts are kept for the trial of ecclesiastical causes, is a structure of brick, situated to the south of St. Paul's Cathedral.
The College of Heralds, which stands in the vicinity of Doctors Commons, contains the records of the coats of arms of all the families in England,
The use of the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, is situated in John-Street, Adelphi. This patriotic society was instituted about half a century ago, and has contributed to the increase of national wealth, by liberal premiums bestowed on the successful cultivators of the useful arts.