The White Lion, Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, S.E.I
IN The White Lion dwells a black and tan terrier. He is Raff, a
dog with a sense of duty.
During licensing hours where Raff goes is nobody’s business;
it’s a free country for dogs, within reason.
But it is an astonishing feature of this interesting animal that
as soon as ten o’clock goes, he is back at his home ready for guard
duty. Of course, if he does happen to be at home when the regulars
are imbibing, he’s as friendly a dog as you could ever wish to
see just you try to enter after hours, however, and see what happens
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Raff -Terrier Cross
Raff is two years of age. The house he guards is another
“youngster”, being built in 1890.
The situation, of course, is excellent. From the saloon bar
you can see Nell Gwynn’s house, to the right you can see the
building of the Mother of all Parliaments.
Nell Gwynn’s house is well worth a visit. So, at least, King Charles
thought. You can see, for instance, the tunnel Charles had built
from Whitehall. It was a remarkable achievement in that it was
necessary to build beneath the Thames. Love, as they say, will
ﬁnd a way. . . .
Still, Sweet Nell did a great deal of good as she passed on her
way. As every schoolboy knows, it was to her that we owe the Royal
Chelsea Hospital for army veterans.
As for her royal lover, it was a commonplace that he was a
foolish dilettante. Today, we know better, largely due to Arthur
Bryant and we know now that for all his apparent love of pleasure,
his was a shrewd head. Perhaps his greatest title to fame was that
he founded the Royal Navy in a real sense. ,
For our particular purpose, it is well to note that Charles was
devoted to dogs.
Nell Gwynn’s house is now used by the Anglo-American Oil
Company, but there is a statutory ban on any architectural alter-
Vauxhall, itself, has an interesting history. In its earliest form,
it was known as F auxhall which later became Fox Hall or Foxhall,
and gradually merged almost casually into the loveliness of its
Fulkede de Breanté
The place was named from an early owner of the Manor, Fulke
de Breanté, a violent and turbulent personage, and a boon com-
panion of King john, another slightly unpleasant character. The
house was known as F ulke’s Hall, hence Fauxhall and later
The hall changed hands several times until it was granted to
the Black Prince, who in 1354, gave it to the monks of Canterbury
together with a tenement, the precursor of Lambeth Palace. On
the suppression of the monasteries, Henry VIII returned it to the
Dean and Chapter of Canterbury who hold it to this day.
Talking of Fox, there was another gentleman of a similar name,
who has given much pleasure to little boys. This is Guy Fawkes,
who lived in the neighbourhood and who lived long enough to
organize the Gunpowder Plot”but not very much longer.
Vauxhall Gardens became a joyous meeting place; and here
you might hear the musick of Mr. Handel”the musick of the
Royal Fireworks or his Water Musick. If you wanted to hear Mr.
Handel’s new opera you had to go to the theatre; but you could
always play cards in the boxes if you were not too musically minded.
Here, too, in the celebrated Vauxhall Gardens you might see
Mr. Oliver Goldsmith talking inhis omate style with the great
Reynolds. Lady Petersham, one of the leaders of fashion, was much
given to Vauxhall, and Royal George, who sighed for Hanover,
found solace in the gaiety which Vauxhall had to offer.
At one time balloon ascents seem to have had a great attraction
for the Londoner of fashion, for even in the ﬁfties of the last century
they were taking place at Cremorne, which was, in a sense and for
a time, the Vauxhall of its day.
It was the Early Victorian age which brought Vauxhall to an
end. It had been deteriorating for many years, and what had been
colourful gaiety was gradually being debased into rowdiness and
vulgarity. A Mr. Alfred Dunn, in conjunction with “Alfred Crow-
quill” issued the Vauxhall Papers, which poked fun at the society
of his day, and this brought Vauxhall and all its glory to an end.
Vauxhall Gardens were ﬁnally closed in 1859. And on that
self-same site a church arose, St. Peter’s.
The White Lion
Thirty-one years later, in a more subdued age, there arose The
White Lion. For some strange reason it escaped the bombings;
certainly, it was the perfect vantage spot to see the horror that
was dropped on London.
We are accustomed to think ours the greatest age of history.
Other thoughts and doubts are beginning to prevail. For our-
selves, we are certain that Vauxhall has not improved with the
March of Time. Where is the gaiety, the music and the ,owers?
We prefer the London of Handel to the London of Eric Coates,
but this is entirely a matter of opinion. We know for a certainty
which Vauxhall Raff would prefer. And we leave Ra,’ to judge.
One thing we have noticed: consideration of the past brings a
thirst as well as a sigh.