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Squares

Hanover Square 1789

Robert Pollard, Hanover Square after E Dayes, with F Jakes and R Dodd, from a set of four views of London Squares. 1787-1789

The viewpoint is the north side of Hanover Square, looking south, and the church tower that of St Georges, where Handel was a regular attendee from his arrival in England in 1724. He lived in Brook Street, which leads off from the south west corner of the square, until his death in 1759. The church, still much the same despite all the 'improvements' roundabout, now hosts an annual Handel festival.

The square contained the Queen's Concert Rooms, where Bizet conducted performances of his own music whilst in London in 1848 and 1853, and Mark Twain lectured in 1873, advertising in the Standard as follows :

'SIR,--In view of the prevailing frenzy concerning the Sandwich
Islands, and the inflamed desire of the public to acquire information concerning them, I have thought it well to tarry yet another week in England and deliver a lecture upon this absorbing subject. And lest it should be thought unbecoming in me, a stranger, to come to the public rescue at such a time, instead of leaving to abler hands a matter of so much moment, I desire to explain that I do it with the best motives and the most honorable intentions. I do it because I am convinced that no one can allay this unwholesome excitement as effectually as I can, and to allay it, and allay it as quickly as possible, is surely one thing that is absolutely necessary at this juncture. I feel and know that I am equal to this task, for I can allay any kind of an excitement by lecturing upon it. I have saved many communities in this way. I have always been able to paralyze the public interest in any topic that I chose to take hold of and elucidate with all my strength.'

The Hutchinsons, an American singing group who accompanied themselves with cello and fiddle, also performed here, and recorded some of their impressions. 

'We awoke bright and early the next morning, which was Sunday, January 25, 1846, to find ourselves in the third story of a boarding-house near Hanover Square.

'The surrounding houses impressed us as being very handsome, most of them five and six stories high, no blinds on the windows, and everything orderly and refined.....

'I cannot now describe the impression formed upon my mind on this, my first visit to London; it came up to our fullest anticipations, and reminded us of the pictures we had seen of Babylon.'

Hanover Square 1794

Robert Laurie, A North View of Hanover Square, 1794

Mark Twain's speech 'Our fellow savages of the Sandwich Islands'


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