Crossing the Strand we arrive at Southampton-street, one of the many Streets which now occupy the site of the once extensive mansion of the Duke of Bedford. Proceeding up this street we come to Convent, commonly called Covent Garden, which was so denominated from having been originally a garden belonging to the abbot and monks of Westminster. The market, which occupies the large square in the centre, is accounted the best in England for herbs, fruit, and flowers. Proceeding along the west side we reach the parochial church of Saint Paul’s, which presents an admirable specimen of the taste and talents of its distinguished architect, lnigo Jones; a plain, but grand, portico, of the Tuscan order, having masy columns, and large intereco- luminations, adorns its front. This church was erected at the expense of Francis, Earl of Bedford, for the accommodation of his tenants, in the year 1640, and though as plain and unadorned as possible, from being so happily proportioned, it is singularly beautiful. The hustings are usually erected in front of it, for the election of burgesses to serve in parliament for the city of Westminster.
The north side of Covent Garden is decorated with piazzas, after the designs of Inigo Jones, who proposed finishing the remaining sides similarly, in which case this square would have equalled any in Europe for beauty.
Text: A Topographical and Statistical Description of the County of Middlesex etc. (1810) by George Alexander Cooke
Map: Section from Smith’s New Map of London 1809 by Charles Smith
Jane Austen References
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 15th September 1796
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 16th September 1813
Letter to Francis Austen dated 25th September 1813
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 5th March 1814
Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 9th March 1814