Littell's Living Age/Volume 136/Issue 1761/Old Names and Customs

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As they went through London or elsewhere it was very instructive to ask always what was the meaning of the name of the place where they happened to be; he (Dean Stanley) always did. To take the place where they were at that moment — John Street, Adelphi, Strand. What did that mean? Some of them, of course, knew. Any one knowing Greek knew that Adelphi meant brothers ; but why was it called "brothers"? It was because there were four brothers named Adam, who came from Kirkcaldy. These brothers were great architects, and they determined to rescue the part of London where they were at that moment from the mud of the Thames; they were, in fact, the founders of the Embankment. They were named Robert, William, James, and John, and those streets were called after them, and would continue a memorial of their energy and how they kept together by their strong brotherly affection. As they went along the Strand and looked at the names of the streets from side to side, it revealed to them at once the connection of all the great English families; the streets, as they now are, being called after the names of the ancient nobility who lived there. The names of the streets recalled the history of England. There were two things which ought to be preserved as much as possible in London — the names of streets and, if possible, the few remains there were of ancient architecture. In the city there were, he knew, great difficulties as to the last; but, with regard to the old churches which were being pulled down, he would say, "at any rate save the towers." Another piece of advice which he would give them in the art of questioning was as to the days — to try and fix in their minds what had happened on a particular day. That day, for instance, was the 17th of November, and had they been passing by Westminster at twelve o'clock they might have been surprised to hear the bells of Westminster Abbey pealing. It was the only day on which the bells of the Abbey rang to record any past event, and they were merrily pealing that day, as it was the day of the accession of Queen Elizabeth. From that day the history of England turned over a new leaf; she began that course of continual, steady advance which has never since passed away.