No. 23 Covent Garden Volunteer


A pecked line marks the parish boundary of St Paul’s, Covent Carden. Covent Garden was the metropolitan estate of the Russell family: the earls and dukes of Bedford. Bedford House, built in 1586 for the third earl of Bedford, appears to have been an important boundary marker. The development of the area in the 1630s saw it become the first suburb outside the City to be financed by the leasehold system and regulated by building covenants. These factors, combined with Inigo Jones’ architecture, made Covent Garden a prototype which was aspired to for the next 250 years. From the Crace Maps of London Collection; © of the British Library Board.

UNFIX BAYONET [3rd motion] (see original 1798 description below)
Covent Garden (see map) is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, itself known as “Covent Garden”. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  The area was fields until briefly settled in the 7th century when it became the heart of the Anglo-Saxon trading town of Lundenwic, then abandoned at the end of the 9th century after which it returned to fields. By 1200 part of it had been walled off by the Abbot of Westminster Abbey for use as arable land and orchards, later referred to as “the garden of the Abbey and Convent”, and later “the Convent Garden”. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was granted in 1552 by the young King Edward VI to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford (c.1485–1555), the trusted adviser to his father King Henry VIII. The 4th Earl commissioned Inigo Jones to build some fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul’s. The design of the square was new to London and had a significant influence on modern town planning, acting as the prototype for new estates as London grew.  By 1654 a small open-air fruit-and-vegetable market had developed on the south side of the fashionable square. Gradually, both the market and the surrounding area fell into disrepute, as taverns, theatres, coffee-houses and brothels opened up. By the 18th century it had become notorious for its abundance of brothels. An Act of Parliament was drawn up to control the area, and Charles Fowler‘s neo-classical building was erected in 1830 to cover and help organise the market. The market grew and further buildings were added: the Floral Hall, Charter Market, and in 1904 the Jubilee Market. By the end of the 1960s traffic congestion was causing problems, and in 1974 the market relocated to the New Covent Garden Market about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms. The central building re-opened as a shopping centre in 1980 and is now a tourist location containing cafes, pubs, small shops, and a craft market called the Apple Market, along with another market held in the Jubilee Hall. Covent Garden falls within the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden and the parliamentary constituencies of Cities of London and Westminster and Holborn and St Pancras. The area has been served by the Piccadilly line at Covent Garden tube station since 1907; the 300 yard journey from Leicester Square tube station is the shortest in London.

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Original Description of the unit from 1799:
This Corps was formed in May, 1798, for the protection of domestic Pro-  perty, to assist the Civil Magistrate if called on, and to promote the general  tranquillity of their own limits. They consist but of one Company of about  64, Privates; are joined to no other Society; have not received Colours; and  their Committee are chosen from their own body.
Captain Bacon.  First Lieutenant, —— Field.  Second Lieutenant, — Connard.
Helmets; in front, COVENT-GARDEN VOLUNTEERS; omament on the right  side, Crown and Garter, C. G. V.
Breast-plate, oval, C. G. V.
Cartouch, a Star, and C. G. V.
Buttons, C. G. V.
Half Gaiters. 

Additional information

Weight 0.0121 kg
Dimensions 25.25 × 32.5 cm


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