This section is from the book "A Library Of Wonders And Curiosities Found In Nature And Art, Science And Literature", by I. Platt. Also available from Amazon: A library of wonders and curiosities.
This metropolis is unparalleled, in extent and opulence, in the whole habitable globe, except, perhaps, Pekin in China, Jeddo in Japan, and Houssa in Africa; which are all said to be larger.
It comprehends, besides London, Westminster, and South-wark, no less than forty-five villages, of considerable extent, independent of a vast accession of buildings upon the open fields, in the vicinity. Its length is nearly eight miles, its breadth three, and its circumference twenty-six. It contains above 8000 streets, lanes, alloys, and courts, and more than 65 different squares. Its houses, warehouses, and other buildings, make 162,000, besides 246 churches and chapels, 207 meeting houses for dissenters, 43 chapels for foreigners, and 6 synagogues for the Jews, which in all make 504 places of public worship. The number of inhabitants, during the sitting of parliament, is estimated at 3,500,000. Among these are found about 150,000 thieves, coiners and other bad persons.
The annual depredations on the public, by this numerous body of pilferers, are estimated at the sum of £2,100,000 sterling In this vast city, there are, moreover, upwards of 4000 seminaries for education, 8 institutions for promoting morality, 10 institutions for promoting the arts, 122 asylums for the indigent, 17 for the sick and lame, 13 dispensaries, 704 charitable institutions, 58 courts of justice, and 7040 professional men connected with the various departments of the law. - There are 13,500 vessels trading in the river Thames in the course of a year; and 40,000 waggons going and returning to the metropolis in the same period, including their repeated voyages and journeys. - The amount of exports and imports to and from the Thames is estimated at £66,811,932 sterling annually, and the property floating in this vast city every year, is £170,000,000. These circumstances may be sufficient to convince us of the amazing extent and importance of the capital of the British empire.
The numbers of bullocks, sheep, lambs, calves, hogs, and sucking pigs, purchased at the Smithfield markets, and annually consumed in the metropolis, are in the following proportion: bullocks 110,000; sheep and lambs 776,000; calves 210,000; hogs 210,000; sucking pigs 60,000. Markets for hay, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The markets for the sale of provisions are numerous, and amply supplied with every sort, generally of the most excellent kind: the bread generally fine and sound. Besides animal food and bread, there are no less than 6,980,000 gallons of milk [and water] annually consumed here: of vegetables and fruit, there are 10,000 acres of ground near the metropolis, cultivated wholly for vegetables; and about 4000 acres of fruit. Of wheat, coals, ale, and porter, etc. the annual consumption is as follows: of wheat, 700,000 quarters; of coals 600,000 chaldrons; of ale and porter 1,113,500 barrels; of spirits and compounds 11,146,782 gallons; of wine 32,500 tons; of butter 16,600,000 pounds; and of cheese 21,100,000 pounds. Fish and poultry are sometimes excessively dear, and the quantities consumed are comparatively small.