This report of the ceremony on the opening of Tower Bridge appeared in The Times on July 2, 1894. It is the most famous example of a bascule (drawbridge) bridge. The need for the bridge emerged because the use of bridges across the Thames had gone beyond the capacity of the existing bridges, in particular London Bridge. The opening of Tower Bridge can be achieved within 90 seconds.
The Opening of the Tower Bridge
On Saturday at noon, under a cloudless sky and as part of a pageant which delighted tens of thousands of people, the new Tower-bridge, which deserves to be reckoned among the greatest engineering triumphs of the Victorian age, was declared open for traffic by land and water by the Prince of Wales with every circumstance of pomp and splendour. The occasion was chosen, with due regard for that love of a great display of State ceremonial which is instinctive in the population of London, as an opportunity for one of those Royal processions through the streets which serve to give as many persons as possible at least a passing glimpse of Royal personages, and to keep alive that spirit of affectionate loyalty which grows, to all appearances, stronger every year in the hearts of the British people. The net result was, without doubt, a series of spectacles of striking grandeur, and few sights more imposing and majestic have ever been seen in this country than the silent and irresistible upheaval of those solid leaves of the bridge which fascinated the spectators on land and water when the Prince of Wales turned the lever which set the hydraulic machinery, gigantic in force, in motion. That is the sight which will live in the memory of those who looked upon it for years to come. It was imposing in the same sense as a great convulsion of the natural world; it was an exhibition of resistless force, which held the spectators spellbound and speechless. It will be seen again many times after the 9th of July, when the bridge will really be open; it will become familiar like other wonders of engineering; but still the memory of the first occasion upon which it was exhibited will remain indelible. For the rest, let it be said that the conditions under which the pageant was carried out were faultless; Paris herself never saw a fairer sky and the Seine never shone under a brighter sun than the Thames on Saturday. It is a small thing to add, but it is none the less worth adding, that the arrangements were excellent and well carried out and that no cause for complaint could be found by any save those unreasonable persons who forget that on great occasions of this kind the rule of give and take must prevail. And now let an attempt be made to trace this splendid ceremonial step by step from its beginning to it end, remembering always that it is but a chapter in history of the close relation between the Crown and the City which has lasted so long.
The procession started from Marlborough House about a quarter-past 11 o’clock, the arrangements previously made being conformed to with admirable punctuality. There were five semi-State carriages, each of which was drawn by four horses richly caparisoned. The first carriage contained the Equerries in Waiting to the Duke of York, the Prince of Wales, and the Queen; the second the Groom in Waiting and the Lord in Waiting to the Prince of Wales; the third the Comptroller to the Prince of Wales, the Lord Chamberlain, the Chamberlain to the Princess of Wales, and the Lord Steward; and in the fourth carriage were the Woman of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales, the Master of the Horse, the Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales, and the Princess Maud of Wales. The last carriage, which was preceded by a captain’s escort of the Life Guards, contained the Prince of Wales, wearing the uniform of a Field Marshal, the Princess of Wales, the Duke of York, who wore a naval uniform, and the Princess Victoria of Wales. Several carriages had started, at a few minutes’ interval, before the Queen’s carriages left, and conveyed the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, the Duke and Duchess of Teck, and other members of the Royal Family. On issuing from Marlborough House the Prince and Princess of Wales were heartily greeted, and, indeed, the cheering which they received throughout the procession was most cordial.
After leaving Pall-mall the route was by Duncannon-street, Charing-cross, the Strand, Fleet-street, Ludgate-hill, St. Paul’s churchyard, Cheapside, the Poultry, to the Mansion-house, thence through King William-street, Eastcheap, Trinity-square, and Tower-hill. All the points of vantage along the routes were occupied at an early hour by large but orderly crowds of persons. The occasion, however, being generally regarded as one concerning the City mainly, if not entirely, it was within the limits of “the one square mile” that the sightseers chiefly congregated, and that their Royal Highness received, if not the heartiest, at all events the loudest demonstrations of loyalty. From Temple-bar, too, up to the Tower the route was lined by troops, the 2nd Norfolk, which are now garrisoning the Tower, succeeding at this point up to the bridge. At Temple Bar a small guard of the 8th Hussars was posted, with a troop of the 1st Life Guards; and the Hussars and 1st and 2nd Life Guards, whose brilliant uniforms were as usual greatly admired, were employed in keeping the roads at the chief crossing-places on the route. To take up a position at any of these points involved being on the ground for some hours, but the weariness of waiting was beguiled pleasantly by the music of the military bands-those of the 8th Hussars, the 2nd Life Guards, the 3rd Grenadiers, and the 2nd Norfolk, which were fixed respectively at the corner of Threadneedle-street and Cornhill, at the top of Great Tower-hill, at King William’s statue, and at the corner of the Minories.
On reaching Fleet-street the carriage of the Prince of Wales was met by Major Wodehouse, the Assistant-Commissioner of the City Police, who, from this point, preceded the Royal escort to the Mansion-house, being there joined by his chief, Lieut-Col. Henry Smith. After entering the City, it was not before Cheapside was reached that any united effort was seen to have been made in the way of decorations, but in this ancient and historic thoroughfare the principal places of business made a plentiful display, and the Royal visitors received a merry greeting from the bells of Bow church.
As usual on similar occasions the vicinity of the Mansion-house, with the extensive open space fronting the official residence of the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs, and the high offices of the Corporation. Inspectors Hoskins, Fox, and H. Eve, of the City Police, had rather a difficult task in keeping the way clear in front of the Mansion-house, but, with the assistance of a large force of their men, they succeeded. The windows of the Equitable Life office and the Union Bank, opposite, were filled with sightseers; the upper steps of the Royal Exchange were fully occupied, and the procession was also witnessed from the roof of this building and from the top of the Bank of England.
The Mansion-house itself presented a very gay appearance. The massive portico columns fronting the edifice were adorned with clusters of flags bearing shields displaying the City Arms, the Prince of Wales’s Feathers, and other devices, the pillars and spaces between them being wreathed and otherwise decorated with real and artificial flowers, while the facade was draped with crimson cloth fringed with gold. The Royal Standard floated from the top of the building. The balcony was occupied by a large number of the friends of the Lord Mayor, for whom Mr. Soulsby, on the part of his Lordship, made every provision. As each carriage containing members of the Royal Family passed by, the band of the Hussars, posted opposite by the Wellington statue, played the National Anthem, the Duchess of Albany being the first to receive the familiar greeting. Her Royal Highness was followed almost immediately by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was accompanied by Mrs. Benson. The carriages of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, and the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, with their two youngest daughters, followed, his Royal Highness wearing the uniform of a British Admiral. For a sufficiently obvious reason an especially hearty greeting was accorded to the Duke and Duchess of Teck, in whose carriage was the Duke of Cambridge. His Royal Highness sat by the side of his sister, who was evidently greatly pleased at the warmth of her reception.
The arrival a few minutes afterwards of the Prince and Princess of Wales was the signal for great cheering, which was renewed as the carriage drew up in front of the Mansion-house. Their Royal Highnesses were met at the lower door of the northern entrance by the Lord Mayor (who was attended by the Swordbearer and the Macebearer) and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs, the Recorder, Mr. A. J. Altman (chairman of the Bridge House Estates Committee, out of whose funds the cost of the bridge has been provided), and Mr. Barry, the engineer. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress advanced to their Royal Highnesses, and his Lordship, addressing the Prince of Wales, said:-
“I have the honour, Sir, with my colleagues, the Sheriffs, to tender to your Royal Highness a hearty welcome to this ancient and loyal City, and to convey to you the thanks of the citizens for so graciously attending in the name of her Majesty the Queen to open the Tower-bridge, the foundation-stone of which was laid by your Royal Highness eight years ago. “
The Prince of Wales, in reply, said,-
“I thank you very much for your kind welcome.”
The Lady Mayoress then presented the Princess of Wales with a superb bouquet of mauve and white orchids, and her Royal Highness afterwards graciously shook hands with her ladyship.
On the termination of this brief ceremonial the procession was resumed, their Royal Highnesses, who were again heartily cheered, being now accompanied by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs, Mr. Altman, and the other civic dignitaries. King William-street, the first thoroughfare traversed after leaving the Mansion-house, presented a comparatively poor appearance in the way of decorations, the Monument, in the distance, however, standing boldly out, and looking very gay with the numerous flags which were projecting from its casements. Eastcheap, too, amply made up for the deficiency; while throughout the Tower Ward the inhabitants had heartily responded to the invitation of their esteemed alderman, Sir Stuart Knill, to make the day worthy of the occasion as regarded decorations. Apart from an unusual wealth of bunting, flags, and crimson cloth, the floral display was both lavish and tasteful. A triumphal arch of decidedly novel but picturesque appearance, in the shape of the letter A, was erected opposite Idol-lane, the greeting, “Welcome to the Tower Ward,” being inscribed across the structure, with shields at the sides bearing the Prince of Wales’s feathers and the City arms. The principal buildings-among others the offices of the General Steam Navigation Company and of the Royal Insurance Company-also made gay displays. At Mark-lane Station another triumphal arch had been erected similar to that just described, but bearing the words, “Success to Tower-bridge,” and surmounted by the Royal Standard. The best individual decoration in the ward was, perhaps, that of a well-known tea company, the motto “Welcome to our popular Prince and Princess” running the length of an extensive stand which had been erected for the accommodation of a large number of guests. The last stages in the long route of the procession-Tower-hill and the Mint-had apparently been invaded by a contingent from the East-end, but no disorder occurred.
The arrangement of the military and police authorities for preserving order in the streets deserve a few words of commendation. Only, however, in a few cases was any real difficulty met with, and this was easily overcome by means of a judicious combination of the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re. The fact that a great many officers and men in the police force, both Metropolitan and City, wore their jubilee medals may also be recorded.
IN THE NORTHERN PAVILION
In the long pavilion running from the level of Tower-hill to the northern end of the new bridge the fortunate holders of privileged tickets were gathered together long before the ceremonial itself was appointed to begin. The rule laid down was that each ticket-holder must pass through the gate before 11 o’clock, but this rule was of necessity relaxed somewhat by reason of the slow progress of the constant stream of carriages which flowed towards the Tower from the West from an early hour. Still, at 11 o’clock the scene was animated and pleasing. Overhead was a long span-roofed awning in broad stripes of pink and green in soft shades and of creamy white, and the strong sun, while it enhanced greatly the brightness of the colours when they were looked at from without, softened them to the eyes of those who were within. Downwards from the eaves of the awning hung curtains of like colour with the roof, which were wisely looped back so that from beginning to end the air was delightfully cool. On either side scarlet-covered benches rose stage upon stage. The central point on the eastside was the dais covered by a more elaborate canopy, on which the illustrious personages were to take stand. But it was an hour before they could come, and in the meanwhile the avenues of spectators grew more and more brilliant. Aldermen in scarlet and miniver, common councillors in mazarine and miniver, moved to and fro. The provincial mayors, including the Lord Mayor of Manchester, were conspicuous by their heavy gold chains of office. Here were ladies wearing the brightest of summer dresses, there were Orientals, men, women, and children, with swarthy and impassive faces, with cool and flowing garments, in marked contrast to their fellow-subjects of the West. Then military uniforms began to brighten the scene. A small body of the London Rifle Brigade marched down with plumed shakos and band playing, passed away on to the bridge, and was lost to sight. Then Colonel Trotter, in his capacity of Brigadier of Volunteers in the Home District, and accompanied by Captain Bagot, his Brigade Major, passed down the roadway. Next came a guard of honour from her Majesty’s ship Pembroke, and very hearty was the welcome accorded to the Blue-jackets as they swung past, with fixed bayonets and rifles at the slope, with their band playing “A Life on the Ocean Waves,” and lined the western side of the approach to the central span of the bridge. Then came the Coldstream Guards, a field officer’s escort with the colours and band, under Colonel Lord Falmouth. They lined the approach to the central span upon the eastern side.
Meanwhile the assembled spectators were beginning to welcome distinguished visitors as they arrived. Mr. Asquith, in Privy Councillor’s dress since he was to take a leading part in the proceedings of the day, was one of the first to be recognized and applauded. Very cordial also was the reception given to Lord Spencer. Soon the Bishops of London and Rochester, in their robes, the former wearing the orthodox head-covering of a Bishop, took their places at the end of the dais nearest the bridge. There they were joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was not robed. For the rest, it would be impossible to name the tenth part of the distinguished persons dotted about the benches here and there. And now the appointed time had come, and there was the silence of expectation. But it was not for long. Almost at the moment when the clocks were striking the hour two grooms in the Royal livery, some mounted policemen, and the chief of the City Police rode down the avenue and were the first indication that the Lord Mayor’s procession had arrived from the Mansion-house and had joined forces with the Royal visitors at the entrance to the enclosures. Cheers began to be raised with more and more heartiness as the civic dignitaries swept by in their carriages of State, and although those carriages were closed, their occupants were recognised. The civic procession included the engineer, Mr. J. Wolfe Barry, Mr. A. J. Altman, the Chairman of the Bridge-house Estates Committee, the Under-Sheriffs, the City Surveyor, the City Solicitor, the Comptroller, the Town Clerk, the Secondary, the Remembrance, the Common Serjeant, the Chamberlain, the Sheriffs, the Recorder, the City Marshal mounted on a horse caparisoned with great splendour, and then the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, attended by the Sword bearer and the Mace bearer, in the Lord Mayor’s stage coach. And here, as there is a break in the procession, it is right to add that the Lord Mayor was received with the most hearty acclamation. Now, past the guards of honour of the Hon. Artillery Company and London Rifle Brigade, came the Royal procession, in open carriages, proceeding at the outset in the same order as that in which it had left Marlborough House an hour before. The state carriage conveying the Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, the Duke of York, and Princess Victoria of Wales received a great ovation. The Prince of Wales wore military uniform, and the Duke of York wore the uniform of that senior service of which he is an ardent devotee. Both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York were clearly delighted at the warmth of their welcome. The Princess of Wales, who wore a silk dress of the softest blue shade suffused with silver, with an underlying pattern similar to that of a very minute shepherd’s plaid, was the subject of universal admiration. Princess Victoria’s dress was of like material and underlying pattern, the predominant tone being a delicate shade of heliotrope. Very cordial also was the reception given to the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, to Prince and Princess Henry of Battenburg, to the Duchess of Albany and her children, to the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Teck.
But, even as the Prince of Wales’s carriage passed on to the bridge (which, by the way, had not yet been declared open for traffic), the cheering and the music of the band of the Coldstream Guards playing “God save the Queen” were drowned completely in the wild and barbaric chorus of steam whistles and church bells which rose from the river and its surroundings. The noise was undisciplined, perhaps, but it was none the less pleasing for its heartiness and for its all-pervading character, of which last, indeed there could be no doubt. Then for a few minutes the procession passed out of sight, going across the bridge into Queen Elizabeth-street, and returning to the southern approach by way of Tooley-street. Here also there were great crowds of spectators and a considerable display of Volunteer Artillery, including detachments of the 15th Middlesex, 1st London, 3rd Middlesex Volunteer Artillery, 2nd London, 1st Tower Hamlets, 1st Cadet Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment, 1st Surrey Volunteers, 2nd Cadet Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment, and 3rd Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment. The decorations on this side were the work of a reception committee, of which Mr. H. W. Hill was chairman, and among the numerous spectators from stands were the school children of the parishes on the southern side, each of whom wore a commemoration medal struck through the kindness of Mr. Cumming Macdona, M.P., and Mr. W.H.C. Payne, L.C.C. At last, however, the procession swept back to the dais, and the illustrious personages alighted and took the seats prepared for them, the empty carriages being ranged in a mass upon the roadway of the northern approach to the bridge. Here also bouquets were presented to the Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales by the Misses Gertrude and Mabel Altman, and it may be added that the Princess of Wales carried away also a memorial of the good will of the City of London in the shape of an ornament of brilliants bearing as a design the Imperial arms, the arms of the City, Middlesex, and Surrey, a wreath of shamrocks, roses, and thistles, the insignia of the Bridge-house Estates Committee, and the rose of York and Lancaster. The party on the dais was thus arranged:-On the right or most northerly of the two seats in the centre was the Prince of Wales with the pedestal, surmounted by the lid of the loving cup with which he was to turn the lever for the great act of the day, immediately in front of him, the Princess of Wales occupied the seat to his left. On the right hand of the Prince of Wales, in the front row, were the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg, the Duke of Connaught, Princess Henry of Battenberg, the Duke of York, the Duchess of Teck, and, at the right angle to this front row of seats at the end, the Lord Mayor, the Lady Mayoress, and Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Moore. Close by these last-named stood Mr. Asquith. The seats behind on the right of the Prince of Wales were reserved for the Royal children. On the left hand of the Princess of Wales were the Duke of Saxe-Colburg, the Duchess of Connaught, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Albany, with the Duke of Teck, Prince Henry of Battenburg, Princesses Victoria and Maud of Wales, and more Royal children immediately behind them, while the seats at the left corner were allotted to the Bishop of London, the Bishop Rochester, and Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Dimsdale. At the side of the dais on the left-hand side were the members of the Bridge-house Estates Committee, and, on the right-hand side, sundry officers of the Corporation, the Under-Sheriffs, the late chairman of the Bridge-house Estates Committee-viz., Messers. T. Beard, Edward Atkinson, George Shaw, Thomas Loveridge, Alfred Purssell, and Arthur Byrne Hudson-and the contractors-viz., Messrs. John Jackson, William Webster, and H. H. Bartlett, Sir William Arrol, and Lord Armstrong.
This was the moment for the beginning of the formal ceremonial. Lord Carrington, bareheaded and with his wand of office in hand, then stepped towards the Recorder (Sir Charles Hall), who was at one time Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales, and the Recorder read the following address:-
To his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, K.G.
We, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and common Councillors of the City of London in common Council assembled, desire at the conclusion of the great work of constructing the new Tower-bridge, which was commenced as far back as June, 1886, to again welcome the presence of your Royal Highness, on behalf of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, to inaugurate an example of magnificent engineering of such vast importance to our fellow-citizens and the dwellers in the East-end of London, both north and south of the Thames.
The Tower-bridge at its commencement was estimated to be completed in four years and to cost £750,000. The works, however, have involved sufficient magnitude and difficulty to require the sanction of Parliament for double the time for completion of the bridge and its approaches, the cost of which will reach the sum of £1,184,000, the whole of which large amounts will be provided by our Bridge-house Estates Committee out of the funds under their care and management, and without any cost whatever to the ratepayers. We anticipate that the work thus happily completed to the infinite credit of all who have been engaged upon it will be not only an ornament to the metropolis, but a lasting benefit to those for whose use it is specially intended.
We desire, in conclusion, to express our abiding devotion and loyalty to her Majesty the Queen, who we feel is in great and important ceremony with us in heart, and our sincere and earnest acknowledgements for the attendance here of your Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, to whom with your Royal Highness, we pray that all blessings may be vouchsafed.
Signed by order of the Court,
J. B. MONCKTON, Town Clerk.
Mr. Asquith, Home Secretary, then stepped forward from the right hand side of the dais, and delivered to the Prince of Wales the following reply, which was read by his Royal Highness and was received with loud cheers:-
It is a great satisfaction to the Princess of Wales and myself to be permitted, on behalf of the Queen, my dear mother, to open the Tower-bridge across the river Thames; and we thank you for your loyal and dutiful address on the occasion. This bridge will be an enduring monument of the well-directed energy and public spirit of the Corporation of London; it will also serve as an example of the splendid engineering skill bestowed on its construction. Uniting two busy and populous districts of the metropolis, the bridge will afford immediately increased facilities of communication and be of the greatest use to the industrious inhabitants of these districts, while, from its ingenious and admirable arrangements, it will not interfere with the navigation of the river. We heartily thank you for the cordial welcome we have received, and I shall not fail to communicate to the Queen your assurance of loyalty and devotion to her Majesty.
The reply itself was audible to those in the immediate vicinity of the dais only, who set the signal for the applause which followed; but the voice in which the Prince of Wales pronounced, a moment later, the words, “I declare this bridge open for land traffic,” rang clear along the alleys of spectators, rising tier upon tier above one another on either side, and the announcement was received with great shouting and waving of handkerchiefs. Then came the most dramatic moment of all. The Prince, still standing on the dais, turned the lever of his valve communicating with the hydraulic machinery, and then straightway the two ponderous leaves, each 115ft. long, began as if by magic, to rear themselves in air. Forthwith the blare of trumpets was drowned in the wild whistling of the streamers, in the shouts of the people without; in the booming of guns from the Tower was lost, in short, in the exuberant medley of clangour. But among the spectators ranged on either side of the main approach there was a not unnatural tendency towards admiring silence. The sight, indeed, was one of no common grandeur. For a moment little was to be seen except the mass of Royal carriages waiting, with the horses’ heads turned to the northward, until the ceremony should be over. Then, above them, came the striking spectacle of the solid roadway rising silent and irresistible, as the angle which it formed with the line of the level of the approach grew less and less obtuse. Gradually the line of fluttering pennons on the far side of the bridge was closed from view, the arc of light and sunshine between the highest point of the rising roadway and the top of the archway became more and more minute, there was a little avalanche of loose rubbish as the slope of the roadway became more acute, and then, at last, amid deafening uproar, the archway was blocked completely by the roadway which came to meet it. It was at this moment that the Prince of Wales declared the bridge open for river traffic, but such was the uproar that Stentor or Diomed himself must have been inaudible, as was the Bishop of London, who pronounced the Benediction. Then all eyes were directed at the bridge itself, under which, through the space made by the elevation of the ponderous leaves of the bridge, the stately procession of vessels dressed gaily with flags from bowsprit to peak, began to move up river, headed by the harbour-master’s Daisy.
And now the brilliant scene in the pavilion was all but over; but before the Royal party went away there were presentations to be made, presentations, in the first place, of sundry gentlemen to the Prince of Wales by the Lord Mayor. They were Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Dimsdale, Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Moore, Mr. Albert Joseph Altman, chairman of the Bridge House estates, and mover of the address, Mr. Alderman Frank Green, the seconder of the address, Mr. Arthur Byrne Hudson, immediate past chairman, and Mr. John Wolfe Barry, the engineer. Then there was another presentation to the Prince of Wales in the shape of the massive loving cup, of which the lid had served so unique a purpose a short time before. The cup, bearing the inscription “Presented by the Corporation of London to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, K.G., on the occasion of the opening of the Tower-bridge in the name of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, on June 30, 1894,” was exceedingly handsome. It carried a chased design of the new bridge, figures representing Commerce and the City, other designs, and an inscription showing the purpose for which the lid had been used. Then all was over. The Royal carriages, which formed a bright mass of colour against the dark background of the raised roadway which blocked the arch, drove up in quick succession, and while the strains of “God save the Queen” rose again, and while hearty cheers were called for and given, the Royal visitors to the City entered their carriages and drove away.
Then there was a rush towards the topmost seats on the eastern side of the pavilion, for the arrangements was that the Prince and Princess of Wales, with the other members of the Royal Family, should turn sharply round at the end of the northern approach and drive down Little Tower-hill under the archway and through the gate on to the Tower-wharf, where a tent had been prepared for them. On this steep descent there was a nasty accident, for the charger of one of the Life Guards fell, and for a time it seemed that the man must have been hurt seriously. But he was soon in the saddle again. On the Tower-wharf the warders of the Tower were on duty, and the Royal party was received with due honour by the Constable of the Tower (Sir Daniel Lysons) and the Tower authorities. Among those present were the Major of the Tower (Lieutenant-General Milman), the Chaplain-General, the Keeper of the Regalia (General Sir M. Biddulph), the medical officer (Surgeon-Captain Eldekin), Captain Sir Sydney Webb (Deputy-Master of Trinity House), Admiral Sir F. Nicholson (Clerk of the Thames Conservancy), General Writtesby, Colonel Charles Pease, Lady Lottisa Fielding, the Countess of Rosse, the Viscountess Torrington, Sir H. Miller, General Davies and Miss Davies, a great many members of the diplomatic and consular bodies, the officers of the Norfolk Regiment, and many others. Here also the illustrious visitors bade farewell to the Chairman of the Bridge-house Committee and others, having taken leave of the Lord Mayor and civic dignitaries generally before leaving the pavilion above. Then the Royal party, going down the stairs lined by the Queen’s Watermen, took ship on board the Victoria Steam Boat Association’s vessel the Palm for Westminster, and proceeded up river between a double line of gaily-dressed ships, followed by a whole fleet of vessels, receiving great welcome from the ships, which were dressed gaily for the occasion. All along the Embankment, as a matter of course, huge crowds were gathered, and the Royal party was received with tumultuous acclamation. So, when the landing-stage “at the Palace of Westminster” was reached and the Royal party had entered the private carriages which were in waiting, one of the most brilliantly successful days in the history of the City of London came to an end. Not the least among the successes of day was the fact that the admirably-contrived ambulance arrangements, involving 13 stations, under the direction of Chief-Surgeon Osborn, F.R.C.S., were, in spite of the heat, but little required. Some cases of fainting there were, of course, but the only serious case was that of a man seized with haemorrhage from the lungs, who was taken to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Source: The Times [http://www.the-times.co.uk/]