The commencement of the erection of the new Royal Exchange is announced this week. On Thursday morning, the workmen began to lay the concrete for the foundations, in a large excavated spot adjacent to Cornhill. The concrete, which is chiefly river-ballast and ground. lime, will be five feet deep at an excavation of nineteen feet ; and the whole bed will be an area of 170 feet by 300 feet. The substratum is good. On Thursday 66 labourers were employed in laying the con- crete, 64 occupied in ground-digging, and 26 occupied in cleansing 'bricks. There are also 120 teams employed in bringing ballast. A large portion of the old foundation is yet untouched ; and large masses ,of red-brick, of a very consistent nature, are removed by the labourers suidermining them, or blowing them up with gunpowder.
A meeting of the creditors of Wright and Co. the bankers, took place on Thursday, in the Court of Bankruptcy, for the choice of assignees and the proof of debts. It was reported that the debts and liabilities approach a million sterling. The amount of debts proved during the day was about 500,0001. A solicitor attended to make a claim for Mr. Thomas Wright, who had formerly been a partner in the bank, for the _slum of 37,000/., but which he gave up for an annuity of 1,200/. a year, Mr. John Wright being his quasi trustee. Mr. Thomas Wright is now a prisoner within the rules of the Queen's Bench. The following gen- tlemen were appointed assignees—Thomas Barnewell, Esq., of 15 York Terrace, Regent's Park ; William Blount, Esq., of Cumberland Street ; Charles Wilde, Esq., of the Middle Temple ; Michael Ellison, Esq., of Sheffield; and George Charlwood, seedsman, of Tavistock Street, Co- vent Garden. Among the debts proved in the course of the day, were those of the Duke of Norfolk for 54,2991.; Mr- Langton, -M.P., 3,7561.; Lord Crewe, 5,6511.; Alderman Farebrother, 4,7507.; Mr. J. Weld, of Lulworth Castle, 2,5371.; Stonyhurst College, 1,802; the Earl of Surry and other trustees for a marriage-settlement, 16,7091.; the South-western Railway Company, 3,5831.; Sir J. Shelley, 5,452/. Mr. O'Connell is a creditor for 6/. 3s.
A preliminary meeting to establish a branch School of Design in Spi- talfields, in connexion with the institution_at Somerset House, was held on Monday evening, in Spicer Street, in that parish.
It is understood that another dress-ball, for the encouragement of the SPitalfields manufactures, is about to be given under the patronage of the Queen, with a view to relieve the distress which now prevails among the silk-weavers to a great extent.
The London Chartists made a " demonstration " on Monday. Se- veral bodies assembled in various parts, and rendezvoused in Clerken- well Green ; whence they went in procession, to the number of about 1,500, to White Conduit House, and occupied the theatre. -They com- menced business by singing the Marseillaise Hymn. They declared the trial of Frost and his companions illegal, and called upon the Go- vernment to release them. They repudiated the agitation for House- hold Suffrage, got up by "O'Connell and the Whi4s," as merely meant to divert the Chartists from their object. "No,". said one speaker, "the working-classes won't be humbugged by it ; and the time was not far distant when they would not be even satisfied with the Charter—when nothing would satisfy them short of a Republic." This announcement was received with "uproarious cheering."
• -The Metropolis was visited by a terrific thunder-storm, on Sunday morning, between six and seN en o'clock. The lightning struck the spire of Spitalfields Church, which it damaged considerably : thence de, -seeuding, it melted the wires of the Clock, fractured the wall, and • Awoedaome of the stone-work out of place. The church has since been -Ainumeyed; and though the damage is considerable, it is supposed that it 1010axepaired without rebuilding the steeple. Ths storm was felt all round the Metropolis. Streatham Church, ear rather, an old oak steeple, 100 feet high, which formed part of the
building, was also set on fire by the lightning, and totally destroyed.P.„ In Epping and Hainanlt Forests, several trees were blown down by the wind.
[The same storm travelled in c -north-easterly direction over the greater part of England and across the Channel to France. It was pre- ceded by a strong wind from the north-west, which increased to a gale as morning approached. The thunder-storm, however, does not seem to have extended much further north than Nottingham ; where the lightning, though vivid, was not forked : the storm was at its height in that town about five. At Wolverhampton about the same time, the tower of the Collegiate Church was struck by lightning, and the wood- work of the steeple was set on fire : it was, however, extinguished without doing much damage. The thunder and lightning were expe- rienced nearly at the same hour across the country from Wolverhampton to Norfolk, and proceeded onwards to Dover. The thunder-storm did not reach Calais till near daylight, though there had been a hurricane of wind in the night. The lightning struck and destroyed the outbuildings of a farm near Marke, a village on the Dunkirk road. Between Artres and Calais, the horse in the mail-cart was struck dead. Two French vessels were driven on shore at four o'clock in the morning, whilst attempting to make Boulogne harbour daring the gale.] The temperature since the storm on Sunday has been extremely low. The thermometer on Wednesday night was twenty degrees below freezing-point ; yesterday morning at eight o'clock it was the same, and during the night had been still lower. Last night at twelve o'clock, the thermometer at Hampstead was at 9 degrees, or twenty-three below freezing : this morning, at seven, it indicated 15 degrees. The skating in the Parks has been resumed ; though the ice is not. considered safe, in consequence of numerous cracks.
In the Court of Exchequer, yesterday, Mr. Baron Alderson Owe judgment in the case of the Reverend Mr. Knight, Rector of the parish of Ford, against the Marquis of Waterford and some of his tenants. The plaintiff's predecessors since 1658 received from the lords of the manor 40/. a year in lieu of tithes ; those tithes are now worth 1,2001.a year ; and the plaintiff's object was to setataide the old arrangement. Baron Alderson decreed in his favour, with costs. The bill was filed in 1828, and the total claims on the defendants are computed to amount to- 25,0001.
In the Secondary's emit, yesterday, a verdict, with 127/. 4s. 6d.'da- mages, was obtained against Mr. Rogerson, a surgeon, for having given a good character to A clerk engaged on his recommendation by Messrs. Maltby and Otter, solicitors. The clerk stole the sum claimed ; and it was afterwards found that he had been previously convicted of robbery, to the defendant's knowledge.
In the Central Criminal Court, on Wednesday, a young man named James Fieldgate Porter was tried for uttering a cheek for 3801., which he presented for payment at the Bank of England. Suspicion having been excited that the check was not genuine, he was detained till the alleged drawer was consulted. The prisoner, when taken into cus- tody, told a straightforward tale that the check had been given him to get cashed by an acquaintance; and as evidence was produced to con- firm this statement, he was acquitted.
William Johnson, formerly a servant of Captain John Charitie, was found guilty of forging a check for 101., purporting to be drawn by his former master. He was sentenced to be transported for ten years.
At the sitting of the Court on Thursday, John Crisham was found guilty of assisting Peter M'Donough in ravishing Bridget.Lamb. The prisoner stood at the door of a room in which the offence was com- mitted, and told M'Donough he should keep guard and prevent any one from coming in. At length some lodgers in the house, bearing the girl scream, forced an entrance, and -M'Donough escaped through the window. Sentence of death was recorded.
At the Mansionhonse, on Saturday, Patrick Maxwell Stewart Wal- lace, Michael Shaw Stewart Wallace, and James -Stott, who have been charged -with extensive frauds upon insurance-companies, and with having been parties to the destruction of the ship Dryad for the pur- pose of effecting those frauds, -were brought up for further examination. It was stated on the part of the prosecution, that a man wbo was sup- posed to have- witnessed the loss of the Dryad had been traced to the Rodney, on board of which ship he was. now serving in the Mediterra- nean. A boy who was on board the Dryad had also been traced to Manchester. To give time for the production of further evidence, the two Wallaces were remanded till the beginning of February. The other prisoner, and the sisters of Wallace, who are also implicated in the affair, were allowed to be out on bail.
A woman named Green was taken before the Magistrate at Queen Square Police-office on Monday, who was found in Lowndes Square the previous night with nothing on but her chemise. She told a strange story about having come to London from Donnington, to seek some relatives, whose residence she had not been able to discover ; and that whilst wandering about the streets she was knocked down by some men, who robbed her of her bundle and stripped her to the shift. Her story was so far confirmed, that her relatives, who had been discovered, came forward to state that she bad not been in London for twenty years, and that she had resided at Donnington. The reason she assigned for not being able to find her relatives was, that the improvements in London had so completely altered the place she bad previously known, that-she became bewildered. A quantity of female apparel was found under a cart, about a mile from the spot where the woman was dis- covered; but the denied that the clothes belonged to her. It is supposed she invented the.story of the robbery for the purpose of exciting cha- rity; but inquiries have been directed to be made at Dormington with a view to ascertain whether the clothes found are those she had on when she left that place.
A coffin, containing the body of a newly-born infant, was found in the water at Wood's Wharf, Scotland Yard, on Sunday. The Coroner's Jury were of opinion that the body had been deposited in the river by Cie parents, to avoid payment of the burial-fees.
On Thursday morning, some painters at work at Lambeth Palace adopted the dangerous expedient of warming the room in which they 'were employed with a pan of burning charcoal. They were discovered a few hours afterwards lying on the floor, in a senseless state, from ,the effects of the carbonic acid gas produced by the combustion of the char- coal. One of the men died in consequence ; and another is still se- -rionsly ill. The others recovered.
From the report which Mr. Braid wood, Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade, has made to the Insurance-companies, it appears that the number and extent of the fires in the Metropolis during the past year, were greater than in any former year since the establishment of the Brigade in the year 1833; notwithstanding which, the number of buildings "totally destroyed" is under the general average. The number of fires between the 1st January and the 1st December 1840, amounted to 863. They chiefly originated in consequence of intoxi- cation or carelessness by workmen. Out of the entire number, however, 204 fires had taken place in private houses. The number of lives lost during the past year by fires was 22.