“Adjoining the Lowther Arcade…is the Adelaide Gallery, originally intended as a place of amusement and instruction combined. It was first opened in the year 1830, and named after Queen Adelaide, the consort of William IV [and] thus cleverly sketched by the late Mr. Albert Smith in his little book on London Life and Character:—
‘Some time back—dates are dry things, so we need not care about the precise year—there existed in the neighbourhood of the Lowther Arcade an establishment called the Adelaide Gallery. It was at first devoted to the diffusion of knowledge. Clever professors were there, teaching elaborate sciences in lectures of twenty minutes each; fearful engines revolved, and hissed, and quivered, as the fettered steam that formed their entrails grumbled sullenly in its bondage; mice led gasping subaqueous lives in diving-bells; clock-work steamers ticked round and round a basin perpetually, to prove the efficacy of invisible paddles; and on all sides were clever machines which stray visitors were puzzled to class either as coffee-mills, water-wheels, roasting-jacks, or musical instruments. There were artful snares laid for giving galvanic shocks to the unwary; steam-guns that turned bullets into bad sixpences against the target; and dark microscopic rooms for shaking the principles of teetotalers, by showing the wriggling abominations in a drop of the water which they were supposed daily to gulp down…’”
From: 'Charing Cross, the railway stations, and Old Hungerford Market', Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 123-134. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45140 Date accessed: 08 February 2012.