Regency London Walk with Sue Attwood
The UK Telegraph’s Travel section gives this wonderful suggestion for a Regency walk through parts of London.
– Sue Attwood goes in search of Regency London and finds much of it still just as described in Georgette Heyer’s historical novels.
Burlington Arcade, off Piccadilly
“It is the greatest bore to go out walking with any of them,” remonstrates Frederica, the heroine of Georgette Heyer’s eponymous novel, when reproved for walking without a maid, “because they will dawdle or say their shoes hurt them”. Maidless myself, and in comfortable shoes, I stand at the top of the steps from the Mall to Waterloo Place and Regent Street beyond, and have an impression of how Regency London looked: magnificent. Then I begin to walk.
1 From the steps, look left towards The Athenaeum Club. It was built over the western corner of the Regent’s demolished Carlton House and Wellington, who was a member, had a mounting block, which is still there, placed on the opposite pavement.
Walk left into Pall Mall, and first right into St James’s Square, where Deborah Grantham’s aunt had her gaming parlour in Faro’s Daughter. Numbers 20 and 33 are by Robert Adam. At 16, on the site of what is now the East India Club, the Regent was dining with Mrs Boehm on June 21 1815 when Major Percy, four French eagle standards….
2 In King Street, opposite Christie’s, is the site of Almack’s Assembly Rooms, now a modern office building. Turn left down narrow Heyeresque Crown Passage and right into Pall Mall …..
3 Tucked against Berry Bros is a passage leading to tiny Georgian Pickering Place, number 5 appears in Regency Buck as a gaming hell, and across the way at Truefitt & Hill, number 17, they’ve been selling cut-throat razors and pomade since 1805. Lock & Co, at number 6, began as hatters ….
4 At number 37, near the top of St James’s, is White’s, with its infamous bow-window. No respectable lady would be seen in this street of gentlemen’s clubs but in The Grand Sophy the heroine…..
Beau Brummell notoriously sat in the window with other dandies observing the passers-by. …..
5 Turn right into Piccadilly, like Judith Taverner in Regency Buck, who then knew herself to be “in the heart of the fashionable quarter”. Follow her past Hatchards, the bookshop, “with its bow windows filled with all the newest publications”, then cross over to Albany where Captain Ware ……
6 Go back a hundred yards and up Burlington Arcade, built in 1819. At the top, turn left, then left again into Old Bond Street. At the bottom, turn right into Piccadilly, crossing the road at the Ritz……..
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