Tag: London

1
Jul

The Picture of London

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

"You can’t think I’m going to totter all over London looking at a lot of buildings I don’t want to see! Very happy to take you driving in the Park, but that’s coming it too strong, my dear girl!   … Besides, I don’t know anything about these curst places you want to see! Couldn’t tell you anything about ‘em!"

     — Mr. Freddy Standen to Miss Kitty Charing

"Oh, but that need not signify! Look, I purchased this book in Hatchard’s shop this morning, and it tells one everything! It is called The Picture of London, and it says here that it is a correct guide to all the Curiosities, Amusements, Exhibitions, Public Establishments, and Remarkable Objects in and near London, made for the use of Strangers, Foreigners, and all Persons who are not intimately acquainted with the Metropolis!"

     — Miss Kitty Charing to Mr. Freddy Standen


Dialog from Chapter 9 of Cotillion by Georgette Heyer.

I re-read Cotillion recently, many years since I last read it in high school. This passage caught my eye this time around, because I now know how thoroughly Heyer researched her novels. Did she invent the guidebook which Kitty purchased for her London adventure? Hatchard’s was a real bookshop in Regency London. Was The Picture of London a real guidebook of the city?

3
May

Pianoforte vs. Harpsichord

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

It is during the years of the Regency that the popularity of these two musical instruments intersect, one rising, the other waning. In fact, many of the more affluent homes during this period had both keyboard instruments. But though they are somewhat similar in appearance, they are very different in terms of their construction, their "touch" when being played, and the quality and volume of the sounds which they can produce.

A number of musical instrument makers produced both types of instruments during these years. Many notable composers composed music for both instruments, including Bach, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, and Scarlatti. Yet, by the time the Regency was over, the pianoforte had won out over the harpsichord. The victory was so complete that vast numbers of harpsichords were destroyed all over Europe. In the Paris Conservatory, for example, they were smashed and used as firewood.

5
Apr

City of Laughter:   Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London   A Review By Cheryl Bolen

Cheryl Bolen, award-winning Regency romance author, today reviews an important historical reference with which most Regency authors and aficionados will want to be aware. As Cheryl point out, this book is most definitely not for children, but it is a treasure trove of previously unpublished images and information. She has added this book to her own Regency research library, and many other Regency devotees may very well want to do the same.

17
Mar

Belgravia — Not a Regency Address

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Unless you like living in a swamp infested with thieves!

Despite the use of Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, or other locales within Belgravia as the address for one or more characters in recent Regency novels I have read, Belgravia did not exist in the Regency. Wishing, or in this case, writing, cannot make it so. The area which encompasses Belgravia was known as Five Fields during the decade of the Regency, and for centuries before that. It was a marshy, muddy lowland and a known haunt of footpads and highwaymen. It was by no stretch of the imagination a posh address during the Regency. In fact, there were only a few ramshackle sheds in the fields, some used for bull-baiting or cock-fighting. Large sections of the fields were unhealthy as they were heavily saturated with brackish water.

When and how did this marshy wasteland become the address in London?

4
Mar

Regency Debt and Prisons   By Ann Lethbridge

In today’s article, Ann Lethbridge, author of Falling for the Highland Rogue, completes her two-part series on Regency prisons, in particular, the two other debtors prisons located in London. After reading today’s article, you may consider imprisonment in the Fleet prison rather a treat when compared to these other prisons.

1
Mar

Prisons in the Regency   By Ann Lethbridge

Today, Ann Lethbridge, Regency romance author, whose most recent book is Falling for the Highland Rogue, begins a two-part series on Regency prisons. In this article, Ann focuses on the famous, or perhaps, the infamous Fleet prison in London. The majority of prisoners held in the Fleet during the Regency were those who could not pay their debts. This may be difficult for many of us living in the twenty-first century to understand, since people are no longer imprisoned for debt in modern times. But it was a common practice during our favorite period, and Ann’s article will help us all better understand life in the Fleet during the Regency.

25
Feb

Grosvenor House — Regency Treasure House   By Angelyn Schmid

Though it no longer stands, during the Regency, Grosvenor House held one of the finest collections of paintings in all of England. In today’s article, Regency romance author, Angelyn Schmid, shares her research into this remarkable house and the extraordinarily wealthy family that owned it, and the surrounding property. The question is, once you have read Angelyn’s article, would you want to live in this house?

19
Jan

Regency Architecture:   Sir John Soane   By Ann Lethbridge

Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, whose most recent book, Falling for the Highland Rogue, won the Romantic Times Knight in Shining Silver (KISS) Award, today tells us about Sir John Soane, a prominent Regency architect. She shares important information about Soane’s working style and provides images of some of his more significant buildings.

Might Sir John Soane or his buildings figure in one of your next novels?

11
Nov

Get Thee to the Church on Time   by Regina Scott

The whole point of a romance novel is the happily-ever-after, which, of course, culminates in the marriage of the hero and the heroine. Today, Regina Scott, Regency romance author and Beau Monde past President, tells us about some of the churches in London which would have been available during the Regency for that joyous ceremony.

28
Oct

The Most Haunted House in London by Angelyn Schmid

October. The month for scary things. A haunted house fits right in. Today, Angelyn Schmid tells us about some frightening and unexplained things which occurred in the most haunted house in London, which was situated in prestigious Berkeley Square. A word of advice, don’t read this story alone, or in the dark!

16
Sep

Lost in the Regency Mail by Susanna Ives

Today, Susanna Ives, author of Rakes and Radishes, shares the research she did on the British mail delivery system while writing that book. She includes excerpts from several historical works on the subject, as well as some from books published during the period known as the "long Regency." Do you need to know the price of postage for a letter delivered within the British Isles? Or, is you fictional missive to be sent abroad for delivery in a foreign land? Susanna provides postage tables in her article for convenient reference. In her article, you will also find details on which coaches served which cities and the business hours of the London Post Office, among other details of the British postal system.

4
Sep

Amusements in London:   Exeter ‘Change by Regina Scott

The Regency had places where one could go to see wild and exotic animals. One of the most famous was the Royal Menagerie at the Exeter Exchange. But this London amusement had very little in common with the scientifically-managed zoological parks of modern times. Today, Regency romance author, and Beau Monde past President, Regina Scott, provides us with some details of the Menagerie at the Exeter ‘Change. Do you think you would have enjoyed a visit to the Royal Menagerie?

20
Aug

A Review of the Private Correspondence of Granville Leveson Gower by Cheryl Bolen

Today, Cheryl Bolen reviews the private correspondence of the man who made many Regency women swoon over his remarkable good looks. And he was a man who took advantage of his personal assets, enjoying affairs with a number of women. He also served his country in several embassy postings over the course of his successful diplomatic career. But of more importance to us, he regularly corresponded with one of his lovers, right through the decade of the Regency. Many of his letters survive, and have been published. Cheryl Bolen shares her insights regarding his lengthy and informative correspondence.

16
Aug

Coaching Tokens or Half-Pennies

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

We have all received mailings, either via snail-mail or email, which include a "check" or coupon worth a certain amount for use at a restaurant or hotel as an inducement for our patronage. Our Regency ancestors received similar specialized currency, and though their incentive cash came in the form of hard coin, its production and use correlated to the postal system of their time.

The minting and circulation of the coaching half-penny through time …

24
Jul

London’s Spencer House   By Cheryl Bolen

One of the most elegant of the eighteenth-century private mansions in London was Spencer House. Built by one of the richest men in the realm, Spencer House was more palace than house, with interior decor which must have roused the envy of many who passed through its doors. Though the house is more than two centuries old, it has been purchased and restored by a wealthy organization which now makes it open to the public. Today, Cheryl Bolen, best-selling Regency romance author, takes us on a tour of this grand London home.

9
Jul

Buying Bread and Milk in 18th and 19th Century London   By Susanna Ives

Susanna Ives, Regency romance author, shares her research on the acquisition of bread and milk by those who lived in London over the course of what scholars call the "Long Regency." Today, such purchases can be made by a quick trip to the corner market, many open twenty-four hours a day. Those of us living today also benefit by the fact that there are laws in place to ensure both of those staple commodities are safe and healthy. Such was not the case two hundred years ago.

When getting bread and milk was rather a challenge …

10
May

Public Spectacles, Amusements, and Objects Deserving Notice, May by Regina Scott

What did our Regency ancestors do in the month of May? Today, Regina Scott, Regency romance author, and Beau Monde Chapter past president, tells us about some of the various activities which took place during the month of May in Regency England. Not all of them may have been the type of activities to which the ton flocked, but there seems little doubt they amused a great many people across Britain during the merry month of May.

3
May

Dandy Chargers Ride — The 2013 Season

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

One of my favorite signs of Spring is the arrival in my email box of the Dandy Chargers annual schedule of appearances. For those of you who may not know, the Dandy Chargers are a group of gentlemen, and ladies, in Britain, who are aficionados of that particularly Regency vehicle, the velocipede. Readers of the works of Georgette Heyer may also know this vehicle as the pedestrian curricle which wreaked such havoc in her novel Frederica. These two-wheeled, pedal-less vehicles were also known as hobby-horses, draisiennes, or dandy-horses, and were very popular for a short period during the Regency.

Each year, the Dandy Chargers make appearances through the spring and summer at various venues across Britain, in full Regency costume, riding their hobby-horses. For those of you who live in Britain, or will be spending time there during the next few months, I offer the 2013 schedule of the Dandy Chargers appearances for your perusal and edification.

15
Apr

A Regency Bicentennial:   The Day Henry Bone Broke the Bank

A Regency Bicentennial cross-post from The Regency Redingote, originally published in April 2011:

For Henry Bone, 15 April 1811 was a red letter day. But for the bank of Marsh, Sibbald, Stracey & Fauntleroy, it was a black day indeed. Over £2,000 shifted from one end of Berners Street to the other that day, and very nearly shuttered the bank forever. It is possible the events of this day also led one of the bank’s officers into a life of clandestine crime which, when it was exposed, would ultimately end with his execution.

How an artist from Cornwall rocked the foundations of a London bank, two hundred years ago, today.

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