Monday, December 22, 2008

The London of the Ton - Part I

This is my very first post as Ann Lethbridge on the Regency Ramble Blog, so first let me say good day and I hope you find my rambles as interesting as my bff.

I did promise some posts on the military scene, but I also want to share some interesting parts of London during the Regency. This first picture is of Charing Cross in June 1807 located at the junction of the Stand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street.

The statue is of of King Charles 1, which replaced the original Elleanor cross and was subsequently replaced by the current Elleanor Cross replica built in Victorian times..

To the north of Charing Cross in regency times was the King's Mews, a royal stable.

A famous inn called the "Golden Cross" - first mentioned in 1643 - was situated in the former village of Charing. From here, now called the Golden-cross Coffee House and Hotel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, coaches departed by various routes to Dover, Brighton, Bath Bristol, Cambridge, Holyhead and York.

To me what is interesting is the amount of detail of daily life to be garnered from this picture.

There are several vehicles, carriages, coaches and carters. As well as a man on horseback and another on a donkey. I expecially like the way the coach is emerging from the hotel courtyard. Look how tight a fit that is.

The foot path with its curb is very clear. And there are ladies and gentlemen walking along.


Here is the same location during the same time period on quite a different sort of a day and from a quite different angle.

Here we have two men being pilloried. Pillories were apparently in use until 1816, the last being put to use in Yarmouth.

It is certainly a spectator sport. People crowd the streets, stand in the windows and upon the roof too.

This angle gives us a lot more information about the buildings in the era. What is interesting is the openness of this area, because of the several roads coming together at one junction.



This next picture caught my eye because of the woman and child coming from the side of the building. Their clothing is clearly regency.


I was also interested in the way the shop juts out from the building and the people peering out of the windows above. In this era shop-keepers tended to live above their establishments.











This last sketch reminds us, in additon to the pillory above, that it was not a golden age for all.

This is a sketch by Cruikshank, which i beleive to be the Fleet and which reminds those who pass by that debtors need help. Since once they were in prison, they were unable to support themselves.

The boy with the hoop reminds us of simpler days and simpler amusements for children, and look at the man with the bird in a cage. And the fruit or vegetables piled up for sale.


That is it for my ramble through the Regency. Looking forward to sharing more sights and sounds of London another time.