Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Searching for Regency London

by Michele Ann Young
I received my copies of the Mammoth Book of Regencies and boy are there some neat writers inside the covers.

Can't wait to read everyone's stories. Short stories are great. I have started reading one every day while I am on my exercise bike. Exercising is now a treat.

This is not a very exciting picture, given the scaffolding, but if you were following the earlier post on adventures in London you will remember we paused in Bedford Square.

Everywhere you go, there are these blue signs, noting who lived at various houses.

This one is for Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor from1801-1827 with a brief respite for one year early on.

The interesting thing about this man for me, is that as well as being Lord Chancellor, he was the son of a coal fitter, and rose to the peerage.

He was also one of those men who as a youth ran off with an heiress, Besse Surtees in November 1772. Using a ladder to get her out of the house no less, he whisked her off to Scotland to be married. And their love endured until her death in 1831. He followed her in 1838. A true romance.

He is certainly an interesting man, (pictured here in his Chancellor's robes) and while we would not agree with many of his ideals today, he was a rogue as a lad, a romantic as a young man and moved up by his own efforts to be involved in the leadership of his country during very interesting times. He certainly warrants more study.

We are going to move on from this square next time. Until then, Happy Rambles

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flora and Fauna of Regency England

by Ann Lethbridge
Having just got back from Britain, I experienced June's Flora and Fauna first hand and took lots of pictures. But there is news on the Fauna front I could not resist.

The Great Bustard

is back. I am sure you have seen the news. The Great Bustard was formerly native in Great Britain and a bustard forms part of the design of the Wiltshire Coat of Arms which were awarded in the 20th century by the way so not Regency.

The bustard was hunted out of existence by the 1840s.

The male bird is described as the heaviest living flying animal. It has an eight foot wingspan. It's habitat is open grassland, which means Wiltshire would be ideal, although it can be found on undisturbed cultivation.

It has a stately slow walk, and tends to run when disturbed rather than fly. It is gregarious, especially in winter. This species is omnivorous taking seeds, insects and other small creatures, including frogs and beetles.

I assume this would have been a common game bird for our Regency era, and probably like turkey would have made good eating. Recipes anyone? All right, it is a joke.

Now for the interesting part to me. While we were in Dorset we visited Kingston Lacy. ~ more about which you will be hearing and seeing in due course. But there, in a glass case, stuffed, was a Bustard.

Can't say I was really pleased to see him there, but I was glad of the evidence shall we say. No data, dates or information, but clearly they have been around for a while.

The last bit of my post, another picture of the fauna of England in situ will have to wait. My desktop computer has finally croaked its last, it did so half way through this post, can you believe, and must now be replaced, but all the pictures are hooked up to it, so I am going to post this, late, and get in my care and take the cpu in and get a new one. Oh my poor pocket book. But needs must.

Until next time, Happy rambles. The next post will be next week since no doubt getting set up is going to be a headache.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Regency Fashion For June

by Michele Ann Young

Counting down to the issue of the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance next month (July). Always an exciting time for an author.
To refresh your memory, my title is Remember.

All right, so it is Saturday and I feel a little light headed.

By the way, how do you like this new template.  I thought it was nice and easy to read. Makes a change, don't you think?

The evening gown on the left is from Ackeman's June 1817.
I do not have a description from the magazine to share with you, but once again it clearly shows how the fashions changed from the simple lines, early in the regency to the almost bell like skirt and heavy trim of this gown.

I love the petal shape trim beneath the garland of roses around the hem, which starts by the way at the knee. Also the headress is quite startlingly high.

Look at the contrast with this 1811 Parisien Ball Gown. This too has roses around the hem, but the line is much more free flowing and elegant. Almost acceptable for today.

Thant's from me, next up will be Flora and Fauna and then we will go back to our adventures in London.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge

On my way to Bedford Square, mentioned in my previous blog, I found the mews for my hotel, or townhouse as it would have been in the Regency.

These mews, Gower Mews, run at right angles to Gower Street partway down the block, not behind the houses they were intended to serve. Though on other streets I found examples of the mews running behind the houses.

Note the narrowness of the entry, one carriage wide, opening out enough to allow for a carriage to turn.

And here it is from the other side. These mews are dwellings now, and the stables beneath are garages rented separately, though in some other mews I did notice these garages were converted into part of the dwelling.

A two bedroom flat in these mews still owned I believe by the Bedford Estate, can be rented for around 500 pounds a week.

Back to Bedford Square, which is actually more of an oval, at least in the middle.

Here are a couple of pictures around this wonderful square for your enjoyment, although I admit to taking many more.

This square is still uniform with its large double town house in the centre of each side of the square with the pediment above and the individual townhouses flanking it.

A great example of London in the Regency. I will have some information next time about one Regency person who lived here.

On my first day, my foray into London enchanted me and I took a great many pictures. So our ramble through London is going to be a slow one, since I have so far walked only a few steps from my hotel.

Until next time Happy Rambles.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


by Ann Lethbridge

First let me say it is good to be home. I have many many photos and places to share with you. I also bought some amazing fashion prints in Hay on Wye and will be sharing those too. I had a wonderful time in England, met some old friends, visited some new places and walked down some memory lanes. Yet seeing husband, daughter and little dog waiting at the airport was probably the best sight of all.

Today is all about catching up with writing news.

First up, is that Captured for the Captain's Pleasure is now available in the UK. So I am stoked about that.

Predator by name, passionate
by nature!

Captain Michael Hawkhurst relishes his fearsome reputation, for he lives only to wreak revenge on the Fulton family, who so cruelly destroyed his own.

Spirited Alice Fulton knows a ship is no place for a lady, but she is determined to save her father’s business…

When fate delivers him Fultons virginal daughter as his captive, Michael faces a dilemma – should he live up to his scandalous name and find revenge with sweet Alice, or
will his honourable side win out – and win the girl…?

The second piece of writing news that happened during my absence was a nomination in the Historical Category in the Daphne Du Maurier contest for published authors for taaa daaa The Rake's Inherited Courtesan. This was my debut book for Harlequin Mills and Boon and I must say I am very excited about being nominated.

I will let you know what happened after the award ceremony in Orlando in July. As an aside, I am just writing a follow up story to this one, the hero's brother. Another bad boy.

Last but not least, Michele's story in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance Anthology ~ Remember ~ will be available in stores any day now.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adventures in London

by Ann Lethbridge

The Arosfa Hotel is a refurbished 200-year old Georgian Town House in the historic Bloomsbury district, the former home of the famous Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais.

Staying in a Georgian Town House near Bedford Square is a treat in itself I must say. I am right at the top of the house at the back, so it is quite a climb. No forgetting things and running back for them, I can assure you.

My first day here, Sunday, was hot and sunny and since it was too early to occupy my room, I left my luggage and set off on a long walk in search of all things Regency.

First stop, Bedford Square. One of the best preserved examples of Georgian architecture in London.

More to come on the square, of course, but the hour grows late and so I must wish you happy rambles, until next time.