Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The London Tourist

While visiting with the Branghtons in London, Evelina is introduced to a variety of sites that tourists of the time enjoyed seeing.  Some like the Tower of London are an attraction that is still a must-see for London tourists centuries years later.  Others have been lost to the ages.  So let's use the Braghntons' suggestions to guide us through the amusements that amused 18th century London.

One of the first suggestions was Don Saltero's coffee shop which was more a curiosity cabinet than a coffeeshop.

Sadler's Wells was founded in 1683 when a surveyor discovered a mineral spring there.  It became a fashionable resort for high society but declined in popularity.  It also served as a music hall before becoming a theater and today is a dance house of which there is no mention of any mineral springs on the site. For shame!

"The Monument" is another tourist attraction tourists flock to today.  Erected in 1677 by Christopher Wren, it marks where the Great Fire of London is said to have started.  Visitors could climb to the top to gain an impressive view of the city.  Visitors now can do the same, with the help of a fence around the platform, which was added in the 19th century due to multiple suicides.  Goodness, I wouldn't want to be on that platform without that fence, especially in panniers!

Of course there were the famous pleasure gardens which had both residents and tourists alike flocking to.  Evelina is fortune (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to visit the most famous ones.  Vauxhall, Ranelagh, Marylebone, and Kensington Gardens drew both the upper echelons of society and the prostitutes that fed off them.  Every garden had endless amusements, both in the gardens and in watching the people in attendance at them.

Remember when there were no new television shows during the summer and you had to wait until fall for all the premieres?  So was the case for theater-goers in London.  The theater season began in September and ended in June.  That is, if your theater wasn't "Foote's."  Samuel Foote's theater took advantage of the off season to stage plays for those who remained in London for the summer.

At King's Cross Road one could visit Bagnigge Wells, another fashionable spa which brought the country to London.  One could roam in a honeysuckle covered tea arbour, visit the gardens and fish ponds, skittle alley, bowling green, or bun house.  Just as with any fashionable pump room you could rub shoulders with the elite as well as attend concerts. 


  1. Thank you for another excellent post. I looked at your older entries, too, and the pictures you found. You do such wonderful stuff!

  2. Wow this is ironic! I'm flying to London tomorrow, good timing!

  3. You lucky thing, you! HAVE FUN!

    ...watch out for rakes