Rocque’s Map of Georgian London, Astley’s Amphitheatre & The British Museum

I’ve been dying to write a post for weeks – it’s so lovely to finally be on here! Although it is quite funny because past me would never have really said that, finding blogging quite hard and all that, but recently I’ve been really enjoying it. Perhaps it’s because I have a bit more time set aside for it.

Anyway, it’s nice to be back. I’ve had Fool Me Twice taking up all my writing time – along with sorting some promotional bookmarks and business cards with a graphic designer called Emily Rose Nazer (who I’d recommend by the way) – and so there has been, alas, no time for blogging. Though I find solace in the fact that Fool Me Twice  is now finished! Wohoo!

What’s made not blogging more unbearable has been the fact I have so many things I want to share! Mostly they are about research that I’ve been doing for Fool Me Twice and some bits I got for Christmas  (yes, that’s how long I’ve been out of action with writing and illnesses etc!) Specifically, something which I LOVE and was given to me by my sister-in-law, is a reproduction of Rocque’s Map of Georgian London 1746.

Now, in truth, I never really used to get this whole obsession with research that historical authors have. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great – but me, myself, I never really felt a burning desire for it. However, what I’ve been learning recently, is now that I actually have the time and I’m not frantic about getting everything done in life, I quite enjoy pottering through articles online, images of historical objects or places, and pouring over books and maps in my search for information for a novel or just to sate my appetite for learning. The time I most enjoy research, in fact, is when I don’t realise I’m doing it. I’ve just gone on one of those long Google link trails that has led me down into a cavern of information.

I’m sure there’ll be a time when I get frustrated and don’t want to do research in the future. Perhaps when I’m writing and just want to crack on with a story, but for now, I’m enjoying it and wanted to share a little.

So, one of the scenes in Fool Me Twice takes place at the British Museum, and another at Astley’s Amphitheatre, both in London. Rather than vaguely guessing where they were I found their addresses using the BM’s website and another present for Christmas, Georgians Revealed (I went to the exhibition the book is based on at the British Library with a friend a few years ago), and then I looked them up in my new Rocque’s map, cross-referencing it with Google Maps to get an idea of where it now stood in present-day London.

Here are some pictures of the map to show you what I’ve been looking at:

Rocque's Map Box

The map comes in a neat little box reproduced over 4 sheets

Half Rocque's Map

This gives you an idea of how big it is – I’m using the scientific comparison of my tootsies (which I’m only showing because my to nails are painted 😉 This is only half of the map and by the way, London is MUCH bigger now

Montague House - BM Rocque Photo

This small section shows Montague House where the British Museum originally opened to the public in 1759

 

the_north_prospect_of_mountague_house_jamessimonc1715

This is the north prospect of Montague House c.1715 It backed onto Montague fields where the infamous field of the forty-footsteps was accordingly to Wikipedia at least…

Astley's Rocque Photo

Westminster Bridge, to the south of which was Astley’s Amphitheatre, home to horse acrobatics and the predecessor of the circus until it moved in 1795

astleys_amphitheatre

Etching of Astley’s Amphitheatre c.1777 by Charles John Smith

It’s definitely been fun doing this kind of research, it’s collating various sources (books, online articles, maps, etchings, prints) to get a better idea of the layout of London, travelling within it and where different attractions lay as well as what they looked like and what one did inside.

 

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