The British Library has a great wall of books encased in glass towering over cafe clientele – it’s as mouth-watering as the cakes…
Another of my ‘trawling-through-old-photos-I-took-for-blog-posts’ posts today! These babies are proving their worth, I’m so glad I took them all, it’s great to go through them, not only so I can post lovely things on here but also to realise all the research I’ve done over the last few years and the cool places I’ve been.
Sometimes, as a younger author I feel a bit like I haven’t enough time to fit in all the knowledge. My friend Bennetts used to say, ‘Well, I’ve been doing it for 20 years’ a kind of, come back then and tell me if you feel the same, sort of comment. 6 years later (so not the whole-hog I grant you) and going through these photos is making me realise that I have done more than I thought and it has only grown my love (not my, ‘I need to do this’ comparison stuff) of history and learning.
Jane Austen’s London, eh?
So, I went to London with a friend a few years back and we had a jolly ol’ time going to the Georgian’s Revealed exhibition at the British Library (I had never been though both my novels had migrated there), and then following a ‘Jane Austen’s London’ (I kid you not!) walking guide. It was brill, and so useful for my writing.
Can you see that slight incline in front of White’s club above left photo? And, ah, that most hallowed of bow windows in which Brummell was wont to sit…
I mean, this is why it’s so important (if you can) to visit the places you hark on about in novels or read about. I am not a city-lover so how was I to know St James’ that fashionable haunt of fashionable men in the Regency is on a slight incline? It slopes down to St James’ Palace and therefore White’s is up a little hill. Such a lovely little gem of info which I might not sprawl across a novel page but which I can keep tucked in my wee mind for reference.
It’s true that what a writer of historical fiction knows and what they sprinkle onto their page, between their characters, is separated by a gargantuan divide! And so it should be, it would be boring if a novel were riddled with encyclopaedic knowledge – I’ll read an encyclopaedia for that thank you very much – it’s the juicy characters and their lives that interest me and I presume most people!
Pitt (1708-1778) and Gladstone (1809-1898)’s residence Chatham House
Hatchard’s, Almack’s and Brummell
Above: Hatchard’s bookshop – selling books since 1797 has a beautiful set of winding stair (it’s surprisingly large in there!) and a little cabinet of historical things!
Anyhoo, on this wee jaunt we ventured to the British Library as I said, we pootled along the Mall, took the obligatory (though it was nighttime) photo outside Buckingham Palace, wandered over to St James’ palace, walked up St James’ street, peered in at Brook’s, White’s, looked at the hallowed ground that was Almack’s and is now some faceless corporate looking building. I stood outside those Town houses the likes of which my characters live in, I linked arms with Beau Brummell’s statue, I popped into Hatchard’s and I saw where Pitt the elder lived.
It was in short, GREAT, and I highly recommend this sort of wander (especially if you use a walking tour book like we did).
My pal Beau…