On the second day of our trip, we walked all over London. As you may recall, the day began with an early-morning jaunt across the entire length of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park and back, and let me assure you, we were only just getting warmed up.
Because our next move was to meet up with Regency romance author Louise Allen in Piccadilly, so that she could give us a personal tour of Regency St. James’ Square.
If you’re a fan of Regencies, then you really should do yourself a favor and get your hands on Louise’s fabulous little book Walks Through Regency London. Even if you don’t have any plans to go to London soon, just reading through the ten meticulously researched walks she’s laid out in this delightfully illustrated volume will easily transport you to the world of clubs and curricles, Almack’s and accomplishments.
Ten walks through present-day London to visit the locations of iconic Regency sites, both existing and long-gone, including Almack’s, White’s Club, the Fleet prison, and St George’s Hanover Square. The walks take in the homes of the famous including Beau Brummell, Nelson, and the Prince Regent, pass exquisite Georgian buildings, and take the reader drinking in Tom Cribb’s pub, eating in a chop house frequented by the Hell Fire Club, and strolling along Regency shopping arcades.
(From Walks Through Regency London, by Louise Allen)
When I got my copy in the mail this winter, I immediately sat down with Google Earth open on my laptop and her book at my elbow, and wandered around each neighborhood through the miracle of technology.
Of course, doing things in real life is pretty sweet, too.
Louise and her charming husband were kind enough to spend the better part of the morning and early afternoon with us, tracing the steps of Walk #1 in her book, St. James’ Square. We spent all day nosily poking our noses into 200-year-old bootmakers shops, gentlemen’s clubs, and other celebrated meeting places of Regency society.
It was kind of epic.
Up next: Calling hours at the V&A and an Evening at the Theatre!