Adburgham, Alison. Shopping in Style: London from the Restoration to Edwardian Elegance. London: Thames & Hudson, 1979.

Margetson, Stella.  Regency London. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971. This carries on in to the early Victorian era the sort of information provided by Dr. Johnson’s London. It tells you which hotel a lord would stay at, and where a visiting country curate would stay, and where each would eat or seek entertainment.  There’s less of the day-to-day information, but some of the themed chapters dealing with the Prince Regent, the government, artists and writers, are very interesting and would provide excellent background information in your book. I especially enjoyed reading about the generally boring state of London theaters at the time Edmund Kean burst on the scene. I even found a tiny error–the authors refers to the famous Regency sweet shop as “Gunther’s” rather than the correct “Gunter’s.”

Picard, Liza. Dr. Johnson’s London. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001. This is a great social compendium of everything that was going on in London in the late 18th Century.  It provides fascinating and useful information about all aspects of life in London–its places, its residents, its services and entertainments. Since I’ve been working with Eloisa on the Desperate Duchesses series, which is set in pre-Regency Georgian England, this has been even more invaluable. It always provides me with the one factoid I need to help her characters find their way around London.

Picard, Liza. Victorian London: the Life of a City, 1840-1870. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. This is a continuation of the story Ms. Picard told in the previous book. What I find especially interesting are the subtle, but very important distinctions that separated the classes of London’s population, where they lived, their amusements,  how they arranged their lives. This will greatly assist the characters in your Victorian era book negotiate the nuances of London society.

Robb, Graham. The Discovery of France: a Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War.  New York: W. W. Norton & Co, Inc., 2007. We don’t grasp that until well into the second half of the 19th Century, vast tracts of France were alien lands to the world, as well as to the rest of France. Culture and language bore little resemblence to what we think of as Parisian French. This is a amazing account of what France once was, and how it became what we think we know, and surely love, now.  Not always pretty, nor romantic, nor comfortable, but always fascinating.

Scott, W. S. Green Retreats: The Story of Vauxhall Gardens 1661-1859. London: Odhams Press Limited, 1955. We forget that Vauxhall was open to the public for more than 200 years, though its glory was sadly faded at the end. We also forget that the chief, and in the beginning, the easiest, way to get there was to hire a water taxi to cross the Thames. This book will provide all the color and the details: the music, decorations, spectacles and exhibitions that will keep your characters entertained during their visit.  But you might want to keep them away from the Dark Walk.

Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher, (eds.) The London Encyclopedia. Bethedsa: Adler & Adler, 1986. This is a huge and good companion piece to the Picard book, as it covers a much large time span, but you have to know what you’re looking for, though the almost impossible-to-read index provides some direction. You could find a reference in Picard or another source, and then see what happened to the reference before and after Dr. Johnson’s time in here. It’s the sort of book you dip into, and continually find new interesting things to read about, while hours pass, unnoticed. It also makes you long to visit London, and see these places for yourself.
This was mentioned on Eloisa’s bb; shows the counties of Britain as they would have been, up to the 1970s. another fab gateway site.
I know. This isn’t the front door of the Georgian Index, but it’s the page I always end up at: I need to find a furniture-maker’s shop; I need a fancy address. I need this page of the Georgian Index. You can get there from here.
on-line version of Horwood’s famous 1800 map of London; extraordinary detail.
Information and maps of the famous Vauxhall Gardens.
Sending your characters out for coffee or a beer? No Starbucks, but ample other places for them to hang out.


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