Driving down Portland Place, 1835

September 29, 2014 at 10:25 am (books, carriages & transport, diaries, goslings and sharpe, history, london's landscape) (, , , )

This past week has been FILLED with letters (thank you Anna!), some of which have given the harrowing details of the last illness of William Gosling, senior partner in the banking firm Goslings and Sharpe – and my Mary’s father. Mary lost two family members in January 1834 – her brother William also died (of scarlet fever).

But it is from a diary, written by a young girl who, though ever so nominally ‘related’ to the Smiths and Goslings, probably never met any of them. The connection is Mrs Thomas Smith – sister-in-law of Joshua Smith, she was Great Aunt to Emma and Charles Smith; and through her own sister Juliana (née Mackworth Praed), aunt to the diarist Emily Shore and her sisters, as well as Winthrop Mackworth Praed.

But I digress…

Anna Leszkiewicz’s delightful review @ Rookie of “The Journal of Emily Shore”

It is May 20, 1835 – and Emily Shore and her mother have been invited to visit a London family. Oh, Emily has some very choice words to say about the fog, smog, smoke of London. The country-girl was unimpressed.

So how wonderful to then read what DID impress her: Portland Place!

But let’s first put Emily on the road :

We avoided the City altogether, going by the New Road, through Regent’s Park. I was altogether disappointed in the Park. I had expected at least to see fine timber. No such thing. The horrid atmosphere of London checks all vegetation. As far as I could see, there was not a tree in Regent’s Park to compare with the greater part of those in Whitewood. Besides, the sky is smoky and dingy, there is not freshness in the air, nor the bloom of spring everywhere, as in the country. It has also a formal look; it is intersected with wide public roads, which are inclosed by hedges or railings. These roads were full of carriages, cabs, horsemen, and pedestrians, which are supposed to give so much liveliness to the scene; so they do, but I like a retired, unfrequented park much better.

nos-5-6PPOn leaving Regent’s Park we entered Portland place. Here I was much struck with the grandeur of the buildings, surpassing anything I ever saw in the shape of private houses. If London had all been like this, it would have been a magnificent city. But I  believe not many parts are so noble as this.

To remind Two Teens in the Time of Austen readers, the Goslings lived at No. 5 Portland Place, and the Smiths were next door, at No. 6 — No. 5 is the address in the middle, with the “longest” yard and “shortest” house (click to enlarge map), and at the right (with the white pilasters) in the photo below, which looks UP the street from Langham Place; Regents Park is at the opposite end.

portland place

EXTRAS:

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Murray’s Handbooks: Victorian Travel

August 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm (books, europe, history, london's landscape, places, travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

In “email-conversation” with Calista a few weeks ago, we got to discussing travel guides and I mentioned those published by Murray – because I remembered it being used in The Ruskins in Normandy: Tour in 1848 with Murray’s Handbook.

So tonight, when looking around Internet Archive, I thought to see what they had for these travel guides.

They were published too late for the travels undertaken by Mary, Charles, Drummond Smith – but I’m sure other members of the family knew of them, perhaps even used them.

I had to post this title page illustration for Murray’s 1851 handbook to “Modern” London – and I invite you to read about the city by following this link: Modern London, Or London as it is.

Had some laughs over these “Hints to Strangers”:

  • “London should be seen between May and July.”
  • “Saturday is the aristocratic day for sight seeing.”
  • “Monday is generally a workman’s holiday.”
  • “Never listen to those who offer ‘smuggled’ cigars in the street.”
  • “Avoid gambling houses or ‘hells’.”
  • “Beware of drinking the unwholesome water furnished to the tanks of houses from the Thames…”

Akkk! Murray’s writes of Portland Place as “a wide monotonous street” – Mrs Smith and Mr Gosling would not be pleased….

Page 32 describes Regent’s Park, a destination Mary mentions often. They loved the Zoological Gardens, visiting often each season.

Page 264 discusses “Langham-place Church” – which was New Church when Mary and Charles married in 1826.

A listing of Murray’s English and Continental Handbooks are found at the end of the book.

Murray’s Handbooks Series @ Internet Archive

 other titles have been digitized by Google

 

 

 

 

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