Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fascinating maps

Is everyone as fascinated by maps as I am? I can spend hours happily poring over an old Ordnance Survey map, but even better is when you have several different dates of map for the same area.
The London Topographical Society's A-Z of Regency London and A-Z of Victorian London are brilliant for seeing how the town spread out and the central areas changed. In the Regency volume, there's Carlton House fronting onto Pall Mall with its gardens behind - you can visualise the Prince Regent strutting his stuff inside and admiring his fabulous conservatory. And then by the Victorian edition it has all been swept away, to be replaced by Carlton House Terrace and a row of imposing clubs.
I've been having fun with road maps and a directory of stage coach services plotting my current hero's lengthy journey from London to Newcastle upon Tyne - 31 hours on the road, if you were lucky and there were no delays.
The Newcastle coach set out from the Bull and Mouth which was in the shadow of St Paul's. All the stages set out from inns, some of them with wonderful names - the Belle Sauvage, The Swan with Two Necks or the Bolt In Tun. I can feel a London pub crawl coming on - purely in the interests of historical research, of course!
Marry Christmas everyone

Louise Allen

1 comment:

Nicola Cornick said...

I'm as fascinated by maps as you are, Louise, and I also love old English pub names. Your post sent me rushing to get my Dictionary of Pub Names. I was disappointed not to find the Bull and Mouth, although I did find the Bull and Last, which fitted rather nicely with your post. Apparently it was the last stop before London and the coachmen would shout it out so people knew they were approaching the city. The Swan with Two Necks and the Bolt and Tun were in the book as well. The Bolt and Tun was named after a landlord of the 1680s called Job Bolton. I read that a tun held 252 gallons of wine. Just what you need at Christmas!