Friday, May 14, 2010

Searching London for a Millinery Shop - New Release and Contest

Beau Brummell, it is recorded, once apologized for being seen on the east side of Charing Cross (right, 1807) in London. In the Regency, it seems, the City of London and, as Brummell said, all things east of Mayfair were indeed considered unfashionable by the Beau Monde.

So when I needed a location for a milllinery shop that was not a la mode for my new release (just published today!) "The Harmless Deception" I looked east. I found that streets to the south of The Strand (left, 1824) were lined with small shops, and as long as one did not descend too close to the river, they were respectable and worthy of patronage by the families of the professional and burgeoning middle classes.

In the end I created Felling Street which closes resembles this street (right) near the Duke of Northumberland's property just east of Charing Cross.

In the creation of this street I was aided by several research sources. British History Online is an invaluable resource. From the home page you can access a directory page of remarkable resources on London from maps to journals to surveys of its environs. Visitors can enter the name of any street in the search box and find a complete history of that street!

Another remarkable resource is The London Encyclopedia, now sadly out of print. 'Everything anyone could possibly want to know about London is contained within the covers of this magnificent and fascinating book.' Likewise Chambers London Gazetteer provides a street by street analysis of the city.

There are myriad books on London. In my research library I have London's Georgian Houses, London in the Eighteenth Century, Mayfair, Panoramas of London, a reproduction of a delightful Victorian children's book London Town and my prized London-World City 1800-1840. I have modern histories and guides and whatever historic pamphlets I can find. It is of course a city worthy of a life-time of study.

I was delighted to revisit London for my book The Harmless Deception.
My heroine Grace Whitton knew the city and all its boroughs and environs well. But she was happy enough to leave it all behind when love intervened. For she lived on the fringes of the fashionable city, and life there could be hard indeed. The Regency was a time of great wealth and great squalor. The dichotomy is fascinating and it is what keeps me writing about the period.

The Harmless Deception is released today by Uncial Press. You can purchase it here and learn more about it at my website here. From those who comment on today's post by Sunday midnight CST, I will randomly choose one winner who will receive a PDF copy of The Harmless Deception.

I hope you've had the opportunity to visit London. I'd love to hear about your experiences, or your dreams of visiting there.

'Til next time,



Phoebe's Sisters said...

Congratulations on your book! Thank you very much for this fascinating post about London. I love reading your entries. As a writer of Regency-set stories I strive for knowledge about England, but because I live in Ukraine I can rely only on the Internet resources. So thank you for listing them :))

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

I'm so glad to be of help, Farida. And thank you for your kind congratulations. It's always exciting to have a new release.