Friday, October 21, 2011

The High Points of London
...Geographically Speaking!

London is situated along the banks of the River Thames in a broad valley. It stands to reason therefore that the land rises on either side. And there are some impressive hills. Some are well-known to Regency readers and writers--Hampstead Heath is a substantial height of land at 440 ft., and Bushey Heath at 502 ft.--both sheltered highwaymen and thieves like Dick Turpin through the early 1800s.

Horatia Nelson Ward, 1822
One of the tallest hills, at 499 feet, is Stanmore, eleven miles from the City to the north and west. It was the sight of a meeting between the Prince Regent and Louis XVIII in 1814, at the Abercorn Arms. Nearby Pinner Hill, 413 feet, was the home of Mrs. Horatia Ward--daughter of Emma Hamilton and Lord Nelson--in her old age. The borough of Harrow is home to several of the highest of the London's hills, including Harrow at 408 feet.

Triangular Tower,
Shooter's Hill
Shooter's Hill, south east of the City of London, on the main road to Dover was also remote, and very steep. With a gallows at the bottom, in use until 1805, and thieves abounding, it must have been a dreaded part of the journey to the coast. Because of its height, it was long the site of a warning beacon, and its summit at 433 ft. boasted a shutter telegraph in Regency times, and the long-standing, well-known Bull Inn.

Muswell Hill (344 ft.) and Highgate (North Hill--430 ft.) are closer to the City of London--Muswell is only six miles north of Charing Cross. Both are prized areas now, and were burgeoning suburbs during the Regency comprised of villas and cottages ornes in leafy seclusion.

To the south-east of the City, Havering-atte-Bower, a ridge of some 344 feet rose. Situated on it was Havering Palace, built as a hunting lodge by Edward the Confessor and used by royalty for the next six hundred years. It was pulled down in the 1600s, and Havering subsided into relative obscurity.

All the heights of land surrounding London now offer wonderful views of the great city and its environs. In the Regency era, they would have been much more rural, and the city that could been seen from them was very different.Geography is so important in understanding a city, and its people. As writers, and readers, we need our maps close to hand!
London from Hampstead Heath, by John Constable
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you to everyone who left comments on my blog post last week. I'm glad you enjoyed my little contest and the winner is Tracey D (booklover0226). I will be contacting you shortly about sending your ebooks on CD-ROM. Congratulations!

I hope you will all enter to win the Kindle at the Uncial Press Birthday Party; that draw takes place October 28. And there are free ebook draws every day!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next week, Regina Scott will be visiting to discuss graphite mining in England during the Regency. Graphite, or plumbago, was a vital mineral in the British military industries. Learn more next Friday! Regina spends a great deal of time in the Regency period. Her twentieth book set in that period, An Honorable Gentleman, is a November 2011 release from Love Inspired Historicals. You can find Regina online at,, and

No comments: