Growing up, when I wasn’t reading my fill of sci-fi/fantasy, I devoured Regency and historical romance novels. The heroes were dashing scoundrels, the heroines were defiant bluestockings, and the romance was full of emotion.
Before I went to London, my mental picture of the city was full of Regency novel-generated images. A few years ago, I drew up a sort of Regency scavenger hunt. It had things like “find the brass plaque commemorating the existence of Almack’s assembly rooms” and “explore the Serpentine and Rotten Row in Hyde Park.” I found the list when I was planning my trip…so how could I resist?
Hatchard’s is still open for business at 187 Piccadilly. The decor is made up of dark wood and forest green. Shelves of books line the walls from floor to ceiling, and a grand staircase in the center of the main entrance leads to more floors full of books.
I wish I’d thought to look for the Regency romance section. They probably have a good one. (Or maybe not.)
We found the famous bow window of White’s gentleman’s club at 37 St. James Street, just around the corner from Bond Street.
As I looked at the window, it was easy to imagine frivolous young bucks of the ton making wagers on which rain drop would reach the bottom sill first. It brought to mind Julia Quinn’s Anthony Bridgerton teasing his friend Simon about becoming a duke.
Just around the corner and about halfway down Jermyn Street, there is a dapper statue of Beau Brummell, nicely turned out in top hat and tails.
At 28 King Street, according to my many romance novels, young ladies from the cream of society once sipped weak lemonade at the exclusive Almack’s Assembly Rooms, were paraded around by their matchmaking mamas to make good marriages.
The assembly rooms are long gone, but the building at that address is called Almack House, and there’s a brass commemorative plaque…somewhere. I didn’t find it. Maybe you will find it on your next visit to London…take a picture for me, won’t you?