Visiting Victorian London
June 7, 2011
Visiting the UK this summer? You’re probably bringing along a guidebook to help you navigate, see the sights, and understand the local culture. Old guidebooks can provide an interesting snapshot of place and time. For example, Special Collections owns numerous 19th century guidebooks to places in the British Isles, including Scotland, the English Lake District, and the city of London. These books not only can give historians a better understanding of the geography of specific locales, but can help modern researchers better understand the culture and values of earlier times. Guidebooks like the “Hand-book of Modern London” for 1856 (pictured here) not only describes how the city looked and functioned in the time of Dickens, they answer questions like: what were the most valued places in London, and why? How were those attractions marketed to tourists and visitors?
To find guidebooks and travelogues in Special Collections, go to the library catalog and perform a subject search on a given location using the location name and the term “guidebooks” or “description and travel.”