History Hoydens

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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

08 July 2013

Book Highlight: The New Bath Guide, 1799

I love finding strange little books on Google Books. Today I thought I’d point out THE NEW BATH GUIDE; Or, Useful Pocket companion: For All Persons residing at or resorting to this Ancient City. The guide talks about the four (!) baths, tells of their temperatures, their prices, their accommodations, and assures the reader that the water for drinking is diverted BEFORE the flow reaches the baths.

Also described are the Assembly Rooms, with their weekly schedule of events (Monday, Dress Ball; Tues, Card Assembly; Wed, Concert; Thurs, Fancy Ball), and what the subscription costs were (one guinea for the Dress ball, which didn’t cover tea (additional 6d.), and gave notice that the balls closed promptly at 11PM, even if the hour rang in the middle of a dance (what a great scene that would make!). Also, it has minor fashion notes (aka dress codes!). No Gentlemen in boots or half-boots to be admitted on any night!

It covers the local hospitals, the churches (which are warm and which are not), the local schools, the rules for the local chairmen (including fares, which is always information I love to have; and interesting to see that they worked like taxis, with rates for distance and rates for “detaining” them if you wanted a return trip as well). Also worth noting that you paid extra for hills (Bath has several rather steep ones which are named in the guide so there can be no dispute). There is also a table of distances which could prove useful if you’ve never been and are trying make yourself a mental map.

Then the guide goes into the sights, such as Farley Castle, Bow-Wood, and the city of Wells. It has principal coaching roads, distances, and directions for travelers (again, information on fares!). And a list of boarding houses and inns.

All in all, it’s filled with exactly the kind of minutia that I like have in my head when I’m world-building.

Sometimes I even order a print copy (on the left of the preview screen is a blue drop down “Get this book in print”; If you choose “On Demand Books” you will get a list places with Espresso printing/binding machines and prices; the quality of the paper does vary; I like Village Books in Bellingham WA best so far).

1 Comments:

Blogger Isobel Carr said...

Blogger is refusing to allow me to add the link to the book for some reason! So here it is:

http://bit.ly/157zKV4

10:10 AM  

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