Exhibition Captions




William Morgan (d. 1690)
Mr. Ogilby’s and William Morgan’s pocket book of the roads: with their computed and measured distances, and the distinction of market and post-towns
London: printed for the author and Christopher Wilkinson, 1689

This handy, pocket-sized publication lists the places through which a traveller must pass when moving between two towns or cities. For example, in travelling from Bristol to Bath you must travel through Bristlington (i.e. Brislington), Keynsham and Twyverton (i.e. Twerton). The numbers in the columns represent the distances between these places: as a ‘vulgar computation’ in column ‘C’, and as a measured distance in miles and furlongs - by implication the more accurate of the two - under ‘M. F.’ The names of cities are given in capitals, those of market towns in italics and post towns are marked with an asterisk.

William Morgan worked with John Ogilby (who was married to Morgan’s grandmother) on several cartographic projects and inherited Ogilby’s business after the latter’s death in September 1676.

Atlas.7.68.1, pp. 26-27


John Cary, the elder (1755-1835)
Cary’s survey of the high roads from London to Hampton Court, Bagshot, Oakingham... Richmond; on a scale of one inch to a mile... to which is added the number of inns on each separate route; also, the different turnpike gates...
London : printed for J. Cary, 1790

The strip-road map format - if not invented by John Ogilby, certainly popularised by him - was continued and enhanced in this publication by John Cary. He added sight lines to identify, by the use of ruled lines, the points on the roads from which houses of note - that is to say, the seats of Gentlemen - could be seen. Cary’s output was prolific, and he produced charts and globes as well as maps. In 1794 he was appointed Surveyor of the Roads to the General Post Office. Cary and the firm he created, in which his sons and brothers were involved, dominated British map production for a generation.

Atlas.7.79.4, columns 27-30


George Taylor (fl. 1778)
‘Sketches of the roads in Scotland: with notes historical, descriptive, &ca .’
Scotland , 1785

The beautifully executed manuscript on display here was drawn by Captain George Taylor ‘o f The Duke of Cumberland’s late Regiment of Foot’ and illustrates his superb calligraphy and cartographic skills. It may have been written for a member of the Campbell clan, and possibly the Duke of Argyll himself, since the text describing the Duke is particularly fulsome. There is no indication that publication from this manuscript was contemplated.

George Taylor published a number of printed maps, including maps of the roads of Scotland, in collaboration with fellow Scot Andrew Skinner. Both men had worked in North America as Army surveyors, with Taylor, at least, returning to Scotland in about 1782.

MS Add. 7712, map 98


Matthew Simons (d. 1654) and Thomas Jenner (d. 1673)
A direction for the English traviller by which he shal be inabled to coast about all England and Wales
[ London]: sold by Thomas Jenner, 1643

 English cartographer John Norden first published triangular distance tables, which he had invented, in 1625. For the first time travellers had a ready means of reckoning the distance between towns in each county, a difficult task at a time when roads were not commonly depicted on maps. These tables were reissued in reduced format in 1635 by Matthew Simons (or Simmons), who added thumb-nail size county maps showing the location of the listed towns. On display here is a later edition of this work published by Thomas Jenner, with enlarged and improved maps. Samuel Pepys was a frequent visitor to Jenner’s shop.

Atlas.7.64.5, ‘ A table shewing the distances
of the most of the chiefe townes in Wales’


John Ogilby (1600-1676)
Britannia, volume the first: or, an illustration of the kingdom of England and dominion of Wales: by a geographical and historical description of the principal roads thereof. Actually admeasured and delineated...
London : printed by the author, 1675

John Ogilby’s atlas was the first to provide travellers with a cartographic portrayal of the roads themselves. Each map is read upwards, starting in the bottom left corner and ending in the upper right corner: Plymouth to Land’s End on the map on display. It was a major innovation and is remembered for three principal reasons: it marked the first systematic survey of British roads; it introduced the statute mile of 1,760 yards; and it established the scale of 1 inch to the mile (1:63,360) as a British standard. Later, the information contained in the atlas was to be much copied as more portable versions were published and the distance information was incorporated into other publications such as in William Morgan’s Pocket book of the roads.

Atlas.4.67.6(54-55), The continuation of the road
from London to the Lands-End


The Automobile Association
Your route: prepared as requested. Scole to Herne Bay
London : The Automobile Association, c. 1956?

The Automobile Association (AA) was formed in 1905 and in about 1910 introduced a service whereby members could ask for driving instructions for journeys they planned to undertake. These first AA route guides were handwritten; by 1929 they were issuing 239,000 routes a year. The route on display gives directions from Scole, near Diss in Norfolk, to Herne Bay in Kent via the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry. The route is printed twice: once for the outward journey on one side of the paper and again for the return journey on the reverse.

The AA introduced their online route planner (see www.theaa.com) in 2004, from which it is possible to print driving instructions with or without a map.



The Cambrian directory, or, cursory sketches of the Welsh territories: with a chart, comprehending at one view, the advisable route, best inns, distances, and objects most worthy of attention
Second edition, Salisbury: printed and sold by J. Easton: sold also by T. Hurst, London, 1801

This fold-out chart lists the travel distances between towns, the major points of interest en route and the page numbers where fuller descriptions can be found. The fourth column from the left is headed ‘Best Inns’ and here are found either the name of an inn or a general comment on the standard of accommodation. A ‘poor pot-house’, for example, is noted with the corresponding page in the text reading: ‘it is here proper to forewarn both tourists and travellers, not to fix on Pennard, Penrice, or Cheriton, as places for a night’s abode, as they cannot possibly be comfortably accommodated... in the latter place, we were under the necessity of contenting ourselves with tables or chairs, as furnitures for beds’.

8474.d.175(1), title page and chart opposite


Joseph Pote (1704-1787)
The foreigners guide: or, a necessary and instructive companion both for the foreigner and native in their tour through the cities of London and Westminster
London : for Joseph Pote, 1729

This bilingual French and English guide to London provides a general description of the parishes, gates, squares, fresh water, - ‘no place in the World is better supplied than London by the Thames and New River’ - fuel - ‘abundantly supplied (by water)’ - and Government, as well as more detailed descriptions of the areas and buildings of the city. In 1729 Joseph Pote, a bookseller and printer, was still based in London. However, at some point he moved to Eton, where he sold books to the Eton scholars as well as continuing his publishing activities and running a small boarding house for boys. His son Joseph became a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

Dd*.4.25(2)(F), pp. 1-2


John Housman
A descriptive tour, and guide to the lakes, caves, mountains, and other natural curiosities, in Cumberland, Westmoreland, Lancashire, and a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire
Carlisle: printed by F. Jollie; and sold by C. Law, London, 1800

This fold-out plate is one of two depicting, in a rather dramatic fashion, the focal point of any visit to the Lake District: the lakes themselves. The text in the accompanying volume is written in an intimate fashion with John Housman not afraid to voice his opinion on the nature of the landscape or the appeal, or otherwise, of the mansions encountered en route. Perhaps surprising to a modern-day audience is the fact that he included descriptions of the soil as well as an accompanying soil map.

7474.c.25, index and plate opposite



Voltaire (1694-1778)
Letters concerning the English nation
London: printed for C. Davis and A. Lyon, 1733

The French writer François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, stayed in England from the spring of 1726 until the autumn of 1728, residing for much of his visit with well-connected friends in London and Ickworth, Suffolk, and moving in aristocratic, literary, professional and business circles. The Letters concerning the English nation, published in a revised form in French as Lettres philosophiques in 1734, treated a series of religious, political, scientific, theatrical and poetic themes. Influential in the exchange of enlightenment ideas from England to France, the work also illuminates a crucial period in the development of Voltaire’s thought.

Gg.7.26, pp. 34-35


Henri Misson
Mémoires et observations faites par un voyageur en Angleterre, sur ce qu’il y a trouvé de plus remarquable, tant à l’égard de la religion, que de la politique, des mœurs, des curiositez naturelles, & quantité de faits historiques...
La Haye [ The Hague]: H. van Bulderen, 1698

Henri Misson of Valbourg visited England in 1697. In his Preface he claimed that his initial intention had been to produce a coherent narrative of his stay, but in the event he settled for arranging his remarks in alphabetical order, with topics as diverse as cheminées and chevaliers rubbing shoulders. This print shows an assembly of Quakers, against whom Misson shared the prevailing prejudices. The work was translated into English in 1719; in the words of Sir James Bateman, ‘reading such a book must give the same sort of pleasure, as the being told what people say of us behind our backs.’

F169.d.5.20, p. 361 and plate opposite


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
A journey to the western islands of Scotland
London: printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1775

Dr Johnson’s reputation for holding a low opinion of Scotland and its people is founded chiefly on the definition of ‘oats’ given in his Dictionary, a few gibes recalled by his biographer James Boswell, and certain passages in the volume displayed here. The Journey has been praised as a shrewd and empathetic study of a Highland society utterly remote from the sophisticated capital cities of Scotland and England, but it was nevertheless denounced by some contemporary Scottish commentators. Johnson’s observations on the staple diet and lack of shoes of the inhabitants of Inverness are typical of those that gave offence.

Keynes F.4.1, pp. 54-55


John Bristed (1778-1855)
Ανθρωπλανομενος [The touring man]; or a pedestrian tour through part of the highlands of Scotland, in 1801
Volume 1, London: printed for J. Wallis, 1803

John Bristed and Andrew Cowan, students at Edinburgh University, disguised themselves as poor sailors on their trek through Scotland, believing their investigations into the manners and condition of the people would be made easier if they travelled without the trappings of wealth. Bristed, an Englishman, shown on the right in the frontispiece wearing a cat-skin cap and green spectacles, also pretended to be American, since he thought the Scottish so despised the English that he would learn nothing from them otherwise. Within a few days the men were detained as spies in Dundee, and had to call on testimony from fellow students to secure their release.

Syn.5.80.37, frontispiece and title page


Daniel Defoe (1661?-1731)
A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journies. Giving a particular and diverting account of whatever is curious and worth observation...
Volume 1, London: printed and sold by G. Strahan and others, 1724

Defoe published his Tour just as Britain was emerging as a global power, and he set out to describe the growth in commerce, population, employment and wealth evident throughout the island. In the section displayed Defoe outlined a scheme, which he had himself drafted, to create model farms near Lyndhurst in the New Forest for twenty German immigrant families. They were to be set up with two hundred acres of land, advances in money, and exemptions from rent and taxes, in the expectation that they would in turn employ further labourers, craftsmen and tradesmen to the general advantage of the host country.

Syn.7.72.10, Letter III, pp. 48-49


Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820)
Journal of an excursion to Wales &c. Began August ye 13th 1767. Ended January ye 29th 1768 ’

Although only twenty-four when he set out on this excursion, Joseph Banks already held fellowships of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and was a member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. While the scope of the journal reflects this wide range of interests, it is clear from the space devoted to commercial and mechanical enterprises in the Midlands and north-west of England that Banks was fascinated by the nascent Industrial Revolution. His account of iron smelting and casting in Coalbrookdale describes both the technical aspects and the human dangers of the processes.

MS Add. 6294/2, pp. 128-129


Henry Mayhew (1812-1887)
London labour and the London poor; a cyclopædia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work
Volume 1, The London street-folk, London: 1851

The investigations underpinning Mayhew’s book were made in person during expeditions onto the streets of the English capital, with the conversations recorded by stenographers and the images derived from daguerreotypes. Mayhew presented his work as a species of travel writing, ‘supplying information concerning a large body of persons, of whom the public had less knowledge than of the most distant tribes of the earth’, and ‘adducing facts so extraordinary, that the traveller in the undiscovered country of the poor must... be content to lie under the imputation of telling such tales, as travellers are generally supposed to delight in.’

XIX.49.16, pp. 126-127


George Orwell (1903-1950)
The road to Wigan Pier
London: Victor Gollancz (Left Book Club Edition), 1937

Orwell’s classic of social reportage, the outcome of two months spent in Lancashire and Yorkshire in early 1936, was commissioned by Victor Gollancz and selected as the March ‘choice’ of the Left Book Club in 1937. In a foreword addressed to the Club’s membership, Gollancz saluted the ‘terrible record of evil conditions, foul housing, wretched pay, hopeless unemployment and the villainies of the Means Test... the kind of thing that makes converts’, but distanced himself and his fellow selectors from Orwell’s criticism of socialists and the Soviet Union, and what Gollancz called ‘sneers’ at pacifism, feminism, vegetarianism and birth control.





Barthélemy Faujas de St.-Fond (1741-1819)
Voyage en Angleterre, en Écosse et aux îles Hébrides
Volume 2, Paris: H. J. Jansen, 1797

The French geologist Barthélemy Faujas de St.-Fond began the account of his voyage with his sojourn in London, before describing his tour of Scotland and the Hebrides. Unimpressed by the natural history collections in the British Museum he noted: ‘nothing is in order, everything is out of its place’. He also visited several natural history cabinets, and notable figures such as Sir Joseph Banks and Adam Smith.

Publication was delayed by the French Revolution: ‘The injuries done to myself I bury in oblivion, but the sufferings of others I have not been able to forget.’ The plate shows Fingal’s Cave: Faujas was the first to recognise the volcanic origin of its basalt columns.

7365.d.11, p. 45 and plate II


Vincent Lunardi (1759-1806)
An account of five aerial voyages in Scotland: in a series of letters to his guardian, Chevalier Gerardo Compagni, written under the impression of the various events that affected the undertaking
London : printed for the author, and sold by J. Bell..., 1786

Lunardi was a dashing twenty-two-year-old Italian who, in the midst of the ballooning craze sparked by the Montgolfier brothers, caused much excitement with a series of ascents in England and Scotland in a hydrogen balloon. He was the first aerial traveller in England, but an earlier Scottish ascent had been made by James Tytler, who went up in a hot-air balloon from Comely Gardens, Edinburgh, on 27 August 1784. Tytler, who was overshadowed by Lunardi’s subsequent exploits, wrote verse in praise of Lunardi’s flights in Scotland: ‘Etherial trav’ller, welcome from the skies! Welcome to earth, to feast our longing eyes!’

Lib.5.78.2, plates


Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811)
Notes taken on Schiehallion
Scotland, 1774

‘An account of observations made on the mountain Schehallien for finding its attraction’
London: Philosophical transactionsof the Royal Society of London, lxv, 1775, 500-542

Nevil Maskelyne’s experiments on Schiehallion in Perthshire in 1774 are chiefly remembered for demonstrating the gravitational attraction of mountains, proposed by Isaac Newton in the Principia mathematica in 1687. To do this, Maskelyne and his assistants made astronomical observations on the north and south sides of the mountain to determine the precise zenith of the two stations, in order to measure the plumb lines’ deflection from the vertical caused by Schiehallion’s gravitational attraction. The amount of the deflection could be used to calculate the earth’s mean density and mass, and to measure the gravitational constant, ‘Big G’. The observations were published in the Royal Society’s Transactions; the page of notes displayed is in Maskelyne’s own hand.

As well as confirming Newton’s theory, Maskelyne’s work also had a very practical outcome for experiments in the field. In the eighteenth century many astronomical and surveying instruments were calibrated using a plumb line. By demonstrating how the local gravitational attraction of mountains affected this, Maskelyne was able to show how reliable and precise astronomical observations could be made in the future.

From MS RGO 4/187/7

T340:1.b.85.64, pp. 500-501


Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
‘Geological notes made with Sedgwick’
North Wales, 1831

After his final term at Cambridge, Darwin went on a geological field trip to north Wales with Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology. The page displayed here shows Darwin recording that he had found no Old Red Sandstone in situ in the Vale of Clwyd, an important discovery that meant part of the national geological map had to be redrawn. Darwin arrived home on 29 August 1831 to the offer of a place as naturalist on the Beagle. The excursion had been important to his development as a geologist, and to his self-confidence. He had learnt from Sedgwick how to carry out effective field work, which proved invaluable during his subsequent voyage.

MS DAR 5, ff. 7v-8


Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888)
A naturalist’s rambles on the Devonshire coast
London: John Van Voorst, 1853

Gosse spent nine months in Devon in 1852 recuperating after an illness: ‘I was thoroughly unwell, overworked, and everybody said there must be a rustication’. This account of time spent on the coast with his microscope was partly responsible for sparking the Victorian sea-shore craze. His subsequent book, The aquarium: an unveiling of the wonders of the sea (1854), provoked another popular enthusiasm.

The publisher John Van Voorst issued works by all the leading naturalists of the time, with the exception of Darwin. The chromolithographic plates in the book were made from Gosse’s own drawings.

MA.26.1, p. 218 and plate XIII


Arthur Edward Knox (1808-1886)
Ornithological rambles in Sussex; with a systematic catalogue of the birds of that county, and remarks on their local distribution
Third edition, London: John Van Voorst, 1855

Originally written as letters addressed to a friend in Scotland, Knox’s observations were first published in 1849 for the interest of the sportsman as well as the ornithologist. Knox noted birds that had since become extinct in the area, such as the Great Bustard: ‘I have met with some very old people, who, in their younger days, have seen flocks of these noble birds on the Downs.’ The Great Bustard was extinct in the British Isles from the 1840s until 2004, when it was reintroduced on Salisbury Plain by the Great Bustard Consortium.

Waddleton.d.9.838, frontispiece and title page


Henry Walker
Saturday afternoon rambles round London: rural and geological sketches
London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1871

Amongst the many rambles recounted here is a trip to Elstree with the Queckett Microscopical Club for a spot of pond-hunting with ‘tin ladles, tiny sieves, small iron rakes, iron spoons, and any number of large and small bottles’.

The Saturday Half-Holiday movement gathered steam in the 1850s, but when this guide was published many workers were still not benefiting from it and the escape from the ‘smoky’ city it afforded. Walker’s guide was very much part of this campaign: he hoped that his words would help to popularise it further, ‘in the interests of thousands of Londoners who are still in grievous need of it.’





Gervase Markham (1568?-1637)
Cavalarice, or the English horseman: contayning all the art of horse-manship..., asmuch as is necessary for any man to understand, whether hee be horse-breeder, horse-ryder, horse-hunter, horse-runner, horse-ambler, horse-farrier, horse-keeper, coachman, smith, or sadler... corrected & augmented, with many worthy secrets not before knowne
The second booke, The arte and knowledge belonging to the horse-ryder: how horses are to be handled, ridden, or made perfect, either for service or pleasure..., London: printed by Edw. Allde for Edward White, 1616

J. Veitch Wilson
The lubrication of motor vehicles and cycles
London: Price’s Patent Candle Company Limited, 1900

Until the invention of the internal combustion engine, the horse was the principal source of motive power for private vehicles. Both animals and machines could present practical problems for their owners, and these two volumes, produced almost three hundred years apart, had similar functions. Gervase Markham published the first version of Cavalarice in 1607 and proceeded to re-issue very similar material under different titles, to such an extent that the Stationers’ Company eventually extracted an undertaking from him ‘hereafter never to write any more book or books to be printed of the deseases or Cures of any Cattle, as Horse... etc.’

Syn.7.61.264, second book, pp. 30-31


William Felton
A treatise on carriages, comprehending coaches, chariots, phaetons, curricles, whiskeys, &c. together with their proper harness...
Volume 2, London: printed for and sold by the author, 1795

Wolseley autocars
Birmingham: The Wolseley Tool & Motor Car Co. Ltd, 1910

In classical mythology Phaeton, son of the sun god Helios, lost control of his father’s chariot and was killed by Zeus to prevent a collision with Earth. Despite this ill omen, the term ‘phaeton’ was commonly applied to light, fast, horse-drawn carriages, and continued to be used in the age of the motorcar. Felton, himself a coachmaker, provided designs for numerous varieties of carriage, together with statements of the fair price of every article. The Wolseley catalogue describes the Torpedo Touring Phaeton as appealing particularly to ‘clients who prefer to drive themselves’: many car-owners in 1910 would have employed chauffeurs.

S428.c.79.4, p. 98 and plate opposite

From MS Vickers Document 1939


Map of the several projected railways, in the West of England Division, including Wilts and Dorsetshire, referred to in the report of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade on the schemes for extending railway communication in the districts of Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire
London: James & Luke J. Hansard, by order of the House of Commons, 1845

The railways revolutionised travel for pleasure, as indeed for most other purposes. The construction of new lines in Britain was carried forward on a relatively coherent basis through the scrutiny, by committees in Westminster and Whitehall, of the various privately-funded proposals. The reports of these committees were published in parliamentary papers giving detailed reasons for the recommendation or rejection of individual schemes. This map illustrates proposals for lines to the coastal resorts of the south-west of England, destinations which in time became known as the ‘English Riviera’.

House of Commons paper, 83-I.
Parliamentary papers,
1845, vol. XXXIX, p. 189


Knight’s excursion companion
Part II, Bath. Bristol. Windsor and Eton. Oxford, London: Charles Knight, c. 1851

Great Eastern Railway rail and boat excursion
London: printed at the company’s works, 23 September 1866

Routledge’s book of alphabets...
London: George Routledge & Sons, c. 1890

The earliest pleasure-rides drawn by a steam locomotive were taken at a shilling a time in London in 1808, on Richard Trevithick’s engine ‘Catch-me-who-can’. The capacity of the new technology to afford amusement to paying customers was heightened by the growth of the prosperous middle class in the Victorian era, and gave rise to an entire genre of printed guides and companions, of which Knight’s pamphlet is representative. The enduring appeal of railway travel to children is illustrated by the colourful Routledge alphabet; ‘X’ for ‘Xcursion’ was a gift to the compiler, although ‘Z’ for ‘Zinnia’ looks rather like desperation.

1890.11.12, The railroad alphabet, T-Z


John Byng, fifth Viscount Torrington (1743-1813)
Page from a journal of a tour in Middlesex and Hertfordshire
England, 1788

‘Tour writing is the very rage of the times; it is selldom that I am in the fashion, but fashions change so quickly that I am obliged... sometimes to find myself a man of mode’: so John Byng wrote in a journal of 1782. Unlike many contemporaries he did not publish his tours, and they appeared in print only in 1934, under the title The Torrington diaries, becoming a classic of English travel writing. This unpublished fragment from a diary of 1788 has an original inn bill pasted on the right-hand side, and an entirely characteristic injunction from Byng to his compatriots at the foot.

MS Add. 7492


Joseph Budworth, later Palmer (1756-1815)
A fortnight’s ramble to the lakes in Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Cumberland
Second edition, London: printed for J. Nichols, 1795

Budworth’s Ramble is typical of the printed accounts of excursions mocked by John Byng. Their appeal as reading-matter rested as much on the mode of telling as on the information conveyed. Budworth gave a thorough description of lakes, mountains and inns, but with a jovial and supercilious tone which was not to all tastes: in this second edition he related how a gentleman perusing the first edition in a bookshop threw the volume down, declaring ‘this man pretends to be a wit; I’ll purchase none of it.’ This copy was inscribed at Keswick in 1799 by James Plumptre, author of the manuscript journal mentioned below.

Adams.6.79.2(1), pp. 128-129


James Plumptre (1771-1832)
‘A journal of a tour through north Wales, in the year 1792’
England(?), 1792

Between the ages of 19 and 29 James Plumptre made eight tours from Cambridge or his Essex parish of Hinxton, including, in 1799, a trip encompassing north-eastern England, Scotland, the Lake District and north Wales totalling 2,236 miles. Plumptre took rough notes during his travels which he later developed into journals, over which he expended considerable literary care. This example records a trip to Wales soon after his graduation from Clare College, made with his friend and former tutor, John Dudley. Plumptre was the author of The lakers, a comic opera satirising the growing phenomenon of tourism, which is occasionally still performed.

MS Add. 5802, ff. 9v-10 and accompanying map


Thomas Roberts
The Welsh interpreter: consisting of a concise vocabulary, and a collection of useful and familiar phrases, with the exact mode of pronunciation; adapted for tourists, who may wish to make themselves understood by the peasantry during their rambles through Wales
London: printed for Samuel Leigh, 1831

In the journal mentioned above, James Plumptre recounted his difficulties in making himself understood by the Welsh-speaking inhabitants of the country. As The Welsh interpreter noted, were an English traveller to lose his way as night fell, ‘it would add to his dismay to receive no other answer to his anxious inquiries, but that of "Dim Saesneg," which means, I do not understand Saxon, or English.’ The book, suited for the pocket, contains useful phrases for arriving at inns, dealing with landlords, ascending mountains, coping with accidents on the road, and, as shown, ‘meeting a peasant’.

XVI.22.11, pp. 114-115


Michael Stanhope
Cures without care, or a summons to all such who finde little or no helpe by the use of ordinary physick to repaire to the northern spaw. Wherein by many presidents of a few late yeares, it is evidenced to the world, that infirmities in their owne nature desperate and of long continuance have received perfect recovery, by vertue of minerall waters neare Knaresborow, in the West-riding of Yorkshire...
London: printed by William Jones, 1632

The reputation of particular locations as holiday resorts can often be traced to considerations of health. Geological accidents such as mineral springs, or less tangible amenities such as ‘salubrious airs’, drew ill or valetudinarian visitors to towns which prospered as a result. This pamphlet publicised the waters at Knaresborough, giving an account of their chemical composition and healing properties: sulphur, salt, iron and vitriol were all said to be present. The work mainly consists of the case studies set out in the ‘catalogue’, which indicate that people visited Knaresborough for cures from as far away as Suffolk and Scotland.

Hunter.d.63.3, catalogue and page opposite


The Yorkshire health resorts
Scarborough and elsewhere: J. Hagyard and others, 1891

Many health spas became centres of fashion and society, the city of Bath being the best-known example. The transition from therapeutic to recreational motives for visiting resorts was gradual; civic and business advertisers in coastal destinations continued to stress the curative effects of sea-bathing into the twentieth century, although the seaside dip of modern times has lost its medicinal associations. This brochure claimed that the holidaymaker in Yorkshire resorts could hope not only to ‘recuperate and invigorate his enfeebled body, but inform and delight and enrich his mind by the inexhaustible natural treasures and resources within his reach.’



John Dower (1900-1947)
National parks in England and Wales; report [presented to Parliament by the Minister of Town and Country Planning]
London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1945

The Dower report (characterised as a ‘one-man White Paper’) recognised the widespread public demand for recreational use of the countryside and laid down the principles by which national parks were to be designated and governed. The resulting legislation, The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, provided the statutory basis for the first ten national parks and recommended the establishment of a National Parks Commission to oversee their management. This body was succeeded by the Countryside Commission; its headquarters, when opened in Cheltenham in 1975, were given the name John Dower House.

Cmd. 6628, pp. 12-13. Parliamentary papers,
1944-45, vol. V, pp. 294-295


Pembrokeshire Coast National Park plan 1977-1982
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Committee, 1977

Dyfed Elis Gruffydd
Rocks & scenery of the Pembrokeshire coast
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, 1988

Once established, the national parks generated a mass of publications connected with their administration and interpretation. The Local Government Act of 1972 required the publication of plans by all the parks; the Pembrokeshire Coast document set out the policies and programmes developed by the Park Committee in response to the environment and resources it had to deal with. Section 15.3 covered the proliferation of caravans and the resultant problems of road congestion and unsightly pitches. Gruffydd’s booklet, illustrated with maps, diagrams and photographs, typifies the guides and handbooks issued to help visitors to the national parks get the most from their trips.

OP.1130.17.1, pp. 72-73




John Leland (1506?-1552)
The laboryouse journey + serche of Johan Leylande, for Englandes antiquitees: geuen of hym as a newe yeares gyfte to Kynge Henry the viii. in the xxxvii yeare of his reygne...
London: printed by S. Mierdman for John Bale, 1549

Inspired by his discoveries of writings on British history which he made in the 1530s, while pursuing a commission from Henry VIII to investigate monastic and college libraries, John Leland undertook an extensive series of journeys in the early 1540s in pursuit of topographical and antiquarian information. The Laboryouse journey, edited by his friend John Bale, enumerates the various writings Leland intended to produce from his researches. Mental illness and death prevented the fruition of most of his plans, but Leland’s notes, published as his Itinerary by Thomas Hearne in 1710-1712, remain of great interest to local historians.

Syn.8.54.88, Bv+2



Edward Donovan (1768-1837)
Descriptive excursions through south Wales and Monmouthshire, in the year 1804, and the four preceding summers
Volume 2, London: printed for the author, 1805

Edward Donovan produced a large number of illustrated works on natural history, including British insects in sixteen volumes and British birds in ten, but this description of a tour in Wales was his only topographical publication. It demonstrates a lively interest in castles, abbeys, monuments and ancient families. Donovan etched and engraved his own plates for all his books, although his colouring was criticised for its extravagant brightness. Originally a man of considerable wealth, Donovan expended his fortune amassing a collection of natural history specimens, and died in poverty, alleging that his publishers owed him between sixty and seventy thousand pounds.

Harley-Mason.c.9, p. 80 and plate opposite


Charles Mason (1699-1771)
‘Notes in a journy thro Worcester & Southwales’

Charles Mason, a fellow of Trinity College and Woodwardian Professor of Geology in Cambridge, made several summer excursions to districts including Cornwall, Kent, Yorkshire, the Marches and Wales, recording his observations in a series of exercise books. This account of a tour taken between July and October 1742 includes a description and sketch of the Burth, a circular fortification in the parish of Baschurch in Shropshire. Monuments that attracted antiquaries were frequently neglected by locals: Mason wrote of the Burth that it ‘is known but to few in the neighbourhood, nor do they take much notice of it’.

MS Add. 7762/4, pp. 54-55


William Stukeley (1687-1765)
Itinerarium curiosum. Or, an account of the antiquitys and remarkable curiositys in nature or art, observ’d in travels thro’ Great Britain
Centuria 1, London: printed for the author, 1724

The Cambridge-educated physician William Stukeley, who holds a place in history as the earliest source of the anecdote of Sir Isaac Newton and the falling apple, made annual tours of England in the second decade of the eighteenth century and collected his observations in the Itinerarium curiosum. The profusely-illustrated volume was not profitable, although a second, expanded edition was produced after his death. On his fifth circuit Stukeley followed the great Roman roads of England, Ermine Street, Fosse Way, Watling Street and Icening Way, which he regarded as products of ‘the highest pitch of good sense and public spirit’.

Keynes Q.6.1, p. 121 and plate opposite


Francis Grose (1731?-1791)
The antiquities of England and Wales
Volume 3, London: printed for S. Hooper, 1775

Francis Grose issued his Antiquities in sixty parts between 1772 and 1776, providing introductions and title pages from time to time to enable them to be bound into volumes. The project was subsequently extended by a supplement, and the Antiquities of Scotland appeared between 1789 and 1791. Although he included images created by several artists, including Paul Sandby, most of the engravings were made after drawings done by Grose himself, the outcome of extensive tours. Some of the depredations to which ancient monuments were vulnerable are indicated in the text below the engraving of the Monks Stone.

Huntingdon.16.7, Monks Stone


Inigo Jones (1573-1652)
The most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Stone-Heng, on Salisbury plain
London : printed by J. Flesher for D. Pakeman and L. Chapman, 1655

James I, at Wilton on a progress in 1620, commanded the architect Inigo Jones to use his knowledge of European antiquities to discover the origins of the nearby Stonehenge. Jones believed he recognised in the monument certain geometrical principles advocated by Vitruvius, a classical writer on architecture, and postulated that it had been built by the Romans as a temple to Coelus, god of the sky. This plan shows Jones’s conception of the ‘Groundplot of the work, as when first built, in a greater form, with the foure equilaterall triangles making the Scheame, by which the whole work was composed.’

Keynes.T.6.9, plan no. 2


Erhard Cellius (1546-1606)
Warhaffte Beschreibung zweyer Raisen: welcher erste (die Badenfahrt genannt) der Durchleuchtig...
Tübingen: Cellischen Truckerey, 1603

Paul Hentzner (1558-1623)
Itinerarium Germaniæ, Galliæ; Angliæ; Italiæ
Norinbergæ [ Nuremberg]: sumtibus autoris, & typis Abrahami Wagermanni excusum, 1612

The ancient universities of England were often included in the itineraries of visitors from continental Europe. Both of these volumes include historical accounts of Cambridge and its colleges. Cellius, a professor at Tübingen in Germany, edited the diary of a councillor accompanying Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, on his visit to England in 1592. Hentzner travelled to England himself; his work, combining elements of history, geography and topology, is thought to be the first published account of a Europe-wide tour. It became well-known in English translation for its description of Elizabeth I, including a reference to her black teeth.

Acton.d.23.1700, ff. 26v-27

Hhh.934(1), pp. 138-139




Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) et al.
An antiquarian and picturesque tour round the southern coast of England
London: M.A. Nattali, 1849

Like many artists of his period, Turner went on annual ‘sketching tours’, at first in Britain but later, when the political situation allowed, on the mainland of Europe. His Picturesque views on the southern coast of England appeared between 1814 and 1826, Turner having begun the drawings on a tour in 1811. He had hoped to provide text as well as illustrations, but his editor William Combe criticised his description of St Michael’s Mount as ‘the most extraordinary composition I have ever read’, and substituted a text by himself. Turner supervised the engraving of the watercolours very closely, and the publication started a vogue for topographical engravings after his work. This later edition reprints the engravings with a new text ‘by a literary friend’.

Eb.11.35, pp. 68-69


Charles Dibdin (1745-1814)
Observations on a tour through almost the whole of England, and a considerable part of Scotland, in a series of letters, addressed to a large number of intelligent and respectable friends
Volume 2, London: G. Goulding, [1802]

Charles Dibdin first came to public notice as a performer in musical plays, often composed and written by himself. He embarked on his series of ‘table entertainments’, one-man shows in which songs such as Tom Bowling alternated with humorous anecdotes, in order to pay off debts. Their popularity was enhanced by their patriotic tone, celebrating Britain’s naval prowess at a time of almost continual foreign wars. From the early 1790s he took them on summer tours of the provinces, carrying on an extensive correspondence and painting the local scenery in his spare time. Both letters and paintings form the basis of this book.

Gg.30.46, p. 313 and plate opposite


Theodore Henry Fielding (1781-1851)
A picturesque tour of the English lakes: containing a description of the most romantic scenery of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire
London: printed for R. Ackermann, 1821

The Lake District was a key destination for any picturesque tourist even before the time of Wordsworth. A member of a Yorkshire family of painters, Fielding produced this work in collaboration with his brother-in-law. He later became a tutor at the Royal India Military College, and wrote a number of books on the theory of painting and engraving. The publisher Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834) was born in Saxony and arrived in England at the age of twenty-three. Best remembered for his many fine topographical publications with hand-coloured aquatints, Ackermann also designed the funeral car for Lord Nelson, pioneered gas lighting in his shop, and invented a machine for distributing anti-Napoleonic propaganda over Europe by balloon.

Harley-Mason.b.48, frontispiece and title page


William Westall (1781-1850) and Samuel Owen (1768 or 9-1857)
A picturesque tour of the river Thames
London: published by R. Ackermann, 1828

William Westall led an adventurous youth, sailing with Matthew Flinders on the Investigator to Australia in 1802, subsequently being shipwrecked in the Coral Sea, and travelling in China and India. His collaborator Samuel Owen specialised in watercolours of shipping and marine subjects, exhibiting views of the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. Here they turned their talents to a more domestic subject: tracing the river Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to its mouth near Southend. This is another in Ackermann’s popular series of ‘picturesque tours’, which covered most of the tourist itineraries in the British Isles.

Harley-Mason.a.1, p. 106 and plate opposite


William Gilpin (1724-1804)
Observations on the river Wye, and several parts of south Wales, &c., relative chiefly to picturesque beauty, made in the summer of the year 1770
London: printed for R. Blamire, 1782

The son of an amateur painter, William Gilpin was a clergyman and writer who became an enlightened headmaster at Cheam School for Boys in Surrey. His Observations on the river Wye, the first of several works on different regions of Great Britain, developed his theory of ‘picturesque beauty’. Gilpin evaluated the landscapes he visited in much the same way as one might a painting, prizing a pre-Romantic wildness and contrast over Augustan smoothness and control. His books, which he illustrated himself, were very successful and enabled him to found two schools in Boldre, Hampshire, where he became vicar in 1777. In the opening shown, Gilpin criticised the ruins of Tintern Abbey for their excessive regularity.

7474.c.30, p. 33 and plate opposite


Julius Ibbetson (1759-1817), John Laporte (1761-1839) and John Hassell (1767-1825)
A picturesque guide to Bath, Bristol Hot-Wells, the river Avon, and the adjacent country: illustrated with a set of views, taken in the summer of 1792
London: Hookham & Carpenter, 1793

Despite the title, the authors were unable to resist including the much-visited Wye valley, which enabled them to respond to William Gilpin’s criticism of Tintern Abbey (see above). Again they suggest ways in which the ruins could be artistically improved: ‘We were much more disgusted with the stone walls that pass in oblique directions... so that nothing but a bird’s eye view can give a correct delineation of the whole’. The three artists who collaborated on this work all specialised in watercolour landscapes, also working as drawing masters and producing teaching and theoretical treatises. The text is probably by Hassell, who has a number of similar illustrated guidebooks to his credit.

Harley-Mason.b.46, p. 247 and plate opposite




Geoffrey Chaucer (d. 1400)
The workes of Geffray Chaucer newly printed, with dyuers workes whiche were neuer in print before: as in the table more playnly dothe appere
London: Thomas Godfray, 1532

The pilgrims’ tales in Chaucer’s poem were entertainments on the road from the Tabard inn at Southwark to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The Wife of Bath told the story of a knight at King Arthur’s court who, at the command of the queen, ‘wendeth forth his way’ for a year and a day on a quest to discover ‘what thyng women loven moost’ (the answer was sovereignty over their husbands and lovers). This volume, edited by William Thynne (d. 1546), represents the earliest attempt to compile a ‘complete works’ of Chaucer, and contains the first printings of several of his major productions in prose and verse.

Sel.3.20, ff. xxxixv-xl


John Taylor (1578-1653)
All the workes of John Taylor the water-poet. Beeing sixty and three in number. Collected into one volume by the author: with sundry new additions, corrected, revised, and newly imprinted, 1630
London: printed by J. B. for James Boler, 1630

The Thames waterman John Taylor achieved celebrity by undertaking well-publicised travels and recounting his adventures in humorous verse narratives. The ‘pennyles pilgrimage’ was undertaken in 1618. Taylor agreed to carry no money on the journey from London to Edinburgh and back, and neither beg, borrow, nor ask for food, drink or lodging; in return, over sixteen hundred sponsors pledged to purchase his account of the trip. He avoided starvation on the journey by relying on friends, his native charm, and the increasing clamour that preceded him and gave the later stages of his journey the nature of a triumphal progress.

Y.7.46, pp. 122-123


G.W. [Sir George Wharton (1 617-1681)], alias Philoparthen Esdras
Grand Pluto’s progresse through Great Britaine, and Ireland. Being a diarie, or exact journall of all his observations during the time of his walking to and fro in the said kingdomes. Found on Dunsmore Heath, and translated out of infernall characters into English verse
London, 1647

This satire, attributed to the Royalist pamphleteer and almanac-writer George Wharton, was published after Parliament’s victory in the first Civil War, and describes how Satan, quitting Hell, travels through the British Isles and finds a disordered society in which ‘each man studies evill ’gainst his Brother’. He discovers ‘Furie, pride, and luxurie Predominant’ in England, and lawlessness prevailing in London. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are visited in turn before Satan, worried that the lesser fiends in Hell might be conspiring against him, hurries back, in his haste accidentally dropping his journal on Dunsmore Heath.

Syn.7.64.140a(46), frontispiece and title page


William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Lyrical ballads, with a few other poems
London: printed for J. and A. Arch, 1798

A decisive text both for English Romantic poetry and for modern beliefs in the benefits of communion with the natural world, ‘Tintern Abbey’ was the poem in which Wordsworth first achieved a mature meditation on what was to be the over-arching subject of his poetry: his own place in Nature. The poem moves from a delineation of the Wye valley to a consideration of the role that the landscape, and the poet’s memory of it, had played in the development of his interior life, above all its power to engender

that blessed mood...
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world
Is lighten’d.

Syn.7.79.45, pp. 200-201


William Cowper (1731-1800)
John Gilpin: as humourously deliver’d by Mr. Henderson with repeated applause at the Free Masons Tavern
London: printed and sold by John Welcker, [c. 1785]

Ann, widow of Sir Robert Austen, told William Cowper the story of John Gilpin in an attempt to lift his spirits. First published in the Public advertiser in November 1782, Cowper’s ballad achieved a huge success when included in a series of public readings by the Shakespearean actor John Henderson, and has remained a popular favourite. This early edition, with music and an engraving (viewable here), attempted to capitalise on Henderson’s triumph; it was one of the first of over a hundred editions of the poem, many of them embellished with illustrations.

Keynes R.6.2, pp. 2-3


William Combe (1742-1823) and Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)
The third tour of Doctor Syntax, in search of a wife, a poem
London: R. Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, 1821

When Ackermann combined the talents of his established contributors Thomas Rowlandson and William Combe on the adventures of Doctor Syntax, he oversaw the creation of a perennially popular character. On his first excursion Syntax went ‘in search of the picturesque’, allowing Combe and Rowlandson to satirise both William Gilpin and the contemporary enthusiasm for publishing ‘tours’. As was then common practice, Combe’s letterpress played a secondary role to Rowlandson’s illustrations; this was initially the case for the Pickwick papers, also displayed here, but Dickens’s ebullient genius rapidly turned the tables, so that illustration followed narrative.

Harley-Mason.c.72, frontispiece and title page


Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
The Pickwick papers
London: Chapman and Hall, 1837

William R. Hughes (1830-1899)
A week’s tramp in Dickens-land, together with personal reminiscences of the ‘inimitable Boz’ therein collected
London : Chapman and Hall, 1891

The exploits of Messrs Pickwick, Tupman, Snodgrass and Winkle, the ‘Corresponding Society’ of the Pickwick Club, took them as far afield as Bath and Bury St Edmunds. Their first stop was Rochester in Kent, and this town served as William R. Hughes’s headquarters during his exploration of ‘Dickens-land’ in 1888. Hughes described his book as ‘the record of a pilgrimage’, a reverential conceit that was frequently adopted by followers in great authors’ footsteps: references to both ‘pilgrimages’ and ‘shrines’ occur often in the titles of the guidebooks to literary localities published in increasing numbers from the late nineteenth century onwards.

S727.c.83.1, p. 533 and plate opposite
XXI.80.25, pp. 68-69