Brighton Revisited

I anticipated this post would be purely selfish. And yet after digging a bit deeper, perhaps it has some relevance to Regency-world lovers also.

As I have mentioned, Brighton has family associations for me. My dear mother in law, Kit, lived there as a girl, and it is where she met her husband Richard Samuel.  And it is not every family that can lay claim to a huge building in a major town - or at least a small part in its beginning.

This is the Burton Tailors building on the corner of North and West Streets in Brighton.

Richard Samuel and his brother Lawrence had a hand in its construction in 1926.  They were bricklayers.  And this is how Sam, as he was known, who originated in London's East End, met Kit, because just up the road from here lies Wyckham Terrace. Clearly whoever designed the building was trying to capture some of the Regency style of the town.

If you are wondering about the blob at the top of the picture. That is a rain drop. England, people! Raining!  Naturally, I could not resist investigating the building's history. Burtons occupied the store until the 1990's. But what a wonderful surprise, look the tailors are gone to smaller premises and now it hosts a lovely bookstore.  Waterstones.  Such a thrill to find such a neat connection.

Travelling back in time, courtesy of the the corner was occupied by Geo. Bull, Grocer and Tea Dealer in 1875

But here is the real treasure, North Street in 1851.  G. Bull occupies number 71 on the corner. Father or grandfather, perhaps. I think North Street might well have looked similar in the period of the Regency, don't you? 

Until next time....................

More Regency Shopping

As you may have noticed, my blog changed colors and some of my links went on their own little ramble. I will get it all back together, but I hope you will be patient while I figure out new blogger.

I love books. I can't pass a bookstore without looking in. Hatchards is a very special bookshop in London. Opened in 1797 by John Hatchard at No. 173 Piccadilly it still exists at No. 187. I have posted a picture of Piccadilly as it was then looking down Air Street, and a picture I took of Hatchard's myself two summers ago.

In Regency times, bookshops were social places not only to browse the shelves, but to read newspapers by the fire and chat to friends. Byron is known to have popped into Hatchard's from time to time and most of my heroines always visit at least once in my stories. There were benches outside for the customers' servants. They were booksellers to Queen Charlotte and still hold the Royal Warrant.

This is a bookshop called the Temple of the Muses at Finsbury Square. By the Regency it was owned by Jones and Company. It is just such a beautiful interior. And I think it demonstrates the social nature of bookshops. Isn't it interesting that places like Chapters here in Canada and I believe others in the U.S. have added coffee shops to their bookstores and places to sit. What goes around comes around. Not everything in the old days was bad.

Did you know that they had libraries in the Regency? They were quite the thing and very popular. One of the most well known is Hookham's Lending or Circulating Library on Old Bond Street. Sadly I have been unable to locate a picture for you. I think you can imagine it much like the interior above, perhaps without the upstairs.
These are only a sample of the bookshops and booksellers of the time, but they serve to illustrate what they would have looked like.

Since we are talking about books today, I did want to remind you about The Regency Reader, a monthy newsletter from The Beaumonde which lists all of the Regency books out each month and adds a couple of articles for interest. I would love to see you on the list because I am editing the newsletter this year. You can subscribe by following the link. Or sending an email to

Next week is the beginning of February, so we will do our usual beginning of the month features - Regency flora and fauna for February, and then February fashions, which will also be featured on my website. If you want to see more of January there, be quick, because a new page will go up.

In the meantime, happy rambles.