Victoria Research Web

Places to Go: Some VICTORIA Suggestions

>>> Item number 1867, dated 93/10/20 09:38:00 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1993 09:38:00 PDT
From: Jack Kolb
Subject: (COPY) Introduction

Three weeks ought to be enough time to spend an afternoon at the Courtauld Gallery (attached to London University). It's an often-neglected gem: intimate, unassuming, with some wonderful 19th and early 20th century works.

>>> Item number 1877, dated 93/10/20 15:26:42 -- ALL
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1993 15:26:42 CDT
From: stephanie joan friedman
Subject: Re: Introduction

I haven't been to London in a couple years, so I'm assuming the next two places are still alive and kicking:

1: Silver Moon Women's Bookstore on Charing Cross Road. Charing + (as cognoscenti refer to it) is definitely the place to go book trawling, and for lesbian/feminist/womanist/woman oriented book trawling, this is one of the best places I've ever seen on either side of the Atlantic.

2: I don't know the name of it, but there's this little place down this little curvy side street, about 100 feet in front of St Martin in the Field's, that's a new age crystal and rock shop (first floor) with houseplants and a fantastic selection of used books in the basement.

Now, two general hints that always apply:

1: Buy an A-Z (pronounced A to Zed) Guide to London Streets. You can get it at some bookstores here, but it's cheaper and available in almost any London bookstore. You'll never get lost, it's easy to use, and when you return, you will have every square inch of Greater London mapped for you to sigh over.

2: Go bus hopping. It's easy enough to get the tube anywhere in Central London, if you want to get somewhere quickly, so don't fear getting lost. Hop a bus (any bus) until you see an area that looks interesting, then get back on the same bus (or another one) and repeat the process. This is best done if you've purchased a weekly travel pass (available at ticket windows in Underground stations).

Have fun! I envy you!

>>> Item number 1885, dated 93/10/21 00:49:06 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 00:49:06 EST
From: Patrick
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

Meg Tasker's request for survival tips for the long-term London researcher prompts me to mention a delightful little book published by Basil Blackwell, called *Coping with England* (1987), by Jean Hannah. It has all sorts of helpful advice, especially for Americans, that most guidebooks leave out, and it's not too cutesy.

As for help with literary sightseeing, my personal favorite is George G. Williams' *Guide to Literary London* (1973). The book may be out of print, but it's well worth looking up at the library and photocopying portions. It's organized by neighborhoods, with clear walking directions and maps, and includes a great many more authors--including a number of relatively obscure Victorians--than any other "literary guidebook" I've seen since.

Silver Moon Bookshop was still alive and well a year ago, by the way, and is a wonderful browse. There is a pricey paperback called *Bookshops of London* (I forget the author), available at the BTA shop in Victoria Station and other places, that's handy to pack along while exploring, since it includes hours of operation as well as addresses.

>>> Item number 1887, dated 93/10/21 09:12:16 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 09:12:16 GMT
From: "d.finkelstein"
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

As a rider to Patrick's book hunting guide, there's another guide that might prove useful, published by SKOOB, one of the best secondhand bookshops near the British Museum. You'll find SKOOB on Sicilian Avenue, 3 or 4 blocks down from Russell Square. Definitely worth a visit, as it has recently expanded and is chock-a-block full of hard to get texts. Their guide to bookshops covers the whole of the U.K., so if people are planning trips farther afield from London, it's useful to take along.

>>> Item number 1888, dated 93/10/21 18:09:41 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 18:09:41 +0930
From: Bruce Rosen
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

Another excellent guide, particularly for historians, is:

Crowl, Philip A. The Intelligent Traveller's Guide to Historic Britain London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1983.

Although a decade old, now, this hardback is a delight. Another very useful guide is found in the magazine _Time Out_ and the handbook of that name. Lots of off-beat things to do and see, inluding a museum housed in an old warehouse in the east end which is dedicated to that area and the life of labouring class people. Most museums in GB tend to pretend that workers don't exist.

>>> Item number 1889, dated 93/10/21 09:11:59 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 09:11:59 EDT
From: "(John BATTS)"
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

A light-hearted suggestion for Meg Tasker & Kristen Tetens on their first visit to London: this is not exactly a survival tip but one for the dedicate Victorian enthusiast--try an afternoon at Highgate Cemetery. The West Cemetery better for "atmosphere" than the East (famed as the resting place of Marx), and the former has the authentic Victorian funereal architecture, typical epitaphs, and of course the graves of numerous familiar names. Kensal Green cemetery in west London is larger, has its fair share of novelists especially, but lacks the sense of "the Shadow feared of man."

The list will probably flood you with more obvious pieces of visitor advice. And this was not to appeal to the ghoulish in you! Take a camera, too. I have numerous slides of both Highgate and Kensal Green's "art." I suppose if you really want to do it in style you will choose a cloudy, chilly December afternoon with light rain falling and a copy of *In Memoriam* in your mackintosh pocket. Enjoy!

>>> Item number 1891, dated 93/10/21 10:34:10 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 10:34:10 EDT
From: Nina Auerbach
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

In response to the various requests for things to do during long research visits to London, I suggest some side trips. For instance, is the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight (just out of Liverpool) still there? It's a treasure of Pre-Raphaelite and other 19th c painting, and the village of Port Sunlight is a fascinatingly weird example of Victorian feudalism.

Manchester, that supposed Victorian hell (but I liked it) is also in the north. It's full of history--I think the first railroad station is there--and, my my standards of ugly cities, surprisingly lovely. Of course Manchester is on the rail line to the Lake District.

Going south, to Kent, Canterbury and the 5 towns (or five ports?) are a fascinating area. Ellen Terry's house is in Smallhythe, a beautiful and little-known (so untouristed, except for British visitors) village. Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West's estate, is nearby and visited. I think Kipling also lived somewhere in the area.

I haven't been to England since 1987 but in my experience, if you don't have a car, the rail line is good, very central, usually reliable.

>>> Item number 1892, dated 93/10/21 15:55:50 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 15:55:50 +0000
From: Vivienne Hemingway
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

In response to the mail about side trips out of London, yes, the Lady Lever Gallery at Port Sunlight is still there. Whilst the visitor is in the North, I might also suggest Haworth in Yorkshire, home of the Brontes, Saltaire, not far from Bradford, built by Titus Salt, who included in his tenancy restrictions such things as not hanging washing lines across the streets, Castle Howard (North Yorks) if you want to see how the other half lived (as featured in the BBC production of Brideshead Revisited if you've seen it). Also Edinburgh is well worth a visit. I could go on for hours about places to visit in the North, but I'd better not.

Warning - if you don't like touristy places avoid Stratford like the plague - I was there in September and IMHO it has been ruined by tourism.

>>> Item number 1895, dated 93/10/21 11:58:18 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 11:58:18 -0500
From: Ann Shillinglaw
Subject: London Trip

The mention of Highgate Cemetery brought back fond memories for me -- I was at one time a member of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, which is probably still around. A support group for a bone orchard! At any rate, the cemetery certainly is historic and as a traveller to London, you will be best served by visiting Highgate on an Open Day for Visitors. On open days, you'll have experienced supporters of the cemetery take you on tours into the deeper parts of the cemetery. It used to be a remarkable experience -- overgrown weeds and trees obscuring gravestones, etc., and an area called the "catacombs." Spooky but nice.

Also, a visit to the Camden Lock market on weekend mornings is a great time -- ex-hippies selling silver jewelry, young designers selling their clothing and hats. A visit to London should include this street market.

In my opinion, the best day-trip out of the city is Bath, which can be reached on an express train. There is a wonderful country home out there called Longleat.

Bring warm clothes. Forget what really good food tastes like. Except for roast beef, I couldn't find anything to compare to the quality of food I get right at home, in Chicago. But you don't go to London for the food, do you?

>>> Item number 1904, dated 93/10/22 08:27:51 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 08:27:51 +0930
From: Bruce Rosen
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

If you are going to visit Highgate Cemetery, do make it a point to see the Marx monument. It is huge, ugly and very pretentious. A colleague of mine, on seeing it, commented "If Karl Marx were alive today, he would be turning over in his grave!" With a little effort, you *can* find his original burial site. Much nicer and more appropriate.

In an earlier message I mentioned a museum in London's East End. It is the Ragged School Museum. Well worth visiting just to soak up atmosphere.

>>> Item number 1906, dated 93/10/21 16:36:00 -- ALL
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1993 16:36:00 PDT
From: Jack Kolb
Subject: trip to London

For high Victorian funereal "art," there's little more representative than the Duke of Wellington's burial carriage in the crypt of St. Paul's. IMHO.

>>> Item number 1913, dated 93/10/22 01:05:38 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 01:05:38 EDT
From: Brian McCuskey
Subject: Research Visits to London
I spent this past July in London at the British Library, enmeshed in the bureaucracy... They have (or were having) a staffing shortage, in addition to the St. Pancras confusion, and so book requests (supposedly a same-day affair) took up to three days to be met. Three suggestions: first, if you can, send them a letter with citations (up to 12, I think) of what you need, stating the day you need them, well in advance. Second, *always* say on your book request slip that you need the book(s) that same day, even if you know you won't want them for a couple of days--if you say that you don't need them immediately, your request will be shuffled to the bottom of the stack, and you won't get them when you need them. Third, often I would receive only a handful of the request I had made, the rest of them drifting in over the course of the next week, so always order more than you need--you can always put stuff you haven't had time to look at on reserve. And finally, bring a good novel, for those days when nothing is turning up for you... Good luck!

>>> Item number 1917, dated 93/10/22 08:38:44 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 08:38:44 EDT
From: Lynn Hughes
Subject: Re: trip to London

A highlight of a recent trip to London for me was a visit to the Freud Museum. It's the house Freud lived in for the last year or so of his life, and subsequently the home of Anna Freud. It contains lots of the Freuds' original furnishings, including *the* couch, which looked a lot different from the way I imagined it. I expected something more clinical... actually it look very, well, Victorian. The whole house seems remarkably cozy and homey in a dark and ornate way... well worth a visit.

>>> Item number 1920, dated 93/10/22 14:21:26 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 14:21:26 BST
From: M. Barrow
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

Yes most definately the Lady Lever Art Gallery is still functioning and has a really good tea-room when one gets sore feet from gazing at the wonderful pictures. However it is a little difficult to get to from London (certainly involving train changes) However to make a long weekend of Pre-raphaelite painting I suggest you combine it with Manchester City Art Gallery, The Walker Gallery and stop-off at the Birmingham City Art Gallery on the return to London. That should give you Pre-raphaelite over load!

Glad to here Manchester isn't considered all bad from the other side of the Atlantic.

>>> Item number 1922, dated 93/10/22 15:21:51 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 15:21:51 +0100
From: Simon Powell
Subject: Re: trip to London

Another museum well worth a visit is the Dickens House Museum. I can't remember the address off hand, but my colleague used to work there so if you really want to know mail me and I'll post more information here.

If you're going to extend your visit out of London, then you should make the effort to visit what Hardy referred to as Wessex - a trip to Dorset is just about do-able in a weekend, the train journey down is long as the train is slow but it's very picturesque.

>>> Item number 1923, dated 93/10/22 15:57:42 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 15:57:42 BST
From: Bill Bell
Subject: Re: trip to London

While we're on literary houses: the Carlyle House at Cheyne Row, in Chelsea, is probably worth a visit. It's surprising well preserved and doesn't give the fresh paint-Laura Ashleyfied feeling that you get at Bronteland and some other 'Heritage' sites. Thankfully, perhaps, the Carlyle Trust hasn't had enough money in past years to give the House a 'makeover' so much is as it was in the days of Jane and Thomas, even down to the wallpaper and carpets.

Even more interesting, it was the very first London literary museum, opened in the 1890s. It's sometimes overlooked, I think, because there's no Carlyle tourist industry to speak of: don't expect to find a Sartor Men's Outfitters, a Signs of the Times Newsagents, or a Frederick the Great Pub.

>>> Item number 1925, dated 93/10/22 11:50:53 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 11:50:53 -0400
From: Dan Wilson
Subject: Re: trip to London
I would have to agree with Bill Bell and Simon Powell that the Dickens House Museum and Carlyle House are MUST-SEES for people interested in the nineteenth-century. The advantage of Carlyle House is that it is an under-explored gem; Dickens House was swamped with obnoxious tourists who seemed only to have read "Scrooge [sic]." Dickens House, by the way, is at 48 Doughty Street (WC1).

>>> Item number 1931, dated 93/10/22 11:55:22 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 11:55:22 MDT
From: Douglas Mark Peers
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

To add my two cents worth as an honorary Scouse. If you are going to the Lady Lever art gallery, you can tie it in with a visit to other local museums. In the restored Albert Docks there is the Tate Gallery North and the Maritime Museum that has some good material on Atlantic migrations. Liverpool also has a Museum of Labour. And for high culture, don't miss the Philharmonic Pub, a testimony to wealthy shipowners and the only pub I know of where the gents loos are a listed historic landmark. Viewing is at one's discretion. There are also some superb architectural walks around Canning Road, not far from the Victorian Gothic excesses of Liverpool Cathedral.

>>> Item number 1933, dated 93/10/22 12:53:24 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 12:53:24 -0400
Subject: Must-see places in London

This is more for Romanticists, but Keats' Manor house is worth visiting. Very few people visit this place, so that you could roam through the house at your leisure. You can even check out Keats' wine cellar. I believe that the spot under which Keats' wrote "Ode to a Nightingale" is here as well. The house, Wentworth Place, is located in Keats Grove in Hampstead (in London). A book you may find interesting is _Poets' London_ by Paddy Kitchen, Longman Travellers Series. The book guides the reader to various locations, while relating intriguing anecdotes about the lives of the various poets. Well worth the read.

>>> Item number 1938, dated 93/10/22 15:13:12 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 15:13:12 CST
From: Lynn Alexander
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

I would second the recommendations to visit the Lady Lever and Manchester. I would also recommend the Birmingham City Art Gallery and, in London, Leighton House. Because I am a Dickens fan I also enjoyed Dickens' house (and it's within walking distance from the British Library--I think). A couple of years ago I picked up a little guide called _Walking Tours of London_ (or something similar) and used it quite a bit. I loaned to some students who were there last year and they said it was one of their favorite guides. I think I picked it up in a WH Smiths.

>>> Item number 1939, dated 93/10/22 14:34:54 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 14:34:54 -0500
From: james spates
Subject: Re: London strolls

And while you are not missing the agreed unknown gem of the Carlyle House, make sure to arrive late-ish in the afternoon and have a pint or half at one of the nearby locals where no tourists reign and, then, night fallen, walk to the Thames (just a block or three) and onto the Albert Bridge, which is lit up like a Christmas tree and IS one of London's missed marvels. You can go out in the middle and feel the river, particularly narrow there, racing underneath and the lights and....well, it's just grand. And, after, walk up and down the Embankment and watch it change perspective. Truly, the 3rd or 4th (depending on your tastes) most beautiful bridge in the world. Note on Carlyle House, however. They close for some of the winter. Check hours and even if closed, go to the bridge!

>>> Item number 1940, dated 93/10/22 18:20:48 -- ALL
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 18:20:48 -0400
From: Meri-Jane Rochelson
Subject: Re: Research visits to London

Since no one has mentioned it yet, I'll add the recommendation that you purchase an underground pass as soon as you arrive in London. They're available at the major Underground stations (Victoria, Euston, etc.--the ones that also are BritRail stations), and are available for 7 days or a month. I'm not sure which would be a better buy for someone staying 3 weeks, but they are ABSOLUTELY a better buy than getting your tickets singly. You purchase the pass for a certain number of zones--zones 1 and 2 (very cheap) will get you just about anywhere in London, including the Keats House in Hampstead and (I'm nearly certain) Highgate Cemetery. If you'll be doing several days of research at the newspaper library at Colindale, you should get the pass through zone 4--at least for the period you'll be going there. You'll need a passport size photo for this pass, too; they'll give you a photo ID to use with your underground pass on all your subsequent trips to London--and once you've been there, you'll be going back. The underground pass is valid on buses, too. It gives you enormous freedom. If you can, get several small photos taken in a machine in the US. The machines are much easier to find in London than in most US cities, but the price of the pictures is higher (not disastrously, though). Have a wonderful time!

>>> Item number 1941, dated 93/10/23 10:34:54 -- ALL
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1993 10:34:54 +0930
From: Bruce Rosen
Subject: Re: London strolls

Regarding London Strolls. Try going on organised walks. There are some very interesting and informative ones and they are very reasonably priced. We were in London in Dec 91-Feb 92 and went on several. Particularly memorable were a walk around the Inns of Court ending at the Old Bailey and a night walk in the East End to capture the feel of that area in the late 19th C. I believe it was a "Jack the Ripper" walk.

Another interesting albeit expensive visit is to the Sherlock Holmes museum in, naturally enough, Baker Street. It is just around the corner from the tube station and located at what is supposed to be 221B, but has apparently been renumbered with tourists in mind. Nonetheless, it is good fun.

>>> Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000
From: Paul Lewis
Subject: Re: Locating the Victorians: Victorian Sites

The House where the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in Gower Street and the house where Wilkie Collins wrote most of his books in Gloucester Place are both worth a pilgrimage.

The Marylebone area is rich in Wilkie Collins sites - including where he was born (house replaced) christened (church extant), went to school (extant), boyhood (extant), teenage years (extant), father died (extant), met lovers (destroyed), wrote most of his books (extant), children grew up (replaced), died (extant) and is buried (extant). If you want more information mail me - or for some of them - as far as I've got - check out my website.

Also of course the Dickens House Museum in Doughty Street - Dickens' only surviving London home though in truth he wasn't there very long and it was very early in his career. But it is a great little museum with a very friendly curatorial staff. Website

Gad's Hill Place which Dickens owned from 1856 and where so many Victorian writers and artists visited is now a school but has strong connections with Dickens people and is visitable on Sundays.

>>> Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
From: Lisa Jackson
Subject: Re: London Victorian Sites

As far as Victorian things to see, you must go to the Dickens House Museum on Doughty Street. Their web address is:

I would also recommend the National Portrait Gallery, which was founded by three Victorians in 1856. Their web address is:

Be sure to hire the portable CD player -- you can hear the voices of Florence Nightingale, Tennyson (reading "The Charge of the Light Brigade"), Gladstone, etc. In addition, you can see life masks of both Keats and Wordsworth (even though they're just Romantics :)).

I also highly recommend any of the walking tours given by the Original London Walks company:

In particular, you should make time to take the "Jack the Ripper" walk with Donald Rumbelow. It's fun, cheap, and fascinating.

If you will walk across the bridge from Westminster Abbey (where Dickens, Hardy, and Browning are buried), there is a Florence Nightingale museum in St. Thomas Hospital.

>>> Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
From: Stephen Wildman
Subject: Re: London Victorian Sites

The Watts Gallery (painter G.F. Watts) is in the village of Compton, near Guildford, Surrey: with the astonishing adjoining Cemetery Chapel (decorated by his wife Mary), well worth a visit but a day's outing from London.

Both in West London are Leighton House, built by George Aitchison for Lord Leighton (President of the Royal Academy), with its wonderful Arab Hall: whole area round Melbury Road is full of Victorian artists' houses and studios, including Tower House by William Burges (not open to the public); and Linley Sambourne House, home of the Punch cartoonist, and the best preserved Victorian town house in London. Each has a web page on, which is pretty good for concise information:

>>> Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001
From: Tom Hughes
Subject: Re: London Victorian Sites

There is an excellent William Morris museum in Walthamstow in the family home. It's about a 10 minute walk from Walthamstow Central tube station on the Victoria Line. In addition, Kelmscott House on the river at Hammersmith has a small Morris collection. (Ravenscourt Park tube)

[webpage at]

>>> Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001
Malcolm Shifrin
Subject: Re: London Victorian Sites

Paul Lewis wrote:

> Marylebone is the most perfect of the remaining Victorian stations.

Let us not forget Liverpool Street Station 1862-ish.

It has the added advantage that close by, in Bishopsgate Churchyard, is the Sri India Restaurant within the most amazingly tiled and domed Listed building which was once one of the famous Nevils Turkish baths (1895). You will not get a better view of the magnificent decorative style of the better class of Victorian Turkish bath any closer than Harrogate.

>>> Private communication
Date: August 13, 2002
From: Mark Frost
Subject: Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle has a strong story to tell about Victorian criminality and justice, having been home to the main court and prison for that part of north-west England. Anyone wanting to get a real feel for the life of someone passing through a criminal court and through to the gaol could not do better than take one of the tours there. Lancaster is unique, because it has the only castle which remains a working prison and court, and the guides are there to take you around the court parts of the building - plus a few of the other, older towers which are open to the public. Most of the guides are educated to degree level, and are not 'on a script', so they are able to be not only intelligent, but flexible to individual needs.

Architecturally, the place is fantastic, although it's latest phase is a little earlier than Victorian (circa 1800), but it is in what could be described as a Victorian gothic style. Lancaster also boasts of the fact that Richard Owen, that archetypally eccentric Victorian scientist, and one of the founders of the Natural History Museum, worked at the castle for some time in his early career, and produced some gory tales of his time there.

All in all, it's the kind of place worth visiting, particularly for those tired of the heritage trail and it's endless presentation of unused castles and stately homes. It is a living, working building, and has a lot to tell anyone interested in the Victorian period. It was owned by Queen Victoria, as Duke of Lancaster, after all!

Mark Frost