Country Mouse goes to Town: Anne Stenhouse in London

London Girl

London Girl

Writing Bella’s Betrothal and Mariah’s Marriage gave me a great excuse to get away from the desk and wander the streets from time to time. Bella’s Betrothal is set in Edinburgh where I live so that’s literally a moment or two’s walking and I’m on the roads Bella, would have walked, albeit they’ve changed a wee bit since.

Mariah’s Marriage and the continuation I’m working towards, Daisy’s Dilemma, need a train ride. So country mouse. Anne Stenhouse, headed up to town. And had a lot of fun.

Firstly, straight off the train, I walked along to the British Museum where the Georgian Exhibition
is running until sometime in March. Composed of items mainly from their collection, I found the exhibition full of interest, if London-centric. Country Mouse was impressed by the maps, the artefacts, the children’s toys and the few but well chosen pieces of Georgian clothing. There’s a great catalogue, too, and I’m going to find that an invaluable reference for future projects.

The 17th century is before the time I write about, but I have enjoyed a lot of fiction set in that period. Charlotte Betts’ The Apothecary’s Daughter, for example, and the mysteries of Deryn Lake. However, the exhibition running at The Museum of London called The Cheapside Hoard is fantastic. Go!

At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of labourers digging foundations below cellars in Cheapside unearthed a hoard of jewels, gold and buttons. It was distributed into three collections with the bulk going to the Museum of London. That museum is very close to the old Cheapside where London’s goldsmiths once congregated. The pieces are exquisite. Wonderful examples of chains, earrings, pendants with a few rings and brooches; and enamelled buttons. Many pearls have survived, but many didn’t. There are, however, garnets, sapphires, amethysts, diamonds and gold. Around the walls are contemporary portraits of ladies and gentlemen wearing the type of piece found in the hoard. I do find that so useful for the writer’s imagination.

Waiting for my friend to arrive, I had time to wander the Museum’s galleries and strayed into their dramatisation of visits to the Vauxhall Gardens. Ladies and Gentlemen of the period, flitted about, often up to no good as in many a Georgian set or regency novel, dressed in period costume. A voice-over takes you into their dramas. On my final morning, I passed the entrance to the contemporary Vauxhall gardens, but didn’t have time to stop and read the board.

It is worth going to see where you’re writing about, if at all possible. Country mouse had a great weekend. Mariah’s Marriage US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


10 thoughts on “Country Mouse goes to Town: Anne Stenhouse in London

  1. Anne, you always seem to get so much out of your research visits and you certainly fitted in a lot on this occasion. Would love to see all those Georgian related items. A favourite period of history for me – must be the Jane Austen influence. I know what you mean about not having time to read all the notices you come across, too. I have taken to using my compact camera to photograph information boards for future reference. Often something that doesn’t seem relevant at the time is just the detail I am looking for later on.


  2. What a great visit to London, Anne! I’m going down at the end of the month so would love to see the Museum of London at least, if possible. I set a whole section of Dangerous Deceit in Vauxhall Gardens during the Regency! I also like your title.


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