Introduction The Evidence that History forgot



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Nineteenth Century

Continental travel

In 1997 we purchased from the English book dealer, James Burmester, a collection of travel accounts in English, published on the Continent. This included some interesting ephemera.


Among the items on display are cards advertising particular establishments where tourists could stay, as well as a flier promoting and “academy for young English gentlemen” where the English could send their sons to be educated. Also we see warnings about possible outbreaks of diseases and descriptions of such attractions as the battlefield of Waterloo, which was quickly exploited as a tourist attraction, and Observations on the construction of the leaning tower at Pisa. An advertisement for coaches is also on display.

7. [Trade cards for hotels]

To the City of Tours. Furnished hotel, no. 11, Queen’s Boulecard, near the grille du Dragon, at Versailles [1810?] 8 x 13 cm., printed on one side within typographical border, in English and French.

L. Sobrie at Bruges. Hotel called La Fleur de Bled [1815?] 12 x 14 cm, engraved, printed on one side, view of hotel above text.




F. Barbery. Hotel de Folkstone. Hotel Francais. Boulonge-sur-Mer. Directly opposite the station of the steam packets. [1820?] 8.5 x 11.5 cm, engraved, printed on one side with a view of the hotel and the steam packet.

Golden Ape Hotel. L’hotel du Singe d’Or. P. Decker, no. 35 Mint Street, Bruges. [1820? 7 x 10 cm, engraved, printed on one side.

Comfortable inn at Bergheim, 13 miles from Cologne and 31 from Aix-la-Chapelle, recommended at page 222 in Murray’s hand-book; London 1838. [1840?] 15 x 18 cm., printed on one side.

The advertising copy rings a little oddly to our ears. At the end of the Bergheim piece we read,


Since the introduction of Steam-Boats on the Rhine, families do not sleep here so often as they did before, but both, Tories and Whigs, passing the night at Bergheim, express their complete satisfaction with the rooms and beds.

8. Academy established for the education of young English gentlemen under the high patronage of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge by Captain C. C. Trott. Salzderhelden, October 1839. 4to, [4] p. prospectus, with lithographed view of the school on first page, folded.9. Marignoli’s Tuscan diligences. Florence to Rome, via Siena and Radicofani in 32 hours by post and railway, only one night on the road. [1846] single sheet, folio, printed on one side, large wood-engraved illustration of a coach above 26 lines of letterpress.

10. [Disease warning]

To the English in Paris. The only precautions feasible against the cholera / by Alexander Thomson. [1800?] 8vo, 2 leaves folded.

11. Cotton, Edward.

Catalogue of the late Sergeant-Major Cotton’s Waterloo Library and Museum in the Museum Hotel at the foot of the Lion Mount in the centre of the battlefield of Waterloo. (Brussels : Combe and Vande Weghe, 1872) 12 mo., 16 pp. original mustard printed wrappers.




12. Observations on the construction of the leaning tower of Pisa. [181-?] single sheet folio, printed on one side.


Among the public edifices of Pisa, the leaning Tower belonging to the Cathedral deserves particular Notice – This fabric, the most remarkable of the Kind in the Universe, is built intirely of white marble. It was begun in the year 1174 by William of Nurimberg et Buonanno of Pisa … The great Inclination of this edifice from its perpendicular has given rise to a variety of speculations on the Subyect … It is believed that the marshy soil of Pisa had deceived the abilities of the Architect: for having completed a third Part of his work, he perceived it had inclined from its perpendicular towards the City.

Teaching Aids.

13. Elmslie, John, 1813-1875.

Geographical diagram of the Earth adapted for illustrating its movements & c. (London : James Reynolds, [1844]) Single leaf : ill. ; 23 x 29 cm. with two rotating, hand-coloured discs showing the hemispheres of the earth, fixed to a card giving details of their use. 1 print : engraving ; discs 11.4 cm. diameter.

14. Reynolds, James

Transparent Solar System displaying the Planets with their Orbits as known at the present day / [by] J. Reynolds, 174 Strand.(London : J. Reynolds [et al], [1844]) Single leaf : ill. ; 29 x 23 cm. with holes in card showing sun and planets backed by coloured paper.

Among the planets, we see listed after Saturn one named “Herschall”. Each reference to Herschall on this chart has been crossed out and amended by hand to Uranus, a name change which took place officially in 1850.


Greetings cards

The establishment of the penny post in 1840 saw the rise of the greetings card industry. Typical occasions for sending cards were Christmas and New Year, Birthdays and Valentines day. After receiving the cards they were often pasted into albums and kept.



15. [Christmas and New Year cards]

The cards on display are mainly English from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. There is one in the shape of a Christmas hamper, another shaped as a Christmas pudding. An Australian card shows two men duck-shooting; the caption reads,


Think how beneath Australian skies

By southern suns made thinner,

The colonist goes out and tries

To kill his Christmas dinner.


An Australian New Year’s card, for Continental C. & G. Rubber Co. of Melbourne, sent to clients for New Year 1907, has an elaborate Japanese theme, richly colour-printed and with an intricate cut-out design.

16. A New valentine writer for ladies & gentlemen : being a choice collection of the most fashionable, quizzical and amorous pieces, with answers suited to the various dispositions, circumstances, trades, humour, or age of all classes. (Newcastle [England] : Printed and sold by W. Fordyce, [182-?])

17. [Valentine Cards]

Valentines became popular in the late 18thth and early 19th centuries. Sample books of short verses suitable for would-be valentines were published. These were usually written “To a lady” or “To a gentleman”, or “To a lady with flowers”. Some were more specific, “To a housemaid”, “To a barber”, “To a blacksmith”, or “To a bricklayer”.


The cards themselves were usually elaborate with lace and flowers. One of those on display, from around 1847 shows a lady in the then-fashionable crinoline. It features a movable tab, which, when pulled shows the woman’s legs and her petticoat under the wooden hoops.
The craze spawned a line in “Black Valentines”. These were anti-valentines which were sent to people you disliked. We showed some of these in one of our recent exhibitions, but have on display two which have not yet been seen. The New valentine writer includes examples of verses suitable for anti-valentines.
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