Places

  • History,  Places,  Research,  Risky Regencies

    Diane’s Trip to Waterloo

    As you might realize, most of my books’ heroes are British Army officers. Perhaps because I grew up as an army brat, the daughter of an army colonel. I’ve placed many of my heroes (and heroines) at the Battle of Waterloo. Imagine my excitement, then, when my friend Kristine Hughes of Number One London Tours (and author of the fabulous Waterloo Witnesses) offered a Waterloo tour this year. I’ve traveled often with Kristine and every one of her tours is fabulous. The Waterloo Tour was no exception. Kristine brought in Gareth Glover, author of several books about the battle and the Napoleonic War, to be our expert guide at Waterloo.

    The tour covered all the sites relevant to the battle. Here are some highlights:

    The Lion’s Mound

    The Lion’s Mound was built in 1820 by King William I on the battlefield at the spot where his son, the Prince of Orange was shot in the shoulder. Lest you think the Prince was a hero, know his inexperience and incompetence got several of his soldiers killed.

    Next to the Lion’s Mound was a wonderful Waterloo museum, featuring a 3-D depiction of the battle that put you right in the action.

    Hougoumont

    Hougoumont was one of the farms on the battlefield that saw the first action of the battle. The Allies, commanded by the Duke of Wellington, managed to hold the fort until the very end, although Napoleon made it a priority to be captured.

    Hougoumont is now a museum and featured another film of the battle.

    La Haye Sainte

    La Haye Sainte was the farm on the other side of the battle, another strategic place of the battle held by the King’s German Legion, one of Wellington’s divisions, until the Legion’s ammunition ran out and the French finally took possession.

    The farm is now privately owned and not open to the public so we could only gaze at the outside of it.

     

    We walked the battlefield while Gareth explained the battle. I’ve done a lot of reading about the battle and I was pleased that I got most things right in my books.

    This view of the battlefield is from the top of the Lion’s Mound (a 226 step climb). The land was farmland then and is farmland now.

     

    Apsley House

    We had one day in London to walk the sights that related to the battle. When Wellington returned victorious, all sorts of awards were heaped on him, including the funds for a London house and a country estate. So we visited Number One London, Apsley House’s address.

    The house is one of my favorite sites in London and I’ve visited it several times. It is now a museum filled with the treasures heaped upon Wellington after the battle.

    The Tour was everything I’d hoped it would be and left me with many memories I’ll always cherish.

     

  • History,  Places,  Research,  Risky Regencies,  TV and Film

    Waterloo Again

    June 18th will be the 207th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, the epic battle that marked the final defeat of Napoleon and gave Europe a century of peace and prosperity broken only by WWI. It is no surprise to long time readers of the Risky Regencies blog that I am fascinated by this battle. I’ve blogged about it at least seven times.

    My friend Kristine Hughes of Number One London Tours is offering a Waterloo Tour in September 2022 and I just signed up! I am actually going to fulfill a long time dream to visit the battlefield and see in person what I’ve written about so many times. Kristine will be joined by Gareth Glover, a Waterloo expert who will, I am sure, make the battle come alive.

    So what I’m doing to prepare is reading all the books on Waterloo that I’ve collected on my Kindle and have used for research from time to time.

    First of these is Kristine’s Waterloo Witnesses: Military and Civilian Accounts of the 1815 Campaign. I’ve peeked into this book many times since its release a year ago, but this time I’m reading cover to cover.

    I also just discovered The Longest Afternoon, a book about the defense of La Haye Sainte, an important part of the battle fought by the King’s German Legion. That’s on my list, too, now.

    I discovered this book in a rather unusual way — I was searching YouTube for videos on Waterloo and I came upon this one:

    Not only does this prove that there are other obsessed people in the world but also that one can find a book recommendation anywhere.

    Because my Kindle books are not nearly enough, I’m also going through other YouTube videos on the battle and am listening to Bernard Cornwell’s Waterloo, which I borrowed from my library.

    Can you tell I’m excited about this trip?

  • History,  Places,  Regency,  Research,  Risky Regencies

    Regency Resources – Gifts from the Pandemic

    We are pulling through a very unique year in history, the year of COVID-19. Vaccines are here and many of us, myself included, have received them. But this year (plus) of isolation came with some benefits, putting Zoom front and center in our vocabulary.

    I spent some time in the past year looking for entertainment on the internet, rewatching all the Austen movies I could access, finding Regency-related video on Youtube, and, of course, zooming with friends and family. In so doing, I came across two resources that have come to us through the gift of Zoom.

    Jane Austen and Co.

    According to their website, “Jane Austen & Co. is a free public book group devoted to reading texts written by historical female authors. Part of the Jane Austen Summer Program, our mission is to bring engaging and informative humanities programming to local libraries within the Triangle Region of North Carolina and beyond.”

    Affiliated with the University of North Carolina, their programs were presented in person before this past year, but with the pandemic, the group went virtual. This meant interested attendees could come from all over the world.

    In 2020, during what I consider the dark days of the pandemic, they presented a series of zoom lectures called Staying Home with Jane Austen, covering food, dress (the author of Dress in the Age of Jane Austen), family (with Sonali Dev), and servants (with the author of Longbourne).

    In 2021 they’ve started a wonderful series called Race and the Regency. The first presentation was Lord Mansfield and the Slave Ship Zong, a talk by Danielle Christmas, an Assistant Professor at UNC. Second, Remixing Pride and Prejudice, a Conversation with Author Ibi Zoboi. Zoboi wrote Pride, a reimagining of Austen’s classic in the Afro-Latino neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Third was I Hope White Hands, Wedgewood, Abolition and the Female Consumer. This one was pretty fascinating, telling how Wedgewood produced wares with anti-slavery images and slogans that were very popular with their female customers.

    There is more to come from the Race and the Regency series. On April 9, Professor Lyndon Dominique will be discussing Political Blackness in The Woman of Colour. The Woman of Colour is an 1808 novel about a biracial heiress who travels from Jamaica to England to marry according to her father’s will. On April 13, Damianne Scott, a professor at University of Cincinnati, will present Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte is Playing to the Masses and It is About Time.

    What is lovely about the Jane Austen and Co. events is that they are recorded and available after the presentation, so you can tune in to all of these. For free!

    The Georgian Group

    My UK friend, Louise Allen, who writes non-fiction books about the Regency as well as Regency Historicals, told me about The Georgian Group, specifically about a virtual presentation about Vauxhall Gardens. Oh, my gosh, this is a wonderful resource!

    The Georgian Group’s website says “The Georgian Group is an English and Welsh conservation organisation created to campaign for the preservation of historic buildings and planned landscapes of the 18th and early 19th centuries.” They’ve been in existence since 1937 and are active in saving these historic places even today.

    • Their series of lectures is virtual this year, because of the pandemic, so it is possible to attend without having to travel to London (which would be nice, come to think of it). They are weekly. Take a look at some of the topics, just for April. April 6- Follies, An Architectural Journey. April 13- The English Landscape Revolution. April 19 –Permeability and the Picturesque: British Country Houses at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century.

    Look here for the complete list. It is impressive.

    There is a charge for each lecture or you can join the organization and attend for free.

    Even if you are not able to pay for the lectures there is a lot of information on the website: an online archive of their journal; an introduction to Georgian Architecture; a bibliography.

    I just learned that there is an American Friends of the Georgian Group. Their membership is a little steep and their events seem to all have been live, but there is some interesting content on that site as well.

    The thing is, these enriching resources would not have been available if not for the pandemic. As awful and confining as it has been, some really nice things have happened–gifts from the pandemic!

    What are some of the gifts from the pandemic that you’ve received? Any other good Regency resources? Let us know!

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