Fortunate for posterity that when the American Mr. Louis Simond made a trip to Regency London in 1809, he not only stayed in the fashionable West End of the city, but kept notes on what he saw there. He recorded details about the general tide of life for the residents who lived, loved and played there. His are not the only eye-witness notes we have of the period, but they are revealing.Simond was amused to notice that, firstly, no one “stirred” earlier than 10am. At that time, shops became sleepily awake, and the Horse Guards were on the move in a noisy parade, their daily march from the barracks to Hyde Park. But what of the ton, the inner circle of fashionable society?These lofty souls did not appear until nigh three or four o’clock, when, in a great racket, they would begin making their “morning” calls, or go shopping or promenading, or grace an assembly room with their presence. Why was the beginning of their day so late in the afternoon? Because it went on until early next morning, or even ’til dawn.Simond says there was gaslight on the streets, and this, in 1809 (earlier than most of us thought);… Read full this story
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