Regency Hot Spots: Soho Square Bazaar

              As late as 1839, Soho Square was described in History of London as presenting “a very pleasing and somewhat rural appearance”.  Dating back to the 1680s, it has a park and garden area in the center complete with a statue of Charles II. (here is a link to another post on the statue in the square: From … Expand

Regency Science and Invention: Paris and the Modern Rollercoaster

Although a wheeled roller coaster called the Switchback is said to exist as early as the 1600s in Russia, Paris is often said to be the birthplace of the modern roller coaster for its two attempts, Les Montagnes Russes a Belleville and Promenades Aeriennes (The Incredible Scream Machine: A History of the Roller Coaster, 1987, p 20). The Russian Mountains (Les Montagnes Russes) in 1804 was “apparently…both … Expand

Regency Hot Spots: Exeter ‘Change


  In the Strand the Exeter (Ex)Change was built around 1690 “as a sort of bazaar” which “(l)ike countless other imitations…proved a failure” (London society, Volume 6, 1834, p. 509) Over the years, it held various shops and offices including milliners and upholsterers, until the upper story was “occupied as a menagerie” where beginning in 1773 “the sight-lover had to pay half a crown to … Expand

Regency Hot Spots: Portman Square


Although inferior “as a promenade” Portman Square was widely touted as the most beautiful square, second only to Grosvenor Square.  Originally part of the Portman Estate and housing Montagu House, it was a fashionable address in the Georgian area, claiming famous residents the Wyatts (architect and builder) and Countess of Home. The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and …, August 1813 A Topographical … Expand