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Yes, I mean the cartoon cat and mouse. No, the Regency did not have cartoons, not as we know them, even though Peter Mark Roget
, of Thesaurus
fame, did present a paper entitled Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel when seen through vertical apertures
, in 1824, which ultimately led to the invention of the Zoetrope
and similar devices which were the antecedents of the film industry. Three years before Dr. Roget presented his paper, Pierce Egan
, a successful Regency-era journalist, published the first number of his new urban sporting journal called Life in London
Not only do we have Pierce Egan to thank, if that is the correct word, for the animated Tom & Jerry, but also in part for The Nonesuch
, The Corinthian
, Faro's Daughter
, Friday's Child
, Bath Tangle
, Regency Buck
Nor is vellum. Yet countless characters in countless Regency novels have selected or are offered a sheet of "parchment" or "vellum" when they have something to write. But that would never really have happened during the Regency, because though paper was expensive, the cost of either parchment or vellum would have been prohibitive for any but the most wealthy. And even they would not have used it for everyday correspondence.
In modern times, various paper manufactures have chosen to label some of their wares either "parchment" or "vellum." However, these words have been hijacked, disengaged from their original meanings, taking advantage of their ancient cachet in order to tempt present-day paper buyers. Such was not the case during the years of the Regency. In that decade, as had been the case for centuries before it, parchment was still parchment and paper was just paper. Both were completely different media upon which to write, the former having an animal source, the latter a vegetable source.
Some months ago I wrote about Google Book Search
. But Google was not the first to digitize books and other documents and make them available online. Thirty-three years before Google scanned their first book, in 1971, Michael S. Hart
digitized a copy of the American Declaration of Independence
. This was barely two years after the first ARPANET
message was transmitted, which means the precursor of the internet as we know it had only taken its very first baby steps. Yet, Mr. Hart had the vision to see into the future, when books and other important documents of our culture would be freely available to all, regardless of their location. Thus was born Project Gutenberg
, named for the man who first used moveable type to print books in Europe, Johannes Gutenberg
And what does all of this have to do with the history of Regency England?
The most fashionable bridle path
in all of Regency London was Rotten Row
in Hyde Park
. It has been a very popular setting in countless Regency romance novels all the way back to Georgette Heyer. Rotten Row is still maintained as a bridle path in Hyde Park even today. However, there have been changes made to Rotten Row over the years, so that the Row today is not the same Row along which fashionable ladies and gentlemen of the Regency rode to see and be seen.
What are the origins of Rotten Row, how did it get its name, and what was it like during the years of the Regency?
Posted on 08/07/09 at 07:07:00 by Kathryn Kane
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying your exploration of London and will enjoy your time in Hyde Park.
You are right about Regent's Park. It was not open to the public until 1838. Green Park was open to the public during the Regency years. However, in 1814, due to the damage caused to the Park by the crowds during the celebrations of the victory over Napoleon, it was closed to equestrians, leaving Hyde Park and Rotten Row the primary venue for riding and driving in Regency London.
Good to know. I saw Regent's Park the other day, but I have yet to explore Hyde Park. Regent's Park, of course, was created later, so was not a popular destination for our Regency characters.
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