Episode 37: Bridgerton & Regency London
Bridgerton is the latest Netflix original series produced by Grey's anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. This period drama is based on Julia Quinn's novels set in Regency London. Even if you haven't read the books or even like the idea of a love child of Nanny McPhee and a wedding decorator, the true stars of the series are the filming locations themselves, many of them in London.
Hazel shares with you and little bit of the Regency London history from the places mentioned in Bridgerton, either in the books or the latest TV series. Don't worry. You don't have to be familiar with the work at all. Just sit back and let me take you back to Regency London.
Hello and welcome to our London History Podcast, where we share our love of London, its people, places, and history in weekly 20 minute episodes. I am your host, Hazel Baker, qualified London tour guide and CEO of London Guided Walks. You can follow us on Twitter @guided_walks or find us on Instagram @walk_london, or indeed we're also on Facebook at London Guided Walks. We have a lots of lovely guided walks and private tours, treasure hunts, and virtual tours for Londoners and visitors alike. You can check those out on our website, londonguidedwalks.co.uk.
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What we discuss:
Bridgerton is the latest Netflix original series produced by Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. This period drama is based on Julia Quinn's novels set in Regency London. Even if you haven't read the books or even like the idea of a love child of Nanny McPhee and a wedding decorator, the true stars of the series are the buildings themselves. So I thought I'd share with you and little bit of the Regency London history from the places mentioned in Bridgerton either in the books or the latest TV series. Don't worry. You don't have to be familiar with the work at all. Just sit back and let me take you back to Regency London.
The Regency period dating between 1811 and 1820 was, well for the upper levels of society at least, a time of high fashion and fast living and was what some people may consider the high point of English sophistication. It was most certainly an exciting time for the aristocratic ton who would venture to London from their country states for what was known as 'the season'. And in Bridgerton, we have the two main families; the Featherington's and also the Bridgertons, both coming to London and having resided in Grosvenor Square.
Ranger's House is a beautiful Georgian villa on the edge of Greenwich Park. Ivy and wisteria have been added to the front to add a dewy sort of romanticism.
What brought all these society families into London at the same time?
One really tough question to answer is when was the season? Bridgeton starts in 1813. And that is exactly when the picture of London writes this about Hyde Park.
"One of the most delightful scenes belonging to this great metropolis and that which most displays its opulence and splendours is formed by the company in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in fine weather. Chiefly on Sundays from February till June spacious gravel road within the Park are on a fine Sunday covered with horsemen and carriages from two til five o'clock in the afternoon.
A broad footpath that runs from Hyde Park Corner to KensingtonGardens is frequently so crowded during the same hours with well-dressed people passing to or returning from the gardens. That it is difficult to proceed. A mobile walk stretching from North and South in Kensington gardens. At the Eastern boundary, we did gay company completes this interesting scene numbers of people, of fashion mingled with a great multitude of well-dressed persons of various ranks crowd to walk for many hours together before the stranger enters Kensington gardens.
We recommend him to pause on some spot in Hyde Park from which he's I can command the entire picture of carriages, horsemen and foot passengers in the Park, all eager to push forward in various directions. And on the more composed scene of the company, sauntering in the gardens and such a spot will present itself to the intensive observer more than once as he walks through the Park.
But perhaps the best situation for this purpose is the broad walk at the foot of the base. As it may be called of the river, where it falls into a narrower channel, it has been computed, but 50,000 people have been seen taking the air at one time in Hyde Park and the gardens. Nor is this a modern practice for this spot has been equally resorted to for 200 years past."
Hyde Park was also used for military reviews and its list of amusements for in March.
Other military themed events that happened in Hyde Park during the Regency period include a mock Naval battle. And that was staged actually on the serpentine depicting the British defeat of the French, which ended with the French fleet being set on fire.
This was followed by a firework display and water rockets. And then there was a grand fair, which lasted all week. This was part of the festivities and rejoicing that took place in Hyde Park at the consequences of the peace in 1814, and the visit of the allied sovereigns.
Duelling was illegal. And we have a duel in Bridgerton against the Earl of Hastings and Daphne's oldest brother, the rake, Anthony Bridgerton.
Duelling was in its main height, I suppose, during the reigns of Charles I and James II and that's because gentlemen wore their swords in everyday life.
Hopefully that it's given you a taste of Regency London. I know I haven't included pleasure gardens or theatre, all those fabulous balls, but there's only so much you can squeeze into 20 minutes.
Plus it gives us something to talk about next time. And the latest stats show that we are now number 18 in the list of travel podcasts in the UK. Don't forget to share this podcast with any of your friends and family who you think would find interesting. That's all for now. See you next week.
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