Yours truly!

A fascinating and unique glimpse into Bath’s tourist attractions around the time of Jane Austen is revealed in a letter recently acquired by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Record Office.

P1020864The letter was written by Bath holidaymaker Edward Appleton to the American consul Thomas Aspinwall shortly before the consul’s wife and children were to arrive in Bath to spend the winter of 1819.

In the handwritten letter, Mr Appleton remarks: “From what we have seen of the place, I feel convinced Mrs Aspinwall could not have chosen a place in England where she could pass the time of your absence more comfortably. This is truly a city of lodgings.”

Other words of advice in the letter, dated 24 October 1819, were not to bring any unnecessary equipment for a winter stay as everything was provided at Bath lodging-houses, including cooks and housemaids.  The only exception suggested was to bring one’s own silverware, presumably for entertaining.P1020869

Colin Johnston, Principal Archivist at Bath & North East Somerset Council, enthused: “It is so rare to find observations from Georgian times on what a tourist in Bath should expect. We are also told the markets are good value; the lodging-house keepers are good cooks and civil; and, most intriguingly, Bath is recommended as a fine place for children as the streets are all paved over.”

The letter is available to view online via the Council’s Bath Record Office website

You can also see the original letter in the Bath Record Office at the Guildhall. The Record Office is open for research from Tuesday to Friday each week, except the third full week of the month. For more information visit the website or call 01225 477421.