*FOYLES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH*
'I really can't recommend this enough - especially if you are going on holiday' Tom Holland
'Delightful ... Lucy Lethbridge has written a glorious romp of a book' Kathryn Hughes, The Mail on Sunday
‘It is the paramount wish of every English heart, ever addicted to vagabondizing, to hasten to the Continent…’
In 1815 the Battle of Waterloo brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars and the European continent opened up once again to British tourists. The nineteenth century was to be an age driven by steam technology, mass-industrialisation and movement, and, in the footsteps of the Grand Tourists a hundred years earlier, the British middle-classes flocked to Europe to see the sights.
In Tourists, the voices of these travellers – puzzled, shocked, delighted and amazed – are brought vividly to life. From the discomfort of the stagecoach to the ‘self-contained pleasure palace’ of the beach resort, Lucy Lethbridge brilliantly examines two centuries of tourists’ experience. Among a range of disparate characters, we meet the commercial titans of Victorian tourism, Albert Smith, Henry Gaze and Thomas Cook, as well as their successor, Vladimir Raitz, the creator of the modern beach holiday.
The growth of popular tourism introduced new markets in guidebooks, souvenirs, cuisine and health cures. It smoothed over class differences but also exacerbated them. It destroyed traditional cultures while at the same time preserving them.
From portable cameras to postcards and suntans, Tourists explores how tourism has reflected changing attitudes to modernity and how, from the grand hotel to the campsite, the foreign holiday exposes deep fears, hopes and even longings for home.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
A sparkling mosaic ... In six gloriously colourful chapters, Lethbridge explores everything from guidebooks to souvenirs, retelling these first tourists’ tales with gleeful relish.
Delightful ... witty ... Lucy Lethbridge has written a glorious romp of a book, expertly researched. She has skilfully marshalled her teeming cast of British eccentrics as they tiptoe into foreign parts. For anyone stuck in an airport, or sitting it out on a staycation, this is an inspired choice for your holiday reading.
I really can't recommend Lucy Lethbridge's new book on the history of tourism enough - especially if you are going on holiday.
So much varied research has contributed to this excellent book that it is a treasure-trove of many more significant facts than one can cite.
Pleasingly nerdy ... Lethbridge is as good on the sketchbook-carrying Victorians as she is on the Caravan Club of sturdy mobile homeowners.
Absorbing … Lethbridge is an engaging guide, charting with wit and a wealth of sources everything from the Victorian Nordic craze to changing attitudes to sun and sea
Lethbridge’s well-researched history draws on first-hand accounts of British tourism from its early days. It is laced with humour, lampooning the snobs of yesteryear and poking fun at various pretensions and quirks.
A fascinating study of the emergence of the UK’s travel industry, from the end of the Napoleonic Wars through to the package holiday boom and on to the Instagram era, taking in tour guides and guide books along the way. Lethbridge casts a canny, sharp eye on the British traveller’s often-misguided perceptions of both themselves and their hosts.
Enjoyable … Lethbridge, a percipient social observer and deep thinker, is a good guide to the whole story. She has read everything there is to read on the subject. She has a breezy tolerance of the ‘British know-nothings’, blundering over formerly beautiful sites with their guidebooks and their ignorance of European languages and culture … She is especially funny on water cures and hydropathy … She is kindly, and amused, when describing the quest for the picturesque.
Filled with little gems
Brilliantly observed ... a fascinating portrait of Brits abroad
Lucy Lethbridge’s warmth and wit make her the perfect tour guide to the intriguing history of the British abroad.
Full of human interest and fresh insights, Tourists offers a wonderfully enjoyable account of one of the defining phenomena of the past two centuries.
To write well about the attempts of the British to enjoy themselves in that fraught territory ‘abroad’, you need a sense of the ridiculous, an eye for the poignant, the ability to leaven a mass of date with wit. In Tourists, Lucy Lethbridge ticks all the boxes.
Praise for SERVANTS: Glorious ... Servants is full of eyebrow-raising and laughter-inducing vignettes. But what is most fascinating is Lethbridge’s account of the dark side of the master-servant relationship.
Beautifully written, sparkling with insight, and a pleasure to read, Servants is social history at its most humane and perceptive. In broad terms the world Lethbridge describes is a familiar one, but she nails it all down with the kind of detail that still has the power to astonish, outrage or amuse
An enthralling social history of the past century, told through the eyes of those who served ... Here, the voices of servants and home helpers, largely ignored by history, are brought to life. And what a life! ... The book is full of fascinating titbits ... Lethbridge shows that the history of life below stairs is just as interesting as the story of life above them