‘ “Environed by History and Romance”: Leamington Spa and the rise of tourism in 19thC Warwickshire’

I am enjoying researching my new talk, which will be given on 4th October 2017, as part of the Warwick Words festival.

The illustrated talk will explore the role of the spa town of Leamington as a centre for the developing Victorian tourist trade. Visitors who came to take the waters for their health and their accompanying family members made many excursions to the neighbouring towns of Kenilworth and Warwick, with their castles, and to Stratford-on-Avon with its Shakespearean associations. There were also many walks around Leamington itself to places of interest and beauty, such as Guy’s Cliffe, towering over the banks of the Avon near Warwick.

Many visitors recorded their visits in diaries and letters, sketchbooks and later in photographs. The wonderful website Windows on Warwickshire allows one to research illustrations from the comfort of home. I have been particularly pleased today to find reproductions of pictures from Mr Colliss’ sketchbook of a visit to Leamington and district in 1867.

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