Part of the letter addressed to Thomas Aspinwall (ref.1020) Show image info

Part of the letter addressed to Thomas Aspinwall (ref.1020)

1819 letter to Thomas Aspinwall

A fascinating and unique glimpse into Bath’s tourist attractions around the time of Jane Austen is revealed in this letter recently acquired by the Record Office.

The letter - now fragile - 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.

It is very 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.

Read the original letter (ref. 1020):

Read page 1 and cover

Read pages 2 and 3

Read a transcript of the letter.