Illustrated Guide • The Sights of London • For the Year of the Great Exhibition, 1851

Click here for a full PDF of this 4 page illustrated newspaper (page size 62 cm x 47 cm).

Recently discovered in an uncatalogued remnant acquired years ago by a now retired curator was this splendid

Illustrated Guide to the Sights of London … chiefly published to enable foreigners and country visitors to the metropolis to examine its general promenades — its national establishments — its places of popular resort and amusement— its public edifices and its historical curiosities in the short space of one week. It presents to the eye at a glance, and on a single sheet, a vivid panorama of all that is worth seeing. Strangers are recommended to make their starting point on the First Day from St. Paul’s Cathedral.”

Profusely illustrated with one large and 107 small wood engravings, this vade-mecum presents seven single-day walking tours. Clearly, what a vade-mecum sells is the perception of a system collected out of the old and new, the religious and the secular, the mythological and the monumental. It sells the means to an experience that the purchaser would not efficiently have otherwise. It was an ingenious invention, and in the hands of such publishers as John Murray and Karl Baedeker, it provided a steady-selling genre that defined contemporary publishing.

Lastly, observe at end of page 4: “Notice to Advertisers — All Illustrated Advertisements intended for the second and enlarged Edition of the ‘Guide to the Sights of London’ must be immediately
forwarded to the office, 49, Watling street; and as the number inserted will be very limited, the cuts or wood engravings should be confined to the average size.

London— Printed by John Such, of 29, Budge Row, Wailing Street and published by him and William Fitch, of 49, Watling Street, — by either of whom orders and Advertisements will be received.”

Call number: (Ex) ) Item 5833715 • Evidently unique in North America. One other copy known; it is held by the Guildhall Library, London.

One thought on “Illustrated Guide • The Sights of London • For the Year of the Great Exhibition, 1851

  1. Many thanks for sharing this absolutely fascinating guide. The “Notice to Advertisers” is quite intriguing – was a second edition published?

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