Beautiful England was a series of about 30 short books, each of about 64 pages and all illustrated with 12 watercolours by E.W. Haslehust, R.B.A. First appearing in 1910 they were still available, unchanged, into the 1950's. Other series covered Scotland and Ireland.
Four are devoted to London, all written by Walter Jerrold :- "The Heart of London", "In London's By-ways", "Through London's Highways" and "Rambles in Greater London". For further information about the authors and the dating of these books see below.
Some of the pictures are of tourist vistas, some are not. Many depict buildings and scenes that no longer exist and, of those that do, few appear as they are today. These are guide books to a City that still exists yet is now so different as to deserve being described as "a foreign country".
Each book is presented as a separate page. All the wording, spelling,
punctuation and spacing is reproduced as exactly as this medium
permits. If you can cope with the slightly overheated prose and
outrageous use of hyphenation you will find a wealth of information.
Reach a book by clicking on the title, or go directly to any
illustration within a book
by clicking on the links below. Once there, click the thumbnail to see
a larger version. The pictures were positioned in each book to suit the
printer. Where possible, I have tried to match them to the text.
|You can buy high resolution scans of the 12 plates from any book individually below or|
|The Heart of London|
|The Tower Bridge|
|Remains of the George Inn, Southwark|
|In the Tower of London|
|In St. Olave's, Hart Street|
|Old Houses in Holborn and entrance to Staple Inn|
|St. Paul's and Ludgate Hill|
|The Gatehouse, St. Bartholomew the Great|
|Looking West up Fleet Street to the Law Courts|
|The Porch, Temple Church|
|Wine Office Court and the "Cheshire Cheese", Fleet Street|
|The Gateway, Lincoln's Inn|
|The Heart of London from Tower Bridge|
|In London's By-ways|
|An Adelphi By-way|
|"Venice in London", Paddington|
|Crooked Billet Yard, Shoreditch|
|Amen Corner, Paternoster Row|
|Wardrobe Place, Blackfriars|
|The Record Office, from Clifford's Inn|
|Dr. Johnson's House|
|Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster|
|Shepherd's Market, Mayfair|
|Lancaster Gate Fountain, Kensington Gardens|
|Lancelot Place, Knightsbridge|
|Old Barrack Yard, Belgravia|
|Through London's Highways|
|The Admiralty Arch|
|Gatehouse, St. James's Palace|
|The Sunk Garden, Kensington Palace|
|Whitehall from St. James's Park|
|Washhouse Court, Charterhouse|
|St. John's Gatehouse, Clerkenwell|
|The Thames, from below Waterloo Bridge|
|"The Grapes", Limehouse|
|River Steps, Waterloo Bridge|
|Houses of Parliament from the Embankment|
|Rambles in Greater London|
|Milton's Cottage, Chalfont St. Giles|
|View on Hampstead Heath|
|The Tower Buttresses, Stanmore Old Church|
|The Gateway, Dyrham Park|
|High Beech, Epping Forest|
|Dulwich Old School|
|Whitgift Hospital, Croydon|
|The Mill, Keston Common|
|Strand-on-the-Green and Kew Bridge|
|The Porch, Stoke Poges Church|
Printed and published by Blackie and Son Limited of London and Glasgow none of these books are dated. The series was not published all at once and may have been a part-work. I have seen various first editions described as 1910, 1912 and 1916, but the London four must be slightly later. There are many clues in the text and pictures.
The area that is now Trafalgar square, "A century ago it was covered with the narrow alleys of a sordid slum", was redeveloped between 1812 and 1830. Kew Bridge is described as "new" - it was opened in 1903. The "Airmen's Memorial" is depicted, this was unveiled in July 1923.
Walter Jerrold died in 1929. In addition to biographies he wrote children's books (under the pseudonym Walter Copeland). He also edited many classic texts for the Everyman's Library and was deputy editor of the Observer. It is very clear how much he loved London.
Ernest William Haslehust lived from 1866-1949. He was a prolific painter and these pictures appear to be taken from many years of his work. Some show 1920's vehicles and fashions, others with people dressed in Edwardian, or even late Victorian, clothing. Some of the country scenes show a typical Victorian version of the "rural idyll". Whilst I am not a fan of these, his architectural studies are stunning.
Update as at April 2010. There is now a page on wikipedia devoted to the whole series of books which links to my four London pages. Whoever wrote it appears to have carefully researched the subject and dates the London books to 1924 or 1925.