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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
  all 48 plates from the four books for £ 4.99 or visit the print shop.
The Heart of London
  high resolution scans of all 12 plates for £1.99
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
  high resolution scans of all 12 plates for £1.99
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
  high resolution scans of all 12 plates for £1.99
Trafalgar Square
The Admiralty Arch
Westminster Abbey
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
  high resolution scans of all 12 plates for £1.99
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
Eltham Palace
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.


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