Wednesday 21 October 2009

Brits Abroad: Holiday Destinations In The Wild West

In the 1800s it was the thing for the British to embark on Grand Tours. More often than not this usually meant a tour of Europe though some would venture further afield to Africa, India and Asia.
For Mrs F. D. Bridges her world tour began in 1878 and included the American west on her agenda of must see places. Upon her arrival at the bustling silver town of Leadville, Colorado she was met by a gun toting hotel tout who loudly yelled: "If any man says the Clarendon ain't a first class house, I'll put a bullet in him."
Mrs Bridges did, indeed, stay at the Clarendon and told her story in 'Journal Of A Lady's Travels Around The World' published in 1883.

However, Mr Colon South had a better experience when he arrived at a small town in Wyoming.
Here, as he reports in his book ' Out West: Or, From London To Salt Lake City And Back' published 1884, that his hotel boasted, amongst other things, 'Baths, gas, hot and cold water, laundry, telegraph, restaurant, fire alarm, bar-room, billiard table, daily papers, coupe, sewing machine, grand piano, a clergyman, and all other modern convenieces in every room.'

This and more can be found in an excellent little book written by Colin Rickard called 'Bowler Hats and Stetsons'. It is interesting as the author recounts those Brits who passed through the American West and those who stayed to make their mark like Ben Thompson, John Tunstall and some who came as a surprise.
Entertaining, interesting and well written and worth hunting down.

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