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Statue of John Wilkes in Fetter LaneAmong the panoply of 18th-century ‘characters’, John Wilkes stands out as one of the most memorable. His twisted visage, which was such a gift to the caricaturists of the day, his libertine lifestyle and championing of radical causes are by themselves more than enough to warrant interest in him. To these may be added his mercurial character, at the one time a friend of the mob, at another an aspiring gentleman and patron of the arts. It is unsurprising, then, that he has attracted so much interest from a variety of angles. But there is another aspect of John Wilkes, for which he is perhaps less well known: Wilkes the tourist.

Wilkes the traveller in France and Italy is well documented, most notably in his own unfinished autobiography, his voluminous correspondence and two recent book-length studies.[1] Wilkes had fled to the continent in the winter of 1763 to avoid imprisonment over the North Briton number 45 affair and his publication of the pornographic Essay on Woman. He remained there, on and off, until 1768. The majority of his time was passed in Paris but there was also an extended tour of Italy, taking in Bologna, Rome and Naples, as well as a visit to Geneva and time spent with Voltaire.

On Wilkes’s return from exile he was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment in King’s Bench prison. It is to the period after this that his significance as a source for the history of travel in England is most obvious. At first his tireless journeyings were closely connected with his political campaigning, but latterly they were more dominated by leisure pursuits. He visited notable country houses and watering holes, as well as friends and acquaintances, mostly in the south of the country. Besides his correspondence, documentation for these peregrinations comes from his diaries, which he kept (with the odd interruption) between 1770 and 1797.[2] At first sight they are a little disappointing. They lack the repartee of his letters but they do reveal a good deal about the logistics of travel in the period. There were certain favoured destinations: Bath and Tunbridge Wells for his health, the Isle of Wight for relaxation. In December 1776, for example, Wilkes left his London residence in Prince’s Court for a sojourn at Bath. He left at 10 in the morning on the 7th and by 1.30pm had arrived at his first port of call, the Castle Inn at Salt Hill. The next day he left Salt Hill at 9am and by 11.30am was at Reading, 18 miles away, where he paused to change horses. He then proceeded for a further 17 miles to Speenhill, before continuing on the next 19-mile stage to Marlborough, where he passed the night. The next day two more stages of 14 and 19 miles respectively at last brought him to his lodgings in Bath. For Wilkes, this was a relatively leisurely journey. In August 1792 he journeyed back and forth from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth to dine with friends and acquaintances, enjoying swift crossings of just an hour each way.

The value of Wilkes’s diaries for the history of travel and tourism lies in the careful detail he provides of his trips. He notes his regular stopping places – some he liked, others were visited by accident, a few condemned as poor hostelries. Timings too are instructive. He could make it from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight in as little as 40 minutes on a good day and he names the captains who commanded the vessels on which he tended to rely. Wilkes’s later career may often be dismissed as one of relative mediocrity (the final 15 years of his life are dealt with summarily in Arthur Cash’s otherwise supremely detailed study in just 17 pages) but there is much about the history of travel in England that can still be mined from a study of Wilkes’s activities in his respectable twilight years.

 

Robin Eagles

Robin Eagles is a senior research fellow at the History of Parliament. His edition The Diaries of John Wilkes 1770-1797 (London Record Society, 2014) has recently been published through Boydell and he is now embarking on a study of Frederick, Prince of Wales.

 

 


 

[1] Arthur Cash, John Wilkes: the scandalous father of civil liberty (New Haven: Yale, 2006), ch.8; John Sainsbury, John Wilkes: the lives of a libertine (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 120-3, 179-81, 215-17.

[2] British Library, Add. MSS 30866; Robin Eagles, ed., The Diaries of John Wilkes 1770-1797 (Woodbridge: London Record Society, 2014).

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STERN GRANT FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS TO ATTEND NACBS CONFERENCE
2012 COMPETITION

The NACBS STERN GRANT is intended to provide financial assistance for graduate students who attend the annual NACBS meeting. Recipients will receive up to $500 in reimbursement for travel, lodging, and registration costs incurred as a result of attendance.
Guidelines for applicants:

1. You must be a graduate student in good standing at a PhD-granting degree program in British studies and a member of the NACBS.

2. You must provide a justification for your attendance at the annual meeting and a budget of expenses.

3. Your faculty advisor, who also needs to be a member of the NACBS, must submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Procedures for application:
Please submit your application for funds by email to each of the committee members under the subject line: Stern Fund Application. Your application should include the following information: your name, address, email address, and phone number; the PhD program in which you are enrolled; the name of your faculty advisor; your purpose in attending the NACBS meeting; an estimated budget of expenses. In addition, request that your faculty advisor send a letter of recommendation to the committee by email, again with the subject line: Stern Fund Application.

Preference will be given to applicants who are panelists on the NACBS program and/or are award recipients. Awardees must submit to the committee chair all receipts for reimbursement within one month of the end of the annual meeting.

Application deadline: September 4, 2012. Applications and letters of recommendation must be emailed to:

Professor Shannon McSheffrey, Chair
Concordia University
Email: mcsheff@alcor.concordia.ca

Professor David Campion
Lewis & Clark College
Email: campion@lclark.edu

Professor Nancy Ellenberger 
U.S. Naval Academy
Email: ellenber@usna.edu

 

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April
30
2010

NACBS 2010 HOTEL AND TRAVEL INFORMATION

Posted by jaskelly under Announcement, Conferences, NACBS | Tags: hotel, NACBS, nacbs2010, travel | 0 Comments

Area

HOTEL INFORMATION

The annual meeting of the NACBS will be held at Baltimore’s Tremonts: Historic Venue and All Suite Hotel http://www.tremontsuitehotels.com/

The conference will be held in the Tremont Grand, a historic structure originally built in 1866 as the Grand Lodge of the Maryland Masonic Lodge.

The hotel rooms are located in the Tremont Plaza. This is a separate building, connected to the Tremont Grand by a corridor. When arriving by car or taxi, use the Tremont Plaza entrance on St. Paul St. to check in.

TREMONT PLAZA HOTEL
222 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
P 410-727-2222   F 410-685-4215

Amenities
All hotel rooms are suites which feature a sitting area, a kitchenette, and free high-speed internet. Hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, a deli/store, Tug’s Bar and Grille restaurant, and a café.
The Tremont Grand is located across the street from a grocery store and the Tremonts are located in the Mt. Vernon/Charles St. corridor, home to many of Baltimore’s best restaurants. The Baltimore Harbor is just a 10-minute walk away.

Conference Rate
A book of rooms has been reserved for the nights of Thurs-Sat. 11/11-11/13/2010. A few rooms are available on Wed. 11/10 as well.
Hotel rooms are available at the NACBS conference rate of $129 per night for single/double occupancy. The rate is $149 for triple and $169 for quad occupancy. Room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes, currently 13.5%.
To negotiate this room rate, the NACBS needs to fill a specified amount of rooms, so we urge you to stay at the conference hotel.

Reservations
The conference rate is only guaranteed until OCTOBER 13, 2010.
To make a reservation go to: www.tremonts.com. Click on the “Reservations” button on the left-hand menu. In the box, click on “Group Reservations”. In the new box enter the password: NACBSNOV10, and make your reservation. All reservations must be guaranteed by a major credit card, or first night’s room and tax deposit. You have up to 24 hours prior to the arrival date to cancel your room reservation.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

By Air
Baltimore is served by three major airports: Baltimore/Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in Maryland, and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Northern Virginia.

Just 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore, BWI is the closest airport [http://www.bwiairport.com]. It is served by 55 carriers, including Southwest, AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, US Airways, and United.
Daily nonstop international service to BWI from destinations including London, U.K. (from Heathrow via British Airways), and Toronto, Canada is available.

Airport Transfers from BWI
[http://www.bwiairport.com/en/travel/ground-transportation]

Supershuttle is providing NACBS attendees with a special rate. The cost is $13 one-way from BWI airport to the Tremont hotel, and $24 round trip. Discounts are available from other airports as well. To reserve a shuttle with the conference discount call 1800-BLUE-VAN (1800-258-3826) and mention code QS3DW or click on:
https://www.supershuttle.com/GroupRez/TripDetails.aspx?GC=QS3DW

Other transport options

  • Individual taxi $30-35
  • Public transport (Light Rail) $1.60

Take light rail from BWI airport to downtown Baltimore/Camden Yards stop. Runs 6am-11pm M-Sa, Sun 11am-7pm
This will require a transfer to a short taxi ride or a 10-minute walk to the hotel.

By Rail
Baltimore is easily accessible by train. Two stations serve the Baltimore area: the BWI Airport Station and Penn Station. Amtrak serves both these stations with trains running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Penn Station Baltimore is the closest station to the hotel. A 5-10 minute taxi ride from Penn Station to the hotel should cost approx. $12. For tickets and station information, go to: [http://www.amtrak.com] Type in Baltimore-Penn Station, MD (BAL).

By Car
Directions To The Tremont Plaza Hotel

From BWI Airport: Exit onto I-95 and continue to Exit 4 Baltimore. Follow the I-395 Exit heading downtown, and stay in the lane for the Inner Harbor. Bear right and turn onto Conway Street. At the second traffic light, turn left onto Charles Street. At the 7th traffic light, turn right onto Saratoga Street, and travel one block to St. Paul Place. Turn right. The Tremont Plaza is on the corner of Saratoga and St. Paul Place.

From the North or South on I-95: From Washington D.C. (south) or the Fort McHenry Tunnel (north), take the I-395 Exit, heading downtown, and follow directions above.

From the West on I-70: Take I-695 towards Glen Burnie. Follow I-95 north to Baltimore and follow the directions above from I-95.

BALTIMORE INFORMATION

Map
For maps go to: http://baltimore.org/maps

Attractions
For Baltimore tourist information go to: http://baltimore.org

  • Cultural sites include the Walters Gallery, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Peabody Library.
  • Historical sites include the Maryland Historical Society, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History, and Ft. McHenry [gearing up for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812]
  • Family-friendly sites include the Baltimore Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum.

Restaurants
A list of restaurants will be posted on the NACBS website in early Fall.

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April
14
2009

NACBS on delicious.com

Posted by jaskelly under Announcement | Tags: Add new tag, delicious.com, NACBS, travel | 0 Comments

Area

The North American Conference on British Studies now hosts a page on
delicious.com that focuses on accommodation and travel tips for research in
the UK and Ireland:

<http://delicious.com/kelly_nacbs>

While all members can see our bookmarks, if you sign up, you can join the
NACBS network and help us edit and expand our resources.

For those of you unfamiliar with delicious.com, here is some more
information:

"Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save,
manage and share web pages from a centralized source.

Bookmark any site on the Internet, and get to it from anywhere Instead of
having different bookmarks on every computer, Delicious makes it easy to
have a single set of bookmarks kept in sync between all of your computers.
Even if you're not on a computer you own, you can still get to your
bookmarks on the Delicious website.

Share your bookmarks, and get bookmarks in return If your friends use
Delicious, you can send them interesting bookmarks that they can check out
the next time they log in. Of course, they can do the same for you. As you
explore the site and find interesting users, you can use our Subscriptions
and Network features to keep track of the Delicious tags and users you find
most interesting.

Discover the most useful and interesting bookmarks on the web See what's hot
with Delicious users by checking out our popular tags. By looking at popular
bookmarks for a tag, you'll be able to discover the most interesting
bookmarks on the topics you're most interested in. Browse bookmarks on just
about anything from the best programming tips to the most popular travel
sites, all in an easy to read format."

For those of you who have not done so already, please join the NACBS
Facebook group at

<http://tinyurl.com/nacbs-fb>

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