Thursday, 26 February 2009

'Touring Britain'

'Touring Britain' is a series of two TV programmes on BBC4, exploring the use of the travel guides. The first programme, which screened this evening, looked at the impact of the Baedeker guide:

"Cultural historian David Heathcote uses his favourite old 1887 Baedeker Guide to explore modern-day Britain, discovering unexpected delights and hidden treasures which were popular with Victorian tourists but are rarely visited today. Following in the footsteps of early American tourists who arrived off the boats in Liverpool, he takes the advice of the Guide and discovers 'the most fashionable of Welsh watering places'. The Guide then recommends a trip to the salt mines, popular with American visitors 100 years ago and, surprisingly, just as interesting today. He then travels on to Manchester, recommended by Baedeker as a hotbed of music, politics and radical thinking and discovers that the spirit of what attracted the curious visitors 100 years ago lives on. The journey ends in York where modern day tourists follow in the footsteps of their Victorian counterparts and enjoy the magnificent medieval city and cathedral. As he travels, Heathcote explores the story behind the guide books that were so influential in creating the independent traveller as we know it today."

It can be found on BBC iPlayer here.

Next week's programme will look at the Shell guides for motorists that were produced from the 1930's.

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