How to Lease a Home in 18th Century London

Today I’m going to begin the first of what will be an ongoing, long and possibly unfinished project– to make an easy-to-read version of the  late 1700s book The London Adviser and Guide by John Trusler.  I think the extended title says it all: 

THE London Adviser and Guide: Containing every Instruction and Information Useful and Necessary to Persons Living in London and coming to reside there; In order to enable them to enjoy Security and Tranquility, and conduct their Domestic Affairs with Prudence and Economy* Together with an Abstract Of all those Laws which regard their protection against the Frauds, Impositions, Insults and Accidents to which they are there liable. Useful also to Foreigners.

* Note, This Work treats fully of every Thing on the above Subjects that can be thought of. 


So, let’s get started with the fine print details of leasing a home in London.

Houses and lodgings in London are let either furnished or unfurnished, and their prices are according to their size, their situation, and their manner of sitting up. In the central part of London and Westminster, such as the neighbourhood of St. James’s, Charing-Cross, the squares, -Covent-Garden, the theatres, St. Paul’s Churchyard, Cheapside, the Royal Exchange, &c. they are high rented; in more distant parts they are cheaper, and in by-streets, courts, lanes, alleys, and such obscure places, cheaper still.

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Floor Plan of a Regency Era Vicarage

>>Click here to visit Jane Austen’s World blog featuring the floor plans of Highclere Castle.


So, I’m still digging around in the “Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions,” by Rudolph Ackermann and Frederic Shoberl. Today, I found the floor plan of a vicarage. It’s fascinating to me because my favorite part of writing is setting. When I’m visiting an old home, I like to walk alone through the rooms to breathe the air, hear my foot steps on the floor, and imagine the energy of the inhabitants from years before as they moved through the same space.

For London floor plans, try The Survey of London

My friend Nancy Mayer sent me this great link which shows the floor plans of Highclere Castle