Guide du Voyageur a Londres [with] Nouveau plan de la Ville de Londres et de ses environs


Mid-19th century railroad guide issued by an influential French publisher.

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Though he technically founded his publishing firm prior to the July Revolution of 1830, Louis Hatchette gained tremendous momentum after he was appointed by the new Ministry of Education to issue a series of public school textbooks. He continued to grow his firm, publishing primary and university level educational material, novels (notably those of Charles Dickens), classics, and even two dictionaries through the 1840’s and 1850’s.

It was also at that time that he began to publish railroad guides for distribution at his own network of vendors at train stations throughout France – the Bibliotechque des Chemins de Fer (Railroad Library). This Guide a Londres is one such publication, the second edition, and provides a fascinating example of French rail tourism in the mid-19th century. Its 239 pages include summaries and illustrations of notable destinations, recommended hotels (with fares), a dictionary of useful English vocabulary, and city plans of Boulogne, Abbeville, Dunkirk and Amiens.

There are also two folding maps and one large, separate fold out stored in a back pocket. The first folding map measures approximately 10.25″ 13.25″ and shows the rail networks in southeastern England and northwestern France. The second fold out measures approximately 10″ x 6.5″ and provides a simple transportation overview of London’s center. A much broader perspective is given in the large folding map, which not only shows streets and railroads but also parks, bridges, and prominent buildings. Of particular interest is the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, constructed for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and moved to south London in 1854.

The map was engraved by Erhard and printed by Kaeppelin for inclusion in the Guide du Voyageur a Londres, published in Paris by the Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie. The firm continues to operate today as Hachette Livre, the largest publishing company in France.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1852

Author: Louis Hatchette

Sheet Width (in): 21.90

Sheet Height (in): 15.75

Condition: A-

Condition Description: 4.75" x 7" guidebook bound in original full black leather with embossed gilt cover and spine. Rubbed corners and a 3" crack along the top of the spine. Modern endpapers. 239 pp. with two fold-out maps, four single page city plans and numerous prints. Minor to moderate foxing throughout, confined mostly to the outer edges. Includes a large folding city plan of London in the back pocket with some creasing and toning along fold lines. Remains in very good condition overall. An interesting piece of mid-19th century railroad tourism.


1 in stock