In The Know


In my ever increasing attempts to prove George Borrow wrong, (as I’ve mentioned before he was an English novelist and travel writer in the 1800s (incidentally born in Norfolk) who once wrote : “There are no countries in the world less known by the British than these self same British Islands”), I recently purchased another guide to the UK. This time it’s a copy of the 12th edition of Know Britain – “an excellent example of the intelligent person’s good bedside reading” according to E C Garner, the Chairman of the London Tourist Board at the time, he may of course be just a little biased.

To be frank I’d have to question whether it’s an intelligent person’s idea of good beside read although it is a perfectly serviceable travel guide – my local town for instance is described as a town which “is full of the sense of the past”, which I think was intended as a compliment in 1968 however appears less so forty plus years later.

The particular highlight for me though are the super fine cover illustrations by Frederick Rowland Emett, the well known English cartoonist perhaps known better still for his Heath Robinson style kinetic sculptures. That and the fact that this particular copy of Know Britain seems to have been removed from the improbably named Hotel Continental Wampach in Folkestone.


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