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Alan Machin: Tourism As Education
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... and reading a city that has had many rebuilders
Making Sense of The Travel Learning Experience- 1
1 Information Streams
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Some basic theories
Back to Basics: Presentation given at the Cuba EduTourism Conference
The CETA Conference in Havana, Cuba, 8/9 November 2010
About the author
Comments - CV - photos
At the heart of the tourist experience
Learning through Landscapes
Exploring Oxfordshire (and a bit of Gloucestershire!)
The Environment As Data: Building New Theories For Tourism
How tourists relate to places
Sail Gives Way to Steam
A return visit discovers just how much has been achieved in this iconic restoration
Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth Reenactment
Visits to Leicester and the battlefield event, 2013
Along The Way
Recollections and Reflections of 60+ Years' Learning about the World and its Ways
On the Edge of the New World
Shaping New England
Exploring Holderness in East Yorkshire; October 2012
Past Historic
Graf Zepplin, Spain 1968, OS History, Much Wenlock Olympics, Chatham Dockyard, Hawes Tourism, Colonial Williamsburg,
A Summer of Travelling / Matthew Starr
Three months' backpacking in Africa, Asia and Australia
East Anglia
The Broads, Pensthorpe natural history, Radar Museum, Caister Lifeboat Service and more!
A Richer Earth
Discoveries in the landscape and attractions of Shropshire
Blog Index Page
Blog pages from 2009 listed
From Strip Map to Sat Nav
'Finding the way' aids to exploration
Showcasing the World
How the Tourist Microcosm took centre stage
Doing A Dissertation
Notes to help students preparing their proposals
The Japanese Tsunami Destruction at First Hand
Sarah and Tom Wadsworth saw for themselves
Showcases: Examples
The range and variety of tourism's focal points examined
Jigsaw: Frameworks of Knowledge
The tourist jigsaw puzzle of - knowledge
Books and other works useful in studying tourism as education
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 2
The development of tourism as education, 1845 -
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1
Tourism's educational origins and management
Impressions of Tourism in Cuba
Thoughts on having seen some of the country myself
Captain James Cook: North Yorkshire Days
Tracing the early life of Britain's greatest maritime explorer
Hunting the Hound of the Baskervilles
Tracking down places that inspired the famous detective story and moulded Dartmoor's image
Exploring the Idea of Dark Tourism
What is it? Is it a useful idea?
Talking to Tourists
Visitor interpretation - guide books, visitor centres and other media
Shades of Light and Dark in the Garden of England
An exploration in East Sussex and Kent, June/July 2010
Hunting the Gladiator and the Gecko
A thirteen-year search for a wartime adventure
Steam Up For A Famous Film's Birthday Party
The Railway Children weekend on the Worth Valley line raises questions about heritage presentations
Anne-Marie Rhodes: Making a Difference in South East Asia
Leeds Met graduate of '07 describes her activities
Discoveries in Northumberland, April 2010
Alnwick Gardens; Winter's Gibbet; Holy Island, Cragside, Wallington Hall
Discoveries in the Midlands, March 2010
Bletchley Park National Codes and Cipher Centre; and the Rollright Stones
Alan Machin's Blog - April 2010
The development of tourism as education continued
Jigsaw Puzzle!
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
Leaders Into The Field
People who inspired everyone to explore
Alan Machin's blogs - February and March 2010
Postings on the history tourism as education - redirection
Alan Machin's Blog - January 2010
Tourist photography and souvenirs
Earlier front-page blog postings - January 2010 onwards
Archived after being on the Home Page
News from higher education and - beyond
The Development of Educational Tourism
Key dates in the development of educational tourism
Alan Machin's Blog - December 2009
Christmas Quiz and other postings
Analysing Heritage Tourism
Ideas and perspectives on a hugely important sector
Alan Machin's Blog - November 2009
Visitors' Views of Stonehenge, West Sussex - and other Postings
Are Universities Losing Their Way?
Reflections having retired
Teaching Tourism At Leeds Met
Remembering the Best
Alan Machin's Blog - October 2009
Thoughts about university life and discovery by travel
Alan Machin's Blog - September 2009
Further postings about a trip last month to the USA, and about higher education
Alan Machin's Blog - August 2009
Postings about a trip this month to the USA
Alan Machin's Blog - July 2009
The Story So Far reaches the summer
Alan Machin's Blog - June 2009
The Story So Far looks back on seventeen years at Leeds Met
Alan Machin's Blog - May 2009
Another month of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - April 2009
Yet more of the Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - March 2009
More of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's Blog - February 2009
The Story So Far - pioneers, people and places
Alan Machin's Blog: January 2009
The Story So Far .... first postings of '09
Alan Machin's Blog: December 2008
The Story So Far .... latest postings
Alan Machin's Blog - November '08
The Story So Far.... continued
Alan Machin's Blog: October 2008
The Story So Far....
No Place Like Rome
The eternal city with the eternal tourists
Charleston, South Carolina
A photo essay about a fine historic city
Idealog - December 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
Idealog - November 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
The Educational Origins of Tourism
Discussion paper
Idealog - October 2007
Coton Military Cemetery; Education and Tourism; Chatham Maritime; Dickens World; Quiz Answers; Tourist Guides; Mediation In Tourism
Idealog - September 2007
Plane Paradox;Tour Guiding; Where in the World?; Do Tourism Students Know Where They Are?; Leeds Met's Wow!; Sea Harrier; Scarborough and Tourism As Education; Doing A Dissertation; Types of Tourist; A Media Lens; Cost of Travelling Alone; Risk of Bias?
Idealog - August 2007
A People Industry; Heritage Interpretation; Lud's Church; Tourists Go Home!; Stone Gappe YHA; Insight Guides; Eyewitness Guides; Bramhope Tunnel; Elizabethan Progress; Information Quality Matrix
Idealog - July 2007
Hidden Heroes, Health Tourism, Holme Fen Posts; Harrogate (again); Whitby Abbey; Dramatic Interpretation; Harrogate Interpretation, Attractions and Royal Hall
Idealog - June 2007
Christian Pilgrimage; Cincinnati Museums Centre; The Coming of the Guide Book; Talking to Tourists - Media, Stages of the Visit, The Service Journey; Tourism's Missing Link; The Final Call; SATuration level; Halifax's Edwardian Window on the World
Idealog - May 2007
Martin and Osa Johnson, Wensleydale Creamery, Malham Tarn, Thomas Cook, Northern Ireland's Tourism Rebuild, Jamestown Festival Park, Cite des Sciences
Idealog - April 2007
The Promenade Plantee, The Jardin des Plantes, Environmental Data, Victorian Beauty Spot Rediscovered, Jamestown, The Anglers' Country Park, Children's Museums, Fairburn Ings
Idealog - March 2007
A Sense of the Past- The 'Amsterdam', The Outdoor Classroom, Film-Induced Tourism, Making Tracks for the Coast and Country, Pictures, Context and Meaning, Classics-on-Sea, Hi Hi Everyone!, Dark Side of the Dream, Holodyne - The Action Cycle
Idealog - February 2007
Don't Go There!, Space Tourism, The Crystal Cathedral, New Books on Tourism, Dark Tourism - Undercliffe Cemetery, Showcase - The Louvre, A Class Act, First Impressions Count, Postal Pleasures, Canaletto in Venice, Serpent Mound, Capsule Culture etc
Idealog - January 2007
Capsule Culture,Seaside Style, Poble Espanyol, Mallorca, Edgar Dale, Children's Holiday Homes, Representations of Reality, Outdoor Education in Germany, Baedeker Guides, Geography Textbooks, Environmental Data Theory etc
Idealog - December 2006
Writers on Landscape, Story Books, The Deep, Flour Power and the Archers,Showcases: Grand Tour, Halifax Piece Hall, Books of Concern about Tourism, Tourist Traces, Tourist Typologies, The Growth of Educational Tourism, The Field Studies Council, etc
Idealog - November 2006
A blog of ideas, comments and notes
Travel To Understand: Belfast
Telling the stories of troubled times
World Quiz 2010
Geography with a tourism angle
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
An outstanding educational facility in California
Chicago: Tourism Re-Imaging
A closer view of an iconic city
Colonial Williamsburg
A Virginia history showcase
A Social Club Outing By Train, 1935
How to do Scotland in 30 hours flat
Going Dutch
Presenting the past in the Netherlands
Keukenhof: Business is Blooming
Using tourism to promote an industry
A View of Italy for the City
Trentham Gardens Revived
A Case Study in Heritage Management
A curious tale of misleading publicity
Old Rice Farm
The story of the house in the 'holler'
Perfection in Paradise: The Eden Project
New page being added: The Eden Project's design for success
Escaping From Slavery: Facing Our Past
The US National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Prague Tourist Shows
Outstanding showcase attractions in the city
Retracing the Steps: Tourism as Education
ATLAS Conference paper given in Finland, 2000
Tourism and Historic Towns: The Cultural Key
A background paper for a Council of Europe Conference
The Social Helix
Visitor Interpretation as a Tool for Social Development, 1989
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 1
Reports and Pictures
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 2
Photos and reports of Friday 17 Feb onwards
Malta Residential, 14-21 February 2006 - Page 3
Reports and pictures from Sunday, 19 February onwards
Tourism Alumni Reunion, 8 March 2003
Leeds tourism students reunion 2003
World Geography Quiz 1
A test of your knowledge
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
The answers
Tall Ships Race 2010 Converged on Hartlepool
A major event-based boost for tourism in the town
Plymouth: From the Tamar to the Sea
Starting point for explorations round the globe
Plimoth Plantation
A reconstruction of the Mayflower settlers' village of the 1620s on the north east coast of North America
World Geography Quiz 2010 - Answers
Geography with a tourism angle
World Geography Quiz - Answers
Christmas Quiz 2009 - Answers
A day in the city including the Botanic Garden
Tourist Showcases
Examples from around the world

Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1

Blog page header February 2010

These postings illustrate the historical growth of tourism as an educative activity. They're based on the idea that all tourism has the potential to inform and increasing our understanding of our world.

The first postings effectively give the background for the more specific many tourism industries that spring up later.

This whole web site is 'work in progress' so some postings add material further back in the sequence - ie they will not appear first at the top of the page.


Pictorial Times panorama

A Panorama of London

The Pictorial Times issues a free give-away printed panorama of London. It shows the north bank of the River Thames from Parliament to the Tower of London. It is 12 feet long (3.65m). Above is only a small part of the panorama at its left-hand end.

In the 1840s printed media were expanding with new publications like the Illustrated London News and Punch making their first appearances. The Pictorial Times was sold by subscription at 1.6s.0d (1.05p - but equivalent to 57.33 in today's money). It was "published every Saturday, containing all the news of the week, and From Twenty to Thirty Splendid Engravings". Pictures were heavily used in all three of the magazines mentioned, popular at a time when literacy levels were lower and 'a picture was worth a thousand words'. At that price it would have been bought within a well-off family in which at least the 'head of the household' (male of course, then) and possibly others could read, but older relatives and the servants (if they got access to the journal) probably could not.

Exploring cities was a popular subject with more people reading about them and the new transport forms - railways, horse cabs and soon, horse-drawn buses - getting them around. The Thames, as can be seen, was a much busier waterway with a muddle of vessels including rowboats for hire bustling around on what was an extremely polluted waterway. And it was as the filth of cities along with crime and diseases began to be recognised more and more that city dwellers began to use the new railways to get out into the country to discover a cleaner and placid kind of world.

In the same year Parliament passes an Act requiring all railways to provide cheap passenger transport at a rate of 1d (0.42p - equivalent to 18p in 2010 values). All railways in Britain required parliamentary approval incorporated into an Act of Parliament, giving the government the ability to set basic operating rules. The result will be extensive use of railway travel by more people, but road improvements might have been held back.

Panorama - Westminster Bridge and Parliament 1844
Thomas Cook 1841
Package pioneers

1841 Thomas Cook runs his first excursion, by train from Leicester to Loughborough.

Cook at this time was not a tour operator, was not the first to organise a rail excursion and was not arranging a package holiday (ie transport + meals + overnight accommodation + guided activities). He was a Baptist, an evangelist, publisher of pamphlets and temperance promoter. However by organising an excursion to fulfil all of the things he wanted to do he started to move in the direction of a package holiday organiser setting up trips with all four of those package components.

Thomas Cook wanted to preach temperance and the Christian religion to large groups of people. The idea that came to him while travelling in the East Midlands was to get people together in a leisure context and to mix entertainment and education in a programme of activities for them. To enthuse such a group, he thought of taking people from Leicester by the new and exciting steam railway a Mr Paget’s field in Loughborough and organising refreshments, music, games – and temperance speeches - while there. Some five hundred and seventy people bought rail + food tickets at one shilling each (5p – but equivalent now to 2.21 today) from the Midland Rail Company. They chartered a special train with open wagons to Thomas Cook and paid him a proportion of the takings. This was because a rail ticket had to be a contract between the passenger and the railway company. Cook’s excursion was successful with the result that over the next three years he ran similar trips. The rail company then agreed to set up permanent arrangements with him and he in turn began to operate as a leisure travel business. For him it was always to be a way of educating and entertaining, seeing new places, meeting new people, bringing his customers together in sociable groups and, finally but by no means least of all, into contact with Christian moral and social practices.

1838 A railway excursion is organised to view a public hanging of a criminal at Bodmin Gaol.

In the same year an electric telegraph is used for the first time – to control railway traffic and handle general railway company messages.

1835 Adam Sedgwick starts his ‘geological rides’ from Cambridge. They prove instantly popular with up to 70 students following him on horseback across the fens, hearing five lectures in a day, the last being on fen drainage and usually delivered on the roof of Ely Cathedral.

In the same year Karl Baedeker’s first guidebook is published in Germany – “Rhine Journey” – actually a second edition as it was originally published elsewhere.


1832 Carl Ferdinand Langhans opens a ‘pleorama’ in Breslau - now called Wroclaw and in Poland. This is a variation of the moving panorama principle in which 24 viewers sit in a boat floating on a pool of water. It is rocked gently, while unrolling canvases move from front to rear on either side with painted scenes of a trip on the Bay of Naples. The boatman sings Italian songs. Light and sound effects are used to suggest Vesuvius erupting. Later, Carl Wilhelm Gropius takes over the show and also introduces a new Trip Down the Rhine at his Berlin premises. The move to produce new forms of attractions, offshoots of theatres, is once again drawing on ideas of travel – and will again help to tempt more people to make the actual journeys.

1829 Shillibeer’s horse-bus service begun in London running from Marylebone Road to the Bank.

1827 Joseph Nicephore Niepce makes the first successful photograph, from his studio window in Paris.

In November of the same year London Zoo opens to the public. It is called at first the London Zoological Gardens – it takes its more famous name in 1867 after a popular music hall song uses it. The zoological gardens had been the idea of Sir Stamford Raffles, having seen the Jardins des Plantes in Paris with its animal collection. Visitors need a ticket from a Member of the Gardens and have to pay a shilling (5p – but equivalent in value to 2.47 today). In 1828 199,576 admittances are made.

1826 The foundation of the Raleigh Travellers’ Club. It has a fixed forty members who dine fortnightly on exotic foods. They will soon propose the formation of a ‘geographical society of London’. This is formed as the Royal Geographical Society in 1830, with an interest partly driven by the movement towards colonies and then empire with the subsequent economic advantages.

Stockton and Darlington Railway
Rail excursions

The Stockton and Darlington Railway

On the 27 September 1825 a railway under this title is opened running 26 miles from Stockton-on-Tees to Shildon in the north east of England. Nearly 600 passengers, mainly in open wagons, take two hours to make the journey. The line is intended for the coal trade but is authorised by its Act of Parliament to carry passengers. A regular passenger service is soon established using a horse-drawn coach in a contracted-out service. Steam trains are more expensive to build and run than horse-drawn wagons but they are more efficient in terms of speed and capacity, so the days of horse-powered wagon ways are now numbered. The move is under way from horse-wagon operations towards well organised systems of tracks, signalling, rolling stock, operational staff, engineering and marketing as demanded by a new industrial world. Passenger carrying will grow and with the Manchester to Liverpool ‘inter-city’ developments a few years later they will start to dominate the people-moving businesses.

1823 A London Diorama is opened following the success of pioneering shows in Paris in 1822. It uses the de Loutherbourg technique of a painted daytime scene on a backdrop behind another, night-time scene painted on a gauze drop stretched across the whole stage. Lighting first the one and then the other gives the audience the impression of a change from day to night. Again, landscape views, this time of Sarnen and Canterbury thrill the spectators with their scenes of distant places, helping to stimulate a demand for travel amongst those able to afford it.

1822 George IV visits Edinburgh and his journey up the east coast of Britain is shown in a theatre performance using another rolling panorama painting like the one for ‘Harlequin and Friar Bacon’ two years previously.

1820 A Pantomime production called ‘Harlequin and Friar Bacon’ at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in London includes a scene showing a steam packet ship sailing from Holyhead to Dublin. In order to give a sense of the journey a long panorama painted on canvas is unfurled from one vertical roller at the side of the stage, run along the back and wound onto a second roller hidden in the other wing. The painting shows the land at the beginning and end of the journey and the seascape in between.

The first footpath guides around London

The First Footpath Guides

John Hassell produces the first footpath guide for leisure walkers round London. The two-volume production is snappily titled “Your of Picturesque Rides and Walks with Excursions by Water Thirty Miles Around the Metropolis”.

Information for all tourists and excursionists is important but it is essential for anyone wanting to explore places and learn something about them. Anything that does more than give directions and labels things is technically known as ‘interpretation’ – it explains the meaning and significance of places. Throughout the nineteenth century, with the improvements in printing, typesetting machines and power-driven presses, the number and quality of guide books increased. Hassell’s work was well before the arrival of mass tourism and reminds us just how long ago the foundations of the modern tourist industries were being laid alongside the growth in communications services.

Cooks voyages - information chain

Information Chains - Cook's South Pacific Voyages

Captain James Cook made three voyages of discovery into the Pacific between 1768 and 1779 when he was killed in an incident with natives in Hawaii. He was not the first European explorer to travel there by any means, but through the circumstances of the time and the nature of his voyages his expeditions had a widespread effect. First of all, the initial voyage to Tahiti, taking in also parts of Australia and New Zealand, had important scientific motivations. Botanists and artists were aboard with him. He carried out accurate surveys of coastlines, naming locations and staking claims for the British government of lands that he visited. He kept a detailed diary (see the manuscript page above) and the artists made sketches of people and places as well as finely-detailed records of plants and animals encountered – like the kangaroo. Above, the huts were seen on the Siberian coast, the shivering native with a stick was in Tierra del Fuego.

Specimens were taken back home. Improved printing methods using engravings, typesetting and, later, steam power, would mean these initial discoveries could be disseminated widely. He also took back as a kind of guest to meet the king and influential people in London a native who was known as Omai.

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this man’s portrait. Omai became a sensation in the capital. A pantomime was performed at Drury Lane theatre about Omai and a rather fictitious circumnavigation of the globe. Pantomimes were not quite like ours but were often both comic and dramatic narratives of current events, with complex staging (see earlier postings about the Robinson Crusoe novel and de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon). Show above is a poster advertising the panto and a report from the Times newspaper reviewing it. There is also the dust wrapper of a 1940s edition of the 1857 book by R M Ballantyne – ‘The Coral Island’.

So Cook’s Pacific adventures were recounted first hand through his diaries, later published in book form, and artists’ work with paintings and engravings. The sailors, scientists and the native man, Omai, will have had a lot to talk about to people in London and anywhere else, so first-hand (and doubtless on occasion rather exaggerated stories) will have made their impact. A whole chain of communications media was already developed in the late eighteenth century that could spread news and opinion widely. When other, new, media arrived like film, radio and television in later centuries they, too, soaked up the fascination with these distant, exotic places and kept the tales circulating right up to the present day.

Power printing

1814 steam-powered printing is introduced by The Times newspaper in London. Others have to follow suit in order to “keep up with The Times” as the saying will go. The change from hand-power to steam power will act as a boost for all kinds of printing including that which helps tourism to develop – guide books, timetables, promotional literature etc.


1806 Records begin to be kept of the numbers of people visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford on Avon.

1802 Thomas de Quincey uses a home-made canvas tent while walking from Manchester to North Wales. Later he will travel in Europe with one.

1801 The first Ordnance Survey map in Britain is printed, the 1” to 1 mile map of Kent. The government organisation is, however, called at this point the Trigonometrical Survey (OS used on maps from 1810).

1799 Robert Fulton opens a panorama in Paris at the Jardin du Couvent.

1798 The French National Exhibition is held in Paris. It will help inspire others including the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

Barker's Panorama

Panorama Shows

Robert Barker opens his ‘Grand Review of the Fleet at Spithead’ in London’s Leicester Square. Close to where de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon has been on show, it is another innovation in entertaining and educating the city residents and visitors. The new attraction is Barker’s latest Panorama – a huge painting 300 feet long and mounted around the walls of a cylinder-shaped room, so giving a 360-degree view of the fleet.


Barker had patented the idea in 1787, exhibiting a small panorama of Edinburgh there and then in Glasgow the next year. It was shown in London in 1788. With encouragement from friends and a reasonable audience reaction Robert Barker realised that size mattered – it impressed the visitors by filling as much of their field of view as possible. He had the large exhibition room built with natural light from above, but concealed by a canopy so the viewers entered through a dark passage and then saw the painting revealed to them. Unlike the Eidophusikon there are no light and sound effects and no movement, but the panorama is popular because of its size and its subject. Similar panoramas are soon shown in many cities round the world and a number of them survive in use today, with a few twentieth century additions to their number.

Hyde, R (1988) ‘Panoramania!’, London, Trefoil Publications
Comment, B (1999) ‘The Panorama’, London, Reaktion Books


1793 The Louvre Palace in Paris is turned into a public museum by the revolutionary leaders of France. From 1795 labels are attached to the items on show to give some account of their origins and significance, one of the first occasions anywhere when visitor interpretation is brought into use. An inexpensive catalogue and guide is produced. Napoleon Bonaparte will use the building as a palace again but later fill it with quantities of looted art works from his conquests in Europe and Egypt. Some of it will be taken back by the powers who will join in defeating Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo. By the late twentieth century it will have over 200,000 objects in one of the world’s greatest collections, helping to make Paris a spectacular tourist destination.

In the same year the Jardin des Plantes is opened in Paris. In the following year an animal collection is established using specimens from the deposed king's palace at Versailles. During the riots and privations of the French Revolution many animals are killed by the crowd for food.

de Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon

Philip de Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon

1781 Philip James de Loutherbourg invents a miniature theatre in order to give sound and light shows to audiences, a kind of early audio-visual show, on historical and topographical themes.


Late in the eighteenth century in Britain theatre was developing under Garrick and others. At the same time more people were travelling, some on the continent and others in Britain. It was still a time when only a small proportion of the population could afford to travel – the age of mass tourism was decades away still. Those who did travel were often spending times in health spas or exploring lowland Britain, its cities, towns and countryside. Urban places were thought of as the home of civilisation – the word city and the word civilisation stem from the same ideas. At the same time Britain was largely agricultural, manufacturing being small scale and found in urban corners or on a few of the coalfields of Britain. In the 1780s the Industrial Revolution was only just getting under way in Cornwall, parts of the Midlands and the North East. The industries of London were relatively large, but they were often workshop based. Steam power was a distant concept. Furnaces and forges making and using iron were located in wooded rural areas. However, the flames and smoke of larger industrial areas were beginning to be noticed, especially in the Coalbrookdale Coalfield area of Shropshire along the River Severn.

Philip James de Loutherbourg was from France where he was born in 1742. His father painted miniatures. Philip went to Paris and trained as a painter before travelling through Europe on his own Grand Tour and observing not only the latest in painting but several innovations in technology. One of these was the Argand lamp, a much improved oil lamp that gave a brighter illumination for home and workplace use and which quickly displaced older lamps. De Loutherbourg came up with an application of the Argand light in a miniature theatre. His painting skills were of a high calibre and he applied them to producing scenery for his theatre. The lamps could supply a good illumination directed through coloured filters in order to create effects of night or day, brightness or shade, in different colourings as required.

In 1771 de Loutherbourg arrived in London. He met David Garrick, the manager of the Drury Lane theatre, who persuaded him for a salary of 500 a year (over 30,000 today) to design backdrops scenery and sound effects for Garrick’s productions. The painter accepted and became famous for his work. He painted historical scenes, too, such as The Defeat of the Spanish Armada shown above. Some of his paintings are in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich where they are treasured for their skilful detail and dramatic depictions.

It was in 1781, in Leicester Square, that de Loutherbourg opened his own ‘theatre’ project, the Eidophusikon. The exotic name was devised to express the wonder of the new device. Paying customers sat on benches in front of a small stage some 8 feet wide. The auditorium lights dimmed and the show began. There were no actors on the stage, just cut-out scenes in front of painted backdrops but with fine gauze screens also painted skilfully between the scenery. Sound effects (such as a cannon ball rolling in a wooden trough to imitate thunder or a hand-powered machine turning to rub leather on canvas to simulate strong winds) accompanied changing light effects uses Argand lamps and coloured filters. When lights were shone from the front onto the painted gauze the audience saw that scene: when those lights were dimmed and others shone onto the backdrop a different scenes was viewed. By this means a daytime scene could be faded into one of night time with the moon and stars shining out.

Among the shows that were put on using the Eidophusikon were biblical themes as noted above – Satan and his forces in Hell – or more peaceful views of classical landscapes in Italy inspired by the touring of the day. Then might come a representation of a shipwreck, a model galleon being rocked in front of a painted backdrop as wooden rollers covered with loose cloth in dark blue and white were turned in front, giving an effect of breaking waves. Also shown above is de Loutherbourg’s “Coalbrookdale at Night”, a spectacular painting apparently made in the Shropshire iron-founding district as a reference for a special production in the Eidophusikon. Here, the artist was not only putting on a piece of dramatic theatre but showing Londoners what one of the new wonders of the industrial age was like. It was a version of a travelogue, an audio-visual show in London, and it not only informed peoples’ knowledge of the changing world but must have helped to persuade some of its viewers to explore those districts themselves as tourists.

[Pictures from Wikipedia Commons]



1780s During the decade balloon flights are pioneered by the French adventurers and scientists Montgolfier, De Rozier, D'Arlandes, Charles, Robert, Lunardi and Blanchard. Besides being a step towards air transportation the flights give an important new perspective of the landscapes below.


1780 Peter Crosthwaite opens a museum in Keswick. Along with the usual kind of exhibit he installs a toposcope, a device using reeds attached to a windowsill, with labels, so that visitors can sight and identify landmarks around Derwentwater.

1774 David Low opens the first-ever hotel at 43 King St, Covent Garden, London, calling it 'Low's Grand Hotel' and aiming it at families. Although he fails to make it a success the hotel is taken over and continues. Later it becomes a popular restaurant and exists until the 1880s.

1773 The Annual Register lists the reasons for foreign travel as "polite education, the love of variety, the pursuit of health".

1769 James Cook and Joseph Banks reach Tahiti on the 'Endeavour' - an exploration, scientific investigation and political project combined.

- David Garrick holds the first Shakespeare Festival in Stratford-on-Avon, 6-9 September. This event helps to turn the town into the tourist centre that it will become, popularising Shakespeare and moving the focus from London onto the home of the dramatist.

Emile - Or, On Education

1762 Rousseau published his novel ‘Emile: Or, On Education’ in France about the education of children using outdoor teaching methods. It will have a big effect on educational theory. 'Emile' is a semi-fictitious account in which the author brings up a young boy in the countryside. Rousseau thought the city is a place where children would learn bad habits, mental as well as physical. Emile has a tutor who teaches him on a one-to-one basis reminiscent of those tutors who accompanied young men of wealth on the Grand Tour. The boy is educated through three stages of life. The first is up to the age of twelve when complex thinking was thought to be impossible and the child behaved according to animal instincts. From 12 to 16 reasoning begins to develop. From 16 upwards adulthood is achieved and useful skills like carpentry are acquired. Working with wood demanded skill and creativity but would not compromise the child's morals.

Rousseau thought that Nature was a good and effective teacher. He wrote "Nature exercises children continually, it hardens their temperament by all kinds of difficulties, it teaches them early the meaning of pain and sorrow".

In another section he wrote: "Men are devoured by our towns. In a few generations the race dies
out or becomes degenerate; it needs renewal, and it is always renewed from the country. Send your children to renew themselves, so to speak, send them to regain in the open fields the strength
lost in the foul air of our crowded cities. Women hurry home that their children may be born in the town; they ought to do just the opposite, especially those who mean to nurse their own children. They would lose less than they think, and in more natural surroundings the pleasures associated by nature with maternal duties would soon destroy the taste for other delights".

Rousseau, J-J (1782) 'Emile': quotations from the Gutenberg Project (http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/5427)

1760 The society of Artists holds its first exhibition of work in what is also Britain's first art exhibition. From 21 April to 8 May 130 pictures are shown at a venue in the Strand, London. Artists showing include Reynolds, Wilson and Sandby. The cost of the show is met by catalogue sales - 6,582 are sold at one shilling each (5p in modern coins but 3.74 in modern value - National Archives currency comparator). Art will become a major tourist attraction: in 2008 the National Portrait Gallery will welcome over 1.4 million visitors, around four and a half times the number in 1980.

1753 Founding of the British Museum.

1752 The Imperial Menagerie opens in Vienna. It is the first modern-style zoo. It dates back even further to 1540 but became the Imperial Menagerie under the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I. In 1779 it will open to the public.

1750 The cost of lodging in Rome for a week is about 4.00 in total, or 340 in today’s money. Cost of a three-volume guide book to Rome, Antica and Moderna - 42.58. [See the National Archives Currency Converter – link given below].

Click here for the UK National Archives historic currency calculator

Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe and islands

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe writes what is often considered the first novel – ‘Robinson Crusoe’.


Defoe’s tale was inspired by the story of Alexander Selkirk who was marooned on one of the islands of Juan Fernandez, off the Pacific coast of South America. There, Selkirk survived for four years and four months before being rescued, in 1709, and returned to Britain. ‘Robinson Crusoe’ became a classic of course and there have been a whole range of ‘marooned on a desert island’ books of different sorts since. ‘The Coral Island’ by R M Ballantyne had three friends who stuck to their Christian principles to survive on their island even though they witnessed murder and cannibalism amongst natives. William Golding set out to write ‘Lord of the Flies’ as a distinctly Christian book though with cannibalism amongst the surviving children, three of whom are named the same as Ballantyne’s protagonists. An influential editor who recognised the quality of Golding’s work persuaded him to remove the religious approach. Around the same time in the 1950s Rex Gordon wrote ‘No Man Friday’ about a spaceman marooned on Mars after his fellow crew members perished. At least three dozen prominently successful books have adopted Defoe’s ‘marooned’ theme. A commentator termed them ‘Robinsonades’, an odd-sounding label that sounds to me like a popular brand of barley water.

Robinson Crusoe has the key elements that also make certain kinds of tourist holiday attractive. They are escapist and adventurous, usually enjoying a setting with plenty of sand, sea and sunshine. The individual has to meet challenges and carry out explorations from which valuable experience and progress is made. Placing the hero, and by implication the reader, on a desert island away from the drudgery of ordinary life is a reminder of what some ideal – if expensive – holiday could be, in a warm climate with a deserted beach washed by clear waves of water, with luscious tropical fruit on hand, with the chance of a dusky local companion to be found to serve your every need.

This was a line of development which built into a strong genre of tourism as well as fiction. ‘Treasure ‘Island’ was not primarily about a hero being marooned, but in Ben Gunn it has its Robinson Crusoe figure and the rest of the attractiveness is there, plus the drama of Long John Silver and Israel Hands as villains. ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was written during the great period of children’s adventure holiday writing between the two World Wars and had nothing of the marooned hero either, but it did have Wildcat Island and other references to piratical behaviour, and it was the book (starting a famous series) which helped make sailing-adventure tourism popular.

Defoe and his hero, Crusoe, were so important in the development of the survival novel genre and in the creation of escapist tourism.

Don Saltero's Museum

London's First Public Museum

'Don Saltero’ (James Salter) opens what will be a long-lasting museum near Chelsea Church, using duplicate objects given him by Sir Hans Sloane. Salter had opened a coffee house. Sloane, who apparently at one time employed him, gave Salter the artefacts to decorate his premises. This will be London’s first public museum.

In 1708 Salter will move the museum to Danvers Street in the capital and then in 1717 to 18 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. In 1784 William Hutton, visiting from Birmingham, will praise it for having a book to describe its collection, something which Hutton will point out is not available at the British Museum. In fact the museum had had a simple list from the start, sold for three (old) pence.

By 1732 it lists 293 rarities which included “a nun’s penitential whip, four evangelists’ heads carved on a cherry stone, ‘the Pope’s infallible candle (whatever that may have been), a starved cat found many years earlier between the walls of Westminster Abbey, William the Conqueror’s flaming sword, Queen Elizabeth’s strawberry dish, a cockatrice, petrified rain, barnacles, a rose from Jericho” and many others (Altick, 1978:18). Admiral Sir John Munden had called James Salter ‘Don Saltero’ and the publicity-savvy curator adopted the exotic-sounding label. The museum becomes famous and is visited by, among others, Benjamin Franklin, Tobias Smollett and Sir Richard Steele who edited The Tatler.

Altick, R (1978) The Shows of London, Cambridge Mass, Harvard University Press


1689 The Temple Coffee House Botanic Club is founded in London. It will meet socially on Friday evenings and make botanical excursions on Sundays and some summer holidays.

1688 Edward Lloyd's Coffee House in Tower Street, London, becomes a popular meeting place for sailors, ship owners and merchants as Lloyd provides up to date news of ship movements. In 1691 it relocates to Lombard Street. Lloyd dies in 1713 but the specialist business community continues. In 1774 it moves to the Royal Exchange, setting up a committee and becoming the Society of Lloyd's. Acts of Parliament in 1871 and 1911 will formalise legal frameworks for the Society.

1680s Edward Lhwyd makes informal excursions with his botany students at Oxford. Lhwyd becomes the second Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum. He also makes important visits throughout Celtic places to collect archaeological evidence.

1683 The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is opened officially for the first time. It houses collections by Elias Ashmole, John Tradescant Senior and John Tradescant Junior. The first keeper is the naturalist Robert Plot. It will move to its present building in 1845. It is the world’s first University Museum as opposed to a private collection or ‘cabinet of curiosities’.

1673 Establishment of the Physic Garden at Chelsea by the Society of Apothecaries.

1661 Samuel Pepys makes a visit to Hatfield House and is given a guided tour by the Earl of Shaftesbury’s gardener.

c1620 John Evelyn records in his diary that shops in Amsterdam and Paris are selling curios to collectors – coins, medals etc brought back from places by explorers and merchants

1621 Oxford Botanical Garden is founded


Botanical Excursions

(May) First known 'Herbarizing' excursion organised by the Society of Apothecaries, when apprentices were taught to recognise the 'simples' or drug plants during a visit to the country. The Society later appointed a 'Demonstrator of Plants' who stood in the Chelsea Physic Garden on the last Wednesday in each month to expound the names of plants. Herbarizings finally ceased in 1834 when it was decided that London had grown too big to organise practicable excursions.

David Elliston Allen makes a note about a later kind of botanical excursion which links the practice to the inn-keeping trade. Referring to a writer named Bowman in 1828 he says that that author, praising “the botanically-minded innkeeper of 'The Running Horses' near Box Hill, .. adds: ‘May botanists continue to find at this humble inn, cleanliness and civility, a trowel to dig up their plants, and even a vasculum [a metal case] to secure them". Science, excursions, the food and beverage trade and education interconnected!

Allen, D E: web page PDF file accessed 16.02.10 - http://www.watsonia.org.uk/Proc6p105.pdf
See also
Allen, D E (1978) ‘The Naturalist in Britain’, London, Penguin Books Ltd

Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre

14.02.10 b

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men had performed in The Theatre in Shoreditch from their foundation in 1594. In 1597 they moved to the Curtain Theatre close by, but on 28 December 1598, overnight, the company has a dozen or so men take the theatre apart and move it to Southwark, south of the River Thames where it is reassembled and opened the next year as the Globe Theatre. With Shakespeare and others writing plays for the theatre it will be not only popular at the time but in due course London’s most memorable theatre. It will burn down in 1613, be rebuilt, and finally closed for good in 1642. During the late twentieth century a ‘replica’ (safeguarded against fire and with other modern features tucked away within its structure) will be opened near to the original Southwark site. The photos below show the modern version of the Globe, now a thriving venue for performances of many kinds.

Globe Theatre
The Lord Chamberlain's Men

The Lord Chamberlain's Men


Performance, drama, music and spectacle have been around as long as humankind. The ancient standing stones must have held silent witness to rituals. Wherever people gathered to trade goods entertainers would have been welcomed to make the day more pleasant. Greek theatres and Roman coliseums had their special dramas and gory spectacles. Across the world religious buildings housed rituals which often became formalised into dramas. Christian churches in Western Europe played an important part as the visual feast of wall paintings and stained glass helped to augment speech and music in religious celebration. Liturgical dramas were introduced into churches. The lord of the manor entertained guests with music, singing, juggling and story-telling by skilled performers placed at one end of his living hall.

In London the Lord Chamberlain formed a special company of actors, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in 1594. One of them was William Shakespeare from Stratford-on-Avon.

Church iconography
Church iconography

Church Iconography in Britain


During the High Middle Ages (12-14th centuries) churches were often designed according to one or other particular iconography. As discussed in a previous posting (See “Roman to Medieval”) churches in Medieval Europe used wall paintings, carved figures and stained glass - if they could afford the expense - to tell bible stories. By no means did all of them adopt such a scheme. There were many variations and in later years most were altered or obliterated completely by new decorations and memorials.

A simple scheme was to use the four main walls (north, east, south and west) to tell four types of stories. These were selected from, using that order of walls, the Old Testament, the Life of Christ, the New Testament and the Revelations of St John the Divine. This visual approach gave rise to the phrase ‘poor man’s bible’ as it encompassed the main outline of the bible, at least in respect of their selection of key incidents or beliefs that they wanted to show. The Poor Man’s Bibles were originally manuscript books (‘biblia pauperum’) produced from around 1300 AD and made by printing pages of images from engraved wooden blocks. As Christian churches at that time were aligned so that the window behind the altar faced east, the sun would shine through during the morning: when stained glass was used to place pictures in the east window the effect could be magnificent and inspiring to the people in the church. The west window would often have stained glass to represent the Revelations of St John of the end of the world when living and dead would be divided to spend eternity in either heaven or hell. So the congregation, entering by a door either in the west wall or just round the corner in the south wall would have its attention drawn towards the east window which would often show the life of Jesus, the saviour who would ensure that those who followed his teachings would enter heaven. On leaving the church people would be left with a reminder of what fate might befall them as prophesised by St John. During the service the worshippers would be able to see wall paintings or stained glass illustrating other biblical themes. Most wall paintings (and most walls were painted centuries ago) have disappeared but some good examples remain.

The rood screen was - where used - the divider between the chancel in front of the altar used by the priest and other church functionaries and the nave where the ordinary folk stood (there being no pews in the Middle Ages). It also marked off the division between the nave as the place of earthly life and the chancel as representing heaven with its priests holding the symbolic passage through the screen from earth to heaven. The screen was often decorated with iconic figures.

In later years, especially the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was often wholesale replacement of the stained glass. Some went to private collectors or museums as wealthy local people paid for new windows that were often memorials to notable people or major events such as wars. At the same time new low-relief stone memorials and engraved metal plaques were added between or below the windows. The congregation would now reflect on the lives of its own leaders in their pursuit (so the sponsors of such memorials would claim) of good Christian lives. As a treasury of artistic work the results are often staggeringly important as well as being a community history book around the walls.

It brings back the point to be made that religious buildings like these not only attracted visitors by their external architecture and position but introduced them to knowledge of the place, its people and their life and times. When other kinds of buildings like libraries, museums, public gardens and animal collections came onto the scene in later times they added to the range of showcases available to people. What we now consider as special interest tourist attractions are generally the functional successors of those early visitor centres, the churches.


1591 Fynes Moryson sets of an a Grand Tour which will last for two years, paid for by Queen Elizabeth I and Peterhouse College, Cambridge. Each gives him 20 per year. Moryson will make available his journal of his travels and comments on his return, an important dissemination of knowledge.

Sir Philip Sidney

The Grand Tour


Queen Elizabeth I of England sends Sir Philip Sidney on a three-year tour in Europe which will include France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Austria. His task is to learn more about the government, society, arts and science as practised abroad. This will begin a fashionable approach to the education of the sons of the most prosperous people in England which will have its counterpart in other countries and be known later as the Grand Tour. In the eighteenth century it will give rise to the idea of ‘the tourist’. It is made possible for Englishmen because of more stable conditions at home, a growing prosperity allowing male heirs to spend much time travelling, and the recognition of the need to learn better practices from others. Later travellers, if younger, will be in the care of a tutor (sometimes referred to as a ‘bear-leader’ because of his need to keep his pupil under control). Sidney has another task which he will be unable to see fulfilled: to help negotiate the wedding of Queen Elizabeth to the French Duc d’Alençon.

Unlike later Grand Tourists (such as Fynes Moryson and Thomas Coryate) he did not write important accounts of his travels. He was much more preoccupied with writing poetry but – every man to his own. Keeping a journal and collecting souvenirs and examples of continental artistry would be extremely fashionable – as it still is to an extent through emails, social website postings and photography. The Tour will also become very popular through the opportunities to engage in sexual adventures: the ‘fourth S’ was always more important in the early days of tourism than sun, sand or sea; but it never faded out at any time.

Hibbert, C (1987) ‘The Grand Tour’, London, Methuen
Hudson, R (ed) (1993) ‘The Grand Tour’, London, The Folio Society
Littlewood, L (2001) ‘Sultry Climates: Travel and Sex Since the Grand Tour’, London, John Murray


1588 Following the outbreak of hostilities between England and Spain (which led to the attempted invasion by the Spanish Armada) the pilgrimage is all but impossible for people from the British Isles to Santiago or Rome. Philip II of Spain controls much of the sea and the coast across the English Channel as well as Spain itself.

1570 Abraham Ortelius produces his ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’, the first modern atlas (though it does not use that term). It has 53 copperplate-printed maps and the first acknowledgement list of its source material. It is printed by Christopher Plantin, the typographer and printer, in Antwerp, Belgium.

1569 Gerardus Mercator’s new map of the world using his own projection.

1519-22 Magellan’s expedition circumnavigates the world although he dies before returning home to Europe

1507 Martin Waldseemüller new world map shows the Americas for the first time.

Christopher Columbus 1492

Christopher Columbus


The Genoese sailor Christopher Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas. Leif Ericson sailed to Newfoundland in 1001 AD. Nor were those continental regions named after him. That distinction belongs possibly to either Amerigo Vespucci who explored the coasts of South America between 1497 and 1504, or to Richard Ameryk who was the principal owner of the ship that John Cabot, the English explorer, used to sail to North America in 1497. It was Martin Waldseemüller who named the Americas in his world map of 1507, using information about Vespucci and Ameryk, not all of which was necessarily genuine.

So why are the continents not named after Ericson – North and South Ericsonia? The answer is that Ericson’s journey was did not have the impact on European knowledge that Columbus had. The Genoese explorer had spent time trying to raise money and get support for an Atlantic crossing in order to pioneer a western route to South East Asia and hopefully to discover lands that would repay his backers and bring riches to whichever monarch supported him. He therefore had created a measure of knowledge about himself before the voyage. Even more important was the quite deliberate publicity that he fostered on his return. This brought him to the attention of royalty and geographers alike at a time when Europeans were absorbed in a great age of exploration and colonisation. Voyages and land expeditions of discovery were being made around Africa and into Asia at a time of intense rivalry. In Ericson’s time, five hundred years before, there was little interest in such things as European kings had more pressing concerns within their continent and towards the Holy Land.

Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic. The third and fourth reached the coast of what we call South America and Central America respectively, but none involved North America. In this however he had already outperformed Leif Ericson’s single voyage.

Columbus had, after several years’ attempts, finally obtained a contract with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Castile and Aragon which gave him permission to go and which funded his travels. In return Isabella hoped for financial gain and the chance of colonies. The explorer had the intention of reaching the Indies – South and South East Asia – with their riches of spice and other commodities. He believed from his reading of the maps and scientific thought of the time that the journey would have been smaller than it actually is. On finding land on his first voyage he decided these were the Indies. On the later realisation that this was a very different set of islands the area took on the label ‘the West Indies’. When he got back to Spain Columbus wrote letters detailing his discovery and sent them to officials in the governments of Castile and of Aragon, with another to the Pope. These were important letters in terms of politics as well as his own position and hopes of further voyages. The letter to Luis de Santangel, the Finance Minister of Aragon, was passed by him to a printer in Barcelona who made copies for immediate distribution. The text was in Latin. It was a popular document: by the end of the same year, 1493, nine editions had been run off and printers in Paris, Antwerp, Basel and Florence had produced copies. By 1500 over 3,000 copies had circulated throughout Europe, a very large printing for those days of what was the first popular eyewitness travel account. Printing ‘by movable type’ as it is known and that was responsible for the ability to circulate so much information so quickly had only been available for a few decades. But it allowed Martin Waldseemüller and other cartographers to know of the discoveries and incorporate something about them into their new maps. It allowed authors to report and speculate further on the discoveries and their significance for the people of the age.

** Below: a theoretical view of the factors affecting the wider influence of exploration, which can include exploration by tourists. The three main stages, shown in yellow, should be self-evident. The other two represent factors affecting the knowledge of places that it is proposed to visit by a traveller and explorer; and communications media factors affecting the degree to which knowledge of the visit/exploration might become known. Others (such as motivation and the expectations of others also affect the level of prior knowledge, and the quality and nature of the reporting afterwards) affect the level of influence of the exploration.

Below again is a simplified summary of how these applied in the case of Columbus.

The exploration process
Columbus exploration process


1480 AD When the Duke of Saxony goes on pilgrimage to Rome he is accompanied by two hundred retainers on horseback. At this time the cost of travelling on pilgrimage from Venice to the Holy Land is around 60 gold ducats - several thousand pounds sterling today. This covered transport, fees, tolls, bribes, food and accommodation.

1475 AD The 'Rudimentum Novitiorum' ('The New Beginning') is the first printed map, made from sets of carved woodblocks into which pieces of type have been inserted to print place names. It is printed in Lubeck to illustrate a new history of the world.

1450 AD Johannes Gutenberg begins to use his newly-developed printing press commercially in his home town of Mainz. He had been experimenting with it since around 1439. One of his business projects involved a plan to sell polished metal mirrors to pilgrims going to venerate the tomb of the Emperor Charlemagne in Aachen. These were supposed to capture holy light from religious relics. Gutenberg's invention will represent one of the greatest milestones in the development of learning and education, including of course the use of travel books, atlases and promotional literature.

1405 AD Admiral Cheng Ho leads the first Chinese voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean.

1394 AD The first licence is issued to a 'pilgrim shipper' to sail from Plymouth to La Corunna taking worshippers to visit Santiago de Compostela. The journey takes at least four days and several hours' walk. By 1428 there are 928 pilgrim boats on this route. They sometimes return with wine as a cargo.

York Mystery Plays
York Mystery Plays

The York Mystery Plays


The first recorded performance of the York Mystery Plays was in 1376 though they are believed to have been performed also before this date. Short 48 plays are performed in sequence by actors travelling on 'stage wagons' moved to each of 12 'stations' or positions around York in turn.

Theatrical productions will progress to become crucial to tourism in big cities. While York’s will grow without stage drama playing a major part it will always use small-scale performances from jugglers to street theatre as part of its attraction. In London, at the opposite extreme, theatres will be realised as early as 1850 as being a core contributor to businesses there drawing people from all over other world as part of its tourist package. Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon will blossom as a tourist destination in the mid-eighteenth century thanks to David Garrick’s Shakespeare Festival.

Mystery plays were performed around late June during the Corpus Christie Festival and told bible stories from the Creation to Judgement Day. The performers were the members of the medieval craft guilds who were licensed to deliver particular services to the city, such as the goldsmiths or the butchers. Leacroft (1998) describes in detail the use of the wagons which were central to the event.

Forty-eight craft guilds each took on the production of a play to illustrate a story from the bible. So the Barkers – the men who tanned animal hides – would perform the Creation. This would be done using a special wagon which could have three levels, the middle being the stage for the drama, the lower an area for ‘behind the scenes’ work and a top acting as a roof but which could house equipment for lowering people or props as part of the action. In the picture above from the Chester Cycle of Mystery Plays there are only two working levels and a light roof covering, which might have been the more usual arrangement. Triple-level wagons may have been difficult to move on wheels so may have been more like temporary stages left in place for the festival. It took some days to put on all of the plays and guilds probably shared the wagons, setting up and using one each whenever they presented their drama. On each performance day wagons would be hauled around a route as shown above to each of twelve stations in turn. At each of these the townsfolk and visitors making up the audience would be seated on benches placed on scaffolding, or leaning out of the windows of houses. The drama would be enacted with some music to support the spoken word. A trap door in the stage might have allowed an actor to make an entrance in dramatic fashion from below. The three-level wagon or stage could lower someone from above, a common way of introducing an angel or other character into the scene. Once the drama was complete at each station the wagon would be hauled to the next station by horses and another guild would arrive with its own wagon and the drama they were enacting.

Although the Feast of Corpus Christi was abolished in 1569 following the suppression by Henry VIII of Roman Catholicism, the plays were revived in 1909 and more regularly after 1950. These were theatre productions. Then in 2006 twelve wagons were again used in the streets to put on ten plays under a committee managed by the modern Guilds of the City. The language was modern although one play by York University students was performed in Middle English. Further performances will take place on 11 and 18 July 2010.

Leacroft, R (1998) ‘The Development of the English Playhouse: An Illustrated Survey of Theatre Building From Medieval to Modern Times’, London, Methuen

Catalan Atlas
Catalan Atlas page

The Catalan Atlas


The seafarers of Catalonia – including the island group around Majorca – needed maps to help them navigate. The tourists of today need maps of some sort or other to help them get from A to B. Nowadays we might use satnav (whoops, the spell checker hasn’t leant that one yet) or rely on the taxi driver and aircraft pilot, but – no maps, no go – someone has to use them to get us there. A more subtle importance is that maps are somebody’s interpretation of the nature of a place. There is no such thing as an objective map. Just because our dearly-beloved Ordnance Survey thinks it must show contour lines, roads and built up areas doesn’t mean that that is the perfect, proper map that represents some given place. The key is the word ‘represent’: what should we represent and how should we represent it? Some might say the colour of the natural vegetation is the most important, and it certainly is what helps attract the tourist in looking at “our green and pleasant land” to quote from William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’. His map would have been worth seeing, plotting satanic mills and pleasant fields.

The map shown here is only part of the Catalan Atlas of 1375 which showed also sections of Asia and more of Africa. It was produced with 6 vellum leaves which are now mounted on wooden panels and bound in leather. It measures 650mm by 3,000mm and so is no pocket book. Cities are shown with little markers to identify their political allegiance. Christian cities have a cross, others a dome. Unlike the Ptolemy-type map (see the entry for 150AD) the cartographer, Abraham Cresques, who worked in Barcelona, was quite happy to speculate from a position of religious dogma and fantasy about far-flung, unexplored regions. He has drawn on information from the travels of Marco Polo and the work of the Arab map-maker Al-Idrisi when drawing Asian lands. The age of printing was still a century away and that of map printing well out of reach of all but the very wealthy. But maps were beginning to be available for explorers and would help shape everyone’s perceptions of the world outside their door.

[Picture source: Wikimedia Commons]


1279 AD The cathedral of Vezelay in Burgundy, which has long claimed to have the body of Mary Magdalene loses out to the cathedral of St Maximin in Provence. There, the church authorities announce they have Mary Magdalene's body in a sarcophagus. The Count of Provence holds a gala ceremony to promote it. Pope Boniface VIII grants an indulgence to on pilgrims visiting the tomb.

1165 AD The Leipzig Fair is being held. It still exists and ranks as one of the world's major trade centres. Business tourism is way of gaining trade intelligence and a general education about commerce.

Woodstock menagerie

Exotic Animal Collections


You can impress your friends and neighbours by the style of your house, its surroundings and its contents. The way you decorate it inside will say something about you to anyone coming in. Those books left around, the collection of souvenirs and other objects on that shelf speak to you and to your visitors. And the carefully-chosen dog, two cats and aquarium-full of tropical fish do so, too.

The ancient world had its animal shows. Queen Hatshepshut of Egypt kept a leopard, a giraffe and monkeys. Early Chinese princes had animal collections in “parks of intelligence”. Alexander the Great branched out from the Greek habit of keeping caged birds into collecting wild beasts from laces he had conquered. He had Aristotle study them for scientific knowledge, one of the first examples of this being done. In the Rome Colosseum exotic animals were let loose in the arena, then hunted and killed for sport.

When William the Conqueror imposed his rule on England in the eleventh century he parcelled out whole areas to his barons to rule on his behalf. They did what he did – build castles, cathedrals and churches, often setting up new centres of power away from older places and equipping them lavishly. All to impress the neighbours. William held an estate at Woodstock in Oxfordshire, the site of the later Blenheim Palace. He established a menagerie of wild and exotic animals there in 1080AD. Two hundred years later Henry III moved it to the Tower of London where it stayed until the nineteenth century, a source of wonder and entertainment. It was the forerunner of the later zoological garden – the zoo.

Hahn, E (1968) Zoos, London, Martin Secker and Warburg


1001 AD The Viking explorer Leif Ericsson lands in what is now Newfoundland, North America, from Europe

Church decoration

Church Iconography


The Greeks and Romans of the ancient world designed their buildings to be functional and if possible to make some kind of impression on the onlooker. The Parthenon in Athens was given a frieze of low-relief sculpture depicting people and horses, possibly those taking part in the Panathenaea festival procession which carried the woven peplos robe to be draped over the statue of Athena. The Romans had their statues and inscriptions to remind people of the gods or humans who were to be venerated and admired. Both used colour to achieve certain effects and the staples of architectural practice – decorated columns in carefully proportioned buildings especially – to lead to a sense of wonder, even of awe, in the beholders.

As Christianity spread from the Eastern Mediterranean into Western and Northern Europe it was accompanied by the building of churches. Over many centuries an architectural language developed on the outside of these which continued the Greco-Roman policy of inspiring visitors and reinforcing the spoken teachings of Christianity. On the inside a very subtle use was made of architectural linguistics. Besides impressive designs in wood and stone there were added, depending on the funds and skills available, wall paintings, mosaics and sculptures. By the height of the Middles Ages, say in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, this work was taken to a staggering level of artistry with results that remain to this day amongst the great architectural achievements of mankind. At the same time the iconography – the use of symbols of different kinds to tell biblical stories – turned some churches into what have been called “poor men’s Bibles” for those people who did not own, and probably could not read, a printed Bible. So during the whole of the middle Ages there was in these buildings the development of centres of knowledge, instruction and even entertainment. Where possible churches were placed prominently on hills and given towers or spires to act as landmarks. Visitors could study them on the outside and then wander round within to examine and contemplate the messages displayed within.

A church is a church and not a ‘visitor centre’. And yet a visitor centre is what it is.

St James and Spain

The Shrine of St James in Spain


At some time in the ninth century the remains of a body are discovered in Galicia in North West Spain. Some traditions say it was carried there by boat and is the decapitated body of the martyred St James. Others have different explanations for the remains. The opinion that it is the body of St James grows and leads in time to its veneration and placement in a tomb where the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela will be built over it – Santiago being St James in the language of Galicia. ‘Compostela’ might mean ‘field of stars’ and be a reference to part of the myth of the saint’s story. In course of time the shrine becomes the third most important place of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. A network of pilgrim routes leads from many European cities with special accommodation and information provided for travellers

Guide books to Rome
Guide books

The first Guide Books


Travellers have always been met with hospitality. Modern western practice might place this on a commercial, cafe-type footing which would feel rather distant to many cultures around the globe, but it is still the rule. We want to treat visitors as we would ourselves hope to be treated. Once the need for food and shelter are satisfied the task is to help fulfil the reason for the visit. Family ties are rehearsed, news exchanged. The business of the day is carried out. Leisure activity is enjoyed. Having explored the personal, the place can be examined. The host can show the guest their house or premises. Given time and occasion the visitor can be shown around the neighbourhood. It will be important to the host to pick out what is special or unusual for the guest. What is different will be of interest. Perhaps the local architecture has a different style through shapes and materials. Trees, shrubs and plants might contrast with the visitor’s home environment. Are there domestic or wild animals which are unusual? How do people get around – on foot, or using animals or some form of transport? How do people behave, relate to each other and carry out the necessary tasks of daily life? Are all these things just the same as at home or very different, and why? Above all, what has been the importance of the new place in terms of the people and events which have occupied it?

Those folk who are visiting their relatives and friends will have the answers to these questions ready at hand. Or, like Paula the Roman lady in the previous posting they may have hired a guide or joined a whole group for a conducted tour. The nice thing about humans is that you can ask questions. The problem might be that they are too few or too expensive to be enjoyed. The ancient Roman Empire meant that many people were attracted to Rome and its historic places. Its churches were popular for visitors and would, for some, require longer visits than others, especially if time was to be spent in contemplation or worship. So all these factors encouraged a demand for some other form of information to be available, and it could be satisfied by books. Hand written on papyrus or vellum, they were not like later mass productions and they would be expensive, but for those who could afford them the guide book was beginning to appear.

Around 610AD a guide book could be bought to the churches of Rome. The 'Notitia ecclesiarium urbis Romae' was more of a listing for church authorities of what pilgrims were already visiting. It might have worked like market research in a way, showing which buildings and monuments were of greatest interest. A slightly later guide was written for visitors. It began rather than ended at St Peter's like its predecessor, gave a wider description of the city and according to Nicholas T Parsons (2007:86) was more colourful, claiming for example "that an altar in St Peter's was made by the saint himself; and that a rock kept in the oratory of St Stephen the Protomartyr on the Ostia road was used in his stoning".

Parsons, N T (2007) 'Worth the Detour: A History of the Guidebook', Stroud, Sutton Publishing

Paula in Jerusalem

A Roman Lady in Jerusalem


The historian Maxine Feifer (1985) tells the story of a Roman widow and Christian named Paula on a visit to Jerusalem’s historic places. She was accompanied by servants and a local guide but was not “like the usual idle curiosity-seeker or nostalgic aesthete touring abroad from Rome” (Feifer, 1985:27). Paula is shown sites associated with Jesus and Christians. As she pauses at each one in turn she is becoming more emotional. At one Paula picks up some pebbles to carry home. At another she reads aloud from a bible that she carries. At the place where Christ was crucified and the tomb where he was buried she kisses the stone and weeps.

Few pilgrims reached Jerusalem in the centuries after the fourth, AD, and Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain became a more likely destination for those from western European homes (see the posting for 20 January ’10). Paula’s story is an early Christian example of what was already long-established amongst older religions. Most old religions adopted their sacred books and places, the latter inviting, or even requiring, visits at some point in the life of the adherent. The spiritual experience of the pilgrimage was an education and was accompanied by the more secular experience of the world and its ways. We talk of literary, family, special interest and other forms of pilgrimage to places with particular significances – Shakespeare’s Stratford, Tolstoy’s Yasniya Poliana; the graves of ancestors or the location where partners agreed to marry are instances. Virtually everyone has them, most people make visits to them, and tourism is partly founded upon their attractiveness and their ability to teach us about our place in the world.

[The general web site bibliography is listed on the left - scroll to almost the end]


The First Route Map

c350AD A route map known now as the Tabula Peutingeriana is published in Rome. It shows the Roman road network. It is known to us through a thirteenth century copy.

Ptolemy's Geography

The Geographical Knowledge of Ptolemy


Claudius Ptolemaeus (90AD – c168AD) was a scientific author who worked in mathematics, astronomy, astrology and geography. He is usually termed just ‘Ptolemy’ in English. Ptolemy was a Roman citizen of Greek descent but was born and died in what is now Egypt. In his lifetime Alexandria (marked on the thumbnail map above) held one of the greatest libraries of the ancient world.

Centuries of Greek and Roman knowledge of the world were assembling a detailed understanding of at least the Mediterranean region and those areas joining on to it, plus some reasonable information about South Asia. Ptolemy drew together this geographical wealth. He addressed three problems: the size and location of the known world, the location of specific places and the mathematical approach necessary to draw a world map. He published his views on these questions in 150 AD along with detailed locations for 8,000 specific places. Using his concepts of latitude and longitude which gave him a framework for drawing a known-world map he was able to define the locations as accurately as contemporary knowledge allowed. One of his most important approaches was to deal with regions which had been carefully studied, or in other words were empirically from direct evidence, but not to make assumptions about the areas not yet explored. These were generally those furthest away from the Eastern Mediterranean, beyond the edges of the great oceans. Before Ptolemy and for centuries afterwards other cartographers drew their world maps according to dogmatic religious or political ideas. For example Jerusalem would be placed at the centre of the world and the regions around it would be distorted to reinforce its central position. Sheer invention characterised the representation of many regions with strange shapes, mythical beasts and monstrous varieties of human beings within them. It was a problem which would continue to dog humanity in its understanding of its place in life right up to the present day.

Ptolemy died leaving no maps to survive him. His work faded from sight in Roman and Greek writings after his death. Fortunately it was known in manuscript form (rather than in the shape of actual maps) to Arab geographers who absorbed his knowledge into their own work. It was not until 1406 that Latin translations appeared and only in 1477 was his work distributed in printed form. Peter Whitfield has said there are almost two Ptolemies, one from the Greek tradition and one from Renaissance Italian. Maps were drawn in Italy after his work was rediscovered in the western world and they shaped understanding in the scientific age ushered in by the Renaissance in Western Europe. In Arab lands from the Middle East, through Africa and into Moorish Spain much had survived intact.

Whitfield, P (1994) The Image of the World: 20 Centuries of World Maps, London, the British Library.

Colosseum - Rome

The Colosseum, Rome


After nearly ten years’ construction work the Colosseum of Rome, also called the Flavian Amphitheatre after the family name of the emperors mainly responsible for building it, is completed. For hundreds of years it is used for public spectacles. Best known of these were gladiatorial contests, but there were also mock sea battles using wooden boats floating in a flooded arena, and displays of wild animals brought in by the thousands from around the Mediterranean and in North Africa. Most of the animals were ‘hunted’ in the arena and killed – elephants, giraffes, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, leopards, ostriches, crocodiles and many others. Criminals were executed here and there were religious martyrdoms. Famous battles were re-enacted. Dramas were staged on a giant scale. All these were to entertain up to 50,000 spectators at a time, often with the idea of distracting the population during periods of civil unrest.

Re-enactments of sea battles were termed ‘naumachia’ and were performed in many locations as well as the Colosseum. The first was in an enormous event put on by Julius Caesar in 46BC in a flooded basin near the Tiber specially made for the show. Six thousand condemned prisoners were made to fight – and die – in real galleys rowed by their number while others acted as soldiers in opposing armies. The scale of fighting was therefore much greater than anything seen in a gladiatorial contest.

The importance of these as crowd pleasers meant that they drew together great crowds of citizens and travellers. They would learn something of the world’s wonders – and horrors – by these blood sports, especially about the power of the emperor and the might of Rome. Our modern soccer matches and baseball games are tame by comparison but highly important for modern tourism as well as sport.


The Theatre of Dionysus, Athens


There was a theatre at Epidaurus in Greece in 340BC but when, ten years later, the Theatre of Dionysus was built below the Acropolis in Athens, and it marked a very important step in Greek drama. Here was held the Dionysian Festival in which Socrates, Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Euripides competed with their plays. The theatre held around 15,000 spectators. Greek theatre was the foundation of European drama and therefore hugely important later in world terms. While most of the audience might have been drawn from the city of Athens there would also be a wider influence in the region and visitors would travel in to observe the performances.

Behind the theatre on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, completed in 432BC. It is the Temple of Athena, the goddess looking after the city named for her. While apparently not used a centre for ritual it did house a statue of the goddess and this was the focal point every four years of the Panathenaea festival. A procession wound its way up the hill from the city with a great woven robe, the peplos, which was draped over the statue of Athena. Only citizens of Athens were allowed into the Acropolis, but again the event will have attracted others to Athens while it was on.

The secular theatre and the religious festival were occasions when beliefs could be rehearsed by the ritual and ideas about the world developed through dramatic performance. Like such events world -wide and ever since a large amount of travel and tourism is owed to their existence.


Alexander the Great's Menagerie

334-23 BC Alexander the Great crosses the Hindu Kush to the Indus. He collects wild animals such as monkeys and lions and on his return to Athens instructs Aristotle to make a scientific study of them. [See 1080AD]


An Egyptian Expedition along the Coast of Africa


The Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut sends an expedition down the Red Sea. It reaches the Land of Punt – still not certainly identified today – and returns with monkeys, leopards and giraffes. A trade in animals and wood begins. (Note that giving an accurate date is open to discussion: some authorities make it later than shown – perhaps around 1465BC. The ship used was powered by a sail rather than the oars suggested by the graphic symbol here).

Queen Hatshepshut was by all accounts an interesting leader and one of the most important pharaohs. She initiated a very large number of buildings projects throughout Upper and Lower Egypt. Her successes showed that women were capable of ruling the country. The expedition south was one of the earliest examples of deliberate exploration for the sake of knowledge and trade and so is included here. Like the note about Stonehenge it is a precursor by many centuries to what we would call tourism, but it introduces this idea of discovery that is so crucial to the tourist.

Hindu Temples

Hindu Temples


In South Asia the Hindu religious tradition, among the oldest in the world, uses, from at least the 5th century BC, temple buildings which signify the relationships between humanity and the spiritual world and the nature of the gods affecting events within them. The temples are focal points for these ideas and meeting places for the practice of necessary rituals and social activities. Like the equivalent buildings used in other religions they therefore attract and serve visitors from the locality and from more distant places. They educate, and in an appropriate way entertain, visitors by their style and function. To modern eyes this recognisably serves forms of religious tourism.

The Hindu temples communicate beliefs through their architectural form and decoration. There will be an entrance area, a space to meet together, and an inner sanctum. Temples would be divided into smaller areas that represent different divinities. Carved images, some for decoration, others for worship, are used extensively inside and on the outside of the temple. Some images are sold for keeping in special places at home where they remind people of important aspects of their belief. The often intricate carving applied to walls and pillars represents a highly developed form of architectural language which Hindus will ‘read’ in a particular order according to the rules governing the visit. Some temples require walking around external terraces in a direction which allows the carvings to be observed in the correct sequence. Centuries later many Christian churches will use a formal sequence for the observation of their iconography. The sale of religious souvenirs will also be part of Christian practice as a way to extend the iconography into homes, work places and forms of transport.


An Ancient Cultural Destination for Travellers


By 3,000BC Stonehenge is being built and is attracting travellers. Whether they journeyed for religious rituals or to use it as a place of supposed healing, astronomical or tribal reasons – or a mixture of all of these – is still unknown. Like other cultural sites around the world it is an example of the attractive power of places that will later be a motivation for tourist travel.


The chronology



Discovery channels

Reversing the Orientation to Understand the Audience Better


Most text books and discussions take the viewpoint of the people who are initiating and delivering the messages. So parents, journalists, film directors, authors, teachers and a host of other communications creators are the subjects of studies and analyses. We know quite a bit about people like Jeremy Paxman, Quentin Tarantino and Salman Rushdie. There are thousands of books about parenting and teaching. We think of the influences they have on their audiences – and straight away we can fall into a trap. We assume that each affects their viewers, readers or listeners and thereby mould their opinions in a certain way, predictably, forcedly, unavoidably, even. Now as it happens I have never seen a Quentin Tarantino film or read a book by Salman Rushdie, which is doubtless a failing on my part. But for any list of communicators of these sorts that you can make there will be only a tiny number of people who are familiar through first-hand knowledge with every single one of them. We might claim that everyone has seen the film ‘Titanic’ directed by James Cameron, and everyone will see his latest movie, ‘Avatar’. Well, sad as it might seem, by no means everyone has. I watched part of titanic on television, got bored and switched it off. Oh, and I don’t relish watching hundreds of people facing the knowledge that they are going to drown in icy water as their ship goes down. That sort of thing might have been a bit more palatable at a younger age. If the rule is observed that only a tiny minority of folk read, watch or listen to any given author then we have to acknowledge that those authors are not as influential as it might have been thought they were.

The next point to be made is that there is a wide range of opinion-formers like those mentioned, all trying to persuade us, or influence us, into adopting their own views. Some may be in a stronger media position than others, but even so no-one is completely in thrall to one particular persuader.

Parents and other family members, friends, chance acquaintances, social contacts and work colleagues have direct influences. Parents usually have the overwhelming effect – not necessarily in deciding our opinions though since we might just be a bit cussed and reject some of their views and go the opposite way. There are many factors affecting who, how, when, where and with what result we are shaped by them. The same goes for those people in the media and for those who store and make available when we want them the fruits of the authors’ work (defining author widely here as the begetter of any form of message). The graphic above gives some examples. The same variety of circumstance affects the teaching situations that we encounter from kindergarten to higher education and later training or leisure-time course.

Overall, then, it is possible to make sense of the communicators – the authors of messages, the processes of communication and the changing forms of their media, but more difficult to understand the effects, the outcomes. It only begins to make sense if we reverse the viewpoint and study the audience - the individuals and groups who make it up. If our parents told us the world was a strange place full of people we won’t get on with, then we might believe it. But watching television or reading a magazine might suggest something else. Hearing from a teacher another kind of opinion, with different examples and evidence will provide another dimension. And by the way, that is the order from childhood on in which we encounter these different channels of information and discovery: parents, friends etc, then TV, radio, the movies, and then formal education. OK, it’s not clear cut since formal education is usually needed to enable us to read and interpret the significance of what we read. But in general it’s that sequence.

And this is where travel and tourism come in. As the slogan on the home page of this website says – “don’t just take the word of others – see the world for yourself”. It is the only way you have to encounter people and places at first hand, to put to one side the opinions of others and test out for yourself what the world is like. There is no guarantee that you will find accurate, objective answers. Travel may broaden the mind remember, but it also can confirm prejudices. On the other hand if you go through life depending on someone else to shape your opinions for you, you will never become an independent thinker, just an automaton behaving as you’re told.

Tourist typology

Who Are the Tourists?


Before looking at the historical material it’s important to think just who ‘tourists’ are. The answer has shifted considerably over the years. Let’s think of the Britain. The people who were originally given the tourist label were those who travelled for two or three years at a time on the Grand Tour. Nobody had called the pilgrims of earlier years ‘tourists’. Nor were the well-off families who spent time in the health spas of Bath, Margate or Harrogate given that name. In the nineteenth century the church, chapel and other groups who made day trips to the countryside or coast would be thought of as ‘excursionists’. During the twentieth century the definition of ‘tourist’ was for a long time someone who spent more than twenty-four hours away from home, generally for leisure purposes. This use had in fact started in the previous century as the first package tourists were taken on holidays by the early tour operators – Thomas Cook, Henry Frame, T S Leonard and the organisers of associations like the Polytechnic Touring Club of London.

Between the two World Wars the economic difficulties of the time, counter-balanced a little by tourism, led to efforts to bring commercial interests together. A business-based association was formed. After the Second World War it became a Board bringing together commerce and government. Tourism grew and was used as a catalyst for economic renewal from the 1960s at the same time that the panoply of tourist attractions spread much wider. For attractions – museums, country parks and theme parks featured prominently now – the distinction between 24-hours-plus tourists and less-than-24-hours-excursionists meant little. They were all being seen as just tourists. At the same time business tourism was seen as part of the main tourism infrastructure. After all, industrial cities that decided to promote their own attractions to leisure visitors were using hotels which earned the bulk of their money from business visitors rather than the frequently discount-rate weekend leisure visitors. What about other categories? Were the great explorers like Columbus and Cook tourists? They would not be considered so. But exploration by modern tourists is a powerful motivation so there are connections. Weren’t they travelling on business and away from home for long periods? If they carried arms, had military personnel amongst their number, are those personnel tourists – they enjoy leisure at some point in their journeys. It shows just how broad-brush the word ‘tourist’ can become. Instinct would suggest that tourists are leisure travellers and that it is ‘travel’ that is the over-arching term to use with ‘tourism’ confined to leisure activity.

In these pages I will try to use the term travel to describe the broader activity. To my mind it divides up into four sub-headings: exploration, conquest, business and leisure. That term ‘conquest’ will sound curious. I use it partly to acknowledge that those military people do behave like tourists at times even when at war, since they are given time for rest and recuperation where possible. They also gain foreign experiences (sometimes deliberately managed using tourism techniques: see the posting for 27 January 2010) closely similar to those of the leisure tourist. The other reason I use it is that economic and cultural conquest, even if it is welcomed, encouraged, has always followed the encounters stemming from powerful groups entering new territories. So a mobile sector of one community begins to explore the territory of another; some sort of influences change the ways of life of the receiving society – and in greater or lesser degree the arrival groups. Business, which means economic activity but also political, cultural, educational exchanges come into being; and as things settle into the new systems so do leisure pastimes grow. These are not four, mutually exclusive, sets of activity but forms which blend into one another in all kinds of ways.

The graphic above suggests, in the black and white sketches, the older, basic forms of travel motivation. The colour illustrations indicate the typical forms they might take today.

Story channels

Starting Point


This month’s postings will expand on the idea that tourism has an educational effect. I will use a historical perspective and a chronological approach. On the page “The Development of Educational Tourism” are entries in date order and this page will do the same. First, a few words about the value of tourism ... no, not in financial terms but cultural – and ... no, I don’t mean things like grand opera or The X Factor but knowledge, experience and understanding.

How do you know that Australia exists? Maybe when you were young your great uncle told you he wrestled goannas along Christmas Creek on the Gulf of Carpentaria when he worked as a bandicoot farmer. Did you believe him? Or perhaps there was that TV series called Skippy the Bush Kangaroo or the movie ‘Australia’ with Hugh Jackman. Or did you take your lead on all things Oz from that geography teacher who lived for six months in Melbourne and reckoned it the best, the only important city on the continent. As you finished your days as a student you decided New Zealand was the place to be because Australia was full of men with corks hanging from their bush hats, swigging Fosters and decrying the chance of pommie bastards ever learning to play cricket.

Then your best friend wanted to spend a gap year in Sydney, had the offer of a house to stay in and a bar job to take up. And wanted you to join them – jobs available, fun to be had – so you went.

So you learned out there that you wouldn’t farm bandicoots, not even larrikins dangle corks from their hats and the neighbours in Sydney prefer baseball. You never did have doubts about Australia existing .... but what the place was really like, what sort of people lived there and how different everyday life was from that back home – or just how similar it was – you only found out by being a kind of working tourist. You went to see for yourself. Then you understood better because you saw things first hand, saw them for yourself.

It was an education. Not school-style, but through real life encounters with people and places. Out there you travelled as much as you could, up to the Great Barrier Reef and into the Snowy Mountains. You saw a sheep station, a kangaroo, some of the most beautiful sea life on the planet and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As it happened those neighbours out there had only seen the Bridge, none of those other things, because they liked their city, spent Saturday washing the car and mowing the lawn and Sunday went to the beach. They had heard of those other places but would rather stay at home and see them on the telly. They had never been tourists, a phenomenon that you hadn’t thought possible – people who never went anywhere outside their home town.

So they missed finding out things. Discovering things. They still haven’t really found out what their country is all about and why.

But you have.

These postings are going to explore the history of tourism to make a particular point. Tourism is not just about making a fast buck and having a slow meal on a restaurant terrace watching the sun go down as the waiter brings you another bottle of bubbly. Almost every form of tourism began as a way of getting more out of life through finding out what lay beyond the horizon and learning more about the people and places that were to be found there.

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