Town filling with genteel company

MADAM - Your excellent article on the Assembly Rooms omitted the celebration for Wellington s victory at Vittoria over the French in Spain in 1813. Sidmouth is filling fast with genteel company.

MADAM - Your excellent article on the Assembly Rooms omitted the celebration for Wellington's victory at Vittoria over the French in Spain in 1813.

"Sidmouth is filling fast with genteel company. The Libraries of the Promenade are a principal source of attraction for the loungers. Bagatelle, Trou Madame and One Card Leo beguile the evenings. Upwards of 150 attended the Ball and Supper given in the Assembly Rooms at the London Inn in honour of the victory at Vittoria." ("Exeter Flying Post July 1813)

Wellington was Generalissimo of allied forces in Spain. He provided tents, hospitals and cooking kettles as well as a train of pontoon bridges. He advanced with 90,000 troops and devastated the centre of the French army under Joseph Bonaparte and turned its flanks. He inflicted heavy casualties, captured 141 guns, 3 million cartridges and the treasury of 41 million reals.

London erupted. In Vauxhall Gardens a crimson canopy was draped over the trees to make a saloon where "1000 first raters" sat down for supper. The Prince Regent brought his silver from Carlton House and even his wife, Princess Caroline, and the Royal Dukes. They ate turbot soup, fowls, hams and pastries washed down with madeira and claret. Orchestras and trumpets played. Mr Taylor sang "Non nobis, Domine".


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The Archbishops issued a special prayer which was used in Sidmouth Parish Church. Perhaps the brilliant Mr John Keble, down from Oxford and renting Myrtle Cottage for a reading party of students, heard it and the newly installed organ. He may also have been to the Assembly Rooms for the celebration: He loved a good party.

Graham Thornton

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2 Grosvenor Mansions

Church St

Sidmouth

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