Page 34. " the weather forecast, which latter prophesied "

Nothing has changed, as weather forecasters are still vilified. At the time of Three Men in a Boat, the forecasts would have been consulted in newspapers.

See worldwide forecasts on the US Weather Bureau website, the BBC website and the Met Office website.

Page 35. " The barometer is useless "
Creative Commons AttributionBarometer - Credit: David Spender

A barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure, a useful tool in weather forecasting. Like the forecasts themselves, the barometer was blamed by the narrator for showing misleading information.

Page 38. " Great Coram Street murder "

This unsolved murder took place in London on Christmas Day 1872. The victim was Harriet Boswell (also referred to as Harriet Buswell and Clara Burton), who lived at 12 Great Coram Street, and she was probably a prostitute. She was found in a pool of blood, with her throat slit, and it has been suggested that this was an early victim of Jack the Ripper, who murdered women in the nearby Whitechapel area in 1888.

Page 38. " they’re a-going to find Stanley "

Henry Morton Stanley, who was already famous for finding Dr Livingstone, had set off on another expedition to find Emin Pasha.

Stanley meets Livingstone
Public DomainStanley meets Livingstone - Credit: Library of Congress


Page 40. " Our boat was waiting for us at Kingston "

A Thames Traditional Boat Rally is held at Henley each year, which gives an idea of the type of boat in use at the time of Three Men in a Boat.

Page 40. " The quaint back-streets of Kingston "

The picturesque streets of Kingston-upon-Thames are long gone, but there are still pockets of history worth visiting today.

Google Map
Page 41. " She was nuts on public-houses, was England’s Virgin Queen "

 Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have stayed at a whole host of pubs in the vicinity of London, though many of the legends that 'Queen Elizabeth slept here' cannot be proved. The narrator J. reckoned that his companion Harris should be similarly honoured with signs on all the pubs he had frequented.


Page 42. " a magnificent carved oak staircase "
The closed Borders, Kingston-upon-Thames
Creative Commons AttributionThe closed Borders, Kingston-upon-Thames - Credit: Adam UXB Smith

This staircase was at that time in Hides Department Store. This was originally the site of the Castle Inn, which was built in 1537 in the market place of Kingston-upon-Thames. The restored Jacobean oak staircase from the Castle Inn now forms part of Borders bookstore, though its future is uncertain because this bookstore chain sadly went into into administration at the end of 2009.

Page 44. " They put him under laughing-gas one year, poor lad, and drew all his teeth "
Horace Wells plaque
Public DomainHorace Wells plaque - Credit: Daderot, Wikipedia Commons
 Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide (N2O), was discovered in 1793 by Joseph Priestley. Humphry Davy experimented with it and found that people became hysterical with laughter. For the next few decades, it was used for amusement at parties, but in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1844, a local dentist, Dr Horace Wells, realised that it could be used to dull pain in tooth extraction. Unfortunately, he was booed off the stage at a demonstration the following year at the Harvard Medical School, and he committed suicide in 1848. However, laughing gas gradually began to be used as an anaesthetic, and it is still widely used in dental practices today.
Page 47. " the maze at Hampton Court "
Hampton Court Palace from the Thames
GNU Free Documentation LicenseHampton Court Palace from the Thames - Credit: Panhard, Wikimedia Commons

The trapezoidal maze at Hampton Court Palace was originally planted in about 1700, with hedges of hornbeam from the Netherlands. In the 1960s, these were replaced with yew. Hornbeam has now been reintroduced. It was a place for courtiers to escape palace life and literally lose themselves. It was once part of a much larger 'Wilderness Garden' of King William III.

Page 50. " the busiest lock on the river "
Molesey Lock
Creative Commons AttributionMolesey Lock - Credit: elyob, Flickr

The narrator refers to Molesey lock as Moulsey. Close to Hampton Court, it is the second longest out of forty-five locks on the River Thames and was built between 1814 and 1815.

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