“London Observed” – Book Launch 23/02/10

The philosopher and writer Krystin Lach-Szyrma came to Britain in 1820 as tutor to two Polish princes, as their Grand Tour took them to Enlightenment Scotland, where they spent two years studying at Edinburgh University. After a short tour of continental Europe they returned in 1822 to England to enjoy the delights of London and observe its monuments and people.

Over a period of 18 months they visited prisons, hospitals and factories as well as art galleries and museums and were entertained by individuals of the calibre of Elizabeth Fry and Robert Owen. The philosopher and his princely charges familiarised themselves with the Houses of Parliament the Stock Exchange and Westminster Abbey, but were also intrigued by London’s inns and theatres. Looking at the capital’s financial, religious and academic institutions, they analysed its class system and law-and-order problems, pondering such issues as the origins of the term ‘Cockney’ and the nature of English breakfasts.

Translated for the first time, Lach-Szyrma’s record of London life retains its original freshness and offers new insights into the rapidly evolving city.

To get on the guest list, email the Polish Cultural Institute