Sunday, 1 April 2012

Harrods Supplied Ventures into the Interior…

Incurable armchair travelers like me, are becoming an endangered species these days… Over at Librivox, you can download any one of Rider Haggard’s classic stories like She or King Solomon’s Mines in audio version (for free!).

Harrods Catalog

You’ll have to ignore the obvious clichés – the concept of Africa as a country for one, and other small inaccuracies; but they are fabulous yarns, some of the classic adventure stories and the first of the Lost World Tales.

Or let your imagination have a bit of free time and plot an excursion into the interior? Almost any interior will do… Pretend you’re one of that breed of hardy, fearless individuals, male or female; the Victorian African explorer…
Your first port of call would probably have been Stanfords, London; purveyors of maps and travel gadgets to generations of adventurers since 1853. Hey, we need to know where we’re going! 

Southern Africa Below the Great Rivers

Extreme Gear for Extreme Living

Over the decades, famous names like David Livingstone, Scott of the Antarctic, Ernest Shackleton, Ranulph Fiennes, Michael Palin, and the Fat Bulldog himself, Bill Bryson, have begun their journeys outside the Edwardian façade of the Covent Garden store.

Well-armed with maps and charts, we’ll need to make our way over to Harrods and equip ourselves for every possible contingency a dark continent could throw at us. 

Camp Necessities
These images are from the Late Victorian catalog put out by Harrods for all those star-crossed souls, trying to maintain a semblance of civilization out in the furthest reaches of the Empire...Just click on a picture to see a larger view.

Standards Must be Maintained!

Paging through this tiny slice of recent history, seeing what held importance then; brings our modern world, looking strangely barren, sharply into focus. Without criticism, what has happened to the romance of travel, the spirit of adventure, the call of the wild, the lure of the unknown… (Sorry… two-for-one offer on cut-price clichés today).

There will be more of this catalog as I explore bits of life back when *The Scamble for Africa* was the big news...


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