Cook guide

The fascinating 1901 Thomas Cook Guide to Scotland is 4,500 miles away in Colorado

A HOME cleanup in Colorado uncovered a Thomas Cook Travel Guide to Scotland – published in the year Queen Victoria died.

The long-forgotten pamphlet, published 118 years ago, sheds a fascinating light on how Scotland sold itself to the world at the start of the Edwardian era.

He says Edinburgh is “surpassed in beauty… only by Constantinople”, Glasgow is the second industrious city in the UK and Ben Nevis is an easy climb for “rugged pedestrians”.

Loch Ness is mentioned in passing, but there is no reference anywhere in the 1901 publication to the supposedly legendary monster.

The travel diary was organized by well-known travel agents Thomas Cook

Cook’s Tours in Scotland was released while Thomas Cook’s grandsons still ran the business.

The copy, the only one known to exist, was found last year 4,500 miles from Scotland in Boulder, Colorado. Relatives of a woman called Eleanor Livingston, who died in 2018, were cleaning her house when they found the book.

Eleanor is said to come from a well-to-do New York family whose ancestors emigrated from Linlithgow, West Lothian, a few miles from the new town of Livingston.

The book dates from 1901

The pamphlet is now in the possession of Eleanor’s friend Jennifer Martinez of Thronton, Colorado, who received it from her brother who helped clean Ms Livingston’s house after her death and picked up the pamphlet.

Jennifer posted pictures on the Thomas Cook Facebook page last month saying “Look what I found … an old Thomas Cook Scotland tour book from 1901.”

On one page of the guide, a fold-out map of Scotland highlights the different itineraries that Thomas Cook offers on its organized tours, as well as coach and steamboat routes.

Here depicts the tourist routes cited by Cook’s Tours

Another map shows the rail routes from England and Wales to Scotland on which they announced “the most interesting route between England and Scotland.”

“Embracing the best parts of Burns Country, Scott’s home and lair, the Forth Bridge etc. On the direct line of the road. ”

The brochure also colorfully describes Scottish towns. Edinburgh is “surpassed in beauty by only two other cities in Europe, Athens and Constantinople”.

Another shows interesting rail routes to Scotland from England and Wales

Glasgow, with a population at the time of 800,000, is described as ‘the UK’s second largest city’ and focuses on Glasgow’s contribution to industry as well as Glasgow Cathedral and the new municipal buildings in George Square.

Aberdeen is described as the fourth city in Scotland and Dundee as the third in Scotland. roles that have changed over the last century.

Ayr is described as a “Mecca” for followers of the “immortal” poet Robbie Burns.

Edinburgh is compared to Athens and Constantinople in its beauty

Scotland’s physical characteristics are also complimented, with Ben Nevis being described as ‘the monarch of all our British mountains … and easily climbed by rugged pedestrians’.

Loch Ness is also mentioned as’ the last link in the chain, one of Scotland’s largest freshwater lakes, 24 miles in length. The landscape along its banks is magnificent. However, there is no mention of its most famous resident, the Loch Ness Monster, which today attracts international attention and tourism.

Fingal’s Cave in Staffa, Inner Hebrides, is also touted as a great tourist destination with verses from Sir Walter Scott’s poem about the cave featured inside the guidebook.

Glasgow is considered the second largest city in the United Kingdom

Other notable mentions include the description of the “New Tay Bridge” following the tragic collapse of the old bridge in 1837. The cost of constructing the new bridge is noted in the guide as reaching “the sum of one. million pounds sterling “.

St Andrews is also mentioned as “famous for being the site of many hotly contested golf matches” and for having the oldest university in Scotland.

The booklet also contains advertisements for hotels such as the Royal Station House in Forres, Moray and the Hydropathic and Hotel in Peebles, Borders, which offers “a German bath”. There is also an advertisement for “umbrellas, travel trunks and all kinds of fancy leather goods”.

The visitor’s book informs tourists that the ascent of Ben Nevis is intended for “robust pedestrians”

Jennifer, a 38-year-old photography enthusiast, said her brother had worked for Eleanor for several years and had helped clean her family’s New York home.

She said: “This travel book was one of many booklets belonging to Eleanor Livingston, who passed away last year. Eleanor’s family (the Livingston family, mostly from New York and the Hudson River area) instructed my brother to pack and send some of his things to New York, and get rid of others. things.

“He didn’t think these booklets should be thrown away, so he kept them and gave them to me.

The book also describes Ayr as a “Mecca” for Burns lovers.

” It’s really interesting ! I wish I had known which part of Scotland his family was from, and I hope when I do go I can visit some of the places in the booklet!

“I haven’t been to Scotland yet. My husband and I love to travel, and Scotland is on our list of places to see. ”

Thomas Cook reiterated the importance their founder has had on his legacy today.

Even Sir Walter Scott’s poem about Fingal’s Cave is quoted in the book

Paul Smith, Thomas Cook Archivist, said: “We love to see people discover artifacts related to the days when our founder, Thomas Cook, began to introduce the nation to the world of travel.

“The first tour he organized in Scotland was for around 350 people in 1846 and this 1901 book Jennifer found shows just how extensive – and popular – Scottish tours had become by the turn of the 20th century, when the little ones – Thomas Cook’s son was running the business.

“Travel has clearly come a long way since the early 1900s, but the spirit of innovation and adaptation to the needs of vacationers that Thomas Cook instilled in the beginning remains strong today.”

Jennifer found the book very interesting and hopes to visit Scotland soon.

Eleanor Livingston is said to have been a member of the famous American family, the Livingstons.

They are believed to have migrated from Scotland to the United States in the 17th century. A member of the aristocratic family is said to have even signed the United States Declaration of Independence.


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