London Bridge is a key location in The Untied Kingdom and I did a fair amount of research into it. Without this research I probably wouldn't have known just how dangerous the waters around the medieval bridge were, and how strong the possibility of drowning or being smashed to death against the wooden pontings would have been. These facts inspired one of the early scenes in the book, in which my hero gets one of many opportunities to be really heroic.
(One piece of research I entirely forgot about was a story my dad told me years ago when he worked at the Kirkstall Brewery in Leeds. I used Kirkstall Abbey as a fairly major location in the book, and there are one or two occasions where various characters sneak in and out. My dad, havoing read the book, asked me why on earth I hadn't used the brewery tunnel. The story was that a tunnel connected the Abbey to the brewery, supposedly leading out from one of the pitch-black, unlit cellars. Although my dad went down there with a torch one night, he never quite found the tunnel, which was supposed to be haunted. He said he ran out of time, but I'm thinking it might have been his nerve that didn't last...)
So I wandered around the Museum of London looking at exhibits on Roman, medieval and modern London, and found a lot of visual inspiration, not just for the Untied Kingdom but other works in progress.
|St Paul's Cathedral|
|Uniform of Richard St George, 1743|
Mind you, if Harker saw a soldier dressed like this, he'd probably end up hurt.
|Jan Jones, Diane Pearson and Katie Fforde|
And before you ask, yes, my shoes were fabulous, and many pictures of them were taken, but I can't seem to track them down. If you have any, send them on!