Thomas Pennant, The Journey from Chester to London
Thomas Pennant was born in 1726, into a family of Welsh landowners. His father, David, owned estates at Bychton and Downing in Flintshire. Thomas began his education at Wrexham Grammar School, but then in Fulham and at Oxford University. His passionate interest was natural history, and in 1766 he published the first part of his British Zoology. His first volume of travel writing was A Tour of Scotland in 1769 (1771), and he also wrote a Tour in Wales. He died in December 1798. The Journey from Chester to London mainly concerns a journey in 1780, but also included an earlier journey from Northamptonshire to London going slightly further east, via Northampton, Luton and Enfield. Pennant was more interested in antiquities than new industries, and provides lengthy descriptions of the portrait collections of stately homes. He does comment on the impact of the then-new canal system on the landscape. He describes the towns he passed through in considerable detail, but both his journeys end precisely on his entering London: he says nothing at all about the metropolis itself.