As suited to a lavish afternoon tea as it is to cocktails and canapés or an after dinner digestif, The Milestone Hotel's Park Lounge is a peaceful, cosy retreat of old world British charm away from the fray of city life. Furthermore, the elegantly furnished, wood panelled lounge is also home to an intriguing selection of books and artwork. Leather-bound and covering a wide variety of subjects, the Park Lounge library offers fascinating insight into British culture and history.
Settle in and pick up a copy of the Works of Charles Dickens, printed with delightful illustrations and published by Gresham Publishing Company in 1903. Inside, visitors will find classic Dickens novels such as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and Bleak House, to name but a few. Pioneering 19th century female playwright and poet, Joanna Baillie spent most of her life in London and wrote 27 plays in total. The Park Lounge has a collection of her plays dating from 1812, an interesting window into 19th century Romanticism, as well as the politics of the time.
Those interested in the history of the local area should scour the shelves for Faulkner's Kensington, published in 1820 by Thomas Faulkner. Known primarily as a topographer and bookseller, Faulkner gained a reputation for his guides to London localities such as Kensington, Chelsea and Pall Mall. This volume is formally known as the History and Antiquities of Kensington, with Biographical Anecdotes of Royal and Distinguished Personages, and a Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures in the Palace from a survey taken by the late Benjamin West, P.R.A., by command of his Majesty and is dedicated to King George IV.
Alternatively, curl up in front of the fire with a classic British read like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe or Lorna Doone, a romance by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. Alongside its wealth of literature, the Park Lounge also has an admirable collection of artwork, the two focal pieces depicting traditional British sporting events. Britain at Play by Marjory Violet Watherston S.W.A portrays the 1923 Ladies Singles Finals at Wimbledon, whilst The Boatrace, Cambridge on the Slip is attributed to the circle of British artist Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples. In this painting, viewers can see the Cambridge crew making their way to the water's edge in the build-up to the annual Boat Race between Britain's most prestigious universities, Oxford and Cambridge. The large crowd demonstrates how popular the race had become since its inception in 1829, and the timing of the scene can be dated between 1886-1890 as it features Cambridge oarsmen Stanley Duff Muttlebury, who is easily identified from his habit of wearing his cap back-to-front. Muttlebury enjoyed something of a legendary status, having been part of the winning team in four boat races, which was an unprecedented record at the time.
Browse the Park Lounge library as you enjoy The Milestone's exceptional Afternoon Tea, which includes an array of single estate teas and can be served with Champagne.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.