Book Now Menu

OR CALL 020 7640 3347

valentines book at the athenaeum

9th January 2019

It’s appropriate that early versions of Valentine’s Day started in Rome, one of Italy’s most romantic cities. However, in Ancient Rome, it was the Lupercalia festival – a pagan celebration of fertility – that was celebrated between 13 and 15 February.

The centuries that followed saw a couple of religious figures called Valentine martyred around the same time of year – an occasion that was marked on 14 February every year as St Valentine’s Day. Over time, the purpose of Lupercalia and St Valentine’s Day became mixed up, and Valentine’s Day became a decidedly romantic occasion.

Rome

The idea of a day dedicated to love on 14 February became cemented over the centuries. In the 1300s, Chaucer wrote about birds choosing mates on Valentine’s Day. In the 1400s, Charles VI of France established a High Court of Love in Paris on Valentine’s Day, to help resolve disputes between lovers and other affairs of the heart. And closer to home in London, Charles Duke of Orleans wrote the first recorded Valentine’s letter to his lover while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.

From the mid-1800s, exchanging letters and cards for Valentine’s Day became the norm, and the Valentine’s Day we recognise today took off. In 1840, the Uniform Penny Post was launched in the UK, meaning Valentine’s cards could be posted by the Victorians for just a penny. So many cards were sent that postmen were allowed extra refreshments during this time of year, due to the extra effort required to get all the cards delivered! By 1871, an astounding 1.2 million cards were processed by the General Post Office in London alone.

notes-600483_1280

More in Lifestyle

The Best Spa Treatments For Men

Lifestyle / Spa /

Yes, men need pampering too! So we asked our Spa Manager, Kayleigh, for her treatment recommendations for men and what she has found to be the most popular.

Read More

5 ways to celebrate Halloween in London

Lifestyle / Things To Do /

As the spooky season approaches and carved pumpkins start to adorn the kitchen windows, it’s time to get excited about the upcoming festivities. In London, there will be no shortage of events and activities to get involved in, so don your Halloween costume and prepare the family for a month of supernatural celebrations. Here are just five of the many things that you can do in and around London this Halloween.

Read More

In Memory Of HRH Queen Elizabeth II

Lifestyle /

All of us here at The Athenaeum are greatly saddened to hear about the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family at this sad time and we join the nation, and many across the world, in mourning.

Read More