Poverty in early Edwardian London | In Times Gone By…

Adelaide Springett was ashamed of her tattered boots and so took them off for her photograph, taken in 1901. The children who were photographed at the end of the Victorian and in the Edwardian eras…

Source: Poverty in early Edwardian London | In Times Gone By…

Two Nerdy History Girls: Friday Video from the Archives: A Glimpse Back to the Edwardian Past, c. 1900

This isn’t a single video, but a series of short, silent clips pieced together. The description notes that it’s also been “enhanced,” with the focus sharpened and the speed made consistent. That said, it’s a wonderful slice of Edwardian life, a medley of street scenes, factory-dominated landscapes, amusement parks, family

Source: Two Nerdy History Girls: Friday Video from the Archives: A Glimpse Back to the Edwardian Past, c. 1900

On this day… | In Times Gone By…

On the 13th of March, 1901, the new King Edward VII of Great Britain appeared in a caricature on the cover of Puck magazine. Edward had been king for less than two months, following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in January.

Source: On this day… | In Times Gone By…

Strange Company: The Murder of Caroline Luard: a Classic Edwardian Puzzle

Caroline Mary Hartley was born into a wealthy English family in 1850. In 1875 she married a professional soldier named Charles Edward Luard. After a lengthy career, Charles Luard retired in 1887 with the rank of Major-General in the Royal Engineers, and he and his wife settled into the pleasantly situated home of Ightham Knoll, in Kent. During his retirement, Luard served as a Kent County Councilor, a Justice of the Peace, and a Governor of a local school, while both the Luards also kept active with the usual genteel social activities.

During their life together, there were only two known dark spots: The death of the younger of their two sons in 1903, and a curious military scandal in 1879. After British troops were defeated by the Zulu in the Battle of Isandhlwana, blame for the debacle was given mostly to a Colonel Anthony Durnford. Durnford died during the battle, and thus was conveniently unable to defend himself.

However, many in the army believed Durnford was being posthumously slandered, and that the real responsibility for the defeat rested on the heads of more senior officers, most notably…

Source: Strange Company: The Murder of Caroline Luard: a Classic Edwardian Puzzle.

On this day: the Lusitania arrives in the United States

In Times Gone By...

The Lusitania at end of record voyage 1907

The RMS Lusitania arrives in New York on the 13th of September, 1907.

At 9:05am on the 13th of September, 1907, the RMS Lusitania completed her maiden voyage from England.

The voyage from Liverpool, England via Ireland on what was then the world’s largest ocean liner had taken five days (and fifty-something minutes) to complete.

Drawing of the First class dining saloon of the RMS Lusitania (style Louis XVI) Dining Saloon of the RMS Lusitania 1906..

Promotional material for the ship’s first class dining room, alongside a photograph of the same scene.

The Lusitania stayed in New York for a week before departing again for England. During that time she was made available for tours.

RMS Lusitania arriving in New York on her maiden voyage.

New York, September 1907.

The ocean liner’s career would end when she was sunk by a German U-boat in the First World War, killing 1198 of the 1959 people on board.

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The Tango Foot: 1914

Mrs Daffodil Digresses

Tango boots, c. 1895 http://collections.lacma.org/node/227982 Tango boots, c. 1895 http://collections.lacma.org/node/227982


The following dispatch from Berlin confirms the worst fears, says The Indianapolis News:
“Dr. Boehme, of this city, announces that he has discovered a new disease, which he describes in a medical periodical under the name of the ‘tango foot.’”

For months we have lived in dread of the striking of the evil hour when disease would suddenly stalk among us on the dance hall floor and turn the laughter of our joyous revelry to groans of dismal pain. Dance now as mildly as we may, dip as carefully as we can, Boston, gavotte, grapevine, chasse, kitchen sink and scissors with due caution and restraint, we never again feel the same old thrill and keen delight and blissful abandon. Ever henceforth as we tango, hesitate and Maxie, there will be this grim, grinning, mocking terror of the “tango foot” to obtrude upon…

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“A Rolling Mill for Ladies” Beauty Through Suffering: 1905, 1915

Mrs Daffodil Digresses

vintage exercise machine2


You must suffer to be beautiful, according to a French saying. There seems to be some truth in the statement, if a lady’s maid in Paris is to be believed. She has revealed the secrets of her mistress’ boudoir, or, rather, torture chamber. The lady herself is now beautiful, but one wonders that she is alive. For months she lay flat on her back on the floor, motionless, with her arms close to her side, during several hours every day. This was, it appears, to improve her figure. During the rest of the day, for the same period of time, she sat on a high stool rocking the upper part of her body backward and forward and from side to side unceasingly. By this process she is said to have acquired a statuesque throat and a sylph’s waist. The lady’s nose, having a soaring nature, was corrected…

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Lucile vs. M. Poiret: The Gauntlet is Thrown Down: 1912

Mrs Daffodil Digresses

A nightdress by Lucile at the Victoria & Albert Museum http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O230750/nightdress-lucile/ A nightdress by Lucile at the Victoria & Albert Museum http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O230750/nightdress-lucile/

An unfortunate difference of opinion has broken out between the men and the women dressmakers as represented by the chief European exponents of the art. On the one hand we have M. Poiret, that truly distinguished Frenchman who permits himself to minister sartorially to the women of the world, while upon the other side is Lady Duff-Gordon, the chief director of Lucile’s. In this instance the provocation comes from the man, which is so rarely the case as to be remarkable. M. Poiret was actually guilty of saying for publication that “man only can suit a woman in dress. The woman dressmaker drowns herself in details and neglects the outline.”  Now we had supposed that this was unquestionably true. The same thing has often been said before, and so far without any vociferous contradiction, and when a woman does…

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