At around 9pm on the evening of the 16th December 1908, the pulling and sailing Lifeboat ‘Queen Victoria’ under coxswain John Holbrook answered signals of distress made from a vessel which had grounded on the ledge at…
Sophia Duleep Singh was given many labels throughout her life. The Indian princess was a nineteenth century ‘It girl’, a treasured god-daughter to Queen Victoria, a radical royal, a militant suffragette and a pivotal figure in the suffrage movement.
Yet her fascinating life remained largely untold until BBC broadcaster Anita Anand spotted her…
The release of the film Suffragette late in 2015 brought the spotlight back on the efforts of several British women during the late 19th and early 20th centuries for women to have the same voting rights as men. Leaving aside the various shortcomings of the film, its biggest limitations were its inability to tackle all aspects of the movement or even subject it to in-depth analysis. For that, we will have to turn to other means such as books, articles, biographies, etc to obtain a more rounded picture of the struggles women faced in order to obtain the right to vote.
One of these is Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by BBC journalist Anita Anand: an admirable attempt to bring to the forefront a life that has been pushed to the shadows and more or less forgotten. Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was born and lived in a time when the British Empire was at its height and lived to see it gradually dismantled. Her eventful life also saw her caught up with the winds of change that were to sweep Britain during the twentieth century and as the book’s title suggest, she would…
Despite their reputation for straight-laced sobriety, the Victorians celebrated Halloween with great enthusiasm – and often with outright abandon. Victorian Halloween parties were filled with fun, games, and spooky rituals, some of which still feature at Halloween parties today. Many of the games had origins in pagan religion or medieval superstition. Others were merely a means of making merry with one’s friends. Regardless, Halloween parties of the 19th century were an occasion for indulging in what author Hugh Miller describes in his 1876 book Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland as:
“….a multitude of wild mischievous games which were tolerated at no other season.”
For an example of a Victorian Halloween party, we need look no further than Queen Victoria herself. In 1876, the queen, along with Princess Beatrice and the Marchioness of Ely, celebrated Halloween at…
Source: A Victorian Halloween Party
On the 9th September, Queen Elizabeth II surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning British monarch. Journalists marked the event with comparisons between the two queens,  whilst some historians chose to look back to the Tudor queens of England; Mary and Elizabeth.  Both Victoria and Elizabeth I expanded Britain’s oversea territories, were patrons of the arts, and successfully ruled without a husband over shadowing them. It is understandable such large characters dominate our historical view when we search for the strong female leaders of our past. However, our focus on these women, mean that powerful medieval queens often get forgotten. I am not attempting to say that they had any equal power to that of the more modern Queens – medieval queens were undeniably second to the king.
Dispelling a myth
Medieval queens were also not the weak and submissive figures they sometimes come across as. Such…
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I have lived not far from Talgarth Road all my life and always longed to live in one of these studios. From childhood onwards, when we passed by, I would look up and dream.
Originally posted on History And Other Thoughts
Lord William Russell, a member of Parliament, was murdered in his sleep. His body was found by his maid on 6th April 1840. The initial signs pointed to a robbery, as Viscount Melbourne explained in this short letter to Queen Victoria:
Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He has just received this from Lord John Russell—a most shocking event, which your Majesty has probably by this time heard of. The persons who did it came for the purpose of robbing the house; they entered by the back of the house and went out at the front door. The servants in the house, only a man and a maid, never heard anything, and the maid, when she came down to her master’s door in the morning, found the horrid deed perpetrated….
On the 1st of May 1840, the world’s first adhesive stamp was issued in Great Britain.
Called the “Penny Black”, it featured a profile of Queen Victoria.
The stamp came into public use on the sixth of the month. This particular stamp was in production until February 1841.
Originally posted on Culture24
At more than 13 metres wide and three metres high, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher after the Battle of Waterloo, 1858-1859, is also one of the largest and most detailed cartoons to survive in the UK.
Completed when the Battle of Waterloo was still in living memory, it took Maclise more than a year to complete and involved extensive research.
The artist studied eye-witness accounts to ensure his depiction was plausible and at one point Queen Victoria and Prince Albert even became involved in the process, using their contacts in Germany to gather information from Prussian officers who were present on the day.
The resulting work, which was made as a study for a fresco painting that now hangs in the art gallery of the House of Lords, is still remarkable for its lack of triumphalism and the stoicism of Wellington and Blücher when faced with the reality and tragedy of war.
It was rightly considered a masterpiece of its time, bought by the Royal Academy in 1870 – the year of Maclise’s death – and shown at Burlington House until the 1920s. But the fragility of the artwork means it has remained in storage for much of the last century.
Now, after an Arts Council funded conservation, the vast work is about to be displayed again in a brace of…
On the 22nd of January, 1901, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland died at the age of eighty-one.
A woman who inherited the throne at eighteen, she reigned for sixty-three years and seven months and was Britain’s longest-serving monarch, as well as the world’s longest-serving female monarch.
Queen Victoria receiving the news of her accession to the throne, 20 June 1837.
She was buried in a white dress and her wedding veil, as she had left instructions for her funeral to be white. Her death marked the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the Edwardian Era.