As the Great Famine ripped through the County Longford village of Edgeworthstown in 1847, a tiny octogenarian was to be seen making her way from door-to-door, offering food and nourishment. Many of the beleaguered occupants would have recognised her as Maria Edgeworth, the gifted story-teller whose books had been…
In 1782, the German tourist, Karl Philipp Moritz toured England on foot and by stagecoach. He was a liberal Anglophile clergyman who loved the countryside and architecture of England but had mixed …
N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.
Two hundred years ago, rape was a capital crime and dealt with very severely. However, convictions were rare because of the nature of the questions that the women could be asked and the likelihood,…
Britain had a ruling élite in the Regency period, and it was educated at Eton College. In November 1818, the College contained 530 boys of the ruling class and it was widely regarded …
Source: The Eton College Riot, 1818
Fancy a date with an eligible young lady who’s looking for a man to share her family’s vast fortune with? Who wouldn’t right? Well there’s a slight catch; the girl in question happens to have the head of a fully grown pig. Still interested?
Believe it or not, this was a proposition which many young men in London were giving serious consideration during the winter of 1814-15. A series of bizarre rumours began to circulate around town, of a pig-faced woman who was said to be living in luxurious apartments located somewhere in the up-market district around Manchester Square. This girl was reported to be the sole heiress of a wealthy family from a remote region of Ireland, and she had been dispatched to London in order to find a husband who could take charge of the vast fortune she was due to inherit.
It was said that a number of aristocratic young bachelors had already sallied forth to present themselves at her door, but had ended up beating a hasty retreat after being subjected to the spectacle of their intended…
The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics was a monthly periodical that was published from 1809 to 1829 by Rudolph Ackermann. It is often referred to as Ackermann’s Repository of Arts or simply Ackermann’s Repository.
As its full name suggests, Ackermann’s Repository was not just a fashion periodical but covered a wide range of subjects within its pages. The magazine included travel writing and poetry, comments on the arts and details of new publications, society reports, forthcoming lectures and musical reviews. It also included more serious material – a ‘retrospect of politics’, reports on law, medicine and agriculture, a meteorological journal and details of the London markets.
The Repository was quite an expensive magazine – in 1817 its cover price was 4s which is equivalent to about £11 in 2010 (1).
Cultivating a taste for the arts
In the first issue, published for January 1809, Ackermann included an ‘introduction to…
Source: 18th and 19th Century.
Snuff, a pulverized form of tobacco, became popular from the mid 1600s to the mid 1800s and was more popular than smoking. It was enjoyed by all classes and by both sexes, despite certain critics claiming it “deformed the nose, stained the skin, [and] tainted the breath. The popularity of snuff resulted in a highly lucrative business not only for tobacco growers but also for manufacturers of snuff accessories. That was because snuff takers needed a variety of accessories to accommodate their snuffing habit. This wide variety of accessories was something the English Elizabethan dramatist and pamphleteer, Thomas Dekker, termed “artillery,” and the artillery included such things as snuff boxes, snuff jar or bottles, snuff mills, snuff rasps, and snuff spoons.
The centerpiece of snuffing was the snuff box (called snuff mull in Scotland). Snuff boxes were popular because…
Originally posted on The Printshop Window.
The residents of 54 Berners Street were awoken early one November morning in 1810 by the sound of chimney-sweep knocking loudly and incessantly on the door at the rear of the property. He had, the sweep explained to the bleary-eyed chambermaid who was eventually dispatched to investigate the cause of the commotion, been asked to call at the house to attend to an urgent job. After tartly informing the sweep that he had not been called for and that his services were definitely not required at such an ungodly hour, the maid promptly slammed the door in the puzzled man’s face and returned to her bed.
She had just settled back under the covers when the knocking began again in earnest. Flying downstairs in a rage and flinging open the door to give the insolent sweep a piece of her mind, the housemaid was surprised to find a completely different man staring back at her. He was also a sweep and like his colleague before him, claimed that he had been asked to call at the house before dawn to clean the chimneys. He was followed in quick succession by a third sweep and the a fourth, all bearing the same set of instructions. When the exasperated servant had finally finished…
Fought two days before the Battle of Waterloo, this was one of the most significant and famous battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Between four and five thousand were lost on each side. *
Black Watch at the Battle of Quatre-Bras, 1815, by William Barnes Wollen (1857 – 1936).
The Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball was held in Brussels on the 15th of June, 1815. The following day thousands would be slaughtered in the Battle of Quatre Bras, and then on the eighteenth Napoleon would finally be defeated at Waterloo.
The ball was essentially one last celebration before the final (successful but bloody) attempts to end Napoleon’s power. *
Richmond is my old stamping ground and what is left of the Palace is familiar. The only fully extant part of the original, as you will read in this post, is the gatehouse which still features Henry VII’s coat of arms. There remains some Tudor brickwork for the palace wardrobe, among other areas, and it was in one of the apartments created out of the wardrobe refurbishment — thought to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and executed during the reign of Queen Anne — that the parents of my aunt-by-marriage once lived; an occasional visit to The Wardrobe was always a treat.
Originally posted on English Historical Fiction Authors.
Whilst researching the Royal Palaces that once lined the River Thames, I have always wondered about the ‘lost’ ones; those that were left to become ruins, or destroyed long before photographs could tell us what they looked like. One which interests me particularly is Richmond, a Royal residence that once dominated the ground between Richmond Green and the River Thames.
In Medieval times, Richmond Green was used for grazing sheep, archery, jousting, tournaments and pageants. The earliest recorded cricket match between Surrey and Middlesex was played there in June 1730, which Surrey won, though the score is not known.
The green is surrounded by substantial Regency and Georgian houses which change hands for jaw slackening amounts, and where locals and dreamers sit at The Cricketers pub and…
Originally posted on English Historical Fiction Authors
We do love our period costume dramas, don’t we?
I mean, what could be more restful than slipping back into a slower age, a more peaceful idyllic age, when horses clip-clopped their ways across the country, the corn was green in the fields, they wore elegant clothes that looked soft and weren’t all black, and society was stable and one found one’s Captain Wentworth or John Thornton in a garden of yellow roses? Or driving a high-perch phaeton with scarlet-wheels, wearing an eight-caped greatcoat, with a team of matched greys?
And that must be how it was, mustn’t it, because Austen for one never mentions a world beyond that charming and charmed existence, does she?
But here’s the thing, we tend to forget that…