The History of the Mailrail | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Deep under the streets of London and its snarl of urban traffic is a virtually unknown railway that for 75 years was an artery in Britain’s postal network. Seventy feet below ground, the Post Offic…

Source: The History of the Mailrail | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Even after 100 years and when no-one who remembers it is alive, the Battle of the Somme and especially its first day remains a scar on the British psyche. The 1st July 1916 and the deaths in action…

Source: The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Two Victorian Cookery Writers – C.E Francatelli and A.G Payne | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

The general idea that many people have of cookery and cookbooks in the Victorian Age is that it was Mrs Beeton and no-one else. However Charles Elme Francatelli (1805-1876) was one of the culinary celebrities of his time. An Englishman of Italian extraction who travelled to France to study under the legendary Antonin Carême the founder of French haute cuisine and revered for his blending of the best of Italian and French cuisine, Francatelli was regarded as a leading chef in Victorian London and spent most of his career in Britain directing the kitchens of royalty and noblemen, including Queen Victoria, the Earls of Chesterfield and Dudley and managing both Crockfords, a private club and…

Source: Two Victorian Cookery Writers – C.E Francatelli and A.G Payne | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Exhibition Review: The Fallen Woman (The Foundling Museum)

In a quiet London square not far from the British Museum is Coram Fields, home of the Foundling Museum and the site of the original Foundling Hospital, started in 1741 by a philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram. He had been shocked by the sight of infants exposed in the London streets and he agitated for seventeen years for the foundation of a foundling hospital. The museum explores and exhibits the work of this first children’s charity through art, music and…

Source: Exhibition Review: The Fallen Woman (The Foundling Museum)

A Flute Playing Cobbler for Sale | texthistory

Originally posted on texthistory.

My research into wife selling continues to turn up bizarre incidents. This is one of my favourites, from the Dundee evening Telegraph of 28 November 1903, claims to relate to Manchester at the end of the 18th century:

“A woman, named Price, led her husband into the market place, and publicly proclaimed that she would dispose of him to the highest bidder.

The man, who seems to have regarded the matter as huge joke, then stated his accomplishments, which ranged from bootmaking to flute-playing, and the bidding commenced. Several offers were made, and he ultimately exchanged hands for a guinea, a par of fowls, and a new dress. ”

In Leeds the town crier was requisitioned to announce publicly the sale of her husband by Mrs…

via A Flute Playing Cobbler for Sale | texthistory.

Exhibition Review: Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom (Museum of London Docklands) | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Originally posted on Enough of this Tomfoolery!.

In Inventing the Victorians, Matthew Sweet observed that the advent of technology allowed more women to go into work and not just in the traditional farming and cottage industry sectors but into the white-collar sector that was previously the domain of men. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, typewriter and adding machine provided employment opportunities for women to the point when certain jobs such as telephone operator, typist, secretary, bank teller and bookkeeper became female dominated and seen as “women’s work”. Owing to their nimble fingers and dexterity, women were seen as the ideal gender to operate and manipulate these pieces of machinery.

In the same way, technology also allowed women to pursue hobbies other than the usual sewing, drawing, painting, music and others that were deemed appropriate to their gender. Photography is one example and with the invention of the hand-held camera, many men and especially women took to taking photographs with enthusiasm. Queen Alexandra of Britain and the four daughters of Czar Nicholas II of Russia were examples of women who enthusiastically embraced the wonder of photography, becoming proficient with using a camera and it is through them that we have had…

via Exhibition Review: Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom (Museum of London Docklands) | Enough of this Tomfoolery!.

Alice in Cartoonland

London Historians' Blog

2015 is the Year of the Big Anniversary, it seems. They just keep coming. Here’s another one for you: this year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. It was published in London by Macmillan & Co on 26 November 1865 with 42 illustrations by John Tenniel. This is key, because immediately the words and the pictures formed a symbiotic relationship which informed everything to do with Alice from that day hence, influencing how other illustrators, film-makers, producers etc visualised and presented and re-presented Alice to this day.

Alice in Blunderland by John Tenniel, 1880 Alice in Blunderland by John Tenniel, 1880

No where is this better demonstrated than at a new exhibition which opened this week at the Cartoon Museum: Alice in Cartoonland. 

As it happens, Charles Dodgson (i.e. Carroll) fancied himself as something of an illustrator and despite being turned down by various journals (“not up to…

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Eleanor Marx: A Life

London Historians' Blog

Review: Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes

A guest post by London Historians Member, Jane Young.

Eleanor Marx A Life Rachel HolmesThe first biography of Eleanor Marx (1855 – 1898) to be written in almost four decades, the 1972 -1976 two volume biography from Yvonne Knapp is a tough act to follow and Rachel Holmes has managed it with a flourish.

Significantly more intricate than a singular rendition of the life of one person, this substantial volume is an adeptly researched piece of social history. Covering poverty in the mid nineteenth century, the plight of European immigrants, infant mortality, working class politics, bohemian society

Charting the progress of Eleanor Marx from right back to before her parents Jenny and Karl had even met; you are invited into the various and numerous homes of the Marx household. There you meet a ramshackle extended family in all its minutiae detail becoming familiar with everything from the…

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