The Scandalous Decision To Pickle Admiral Horatio Nelson In Brandy | Atlas Obscura

A painting of the Battle of Trafalgar, showing the fatal wounding of Lord Nelson on the deck of the HMS Victory. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

In the middle of the Napoleonic War, Britain’s most famous naval hero is struck by a fatal musket ball at the very moment of his greatest strategic triumph. Rather than bury his body at sea, a quick-thinking Irish surgeon preserves it in a cask of brandy lashed to the deck of the ship. A hurricane is on the horizon and the mast has been shot off; there is no way to hang the sails that would get ship (and body) to England quickly.

The two words that stand out in this story? Brandy and surgeon.

The scenario described is the death of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a moment so central to Britain’s story of itself that in a 2002 BBC poll, Nelson placed number eight on a list of 100 Greatest Britons—slightly behind Elizabeth I and ahead of Sir Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare. His monument in Trafalgar Square, a 169-foot-tall column surrounded by larger-than-life brass lions, is such a…

Source: The Scandalous Decision To Pickle Admiral Horatio Nelson In Brandy | Atlas Obscura

The Shocking Death of Victorian Servant Eliza Bollends

Mimi Matthews

A Scullery Maid at Work by Charles Joseph Grips, 1866.A Scullery Maid at Work by Charles Joseph Grips, 1866.

Many historical novels feature a serving girl who has gotten herself into “trouble.”  In fiction, the understanding mistress of the house is quick to intervene and, in short order, the serving girl’s future is secured to everyone’s satisfaction.  In reality, female servants of the 19th century were expected to preserve their reputations in order to maintain genteel employment.  The character of one’s servants was a reflection on the house as a whole.  To that end, no respectable Victorian lady wanted a light-skirt for a housemaid or a wanton for a cook, and many mistresses strictly forbade male callers or “hangers on.” 

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