Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Dora Jordan was one of the most celebrated actresses of the late eighteenth century. She delighted theatre goers with her repertoire of comedic performances, was a spellbinding tragedian and was renowned for her classic Shakespearean drama, with roles such as Rosalind in As You Like It and Viola in Twelfth Night. She was also one of the women who pushed eighteenth century boundaries for daring … Continue reading Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Witchcraft, Petty Treason and Poisoner? Women on Trial at the Old Bailey, London

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online is a fantastic resource for historians and it is one I return to time and again. I’ve used it as a basis for the study of poisoning crimes in nineteenth-century London and for various assignments that needed the bolstering of a primary source or two. It’s a fascinating insight into centuries of crime in London; the crimes that … Continue reading Witchcraft, Petty Treason and Poisoner? Women on Trial at the Old Bailey, London

Infanticide in the Early Modern Period: Account for the Relatively Low Conviction Rate in Cases of New-born Child Murder in England

In the early modern period, there was a huge stigma attached to having a child born outside of marriage. The distress and shame of the unmarried mothers-to-be would sometimes manifest itself in a mania, which led the new mother to murder her baby during birth. Not all women showed signs of mental illness; some babies were murdered with deliberate violence. However, not all women were … Continue reading Infanticide in the Early Modern Period: Account for the Relatively Low Conviction Rate in Cases of New-born Child Murder in England

The ‘Black Boy’of the Philanthropic Society

This article was first published on history@kingston, February 2015 So much of London’s fascinating black history is hidden from the historical record, so when I noticed the phrase ‘Black Boy’ written in the minutes of the Philanthropic Society during research for my recent MA dissertation on juvenile delinquency and philanthropy in the late eighteenth century, I was intrigued.  It was the first time that I … Continue reading The ‘Black Boy’of the Philanthropic Society

The Man-Midwife in the 18th Century

Midwifery in the eighteenth-century was transformed from a female-centric activity, with cultural and ritualistic practices, to an environment which saw the customary hegemonic female midwife relinquish her control of the lying-in chamber to the man-midwife.  With the exception of dire emergencies, childbirth before the eighteenth century traditionally precluded men during the processes of labour, delivery and lying-in. Lying-in lasted a month post-childbirth and was devoted … Continue reading The Man-Midwife in the 18th Century