A few days ago I visited the Fashion Museum, Bath. They are currently running an exhibition of royal women’s fashion, including the wedding dress of Edward VII’s Queen Consort, Alexandra. It opened at the beginning of February and will remain on display until 28 April 2019. It was a must-see event for me and if you’ve previously read my post on the exhibition at Kensington … Continue reading The Fashion Museum, Bath: Royal Women
Britain shivers and many people who have it much tougher over the winter months mock our unpreparedness and histrionics regarding late winter – and very early spring – snowfall. However, we’ve just had our coldest March day on record. It’s an unusual start to spring with the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma affecting our weather for several days. It might be an unusual … Continue reading 1881: When the River Mersey Froze
During my recent research on George IV, I stumbled across an internet site that offers primary perspectives on the reigns of George IV and William IV from a contemporary who kept a journal – ever fashionable in the nineteenth century. The Greville Memoirs, first published in 1874, are journals that cover the reigns of the monarchs at the end of the Georgian period, and those … Continue reading The Memoirs of Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville
For over a hundred years, starting in 1869 until the 1970s, Britain sent children abroad; to Canada prior to the Second World War and later to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia. Over 100,000 children were sent to Canada alone. The children ranged in age from four to fifteen and would be sent from seemingly well-meaning philanthropic or religious organisations, such as Dr Barnardo’s, … Continue reading British Home Children
The 1851 Act regulated the sale of arsenic by imposing a series of measures aimed to ultimately control the arsenic panic that gripped the country. The six parts to the Act covered: On every Sale of Arsenic, Particulars of Sale to be entered in a Book by the Seller in Form set forth in Schedule to this Act. Restrictions as to Sale of Arsenic Provision for … Continue reading The Sale of Arsenic Regulation Act 1851
Regular readers of my blog know that I often draw inspiration from the British Newspaper Archives. This does involve a small subscription, however, you can search and view a permitted three articles for free here. As it is the season of goodwill, I decided to share with you part of a report published on Christmas Day 1840 showing the festive food the poor of London were … Continue reading 25 December 1840, The London Evening Standard: A Report
Christmas was barely celebrated in the early part of the nineteenth century. It was not considered a public holiday and traditionally the giving of gifts was practised at New Year. However, come the end of the century, it was the biggest annual celebration in the British calendar. Workers had gained a two-day break (including the 26 December, Boxing Day) and the advent of the railways … Continue reading The Victorian Christmas
Kings Henry VIII, Charles I and George V ruled over England and Wales, and later Scotland and Ireland, during times of momentous change for the country. But they were all second sons and not trained for kingship from birth. Their elder brothers had predeceased their fathers, Kings Henry VII, James I and VI and Edward VII, meaning they replaced their brothers in the royal line … Continue reading The Replacement Kings
On a day out in Windsor, accompanied by my husband, we came across a Doric fluted Victorian pillar box, situated just over the river Thames at Eton. I stopped to take the obligatory photograph. I was taken with its elegance, which was enhanced by gilding around the cap which highlighted the words ‘Post Office’, the crown and the royal VR (Victoria Regina) cipher. I shared … Continue reading The Victorian Fluted Pillar Box in England
Almost 200 years ago there was a very different royal wedding. It was not held in the grand and historically significant Westminster Abbey, like the 2011 marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, but in the relatively small summer palace in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Kew Palace, originally ‘the White House’, was the home of Frederick, the Prince of Wales and his wife … Continue reading The Royal Double Wedding
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
‘Alas, that England’s hope – her greatest pride, Should thou in youthful loveliness have died!’ The Morning Post, 7 November 1817 Monday 6 November 2017 is the 200th anniversary of the death of Princess Charlotte, the granddaughter of King George III. She died at Claremont in Surrey after a protracted fifty-hour labour during which she delivered a stillborn son. Charlotte Augusta of Wales was born … Continue reading Remember, Remember the Sixth of November: Commemorating Princess Charlotte 200 Years After her Death
Thirty-two years after being built, Walton Prison in Liverpool witnessed its first execution. On 14 March 1887, Elizabeth Berry suffered the ignominy of being the first prisoner and one of only two women to be executed there. The execution chamber was hastily built. It appears that a reprieve for the prisoner was expected and when this was not granted, the Coach House, an outbuilding where … Continue reading Walton Prison’s First Execution: Elizabeth Berry, Serial Poisoner?
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
The case of Eliza (or Elizabeth) Fenning caused much debate in 1815. Eliza was a domestic servant, aged twenty, who was accused of poisoning her employer, Robert Turner, and two other members of his family, with arsenic laced dumplings. She vehemently denied this and claimed that she had eaten the meal and was subsequently sick. She was arrested and sent for trial at … Continue reading Eliza Fenning – a Nineteenth Century Poisoner?