The Victorian Fluted Pillar Box in England

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

The Royal Double Wedding

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

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

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November: Commemorating Princess Charlotte 200 Years After her Death

‘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

Walton Prison’s First Execution: Elizabeth Berry, Serial Poisoner?

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?

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

Eliza Fenning – a Nineteenth Century Poisoner?

     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?