Posted in November 2016

Smallpox in Hampshire 1774

Smallpox is a disease which caused lots of fatalities but inoculation against was discovered in the 18th century, so fear of it has long since faded. This is from the Hampshire Chronicle of March 1774: We hear that the small-pox is broke out at Bishops Waltham, a dread of which distemper has induced many of … Continue reading

Justifying Georgian Luxury

In 1772 jeweller James Cox opened a Museum in London’s Spring Gardens which became the most popular show in the capital to the extent it became known as ‘The Museum’. It displayed ornate  jewelled automata in an opulent setting and charged a massive half a guinea (10/6d) entry. Fanny Burney mentioned it in her novel … Continue reading

Superstitions in Cambridge

Superstitions in Cambridge

These are from the Cambridge Local History Museum : This is a witches’ bottle, designed to dazzle a witch to prevent her working evil: And this is the local equivalent of a voodoo doll, with pins stuck into it, called the Corp Chreadh or clay body. They could also place it in water so the … Continue reading

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Master Percy Praises The Lever Museum

Eighteenth century England produced a lot of child proteges who were often put on display by their partents and guardians in a way that to modern eyes seems like exploitation, but for families of humble birth could provide a welcome income. Some went on to achieve well deserved success such as the future President of … Continue reading

Artist at Work

As part of the recent Made in Roath arts festival in Cardiff, the former YHA was open to the public to see the artists’ studios before the inevitable developers took over the site. I was intrigued by the room occupied by David Shepherd. His room seemed to be a strange sculpture space, but it was … Continue reading

Glass House

Glass House

There are lots of artists and craftspeople out there trying to sell their wares at fairs and markets, especially in the run-up to Christmas.  I get a bit jaded with all the seasonal stuff. But sometimes I stumble upon something genuinely original. Take a look at this piece of glasswork. It’s beautifully designed, and in … Continue reading

Harsh Justice

Our ancestors had to deal with a lot of problems but a major one was ensuring safe reliable supplies of food. This is why markets were established within walking distance of all citizens. In Britain, selling underweight food -especially the staple of grain or bread – was punished with a ducking or heavy fines. The … Continue reading