Filed under 19th century literature

Still Grieving Lost Children

Still Grieving Lost Children

This is really sad, from Joseph Leech’s Rural Rides, from the churchyard at Keynsham, though the author could have been a bit more diplomatic: My attention was attracted by 2 very antiquated crones, who came hobbling towards me over the graves which, in the course of nature, they ought to have long since filled; both … Continue reading

Paupers Riot 1830

Paupers Riot 1830

Here’s another horror story from Bristol’s past which serves as a warning of where we may be heading. The 1840s was a time of massive social upheaval across Europe, echoing the previous century’s ‘hungry forties’, but the problems were soaring in the 1830s. In Bristol, trade declines, so many workers were reduced to pauperism and … Continue reading

Women’s Work- 19th Century Britain

Women’s Work- 19th Century Britain

I recently found this wonderful book by Rohana Darlington, Irish Knitting. She graduated from the Central School of Art and Design and in 1984 she received a travelling fellowship to study hand knitting in Norway and Ireland; from the latter came this book, a mix of Irish history focusing on fine art and textiles, but … Continue reading

Ripper Street

Ripper Street

This is a series I came to late as I had no interest in things related to Jack the Ripper, especially in the wake of the campaign against the ripper museum in London’s East End. But the series is astounding on so many levels. For a start, it is not about the gruesome killings per … Continue reading

Concubinage in Wales

Concubinage in Wales

I’ve just discovered this fascinating incident in the wonderful ‘Kilvert’s Diary’ written by a cleric in late 19th century Wales: Friday 8 April 1870 In the green lane between York and Cefn y Fedwas I came upon Smith of Wemwg hedging. He told me that a child had arrived at Pen-y-worlodd and wanted to know … Continue reading

A Captive Owl

This is from Kilvert’s Diary, told to him by a Miss Child: She and her sister stranded in London at night went to London Bridge hotel (having missed the last train) with little money and no luggage except the owl in a basket. The owl hooted all night in spite of their putting it up … Continue reading

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

This is from the i paper of 30 December As the season of overindulgence takes its toll, it is perhaps heartening to know that pre-Victorians faced a similar dilemma over gym regimes and fad diets. Researchers at Cambridge University have unearthed an 1834 manual called British Manly Exercises, which aimed to help the middle and … Continue reading

Executions on Newcastle Moor

Newcastle had a temporary gallows built on the Town Moor, near the barracks of This is a list of the people who were despatched there. It is a varied and pretty comprehensive list of the types of crime that were designated capital offences at the time. It is also interesting how few there were for … Continue reading

The Dawn of Air Travel

The Dawn of Air Travel

Forget about the Wright Brothers, the first flight was in England, a beautiful machine called Ariel. This is from a lovely illustrated book on a 19th century family of publishers who are still in business, Ackermann 1783-1983, and is one of the many strange items associated with this printing house: In 1843 Ackerman & Co. published … Continue reading