Filed under agriculture

Fresh Fish in Elizabeth’s London

This is an oddity on food from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. This suggests ways of supplying fresh fish when the fleet were unable to sail, especially in bad weather.  At the fishmarket, in a long street, I saw a quantity of pike up for sale; they are very fond of this, and call … Continue reading

Law Abiding in Yorkshire, 1766

This is from the Newcastle Chronicle of July 1766. It is noteworthy as soon after this, the south and west of England erupted in food riots. This region remained calm as they ate mostly potatoes instead of suffering speculation in wheat which caused bread to skyrocket in price. York, July 22 Last Friday the assizes … Continue reading

Battle of Fairs

There were many problems caused by the urbanisation of Britain; houses had to be build fast, and were often overcrowded and substandard. Before railways allowed mass movement of food, fairs and markets were crucial in ensuring food supplies, especially to the ‘great wen’ of London. Markets and fairs were conducted by licence, often of long … Continue reading

Market Fraudsters

Sale of goods in open markets was seen as a means of ensuring fair trading – the goods were in clear sight, they could be investigated, but there were many scams to cheat this system. I have read of butter being sold that had a core of lard with only a surface of butter around … Continue reading

An Unhappy Tenant

This is a wonderfully wry ad from a London paper dated October 1815: WANTED IMMEDIATELY to enable me to leave the house which I have for these last five years inhabited, in the same plight and condition in which I found it, 500 LIVE RATS for which I will gladly pay the sum of £5 … Continue reading

‘The Good Life’ or Malnutrition?

Saturday’s i had an article featuring Monty Don, tv gardening presenter, who criticised the popular 1970s sitcom The Good Life, based on a suburban couple played by Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers who trie d to be self sufficient. Don claims: “No one seriously waned to know how to separate curds from whey  or render … Continue reading

Natural Deterrent for Mosquitoes

This small article from yesterday’s i paper records a huge breakthrough ii the fight against malaria, one of the world’s great killers and compromisers of human health but as it affects people in tropical countries, they often lack the means to pay for pharmaceuticals which are in any case becoming ineffective. Sleeping next to a … Continue reading

Europeans and Tomatoes

Atlas Obscura comes up with some pretty amazing stuff, but history is not their strong point here, complaining about why Europeans did not take to tomatoes and how they fed corn to their cattle. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-was-wrong-with-16th-century-europeans-that-they-didnt-like-tomatoes?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20160715&bt_email=texthistory@outlook.com&bt_ts=1468592859278 Well, the most obvious thing that occurs to me here is that when the New World was discovered, Europe was … Continue reading

Counting the Black Death

We know the epidemic known as the Black Death killed a lot of people in Britain and Europe. It put an end to the gloriously labour intensive architectural style of Decorated Gothic, to be replaced by the more austere Perpendicular. The manpower shortage was so desperate it led to the Peasants’ Revolt demanding better wages … Continue reading