Filed under children

A Girl Writing

A Girl Writing

This is a lovely image by Henriette Browne of 1870, on display in London’s Museum of Childhood.  But missing from their notes is the story being told. The young girl is gazing at a small bird, not actually writing at the moment. Behind them is an empty cage. Women in the 18th century often described … Continue reading

An Empty Cot

An Empty Cot

This is on display in London’s Museum of Childhood, amidst a variety of child sized furniture and toys. But this one stands out – not for what it is, but for what it is not. A baby sized bed should hold a baby, a miracle, the start of a life, a celebration of family and … Continue reading

Child Prodigies

Child Prodigies

James Ferguson grew up in rural Scotland in the early 18th century. Like most families, the Fergusons could not support their children so sent them to work at an early age. James became a shepherd but spent his days making models of mills, spinning wheels and any other mechanisms he saw. At night he lay … Continue reading

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

This is a wonderful, haunting but small museum, a place that should make you fall down and give thanks to whoever you believe in that modern medicine exists. It’s in the attic to provide maximum light for operations. Everything is so small, especially the operating table which I doubt would be long enough for me. … Continue reading

Medieaval Selfie Stick?

Here’s a very strangely modern image It’s part of a medieval manuscript: At first I thought it was a joke, but it is in the museum of anthropology in Cambridge, a display on children in history, so look closer: The boys are playing on hobby horses, so playing at jousting, with their poles. What seems … Continue reading

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

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

Social Mobility by English Rock Stars

The music business has long been seen as a means for poor people to make a living, but in the late 1960s/early 70s there were some truly stellar rises by the few fortunate enough to become famous.  The following snippets come from Dominic Sandbrook’s book The Great British Dream Factory: Bill Wyman had grown up in … Continue reading

A Strolling Woman Thief

This is from the Newcastle Chronicle, august 1766. I thought children were taken to the fields during harvest, but maybe it was a long walk for them. Hard to imagine this woman could not be found: On Wednesday afternoon, whilst Mr Francis Holmer, farmer, at the Nag’s Head, near Plausworth, in the road from Durham … Continue reading

A Child Drowned in Norfolk, 1772

This comes from the diary of William Youell of Great Yarmouth, a document in the Norwich Record Office: 9 June The poor girl Quinton taken up this day, her tongue was rolled in her mouth swelled as big as any fish and her Eyes started out of her head, that a great many people believe … Continue reading