Filed under disasters

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

Punishment for Milan’s Plague

This is a miscellaneous tract from the university of Chicago, and a fascinating one on many levels The great plague of Milan in 1630 was alleged to have been set in motion by the actions of a Milanese barber and the Commissioner of Public Health. The two were executed. The officials of Milan then erected … Continue reading

Mao the Mass Murderer

Mao Tse Tung was once seen as the hero of the left in the West;  his Red Book was recently waved by an MP in Britain’s House of Commons.  But Chinese archives are now being opened, and Frank Dikoetter in the current History Today explains the great man now appears one of the great criminals. … Continue reading

The Kelpie of Slit Rig

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border Slit rig takes its rise on the Lindbergh Hill, on the northern side of the Liddesdale watershed, a hill of old the known resort of the Good People, whose piping and revels might often be heard by the solitary shepherd. The rivulet is said to well … Continue reading

Death at the Works

Lady Bell, in her book Life at the Works claimed there were few accidents at the blast furnaces of Middlesborough, which seems surprising when you look at how little the men ate, and they did constantly changing shifts. But she does record one incident, in which some men were loading the raw materials into the … Continue reading

Cromwell and the Scots

A while ago I read of a large number of skeletons found in Durham Castle. This is what has been discovered abut them, from last Thursday’s i newspaper: “They were defeated and humiliated by Oliver Cromwell, and now, after 400 years, the fate of the Scottish prisoners of war who were marched to England has … Continue reading

A Hurricane in Jamaica

This is from The Life of Silas Told, his first job on a sailing ship as cabin boy: “As we were riding at anchor in Kingston harbour, the capital of Jamaica, waiting for a freight to England, a very great noise was heard in the atmosphere, similar to that of splitting wood, and the elements … Continue reading

St Erasmus

Henry Walter was badly injured with abdominal wounds in a sea battle with Richard III. His wounds smelt so bad he was put in  boat by his mates, where HW was in immense pain, praying for help. Henry VI though not a saint, appeared, then St Erasmus who has been tortured by having his entrails … Continue reading

Talking Bells

France seems to have been the country for church bells – locals vied with each other for the best bells and ringers, but they featured in every parish of England that could afford them, and at important times, especially national celebrations, the noise in some towns must have been horrific, with some ringing all night plus … Continue reading

Witchcraft

We tend to think that witchcraft and persecution of people for it is as old as time, but it really only features in Europe in the early modern period, ie between the Reformation and the Enlightenment, a time when education and local government were at their lowest ebbs. Elsewhere in this blog there are a … Continue reading