Filed under French history

MR BRIDGES’ ENLIGHTENMENT MACHINE: Forty Years on Tour in Georgian Britain

MR BRIDGES’ ENLIGHTENMENT MACHINE: Forty Years on Tour in Georgian Britain

This is a book which began from my research into the rebuilding of Bristol Bridge. Not the famous one built by I K Brunel, but the city’s namesake in the centre of the city which is so busy with traffic that many people don’t even notice it. It was rebuilt against much local apathy and … Continue reading


Standing Up For Change in Paris

Here’s an article in the i by John Lichfield on a new movement in Paris. The world started anew last Thursday week, on the evening of 31 March 2016. On that night, a few hundred young people, and some not so young, came together on the Place de la Republique in Paris. They are still … Continue reading

Farewell to the French

This is again from Highways & Byways on the Border: In connection with the time when Peace was proclaimed and the prisoners were sent back to France, it is pleasant to have to record an incident greatly to the credit of Selkirk. The pockets of the Frenchmen were naturally, in their situation, not very well … Continue reading

French PoWs in to Selkirk

This is some more from Highways & Byways on the Border. On a certain occasion they heard of of a great French success in Russia. Two prisoners concealed themselves and were locked up in the church one Sunday after evening service; about midnight these men admitted their comrades and together the roused sleeping Selkirk by … Continue reading

Selkirk’s French PoWs

This is some more from Highways & Byways on the border. I knew some Pows were kept in prisons, such as on Dartmoor, but officers were often let out on parole and some made lasting friendships with fellow educated folk in these islands, as they often came from good families. In their dealings with the … Continue reading

French Satanism

Here’s an article from JStor on a surprisingly recent outbreak of superstitious belief and accusations in fin de siecle France. It’s interesting on several levels, because it involves men rather than women, because duelling is involved, which had died out almost 2 centuries before in Britain. It sort of links in with mesmerism, with telegraphy, … Continue reading

The Importance of Alcohol

This is the introduction from the special edition of Scientific American on Alcohol, which serves so many purposes. In addition to those below, alcohol has been used as a preservative, an antiseptic, and in extreme amounts, some spectacular and tragic deaths. Alcohol has long perplexed our species. Wherever we look in the ancient or modern … Continue reading

Slaves in Marseilles

This is another snippet from Thomas Platter’s Travels of 599. Before this young physician reached England he trained at several places in France and his home of Switzerland. He was fascinated by the slaves in Marseilles: “They were fed on biscuit, a sort of hard thin bread of dirty corn, that had to be dipped … Continue reading

The Young need their Butterflies

It is often hard to make sense of how children fitted into society inthe past – we are told that teenagers were invented in the late 1950s, we are told that children were not valued or loved because they often died young, they are often depicted as little adults. But this story shows something else: … Continue reading

The Duchess and her Cook

Throughout history, women tend to get a pretty bad treatment, but they are not always passive victims. The Medici family, once fabulously rich and successful, actually died out in the mid 18th century, with a surprising number of them living short lives, or, in several cases, just not interested in women, which can be a … Continue reading