Filed under London history

Justifying Georgian Luxury

In 1772 jeweller James Cox opened a Museum in London’s Spring Gardens which became the most popular show in the capital to the extent it became known as ‘The Museum’. It displayed ornate  jewelled automata in an opulent setting and charged a massive half a guinea (10/6d) entry. Fanny Burney mentioned it in her novel … Continue reading

A Chinese Artist at the Royal Academy, 1771

Once in a while I find mentions of exotic visitors to Britain who were honoured. I have no idea what this Mr … did, but he seems to have impressed the RA. This is from March 1771, The Leeds Intelligencer Yesterday Mr Chitqua, the celebrated Chinese Artist, embarked at Gravesend, on board the Grenvile East Indiaman, … Continue reading

Messing with Hogarth

The Royal Society for Public Health has commissioned an update of Hogarth’s famous cartoon ‘Gin Lane’ to publicise the problems of public health. This is from the I paper: Hogarth’s satirical cartoon, published in 1751, blamed excessive consumption of gin for child neglect, disease, prostitution and debauchery. Thomas Moore’s Gin Lane 2016, commissioned by the … Continue reading

Women of Elizabeth’s England

This is some more from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. He mentions several times of how much freedom women had, perhaps reflecting the fact that a woman was on the throne, but I suspect also there were more of them than men, so strength in numbers. There are times, however, when I wonder if … Continue reading

A Most Infamous Seducer of Women

The following seems to turn national stereotypes on their heads, with an Englishman dying in France after an incredible life of ruining the lives of thousands of young women. This was reported in Dublin’s Saunders’s Newsletter in 1781.: An account of John Phillipson, Esq; who lately died in the Bastille. [Taken from Adams’s Weekly Courant, printed … 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

Crosses and Public Spaces

Crosses and Public Spaces

I am fascinated by the creation, marking and use of public space. The centre of many towns and cities had Market or High Crosses which were the focus for communities. This is from Francis Watkins and the Dollond Telescope Patent Controversy describes the region near Charring Cross/Trafalgar Square in central London. The latter continues to be the … Continue reading

Public Dissections

Modern medicine tends to be divided between doctors in general practice, and those in hospitals who specialise in various fields. But for centuries there were two groups: Physicians who were educated, elite and well educated, and barber-surgeons who were mere tradesmen and often treated people by bleeding them. Apparently this in turn dates to when … Continue reading

Popes and Ventriloquy

I love reading about early theatre performances. In the early 18th century the first Prime Minister Robert Walpole was annoyed at the many scurrilous plays and comedies insulting him and his ministry so he passed the Licensing act of 1737 which censored public performances and continued into the 20th century. This led to shows advertising … Continue reading

Anne Seymour  Damer

Anne Seymour  Damer

Anne Seymour Conway was born in 1748 to a respected Whig family; her father was nephew to Robert Walpole. She married young, to the future Earl of Dorchester, but they were il matched: she was sociable and loved society, while her husband was grave, but loved spending money whilst disastrously managing it. After 7 years … Continue reading