Filed under womens issues

Female Criminals

Women form a small component of today’s criminals, and their crimes are often linked to poverty. It seems things don’ change.The world was still small, and it seems that once you fell on hard times it was difficult – or impossible – to recover. This is from the Caledonian Mercury of December 1774: Anne Mackenzie … Continue reading


Lessons from History – Transatlantic Problems

The problems of Brexit and the impending US Presidential elections seem to be tearing the UK and USA apart. As is so often the case, these problems are nothing new – England suffered 2 centuries of discord following the Reformation, when church power collapsed, plunging the country into a time of ignorance, mismanagement and the … Continue reading

Death By Witchcraft or Rabies?

This comes from John Latimer’s Annals of Bristol of 1743, citing the Gloucester Journal. It is interesting it seems not to have been reported locally – many such incidents were not reported to prevent copy catting or local disturbances, while rival towns often reported them to show such matters were not happening on their watches.  … Continue reading

A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

This is a book that sounded intriguing – the tagline was ‘148 Diaries Found in a Skip’. Literary giant Margaret Drabble and historian Kate Sumerscale provided high praise, but I struggled to finish it. Masters discovered the mouldy and tattered diaries in 2001, full of dense handwriting and occasional drawings which began in 1952 and … 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

Romantic Songs that Aged Badly

There’s been a lot of scandals in the past few years involving celebrities misbehaving with young people, which makes some commentators ask if anyone was not doing bad things back then, but without condoning any of this, things were different. IN Antonioni’s popular film ‘Blow Up’, the photographer David Hemmings is practically stalked by a … Continue reading

A Mother and a Thief

Another notice from the Staffordshire Advertiser of March 1853: SARAH BROWN, 30, indicted for stealing one hen fowl, the property of William Durbin at Westbromwich, on the 25th February, was found guilty, and sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment, with hard labour. The prisoner whose husband was transported 4 years ago, had an infant in her … Continue reading

Law of Coverture

This law existed in in England and North America for centuries, under which women became legally invisible when they married. Men claimed it was to ensure marital harmony, but as women became more independent, acquired skills and entered the work place, a law that gave all her money and property to her husband became increasingly … Continue reading

Gender and Theatre

Here’s a short discussion on women and theatre, using Eddie Redmayne’s role in ‘The Danish Girl’ as a starting point. It’s all very interesting, but we can never be sure why people cross dressed in the past. A woman dressed as a man may have been simply to avoid being assaulted, or for trying to … Continue reading

Railway Navvies’ Women

This is again from the fine book Railway Navvies by Peter Coleman:     It is surprising that, amidst this squalour, and against all odds, there were respectable women, if unconventional in their habits: “kind neighbours, good nurses, who cooked well and sent well-ordered children off to the mission schools, where there were any, women … Continue reading