4 June 1738: the Birth of George III

A fellow blogger kindly reminded me that George III’s birthday fell on 4 June. He was born in 1738 at Norfolk House, 31 St James’ Square, Westminster, London, which was built in 1722 for the 8th Duke of Norfolk. You can read my earlier post Thoughts on George III, here. It’s a brief overview of all things George III. It was the first post in … Continue reading 4 June 1738: the Birth of George III

More from the Philanthropic Society

In my recent post the Philanthropic Society I introduced you to ten-year-old George Lefoy the first ‘subject’, as the children of the Philanthropic Society were called. In this article I give you Thomas Mitchell and Nicholas Sweetman, subjects number two and three. Children admitted into the Society’s Reform were the offspring of the criminal classes or those destitute and in need of rescuing from penury … Continue reading More from the Philanthropic Society

The Philanthropic Society

My Master’s dissertation was a study of the Philanthropic Society founded in the late eighteenth century. Having changed computers since my original research, with the majority of it lost, I was thrilled to come across this photograph in my ‘old’ emails. The Philanthropic Society was founded in London in 1788 and its mission was to resolve the problem of homeless and criminal children.  It was … Continue reading The Philanthropic Society

History of Early Actresses

Professional theatre had to be recreated after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, for during the Interregnum period most forms of theatre had ceased, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan government had closed theatres in 1642. The first actress appeared on the London stage in 1660.  Subsequently, Charles II issued a royal warrant in 1662 stating that henceforth ‘women rather than boy actors were to play … Continue reading History of Early Actresses

Why was the Perception of the Actress and the Prostitute Interchangeable in the Eighteenth Century? 

Introduction During the eighteenth century, the social standing of the actress and the prostitute was targeted by moral reformers and satirical authors.  The moral reformer targeted actresses for criticism ‘as their actions and speech on stage were considered immodest.’  The satirical author was interested in publishing any related scandal that surrounded the actress.  Historians have argued that ‘either sort of author could criticise an actress … Continue reading Why was the Perception of the Actress and the Prostitute Interchangeable in the Eighteenth Century? 

Hampton Court Palace: The Chocolate Kitchen

During my recent visit to Hampton Court Palace I paid a quick visit to their Chocolate Kitchens. They were originally built for William III and Mary II towards the end of the seventeenth century when the Palace was re-designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the Baroque style. However, they were not in full use until the Georgian era. Thomas Tosier was the chocolate chef for … Continue reading Hampton Court Palace: The Chocolate Kitchen

Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Dora Jordan was one of the most celebrated actresses of the late eighteenth century. She delighted theatre goers with her repertoire of comedic performances, was a spellbinding tragedian and was renowned for her classic Shakespearean drama, with roles such as Rosalind in As You Like It and Viola in Twelfth Night. She was also one of the women who pushed eighteenth century boundaries for daring … Continue reading Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Witchcraft, Petty Treason and Poisoner? Women on Trial at the Old Bailey, London

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online is a fantastic resource for historians and it is one I return to time and again. I’ve used it as a basis for the study of poisoning crimes in nineteenth-century London and for various assignments that needed the bolstering of a primary source or two. It’s a fascinating insight into centuries of crime in London; the crimes that … Continue reading Witchcraft, Petty Treason and Poisoner? Women on Trial at the Old Bailey, London

Infanticide in the Early Modern Period: Account for the Relatively Low Conviction Rate in Cases of New-born Child Murder in England

In the early modern period, there was a huge stigma attached to having a child born outside of marriage. The distress and shame of the unmarried mothers-to-be would sometimes manifest itself in a mania, which led the new mother to murder her baby during birth. Not all women showed signs of mental illness; some babies were murdered with deliberate violence. However, not all women were … Continue reading Infanticide in the Early Modern Period: Account for the Relatively Low Conviction Rate in Cases of New-born Child Murder in England

The ‘Black Boy’of the Philanthropic Society

This article was first published on history@kingston, February 2015 So much of London’s fascinating black history is hidden from the historical record, so when I noticed the phrase ‘Black Boy’ written in the minutes of the Philanthropic Society during research for my recent MA dissertation on juvenile delinquency and philanthropy in the late eighteenth century, I was intrigued.  It was the first time that I … Continue reading The ‘Black Boy’of the Philanthropic Society

The Man-Midwife in the 18th Century

Midwifery in the eighteenth-century was transformed from a female-centric activity, with cultural and ritualistic practices, to an environment which saw the customary hegemonic female midwife relinquish her control of the lying-in chamber to the man-midwife.  With the exception of dire emergencies, childbirth before the eighteenth century traditionally precluded men during the processes of labour, delivery and lying-in. Lying-in lasted a month post-childbirth and was devoted … Continue reading The Man-Midwife in the 18th Century