William Marsden Lived Here

A blue plaque commemorating the founder of the Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals adorns a townhouse in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Marsden was born in Yorkshire in 1796 and after his apprenticeship to an apothecary moved to London. He studied surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and qualified as a surgeon in 1827. He opened what became known as the Royal Free Hospital as sick people … Continue reading William Marsden Lived Here

Oscar Wilde at the Old Bailey

25 March 1895 Oscar Wilde was largely the architect of his own downfall. He was jailed on 25 May 1895 after an investigation into his private life. Reacting to what amounted to being ‘outed’, Wilde brought a public prosecution against the Marquess of Queensbury. It was this court case that brought his lifestyle under criminal and public scrutiny. John Sholto Douglas, the Marquess of Queensberry, was … Continue reading Oscar Wilde at the Old Bailey

Jack the Ripper: the Whitechapel Murderer

In the early hours of 31 August 1888, a killer came out of the shadows in the narrow streets of Whitechapel, London, and claimed the first of his five victims. On the 9 November 1888, after slaughtering his final victim he evaporated seemingly into thin air. Who was the notorious Jack the Ripper? With a list of suspects that seems to grow at least one … Continue reading Jack the Ripper: the Whitechapel Murderer

24 May 1819: the Birth of Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria, born Alexandrina Victoria, was born 199 years ago today. She was the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent and Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Edward was the fourth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. She became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. On 1 May 1876, Queen … Continue reading 24 May 1819: the Birth of Queen Victoria

The Fashion Museum, Bath: Royal Women

A few days ago I visited the Fashion Museum, Bath. They are currently running an exhibition of royal women’s fashion, including the wedding dress of Edward VII’s Queen Consort, Alexandra. It opened at the beginning of February and will remain on display until 28 April 2019. It was a must-see event for me and if you’ve previously read my post on the exhibition at Kensington … Continue reading The Fashion Museum, Bath: Royal Women

1881: When the River Mersey Froze

Britain shivers and many people who have it much tougher over the winter months mock our unpreparedness and histrionics regarding late winter – and very early spring – snowfall. However, we’ve just had our coldest March day on record. It’s an unusual start to spring with the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma affecting our weather for several days. It might be an unusual … Continue reading 1881: When the River Mersey Froze

The Memoirs of Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville

During my recent research on George IV, I stumbled across an internet site that offers primary perspectives on the reigns of George IV and William IV from a contemporary who kept a journal – ever fashionable in the nineteenth century. The Greville Memoirs, first published in 1874, are journals that cover the reigns of the monarchs at the end of the Georgian period, and those … Continue reading The Memoirs of Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville

British Home Children

For over a hundred years, starting in 1869 until the 1970s, Britain sent children abroad; to Canada prior to the Second World War and later to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia. Over 100,000 children were sent to Canada alone. The children ranged in age from four to fifteen and would be sent from seemingly well-meaning philanthropic or religious organisations, such as Dr Barnardo’s, … Continue reading British Home Children

The Sale of Arsenic Regulation Act 1851

The 1851 Act regulated the sale of arsenic by imposing a series of measures aimed to ultimately control the arsenic panic that gripped the country. The six parts to the Act covered: On every Sale of Arsenic, Particulars of Sale to be entered in a Book by the Seller in Form set forth in Schedule to this Act. Restrictions as to Sale of Arsenic Provision for … Continue reading The Sale of Arsenic Regulation Act 1851

25 December 1840, The London Evening Standard: A Report

Regular readers of my blog know that I often draw inspiration from the British Newspaper Archives. This does involve a small subscription, however, you can search and view a permitted three articles for free here. As it is the season of goodwill, I decided to share with you part of a report published on Christmas Day 1840 showing the festive food the poor of London were … Continue reading 25 December 1840, The London Evening Standard: A Report

The Victorian Christmas

Christmas was barely celebrated in the early part of the nineteenth century. It was not considered a public holiday and traditionally the giving of gifts was practised at New Year. However, come the end of the century, it was the biggest annual celebration in the British calendar. Workers had gained a two-day break (including the 26 December, Boxing Day) and the advent of the railways … Continue reading The Victorian Christmas

The Replacement Kings

Kings Henry VIII, Charles I and George V ruled over England and Wales, and later Scotland and Ireland, during times of momentous change for the country. But they were all second sons and not trained for kingship from birth. Their elder brothers had predeceased their fathers, Kings Henry VII, James I and VI and Edward VII, meaning they replaced their brothers in the royal line … Continue reading The Replacement Kings

The Victorian Fluted Pillar Box in England

On a day out in Windsor, accompanied by my husband, we came across a Doric fluted Victorian pillar box, situated just over the river Thames at Eton. I stopped to take the obligatory photograph. I was taken with its elegance, which was enhanced by gilding around the cap which highlighted the words ‘Post Office’, the crown and the royal VR (Victoria Regina) cipher. I shared … Continue reading The Victorian Fluted Pillar Box in England

The Royal Double Wedding

Almost 200 years ago there was a very different royal wedding. It was not held in the grand and historically significant Westminster Abbey, like the 2011 marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, but in the relatively small summer palace in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Kew Palace, originally ‘the White House’, was the home of Frederick, the Prince of Wales and his wife … Continue reading The Royal Double Wedding