In the News: Jane Austen Letter to go on Sale

On 16 September 1813, novelist Jane Austen wrote a letter to her sister Cassandra – 216 years later it is to be sold at auction! A surviving Jane Austen letter is a rare object, many letters were destroyed by her family after her death. She is believed to have written approximately 3,000 letters in her lifetime, of which, only around 160 survive and 95 of … Continue reading In the News: Jane Austen Letter to go on Sale

Emma Clarke, Born 1875: Britain’s First Black Female Footballer

As I noted in The ‘Black Boy’ of the Philanthropic Society, much of Britain’s black history is hidden from the historical record, not least because histories were generally recorded of rich, white men;  women and minorities are hard to locate unless they married into the aristocracy, did something extraordinary or found themselves in trouble with the law. It also relies on the person recording any … Continue reading Emma Clarke, Born 1875: Britain’s First Black Female Footballer

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: the Tiaras of a Duchess and Queen

Hours after posting Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Consort of George VI, unable to let go (sadly quite normal for me), I was still flicking through the pictures I’d saved of her prior to becoming Queen when I noticed I’d missed a pretty special picture out of my post. And there you have my gratuitous reason to share more pictures of Queen Elizabeth, the queen … Continue reading Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: the Tiaras of a Duchess and Queen

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Consort of King George VI

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born 4 August 1900, the ninth child of  Claude George Bowes-Lyon and Nina Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Lord and Lady Glamis. The family divided its time between Glamis Castle in Scotland and homes in Hertfordshire and St James’s Square, London. When war broke out in 1914, Glamis Castle was used as a reception centre and hospital for the wounded and young Elizabeth … Continue reading Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Consort of King George VI

1 July 1961: the Birth of Diana, Princess of Wales

The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, the youngest daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp – later Earl Spencer, and Frances Roche. She was born at Park House, near Sandringham, Norfolk and was styled Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the Spencer Earldom in 1975. It is well documented that she came from a broken home. Her parents divorced, and … Continue reading 1 July 1961: the Birth of Diana, Princess of Wales

Millicent Garrett Fawcett Lived Here

Yesterday on the top deck of a London bus my husband and I passed some time spotting blue plaques! If you are not familiar with them they are plaques that are placed on historic buildings usually indicating that a person of note lived or worked there. The blue plaque project is now run by English Heritage. It was started in 1866 and is thought to … Continue reading Millicent Garrett Fawcett Lived Here

London’s Millicent Fawcett Statue: the First Female Representation in Parliament Square

One hundred years ago Britain passed the Representation of the People Act which gave certain women over the age of thirty the right to vote. Women, and some men, had fought for years for suffrage equality but it took until towards the end of World War One before this was achieved. This week a statue was unveiled of the suffragist campaigner Millicent Garrett Fawcett in Parliament … Continue reading London’s Millicent Fawcett Statue: the First Female Representation in Parliament Square

Hampton Court Palace: Vote 100 – The Palace Under Attack

Hampton Court Palace: Celebrating 100 years since women won partial suffrage in Britain 6 February 2018 marked 100 years since the Representation of the People Act. This afforded nearly all men, and women over thirty who met property requirements, the right to vote in Britain. The Act was a huge paradigm shift for British democracy and can be seen as a victory for both the … Continue reading Hampton Court Palace: Vote 100 – The Palace Under Attack

Suffragettes – Pictures Say a Thousand Words

One hundred years after the Representation of the People Act, which gave some qualifying females the right to vote in the UK, the exploits of the women at the vanguard of the suffrage movement still capture the the country’s imagination. Thankfully, we have a robust photographic and news archive that can take us back to pre First World War Britain when the uprising of militant … Continue reading Suffragettes – Pictures Say a Thousand Words

Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition

  Today I write this from Kensington Palace. It sounds grander than it actually is; I’m in the bustling cafe and trying to ignore the general cacophony of families and friends enjoying a day out. I am hugely excited to be using this space to share my enjoyment of the historic surroundings and an exhibition showcasing one of the palace’s erstwhile residents. I specifically visited … Continue reading Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition

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 theatregoers 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 to … Continue reading Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November: Commemorating Princess Charlotte 200 Years After her Death

‘Alas, that England’s hope – her greatest pride, Should thou in youthful loveliness have died!’ The Morning Post, 7 November 1817 Monday 6 November 2017 is the 200th anniversary of the death of Princess Charlotte, the granddaughter of King George III. She died at Claremont in Surrey after a protracted fifty-hour labour during which she delivered a stillborn son. Charlotte Augusta of Wales was born … Continue reading Remember, Remember the Sixth of November: Commemorating Princess Charlotte 200 Years After her Death

Typhoid Mary: the Tragedy of Mary Mallon

On 11 November 1938, a 69 year old Irishwoman died on North Brother Island, New York. She had been held in isolation for 23 years, yet she had not been charged or convicted with any criminal offence. Mary Mallon was born in Cookstown, Ireland in 1869. She immigrated to America when she was a teenager and found employment in domestic service. She developed an aptitude … Continue reading Typhoid Mary: the Tragedy of Mary Mallon

A Suffragette, Hate Mail and a Grave

Last week I visited the grave of militant suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. I’ve wanted to visit it for a while and had driven close to it once or twice, but I didn’t want to inconvenience my fellow traveller with a diversion that amounted to a two-hour addition to our already considerable driving time from Surrey, England, to Scotland. Having found myself with a spare morning … Continue reading A Suffragette, Hate Mail and a Grave

Walton Prison’s First Execution: Elizabeth Berry, Serial Poisoner?

Thirty-two years after being built, Walton Prison in Liverpool witnessed its first execution. On 14 March 1887, Elizabeth Berry suffered the ignominy of being the first prisoner and one of only two women to be executed there. The execution chamber was hastily built. It appears that a reprieve for the prisoner was expected and when this was not granted, the Coach House, an outbuilding where … Continue reading Walton Prison’s First Execution: Elizabeth Berry, Serial Poisoner?