Tag Archives: historicalmiscellany

Historical Miscellany #22 – Dream analysis [1909]

Dreams have long been pondered over. Here is a little analysis from the Wordsworth Book of Dreams, 1909. (Extract) Cocktail: To drink a cocktail while dreaming denotes that you will deceive your friends as to your inclinations and enjoy the companionship of fast men and women while posing as a serious student and a staid […]

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Historical Miscellany #21 – Photographic problems on Whitby Pier [1902]

A lively anecdote from the noted Whitby photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, published in Amateur Photographer on March 6th, 1902. “There are two piers at Whitby, which, though starting from points widely apart, almost touch each other where they end. The one pier is given up to fashion and frivolity, the other is deserted, except by fishermen […]

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Historical Miscellany #20 – Escape from Edgeworthstown [1798]

Maria Edgeworth was a leading literary voice in Ireland at the turn of the nineteenth century and an acknowledged influence for Jane Austen. Maria was the daughter of the philosopher and polymath Richard Lovell Edgeworth. She wrote this letter during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, telling of a dramatic escape from their Edgeworthstown home. Maria […]

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Historical Miscellany #19 – A Most Barbarous and Inhumane Murder

For this week’s historical miscellany I’ve picked a newspaper extract from my own book, which has just come out in paperback. It’s the anniversary of George Parker’s murder  on Monday and I thought that this colourful journalistic account of his death was a way of marking the passing of another Midsummer Day. This also gives […]

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Historical Miscellany #18 – Curious Statistical Accounts [1814]

The following is taken from the sprightly christened Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, although the statistics most likely surfaced elsewhere as there was a great deal of syndication in British newspapers in the early the nineteenth century. Those of you with keen eyes will notice how the piece begins with weighty matters and then settles on […]

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Historical Miscellany #17 – Johnson and Boswell sail to Rasaay (1773)

I visited the west coast of Scotland this week for the first time. And on Sunday morning with the sun cracking through the clouds I made the trip from Mallaig to the beautiful island of Skye. More than two centuries before Dr Johnson and James Boswell made a similar tour. Here’s Boswell’s account of a […]

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Historical Miscellany #16 – A nasty case of the Hydrophobia (1794)

Taken from Lloyds Evening Post, 17 December 1794, issue 5821 — A most melancholy instance of that dreadful malady the Hydrophobia has recently occurred, the particulars are as follows: Mr Henry Waylin, apothecary of North Audley Street, so long ago as June last, was bit in the hand by a small dog that he attempted […]

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Historical Miscellany #15 – Catherine of Aragon’s last letter to Henry VIII (1535)

It’s December 1535. Henry VIII’s first wife lies abandoned and ailing at the medieval Kimbolton Castle in Cambridgeshire. Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, has a month to live and she masters strength to write Henry a final letter. My most dear Lord, King and husband, The hour of my death now drawing […]

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Historical Miscellany #14 – A short piece on the swallow

I quoted from this article in one of my last Orwell’s England write ups, but I enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d write it up here in full. It’s a lively piece with a few excellent anecdotes. — Recreative Natural History, the swallow In our present paper on the swallow we must limit […]

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Historical Miscellany #13 – Parson Woodforde goes fishing (1781)

Reverend James Woodforde, or Parson Woodforde, is one of Britain’s great diarists. Not remarkably clever, well-connected, politically aware or emotionally sensitive, his diary is simply extraordinary for its ordinariness – for his ability to capture the unvarnished rhythms of daily life. He kept a daily journal for more than four decades, until his death on […]

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