Author Archives: ActonBooks

Climate change by any other name

Global warming started early — 1869 in fact — but our foolhardy ancestors denied the obvious signs of climate change…  Advertisements

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Feelin’ alright? Not Feelin’ too Good Myself

Ailments can so easily be politicised. Where there is any kind of pain or suffering, weasel politicians smelling blood gravitate to the scene like the hyenas you always knew they were. It was so back in history when the British … Continue reading

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This time it’s the gabby cabby

By coincidence another cab-related case from 1862 that I just had to share. This time it seems as if the boot is on the other foot. There is more than a hint of irony that after driving like a crazy … Continue reading

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It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure

And the poor knew their place. This is the story from the Bow St Magistrate’s Court in 1862. It’s the tale of a cheapo toff who was embarrassed when a short-changed cabby chased him and shouted at him in the … Continue reading

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Let them eat paint!

Around the end of the Napoleonic War, there was a rich gentleman on business in the West Country. As he was rich, he stayed in a nice hotel.  He liked a snack for his supper if he arrived back from … Continue reading

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“Man of God, there is death in the pot!”

Ever wondered how an old timey cup of coffee tasted? What was it really like to take that first sip, on a day some hundreds of years before intensive farming methods, fancy new coffee plant varieties, modern methods of drying, … Continue reading

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“Died from excessive tobacco smoking”

  Nearly 100 years before Sir Richard Doll’s proof that smoking and cancer were linked and way before the tobacco lobby cranked up its PR campaigns, a scientist in 1855 studying the adulterants and poisons that went into commonplace foods … Continue reading

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Brits have always hit the Yuletide bottle

The British malaise, getting publicly legless over the holidays, seemed like a recent phenomenon until I saw this from the New Year, 1865…

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Those weren’t the days my friend

For the last act in an operatic tragedy that was real life in the 19th century read this story from March 1888 of a husband, a wife and a business failure. The welfare state was brought into being by stories … Continue reading

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Those were the days, my friend

Reviewing a bankruptcy of a Birmingham umbrella manufacturer in 1862 (as you do), I came across this eye-watering indicator of the relative economic strengths of John Bull and Uncle Sam back then . Hand over $17,300 and they gave you £1,862. … Continue reading

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