Tag Archives: social history

The piratical eyes of the magnetic healer

Leamington is a quiet little spa town in Warwickshire near Stratford upon Avon. In the late 1880s it is not difficult to envisage how very Jane Austen it still must have been, with its Pump Room and all, though visitor … Continue reading

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Lock Up Your Daughters

I’d like to introduce you to Thomas Napper and his nemesis, Ferdinand Philip Fischel Strousberg. Their story is at the creepier end of plots labelled ‘psychological drama,’ but it was real life and publicly played out in England during the … Continue reading

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Looking for a new hobby?

There’s a Brit named Tom Jackson who buys picture postcards — mostly from the sixties and seventies — from garage sales, thrift shops and car boot events. He then puts the picture postcards into the ether via Facebook with just … Continue reading

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Jemmy Wood the banker’s banker

He was not what you’d call a looker. In profile Jemmy Wood bore a passing resemblance to Mr Punch following a good lunch – but James Wood esq, ‘the eccentric banker, merchant and draper’ of the city of Gloucester, England … Continue reading

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“She rode to town on her own horse”

Just a further thought on the “scandalous practice of wife selling” from the previous story. This idea of an auction was not any brutalising suttee of a marriage where women were subjugated by gnarly unreconstructed men who had tired of the old … Continue reading

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The end of an un-civil partnership

A note of a dubious anniversary from Robert Chambers, writing in his 1869 Book of Days, though history is full of these quasi-divorces throughout the 19th century. Usually they were surprisingly amicable affairs based on village common sense when a marriage … Continue reading

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Your seed catalogue for 1797 has arrived

Fresh off the ship from England, five, yes count them, five, different varieties of asparagus seed and 23 different melon varieties. Things weren’t so bad in Philadelphia after the war as long as you could feast on 13 different kinds … Continue reading

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(I do not) Want Ad

You did not want to mess with this lady, Mrs Nancy Turtle. She surely believed in the power of advertising, though her forgiveable spluttering volcano of anger could have been phrased better, this stream of consciousness rant paints a perfect picture of her lantern-jawed, one-eyed philanderer excuse for a husband Continue reading

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Is there a rack where disused words are hung?

Is there a rack where disused words are hung like lost umbrellas, waiting for someone to claim and recycle them? Here’s a verb: to glimm. Sadly I am either much too young or much too old to ever utter it, … Continue reading

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Zebras in harness

This is the main attraction. This was the story that first stopped me in my tracks taken from that page of The Graphic published that August Saturday 119 years ago. I was distracted by so many other stories on that … Continue reading

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