The One Who Watched at Walcheren: A Civilian Observer During the Napoleonic Wars

Jacqueline Reiter

Today’s guest is Jacqueline Reiter. Jacqueline has a PhD in late 18th century political history from the University of Cambridge. A professional librarian, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children. Jacqueline also researches and writes about the life of John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham.

Here is her guest post for today related to Walcheren:

In the summer of 1809, the British government sent 40,000 men and over 600 ships on an amphibious mission to Holland. The expedition was tasked with capturing the island of Walcheren and the prosperous mercantile town of Vlissingen (Flushing), before going further down the Scheldt River to destroy the French fleet and defences at Antwerp. The “Grand Expedition”, as it was known, was a miserable failure. The venture set sail too late and progressed too slowly, allowing the French to rush reinforcements to the area; the military and naval commanders fell out spectacularly; and “Walcheren fever” – a combination of diseases, including malaria – placed more than a quarter of the army on the sick list. Continue reading

The Victorian Séance

The Victorian Séance

Linda Stratmann has long been fascinated by history and crime, and combines these in her writing, which includes thirteen non-fiction books of true crime and biography and two crime fiction series featuring Victorian lady sleuths. When researching for her series set in 1870s Brighton, Linda has had enormous fun reading about the subject of her guest blog, the Victorian séance. Linda lives in London and when she is not reading or writing, she can usually be found in the kitchen, as she loves cooking.

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Rescued by Wreckers: The Strange Tale of Attempted Mass Murder in the Bahamas in 1853

gill-hoffsWelcome today’s guest Gill Hoffs. She grew up in a fishing village on the Scottish coast and has always been fascinated by shipwrecks and the people involved. Her fascination has resulted in a number of books, and as she puts it, “As someone who gets terribly seasick (and now lives inland in Warrington, England) I can’t sail myself, so writing about maritime history is the next best thing.” With that in mind, here is her post: Continue reading

The Stranding of the Oroya, 1895

Hugh Lauder in 1896.
Hugh Lauder in 1896.

My guest today is Suzan Lauder. She has a passion for Regency history, but a chance purchase of a book that turned out to be written by her great-great-great-grandfather in 1896 inspired the following post.

“The traveller who makes up his mind to undertake a journey round the World may well be excused if, as the day and the hour approaches when he must start, he feels like he were on the eve of a great experience in life, an experience which may be associated with events important and far-reaching in their results.” These are the opening words of Notes of a Trip Round the World written by my great-great-great-grandfather Hugh Lauder of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1896. I’ll refer to him as Mr. Lauder, since the alternate is rather cumbersome! Continue reading

Childbirth and Forceps Delivery

Regina Jeffers
Regina Jeffers

Please welcome my guest Regina Jeffers. Regina, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Regina writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”

Today Regina has chosen to write on childbirth and forceps delivery in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Here is her post: Continue reading

Social Climbing Through Ladies’ Boarding Schools

Today my guest is Naomi Clifford. After a long career in magazine journalism in the UK, Naomi returned to her first love: history (which she studied at Bristol University in the 1970s). She is now happy to be a freelance writer based in London, which gives her the time and freedom to explore the delights of the British Newspaper Archive, the National Archive and the British Library, and to write non-fiction books about the Georgian era, the first of which, The Disappearance of Maria Glenn, has just been published. With that introduction, here is Naomi’s guest post. Continue reading

Grace Dalrymple Elliott and a Fateful Trip

Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Courtesy the Met Museum
Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Courtesy the Met Museum

To mark the publication of An Infamous Mistress: The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott in the USA, we are delighted to have been invited back by the wonderful Geri Walton for another guest blog on her fascinating website.

Grace is remembered to history chiefly for two things: as an infamous courtesan who counted earls, dukes and princes amongst her lovers, and for her experiences in France during the revolutionary years (she left behind her a journal detailing her adventures which was published posthumously). But there was much more to her than that and we hope our biography of Grace and her family, the most detailed to date, will give a true picture of the spirited woman she was.

However, today we are going to look at the event which set her on the path to becoming that ’infamous courtesan’ which happened 242 years ago.

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Constance Louisa Bouchier Smith and the Grandson of the Young Pretender

Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Courtesy the Met Museum
Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Courtesy the Met Museum

We are delighted to be asked to pay a return visit to Geri’s blog. For those who have not met us before we are Sarah and Jo and we host the blog ‘All Things Georgian’. We are also joint authors of An Infamous Mistress: The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott, the definitive biography of the eighteenth-century courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott.

Grace, young, tall and beautiful, made a ‘marriage-a-la-mode’ to a successful doctor in 1771, with disastrous consequences. Her husband, Dr John Eliot, was much older (and reputedly much shorter too), than his new wife and when Grace was discovered at a bagnio with the much younger and handsome Viscount Valentia a divorce swiftly followed, leaving Grace, still not legally an adult, to survive on her looks and her wits. Continue reading

Jane Austen and the Brothers Wellesley

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My guest today is Stephanie Barron. Stephanie was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls (opposite of me as I’m the oldest of six girls). She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written fifteen books, including her latest Austen mystery, Jane and the Waterloo Map. Without further delay here is her post on her whirlwind blog tour.

Those of us who shamelessly read other people’s letters know from invading a few of Jane Austen’s that she visited the Prince Regent’s London home, Carlton House, in November 1815. I walk right into this royal residence at Jane’s side in my latest Austen mystery, JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP. When Miss Austen stumbles over a dying soldier in the Regent’s library, she is off and running on her latest detective adventure. Continue reading

Chasing Monsters: The First Official Detectives

H Division Whitechapel Detectives
H Division Whitechapel Detectives

Please welcome my guest Angela Buckley. Her fascination with Victorian crime began with her own family – while researching her family tree, she came across thieves, poachers, brawlers and even a brothel-keeper. Angela enjoys writing about the Victorian underworld and in this post, is on the right side of the law for a change.

On 6 April 1842 PC William Gardiner of the Metropolitan Police (Wandsworth Division) was following a routine inquiry about a robbery when he came across a gruesome scene, which would not only shock the nation but also lead to a fundamental change in British policing.

The constable had been walking his regular beat when he was called into a pawnbroker’s shop on Wandsworth High Street to investigate a theft – coachman Daniel Good had stolen a pair of black trousers. PC Gardiner went to the estate where Good was employed straightaway, arriving around 9.30 pm. The estate buildings were closed for the night, but after making inquiries at the main house, he entered the stable, where he found Good. The meticulous police officer decided to search the premises for further evidence of the robbery and, when he pulled back some hay, he discovered the dismembered body of a woman – Daniel Good had murdered his estranged common-law wife, Jane Jones. Continue reading