United Kingdom

Margaret Nicholson: Her Attack on George III in 1786

In 1786, Margaret Nicholson assaulted King George III in a futile half-hearted attempt to kill him. She had been born in Stockton-on-Tees to a barber named George Nicholson in 1750, a year after Princesse de Lamballe was born. At the age of 12 Nicholson became a maid and then worked in various notable households that…

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Duke of Wellington Anecdotes: Stories From His Life

There are numerous Duke of Wellington anecdotes about the man named Arthur Wellesley who was born into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family on 1 May 1769. His parents were Garret Colley Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington and Anne Wesley, daughter of Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon, for whom the Duke was named. However, although it seems…

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Left-Handers of the 1700s and 1800s: The Famous and Infamous

There are many famous and infamous left-handers of the 1700s and 1800s. However, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries being left-handed was often viewed as a defect. For example, in The Maternal Physician published in 1818 by American Mary Palmer Tyler, a thirty-five-year-old matron who published one of the first childcare manuals, talked about the…

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Laudanum: An 18th and 19th Century Wonder Drug

Laudanum is a tincture of opium and was considered a wonder drug in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. Reddish-brown and extremely bitter, it contained almost all opium alkaloids, including morphine and codeine and was therefore used to treat many conditions. However, it was primarily used as a pain medication and cough suppressant.

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Draughts or Checkers in the 1700 and 1800s

Draughts or checkers was a strategy board game played for fun and for its relaxing benefits in the 1700 and 1800s. The game had been around for a long time and involved two players moving diagonally with their game pieces and capturing opponent pieces by jumping them. Because it was easy to learn and play,…

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Consuelo Vanderbilt: Marriage to the Duke of Marlborough

Consuelo Vanderbilt was a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family, a family of Dutch origin who gained prominence during the Gilded Age because of her great grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had great success with shipping and railroads and built an empire. Consuelo was named in honor of her godmother, Consuelo Yzanaga, a half Cuban,…

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Cholera Ship Virginia in 1866: Liverpool to New York

What became known as the cholera ship Virginia set sail from Liverpool on 4 April 1866. At the time there were no cases of cholera reported in Liverpool and none of the passengers – “630 Irish, 220 Germans, Dutch, Danes and Swedes, and 179 English and Scotch”[1] – came from any known districts suffering from…

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Andrew Ducrow: The Colossus of Equestrians

Andrew Ducrow was a British circus performer who because of his horsemanship was often called “The Colossus of Equestrians.” He had been trained by his father, Peter, an emigrant from Belgium, who had arrived in England in 1793 and was known for many years as the “Flemish Hercules.” Of him it was stated:

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The London Burkers: Body Snatchers of the 1830s

The London Burkers were a group of body snatchers or resurrection men who operated in London in the 1830s and came to prominence in 1831. They operated as a gang stealing and selling dead bodies to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, St. Thomas’ Hospital, and King’s College School of Anatomy in order to allow anatomists, surgeons, and…

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Ann Bingham: Eighteenth-Century American Socialite

Ann Bingham was born Ann Willing in Philadelphia on 1 August 1764. She was acclaimed for her stunning good looks and regularly touted as one of the most gorgeous women in America just like Juliette Récamier was touted as the most beautiful woman in France. Of Ann it was stated:

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