United Kingdom

Eye Miniatures: For Lovers of the 18th and 19th centuries

Eye miniatures became a popular item to exchange among lovers and although the fashion began in the late 1700s it reached its zenith around 1803 or 1804. Among some of the earliest pieces produced was one given by the Prince Regent (the future George IV) to his lover and mistress Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert. The gift…

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Maria Mitchell: First Woman Astronomer in America

The first woman astronomer in America was Maria Mitchell. She was born on 1 August 1818 at No. 1 Vestal Street in Nantucket, Massachusetts, a year or so after Jane Austen died in Winchester, England. Maria’s father was William Mitchell, a cooper who then became a schoolteacher and her mother, Lydia Coleman, a library worker.…

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Bonesetters: Joint Manipulators and Musculoskeletal Fixers

Bonesetters of the 1700s and 1800s were like today’s chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists rolled into one. They practiced joint manipulation and fixed musculoskeletal injuries using manual force. Traditionally, these practitioners did not have formal medical training but rather learned their skills on their own or from their family with bone-setting knowledge being passed down…

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Jane Cakebread: The Drunkest Woman in the World

Jane Cakebread, or “Miss Cakebread” as she liked to call herself, was a homeless and destitute woman considered the drunkest woman in the world in the 1800s. That was because she broke all records being arrested hundreds of times and convicted an amazing 281 times for drunkenness. Her constant drunkenness also meant that she constantly…

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Female Prisoners at Newgate and Elizabeth Fry

There were many female prisoners at Newgate during the 1700 and 1800s. Part of the reason why is that the living standards for rural women in England and Wales appears to have worsened as the Industrial Revolution progressed. This may have been one reason why one study provided by Stephen Nicholas and Deborah Oxley titled…

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Typhus in the Day of Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Typhus is an infectious disease caused by rickettsiae that can be transmitted by lice, ticks, mites, or rat fleas and is caused by certain types of bacterial infection. It usually causes flu-like symptoms that result in headache and fever, sometimes accompanied by delirium. The characteristics of the disease were further explained in a health column…

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Masks in the 1800s for Safety and Health

Just like we are wearing masks today to prevent the spread of covid-19, in the 1800s people wore masks but they did not necessarily wear them to protect against infection. Most masks in the 1800s were designed to protect people against eye or facial injuries. However, that would change by the end of the 1800s…

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Basildon Park: Its History in the 1700s and 1800s

The Fane family owned Basildon Park when Sir Francis Skyes, 1st Baronet purchased it in the 1700s. Sykes had money to buy it because he had joined the East India Company (EIC) in India and like others who had traveled there, he amassed a fortune. He had also become good friends with Warren Hastings (godfather…

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Arsenic in the 1800s: A Dangerous Poison

Arsenic in the 1800s was sometimes called “white arsenic.” It was used in diverse ways by women to beautify themselves. For instance, women like French socialite Madame Récamier, who had pale creamy complexions were envied, and women who wanted to achieve the same look as Madame Récamier would rub arsenic onto their faces and arms…

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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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