Georgian Era

The History of Goody Two-Shoes

The History of Goody Two-Shoes (with or without a hyphen) was a children’s story written anonymously in 1765, published by John Newbery, and a variation of the story of Cinderella. Goody Two-Shoes was the nickname of a poor orphan named Margery Meanwell who goes through life with one shoe until a rich gentleman gives her…

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Conjurors and Conjuring in the 1700s

  Conjurors and conjuring existed long before the 1700s, and in its simplest form, conjuring was a performance of tricks that appeared to be magical and usually involved some sort of sleight of hand. Well before conjuring became popular in the 1700s, conjuring performances were given in antiquity and in the middle ages. However, there…

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Seven Melancholy Accidents of the Georgian Era

During the Georgian era, there were many “melancholy” accidents reported in the papers. The first one accident occurred in 1799 on 6 February at Morley Park, near Heage. A servant working for a Mr. Wildsmith was drawing water from a well with a bucket. According to the newspaper, all was going well until suddenly “the…

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Lightning Strikes of the 1700s

Benjamin Franklin was the first to discover that lightning consisted of electric matter. This discovery helped people to understand “that lighting in passing from the clouds to the earth, or from the earth to the clouds, runs through the walls of a house, the trunk of tree, or other elevated objects.” Since Franklin’s time people…

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Execution of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino

William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock and Arthur Elphinstone, 6th Lord Balmerino were taken prisoners at the Battle of Culloden, the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Both men were tried and sentenced to death for treason. Their executions were carried out at Tower Hill on 18 August 1746. The event began at…

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Georgian Era Surnames: Names Expressing Contradictions

Everyone likely knows that in the Georgian era surnames such as Butcher, Tailor, or Miller referred to a person’s occupation and that a surname of Lewes, York, or Surrey was likely given to a foundling by a parish officer tasked with naming them. However, some of the more interesting surnames in use in the Georgian…

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Elizabeth Armistead: Courtesan to Charles James Fox

Elizabeth Armistead was born Elizabeth Bridget Cane on 11 July 1750. Little is known about her early years and what is known is debated. Some people say that Elizabeth was born in a cellar, her father was a cheese-and-bacon vendor, and her mother “addicted herself to the culling and vending of simples.”[1] Elizabeth supposedly first…

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