People

James Lackington Revolutionized the Book Trade

James Lackington revolutionized the book trade because of his innovative book-selling practices. He was born in on 31 August 1746 in Wellington, Somerset to a shoemaker and was one of eleven children. His father had some money and young Lackington was lucky enough to attend a “Dame School,” but it lasted only a short time…

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The boy Jones Who Broke into Buckingham Palace

Edward Jones was nicknamed “the boy Jones” by newspapers and became notorious for breaking into Buckingham Palace multiple times between 1838 and 1841. His first break-in occurred in 1838 when he entered disguised as a chimney sweep having gained admission by squeezing through a hole in the March Arch at the principal entrance of the…

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George Cruikshank the Caricature Artist and Humorist

George Cruikshank, the caricature artist and humorist, was born in London on a Thursday on 27 September. His mother was Mary Macnaughten and his father, Isaac Cruikshank, a leading caricaturist of the late 1790s. Mary and Isaac had five children: two died in infancy and then there was artist Isaac Robert born in 1789, George…

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Jane Austen’s Novel Persuasion

The first draft of Jane Austen’s novel “Persuasion,” a romantic novel that examines human foibles and flaws, was completed on 18 July 1816. Apparently, however, according to her nephew and biographer, James Edward Austen-Leigh, she was unhappy: “[H]er performance did not satisfy her. She thought it tame and flat, and was desirous of producing something…

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Margaret Ogilvy: The Daring Escape of Jacobite Lady

Jacobite woman Lady Margaret (Johnstone)* Ogilvy joined with her husband, David Ogilvy, 6th Earl of Airlie, in supporting the Jacobite movement that culminated in the rising of 1745 (the forty-five). She was the daughter of Sir James Johnston of Westerhall and Barbara Murray. Ogilvy was taken prisoner at the Battle of Culloden, along with several other…

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Richard Hoodless, The 19th Century Horse Swimmer

There are all sort of heroes, but one unusual hero was a nineteenth century farmer named Richard Hoodless who was living near the Grainthorpe coast of Lincolnshire. When he was not farming, he was “said to devote himself to saving of mariners from drowning, ad this [was accomplished] without any of the usual apparatus for…

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John Frederick Herring, Sr. – A Highflyer

The Highflyer coach was one of the oldest and most popular coaches on the road and probably next in importance to the mail coaches that ran in the 1700s. Among the stops that the Highflyer made for horses was Doncaster, where the principal coach proprietor was a man named Richard “Dickey” Wood. To aid Wood’s…

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Otto Von Bismarck – April Fools’ Day Baby

Otto (Eduard Leopold) von Bismarck was born on April Fools’ Day in 1815. He was the fourth child to a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer named Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck and, his wife, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken. The Bismarck family was wealthy, and, as a young boy, Bismarck was sent away…

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The Eccentric Mr. Martin Van Butchell

Not many people are willing to put a dead spouse on display, but that’s exactly what the eccentric Mr. Martin Van Butchell did. When he began life he was not necessarily eccentric as he developed an interest in medicine from a early age and began healing patients. He studied under Doctor William Hunter, a Scottish…

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Jacob Spinas and the Finsbury Murder

On the morning of 15 January 1870 the cry of murder was raised. Police were called to Buecker’s Hotel, on Christopher Street in Finsbury, where the constable arrested a porter named Jacob Spinas for murdering a woman whom he had brought into the hotel. The constable found the dead woman lying inside the bedroom next…

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