Untold lives blog

348 posts categorized "Domestic life"

19 April 2022

The cost of living crisis - part 1: Bread in 1795

At the end of the 18th century, a succession of bad harvests severely depleted the national crop of wheat.  The harvest of 1795 in particular resulted in chronic shortages.  On top of this, the geopolitical landscape of Europe had been turned upside down by the French Revolution and the subsequent wars with the French Republic altering trade and commerce across the continent.  The combination of these pressures was a doubling of the price of bread among ordinary civilians.  Counties around Britain appealed to the Privy Council for supplies of wheat to aid their populations as people in towns felt the effect.  A number of bread riots broke out across the country as people went hungry.  Burial figures from these years show a marked increase in 1795, implying a rise in death rate.

Document entitled ‘Thoughts in Consequence of the Present High Price of Grain’ ‘Thoughts in Consequence of the Present High Price of Grain’, Add MS 38353, f.208. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Faced with increasing discontent and instability the government had to do something to address the crisis.  There was an effort to import more grain from the Quebec and the Baltic, but there were plans forged at home as well.  Records in the Liverpool Papers show how the government were concerned that big farms were benefitting from the shortage by selling their wheat at over-opulent prices.  There were suggestions of limiting the control that the big farms had over price at the markets, but little action was taken on big producers’ profits.

Instead, attention turned to stretching supply.  Members of Parliament debated a motion to force millers to not strip the bran from their flour, so supplies might go further.  Millers were a popular focus of anger during the crisis.  They were often accused of mixing in other substances into flour in order to stretch their profits, so by forcing millers to change their product from the popular white bread to an unpopular whole-wheat bread, the government hoped some of the public’s ire would be redirected to them.

Document suggesting a plan 'to force the miller to dress his flour coarser than at present’ ‘…to force the miller to dress his flour coarser than at present’, Add MS 38353, f.280.  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Advice given to the government at the time shows that given there was least some bran in loaves of bread already it was unlikely that the public would notice too much change.  However, the author of the report stipulates that in his opinion the bran probably offers ‘no nourishment to the human stomach’.

Report suggesting that bran probably offers ‘no nourishment to the human stomach’Report suggesting that bran probably offers ‘no nourishment to the human stomach’, Add MS 38353, f.290. Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Another suggested course of action was the mixing of grains; unlike wheat, harvests of barley, rye, oats and peas had done well.  Suggestions were made for bakers to mix grains and create new loaves of bread for sale, but again this divergence from the white loaf was unpopular.

Recipe for wheat boiled in milk as a substitute meal instead of breadRecipe for wheat boiled in milk as a substitute meal instead of bread Add MS 38377, f.116.  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

When these plans were put in action it was the poorest segment of the population that would be consuming these altered loaves.  The richer demographics could choose to avoid wheaten bread altogether as they could easily exchange it for other sources of food.

The bread crisis would ease a little with a successful domestic harvest in 1796, however prices would continue fluctuate wildly over the end of the 18th century bringing continued hardship to those who relied on bread for many years to come.

Jessica Gregory
Project Officer, Modern Archives and Manuscripts


Further Reading:
The Liverpool Papers: Add MS 38190-38489
Stern, Walter M. 'The Bread Crisis in Britain, 1795-96', Economica, vol. 31, no. 122, 1964, pp. 168–87.

 

Food Season 2022

British Library Food Season

 

14 April 2022

Mary Marshall – JMW Turner’s Mother

Mary Marshall was born into a prosperous family of butchers and shopkeepers.  She was baptised at St Mary’s Islington on 13 November 1735.  She married William Turner, a barber and wigmaker, at St Paul’s Covent Garden, on 29 August 1773.  Turner was newly arrived from Devon and eager to establish himself.  When he applied for the marriage licence William declared his age as 28 and Mary’s as only 34, perhaps indicating someone‘s embarrassment at her being about ten years older than her husband to be. 

West front of St Paul's Covent GardenThe west front of St Paul’s Covent Garden by Edward Rooker (1766) British Library Maps K.Top.24.1.a. BL flickrPublic Domain Creative Commons Licence

Mary’s younger brother had moved to the thriving west London community of New Brentford to become a butcher.  His name was Joseph Mallord William Marshall and when Mary gave birth to a son in 1775, he was given the names Joseph Mallord William Turner, possibly with an eye to inheritance.  A daughter, Mary Ann, was born in 1778.

There is very little reliable evidence of Mary Turner’s appearance or personality. Turner's first biographer, Walter Thornbury, built his picture of her around the supposed existence of an unfinished portrait by her son, ‘one of his first attempts’.  Thornbury writes: ‘There was a strong likeness to Turner about the nose and eyes; her eyes being represented as blue, of a lighter hue than her son's; her nose aquiline, and the nether lip having a slight fall.  Her hair was well frizzed . . . and it was surmounted by a cap with large flappers.  Her posture therein was erect, and her aspect masculine, not to say fierce.’   No-one has, as yet, been able to trace this portrait and Thornbury had not seen it himself.

There does, however, exist a sketch in one of Turner’s notebooks that has been widely believed to be of his mother.  Intriguingly, the recent scanning of Turner’s painting 'Mountain Scene With Castle, Probably Martigny', has revealed two previously unknown portraits, one of which might be of his mother. 

Thornbury described Mary Turner as ‘a person of ungovernable temper’.  Her fragile mental health deteriorated, probably exacerbated by the death of her daughter, Mary Ann, just before her fifth birthday in 1783.  When the situation at home became difficult, Turner was sent at the age of ten to live with his uncle, Joseph Marshall, in Brentford.

Although his parents’ unhappy marriage may have contributed to Turner’s negative view of that institution, there is evidence that Mary supported her son’s artistic ambitions and promoted his work amongst her friends and neighbours in Covent Garden.

In 1799 Mary Turner was admitted to St Luke’s Hospital, a public mental health asylum in Old Street.  Turner, by this time a successful and prosperous artist, has been criticised for not paying for private care.  However, St Luke’s was a highly respected establishment with specialist provision and Turner probably had to use his influential connections to get his mother admitted.   She remained in St Luke’s until December 1800, when she was discharged as incurable.

Hospitals - St Luke's and Bethlem WellcomeSt. Luke's and Bethlem Hospitals in Moorfields. Engraving by J. Peltro. Wellcome Library no. 26125i

Once again, Turner’s friends pulled strings and Mary was transferred to the Bethlem Hospital in nearby Moorfields (‘Bedlam’), now, surprisingly, described as curable.  On Boxing Day 1801, she was discharged uncured but within a week Turner managed to get her readmitted to the incurable ward, where she remained until her death on 15 April 1804.  Her name was later included on her husband’s memorial plaque in St Paul’s Covent Garden.

Turner memorialThe memorial to Turner’s parents in St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden - photograph by the author Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

David Meaden
Independent Researcher

Further reading:
Franny Moyle, The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W.Turner (London, 2016).
Anthony Bailey, Standing In The Sun – a life of J.M.W.Turner (1997).
Walter Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner R.A. founded on letters and papers furnished by his friends and fellow Academicians, Volume 2 (London, 1862).
Records of patients at Bethlem Hospital  are available via Findmypast.
Explore Archives and Manuscripts for papers at the British Library relating to JMW Turner.

“Old Dad” – Turner and Son in Twickenham

Turner's House logoTurner’s restored house in Twickenham is open to visitors.

 

05 April 2022

The Bookbinders’ Provident Asylum

The foundation stone of this building in London’s Balls Pond Road was inscribed; ‘Bookbinders’ Provident Asylum, established A.D. 1839, erected 1843’.  It was funded thanks to The Bookbinders' Pension and Asylum Society (created in 1830); its aim to ‘provide a weekly pension of 6s. to 12s. and an asylum for aged and incapacitated members and their widows; also for females who have worked at the business for at least ten years’.

Bookbinders’ Provident Asylum - black and white drawing of outside of building.Bookbinders’ Provident Asylum from Illustrated London News 8 July 1843 British Newspaper Archive

Many 19th century London workers were only a step away from the breadline and a misfortune like illness or losing one’s job meant destitution, imprisonment for debt or being dispatched to the workhouse.  It is no wonder that bookbinders banded together to help people in their trade who could no longer look after themselves.  Their fund raising work attracted interest in the newspapers, including this column in The Planet.

Bookbinders Asylum  - Planet 1 Nov 1840Report of meeting of the Bookbinders’ Provident Asylum Society from The Planet 1 November 1840 British Newspaper Archive

Money-raising activities included dinners, theatrical performances, outings, and securing donations.  The latter came from a surprising variety of patrons, from Prince Albert (£25) to a miser resident in Hoxton who left the majority of his estate (£900) to the Asylum.

Unusually, we can see the faces of two early residents, James England (b.1797) (who appears in the newspaper cutting above) and Richard Stagg (b.1791).

James England

Richard Stagg

Photographs of James England and Richard Stagg from The British Bookmaker Vol. 4, no. 38  p.16 (August 1890) and Vol. 4 , no. 42  p.17 (December 1890)

By the early 20th century it had become impossible maintain the asylum in its existing set up.  The land, which had been located on the outskirts of the capital, now occupied a prime situation.  The asylum closed in 1927 and a new establishment, called The Bookbinders’ Cottages, was built in Whetstone.  It consisted of seven semi-detached two-storey blocks, each containing two dwellings.  Subsequently, the foundation was modernised and is now owned by the Book Trade Charity.

P J M Marks
Curator, Bookbindings

Further reading;
Lost Hospitals of London 
Herbert Fry's Royal Guide to the London Charities – the quote about the purpose of the Society is taken from the 1917 edition p.22 
The British Bookmaker - a journal which recorded the history of the bookbinding trade societies.
British Newspaper Archive also via Findmypast

 

28 February 2022

John Sanderson’s horrible housemates

The Levant Company clerk John Sanderson had arrived in Istanbul on 12 March 1592.  However, something had changed in the behaviours and manners of the English residents since his first being there.  Sanderson wrote that there had been a ‘great alteration; frome serving God devoutly and drinking puer water, nowe to badness stoutly and much wine (the witts hater).’  In Sanderson’s absence the embassy had been taken over by Edward Barton and Sanderson now had to decide whether to move in with him.  Despite his reservations, the benefits – and probably also savings– were too great to forego Barton’s offer.

Sanderson_title pageTitle page of John Sanderson's commonplace book British Library Lansdowne MS 241 Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Born in 1560 John Sanderson is a rare example of an early modern man of trade who wrote a record of his life.  His miscellaneous commonplace book is held in the British Library manuscript collection (BL Lansdowne MS 241).  His short ‘autobiography’, entitled by its author ‘a record of the birthe and fortunes of John Sanderson, alias Bedic’, noted down not only Sanderson’s illnesses, fortunes and misfortunes, but also and very keenly, his many judgments (‘censures’) about other people.  And there were loads of them.

Reading Sanderson’s account, anyone who has ever been stuck in a riotous house-share with horrible house-mates will soon start to feel sympathy.  Sanderson claims that the ambassador Barton ‘vexed me to my very soule,’ although his foremost adversary seems to have been William Aldrich, who Sanderson claims to have ‘stealingly’ struck him.  After Sanderson struck him back the ambassador Barton himself ‘laid his fists one my face for so doinge, and confined me to my chamber.’  After all these fisticuffs Barton sent a stern letter to Sanderson’s room, threatening to deport him back home to England.  After the altercation Aldrich refused to dine in the same table with Sanderson and complained that he ‘outlooked him'.  Ill-will continued for some time, although the ambassador eventually tried to make amends by gifting Sanderson ‘a redd velvett goune wch the Gran Sigr had vested him with before he kiste his hand'.  Additional proof of this reconciliation was that Sanderson later acted as the ambassador’s deputy when Barton famously, and somewhat notoriously, accompanied the Ottoman sultan Mehmet III to his wars in Hungary.  However, the scuffles continued between Sanderson, Aldrich, and the steward of the house.

Based on his writings, Sanderson was a keen observer of the faults of other people.  He listed all the names or sometimes the initials of his ‘frenemies’, saying that ‘many other agreevances and discontents passed whilst I was ther, in comp of Bushell, Aldrich, Mons, Wragg, Rivers, Babington’...  The animosities between Sanderson and the two Aldrich brothers, William and Jonas, were explained by the different ‘conditions and qualities’ of the men, whereas the differences between Sanderson and Barton were probably due to breaching social hierarchies and trying to police Barton’s behaviour too much (possibly due to toxic masculine bravado).  Sanderson gave all these men derogatory nicknames ranging from ‘wicked athiesticall knave’ to ‘poysoner’ and ‘whoremonger’ and continued to record their deaths with no small amount of glee.

The selected texts from this old ledger volume bought by Sanderson’s father were edited by William Foster, the then president of the Hakluyt Society and published in 1931.  You can find this fascinating manuscript as part of the Lansdowne collection.

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg
Academy Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, History, and Art Studies, University of Helsinki
(eva.holmberg@helsinki.fi)


Further reading:
British Library Lansdowne MS 241.
The Travels of John Sanderson in the Levant 1584-1602. Ed. by William Foster. Hakluyt Society 2nd Series ; No 67. London: Hakluyt Society, 1931.
Eva Johanna Holmberg, ‘‘Passages recollected by memory’: Remembering the Levant Company in seventeenth-century merchants’ life writing’, in Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Routledge, 2021. p. 211-239 (Hakluyt Society Studies in the History of Travel; Vol. 1).

This blog post is the second in a collaborative series with Medieval and Early Modern Orients (MEMOs).  On the last Monday of every month, both Untold Lives and MEMOs' own blog will feature a post written by a member of the MEMOs team, showcasing their research in the British Library collections.  Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #BLMEMOS.

10 February 2022

JMW Turner, Artist and Publican?

In June 1820, JMW Turner’s uncle Joseph Mallord William Marshall, after whom he had been named, died.  Turner had lodged with his uncle, then a butcher in Brentford, for several years during his childhood.  Marshall left everything to his widow, Mary, with instructions about who should inherit on her death.  Turner and his cousin Henry Harpur, a solicitor, challenged the will so that they would not have to wait until their aunt’s death to benefit from their uncle’s will.  An agreement was reached whereby Turner and Harpur received four properties in New Crane Wapping, at the southern end of New Gravel Lane: Turner took nos. 7 & 8 and Harpur 9 & 10.  Turner also agreed to pay his aunt Mary an annuity of £20.

Map of Wapping from Horwood's Plan 1792-1799Map of Wapping from Horwood’s Plan 1792-1799 -  Romantic London Map © The British Library Board

 

Map of the Thames end of New Gravel Lane from Horwood’s Plan showing location of numbers 7-10Map of the Thames end of New Gravel Lane from Horwood’s Plan showing location of numbers 7-10 -  Romantic London Map © The British Library Board

Number 8 was a public house, The Ship and Bladebone.  The pub in Watts Street, off what was Old Gravel Lane, renamed itself Turner’s Old Star in 1987.  This may be somewhere that Turner visited but it is not the pub that he owned.  The Ship and Bladebone was a ten-minute walk away in what is now Garnet Street (formerly New Gravel Lane).

Site of The Ship and Bladebone - photo of sign for Garnet Street in front of school playgroundSite of The Ship and Bladebone  in Garnet Street– photograph by author Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The Ship and Bladebone had a succession of tenants, one of whom, Elizabeth Crosset, was involved in an illegal practice, whereby coal whippers, who unloaded coal from the ships on the Thames, were forced to lodge in certain pubs and pay unreasonably high rents.  It is uncertain whether Turner was aware of this, although he was certainly involved in the overall running of the pub, chasing unpaid rent and arranging leases.  There are details of Turner paying for repairs to the roof, which were carried out in 1843 by the landlord Thomas Farrell.

Advert for sale of a 19-year lease on the Ship and Bladebone - Morning Advertiser 28 November 1844Advert for sale of a 19-year lease on the Ship and Bladebone - Morning Advertiser 28 November 1844

There have been many stories about the time that Turner spent in Wapping, most of them without much factual basis.  Turner’s first biographer, Walter Thornbury, suggested that he would go to Wapping in order to visit prostitutes and make sketches of them.  This seems to have been based on comments made by Ruskin, who assumed that some of Turner’s erotic drawings were made in Wapping.  Thornbury seems unaware of The Ship and Bladebone, where Turner would have had legitimate business.

Another story is that he installed his lover, Sophia Booth, as landlady at The Ship and Bladebone.  Her name does not appear on any documents associated with the pub and she is recorded as living, without gaps, in Margate and Deal and then with Turner in Chelsea.

After Turner’s death in 1851, his will was challenged.  When matters were settled in 1856, the pub went to a cousin, John Turner, as ‘heir at law’.  By this time, it had been abandoned and had fallen into disrepair.  The pub next passed to the lawyer, Jabez Tepper, a relation of Turner’s by marriage, who had acted for the relatives who contested the will.  The pub was demolished and, in 1868, Tepper sold the land to the Limehouse District Board of Works and a gasworks was built.  The site is now occupied by a primary school.

Sophia Booth did have an intriguing connection with Wapping.  Her younger sister, Sarah Elizabeth, lived there with her husband John Green.  I have been unable to find any connection between the Greens and The Ship and Bladebone but this is certainly an area for further research.

David Meaden
Independent Researcher

Further reading:
Sam Smiles - ‘On the Waterfront: The Darker Side of the Ship and Bladebone”, Turner Society News. No 107, December 2007.
Franny Moyle, The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W.Turner (London, 2016).
Anthony Bailey, Standing In The Sun – a life of J.M.W.Turner (1997).
Bernard Falk, Turner the Painter: His Hidden Life (London 1938).
Walter Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner R.A. founded on letters and papers furnished by his friends and fellow Academicians, Volume 2 (London, 1862).
British Newspaper Archive also available via Findmypast.
Search for JMW Turner papers in the British Library catalogue Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

Turner's House logo

Turner’s restored house in Twickenham is open

 

31 December 2021

New Year greetings from a Victorian scrapbook

To welcome the New Year, we’re sharing some Victorian greetings cards taken from a scrapbook in the British Library collections.  An inscription at the front of the volume reads ‘E.M.L. from J.M. 76’.  The identity of these people is a mystery.  There are several items in the book linked to Church of England clergy and members of the gentry in Buckinghamshire - Princes Risborough, Stokenchurch, Horsenden, Aylesbury, Wendover, Hughenden.  Does this clue help any of our readers to identify E.M.L. or J.M. in the 1870s?

New Year card with red holly berries and foliage - 'May the Old Year's last smile brighten thy Christmas hours'.

New Year card with pink and red flowers -  'May your New Year be full of gladness and joy'.

 

New Year card with pink rose buds - 'Opening rosebuds fair as ye, May the coming New Year be'.

New Year card with anchor and white and pink flowers - 'Happiness attend thee through the coming year'.            Card with 'A Happy New Year'  surrounded by white and pink, and red carnations.Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

New Year greetings from Untold Lives!

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
A scrapbook of printed ephemera British Library RB.23.b.7952

29 December 2021

18th-century bills of fare for December and January

If you think that you have been overindulging during the festive season, it may cheer you to read these menu plans for three-course meals.  They are taken from the 1791 edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy.

Here is ‘The Order of a Modern Bill of Fare’ for December.

The Order of a Modern Bill of Fare for December Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

First course –
Cod’s head; chickens; stewed beef; fricandau of veal (slice cut from the leg); almond puddings; Soup Santea (ham, beef, onions, carrots, turnips, celery, sweet herbs, cloves, mace, leeks, ‘cabbage-lettuce’, sorrel, chervil, and ‘a crust of French roll’); calves’ feet pie; fillet of pork with sharp sauce (based on wine vinegar and sugar); chine of lamb; tongue; fried and boiled sole.

Recipe for Soup Santea or Gravy Soup - ham, beef, onions, carrots, turnips, celery, sweet herbs, cloves, mace, leeks, ‘cabbage-lettuce’, sorrel, chervil, and ‘a crust of French roll'Recipe for Soup Santea or Gravy Soup from The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1791) p.148  Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Second course –
Wild fowl; lambs’ fry (liver); orange puffs; sturgeon; galantine (boned, stuffed meat); jellies; savoury cake; prawns; tartlets; mushrooms; partridges.

Third course –
‘Ragooed palates’ (ragout of tongue?); Savoy cakes; Dutch beef scraped; China oranges; lambs’ tails; half moon; calves’ burs; Jargonel pears (a variety that ripens early); potted larks; lemon biscuits; fricassee of crawfish.

We’re stumped by ‘half moon’ and ‘calves’ burs’ – any ideas out there?

The suggested menu for January is just as lavish.

The Order of a Modern Bill of Fare for JanuaryPublic Domain Creative Commons Licence

First course –
Chestnut soup; leg of lamb; petit patties; boiled chickens; chicken and veal pie; cod’s head; roast beef; tongue; raisolds (rissoles); Scotch collops (slices of meat cooked with onions, salt, pepper and suet); vermicelli soup.

There should also be a side table with dishes of ‘Garden Stuff suitable to your Meat’ placed on a water dish filled with hot water.  Sauces in boats or basins are to be placed at the corners.

Second course:
Roast turkey; marinated smelts (fish); tartlets; mince pies; roast sweetbreads; stands of jellies; larks; almond ‘tort’; maids of honour; lobsters; woodcocks.

Third course –
Morels (mushrooms); artichoke bottoms; Dutch beef scraped; macaroni; custards; cut pastry; black caps (baked apples); scalloped oysters; potted chars (fish); stewed celery; rabbit fricassee.

Anyone for baked beans on toast?

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading;
Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1791)

 

23 December 2021

Gift ideas from 'Beeton’s Christmas Annual' 1873

Are you looking for ideas for presents to give your loved ones?  Perhaps you will find inspiration in our selection of advertisements taken from Beeton’s Christmas Annual  1873. 

Advertisement for The Literary MachineAdvertisement for The Literary Machine Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

We start with The Literary Machine patented by J. Carter of London and used by Princess Louisa.  The device held a book, writing-desk, lamp, or meals in any position whilst also screening the user’s face from the fire.  It could be applied easily to a bed, sofa, chair, or ship’s berth, and was invaluable for students and invalids – ‘A most useful and elegant gift’.

Choice perfumery and Christmas novelties from Eugene RimmelChoice perfumery and Christmas novelties from Eugene Rimmel Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Next we have choice perfumery and Christmas novelties from Eugene Rimmel, perfumer to the Princess of Wales.  Rimmel’s perfumes included Ihlang- Ihlang, Vanda, Henna, Snow-White, Violet, Tea, Coffee, and the intriguingly named Jockey-Club.  As well as skin powders, creams and soaps, Rimmel offered crackers, boxes, baskets, fans, Christmas tree ornaments, and perfumed cards and almanacs.

Rowland's gifts for Christmas and New YearRowland's gifts for Christmas and New Year Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Rowlands’ products were said to be perfect for those planning to celebrate Christmas and New Year in company.  Their macassar oil imparted ‘a Transcendent Lustre to the Hair’, whilst Kalydor gave a radiant bloom to the cheek and a delicate softness to the hands and arms, removing ‘cutaneous defects’.  Rowlands’ Odonto made teeth pearly white and gave a pleasing fragrance to the breath.

Advert for the Nose Machine

Advert for the Nose Machine Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

How about a Nose Machine?  Alexander Ross of High Holborn was selling for 10s 6d ‘a contrivance which , if applied to the nose for an hour daily, so directs the soft cartilage of which the member consists, that an ill-formed nose is quickly shaped to perfection’.  Anyone could use it without pain.

Gifts from H. G. Clarke of Covent GardenGifts from H. G. Clarke of Covent Garden Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

H. G. Clarke of Covent Garden offered gifts to amuse. The Magic Sailor would astonish and provoke roars of laughter as he danced in time to any tune.  Owners of The Wizard’s Box of Magic would be equipped to perform ‘ten capital conjuring tricks sufficient for one hour’s amusement’.  The Enchanted Tea Chest allowed 100 perfumed things to be produced from an empty box.

Beeton’s Englishwoman’s Almanac and Ladies’ AnnualBeeton’s Englishwoman’s Almanac and Ladies’ Annual Public Domain Creative Commons Licence


Also on offer was Beeton’s Englishwoman’s Almanac and Ladies’ Annual for 1873, ‘the most useful and attractive Almanac brought before the Public’ priced at one shilling.  The editor had contributed letters to the ladies on some delicate subjects and there were three coloured pictures: ‘I’ll have your tootsies’, ‘Brave boys, defiant geese, and a wise dog’, and ‘The lover’s vow accepted’.  Mrs Treadwin of Exeter had designed four point lace d’oyleys and the publication contained ‘a mass of practical matter connected with domestic and family requirements’, with ruled sheets for keeping accounts.

Advert for Christmas number of The Ladies Advert for Christmas number of The Ladies Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

The Christmas number of The Ladies was packed with seasonal stories, plays, songs, games and amusements, as well as 24 pages of high-class pictorial engravings by popular English artists presented in a decorative wrapper.

Iron wine bins and racks for mineral watersAdvert for Farrow and Jackson Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

Farrow and Jackson, ‘Original Inventors’ of London and Paris, were selling a variety of iron wine bins and racks for mineral waters.

Advert for Page Woodcock’s Wind Pills Advert for Page Woodcock’s Wind Pills Public Domain Creative Commons Licence

And for anyone over-indulging in drink and food over the festive season, Page Woodcock’s Wind Pills were available, having wrought ‘wonderful and miraculous cures in Birmingham’.

Seasonal greetings from Untold Lives!

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company Records

Further reading:
Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1873

 

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