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Cabinets of Curiosities

Cabinets of Curiosities Julia Herdman is fascinated by 18th-century cabinets of curiosities because they show a love of learning and the natural world.  The 18th century saw a huge growth in the public interest in science and medicine. Cabinets of curiosities were a...

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Dress to Impress Princess

In 2013 novelist Hilary Mantel wrote in an article in the London Review of Books. The subject of the article was giving a book to someone. The book she chose was published in 2006 and was by the cultural historian Caroline Weber. The book was called Queen of Fashion:...

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Nabobs of the North

The Dundas Family This blog is about the Dundas family.; a family that would make it big in 18th century Scotland and yet they would always be outsiders. Bankers and men of property are some of the richest men on the planet today. Their relationship with governments...

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Sarah Wilson – Queen Charlotte’s Fictitious Sister

I am delighted to welcome Geri Walton as my guest today. Geri is a history graduate and writer. Her first book, Marie Antoinette’s Confidante: The Rise and Fall of the Princesse de Lamballe, examines the relationship between Queen Marie Antoinette and Marie Thérèse,...

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A Ghost Story for Christmas

The Nanny - A Ghost Story For Christmas It was November and the war had been over for more than a year when I took Rosamond Furnivall to live with her great aunt in Cumbria. Like me, Rosamond was an orphan. On a clear summer's day in 1944, a V2 fell silent, dropped...

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The Man Who Transformed the Health of Londoners

Edwin Chadwick is the man who transformed the health of Londoners. In a time when diseases like smallpox, cholera, and TB were insatiable in their taking of human life Edwin Chadwick used his position to persuade the government to invest in public health. Chadwick...

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10 Things That Turn a Character Bad

10 Things that turn a character bad All great stories have baddies. Baddies or antagonists are the characters who get in your hero or heroine's way. They create conflict and problems – all the things readers love. Evil villains help create a story that is exciting and...

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Whistle-blower in the Maternity Ward

Key Words: Whistleblower, Maternity Ignaz Semmelweis was the Hungarian obstetrician and a whistle-blower who spoke out about bad practice in maternity wards. The work done by Semmelweis all but removed puerperal fever, commonly known as Childbed fever, from the...

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Princess Anne – The Princess Who Married a Hunchback

This is the story of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal was the eldest daughter of George II. Princess Anne was born into what we would call a dysfunctional family in May 1709. (For more information about her grandmother and the House of Hanover read my blog on 15th...

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Sex and the City

Women and Sex There were two ways for a girl to get on in the 18th century and they both involved sex and the risk of disease followed by the likelihood of an early death. The choice for most women was either wife or city prostitute. Prostitution was the riskier...

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Princess Sophia Dorothea the Uncrowned Queen of Britain

This is the history of the shocking case of a Princess who was married against her will, spurned by her husband, divorced, and then imprisoned for 33 years. Princess Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick- Lüneburg did not have a good start in life; she was born illegitimately;...

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A Room of One’s Own – A History of Letter Writing

The history of letter writing is part of women's history. Writing letters to family and friends was one of the new pastimes enjoyed by 18th-century middle-class women. Although the Post Office had been open since 1660  it was not until the 18th century that the use of...

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The Portland Vase – An 18th Century Obesssion

The story of the Portland Vase encapsulates so much about the 18th century. It is a story of fascination with the classical world, the acquisition of antiquities and of technological and artistic excellence of British manufacture. The vase that is known as the...

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Against the Grain – 18th Century British Art

British art has always been slightly different from that of mainstream Europe. Perhaps it's because we're an island. European painting in the eighteenth century is generally conceived as radiating from Paris. There was a strong move during the course of the 18th...

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The Present Past – Writing History

Using the Present Tense to Write About the Past Writing about the past in the present tense is hot with publishers but does it work for readers? In writing and rhetoric, the historical present or narrative present is the employment of the present tense when narrating...

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The Duchess of Hamilton

The Duchess of Hamilton was born in Ireland, Elizabeth Gunning. She was a celebrity beauty who caused a sensation when she and her sister were introduced into high society. Though the sisters had neither dowries nor rank, their physical attractiveness secured them...

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The Palazzo del Re – Home of the Stuarts in Exile

The Palazzo del Re was home to the exiled Jacobite court and the Stuarts in Rome. Owned by the Muti family, it was rented by the Papacy for the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart. Both James's sons, Charles Edward ('Bonnie Prince Charlie') and Henry Benedict,...

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