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Cabinet of Curiosities

A Cabinets of Curiosities was a feature of many large houses in the 18th century. The collections reflected the particular interests of their curators and as a social device to establish and uphold rank in society. Sometimes called ‘wonder rooms’, they were...

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Georgian Queens and Princesses

In this month’s posts, I will be looking at the lives and loves of some of Britain’s Georgian Queens and Princesses with the help of my guest contributors, American author and historian Geri Walter and the British genealogists and historians Joanne Major and Sarah...

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Nabobs of the North

Bankers and men of property are some of the richest men on the planet today. Their relationship with governments and the democratic process is a battle for power fought in a war of attrition between the bankers' desire to operate freely and governments' desire for...

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Guest Post – 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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The Princess Who Married a Hunchback

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

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Sex and the City

There were two ways for a girl to get on in the 18th century and they both involved sex, the risk of disease and the likelihood of an early death. A woman could become a wife or a city prostitute; of course, the latter was the far riskier option and the one most...

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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

In writing and rhetoric, the historical present or historic present (also called dramatic present or narrative present) is the employment of the present tense when narrating past events. It is widely used in writing about history in Latin (where it is sometimes...

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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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