In April 1849, the newspaper Home News reported on the fate of a signalling system that was on the cusp of being superseded by the latest in electrically powered communications. Under the nostalgic headline ‘The Last of the Semaphores’, the paper announced that the remaining station on the outdated messaging line would be ‘finally broken up in the course of the ensuing week’.
From the early 18th century onwards, established spa towns like Bath and new seaside resorts including Scarborough and Brighton attracted growing numbers of prosperous tourists seeking both the health-giving properties of restorative waters and the social diversions beginning to open up in such fashionable locations. As transport improved and holidays extended to the working classes, public bathing became a form of mass entertainment. But what did earlier generations wear in the water and on the beach?
The well-loved British author Daphne du Maurier author, famous for novels such as Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek and Rebecca, was inspired by her love of Cornwall where she lived. Her parents were a knight of the stage – who claimed French aristocratic connections, but was in reality related to an ancestor who had fled France under a cloud – and an actress.
Robert Gatenby, who was born in Ripon, Yorkshire in the first decade of the 19th century, would spend most of his life in the East End of London. His life, although on the surface rather ordinary, like many of our ancestors’, is worth some study for two main reasons. Firstly, the censuses merely graze the surface of his life, and it’s only by looking at other sources, such as court reports and bankruptcy notices, that we can build a fuller picture of what his work was like. Secondly, though, he found an industry in which he could make a long-term living – and one that he could train his children in, thus creating a multi-generational family of coffee roasters, in a nation that was becoming one of coffee lovers.
When heated, titanium hardens over time, and the age-hardening process increases the strength of the metal. Similarly, my grandfather was hardened by the troubled times that he manoeuvred through. I simply remember a kind man, who loved all his grandchildren and spoiled us with treats. It was later that I learned that he was a man whose back had become arched from numerous years of hard work. Tirelessly he served the people and continued to do so even after his illness had made him weak, so much so that he couldn’t venture out of the house.
The Family History Show is returning to York and London! After surveying previous attendees, we found over 81% were looking forward to attending a show in person. With nearly two years of not having the freedom and interaction of a physical show, people are looking forward to enjoying a great day out again, listening to live talks and asking questions face-to-face to experts and exhibitors. We have had many requests to hold another show and we are only too pleased to welcome everyone back! Help ensure the future of family history events like this by voting with your feet today.
British cotton manufacturing continued to thrive during the 19th century, peaking in 1912, when 7,300 million metres of cloth were produced. Indeed, cotton exports remained important to the Victorian and Edwardian economy, but overseas trade slowly declined as Britain lost its markets to cotton-growing and low-wage countries like India and Japan, whose own cotton mills proliferated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Modern Asian producers avoided overspecialisation and installed new machinery, notably the faster spinning ring-frame, while British manufacturers retained old methods, separating the spinning, weaving and finishing processes and using traditional spinning mules. Complacency and unwillingness to modernise hastened the demise of Britain’s cotton industry, which earned just 16% of export revenue in 1930 and below 10% in the 1950s. In 1959 Parliament passed the Cotton Industry Act which compensated employers for disposing of outdated machinery: the government hoped to streamline production, but despite modernisation and extra work shifts, British cotton manufacturing contracted further. Cheap foreign textiles forced more mill closures, which averaged almost one a week during the 1960s and 1970s. Some buildings found new uses, others were demolished.
Kent, one of the ‘home counties’, is known as the ‘Garden of England’ for its rich agricultural land, especially for orchards and hop fields. Maidstone is its county town and historically Rochester and Canterbury have been cities. Major industries in the north-west of Kent have included cement, papermaking, and aircraft construction, but these are now in decline. The county also had a handful of coal mines
This comprehensive and fascinating guide from genealogist and historian Celia Heritage will prove indispensable for both local and family historians. A wide-ranging examination of historical and archaeological findings means that the book will also appeal to anyone with an interest in death and burial
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