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Each issue is packed full of entertaining stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice – great for anyone starting out in family history research, for experienced researchers needing help overcoming stumbling blocks, and for those with a general interest in how our ancestors lived their lives.
‘If these sketches should prove the means of deterring one family from sinking their property, and shipwrecking all their hopes, by going to reside in the backwoods of Canada,’ wrote reluctant emigrant Susanna Moodie in *Roughing It in The Bush* in 1871, ‘I shall consider myself amply repaid for revealing the secrets of the prison-house and feel that I have not toiled and suffered in the wilderness in vain.’
In the late 18th century thousands of poor, illiterate children loitered about the streets on a Sunday. Robert Raikes, a devout Christian and the proprietor of the _Gloucester Journal_, witnessed groups of youngsters ‘defiling the Sabbath’ in Gloucester and deplored their disorderly conduct.
The role of the garden in the lives of Victorian workers is overlooked. Although mechanisation meant that in some places factories or housing had been jammed together on all the available land, space was not always at a premium in the countryside, in villages and in areas which were developing into the suburbs of nearby towns. Many workers had access to a scrap of land which they could cultivate, officially or unofficially.
In 1892, Viscount George Maidstone (or ‘Maidy’) Finch-Hatton became ill with flu while abroad with his family in Cannes. He was nursed for several weeks by his mother, Lady Winchilsea, but sadly her efforts were in vain. While ill, nine-year-old Maidy discussed with his father the idea of setting up a children’s society, whose members would assist and write to poorer children. The 12th Earl of Winchilsea was reputedly a devoted father to Maidy and his sister Muriel, and just over a year later, he established the Children’s Order of Chivalry. Its watchwords were ‘gentleness, honour and love’. Born out of a family’s grief, the Order is a fascinating attempt to bring together rich and poor and to instil social responsibility in the young.
1066; must be Hastings. That year was complex, though, with three kings and three battles to navigate. When Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of the old line, died on 5 January, there were three men vying for the spoils, the Saxon, Northman and Norman. On the 6th, with almost indecent haste, the Saxon, Harold Godwinson, plonked his posterior on the throne and challenged the others.
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