On 5 November a special event occurs, blending the past with the present. Each year, on the first Sunday of November, history comes alive with the unique spectacle of the Bonhams London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, the world’s largest and longest-running motoring celebration, drawing participants and spectators from around the globe. Commemorating the original Emancipation Run of 14 November 1896 when 33 pioneering motorists celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on the Highway Act (or ‘Red Flag Act’) that raised the official road speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4mph to 14mph and abolished the requirement for a pedestrian to precede these vehicles, the Run was first formally re-enacted in 1927 and has been staged every subsequent November, except during WW2 and in 1947, when petrol was rationed.
Opera in the 19th century was a far more egalitarian affair than it appears to be today. It was not just for the elite, but for the masses, too, with comic opera and opéra bouffe catering for different audiences, aiming to amuse as well as educate. However, it was arguably the efforts of one man, working with a famous duo, who helped popularise and professionalise comic opera at the same time – and that man was Richard D’Oyly Carte.
A visit to Richmond in Surrey recently found me standing on The Green looking at a Queen Anne house which I knew had been the address given by a WWI soldier in his attestation documents when he joined the Royal Engineers. In 1915 the property had been an architect’s office and the man who had used its address in the official papers had been a partner in the practice established there. Frank W Brewer was my step-grandfather, having married my widowed grandmother many years later. So, while not a blood relative, to me he was part of my family when I was a young child growing up.
A growing interest in labour history includes a focus on white-collar employees, yet research into the role of the legal clerk in Victorian and Edwardian Britain has been scarce. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the legal clerk specialised in clerical work associated with law courts and practices.
Kit Harington, the actor well known for playing the part of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, recently exploded back onto our TV screens on Saturday nights playing the part of Gunpowder Plot conspirator Robert Catesby. The real life character Kit is playing is a distant relative of his, which makes for a captivating story. Bearing in mind that Robert Catesby was aiming to commit regicide by assassinating King James I, it is quite fascinating to see that, on the other side of his family tree, Kit Harington can also trace his line back up to the King.
TheGenealogist has announced the addition of two new record sets that will be useful for researching the First World War and Victorian soldiers. Part one of this release is The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871, which adds another name rich resource to the already vast Military record collections at TheGenealogist, with more than 600,000 records.
While stiffened bodices, stays and corsets compressed the female torso and created an artificially small waistline (see DYA October), further under-structures accentuated the hips, shaping the skirt area. In the 1460s a conical farthingale developed at the Spanish Castilian Court, wider versions appearing in France (1530s) and Britain in the 1540s. The name ‘farthingale’ derived from the tough, flexible willow-twig hoops – verdugo, or osiers, although cane and bents (reedy grasses) were also used. These were covered with coarse cloth such as kersey or buckram and sewn inside a skirt in widening concentric hoops, producing a rigid frame. In 1550, satirist Robert Crowley described the Englishwoman: ‘Her mydle braced in, as small as a wande… A bumbe lyke a barrel, wyth whoopes at the skyrte.’
The first recorded use of the name Leicestershire was in the 11th century. Its boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. In the 7th century, the region formed part of the kingdom of Mercia. In the 9th century the district was subjugated by the Vikings, and Leicester became one of the five Danish boroughs.
What image does the word orphanage conjure up in your mind? A sunny scene of carefree children at play in the grounds of a large ivy-clad house? Or a forbidding grey edifice whose cowering inmates were ruled over with a rod of iron by a stern, starched matron? In Children’s Homes, Peter Higginbotham explores the history of the institutions in Britain that were used as a substitute for children s natural homes. From the Tudor times to the present day, this fascinating book answers questions such as: who founded and ran all these institutions? who paid for them? where have they all gone? and what was life like for their inmates? Illustrated throughout, Children’s Homes provides an essential, previously overlooked, account of the
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