Consumers were once mostly illiterate, so retailers used images to publicise their trades, such as a boot (cobbler), suit (tailor), diamond (jeweller) and horseshoe (blacksmith). These signs were the precursors of advertisements, which appeared as such in 19th century newspapers and on billboards. Adverts soon became part of everyday life along with the brands they enabled and fostered.
My wife’s paternal grandmother, Grace, was known to the family as Nanna. She was a truly remarkable woman. Born the daughter of an Essex shopkeeper towards the end of the 19th century, she became a teacher by means of a correspondence course. Prior to that, she had run a horse-drawn taxi service into the local town. It was said that as a pupil teacher she was responsible for the education of teenage boys older than herself. She had three sisters but, during the First World War, lost both her brothers – Ernest and Norman. In the early years of the war she handed out white feathers to local men who had not joined up and told her granddaughter that she would do the same again should similar circumstances ever arise. She also started and maintained correspondence with a number of young men on active service during the war and the postcards which they sent to her in reply have survived – well over a hundred in total.
Views about criminal or delinquent children, and what to do with them, have changed over time. In the 18th and earlier 19th centuries, children were treated as small adults, and those convicted of what to us seem like petty offences, such as shoplifting or pickpocketing, could find themselves faced with a death sentence. However, by the 1840s, views were changing, and the Juvenile Offences Act of 1847 set out that those under the age of 14 should no longer be tried in an adult court, but in a special one. It was also recognised that for petty or first-time offenders, being sent to prison had a negative effect: by mingling with adult, seasoned offenders, children might be encouraged to commit more or worse crimes on being released, having been swayed by bad company.
Amateur photography (as distinct from professional, commercial photography) was practised from the earliest days, but for decades remained a genteel pastime for a privileged few, those with the means to buy expensive, elaborate apparatus and leisure time for experimenting with the medium. Because of its elite beginnings, few of us have early-mid Victorian ancestors who engaged in amateur photography; however during the 1880s various innovations gave the activity a significant boost. Dry photographic plates - more convenient than the traditional wet plate method – and ‘modern’ developing-out papers both became widely available, while price reductions in equipment and supplies began to attract middle-class hobbyists. The greatest advance came with improved, specially-designed roll-film cameras. In 1888 in the United States, George Eastman launched the Kodak No.1 camera – a relatively simple box camera loaded with a 100-exposure roll of film: this was returned to the Eastman factory for processing, the camera meanwhile being re-loaded with film and returned to the customer. To demonstrate the ease of the new system, Kodak devised the famous slogan: “You push the button, we’ll do the rest.”
The recent BBC drama Gunpowder has gone some way to unpicking the popular mythology that surrounds England’s most controversial early modern figure. Guy Fawkes was not the main player in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which a group of Catholic sympathisers sought to bring down King James I’s Protestant government by placing explosives under the Houses of Parliament. He was, however, the man caught in the act when the cellars of Parliament were searched after a tip-off. As such, he is often labelled, particularly by the media, as a terrorist, with inevitable comparisons made to recent attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. But this is unhelpful for understanding the extraordinary political tensions of <em
Norfolk was settled in pre-Roman times. The Iceni tribe inhabited the county from the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century AD. The Iceni revolted against the Roman invasion in 47 AD, and again in 60 AD led by Boudicca. The crushing of the second rebellion opened the county to the Romans. During the Roman era roads and ports were constructed throughout the county.
For millennia, European women have used head-coverings for protection, modesty, and in more recent centuries, for fashionable display. From early Christian times until well into the medieval era, married women wore concealing hoods and veils, similar to nuns’ headdresses. Secular fashion advanced from the 1400s, by when farm workers wore felt or fur winter caps, or wide-brimmed summer straw hats. Merchant-class women wore folded and pinned linen headdresses, the quality of the linen and complexity of construction signifying status. High-ranking ladies adopted various extraordinary modes combining netted cauls and artificial ‘horns’, followed by highly-exaggerated styles such as the towering veiled steeple and wide butterfly headdresses of the 1470s/1480s.
TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 series of documents to its Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.
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