Members of the aristocracy, country squires and rich merchants all aspired in the past to owning a large country house surrounded by a park and garden. These open spaces had to be carefully tended and therefore they were looked after by an army of gardeners and park keepers.
Building a good family history story for an ancestor requires more than just gathering together their vital dates and the names of their parents and children. It can be so much more interesting when we can add to the telling of their tale some fascinating information from other records – records such as those reflecting the environment where they lived or worked.
In almost any street, the past hides in plain sight. Names can indicate a former use of the area, a respected if forgotten local worthy or an event of national importance. In the street itself, post and telephone boxes link the present and the past, with traditional designs that are now regarded as cultural icons still performing a valuable service alongside more modern versions.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many offences were described as ‘unusual crimes’ in the press, in order to get the reader’s attention; but these were not always bizarre offences. Instead, they were often tragic, and detailing them as ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’ serves to downplay them.
The Victorians had a strong belief in self-improvement and so the 1850 Public Library Act was an important act of political and social reform, leading to the formation of free public libraries. Prior to this date, it was only the upper and middle classes who could actually afford to buy new books and the latest magazines as, for the working classes, even the purchasing of secondhand books and magazines was usually beyond their limited means.
TheGenealogist is releasing the field books and detailed annotated maps for Kensington and Chelsea as the next part of the exciting record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey - a resource that can be used to find where an ancestor lived in 1910. Covering the areas of Brompton, Chelsea East, Chelsea West, Holland Park, Notting Hill East, Notting Hill West and South Kensington the newly added records contain 49,608 individuals who owned or occupied property in this upmarket part of London.
Belts or girdles circling the waist were among the first dress items known to by man, used for decoration, to draw in clothing for easier movement, and to carry useful items. A 30,000-year-old burial site discovered in Sungir, Russia in 1955 revealed the skeleton of a high-ranking prehistoric youth wearing a striking belt comprising 250 fox teeth. Moving forward in time, Bronze Age and other examples, for instance Pharaonic Egyptian belts, suggest that in Ancient times they were worn mainly by males, occasionally by women and children. Later, in the 1200s and 1300s, a fashionable narrow low-slung girdle emphasised the hips of slender female gowns, while men wore knotted hip belts supporting a purse and dagger. In medieval times belts even attained mystical status, being associated with strength: in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late-1300s) a ‘magic’ girdle safeguarded Sir Gawain’s life.
In the 1st century BC, most of what later became Northamptonshire became part of the territory of the Catuvellauni, a Belgic tribe, conquered in turn by the Romans in 43 AD. The Roman road of Watling Street passed through the county, and an important Roman settlement, Lactodorum, stood on the site of modern-day Towcester. After the Romans left, the area eventually became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and Northampton functioned as an administrative centre. From about 889 the area was conquered by the Danes, until being recaptured by the English under the Wessex king Edward the Elder in 917. Northamptonshire was conquered again in 940, this time by the Vikings of York.
A History of Women in Medicine reveals the untold story of forgotten female physicians, their lives, practices and subsequent demonisation as witches. Originally held in high esteem in their communities, these women used herbs and ancient psychological processes to relieve the suffering of their patients. Often travelling long distances, moving from village to village, their medical and spiritual knowledge blended the boundaries between physician and priest.
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