Category: 19th Century

Christmas in Newgate Gaol

In 1863 a reporter decided to experience what it was like to spend Christmas Day amongst the felons in Newgate.

Dick Turpin (1705-1739)

Dick Turpin (1705-1739) is perhaps the most famous highwayman in English history after Robin Hood. He is remembered today as a heavily romanticised noble, gallant figure, having allegedly rode his horse from London to York in one day upon his trusty horse, Black Bess, the real Dick Turpin, as you would expect, was a wholly different man. This post gives a brief overview of his life and the legend which grew around him.

Last Dying Speeches

‘The morning dawned…the clock had just struck eight, when the voice of a man in the street fell upon his ear. He heard the following announcement:-
Here is a full account of the horrible assassination committed by the miscreant William Bolter upon the person of his wife…only one penny! The fullest and most perfect account – only one penny!’

Robin Hood Staffordshire Figurine

During the nineteenth century, various authors such as John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, and Thomas Love Peacock transformed Robin Hood into a morally safe figure; a respectable outlaw hero with whom the Victorian middle classes could identify. It was not purely in literary texts that Robin Hood’s respectable status was exhibited, however, but also in material culture.

Kew Gardens’ Imperial Connections

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew were founded by Princess Augusta (1713-1772) in the 1760s. In 1838 a Royal Commission was set up to inquire into the future of the gardens. The Commission concluded that, after years of official neglect, ‘the gardens should either be put on a professional footing or be closed’.