There stood train, its three classes, first, second, and third. “Good Heavens!” I exclaimed, and are not men equal? Have not these cursed distinctions of rank been yet levelled by the roar of the speeding steam? But I, for one, will never give in to aristocratic institutions. So saying, I got into the coupée of a first-class carriage…
Lines Written by a New York Homeless Woman
A thin shawl was drawn over her shoulders; her dress was ragged and worn, her face deathly pale…In her pocket was found the remnant of the crust, and a copy of verses printed on red paper.
Jack’s Story: The True Story of a Poor Boy in 19th-Century New York
“My father would smash everythin’ he could reach and knocked my mother round awful so I ran away.”
Playing Robin Hood in the Victorian Nursery
It would have fallen to the lot of a poorly paid Victorian governess to practice playing Robin Hood with children in the nursery.
Henry Hetherington Exposes Police Brutality in 1831
To make more room for the procession the police constables begin pushing people back. Charles Sweet was at the front of the line and received a blow on the head from a policeman’s cutlass. His head started gushing with blood. He died a few days later.
Poetry: I Had a Tender Mother Once
One of my favourite writers of the nineteenth century was George William MacArthur Reynolds. Although we know him primarily as a journalist and novelist today, he composed original poetry in practically all of his novels.
St George’s Day seems as fitting time as ever to publish a “new” Robin Hood poem I found titled “Saxon Grit” in the archives of a long-defunct Christian socialist magazine titled The Labour Prophet in 1892.
How Victorians Fell in Love with American Rebels
The British people and the American people did not always like each other. The Americans had broken away from the empire in 1783 and relations remained frosty for over a century. But in the late Victorian era, British writers’ feelings about Americans began to change.
“The Truth and Nothing But the Truth”: Its first use in popular culture | Stephen Basdeo
‘The truth and nothing but the truth’—it’s a well-known phrase used in courts of law and most of us have heard it on TV dramas. But where did the phrase first come from?
A Revolutionary Aristocrat: Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond | Stephen Basdeo
Universal suffrage was not achieved in England until 1918. However, a century-and-a-half before, one brave aristocrat proposed that all men have the right to vote. And he proposed this in the House of Lords of all places!
Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough and William of Cloudeslie
Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William of Cloudesley were outlaws who were as famous as Robin Hood. Now they’re entirely forgotten!
The Working Man’s Robin Hood: The Writings of Allan Cunningham (1784–1842)
In 1832, the publisher Charles Knight had a bright idea: every Saturday he would publish a new magazine which whose aim was to educate working-class readers about their world. It would not contain news, and would therefore be exempt from the Stamp Tax (the much-hated “tax on knowledge”), meaning that its retail price would be very low at only 1d.
The Life and Work of Victorian Robin Hood Scholar John Mathew Gutch (1776–1861)
John Mathew Gutch is often overlooked by modern Robin Hood scholars but, for a brief period in the Victorian era, he was the UK’s most famous Robin Hood historian.
Pierce Egan’s Sports Journalism
Anthony Bynoe, a student-athlete at Richmond: The American International University, turns our attention to the life and works of Pierce Egan (1772–1849)
Joseph Ritson the Radical
Joseph Ritson was a man of humble beginnings, a great scholar, a friend to the poor, and a radical, and his work had a profound influence on 19th- and 20th-century Robin Hood novels and films.
“The Vision” by Robin Hood (1841)
Robin Hood is significant, not because of the life of any real person but because he is a symbol. So, appropriations of his name in later centuries are significant because they highlight what the name meant to people like you and I in times past.
Anon. ‘Robin Hood’ (1828)
The following poem, simply titled ‘Robin Hood’ appeared in “The Oriental Observer” in 1828.
The History of Thomas Walsingham’s Historia Anglicana traced through Reappearances of Jack Straw’s Last Dying Speech
How do certain ‘facts’ about one of the major events of English history get forgotten? Between 1715 and 1863, one such fact which people forgot was a dying confession made by Jack Straw, ahero of the Peasants’ Revolt.
Opium; or, How it Became a “Dirty Drug”
We live in an era in which, increasingly, governments in many western countries are realising that they are losing the so-called “War on Drugs”. Some countries have completely decriminalised certain substances, while in some states in the USA, you can buy marijuana over the counter for both medicinal and recreational use. Our attitude to illicit substances is increasingly looking not too dissimilar from that held by many people in the early nineteenth century.
The Awakening Conscience
William Holman Hunt’s painting of “The Awakening Conscience” (1853) told an all-too-familiar story: that of the working-class “kept woman” ensnared into a debauched lifestyle by an upper class man.
Jack Harkaway: The Victorian Harry Potter
The Victorians in many ways were just like us: they enjoyed a good scandal whenever it was reported in the press, they liked both trashy and high-brow entertainment, and like today, they had their popular heroes adored by both adults and children. Let me introduce you to the Harry Potter of the late-Victorian era: Mr Jack Harkaway.
Robin Hood the Angry Letter Writer
If Twitter was around in 1819, this angry letter writer named Robin Hood–who railed against corrupt and tyrannical MPs–would probably have had an account.
Robin Hood of the Anti-Corn Law League
Hark ye! My Merry Men all and listen to me!
Of a very bad bishop who was a Tory!
The Female Vagrant
“…the most selfish hearts should be humanized, and a feeling of love kept alive, reciprocating and reciprocated, between the rich and the poor, the politically great and the socially defenceless, for ever.”