Category Archives: CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY

The Great Exhibition opened

The Great Exhibition opened


The world’s first international exhibition of industry was opened on the 1st May 1851 by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It was originally planned that this inauguration would be a private ceremony because the Queen had been attacked in June of the previous year by Robert Pate, and was wary of public attention.

Punishing the poor

Punishing the poor

Poverty came close to being a crime in 16th and 17th  century England. Once the needy sought help from the monasteries but during the reign of Henry VIII most of these had been dissolved. City dwellers feared the influx of penniless beggars from the countryside who were considered idle, lawless and a threat to the public order of the towns. Given their lack of work and inability to support themselves, it was thought discontent might breed among the poor resulting in social unrest or even revolution.

Who worked the Edwardian farms?

Who worked the Edwardian farms?

When Edward came to the throne in 1901 the number of farmers in England and Wales was about 225,000 according to the census of that year, a small fraction of the total population of 35.5 million. There were 620,000 agricultural labourers, and, taking into account the members of the farmer’s family, the concrators and others engaged in agriculture, a total of about 1.2 million is reached.

The family in Ancient Egypt

The family in Ancient Egypt

While there was a considerable difference in the housing of the upper and lower middle classes, this did not apply to the family. Monogamy was the rule in Ancient Egypt. Only the pharaoh had one or more harems (in later centuries this was also the case with princes and those in the positions of power) but this did not in the least undermine the husband – wife relationship.

Jacob Tonson and the Kit-Cat Club

Jacob Tonson and the Kit-Cat Club

In the snowy spring of 1733, Samuel Croxall, a classical translator, travelled to Herefordshire to visit his retired publisher, Jacob Tonson. Tonson was now an emaciated, deaf old man, who spent his days drinking sack and reading by the fireside. According to Alexander Pope, however, Tonson’s mind remained “full of matter, secret history, and wit and spirit“. Croxall was hoping to extract some of this „secret history“ – an account of the most important London gentlemen’s club of the early 1700s, founded by Tonson: the Kit-Cat Club.