Category Archives: England

Danger! Lady on Board!

Snippets 158. In John Bull and His Island (1883), Frenchman Max O’Rell describes the experience of travelling in England at the time.  He is largely complimentary about the railway system, commenting on the lack of bureaucracy in comparison with France, … Continue reading

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Inland Sandcastles

Snippets 152.  In 1845 Victoria Park opened in London, and soon became a popular place for the working people of the East End of London to relax and enjoy playing games.  For many of the local children it would have … Continue reading

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Drapery Misses

Snippets 151.  In Lord Byron’s Don Juan there is a puzzling verse: The milliners who furnish “drapery Misses” Throughout the season, upon speculation Of payment ere the honey-moon’s last kisses Have waned into a crescent’s coruscation, Thought such an opportunity … Continue reading

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Hellgate, Newgate, Cripplegate and Billingsgate

Snippets 146. In the late 18th Century a familiar family nicknamed “Newgate, Cripplegate, Billingsgate and Hellgate” were notorious among the aristrocracy. Richard Barry, 7th Earl of Barrymore, was known as Hellgate, and lived a short and wild life, dying at the … Continue reading

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Drunken Actors

Snippets 145.  In almost every generation there has been an actor who is known for turning up drunk to work.  They often became famous for it, and all the more popular.  In Thomas Munden’s biography of his father, well-known actor … Continue reading

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The Struggling Actor

Snippets 144.  Joseph Shepherd Munden was a well-known actor during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, known principally for his comedy performances.  His son Thomas wrote his very entertaining biography, Memoirs of Joseph Shepherd Munden.  The following anecdotes concern … Continue reading

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Funiculì, Funiculà? “One-an-threppence”

Snippets 128. When the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius opened in 1880, renowned Neapolitan journalist Peppino Turco came up with the idea of a commemorative song and made the suggestion to composer Luigi Denza that he could put … Continue reading

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