Category Archives: England

The Clog Almanac

Snippets 164.  An early form of calendar used in England, amongst other countries, was the “clog almanac”.  It was described in detail in The Book of Days (1864) by Robert Chambers, one of the great pioneers of the trivia book.  … Continue reading

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Thirteen O’Clock

Snippets 163. One of the great pioneers of the trivia book was Scottish Author Robert Chambers (1802-1871), who edited The Book of Days, from 1864. His work is packed full of fascinating information, and the following quote is taken from the … Continue reading

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A Grumpy Serenade

Snippets 162. When American Thomas Rees went on a tour of Europe at the beginning of the 20th Century, his journey concluded in Britain, the birthplace of his father. His account of his travels was published under the title Sixty Days … Continue reading

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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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