Father Christmas or Mother Christmas – Who was the real Victorian ‘Santa Claus’?

The Origins of the Myth Who was Father Christmas? The real St. Nick, was a humanitarian known for his good deeds and his unassailable piety.[i] St Nick was first popularized through the writing of Washington Irving in Irving's History of New York.[ii] A mythology about this man was developed by Clement Clark Moore who radically... Continue Reading →

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The Roots of our Family-Centred Christmas

  Introduction Although the celebration of Christmas goes back to the Roman times, the current traditions implemented in celebrating this season were largely developed during the Victorian era. During this period, Christmas transitioned from community-centric to family-centric. Previously, Christmas was seen as a celebration between households within the community; in the 19th century its focus... Continue Reading →

Unhappy Marriage in the 18th Century 

In the mid-18th century, a tragic tale of arranged marriage was told - a couple whose marriage was arranged by economic agreement ended tumultuously in misery, adultery, and ultimately - death. Earl Squanderfield, a man with a respectable title, but no fortune – as indicated by his name- tries to remedy this financially dour situation for his... Continue Reading →

The dangers of novel-reading

Although the value of ‘reading for pleasure' has become part and parcel of contemporary reading culture, this highly proselytized past-time, to children and adults alike, was not always considered so salient. In fact, in the late 18th and 19th centuries - as the novel proliferated - numerous people and groups sought to repress these rising... Continue Reading →

The roots of homesickness

The word “homesick” first entered common parlance in the late 18th century. It accompanied a rising feeling of nostalgia for the home as it transitioned; no longer a place of residence or the locus of one’s business, it became a symbolic emblem of family, safety and love. The age of industrialisation gave cause for rising... Continue Reading →

A Domestic Cat-astrophy

On Tuesday, 21 May  1867 a peculiar case was presented to the Lewes Petty Sessions. A case of nuisance was brought against a Mr Robert Dennis Chantrell, a resident in Rottingdean. The complaint concerned Chantrell's residence, which was so inundated with animals, especially those of the feline persuasion, that it causing ill health on the... Continue Reading →

A murderous case of stolen trousers

On the 6th of April 1842 the Police Constable, William Gardner, was on duty in Wandsworth, when a tradesperson, Mr Collingbourn, approached him with a complaint. Local man, Daniel Good had stolen a pair of black trousers from his shop and he wished to press charges. Good was the coachman for Mr Shiell, in Putney,... Continue Reading →

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