Category Archives: History

Exeter Exchange Menagerie

Exeter Exchange Menagerie

From about 1773, the upper floors of the Exeter Exchange (a popular shopping arcade) took on a new role: a menagerie of exotic animals. It was formed by Gilbert Pidcock, and upon his death in about 1810, the menagerie passed to Stephani Polito. On his death in 1814, one of his employees, Edward Cross, took… CONTINUE READING…

January Fashion Plates: 1821 & 1824

January Fashion Plates: 1821 & 1824

Today’s fashion plate choices for January are chosen from later in the Regency Era. Notice how far the waist fell from 1821 to 1824, as well as the increased puffiness of the sleeves at the shoulders. In both plates, the bonnets are much larger than typically seen during the earlier years of the Regency. Promenade… CONTINUE READING…

Implements for Writing

Implements for Writing

Whenever I picture folks writing in the bygone days of yore, I always envision the standard quill with pluming feathers. For some strange reason this seems so romantic and dashing! On the other hand, who doesn’t love imagining the marvel as new inventions were revealed? It must have been quite exciting. Those who have read… CONTINUE READING…

KENTUCKY: “My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen Foster

KENTUCKY: “My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen Foster

Today’s blog is a continuation from yesterday’s post about the history of Federal Hill, the plantation estate of the Rowan family that is now known worldwide as “My Old Kentucky Home.” Please read that article first as it sets the foundation for the Kentucky State song of the same name, written by famous American songwriter… CONTINUE READING…

Silk and Taffeta

Silk and Taffeta

SILK is a natural fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The highest quality silk is obtained from the cocoons made by the larvae of mulberry silkworms – Bombyx mori – which are raised in captivity in a process called sericulture. Other caterpillars produce “wild silks” that do not have the same… CONTINUE READING…

Sock Darners

Sock Darners

As a followup of sorts to my blog a couple of weeks ago on the history of stockings, it only made sense to pass on a bit of information on a device invented to mend those delicate foot and leg coverings. Socks and stockings have a bad tendency to wear through the heels and rip… CONTINUE READING…

Frost Fairs on the Thames in the 18th Century

Frost Fairs on the Thames in the 18th Century

The cold spell known by scientists as the “little ice age” continued throughout the 18th century. So too did the hardships associated with such harsh weather, and so too did the Frost Fairs held when the River Thames running through London froze completely solid. Both the severe freezes and the fairs were extraordinary events worthy… CONTINUE READING…

Jellied Eels… Yum! (?)

Jellied Eels… Yum! (?)

In the 1700s, the Thames River in London was replete with eels. Surprisingly easy to catch, these slippery creatures were free for the grabbing, nutritious, and tasty. Nets were set upriver, and the bountiful harvests quickly became a dietary staple for London’s poor. On top of being cheap, they were easy to prepare. The simplest… CONTINUE READING…

Vocabulary Rocks! Reduplication Exact Words

Vocabulary Rocks! Reduplication Exact Words

The repeating of parts of words to make new forms is called reduplication. There are various categories of reduplication words: rhyming, for example okey-dokey exact, for example wee-wee ablaut (vowel substitution), for example zig-zag The impetus for the coining of these seems to be nothing more than the enjoyment of wordplay. The words that make up… CONTINUE READING…