Strange But True

Strange But True

  • Inexpressibles

    The name given to the tight trousers worn by some Regency gentlemen, such as the notorious Beau Brummell and his ‘dandy’ followers,  as they showed off their leg muscles.

  • What did Victoria do first

    after her coronation in 1837?  Have a parliamentary meeting?  Have tea with all the royal dignitaries?  No – she gave her dog, Dash, a bath.

     

  • Now that’s what we call a cake!

    Victoria and Albert’s wedding cake was a colossal 9 feet wide and weighed 300 pounds.

     

  • Victorian ladies’ knickers had no middle

    Once they got all those big dresses on, they couldn’t reach their knickers to pull them down, so they could stand over a potty to wee with these on instead.

     

  • Would you wee in your dining room?

    Victorian gentlemen did! Some dining rooms (like ours) had a special cupboard to house a chamber pot so all the gentlemen could go for a wee without leaving the table (once the ladies had left the room, of course!).

     

  • The last ducking stool to be used in England

    (in 1809) can still be seen not far from us in the Priory Church, Leominster, Herefordshire. It’s huge.

     

Handy Hints

Handy Hints

  • An insect trap

    Scoop out the inside of a turnip, scallop the edges, and place it downward in the earth. The insects will pass into it as a place of retreat through the holes, and the cucumbers, squashes, melons etc., may soon be clear of them.  1852

     

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

  • Anti-magnetic properties of the onion

    The magnetic power of a compass needle, will be entirely discharged or changed by being touched with the juice of an onion.

     

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

  • To clean gilt buckles, chains &c.

    Dip a soft brush in water, rub a little soap on it, and brush the article for a minute or two, then wash it clean, wipe it, and place it near the fire till dry, then brush it with burnt bread finely powdered. 1823

     

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

  • To remove grease from books

    Lay upon the spoon a little magnesium or powdered chalk, and under it the same; set on it a warm flat iron, and as soon as the grease is melted, it will be all absorbed, and leave the paper clean. 1852

     

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

  • Antidote against mice

    Gather wild mint, put it where you wish to keep them out, and they will not trouble you. 1852

     

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

  • Keeping your kettle clean

    To prevent teakettles coating with lime – put the shell of an oyster in the teakettle and the lime will adhere to it, instead of coating the sides. 1852

    As with all our historical handy hints, this is a real tip from a Victorian book. We cannot say that it’ll work and it’s up to you if you want to try!

     

Dolls

Dolls

Victorian Doll

The two dolls shown here are an excellent way to see the difference between what rich and poor girls would have had to play with. The large doll has a porcelain face and hands, which would have been expensive to produce, glass eyes, with a leather body stuffed with sawdust. Her hair is real human hair, purchased by doll-makers from poor women who sold it to get money. Some porcelain dolls were not to be played with. They were beautiful objects to be looked at, and show how rich the family who owned them were. The wooden or ‘Dutch’ dolls were much cheaper. They could be bought and also made for a poorer child. This one has moving arms and legs, but some had no limbs (called ‘stump’ dolls), they could be made from clothes pegs, spoons and even old shoes. Dolls helped girls learn about looking after others, provided a companion for a lonely child, and by taking them to ‘tea -parties’ gave a way for children to socialise. They could spend many hours making clothes and accessories for them, improving their sewing and craft skills. The drawing comes from an article in The Girl’s Own Annual, 1880, and illustrated an article called How to Dress Dolls.

In the classroom: 

Look at the photograph. Which doll belonged to a rich and which to a poor girl? What is each doll made of? Where did the hair come from for the china doll and why? What things could you make a doll out of if you had no money? What sort of games could they play with their dolls?
Look at the drawing. How many different types of doll are there? Do you think some of these dolls would have been owned by boys? Which ones? Which cost the most money and would it have been played with? Can you see dolls made out of rags, wood and porcelain?
You could make a doll for a poor girl using a wooden spoon or clothes peg as a body. Clothes can be made from any scraps of material.

 

doll drawing

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