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!

     

Tin Train

Tin Train

Toys that show transport have always fascinated children. Models of horses and carts gave way to toy trains as the excitement of the railway came to Britain, allowing people, for the first time, to travel away from their homes at any speed. In Presteigne, the railway opened in 1875. Imagine how exciting it would have been to see these huge machines! This tin train could shoot along the floor by a clockwork mechanism.

tin train

Mr Venebles, Victorian Chairman of the Magistrates for Radnorshire, says this about trains in the audiotour that takes you around The Judge’s Lodging:

“I was born in 1809, you know, and when I was a young man, there were no railways at all. I used to travel from Radnorshire to college in Cambridge by stagecoach. An eight horse coach, changing at Hereford and Oxford. The Journey back took more than twenty four hours, traveling by day and by night. Nor was it very comfortable, I do assure you, the whole journey was generally performed sitting on a bare board, with no knee apron, or rug. Waterproof coats had not been invented. We young fellows generally traveled as outside passengers, at thruppence a mile, and tried to get the seat next to the driver, to share his leather knee apron. To travel inside cost twice as much, half a servant’s yearly wage for the journey, I suppose. On one occasion, I did travel inside to London. It was exceedingly cold, snowy weather. The coach overturned, and I offered to ride on one of the coach horses for assistance. Being a coach horse, the wretched animal would only trot – five miles trotting on such a beast, bareback, is not over pleasant. Now, by the train, I reach London in less than ten hours for less than a pound. I would scarcely have believed it in my youth.”

presteigne station

In the classroom:

Look at the toy train. What is it made of? Can it move? How? Look at the photograph of Presteigne Station. All the men are waiting for a train to arrive. Can you see the policeman? What are the men on the right waiting to do? Do you think the man sitting on the edge of the platform is a passenger or working there?
Read what Mr Venebles has to say about trains. What would it have been like to travel on the outside of a coach pulled by horses? Could servants afford to travel inside? Could servants afford to travel on trains? Can you think of anything that has been invented in your lifetime? Ask teachers, parents and grandparents what they can think of that has been invented in theirs.

 

 

 

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