I’ve written a guest blog on the top ten weirdest treatments for insanity in history on the wonderful website Historical Honey – a hive of historic content! Enjoy!
Recently, I’ve been a bit bored with conventional literature. It’s all middle-aged male academics, who sit about moaning that their wives just don’t understand them, and it’s not their fault they ran off with that hot young student. And who cares, right? Here are five fantasy books instead. Continue reading
Have you ever gone to hospital for an operation and wondered whether your surgeon had any kind of training? Ever wondered whether your baby’s food is poisonous? Ever wondered whether coroners actually know anything about the causes of the causes of death, or whether they just make something up? No?? Say thank you to Thomas Wakley – boxer, surgeon, editor, coroner, MP, and one of the nineteenth century’s greatest heroes!! Continue reading
The archives world is very concerned with digital obsolescence. This may seem like an obscure topic, but it’s one that’s increasingly going to affect our lives. In 1985 Andy Warhol created some digital artworks and saved them on Amiga disks. After a painstaking 3-year project, they’ve now been recovered from that obsolete data format. That’s not a problem you have to worry about with art on canvas. Continue reading
I have an article out in the June issue of Family Tree Magazine, all about eighteenth century hospital records, specifically maternity records, and how to use them in genealogy research. It’s a great issue, with features on Victorian fatherhood, tracing your police ancestors, the bawdy courts, asylum handicrafts, the First World War, and more!
Last Wednesday I went on an incredible Gin Journey with a company called Shake, Rattle and Stir. For the princely sum of £50 we were taken on a chauffeur-driven tour of five fabulous and hard to find London bars, tasted 5 samples of artisanal gin, and drank five incredible gin cocktails, while learning all about the history and production of this wonderfully English spirit. Much of that knowledge has mysteriously faded away from mind… but I can tell you that gin is simply vodka flavoured with juniper (and other botanicals), and that a mere ten gin and tonics will be enough to prevent you getting malaria!
With criteria like these, it looks the Victorians thought everyone was mad! But who decided if a person was mad or not? And just how did you end up in a Victorian asylum? Continue reading
Many people think Victorian novels are boring novels. I blame schools, for only ever teaching the really dull ones. In fact, Victorian novels are span every genre, style and topic you can think of. Here’s a list of ten fantastically diverse Victorian novels, showing there really is something for everyone. Continue reading
Archivists and conservators the world over face all the same problems – protecting vast collections from the ravages of time, and official indifference. In theory, this sounds a little dry, but in practice it can be very exciting. For example…
A unique collection of over 30,000 photographs, documenting 120 years of life inside Buddhist monasteries in Laos, has been digitised thanks to The British Library’s Endangered Archives programme. The images are not all online yet, but it looks like a fascinating collection, giving a unique insight into the monastic way of life.