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Tagged With: 18th century

The Mysteries of Early 18th Century Living

Last weekend institutional buildings and private homes were generously made available to nose around as part of the annual London Open House 2014.    With so many choices I settled on a private house in Soho; 68 Dean Street built in 1732 to help give me an idea of the house and living conditions that … Continue reading »

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A Face to Find

One of the delights and frustrations of looking at portraits is the fact that so many of these cherished faces from the past have lost their captions.    The people quietly sitting reading, elegantly standing with their hands tucked into their waistcoats or walking arm in arm with a lady, followed by a gambolling dog … Continue reading »

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Why I Write – Thanks to George Orwell

I’m having a bit of sabbatical from writing about Arnold, Joseph and Alexander van Aken (Heacken).  Instead I’m reflecting on some of those niggling questions  – which of the several spellings of the brothers’ name to use, is Arnold truly one of the brothers, where did the three recurring dates of birth come from and … Continue reading »

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Using Literature as a Historical Resource

Finding myself unexpectedly stranded at Eastbourne Railway Station I was seduced by a WH Smith’s book promotion of ‘buy one get one half price’.   I gathered up ‘The Soldier’s Wife’ by Joanna Trollope, herself a piece of history as a descendent of the famous 19th century writer Anthony Trollope who was quoted as saying: “What … Continue reading »

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Less is more

I have been sidetracked the last week or so by a book called The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.   It is a story of a man who owns a lace factory in post-warFrance, but was a former SS intelligence officer in World War II.  This is his memoir.  It is a fictional tale, but reads like … Continue reading »

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Mothers, Families and Springtime

The theme we have chosen for the blogs this month is Mothers (along with anything else that the theme inspires).  Thanks to the sterling help of Annie in our group I now know that the van Aken brothers, Joseph and Alexander, had both their mother and father, Barbara and Peter van Haecken, living in London … Continue reading »

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Romance: Instructions Peculiarly adapted to Young Women

It never ceases to amaze me how many books were printed in the eighteenth century on the subject of etiquette; for children, apprentices, young men, but mainly for young women and new wives[i].   These books seem to combine instructions for a bewildering variety of different subjects. Dr John Trusler[ii] who had published a book about … Continue reading »

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18th Century Romance – The way to a Man’s Heart

In the eighteenth century, romance was a story and marriage was comfort and security; a sentiment that Thomas Fuller seemed to promote in his book Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, published in 1732:  ‘Of soup and love, the first is the best’. My Mum always told me the way to a … Continue reading »

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London Severe Winter Weather: Frost Fair 1740 – Part 2

Frost Fair 1740 Engraving: View of a frost fair on the River Thames in 1740. Figures can be seen visiting a printing stall and a coffee stall amongst others erected on the ice. Engraver unknown.[i] While John Evelyn noted in the winter of 1683/84 that, “The fowls, fish and birds, and all our exotic plants … Continue reading »

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London: Severe Winter Weather (1739-40) – Part 1

The British are well known for their obsession with the weather, but the current severe winter warnings seem over dramatic when compared ‘big freezes’ in the past.   Imagine the winter of 1739-40 that the two surviving van Aken brothers, Joseph and Alexander, lived through.    It started with the easterly winds that brought heavy frosts in … Continue reading »

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