header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); Regency Resource Archives – Kristen Koster

A Primer on Regency Era Doctors

 Regency Resource  Comments Off on A Primer on Regency Era Doctors
Oct 312016
 

In this entry about Regency Era doctors for my Regency Primer Series, we’re going to take a look at the medical profession. Just as there are lawyers and barristers, there the different were different types of Regency Era doctors: physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, midwives/accouchers, and barbers/dentists. These differences determined what they practiced and their place in society.
Continue reading »

Jan 152014
 
Hyde Park section of "Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace"

When talking about the Royal London Parks in the Regency, the first thing to remember the word “park” held different meanings from how we (especially Americans) typically think of them today.

So get those visions of benches, swing sets, picnic tables and those box-shaped grills on metal posts out of your head, because our Regency folks would often say a “park” refers to a large open tract of land that is often used for grazing cattle or a place where deer were hunted. You’ll often see the land surrounding a country manor house referred to as a park as well and the author just means that there is a lot of open land surrounding the place that may or may not be landscaped or fenced off.

London Parks in the Regency Era

Today, we’re going to talk a bit about some of the parks in London that Regency Era heroes and heroines might have visited. And I’m using Regency Era to mean the long Regency, which continues through the reigns of George IV, William IV and ends when Queen Victoria was crowned.
Continue reading »

Nov 052013
 

In Britain, today is Guy Fawkes Day. You might recognize him better as the face of Anonymous or that fellow in V for Vendetta. There’s a reason for that.

This post was originally published here on 11/5/2010, but I think it bears repeating in the current political and economic climates. People are unhappy and they’re always looking for someone to blame. Most will not take it upon themselves to act for the better of all, but some will take it into their heads that Fate has tapped them on the shoulder and they must act. Unfortunately, these aren’t the type of actions that will help. Many of us enjoy the right to vote. Some harder fought to gain than others. If you’ve got an upcoming election, exercise your right. If you don’t, take advantage of the opportunities to contact your elected officials and let them know how they’re doing and what needs doing in their area.


Guy Fawkes Day: Conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot: November 5, 1605
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

I’d never heard of Guy Fawkes’ Day/Night while I was growing up in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. And, Bonfire Night was the night before Homecoming when an effigy of the other team was offered up as a ritual sacrifice to the almighty football gods. I do remember my mother often saying “Remember, remember, the 5th of November” on that day and seeing references to it in the Regency and Victorian romance novels I read over the years, so I was curious to what this holiday was all about since it’s cropped up in pop culture recently with movies like V for Vendetta and thanks to 4-Chan many different groups of protesters have adopted the traditional Guy mask as a show of solidarity and a way to preserve their anonymity.

So when I asked my 13 year old daughter, if she knew what today was, I got a blank look. So, in explaining how Guy Fawkes was the fellow who was caught in connection with the Gunpowder Plot, she was highly amused by some of the traditions the British have kept in celebrating this holiday.

“So, that was around the time of the Declaration of Independence?” She’s studying the American Revolution and Constitution currently, so she tries to relate everything to that. Nearly two hundred years earlier, the Gunpowder Plot planned to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605 in an effort to not just protest his stance on Catholicism but to assassinate King James I. November 5th was chosen because it was the day Parliament was scheduled to reopen and the King would be present.

“People celebrate this? Why? How?” The idea was that they were happy to have avoided the disaster and also serves as a warning to Parliament to keep the desires of the people in mind as they make their decisions and laws. In England and several former British colonies, like Australia, the night is marked by bonfires, burning effigies of Guy Fawkes or other current political villains, and fireworks.

“What?! Fireworks? Really? Silly Brits.” Remember, it was also to serve as a warning of what could have happened had it not been uncovered. She was unconvinced, claiming it was rather ironic to celebrate preventing a catastrophic explosion and fire by setting off intentional ones. And then I mentioned that in one town, Ottery St. Mary in Devon, they celebrate by carrying flaming barrels of tar through the streets and how the people carrying the barrels had passed the tradition down through their families. Such a stretch for her modern imagination.

“Don’t they celebrate Halloween?” These days, it’s becoming more popular to celebrate with trick or treating, American-style, but in the mid-1600s, Oliver Cromwell’s puritanical rule abolished All Hallow’s Eve and many other traditional celebrations and feasts that he associated with pagan ways. Many of the traditions such as the bonfire on November 1st was simply shifted to November 5th and stayed there. Despite the fascination of the occult, paranormal and gothic romances, the people of the extended Regency period, which gave birth to some of our most familiar Halloween icons: Frankenstein and the headless horsemen, would have been more familiar with bonfires celebrating Guy Fawkes Night and burning a “Guy”.

Guy, guy, guy
Poke him in the eye,
Put him on the bonfire,
And there let him die

“A guy? A real one?” No, not a real person! Sort of like a scarecrow dressed up to look like Guy Fawkes. Kids would make these, and in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, they’d sit out with them by the side of the street begging, “A penny for the Guy?” so they could defray their expenses in making this annual effigy. The practice eventually evolved into asking for money to be spent on fireworks, but modern sensibilities worry that the money will be misspent on more dangerous things and sales of fireworks to children have been limited.

So, I’m not sure I explained it well for my daughter, but she did get a taste of a different culture than the one she’s used to and I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate it into a plot. But then I wonder if I could do it justice, not having experienced the tradition firsthand. Some day, maybe.

Sep 282012
 

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group was asked, “If you could do anything for writing research, what would you do?”

Honestly, this was a no-brainer for me. I’d head over to Suzi Love’s blog and pull up her category of posts for the Best Places to Visit that relate to Regency England and start mapping out an itinerary. Since the question seemed to imply that time and money weren’t obstacles, I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about leaving anywhere off the list.

Oh, and I’d definitely take my camera. So I could go back later and revisit everything. Although I might have to invest in a few more memory cards.

I’ve never been to England, but as you can imagine, would love to go. Getting me to come home might be a problem. Hopefully, I wouldn’t fall through a time portal or anything so melodramatic while I was there, but I’m sure I’d come home with a whole flock of plot bunnies.

Your Turn: So what would you do for research on your creative project?


And if you’d like to read how the rest of my accountability group would like to do in the name of research, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

Jul 032012
 
Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

With fireworks in the night skies this week as both Canada and the US celebrate their birthdays, I got to thinking about Vauxhall Gardens where fireworks were a common entertainment in the Georgian and Regency periods.

During the Regency, the relatively cheap price of admission (about 3 shilling and sixpence during the early 19th century) and a growing middle class drove the popularity of Vauxhall Gardens. You could go and listen to an orchestra play, see the fireworks, and find light refreshment or cold suppers served in one of the boxes or alcoves.

Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

Like going to the fair today, the cost of such fare was not cheap. In 1817, a small dish of ham, two small chickens cost 11 shillings and dessert of assorted tarts, custards and cheesecakes were another four. Notably, the ham served was pronounced to be “as thin as muslin” or “able to read a newspaper through it”. The Gardens was also known for its arrack punch, made by mixing arrack (an Indian liquor derived from areca nut, a palm seed originating in India from the areca tree), rum and sugar.

One feature of note, especially to writers and readers of fiction in this era, was the practice of chartering boats from Whitehall and Westminster to reach the gardens located in Kennington, on the south bank of the Thames. This was an option for those who could afford it instead of crossing Westminster Bridge, which made the gardens accessible by road after 1750, and provided a way to show off their status.

Vauxhall GardensThe grounds of The Gardens were lush and expansive, decorated with waterfalls, stone and thatched pavilions, and a canal running through with two elegant cast-iron bridges, in the Chinese manner. A sham castle was also prominent and planted with several pieces of cannon, bowling greens, swings, and thatched umbrellas as a shelter from sudden rains and storms.

Another feature often mentioned in Regency Romances are the many paths illuminated by as many as 15,000 colorful glass lanterns hung among the trees. Most famous of these were the Grand Walk, a wide avenue lined with stately elms that was over 900 feet long, and the “Dark Paths”, a collection of less illuminated serpentine walks, which were far more suited to seduction and discreet rendezvous for the romantic leads.

By the Georgian era, The Gardens could accommodate crowds numbering above 60,000 for the jubliee celebration in 1786 with nightly entertainments that began in the month of May. In 1813, a fête was held on June 20th, to celebrate the victory at Vittoria. All sorts of people visited The Gardens ranging from families, to businessmen, to vendors looking to make a profit from visitors, to the cream of society wishing to be seen.

The wide variety of entertainments included acrobatics and tightrope acts, equestrian feats, and balloon ascents, and in 1827, the Battle of Waterloo was re-enacted with 1,000 soldiers participating. But as the 19th century progressed, the gardens fell into disrepair and the crowds and entertainments became less reputable as well and the popularity of the gardens faded and closed in July of 1859.


To learn a bit more about the history from 1660 to the present of these pleasure gardens, Jane Austen’s World has a wonderful blog post, A Visit to Vauxhall Gardens by Tony Grant, that includes a detailed map of Vauxhall dating from 1800.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including other Regency London Landmarks can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.

Jun 292012
 

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group is sharing shout outs for the people and sites who make our lives so much easier in the research department. If you’re looking for fabulous resources for Regency research, check out the sites and people listed below.

Regency Research: 173/366 Hydrangea

THANK YOU! For bringing a bright spot to my day and making research fun, interesting and easier!

I’m not sure if everyone mentioned will see this post, but THANK YOU for your interest, your time and love of the Regency Era. You have definitely inspired me on many levels and I can only hope my own blog and pages here are as useful to others as yours have been to me. Again, thank you for all you do.

Useful Sites for Regency Research

The Regency Collection and especially for the section on Neckclothitania and how to tie Regency style cravats.

Jane Austen’s World is a wonderful blog devoted to, yup, the world of Jane Austen! Lots of great Regency resources and articles to be found here.
You can also follow Vic on Pinterest and twitter at @janeaustenworld.

The Regency World of Author Lesley-Anne McLeod
You can also follow her on twitter at @lesleyannemc.

Shannon Donnelly’s research articles on horses and everything related You can also follow her on twitter at @sdwriter.

Susanna Ive’s Regency research links You can also follow her on twitter at @SusannaIves.

Nancy Mayer Regency Researcher Nancy is the go to gal for answers on the Beau Monde chapter’s Facebook group and their member’s only forum.

Suzi Love’s Blog articles and her various Research Links. You can also follow her on twitter at @suzilove.

Angelyn Schmid collects The Assembly Room posts for the Beau Monde blog, but she also has a great Regency blog. You can also follow her on twitter at @AngelynSchmid.

David W Wilkin has a great blog over at The Things That Catch My Eye where he’s been doing a lot of Regency timelines, notable personalities and lexicon entries. You can also follow him on twitter at @DWWilkin.


I also have more links saved in my Regency Resources page (which looks like I need to update it again with some these!) so feel free to browse over there and see if you find anything interesting.

YOUR TURN: What are some of YOUR favorite places to do do research? Hint: it doesn’t have to be Regency or Writing related at all! I’m curious about all sorts of things.

And if you’d like to read about who the rest of my accountability group are highlighting, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

Mar 062012
 
A painting entitled, "Kick-up at the Hazard Table" by Thomas Rowlandson.

If you’ve ever come across the phrase “She was at sixes and sevens” in a historical novel and wondered what it meant, you may be surprised to learn it originated from the game of Hazard and generally is used to mean in a state of chaos or agitation. This popular dicing game has been around since the 14th century and the phrase “Set upon six and seven” first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and referred to betting one’s entire fortune on a single throw of the dice. We also get the modern meanings of “risk” and “danger” associated with the word “hazard” from this notion as well.

History of The Game of Hazard

A painting entitled, "Kick-up at the Hazard Table" by Thomas Rowlandson.

“Kick-up at the Hazard Table” by Thomas Rowlandson

Hazard is an old English game played with two dice. One of the more popular places to play Hazard in the late 18th and early 19th century was Crockford’s Club in London. The name is commonly thought to be Old French, but likely derived from the Spanish “azar”, which is “an unfortunate card or dice roll”. There’s some speculation the game was allegedly first played by the crusaders laying siege to a castle, called Hazart or Asart, in the 12th century or that the name came from the Arabic word “az-zahr”, meaning “dice” but little evidence can be found in classic Arabic dictionaries. The modern game of Craps evolved from Hazard, which is basically a variation, where throws of 7 or 11 always win.

Despite its complicated rules, Hazard was very popular during the 17th and 18th centuries and well into the 19th where gambling of the nobility was a favorite past time to chase away the boredom and make some extra money.

The Basic Rules of Hazard

In each of the many rounds the caster picks out a number between 5 and 9, inclusive. This is called the “main”, then the caster throws two dice.

If the caster rolls the main numbers, you win, which is called “throws in” or “nicks”. If you roll a 2 or 3 you will lose, or “throws out”.

If the caster rolls a 11 or 12, the result of that throw depends on the “main”:

  • a main of 5 or 9, the caster “throws out” with both an 11 and 12.
  • a main of 6 or 8, the caster “throws out” with an 11 but “nicks” with a 12.
  • a main of 7, the caster “nicks” an 11 but “throws out” with a 12.
  • if the caster doesn’t “nick” or “throw out”, that number is called the “chance”, then you throw the dice again.
  • if the caster rolls “the main” on a “chance” you will lose, unlike when you first threw.
  • if the caster rolls neither of them, they keep throwing the dice until one or other is rolled, either winning with “chance” or losing with the “main”.
19th Century ivory or bone dice and wooden cup.

Ivory or bone dice and wooden cup, 19th c.

As long as the caster keeps winning, he keeps on playing. If the caster loses three times in a row, the dice pass to the player on his left.

Bets on this game are usually between the caster and the bank, or “setter”. The remaining players may act in this role as well.

A nick on the first throw wins the caster an amount equal to his stake or wager. The setter or bank gives odds if the setter throws a “chance”.


You can even hone your skills for free by playing Hazard in a flash game at DeviantArt by Drakonlady.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including how to play Whist can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.

Feb 282012
 

Many historical romance novels feature card rooms at balls, clubs or dinner parties and gaming hells where rakes wager over the turn of a card or toss of a dice. Many games that are no longer familiar to us are rattled off: hazard, piquet, faro, and whist. Often, the games chosen have meaning for the characters playing. A man who plays hazard is a great risk taker, where a whist player is a serious strategist and has a good memory for counting cards.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the game of whist. One of my projects involves a decisive game of whist, so last summer I decided I needed to learn how to play. Luckily, there’s lots of documentation available on the basic rules and strategies for play as well as some online game venues which allow for free play (link at the end!). So now you can experience the game for yourself and know what they’re talking about the next time you read about it in the context of a Regency romance novel.

How to Play Whist: Image of a playing card from Hall & Sons, early 19th century.

The Jack of Hearts. Early 19th c. playing card from Hall & Sons. Notice the face card has a single head and centered eyes compared to modern cards. The backs also would have been plain white.

History of Whist

“That’s not according to Hoyle!” and “According to Hoyle,…” were popular phrases in my grandparents’ house. Edmond Hoyle was considered quite the expert on cards and other games in the 18th century. He wrote many pamphlets or treatises on various games such as Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Backgammon as well as a books on probability theory and chess. In 1748, his pamphlets were collected and sold under the title of Mr. Hoyle’s Treatises of Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Chess and Back-Gammon.

The rules of whist as published in A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742 were considered authoritative until 1864, when they were supplanted by John Loraine Baldwin’s new rules which were adopted by the Arlington and Portland clubs.

Whist remained popular through the late 19th century and acquired a rigid set of rules, etiquette and techniques that required a large amount of study to become a successful player. In the early 20th century, Bridge replaced Whist in popularity, especially in the United States, although Whist is still played in Britain at local tournaments called “Whist Drives”.

How to Play Whist

Preparation

What we think of now as a standard 52-card deck or during the Regency what was known as a French deck, is used. Cards are ranked in order from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, down to the deuce (or two).

Four players form two pairs and the partners sit opposite each other at the table. Pairs may be chosen by drawing cards: two highest against the two lowest. Players may not comment on the cards they are dealt in any way or signal their partners.

Shuffling & Dealing

Typically, two decks of cards are used to allow the dealer’s partner to shuffle one deck to have it ready for the dealer of the next hand while the dealer deals. Cards are shuffled by the player to the left of the dealer and cut by the player on his right.

All cards are dealt out face down until each player has 13 cards in their hand. The last card to be dealt, belonging to the dealer, is placed face up to indicate the trump suit. This card remains face up until the dealer plays the first “trick”. After all thirteen tricks are played, the dealer advances clockwise.

Taking Tricks

The first trick is lead by the player on the dealer’s left. He may play any card in his hand. Play continues clockwise with players following the leading suit if they if have any in their hand. If a player doesn’t possess cards in the suit lead in the trick, they may either discard any card or trump by playing a card of the trump suit. A trick is won by the highest card in the lead suit, unless a trump card was played. If multiple trumps were played the highest takes the trick.

The winner of the trick collects the 4 cards played and places them face down in a stack near him. He then leads the next trick. Only cards from the previous trick may be reviewed before the lead card of the next is played, otherwise players are expected to remember what has been played. Play continues until all 13 tricks are played and then the score is recorded.

How to Play Whist: A whist counter dating from 1820.

A whist counter dating from around 1820.

Scoring Hands & Determining the Winners

Once all 13 tricks have been played, the pair collecting the most tricks scores 1 point for each trick taken in excess of six (called ‘making book’). A game is over when a team reaches 5 points. Variations include playing to 7 or 9 points.

It was often popular to play a “rubber of whist” which meant that the winners were determined by the best of three games.

Whist Counters or Markers

How to Play Whist: Whist Tokens - with a storage tin.

Whist tokens and storage tin. Four tokens could be used to score 9 point games.

Tokens or chips were originally used to record the score, but later in the 19th century dial counters and hinged pegs (or turnups) that snapped up to keep track of the score. Cheaper versions included cardboard and leather dial types and the more elaborate more expensive varieties might include exotic woods, ivory, mother of pearl. Two of the well-known producers of whist counters or whist markerswere Goodall & Sons and De La Rue.

Basic Whist Glossary

Trump
The suit of the last card dealt in a hand that beats all others regardless of rank, cards within the trump suit rank normally against each other.
Lead
The first card played in a trick.
Trick
The 4 cards played by each participant
Hand
13 tricks, once through the deck.
Small Slam
When 12 of thirteen tricks are taken by one team.
Grand Slam
When all 13 tricks are taken by one team.
Book
The first 6 tricks taken by a pair. Points for additional tricks taken are scored only after they ‘make book’.
Game
Played to an agreed upon point total, usually 5, 7 or 9.
Rubber
The winning pair is the best of three games.

You can even hone your skills for free by playing Whist Online at Games.com. If you’re just learning, I recommend choosing single player mode, which partners you with a computer player against two other computer controlled players.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including how to play Hazard can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.

A Regency Round-Up on Valentine’s Day

 Regency Resource  Comments Off on A Regency Round-Up on Valentine’s Day
Feb 142012
 

Regency Valentine: Oldest mailed Valentine's card from 1790, now at British Postal Museum.

This handmade puzzle card is from 1790, now kept at the British Postal Museum, is not for sale. Text on face of the card reads:
“My dear the Heart which you behold,
Will break when you the same unfold,
Even so my heart with lovesick pain,
Sure wounded is and breaks in twain.”

There isn’t a lot of information available regarding how Valentine’s Day was celebrated in the early 19th Century. Most Regency Valentine’s cards (mostly handmade love letters) were considered ephemera and not held onto except in rare circumstances. You’ll notice I didn’t title this post as a primer, because I didn’t feel I could speak on the topic with much authority. I could have gone with the language of flowers for today’s topic, but many others have done that as well, and I didn’t feel it was limited to Valentine’s Day as it is now.

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day, as well as Christmas, can be laid at the feet of the Victorians. Industrialization was in full-swing and mass production of cards and trinkets was easier and cheaper than ever before. The Regency swains would have had to be much more resourceful, personal and creative to present their sweethearts with something memorable. Lucky, ladies! However, in the early 19th century, it wasn’t just the upper class that was sending notes and tokens of love and affection to their sweethearts, but something that was done across all classes.

Regency Valentine: Oldest printed Valentine's Day Card from 1797.

The oldest “printed” card was published in January 1797 by John Fairburn of 146, Minories, London. The text around the edge reads:
"Since on this ever Happy day,
All Nature’s full of Love and Play
Yet harmless still if my design,
‘Tis but to be your Valentine."

Instead of distilling many similar posts down today, I’m going to link you directly to the sources I would have used in penning today’s primer.

Ruth Axtell’s Reflections on Valentine’s Day at the Christian Regency blog

Bronwen Evans’ A Regency Valentine’s Day on her blog

Elaine Golden’s Getting Ready for Valentine’s Day? post at GoodReads

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee’s Valentine’s Day! post at Risky Regencies

Loretta Chases’ Valentine’s Day in the early 19th century at Two Nerdy History Girls

Susan Holloway Scott’s post A Father Warns Against the “Depravity” of Valentines at Two Nerdy History Girls


Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day!

Jan 242012
 
The Frost Fair, London 1814.

In the last entry in the Regency Primer Series we learned three ways to tie a Regency era cravat. This week, we’re going back in time to the last last frost fair. The last time the River Thames was frozen solid and the ships stood still and Londoners organized an impromptu festival in the middle of the river was in 1814.

The Little Ice Age

The Last Frost Fair: Painting of London Bridge Frost Fair in 1814.

London Bridge Frost Fair 1814

Between 1408 and 1814, the Thames River froze over 26 times in great solid sheets of ice. During this period, British winters were harsher and the river was wider and slower moving than it is today. This period was referred to as “The Little Ice Age” as a description of the severe winter weather characterized it.

The Last Frost Fair: Painting of the frozen Thames River off Three Cranes Wharf in 1814.

View of the Frozen Thames River off Three Cranes Wharf in 1814.

The Frost Fair of 1814 began on February 1st, lasted for four days. No one knew it  was to become the last Frost Fair in London, but the previous time the Thames had frozen over was in 1795. The city was ready to brave the ice and celebrate with a sprawling festival in the middle of the river.

John Ashton described the frolickers of the Frost Fair in his book, Social England under the Regency. He mentions that they drank in tents “with females,” played skittles, and danced reels. He also includes depictions of more sedate coffee-drinking and gaming booths. Printing presses were set up on the ice to print souvenir cards. The Annual Register noted that the frivolity continued until the ice began to break up forcing people scrambled for safety, not all successfully.

Old London Bridge Demolished

The Last Frost Fair: The Frost Fair, 1814 LondonIn addition to the climate growing milder, Old London Bridge was demolished in the 1830s and the new bridge supported wider arches, allowing the tide to flow more quickly and freely past. Combined with the embanking of the river that occurred during the 19th Century, this sped up the current and prevented the Thames from fully freezing over again.

The Last Frost Fair: The Frost Fair, London 1814.

The Frost Fair of 1814, by Luke Clenell.

“Gambols on the river Thames, Feby. 1814” by the famous caricaturist, George Cruikshank, shows a frost fair in the region of Blackfriars Bridge. As was his custom, no one was safe from ridicule and mockery. To the right in the foreground is a waterman with skittles and behind him a man’s wooden leg has caught in the ice. To the right is a printing press and in the center a woman has slipped on the ice next to a fiddler playing music as a couple dances.
The Last Frost Fair: Gambols on the River Thames, Feby. 1814 by George Cruikshank

Never Say Never

In true British fashion, in 2003 there was a revival of sorts of the spirit of the Frost Fairs of old. In Bankside, the one-day festival quickly grew to an event that spanned two weekends. The Bankside Winter Festival was modeled after the Christmas markets and featured many other events, including a lantern parade. Unfortunately, it looks as if 2008 was perhaps the last time it was held. I’d love to be proven wrong! It sounds like an amazing time.


More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.