Thursday, 25 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Just spotted the Devil's Whore on YouTube. If you haven't seen it it's well worth a look! There are a number of historical inaccuracies in the series, but it does give a good overview of the lives of women during the Civil War.
ps: I wrote a short review of the series which you can find here.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Despite, or perhaps because of, this, it does give an interesting insight into social history, and with that in mind, my first post highlights the way our diets and purchasing options have changed. We now take it for granted that we can, for example, buy fresh strawberries at Christmas, but that wasn't always the case.
This extract from The Book of Household Management lists what would have been available in January ... assuming you were wealthy enough to afford them.
FISH.—Barbel, brill, carp, cod, crabs, crayfish, dace, eels, flounders, haddocks, herrings, lampreys, lobsters, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, shrimps, skate, smelts, soles, sprats, sturgeon, tench, thornback, turbot, whitings.
MEAT.—Beef, house lamb, mutton, pork, veal, venison.
POULTRY.—Capons, fowls, tame pigeons, pullets, rabbits, turkeys.
GAME.—Grouse, hares, partridges, pheasants, snipe, wild-fowl, woodcock.
VEGETABLES.—Beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, chervil, cresses, cucumbers (forced), endive, lettuces, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, spinach, turnips,—various herbs.
FRUIT.—Apples, grapes, medlars, nuts, oranges, pears, walnuts, crystallized preserves (foreign), dried fruits, such as almonds and raisins; French and Spanish plums; prunes, figs, dates.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Updated to add: I can't get the video to appear here, so if you aren't seeing it, here is the link.
I found this video highlighting the work of the suffragette movement over on YouTube. I know their efforts are often dismissed nowadays, and it is true that the combined effort of women in World War 1 probably did play a bigger part in them winning the right to vote, but I still think the suffragettes were admirable and they certainly focused national attention on to the issue of womens' suffrage. We owe them a lot!
This video sadly isn't embeddable, but it gives a more detailed look at the suffragette movement, and the music (Aretha Franklyn) is pretty funky.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
You're probably familiar with scenes in historical dramas in which a character becomes ill and is then 'bled' by a physician. You've also probably wondered quite what that was supposed to achieve; nowadays, the idea of inflicting a further injury on an already sick person seems a bit bizarre. However, a few centuries go it all made perfect sense.
Up until the 18th - 19th centuries, medicine was strongly influenced by ancient Greek and Roman teachings, which included the concept of 'humours'. The humours were black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood, and it was believed these four elements were present in every human being. If a person was healthy, then their humours were in balance; if they fell ill, it was because their humours were imbalanced. Bleeding, either with leeches or through a deliberate wound, was the cure if the patient was found to have too much blood.
These practices continued for centuries, despite their inefficacy and were only supplanted with the advent of more modern medicine - which ironically probably drew more on folk medicine, at least in terms of new drug treatments, than anything which was advocated by previous generations of the medical profession.