What did Happen During the Regency?

Continuing  snippets of the news two hundred years ago to celebrate and 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Regency era.

  • May 22: - several peoplewere  killed by a house falling at Seven Dials.  
    • This was in one of the poorest and most notorious regions of London in the Parish of St Giles where one also found the worst of the rookeries.  A dangerous place for any Regency buck or miss to wander at any time of the day, but even worse for those that lived there. 
    • Near to Covent Garden, it was called Seven Dials because of the way the streets and alleys come together in one intersection which originally had a sundial in the centre. The first plan in 1690  was for six  streets, but the developer Thomas Neale who planned this to be a smart end of town with large fronted shops, added a seventh in the final plans in order to increase his income from rents.  It never achieved its potential. After his death, the houses were subdivided and quickly became slums, renowned for  gin shops. At times, the area threatened to descend into the undesirable depravity of the St Giles "Rookery" to the north, but it was predominantly a working neighbourhood, with woodcarvers, straw-hat manufacturers, pork butchers, watch repairers, booksellers, pubs and breweries.
    • At one point each of the seven apexes facing the Monument housed a pub, their cellars and vaults connected in the basement providing handy escape routes should the need arise.These days it is very different. It has boutique style shops and a new sense of community. Over 25% of its buildings are "listed" (protected) and many date back to the 1690's. Clearly not the one that fell on these poor people.
  • June14: -The proceedings of the House of Commons state the number of French prisoners in England to be near 50,000.
  • Aug. 21: - A comet made its appearance above the horizon. The Great Comet of 1811.  It is estimated that this comet comes around once every three thousand plus years, so I won't be around to see it the next time. The drawing is by William Henry Smyth in 1811.
  • Sep.11: - Discovery made at the Queen's house that her majesty's court dress had been stolen. Really, how bad is that?
  • November unrest: -- Bands of men appear wearing masks and armed with muskets, pistols and hatchets and break into the small hosiery workshops scattered thoughout country villages. Hammermen carrying hung heavy iron sledgehammers smashed open the doors of the workshops and beat at the wide stocking frames until they are destroyed. E.g. Nov 4 6 frames broken at the village of Bulwell on November 4, a dozen at Kimberley a few nights later. November 13 70 frames smashed in a single attack at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Claimed allegiance to “General Ludd”. Magistrates cannot police the rural jurisdictions. A military force, a squadron of dragoons, the Mansfield Volunteers, two troops of Yeomanry were ineffective.
That is it for now, I hope you enjoyed this peek of life in the first year of the Regency. Until next time Happy Rambles.

Regency Timelines

What was happening in the Regency?
One major thing going on was the war with Napoleon, but there were lots of additional items in the newspapers two.  Here is a selection.

  • Mar.1 A stone weighing fifteen pounds fell from the clouds in Russia.Oops.  I bet that was a surprise.
  • Mar.5: The battle of Barossa gained by Gen. Graham, against the French under Marshal Victor. Sergeant Patrick Masterson captured the first French eagle to be taken in battle by th British from the French, in this case from the 8th of the Line
  • Mar.11: Badajos surrendered to the French.
  • Mar.11: The House of Commons voted a loan of six millions for the relief of merchants and manufacturers. You  will see why, later.
  • Mar.12: Riots at Nottingham, in consequence of distress among workmen.
  • Mar.20: Birth of Bonaparte's son. The king of Rome. Pictured on the left as the Duke of Reichstadt, he became the Emperor of France for fifteen days, when his father abdicated in 1815, though it is doubtful he was aware of it, as he and his mother had fled to Austria. 
  • Mar.23:A riot in Bristol caused by a rise in the price of butter,
  • Mar.26: Sequestrated English merchandise to the amount of £100,000 sterling, burned at Swinemunde.
  • Mar.31: Confiscated English manufacturer to the amount of £50,000 burned at Rugenwalde.
  • Apr. 1: Confiscated English manufactures to the amount of £60,000 burned at Memel.What a lot of waste and loss. This was part of the blockade.
  • Apr.3: At the late Duke Queensberry's sale, his Tokay wine sold at eighty four pounds per dozen. So to put that in perspective when you go to the liquor store, or wherever you buy your wine, that is about £2,852.64 for 12. Tokay is really Tokaji wine. It comes from Hungary and is a sweet wine and was  the subject of the world's first appellation control, established several decades before Port wine and over 120 years before the classification of Bordeaux. Vineyard classification began in 1730 with vineyards being classified into 3 categories depending on the soil, sun exposure and potential to develop noble rot, botrytis cinerea, first class. A royal decree in 1757 established a closed production district in Tokaj. The classification system was completed by the national censuses of 1765 and 1772. Introduced to the French court, it  was also a very popular wine during the regency in England, as indicated by the price.
  • Apr.4: A proclamation to the Berlin Court Gazette, forbidding any English man, or any other foreigner, to enter the Prussian territory  without a passport.
  • Apr.8: several persons killed by the fall of two houses in Ironmonger Row, Old Street.
  • Apr.10: a riot at Brighton between a party of the South Gloucester militia, and a party of the inhabitants,
  • Apr.10: William Gibbs reprieved at the moment when about to be hanged for a robbery committed by his sweetheart of which he had taken upon  himself the guilt in order to save her life. Talk about true love. And the save sounds a bit last minute too.
  • Apr,14: The French Garrison of Olivenza surrendered at discretion to the allied army.
  • Apr.20: Eight persons perished in the conflagration of a house in Half Moon Alley, Bishopsgate.
  • Apr.21: A Young nobleman lost £24,000 at one of the fashionable gambling houses. In today’s money, according to the British National Archives this would be worth in the order of £814,0000 or in US $1,337,238.10. Now I don’t know how you feel about that but my little flutters at the casino amount to $30 in a night.
  • Apr.24:Mackerel sold at Billingsgate, at eight shillings a piece by the hundred. Not so expensive, then.
  • Apr.24: A subscription set on foot at the London Tavern for the relief of the Portuguese.
  • Apr.25: Thirty five men killed, and eighteen wounded, by an explosion of inflammable air in a coal mine near Liege. Interesting how they call it air rather than gas.

  • Apr.29: The commissioners of Hyde Park turnpike let their tolls for £17,000 per annum.  A profit of £580,000 in today's money. One can only imagine how much the person taking the tolls actually made.
That is all from me, until next time, Happy Rambles.

Regency Timelines

What did happen during the Regency? Apart from the fact that a regent ruled England that is.  Give the 200th anniversary of our beloved period, I thought it might be interesting to tract some of the interesting historical events during this period in date order.

So we will start with the year 1811, the Regency having begun in February that year.  George, the Prince Regent, was now heading for forty-nine and was no longer Prince Charming.  Wellesley, who was eventually to become the Duke of Wellington, had been fighting the French on the Iberian Peninsular (Portugal and Spain) since May of 1809.

 January 1811 saw a very cold winter.

  • Jan. 4: A heavy fall of snow rendered the northern roads almost
    impassable. The river Severn froze.  The River Thames froze
  • Jan. 5: Two outside passengers on the Carlisle coach frozen to death.
  • Jan. 10. A monster, or women hater, dangerously wounded a female in St. James's Park
  • Jan. 13: Gallant Action in which the merchant ship Cumberland, Capt. Barratt, beat off four French privateers.
  • Jan. 16: A chimney sweep's boy suffocated in a chimney in Orchard street, Westminister.
  • Jan. 22: The Cosgrove Aqueduct, an iron aqueduct bridge of the Grand Junction Canal  over the river Ouse near Stratford (pictured here), opened for the passage of boats. This is a cast iron trough in which canal boats navigated from one side of the river to the other passing through several locks as it moves up hill. A tow path runs alongside the canal on one side, on the other it looks something like an infinity pool.
  • Jan. 31: there was an eruption of a volcano in 80 fathoms of water, near Azores.
  • Feb.6: His R.H. the Prince of Wales was sworn into office of Regent.
  • Feb.10: A conflagration near Limehouse hole stairs (on the river near the southwest India dock) destroyed four warehouses and twelve dwelling houses.
  • Feb.23: A decree of Bonaparte ordered prisoners of war to be employed as laborers.
  • Feb.26: John Liles sentenced to seven years transportation, for bigamy.
  • Feb.26: Hadje Hassan, ambassador from Algiers, had his first audience of the Prince Regent.
  • Feb.27: The House of representatives in the American congress passed a bill prohibiting intercourse with Great Britain and on Feb. 28 Mr. Pinkney, the American minister in this country, had his audience of leave.
So passes the beginning of the Regency. Until next time, Happy Rambles