Brighton Pavilion

In the 1780s architect Henry Holland converted an old farmhouse near the sea front in Brighton to be a pleasure villa. That building was altered, on the instructions of George (Prince Regent, later George IV) to become a glorious folly in which he could entertain guests. Work began in 1815 under the instructions of John Nash, but it was not until 1823 that the final flourishes were added to the building.

The site already had a domed structure in the form of the Stables, created in the early 1800s in the then fashionable “Hindoo” style. The design bore little or no resemblance to true Indian architecture and was rather more a dream of what England thought India was like – or should be like. In 1809 the fiirst Indian restaurant opened in London but it was never a huge success and closed three years later. All things Indian and “Hindoo” were therefore already falling from fashion when George gave the style his support.

While the exterior of the building is based on Indian influences, even if loosely, the interior is decidedly Chinese. Once again, however, the artists and craftsmen involved in its production knew very little about the country and the overall result is a dream of how they believed it was, rather than reality. Lots of dragons and bamboo but very little restraint. Overall the result is the architectural equivalent of a wedding cake – over dressed on the outside and extremely cloying on the inside. However, it is typical of Brighton, the home of Aubrey Beardsley.

In his BBC2 series Abroad Again in Britain historian Jonathan Meades pointed out that the building was never at the height of fashion and was certainly nothing like the commonly-accepted Regency style. He also called it an “ode to excess” and said: “It’s so rich it’s almost emetic”. That is probably true. It is, however, typical of George – Prince of Wales, Regent and dandy – overblown and extravagant.

H M Coastguard – a history

HM Coastguard has a history dating back more than 200 years. In the 18th century many goods were transported by ship around the coasts of the UK because there was no effective road network overland. But the hazardous conditions meant that many lives were lost, often within sight of the coast.

Several life saving organisations were established to combat the problem but the Exchequer was more concerned with another problem. The shipping system was open to abuse and there was ample opportunity for smuggling. Duty was imposed on many imported goods such as brandy, silk, tea and tobacco.So the tax office set up a customs house in each port with staff who could search cargoes and collect import dues.

Nevertheless, smuggling was still rife. By 1743 it was estimated that half of the tea drunk in Britain was brought into the country illegally. In 1809 the Board of Customs set up a Preventative Water Guard to combat the problem.

They patrolled the coast in small boats looking out for smugglers. In 1816 their organisation was taken over by the Treasury and had 151 stations in 31 districts. Staff were all experienced naval sailors or fishermen.

By the 1820s officers were expected to monitor wrecks to ensure that cargoes were safe from looting. In 1821 a committee of inquiry looked at the customs service and the Preventative Water Guard was renamed the Coast Guard but its primary function was still as a customs force.

Soon after, however, the Admiralty began issuing new uniforms and safety gear as well as training the force in safety drill. In 1856 the Coast Guard Act was passed and defined the force’s primary function as being safety, rather than tax collection.

In 1808 Captain Manby experimented with firing mortars to carry rescue lines to ships. The first practical rescue was of the Elizabeth, which was 150 yards offshore.

The first RNLI gold medal for gallantry was issued in 1824 to Charles Freemantle of Lymington Coastguard who swam with a line to rescue the crew of the Carl Jean off Christchurch.

Timeline 1900 – 1914

Timeline index

Marquess of Queensbury (boxing rules) dies

Creation of the Labour Party

Relief of Mafeking

Paris International Exhibition – Metro system opens

Campaign for pure beer

Coca-Cola arrives in the UK

Oscar Wilde dies

Planck proposes quantum theory

Arthur Evans starts work at

Blood types A, B & C discovered

Sigmund Freud publishes “The Interpretation of Dreams”

Queen Victoria dies


Toulouse-Lautrec dies

Boxing legalised

Walt Disney born (d.1966)


Nobel Prizes first awarded

Willhelm Roentgen wins Nobel Physics prize for discovery of X-rays

Gillette launches first disposable razor

1st diesel motor car goes on show in UK

1st Transatlantic wireless message sent by Guglielmo Marconi

Masefield’s “Salt-Water Ballads

End of Boer War

Ban on women bar staff in Glasgow overturned by appeal court

New York State bans flirting in public

Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”

HG Wells’s “The First Men on the Moon”

Conan-Doyle revives Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

Emile Zola dies

London smallpox outbreak brings calls for national vaccination programme

1st special effects movie “A Trip to the Moon” produced by George Melies

Barbituric acid (sleeping pills) patented

Tour de France cycle race launched

Paul Gaugin dies

James McNeill Whistler dies

Barbara Hepworth (sculptor) born (d.1975)

George Orwell born (d. 1950)

Wilber and Orville Wright make first powered flight

Richard Gatling dies

Kew Bridge opens over River Thames

London’s first electric trams

Marie Curie wins Nobel Prize

Henry Morton Stanley dies

Salvador Dali born (d.1989)

1st attempt at talking pictures

Metropolitan Underground line electrified in London

Automobile Association founded

Dr Thomas John Barnardo dies

Jules Verne dies

Einstein’s Miracle year including Special Theory of Relativity

First successful cornea transplant takes place in Olomouc (Czech

Mt Vesuvius erupts

San Francisco earthquake

Paul Cezanne dies

Henrik Ibsen dies

Position of magnetic north established

Pierre Curie dies in road accident

Sonar invented

1st picture transmitted by telegraph

Finland elects worlds first women MPs

Rudyard Kipling gets Nobel Prize for literature

Herge born (Creator of Tintin. d.1983)

Baden-Powell forms the Boy Scout movement

Edvard Grieg (Norwegian composer) dies

Pavlov’s dogs experiment
Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”

W G Grace plays his last season

NSPCC founder Rev Benjamin Waugh dies

Jack Johnson becomes the first black world heavyweight boxer

First Model T Ford

1st person to die in a plane crash is Lt Thomas Selfridge (26)

Ernest Rutherford wins Nobel chemistry prize

Physicist Henri Becquerel dies

1st closed top double decker buses arrive in Widnes

1st old age pension paid in the UK  – 5/- a week

Bakelite first manufactured commercially

Louis Bleriot is first man to fly across the Channel

Crippen hanged

Girl Guides formed

Mount Etna erupts

Edward VII dies

Florence Nightingale dies

Mark Twain dies (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Holman Hunt dies

Leo Tolstoy dies

Wicken Fen drainage engine built

Marie Curie isolates pure radium

The Daylight Comet
Return of Halley’s Comet

Royal Liver Building, Liverpool built

“Spirit of Ecstasy” figurine commissioned for Rolls-Royce

Work completed on saving Winchester Cathedral from the “flood”

Joseph Pulitzer (journalist and publisher) dies

Middlesborough Transporter
Bridge opens

Marie Curie receives (her second) Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Both boats sink in University Boat Race

First aeroplane parachute jump made

Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) founded

1st Keystone Cops film

Samuel Taylor Coleridge dies

Titanic sinks

Marconi invents wireless compass

Continental drift theory proposed by Alfred Wegener

Joseph Lister (antiseptic pioneer) dies

Suffragette Emily Davison dies

Robert Falcon Scott and team found dead in Antarctica

Panama Canal opens

Edison invents telephone recorder

First World War starts

Sir John Tenniel (Alice illustrator) dies

Edison patents electric miners’ safety lamp

Eyam – the plague village

In 1665 a bolt of cloth was delivered from London to the Derbyshire village of Eyam. The cloth was damp, and it was infested with plague carrying fleas.

Within days residents were dying, and the village took the courageous decision to cut itself off from the rest of the world to prevent the disease from spreading.

By November the next year 260 of the villages had died – but no-one outside the village had contracted the plague.

Only one of the victim is buried in the churchyard – the vicar’s wife. The rest were buried around the village, in their gardens and away from the centre, in a bid to stop the disease from spreading.

The nursery rhyme Ring a Ring a Roses is believed to have been inspired by the plague. It describes the symptoms – red blisters and sneezing – and the posies of flowers that people carried to ward off the illness.  The perfume of flowers was believed to protect you from infection – just one of the strange ideas of the time.

Others included walnuts steeped in wine; barberries (fruit of the berberis) dried, powdered, then mixed with vinegar; or stripping the feathers from the tail of a pigeon and rubbing the bare skin on the red sores. The pigeon died in the process!

Timeline 1850-1899

Timeline index

architectual drawing
Salt’s Mill elevation
Wm Wordsworth dies

Tennyson becomes Poet Laureate

Peterborough Railway Bridge opens

Cast iron railway bridge opened in Newcastle

Britannia Bridge opens across Menai Straits

JMW Turner dies

John James Audubon dies

Saltaire construction begun

Great Exhibition

Isaac Singer produces the first sewing machine

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Great Western Royal Hotel opens in Paddington

Kew Waterlily House built

Augustus Pugin dies

Physicist Henri Becquerel born
Vincent Van Gogh born

Levi Strauss sells jeans to US miners

Scarborough market hall

Salt’s Mill opens at Saltaire

Smallpox vaccination made compulsory
Crimean War » 1856

Battles of Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman

Charge of the Light Brigade

Florence Nightingale arrives at Scutari

William West dies

British Medical Association founded
Daily Telegraph founded 1855

Ellen Terry appears on stage for the 1st time

End of Crimean War

Oscar Wilde born

George Bernard Shaw born

Sigmund Freud born


2nd Opium War

Indian Mutiny

Victoria and Albert Museum opens

“The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands” published

Great Western dismantled

Brunel’s Tamar Bridge Opened

The Great Stink – London
Netherton Tunnel opens

Delph “Nine” Locks reconstructed

Donati’s Comet

John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”

George Eliot’s “Adam Bede”

Jerome K Jerome born

Arthur Conan Doyle born


Darwin‘s “Origin of Species”

Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge opens at Saltash

I K Brunel dies

Abraham Lincoln made US president
British Association for the
Advancement of Science meets at Oxford
Henry Bessemer patents the converter to make steel from iron
Prince Albert dies

Hawley Harvey Crippen born

First horse-drawn trams in London

Daily weather forecasts

Henry David Thoreau dies

George Borrow’s “Wild Wales”

John Merrick born


Edvard Munch born » 1944

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec born

Tom King becomes the first world heavyweight boxing champion

Runcorn Railway Bridge opens

Blackpool North Pier opens

Work starts on London

Albert Memorial built

Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

Eugene Delacroix (artist) dies

Poet John Clare dies in Northampton Asylum


Diamonds discovered in South Africa

Ford Madox Brown’s Work exhibited for the first time

Abraham Lincoln  assassinated

Isabella Beeton dies

Joseph Paxton dies

Scarborough Valley Bridge opens

Aberystwyth Pier opens

Beatrix Potter born

J W Penfold designs the red pillarbox

Great Eastern lays the first
transatlantic cable
Brighton West Pier built
Lime juice ration becomes a legal requirement in the merchant navy to fight scurvy

Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial first produced by Lauchlan Rose

First bicycle built

Nobel produces dynamite

Michael Faraday dies

Flogging in peacetime and transporation abolished

Last public execution outside Newgate Prison, London

Charles Rennie Mackintosh born (d.1928)


Imprisonment for debt abolished
Suez Canal opens

Cutty Sark launched


Periodic Table of the
Elements devised

Charles Dickens dies

1st Dr Barnado’s Home opens

Loughborough gets its first public water supply
Stanley finds Livingstone

Bank Holidays introduced

Royal Albert Hall opens

Souter Lighthouse built

Ernest Rutherford born

Charles Babbage dies

Aubrey Beardsley born

Piet Mondrian born (d. 1944)

Wm Heath Robinson born


Sir Edwin Landseer dies

Derby’s first public swimming pool

Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days”

Colour photographs first developed

Horse-drawn tram system opens in Sheffield

Levi Strauss patents blue jeans
Barbed wire invented by Joseph Glidden

Caudwell’s Mill built

Hans Christian Andersen dies

Samuel Taylor Coleridge born

John Buchan born (d.1940  “39 Steps” “Prester John”)

Capt Matthew Webb swins the English Channel

Bizet’s “Carmen” first performed

Anderton Boat Lift opens

London’s sewer system

Excavation begins at
Creswell Crags

Victoria proclaimed
Empress of India
Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”Compulsory school  attendance in the UKTitus Salt dies

Custer’s Last Stand

Plimsoll Line introduced

Death of Samuel Plimsoll

Bell patents the telephone

Bissell patents the carpet sweeper

Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India
Edison invents the phonograph

Fox Talbot dies

John Masefield born

Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”

Salvation Army named

Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore”

George Gilbert Scott dies

Swan demonstrates the electric lightbulb

Downham Market clock erected

Invention of the microphone

Bournville construction begun
Albert Einstein born
Forth Bridge (railway bridge) construction beginsBlackpool installs the world’s first electric arc street lighting
» 1897
George Eliot dies

1st Boer War

First cricket Test Match between England and Australia

Giles Gilbert Scott born

Jacob Epstein (sculptor) born (d.1959)

Start of Arts and Crafts


First street lighting in New York
Thomas Carlyle dies (Scottish essayist and historian)

Pablo Picasso born. (d.1973)

Mary Seacole dies

Ernest Bevin born (d. 1951 WWII politician introduced “Bevin Boys” miners)

Natural History Museum opens in South Kensington, London
Eric Gill (sculptor) born
Charles Darwin dies
Fitzgerald dies

Edouard Manet (painter) dies

Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”

Matthew Webb dies

Brighton West Pier extended

First skyscraper built (10 storeys) in Chicago

The Great English Earthquake
Gregor Mendel dies

Edwin A Abbott’s “Flatland”

Papplewick Pumping Station opens

Eugenius Birch dies

General Gordon dies at
Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”
Louis Pasteur dies
Thomas Hardy’s “Mayor of
Statue of Liberty dedicated
Thomas Burrow’s apology

Clarence Birdseye, inventor of the deep-freeze process, born

Victoria’s Golden

LS Lowry born » 1976Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton builtRupert Brooke born in Rugby, Warwickshire.(d.1915)Sherlock Homes first appears in “A Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Bloody Sunday  (Demonstration in Trafalgar Sq for the release of Irish Nationalist William O’Brien. Dispersed by police)

Esperanto international language invented

Barnes Wallis born in Ripley, Derbyshire. Inventor of the “bouncing bomb” (d.1979)

Coal Mines Regulation Act prevents boys under 13 working below ground

De Beers Consolidated Mines established at Kimberley, South Africa

Jack the Ripper murders

Port Sunlight begun

Financial Times first

Edward Lear dies

John Boyd Dunlop patents the pneumatic tyre

Electric chair first used in New York

George Eastman introduces the Kodak box camera

Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat”

Federal laws introduced in the US to protect the buffalo

Southend Pier built

Paris Exhibition – Eiffel
Tower completed

Igor Sikorsky – helicopter pioneer – born

Institution of Electrical Engineers founded

Vincent Van Gogh
commits suicide
Queen Victoria grants Crown Derby the right to add “Royal” to its nameJohn Merrick diesMassacre at Wounded Knee
First moving pictures shown in New York


Forth Bridge opens

Oscar Wilde publishes “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” 1891
Zips invented
Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock
J R R Tolkien born (d. 1973)Walt Whitman diesThomas Cook (Travel agent) diesLiverpool University’s Victoria Building completed
Bridgnorth Funicular Railway opens

John William Alcock born. (d.1919

Alcock and Brown were the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic – 1919)

Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit”

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”


Ford Madox Brown dies
New Zealand gives women the vote
Sheffield granted city staus
Wilfred Owen born in Oswestry, Shropshire (d. 1918)


Henry Ford’s first automobile produced

Tower Bridge, London completed

Blackpool Tower opens

Marconi’s first radio message

National Trust founded

H G Wells’s “The Time Machine”

T.H Huxley dies

Rontgen discovers X rays

William Morris dies

Sir John Everett Millais dies

Dante Gabriel Rossetti dies

Daily Mail newspaper founded

Kew Gardens employs women gardeners for the first time

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
Nobel Prizes first announced >> 1901
Tate Gallery opens in London
Blackpool’s first illuminations

Discovery of the electron

Edward Burne-Jones dies
Samuel Plimsoll dies

Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium

Liverpool University opens the world’s first School of Tropical Medicine

UK’s first speeding fine
imposed in Northampton

Noel Coward born (d. 1973) Ernest Hemingway born (d. 1961)
L Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Bassett’s Liquorice
Allsorts “invented”
Start of Boer War
Aspirin registered as a trade mark

Brighton Pier opens

Electric trams introduced in Sheffield



Timeline 1800-1849

Timeline index

stone wall with arches
Moira limekilns


William Cowper (poet and hymn writer) dies
Alessandro Volta invents the first chemical battery

Fox Talbot born

William Herschel discovers infrared radiation

Union with Ireland – Union Flag adopted

First official British Census (population of England 8.3 million)

Peace with France

Peel introduces first Factory Legislation

Sir Edwin Landseer born

Thomas Girtin (English painter) dies

Madame Tussaud  arrives in UK

West  India Docks completed in London

Erasmus Darwin dies


John Dalton produces atomic theory and tables of atomic weights

Telford builds the road through the Highlands

Napoleonic War

Titus Salt born

Enclosure Act

Joseph Paxton born

Caledonian Canal opens

Robert Stephenson born

George Romney (English painter) dies

Napoleon declared
Emperor of France

Royal Horticultural Society founded

1804 Joseph Priestley dies

The Great Comet

Closure of Moira Furnace

Battle of Trafalgar –
Death of Nelson 

Mary Seacole born

Hans Christian Andersen born

Grand Junction Canal completed
George Stubbs (painter – well known for animal pictures) dies
East India Docks completed in London

Trevithick’s railway completed at Coalbrookdale

I K Brunel born

Francis Beaufort devises the wind force scale

Lamb’s “Tales from Shakespeare”
Royal Military Canal opens
Thomas Cook (Travel agent) born
Captain Manby experiments with maritime rescue lines
Fitzgerald born

Preventative Water Guard formed (Early coastguard)

Haydn dies

Matthew Boulton dies

Charles Darwin born

George III becomes
George (PoW) made Prince Regent

Throckmorton Coat made

George Gilbert Scott born

Luddite disturbances in Notts and Yorks
Charles Dickens born

Edward Lear born 

Parthenon Marbles shipped to London

Napoleon marches on Moscow

Brighton Pavilion begun

Augustus Pugin born




Foxton Locks open
Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”

Nash begins work on Regent Street

Wooten Wawen aqueduct opens

Gun Barrel Proof House opens in Birmingham

Street lighting installed in St Margaret’s Parish, Westminster
Battle of Waterloo
Tardebigge Locks open

Blisworth to Northampton branch canal opens

Waterloo Bridge, Betws-y-Coed built

Humphrey Davy invents the miners’ safety lamp

Jane Austen’s “Emma” 1816
“The Scotsman” newspaper founded

William Bligh dies

Henry David Thoreau born


Mary Shelley’s  “Frankenstein”

US-Canada border established at 49th parallel

Institution of Civil Engineers founded with Telford as president

Eugenius Birch born

Vulcan ship built

Cantlop Bridge plans drawn

Queen Victoria born

Albert (later Prince Albert) born

George Eliot born

John Ruskin born

Walt Whitman born

Peterloo Massacre

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds opens

Picadilly Circus built in London

James Watt dies

Canal system reaches Sheffield

George III dies

Accession George IV

Sir John Tenniel (Alice illustrator) born

Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound”

John Keats dies

Ford Madox Brown born

Percy Bysshe Shelley dies

Antonio Canova (sculptor) dies

Royal Academy of Music founded

Gregor Mendel born
Oxford Union Society founded

Rugby first played at the public school

Work begins on British Museum extension buildings (current structure)  >> 1847

Pimm’s invented

Brighton Pavilion completed


Edmund Cartwright dies

Edward Jenner dies

Charles Babbage starts work on the first “computer”

Charles Macintosh invents
waterproof fabric

Byron dies

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded in UK

First RNLI gold medal
for gallantry issued

Samuel Plimsoll born
Trade Unions
Stockton & Darlington railway completed

Thomas Henry (T.H.) Huxley born

Telford completes Menai Bridge

Joseph Arch born (d.1922)

1st Edition Burke’s Peerage published

Longstone Lighthouse built


Holman Hun(painter) born

William Blake dies

Beethoven dies

Burke and Hare murders begin >> 1829

Scarborough Spa Bridge opens

Joseph Lister (antiseptic pioneer) born

Ohm’s Law established

Dante Gabriel Rossetti born

Jules Verne born

Leo Tolstoy born

Henrik Ibsen born

Zoological Society of London opens zoo in Regent’s Park
Catholic emancipation

Millais born

Metropolitan Police formed

Rotunda Museum opens in Scarborough

Barclay imports first Cavendish banana plant

William Burke hanged

Robert Abbot dies


Galton Bridge opens over Telford’s canal at Smethwick

Humphry Davy dies


George IV dies

Accession William IV

Camille Pissarro (painter) born

1st cholera epidemic » 1832

Faraday begins work on electricity

Darwin’s 1st voyage on Beagle

Isle of Lewis chess set found
London Bridge opens

Sir James Clark Ross discovers position of magnetic North Pole

Henry Maudslay dies

Faraday demonstrates
electromagnetic induction

Edouard Manet (painter) born

End of 1st cholera
epidemic » 1848

G F Muntz patents Muntz’s Metal
Factory Act limits
child labourSlavery abolished in British EmpireEdward Burne-Jones bornWilliam Wilberforce diesBirmingham Town Hall completedMold cape discovered
Richard Trevithick dies
Coleridge dies

Dickens’s “Sketches by Boz”

Poor Law amendment introduces Union Workhouses

Tolpuddle Martyrs transported

William Morris born

Edgar Degas (painter) born

James McNeill Whistler (painter) born

Telford dies

Chance’s Glassworks  established

Charles Babbage develops the analytic engine

Mark Twain born (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first children’s story

John Nash dies

First civil marriages allowed in Britain

Sheffield’s botanical gardens open

William IV dies

Accession of Queen Victoria

John Constable dies

Isabella Beeton born


Brunel’sGreat Western launched
Public Record Office
establishedGrace and William Darling rescue survivors from the ForfarshireNational Gallery opens in London
Robert Stephenson’s London & Birmingham Railway opens

First public demonstration of the electric telegraph by Samuel Morse

1st Opium War

Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin begin work on the new Houses of
Parliament in London

Pugin’s St Mary’s Church completed in Derby

NSPCC founder Rev Benjamin Waugh born

Paul Cezanne born

Fox Talbot‘s first photographs

Derby gets a railway line

Sheffield gets a railway line

Penny post introduced by Sir Rowland Hill

Charles Dickens publishes The Old Curiosity Shop

New Zealand proclaimed a British colony

Beau Brummel dies penniless in France

Victoria marries Albert

Saxophone invented

Kew Gardens opens

The Rebecca Riots

Derby gets a new town hall

John Sell Cotman dies

George Bassett sets up his confectionery business in Sheffield >> 1899

Wordsworth becomes Poet Laureate

Edvard Grieg (composer) born

United Free Church of Scotland formed

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
first published in December

Nelson’s Column erected in Trafalgar Square

Brunel’sSS Great Britain launched

“The Great Comet”

Chatsworth’s Emperor Fountain


YMCA founded

8th Marquess Queensbury (boxingrules) born

Work begins on KewPalm House>> 1848

Morse sends first telegraphJohn Dalton dies 
Irish Famine »
Dr Thomas John Barnardo bornEdgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”
First submarine cable under the English Channe

lNorthampton gets its first railway line

Irish Famine »
Neptune discovered
Dickens’s “Dombey & Son”

Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”

Wm Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair”

Marx & Engels’s “Communist Manifesto”

British Museum completed

Joseph Pulitzer (journalist and publisher) born

Institution of Mechanical
Engineers founded with George Stephenson as presidentDee Bridge disasterThomas Edison bornAlexander Graham Bell born

Chloroform first used as an

Pre-Raphaelites formed

Paul Gaugin born

2nd cholera epidemic

Irish Famine

Hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful” written in Dunster, Somerset

Kew’s Palm House completed

Matthew Webb born


Robert Stephenson’s Conway Bridge opens
of the Corn Laws

Beau Brummel dies

William Etty dies

Joseph Fry makes the first chocolate bar

Dickens’s “David Copperfield”


Moira Furnace

In 1792 a plan was launched to build a canal near Ashby de La Zouch, although the cut never actually reached the town. In 1800 the local land was enclosed and the mineral rights granted to Francis Rawdon Hastings, 2nd Earl Moira. Four years later he sank the first coal mine on his land and built a lime kiln. Work began on constructing a blast furnace. The combination was the ideal way of using all the local minerals, ironstone, limestone and coal.

However, the furnace was never a success and worked for only a total of a few months before being finally closed in 1811 after a disastrous fire that reached temperatures high enough to melt the brickwork. The associated iron foundry was a huge success on the other hand and remained in operation producing smallware until the 1850s.

The lime kilns were also a commercial success, producing quicklime for the building industry and agriculture until the 1850s. Coal mining continued in the area until the 1980s.

Moira had a brief spell as a spa in 1812 when it was decided to exploit the salt water from down the mines but the site proved unpopular so the water was later shipped to the Ivanhoe Baths in Ashby by canal and tramway.
Moira Furnace is now a listed building and preserved as a museum at the centre of a heritage park in the National Forest.

Gladstone Pottery Museum

Gladstone Pottery Museum is in Stoke on Trent, housed in a former pottery works and featuring some of the town’s few remaining bottle ovens.
The factory was originally built in the late 18th century after the sale of the old Longton Manor Estate allowed potters to expand out of neighbouring Burslem – the centre of the pottery industry at the time.

Brick bottle ovensLocal family the Shelleys took over a site adjoining the new turnpike road to Uttoxeter and the present day museum is on part of that site. As well as producing their own earthenware the Shelleys carried out contract work for Josiah Wedgwood’s Etruria factory. By 1789, however, their business was in trouble and the site was bought out by William Ward.

He split the area into small plots where a number of potters could work alongside each other. The whole was sold in 1818 to John Hendley Sheridan who let out the site to tenant potters. He also erected new kilns.

One of the tenants was Thomas Cooper who in turn employed other potters and by 1851 he had 41 adults and 26 children working for him. In 1853 he bought the master’s house and began developing the rest of the site.
In 1876 the site was sold on to Hobson and Co who renamed it after the Victorian politician who had visited the Potteries in 1863 to lay the foundation stone of the Wedgwood Memorial Institute.

The site later passed into the hands of Procter, Mayer and Wooley and eventually, in 1939 became Gladstone China (Longton) Ltd.
Mixed fortunes saw the site closed during world war two and in various hands until 1960 when the kilns were closed down. Decorating and packing continued on the site until 1970 when the site was again put on the market.
By that time it was already realised that much of the Potteries heritage had been lost and that an intact factory needed to be preserved. It was one of a number of sites considered for development as a museum.

The Staffordshire Pottery Industry Preservation trust was formed in September 1971 and later the Gladstone Pottery Development Trust was set up to raise funds for the scheme. Phase 1 was officially opened in April 1975.

Crich Tramway Museum

Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire is a working museum where it is possible to ride round on trams all day and see a slice of life in “the olden days”. Although there is no specific date given at the museum some visitors can remember catching trams to go to work when they were young. That probably puts it around 45 to 50 years ago. The village is quite small by comparison with others of its type (Black Country Living Museum, Blists Hill, for example) but it has a few fascinating details to discover as well as having an authentic “bygone” atmosphere with its tiled Red Lion pub, cobbled streets and enamel advertising signs. One nice touch is that visitors are given an old penny with which to buy an all-day ticket to ride on the trams.

The Tramway Museum Society has also rescued a few buildings, notably the old Derby Assembly Rooms, which once stood on a city square but now grace the Town End tram terminus that marks the start of many of the rides. Other structures rescued from around the country include a number of old Birmingham tram shelters, a horse trough and a drinking fountain. There are workshops where the tram enthusiasts repair and restore the old machines or just haul them in for a wash when they start to look grubby from their trips up and down the hill.

Even if antique transport is not for you there is still plenty to see with an old mine at the other end of the tramlines as well as a woodland walk and sculpture trail. The museum has an exhibition “Tracks in Time” with a reconstructed street scene that has plenty of historic information hidden among the replica shop fronts. Near the centre of the site is a reconstructed 1844 cast iron bridge that used to stand on the Bowes-Lyon estate at Stagenhoe Park at Ware in Hertfordshire.

Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum is a 26 acre site on the edge of Dudley, West Midlands that houses a collection of buildings and structures from around the Black Country.

Where is the Black Country? Well, experts have failed to agree on exactly what its boundaries are in spite of generations of arguments. Some say it is the area that used to be coloured black on geological maps of the Midlands, indicating the presence of coal. Others say it was the traditional iron working area to the north west of Birmingham. Perhaps the best definition is that it is certainly NOT Birmingham but is wherever a Black Country person says it is. For the purposes of this site it is the four boroughs of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley.

The museum has a fascinating collection of items that were manufactured in the Black Country, now housed in a building that used to be a swimming baths. Each small town and village in the area was famous for its own trade. There were leatherworkers in Walsall, brickmakers in Aldridge, enamellers in Bilston, glassmakers in Stourbridge, chain makers in Netherton, the list is huge. The museum also has an open-air section that takes the form of an early 20th century industrial village, with a picture house, a chip shop, a pub, chapel, cake shop, sweet shop, lots of workshops and all the other necessaries of living.

During a visit to the museum the Anorak decided to take a different view of the site and explore it with one material in mind – iron. It was mostly cast iron, though forges of various kinds can be found there. And it is amazing how much of life involved cast iron in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That picture above left, for example is the inside of the exhibition hall, the former Rolfe Street Baths building. The roof trusses, or supports,  are made of cast iron. But a look around the site showed that humankind has never really left the Iron Age.

On the Streets, for example, cast iron could be found everywhere. Lamp posts were made from it, as were the traditional red pillar boxes. Roadsigns were also made from cast iron. Even the window frames were iron.

Bridge parapets and boundary fences were also made from the ubiquitous material. It was simple to create elaborate designs by making a mould in sand with a former or pattern. Molten iron was then poured into the mould and left to cool. Repeating patterns could be made in modular form then fixed together.

Everyday items were all made from iron. The bootjack by the door that helped a miner take off his dirty footwear before he went into the house was made of cast iron. The one on the left is shown still in its sand former after manufacture. Chimney pots on top of houses, guttering and down-pipes were made of iron. Even the straps around the barrel that helped to make it waterproof were iron bands.

Hinges to work the gate, latches to open the door, almost everything was made of iron. And even after it had served its original purpose, some iron found a new lease of life. A discarded horse shoe was nailed over a cottage door to bring luck. Sometimes even the houses themselves were made from iron.

In the 1920s, when bricks were in short supply, Dudley Council tried an experimental form of construction as a way to clear old slum housing quickly. The walls consisted of 600 plates that were bolted together to make pairs of semi-detached houses. Only a very few were built because the cost proved prohibitive, but two are preserved at the museum.