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Showing posts from April, 2009


£ - pound; gold coin, also called sovereign. (The capital L or £ came from the Latin word 'libra' meaning a pound weight.) A pound was worth 20 shillings or 240 pence. S - shilling; silver coin worth 12 pence. d - penny; copper coin. (The d was the initial letter of 'denarius', a small coin in Roman times). _ - Halfpenny; small copper coin. _ - farthing; very small, worth a quarter of penny. Gn - guinea; gold coin worth 21 shillings.

A Bag fox

Seals - decorative metal trinkets hung on a gentleman's watch-chain; could be used to imprint the wax when sealing letters. Bond - legal document guaranteeing a payment Overseers of the Poor - Parish officials who gave money from the rates to people who could not support themselves Quadrille - square dance for four couples Chaine des Dames - movement of a quadrille Catechism - a set of questions and answers used in teaching the beliefs of the Church of England A bag of - a fox taken to the meet in a bag and then released, to guarantee a hunt Lotto - a game of numbers, rather like Bingo Commerce - card game with a 'pool' of money to be won Paste the newspapers - cut out interesting news items and stick them in a scrapbook Charade - the 'actors' choose a word of two or three syllables, e.g. 'understand'. They do a mime to suggest 'under' and another to give a clue to 'stand'. They then act a piece which hints at the whole word. The 'audienc

Scary warnings in Children's Stories

Very few suitably interesting books were available for children in the early 19th century. Ballantyne's  Coral Island and Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays both came out in 1857. Treasure Island was not published until 1883. Some of the children's stories, in verse, were not perhaps as funny as the reader might hope, and could have been terrifying to some young readers. Cruel Frederick In this story, Cruel Federick "killed the birds and broke the chairs, and threw the kitten down the stairs", but he ended up ill in bed, because a dog bite him. [] This Frederick! this Frederick! A naughty, wicked boy was he; He caught the flies, poor little things, And then tore off their tiny wings; He killed the birds, and broke the chairs, And threw the kitten down the stairs; And oh! far worse and worse, He whipped his good and gentle nurse! The trough was full, and faithful Tray

Games, Hobbies,and Holidays

Walks The simplest (and usually the most boring) pastime for children was walking. Gardens Most children, where circumstances allowed, were given their own patch of garden to look after. This could be very satisfying, but only in the growing season. Pets The conventional pets are cats, dogs, puppies, hens, chickens, birds, more unusual pets are dormouse, peacocks, parrots, ferrets. Rural trio of hunting, shooting and fishing Shooting was not as popular in the early 19th century as it became later, when loading and firing sporting guns became simpler and quicker. Fishing was a more usual and safer sport for children. Hunting was an extension of riding, which was an accomplishment rather than a pastime in itself. Like 20th century children learning to ride a bicycle, children in the 18th and 19th centuries, if they could, learned to ride a donkey or a pony (owned, hired or borrowed) and later graduated to a horse. Criket and other outdoor pastimes Cricket was well establi

Petticoats, breeches and Pinafore

One of the milestones that a little boy passed at the age of four or five was the transition from baby clothes or petticoats to trouser or breeches. He would still wear a pinafore to protect his clothes, but he was expected to be able to dress himself and tie the strings of his pinafore in a bow, at the back.

Nanny and Governess

As children grew beyond the toddler stage most well-to-do families found a governess to begin their education. The roles of governess and nanny overlapped. In theory the nanny was responsible for the younger children's welfare and bodily needs, while the governess dealt with the education and social training of the older children. Nannies were usually more permanent, serving two or more generations. Governess tended to move from one family to another after a few years and were usually of a higher social class than nannies. In the early 19th century neither had any qualifications: relatives, friends and acquaintances took the place of advertising or agencies.

Born out of wedlock

Babies born to unmarried women faced great hazards in 19th Century. This was especially so if the father 'disappeared' or refused to acknowledge the child as his. If this happened the baby might simply be abandoned by its mother, hopefully to be found by someone before it died. It could then be looked after by the Parish authorities, or it might be cared for by grandparents or other relatives, or (more commonly in works of fiction) by some wealthy philanthropist. In extreme cases a desperate mother might try to solve her problem by killing the baby. Most mothers, of course, wanted to keep their babies, and if the father was willing to pay for its keep, it was fairly lucky. A Bastardy Bond was the usual method by which the Parish Overseers ensured that illegitimate children did not have to be provided for out of the Parish Rates. The natural father might sealed a Bond for a certain sums of money to be paid to the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the Parish, if he fai

Food shortage during Second World War

Food rationing was introduced on 8 January 1940 and ration books soon became the norm. Everyone had to register themselves at a local butchery, bakery and grocery store and soon there were along queues outside the Co-op. Personal allowances per week were 4 oz. bacon, 4 oz. butter and 12 oz. sugar. Each person was allowed 16 points per month, later increased to 20, to buy foods such as biscuits, breakfast cereals, dried fruit and tinned fruit, though these were not always available. Fresh Allotments were brought into full use, encouraged by the 'Dig for Victory' campaign. There was also an element of illegal 'black market' trading. Some shops would sell 'under the counter' goods without asking for coupons, but you needed to know the code words if you wanted something of that nature. There was also an informally organised and not altogether legal 'Pig Club'. Certain families kept a pig bin in which food scraps were placed. On 1 June 1941, Clothing Coupons

Lappety Lappety Leaso: Children's fun game

The streets and its dark entries were favourite playgrounds and as there were few motor cars, children could play with far more safety than today. One of the exciting game played in the side streets was Lappety Lappety Leaso: This was a two team game. One team made along bridge of backs, with their heads tucked in down to their knees. The other team all endeavoured to get a place on the backs by jumping from the rear of the bridge. The first few children to try had to be good jumpers.


The houses attracted migrants who were coming to Derby in large numbers in search of industrial employment. The main places of employment for the 'labouring classes' in Derby as silk and cotton mills, net-laceworks, china works, foundries and lead and paper mills together with stockingers The street was given its name from a stamp on a sherd of Roman mortarium which had been dug up on Old Chester Road in 1875. Here, mortarium is a Roman grinding bowl, or mortar; a culinary pottery form. Examples are often stamped with maker's name, and some sophisticated versions have been found. The house was lit by gaslight, had open fires and a kitchen range. Outside, rabbits were kept in the cow shed and some remnants of its days as a farm survived: a dovecot, pig sties, a pigeon trap, horse power gear, a grindstone and frame and a liquid manure pump. His death left a void which would have been hard to fill had the parish not been inundated, not with floods but with the people who were

Converting wood into pulp for paper-making

Wood is made up of two basic substances: cellulose (fibres) and lignin (which is essentially the glue that holds the fibres together). When the fibres are separated, the result is wood pulp. The process of converting wood into pulp for paper-making is remarkably simple, there are two common processes for separating the fibres: mechanical pulping and chemical pulping. Mechanical pulping grinds the wood into individual fibres, while chemical pulping dissolves the lignin. The most common chemical pulp is kraft pulp, made through an alkaline cooking process that breaks the lignin down with the help of sodium sulphate. Bleached kraft pulp is known for its strength, absorbency and brightness. The lopings, logs, or slabs, up to 11 inches square, are put into a hopper or feeder and guided under the cutter; this consists of a discplate, which, revolving at great speed, disintegrates the laminations of the wood. The wood falling on horizontal rollers. By packing in this manner, 60 cwt. of wood c

A Parsonage House

A description of the vicarage on Old Chester Road from a church terrier of 1908: The Parsonage House, comprising 16 rooms & 3 cellars Hall, Study, Drawing, Ding, Breakfast rooms, with Kitchen and Scullery on the Ground floor; five bedrooms and bathroom on second floor; two attics on third; with three commodious cellars; all built of brick with stone facings and in good substantial condition. The fittings of the Bath Room and Hot Water Apparatus are the private property of the recent vicar who placed them there at his own expense. The Outbuildings thereto, comprising Stables for two horses: Coach house: Cow bier (or loose box), fowl house with Hayloft: Washhouse & yard: with large Kitchen Garden on the North East, and lawn on the south west. [A City Within a City, Little Chester Derby, AD80 - AD2000, by Joan D'Arcy, P.36]

Something you may be not familiar with

A toll road (or tollway, turnpike, pike, or toll highway) is a road for which a driver pays a toll (a fee) for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds. The building or facility in which a toll is collected may be called a toll booth, toll plaza, toll station, or toll gate. This building is usually found on either side of a bridge and at exits. A whitesmith is a person who works with "white" or light-colored metals such as tin and pewter. While blacksmiths work mostly with hot metal, whitesmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a forge to shape their raw materials). The term is also applied to metalworkers who do only finishing work - such as filing or polishing - on iron and other "black" metals. Ironworker manufactured both for industry and the home, advertising furnaces, bleaching

Hearth tax

Charles II (1660 - 1685) looked for ways of raising money to pay off his war debts. He began with a request for 'gifts' and in July 1661 Parliament gave its consent to 'The Free and Voluntary Present'. In every county receivers were appointed and names of 'donors' were recorded. Later on 19 May 1662, a new form of taxation was introduced, a tax on hearths . House holds were assessed according to the number of fireplaces, and required to pay a charge of two shillings per annum for each hearth, Exemptions to the tax were granted to the poor.

Hypocaust, Viaduct, and Roman Road

A hypocaust (Latin hypocaustum) is an ancient Roman system of central heating. The word literally means "heat from below", from the Greek hypo meaning below or underneath, and kaiein, to burn or light a fire. A viaduct is a bridge composed of several small spans. The term viaduct is derived from the Latin via for road and ducere to lead something. However, the Ancient Romans did not use that term per se; it is a modern derivation from an analogy with aqueduct. Like the Roman aqueducts, many early viaducts comprised a series of arches of roughly equal length. Viaducts may span land or water or both. The Roman roads were essential for the growth of the Roman Empire, by enabling the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate news. At its peak, the Roman road system spanned 53,819 miles (85,004 km) and contained about 372 links. The Romans became adept at constructing roads, which they called viae. They were always intended primarily as carriage roads, the mean

Burial fashion of Rome

This is the description of a burial fashion of Rome according to a finding in an archeological excavation in Derby, we can see that Romans believe human soul goes to the next world after death, and they burried the dead with lamps, bowls and offterings to guide and sustain the soul on its journey to that world. And we can also see that they has two different kinds of  burial fashion according to the social status of the dead, the high status and norman people. "During an archeological excavation in 1978 in Little Chester, Derby, a burial site was found. The bases of five early second century mausolea, or tombs, were first unearthed. These had stood in a line by the side of the road, after the manner of high status burials at Pompeii and Rome. two of the mausolea had solid stone foundations and may have been memorials but in the other three there were pits containing human cremations and pig bones. these were perhaps soldier graves, buried after the fashion of Rome, with lamps,