Category 18th century

Enjoying a ‘Furry Dance’

On 8th May every year (or Saturday 7th if the 8th is a Sunday) the Cornish town of Helston is home to ‘The Furry Dance’. A Gentleman’s Magazine report in 1790 tells us that: ‘At Helstone (sic), a genteel and populous borough town in Cornwall, it is customary to dedicate the 8th of May to […]

Robert Burns – and his night!

In 1864 he original Chambers Book of Days wrote:  ‘Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, first saw the light on this day, the 25th January 1759, in a small cottage by the wayside near the Bridge of Doon, two miles from Ayr.  A wonderful destiny was that of the peasant’s babe born that day – a […]

The story of William Bligh

William Bligh was born on this day, Monday 9th September 1754.  As a sea captain he is  invariably considered to be a tyrannical and cruel bully who brought a ships mutiny down on himself. But is that really true? There is a very good case for saying that that persona is not true and it […]

Matthew Boulton enters the world – and leaves it all the better 80 years later.

Matthew Boulton was born on Monday 3rd September 1728 in Birmingham and died just short of his 81st birthday on Thursday 17th August 1809 in that same city.  In between these two events he made a tremendous impact on the life of his time – an impact that remains to this day. After managing his […]

The man who created Britain’s postal system

During 1979 the British Post Office Philatelic Bureau published 8 new stamps. That issued on this day – 22nd August 1979 – told the story of Sir Rowland Hill, a man that they described as ‘Reformer Extraordinary’. Roland Hill was born in 1795.  By 1836, already a famous educational reformer, he had turned his remarkable […]

A story of times gone by

Britain has many ‘traditional’ activities that, in summer or harvest time, bring all members of the community together for a celebration – a celebration that can go on for the best part of a week or more.  The town where I now live had a reputation for their ‘Feast’ but, I’m afraid, those events seem […]

Do you ever over educate?

It was on Wednesday 24th July 1765 that Denis Diderot – a French philosopher, art critic and writer – wrote: “Do not over-educate is a maxim particularly suited to boys. You should abandon them a little to their natural impulses. I prefer them to be rough, thoughtless, and wilful. Let them have the sort of […]