Category 19th century progress

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 […]

Will this stop people fixing the vote?

It was on Thursday 18th July 1872 that the Royal Assent was given to the ‘Parliamentary and Municipal Elections (Ballot) Bill’. Put simply – from now on each individual vote would be cast in secret. This was a fundamental change to an age old process. No longer would those entitled to vote have to identify […]

Red Flag Day for Cars

I suspect that many of you reading the following story will have experienced a similar situation – or even committed it – travelling quicker than you should do on a public road. In the 19th century Britain posted many Acts as life changed – the Locomotives on Highways Act in 1861; the Locomotive Act in […]

Queen Victoria, Manchester and a Ship Canal

It was in October 1851that Manchester first welcomed Queen Victoria to the region – the first monarch for 150 or so years – and both Manchester and Salford went to great lengths to host a memorable event. The escort for the royal party included a Guard of Honour of the Yeoman Cavalry who accompanied them […]

Glances on a changing country

It’s interesting to see how one man’s diary can cast light on the attitude of another and ‘paints a picture’ of the country at large.  Henry Crabb Robinson was born in Bury St Edmunds, was articled to a Colchester attorney; between 1800 & 1805 studied at various places in Germany where he met men of […]

Today is Darwin Day

The English naturalist and geologist Charles Robert Darwin was born on Sunday 12th February 1809. Charles was the grandson of physician Erasmus Darwin, the father of botanist Sir Francis Darwin and mathematician and astronomer Sir George Howard Darwin and essayist Bernard Richard Darwin was his grand-son. All were educated at Cambridge. Charles is best known for […]

London’s first train

Saturday 10th January 1863 was the day when the first section of the London underground – the 4 mile line of track between Paddington and Farringdon Street – was opened to the public by Prime Minister Gladstone. The project had begun 9 years earlier, in 1854, that the Metropolitan Railway had been granted permission to […]