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Monday, 16 November 2009

The Real Regency

Are we in danger of losing sight of the ‘real’ Regency? In my latest feature for Jane Austen's Regency World, I argue it's time to paint a more realistic picture of the world in Jane Austen's day.
Far away from the glitzy world of clubs like Almack’s and White’s, social unrest in counties such as Cheshire embodied the real spirit of the age. While the Prince Regent and his chums enjoyed fantastic feasts at Brighton Pavilion, high food prices caused riots by hungry workers in 1812.

Those lovely frocks in La Belle Assemblée were made by cheap child labour. You can discover more about how textile workers in Cheshire towns such as Stockport, Macclesfield and Congleton lived in Regency Cheshire.

Image: Wesleyan Chapel (1825) at Tiviot Dale, Stockport. From Lancashire Illustrated (H. Fisher, Son, and Jackson, 1831.) Author’s collection. The ‘castle’ shaped building in the background on the right is the old Castle Mill built by Sir George Warren.

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