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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wigs and 'Crops'

You can read my feature on the changes in hairstyling fashions during Jane Austen's lifetime here on the Historical Honey website.

Image from the author's collection: 
Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale) in the 1780s. Note the ‘high’ hairdo. An engraving by E. Finden after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Johnsoniana Vol. I, Henry G. Bohn, 1859.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Canal Boat Ancestors and Teachers

A narrowboat cabin, 1870s.
A classroom in the early 20th century.
The cover story of the September issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine includes my latest feature on canal boat ancestors, plus my feature on Teacher Registration Council registers (available from Findmypast and the Society of Genealogists' Library) so do check it out if you have canal ancestors or teacher ancestors. It was very difficult for canal children to get an education as they were always on the move.
Canal horses and donkeys, 1870s.


On Sunday 10 August, some heavy horses will be visiting the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, so you will be able to see a wonderful demonstration of horse-drawn canal boating.

Our Flanders Adventure V: A Place of Sanctuary?

A shattered tree, with the remains of a German gravestone.
One of our most interesting stops on our Flanders adventure was Hill 62, a museum at Sanctuary Wood near Ypres. The museum has many photos of the Great War as well as original artefacts from the battlefields and trenches.  Outside the museum, you can see some original British trenches which were preserved after the war by the Belgian family which owned the land. The site is still littered with shell-holes, and it had rained heavily the night before, so the bottom of the trenches was quite muddy.

Mud was one of the soldiers' biggest problems: it made it difficult to move men and equipment as horses and vehicles got bogged down.
A trench full of water.


Hill 62, Sanctuary Wood.
Now we were able to get a real flavour of what life in the trenches must have been like for my great-uncles, although of course we did not have anyone shooting or firing shells at us!


We had to imagine the constant roar of artillery, the smell of cordite and burning flesh - and the rats. It must have been terrifying.


A giant handbag is not very practical for exploring the trenches!
The trenches zig-zagged, so that enemy soldiers who broke in couldn't fire along the trench.