BABY IT’S COLD… IN REGENCY ENGLAND !

LOUISA CORNELL

As the weather begins to warm up here in LA (Lower Alabama) my thoughts, of course, turn to…WINTER ! Having spent three years in England in my youth and five years in Germany as a youngish adult, I have a much higher tolerance for and appreciation of cooler weather. Alabama in the Spring and Summer months moves from :

“It’s another warm one out there.”

to

“Crank up the AC, please.”  

to

“It is hotter than the hinges of hell.”

to

“Tarzan couldn’t take this heat! When will it end!”

Suffice it to say, I am quite ready for Fall and Winter’s return. When the temperatures will drop into the seventies.

These days we have myriad devices available to us to adjust the temperature to a more survivable level. During the Regency Era, whilst the devices were also abundant, they were not always as efficient as today’s versions. However, some came quite close. In this post, we will explore the world of…

THE REGENCY FOOT WARMER

There are a number of places to research what the weather was like in England during the years of the Regency Era. One of my favorites is :

http://www.pascalbonenfant.com/18c/geography/weather.html

I like this site because, rather than give simple temperatures and basic weather information, it actually includes weather events for each year and more commentary on what the weather was like and what it was like to live through it. For instance, the winter of 1813/1814 was one of the five worst winters on record. Heavy snow fell for a number of days in January, 1814 with a brief thaw and then more snow. In short, it was cold.

Now imagine going to church in such weather. Services conducted in a large high vaulted ceiling edifice with no heat source whatsoever. Imagine the journey to said church or to a ball or to London in a carriage on less than serviceable roads. Are you feet frozen yet? Enter the foot warmer.

Foot warmers took a number of forms. The most important aspects were its size, practicality, and ease of transport. The simplest version consisted of a brick wrapped in flannel material which was placed as close as was safely possible to the fire burning in the hearths of inns and taverns. It was then placed in the carriage as it left the inn, either on the floor beneath a lady’s skirt or beneath the feet of a gentleman, perhaps with a carriage blanket draped over his legs. The brick or bricks returned to the fireplace of each inn where the carriage stopped along the way to be warmed  and placed back in the carriage on departure. A simple enough device which provided heat until the absorbed warmth faded, usually long before the next coaching inn.

Most of the more advanced foot warmers were boxes of either wood, tin or brass. Each of these versions contained a metal tray at the bottom capable of being slid in and out to be filled with hot coals. Holes were poked in the sides in a regular pattern and a rope or metal handle was attached at the top for ease of portability.

Foot Warmer (Courtesy of eBay)
A Dutch version, meant to be used as a hand warmer.
Advertisement images for more elaborate foot warmers used in the home as well as in carriages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carriage Foot Warmer

An innovation brought into production during the latter part of the Regency Era and even more prevalent during the Victorian Era was the ceramic foot warmer. This device was filled with water, heated on the hearth, and placed on the carriage floor beneath a lady’s skirts. Early versions were completely round, but latter versions had a flat side, designed to stabilize the device on the floors of moving carriages.

Anitque Stoneware/Clay “Blind Pig” Hot Water Bottle Bed/Foot Warmer Flat

You will notice on the one above there is a hole for the water to be poured into it. What the photo does not show is how the bottle is closed. They are usually fitted with a cork at the end of a clay piece that looks rather like the top and first several threads of a screw. I know this from personal experience as I own two of these bottles. Treasures my mother purchased at an estate sale whilst we lived in England over fifty years ago.

An interesting use made of warming pans and foot warmers during the Regency Era was as a sort of vaporizer against colds, coughs, and some forms of asthma. Below is a mention of this use in a period newspaper.

 

Whitehall Evening Post, December 22, 1785

At this season of the year when the excessive damps, produced from the vapours of the earth have such a visible effect on the human body generating colds and putrid disease of the most fatal kind; the following, which has been tried in the circle of a few families, would doubtless have its use if more generally adopted, as it is not only a specific preventive, but is the surest palliative in asthmatic and consumptive constitutions. When the air is thick, foggy or moist, let small lumps of pitch be thrown into your first in such degree and so frequent, as to keep up an almost constant smell of bitumen in the apartment. In rooms where fires are not frequently used, a warming pan throwing into it small lumps of the same particularly before going to bed, might be applied with conveniency. Houses newly painted are best purified in this manner, and the more so as neither injures nor soils.

It wasn’t impossible to stay warm during the Regency Era, but in many cases it took a great deal of ingenuity. And a great deal of caution. Hot coals, even in a tin box, presented a very real danger to ladies wearing skirts made of materials not known for their fire-resistant properties. There are no reports of this sort of accident occurring, but I daresay there were some close calls.

So for those ladies who have not yet met their Mr. Darcy,

Might I suggest a foot warmer? Or perhaps a pug or two?

 

HUMPHRY DAVY AND THE DAVY MINING LAMP

Louisa Cornell

One of the major industries in the north of England during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was mining. From Yorkshire, through Cornwall, and throughout Wales it was a way of life and a way of living for many of those areas’ poorest citizens. Whilst most mines were owned and run by private industrialists, some were part of the financial support of the great estates of the aristocracy. It was an industry that employed men, women, and children with very little discrimination between their duties. Mines producing coal, tin, and arsenic were the most profitable. They were also the most dangerous.

 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the use of steam engines for hoisting and water pumping enabled the deepening of coal mines in England. Because seams were being dug at deeper levels, explosions in coal mines increased. At deeper levels fire-damp, what we know as methane today, was more prevalent. As a result, in the early nineteenth century many pitmen died in northern England due to large mining explosions. In fact, between 1786 and 1815, major explosions accounted for 558 deaths in Northumberland and Durham alone.

Explosions occurred when fire-damp, released by miners tapping into a gas pocket in the mine, met with the point of the flames of tallow candles used by miners to illuminate their work areas. These meetings of fuel to flame initially resulted in a violent out-rush of gas from the ignition source. However, almost immediately after that an in-rush, called an after-blast by miners, filled the vacuum left by cooling gases and steam condensation.

A catastrophic mine explosion not only killed with the violence of the blast and fire, but it also wrecked the brattices in the mines, destroyed corves, tubs, rolleys, ponies, and horses. The resulting debris made it nearly impossible for miners to escape or for rescuers to reach them. The destruction of the ventilation systems led to the asphyxiation of miners by lethal after-damp resulting from the combustion. After-damp was a lethal gas formed in mines after oxygen was removed from an enclosed atmosphere. It consisted of argon, water vapor, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.

On 25 May, 1812, the mining operation at Felling suffered one of the worst major pit disasters in England. In the end, it claimed ninety-two lives. It was the first major explosion to provide reasonably accurate records of the incident. Situated between Gateshead and Jarrow in Country Durham, the explosion at Felling was heard up to four miles away. A cloud of coal dust fell over the neighboring village of Heworth like black snow. It took nearly seven weeks to remove the dead after putting out the fires and waiting for the after-damp to disperse. Ninety-two men and boys lost their lives and their funeral procession was made up of ninety coffins when it finally reached the church.

After the Felling mining disaster there was a public outcry for mine safety. The Reverend John Hodgeson (1799-1845), who comforted the bereaved and buried the dead, began a correspondence with Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829,) a prominent man of science.

Sir Humphry Davy was the director of the laboratory at the Royal Institution of Science from 1801-1825. He was the professor of chemistry there from 1802-1812. He was an honorary professor from 1813-1823. He discovered the physiological effects of nitrous oxide (laughing gas.) He used the newly devised electric battery to isolate sodium and potassium. He did a great deal to establish the Royal Institution’s reputation for excellent lectures and important scientific research.

As a result of the efforts of Reverend Hodgeson, Sir Humphry traveled to Durham to conduct an investigation of fire-damp. He was provided with samples of fire-damp in sealed wine bottles from the mines at Hebburn. A number of other men began to study the phenomenon as well. Most prominently George Stephenson, about whom I will write in another blog post.

Sir Humphry Davy

After a great deal of investigation, Davy discovered a flame could not ignite fire-damp if said flame was encased in a cage of wire mesh. He showed a mesh of twenty-eight openings to the inch, if configured into two concentric mesh tubes, cooled combustion products so that the flame heat was too low to ignite the gases outside the mesh. His final prototype was a wick lamp encased in the double mesh cage. The lamp also provided a test for the presence of gases. The flame of the Davy lamp burned higher and with a blue tinge if flammable gas was present. If the mine was oxygen-poor the flame would be extinguished completely. This gave miners the chance to escape the mines before they were asphyxiated.

The Davy lamp

The first trial use of his lamp was carried out at at Hebburn Colliery on 9 January, 1816. The trial was a great success and the Davy lamp immediately went into production. Did it stop explosions in mines in England? No. With the advent of the Davy lamp, many mining companies only strove to dig deeper mines exposing miners to other dangers. Many miners still insisted on taking candles into the mines to light their way. Some miners were suspicious of the lamps, as happened all too frequently in this era when it came to science.

Trial usage of the Davy lamp.

 

However, the advent of the Davy lamp and other versions of mining safety lamps did eventually create a safer work environment for those working in England’s mines. It was the beginning of efforts by the British government, the mining industry, and men of science to make mining a more survivable employment. It opened the way for more mining improvements and oversight that continued well into the twentieth century.

 

I discovered a great many fascinating things about the early mining industry in England whilst researching for my latest historical romance Thief of Broken Hearts. The heroine, Rhiannon Harvey de Waryn, Duchess of Pendeen, has run the family seat of the de Waryn family since she was a young girl and part of the estate’s fortune is in the tin and arsenic mines. She introduces the Davy lamp into the mine operations against the wishes of many of the miners there.

Excerpt from : Thief of Broken Hearts

Endymion, having shed all curiosity as to how these people knew who he was, raced in the direction the woman had pointed until he came upon a wide chamber, shored up by thick timbers at regular intervals. He came to a precipitous stop. In the middle of the chamber, dressed in a dull brown kerseymere dress and pelisse, stood his wife, covered in dust and perfectly at ease.

I’m going to kill her…right after I turn her over my knee.

A bandy-legged miner, hat in hand, argued with the duchess whilst an older man with a greying beard and dressed like a gentleman farmer looked on, some sort of lamp in his hand. “I don’t like it, Yer Grace. It ain’t natural. Not a thing wrong with the lamp I had,” the miner said, eyeing the lamp in the older man’s hands as if it were a snake poised to bite.

“I’ll tell you what isn’t natural, George Watts.” Rhiannon pushed a strand of hair off her face. “Blowing yourself and half your mates to kingdom come because you are too stubborn to try something new.” She snatched the lamp from the bearded man and shoved it into the miner’s chest. “Either you use the Davy’s lamp or you can join your wife and mother-in-law at the calciners.”

Torn between admiration and anger, Endymion stepped to his wife’s side and, before she noticed his presence, dragged her arm through his. “Do as she says, George. You’ll keep your wits longer. If this is settled, I’d like a word with you, madam.”

Her eyes wide and her color high, Rhiannon tried to free her arm. “What are you doing here? I don’t have time to entertain you, Your Grace. I have work to do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUB GRUB – IN PRAISE OF THE HUMBLE PUB PIE

Steak and Ale Pie The Quintessential British Pub Grub

 

On visiting any pub in England one would be hard pressed not to find at least one meat pie on the menu. They have been a staple of pub fare since the medieval era, if not before. There  is something infinitely hearty and comforting about meat and vegetables swimming in a rich gravy wrapped in a thick, flaky crust. I daresay working men in England have been popping round to the pub for a pie and a pint in the middle of the day to get them through afternoons on the job since that very same medieval era.

As a historical note, wrapping food in a sort of pie crust has been around since the Egyptians. Once Alexander the Great started building his empire this Egyptian staple soon moved on to Greece and eventually the Romans acquired it… about the same time they acquired Greece. The Romans moved on to occupy Britain and whilst those early Brits did all they could to shove the Romans back to Rome, they did like the idea of baking meat and vegetables into a pie crust so they pilfered the recipe. Seems a small price to pay for slaughtering a large portion of the Celtic population and murdering Bodiccea.

Fast forward to today and the meat pie is part of the very culinary fabric of Britain. And it is definitely one of the very best things to order in any pub in England. Pubs take a great deal of pride in the reputations of their pies. There are even annual contests for the best pub pies in counties, districts, and even the entire country.

By definition, a meat pie is any meat dish served in a pie crust. Which means everything from the lofty Beef Wellington to the lowly Cornish pasty can be considered a meat pie.

Chef Gordon Ramsey’s recipe for Beef Wellington is considered the epitome of Beef Wellington recipes.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2538/beef-wellington

Beef Wellington

The D-shaped Cornish Pasty, a hand pie with a storied history that comes filled with beef, potatoes, swede (rutabaga) and onion was developed as lunch fare for workers in the ancient English tin mining region of Cornwall. it played such an important part in the history of mining in Cornwall that the dish was awarded Protected Geographical Indication status in 2011 to prevent it being copied by imitators.

Here is a recipe you can imitate for a scrumptious pasty.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/traditional-cornish-pasty-recipe-435042

Cornish Pasty

 

Now cooking your own pub pie might sound well and good, but frankly I much prefer acquiring a good pub pie in its natural habitat – a pub in the UK! There is something to be said for the flavor added to a pub pie by the rafters and hearth of a pub that has been around for several hundred years. And nothing can compare to strolling about an English village or a stately home or the grounds of an ancient castle only to wind up in the local pub with a delicious pub pie and the local ale or a hot cup of tea on a scarred oak table ready for you to enjoy.

Pub pie at The Windmill in Mayfair

 

 

 

 

 

The Windmill – Mayfair

Check out some of the other pubs on this list !

http://www.traveller.com.au/where-to-find-the-best-english-pub-and-pie-13eb4h

For me, however, it is the out-of-the-way, small village pubs that cook up the best pub pies. Nothing can compare to a local cook striving for bragging rights and desiring nothing more than to provide the comfort of a great pub pie for their friends, families, and neighbors.

The George – Lacock

 

 

The George – Lacock
The George – Lacock
The George – Lacock
Steak and ale pie at The George

And nothing can compare to a meal of steak and ale pie at a historic pub with one’s fellow travelers after a day visiting stately homes and a village unchanged in hundreds of years. Sometimes it is the food that makes an indelible memory. Sometimes it is the company. And if you are very fortunate, it is both. Who’s ready to take a trip to The George for some glorious pub grub?

PROJECT REGENCY ROMANCE – CREATING REGENCY ROMANCE JANE AUSTEN WOULD READ – Part Two

WHAT TO SERVE AT ALL OF THOSE DINNER PARTIES, SUPPERS, AND VENETIAN BREAKFASTS

Most readers of Regency romance don’t read them for detailed descriptions of the food one’s characters eat. However, should an author mention serving fish and chips at a soiree or pancakes and waffles at a Venetian breakfast… Well, suffice it to say the most sharp-eyed and avid Regency romance fans might well be provoked to throw said author’s book into a compost pile, never to be seen again.

 

Fortunately, cookbooks are one of those items that stand the test of time. Today, families create their own cookbooks – collecting grandma’s recipes to preserve them for future generations. Rest assured, cooks during the Regency, be they chefs engaged by dukes for their townhouses in London or matronly ladies who ruled over the kitchens of those massive country homes, collected recipes as well. And fortunately for those of us who write Regency romance, many of those cookbooks are available to us today.

Favorite foods, foods prepared and served simply to show off a character’s wealth, or even foods a hero or heroine cannot abide will help to paint a more vivid picture of the people and events in a romance novel. Never forget, food can be a sensual experience as well. Yes, even British food can be sexy!

There are a great many facets of food preparation, availability, storage, taste, and menu combinations one must investigate if one wishes to write an accurate portrayal of food during the Regency era. Below is a selection of some wonderful resources on this subject.

 

The Jane Austen Cookbook – Maggie Black and Deidre Le Fey

Whilst this book includes a discussion of Jane Austen’s thoughts on food and her use of it in her novels and also outlines mealtimes, entertaining, and its importance in the social life during her era (1775-1817,) the best part is the inclusion of Martha Lloyd’s entire Household Book. Martha Lloyd was a dear friend of Miss Austen and lived with the family for a number of years. Her Household Book includes over one hundred recipes used on a daily basis in the Austen household. Used copies can be purchased quite cheaply here.

Bath Buns

 

Everlasting Syllabub and the Art of Carving – Hannah Glasse

This version of Hannah Glasse’s work features recipes for rice pudding, barbecued pork, trifle, and other scrumptious non-French desserts and even a recipe for curry the Indian way – the first such recipe recorded in Britain. She also includes tips for choosing the best ingredients and the best methods for carving meats served at table. As an oddity there are even cures for the bite of a mad dog. Copies of this book are extremely well-priced here.

Syllabub

 

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy – Hannah Glasse

Originally published in 1747 in England, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy is perhaps the best resource for recipes for good, common English fare. It includes instructions on how to shop based on the season of the year, how to prepare meats and preserve vegetables, how meals are to be served at table, and it even has specific menus for each month of the year. There is a section on distilling and even some recipes for home remedies for common complaints. It is definitely one of my favorite resources and it actually became a bestseller for over 1oo years after it was published in the United States in 1805. Paperback copies are very reasonably priced here.

Roast Pork

 

The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined – John Mollard

First published in 1802, this step-by-step cookbook is a wonderful look at the basic cooking of the Regency era. Instructions for the preparation of a variety of stocks – beef stock, veal stock for soups, consume and essence of meats – and various gravies and benshamelles, followed by recipes for a variety of soups begin this book of cookery instruction designed to take the cook through the courses necessary for a full meal. There are a variety of surprise recipes one might not expect to find in an early nineteenth-century cookbook, including one for onion rings (using Spanish onions) that would not be out of place at the local fast-food restaurant. Copies of this book can be a bit pricey so search the usual suspects. Fairly reasonably priced copies can be found here.

White Soup

Georgian Cookery Book – Margaretta Ackworth

This is strictly a cookbook and the recipes would very likely have been found in the kitchens of any worthy Regency era cook. The book consists of ninety recipes transcribed from the handwritten kitchen journal of an eighteenth-century London housewife. The authors also include a brief history of Mrs. Ackworth’s family and some fascinating insights into Georgian era cooking. The original recipe is included along with a modern version for the intrepid Regency romance author to try. Cheap copies of this book can be found here.

Apple Puffs

 

Harvest of the Cold Months : The Social History of Ice and Ices – Elizabeth David

This book is an interesting addition to any Regency research library, first of all, because it is a fascinating read, and more pertinent to the Regency, it presents insightful research into the acquisition, use, and storage of ice during the era and provides every sort of detail imaginable on the introduction of, preparation of, and Regency era affinity for ices and ice cream. As so many Regency romances include a visit to the famous Gunther’s, any author interested in a bit more information as to how such an establishment came to be such a popular venue would do well to read this book. Hardbound copies can be found at quite reasonable prices here.

 

 

The Household Companion – Eliza Smith

This book was originally published in the early eighteenth-century as The Compleat Housewife. By 1758, thirty years after Eliza Smith’s death, it was in its seventeenth edition and was the first cookery book published in America. This compilation of household hints and instructions and recipes was gleaned from Eliza’s years of employment in the most fashionable and noble households in England. The recipes are fantastic, but also of great interest will be the directions for creating a variety of cures for illness for everything from the common cold to consumption. There are also directions for beauty concoctions and even a recipe for making one’s own paint. It is an intriguing read and copies can be had very reasonably here.

 

 

The Housekeeping Book of Susanna Whatman (1776-1800)

This book is included as it does contain some recipes, but also discusses household practices, housework, and how households were run during the Georgian era. For an author in search of the daily routines and expectations of the mistress of the house and how the housekeeper and servants met those needs this is an excellent resource. Cheap copies can be found here.

 

Medieval Meat Pie

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management – Isabella Beeton

Isabella Mayson Beeton was born just after the Regency era and her book is considered more of a Victorian era housekeeper’s / cook’s volume. However, many of the housekeeping tips, household managing tips, and even the recipes in it are those handed down to Mrs. Beeton from ladies of the Regency. There are menus for each month of the year, methods of preserving, butchering, and storing food – all of which would have been used during the Regency. For those authors who write Regency romance set in the late Regency / early Victorian era Mrs. Beeton’s will be a priceless reference guide. Be certain to look for the unabridged edition and an annotated edition is even better. Reasonably priced copies are available here.

 

Eighteenth-century Kitchen
Nineteenth-century Kitchen

 

The Art of Dining : A History of Cooking and Eating – Sara Paston-Williams

Whilst not strictly a cookbook, this volume is an invaluable resource for the author who wants to create authentic images of the kitchens and kitchen accoutrements in a variety of stately homes. It covers kitchens and dining from the medieval era through the Victorian age. There are recipes from each era and the author has even included modern adaptations of each recipe thus allowing the Regency romance author to prepare and enjoy the meal her character might enjoy. An informative and elegant read, hardbound copies of this beautiful book are available at great prices here.

 

Regency Supper Table

British Food : An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History – Colin Spencer

Whilst this book covers far more than the Regency era it is an exceptional recount of the evolution of English food and the reasons behind the many twists and turns this evolution took. Imminently readable and beyond informative, the author traces the roots of many Regency era dishes from the early medieval era. He does spend a great deal of time covering the foods of the Georgian era, a plus for any Regency romance author, and discusses not simply the preparation of the food and the serving of said food, but the social manners and implications of food as well. He traces the decline of good English fare to the social stigma attached to serving common food which reached its zenith in the Victorian era when society became completely obsessed with French cuisine. Reasonably priced copies can be had here.

 

Ices as desserts for a Regency dinner table.

 

A History of English Food – Clarissa Dickson Wright

This is a fun and informative read. The author traces the progression of English food from the Second Crusade to the present day. The most useful information concerns when certain spices, food items, and cookery techniques were first used in English cooking. A handy thing to know when trying to decide whether to include certain foods in one’s Regency romance novel. The author also does an extraordinary job of describing what it was like to sit down to dinner at a variety of meals from medieval feast to Regency supper party and she goes to the trouble of including meals of every day people as well as those of the aristocracy. Hardbound copies are more than reasonably priced here.

 

Regency era butcher shop

 

The Country House Kitchen 1650-1900 : Skills and Equipment for Food Provisioning – Leeds Symposium on Food History 1993

This book is a thorough discussion of exactly how self-sufficient the country house was and how it became so. It delineates the skills of various servants, the many processes needed to grow, harvest, prepare, preserve, and store various food items, and the equipment necessary to do so. It covers everything from the ice house to the distillery to the dairy and more. The evolution of cooking vessels, equipment, and the various stoves is fascinating to read and gives a Regency romance author a complete view of life behind the green baize door of the country house kitchen. Specific houses are discussed at length and photographs are provided as well. Another great resource for the Regency romance author who wants to know exactly what goes on in the background before those lovely dinner parties and ball midnight suppers. Reasonably priced hardbound copies can be found here.

 

Caution! (Again, in case you missed it the first time!) I have been told that my book reviews have caused some people to fall into the same horrid addiction from which I suffer. This affliction may necessitate hiding your credit cards, avoiding all bookstores – online and off – especially those that specialize in old books and history books. And should your spouse discover my role in your sudden Regency research book fetish, I will deny everything!

A LADY’S BOOK OF LOVE and Lotteries in Regency England

BY LOUISA CORNELL

My very first Regency Romance for Scarsdale Publishing goes live on May 22nd ! I am thrilled to be writing a book in Scarsdale’s popular and highly successful Marriage Maker series.

Sir Stirling James, the man Society calls the Marriage Maker, is back this Season to work his magic at uniting couples—and never has his talent been more tested.

Miss Emmaline Peachum needs a hero. She’ll settle for a husband, however, if he can rescue her reputation from further scandal and save her beloved library from the bailiff and his henchmen. But what sort of gentleman will agree to marry the daughter of England’s most notorious con artist?

After eighteen years in His Majesty’s Navy, Captain Lord Arthur Farnsworth wants to retire to the life of a country gentleman. But first he must discharge his final duty to his men and retrieve the money that was swindled from them.

Sir Stirling James offers the captain the perfect opportunity to find the missing funds. Arthur will marry the bookish hoyden whose father cheated his men of their last farthing and seduce her into telling him where the money can be found.

The problem with this plan lies with the defiant, beautiful, and wickedly witty Miss Emmaline Peachum, who must have inherited her father’s larcenous tendencies. While Captain Farnsworth is intent on retribution, she is stealing his heart.

 

Lotteries in Regency England

 

A Lottery is a taxation Upon all the fools in creation;

And Heav’n be prais’d It is easily rais’d. . . The Lottery

Henry Fielding

 

In writing Stealing Minerva I had to do a bit of research on lotteries in early England. My heroine’s father is a con artist who swindles thousands of pounds from citizens of every walk of life by setting up a fake lottery and absconding with the money.

There were state lotteries in England as early as 1690. They were established and run by the Bank of England. They were used to raise money for good causes, government projects, the British Museum at Montague House, and even helped finance the war against Napoleon.

Lottery tickets were quite expensive. In addition to individuals, boroughs bought lottery tickets in order to raise money for the feeding and clothing of poor children. The Church had no issues with clerics gambling on lottery tickets to raise money for their parishes. People who could not afford to buy a full lottery ticket pooled their money and bought shares in a single ticket, sometimes advertising for partners in the newspaper.

Daily Advertiser (London, England), Wednesday, September 24, 1777

Here is a sample of what a winning ticket might be worth.

Then, as now, a winning lottery ticket might change a person’s life forever. In 1798, four people on servants’ wages won 20,000 pounds (a value of 1.2 million pounds today!) The lucky winners were a female servant from Holborn, a servant of the Duke of Roxburgh, a keeper of a fruit stall and a vegetable carrier from Covent Garden.

Most lottery tickets were winners of at least the price of the ticket. However, every fourth or so ticket might be a blank – a losing ticket. Forward thinking institutions came up with insurance programs for lottery players, a way to insure one received at least the value of their ticket back.

As today, lottery ticket drawings were public events, although not nearly as rowdy and glamorous. They were public in order to display the event as fair and aboveboard.

“Coopers Hall, Lottery Drawing”, from Ackermanns Microcosm of London”, dating from 1809 (Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library)

In spite of this there were a number of lottery scandals and scams during the Georgian / Regency era. To find out how one such scam worked check out my novella A Lady’s Book of Love ! It has been up for preorder and goes live on Amazon TODAY !!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C6QSHJF/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1523840315&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Lady%27s+Book+of+Love+by+Louisa+Cornell

EXCERPT :

“You don’t strike me as the sort of woman to surrender so easily.”

“Some men think women are made for surrender. That we seek it so as not to have the burden of thinking or making our own decisions.”

“I am not one of those men.”

She snorted. “I am almost persuaded.” Her fingers ran along the spines of the books. He nearly sensed her touch on his skin. “Almost.”

“I don’t believe it is in a woman’s nature to surrender. It is something she is taught or has beaten into her. The one who maintains her true nature will fight long past a single hope of winning. And when life forces her to surrender, she despises herself for it. The only person she despises more is the man who has forced her to submit to that state so completely counter to her nature.”

She turned to face him, her back pressed against the shelves, a worn leather volume gripped tightly in her hands. “What would a man like you know of surrender?” She peered up at him, her eyes all too cynical and discerning to suit him.

His mind froze. His ability to dissemble fled, so he gave her the truth. “Far more than I care to admit, Miss Peachum. I cannot recommend it.”

“You? In war?” She gave him a subtle smile that threatened to take his breath away. “In love perhaps?”

“In life.”

 

For more historical romance by Louisa Cornell check out her Amazon Author page !

https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Cornell/e/B00PYZQOA6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

And for announcements about future books join Louisa’s Facebook Author page !

https://www.facebook.com/RegencyWriterLouisaCornell

Check out the rest of the books in the Marriage Maker Series !

http://scarsdalepublishing.com/