One of the most iconic buildings in England, Brighton’s Royal Pavilion has come to symbolize the decadence of the Regency Period. Built as George IV’s pleasure palace by the sea, the Pavilion continues to astonish visitors, just as it did in the 19th century. Even the typically unflappable Duke of Wellington was taken aback by the Pavilion’s excesses and the Prince’s flamboyant style of interior decor.
Princess Lieven recorded the Duke’s reaction upon first seeing the Pavilion in a letter to her husband written from Brighton on January 26, 1822:
“I wish you were here to laugh. You cannot imagine how astonished the Duke of Wellington is. He had not been here before, and I thoroughly enjoy noting the kind of remark and the kind of surprise that the whole household evokes in a new-comer. I do not believe that, since the days of Heliogabalus, there have been such magnificence and such luxury. There is something effeminate in it which is disgusting. One spends the evening half-lying on cushions; the lights are dazzling; there are perfumes, music, liquers – “Devil take me, I think I must have got into bad company.” You can guess who said that, and the tone in which it was said. . . . ”
After the death of the Prince Regent, his brother, King William IV, and later Queen Victoria, both visited the Pavilion. However, by Queen Victoria’s time, the town of Brighton had become much more developed and the population increased accordingly. Queen Victoria felt that the property could no longer afford herself and her family the seclusion they required and she sold the building to the Corporation of Brighton in 1850.
Today, the Royal Pavilion has been restored to it’s former Regency glory and is still astonishing the many visitors who arrive daily to experience the grandeur first-hand. Number One London Tours invites you to join us for a tour of the Royal Pavilion as part of the itinerary for our 2019 Queen Victoria Tour or our 2020 Regency Tour.
The video below offers the most comprehensive tour of the Pavilion’s interiors I’ve seen and it also includes a good overview of it’s history, so I’ve chosen to include it despite the interpreter’s very animated delivery. Final bit of trivia – Ironically, all of the kitchen copper-ware you’ll see in the video was once the property of the first Duke of Wellington and bears his ducal crest. It was transferred to the Pavilion in the 1950s, when Apsley House was placed under the control of English Heritage.
Continuing the Accounts of the Death and Burial of Queen Caroline, August 1821
Queen Caroline had long been a popular figure with the masses. During her funeral procession, riots broke out in the London streets. The following account was published in the Manchester Guardian on 18 August 1821:
“Before six o’clock a crowd assembled at Hyde Park Corner. The anxiety of the people as to the course the funeral procession [for Caroline of Brunswick] would take was here most strikingly displayed. The crowd were unwilling to depart from a place where there was a favourable chance of joining or viewing the procession; but there was the greatest agitation and alarm lest it should pass another way.
“The procession reached Kensington at half past nine. It was after eleven that it moved on into Hyde Park, and an attempt was made to pass, but this failed, for the people, apprehensive that the hearse would not pass through the City, shut the gates.
“About twelve o’clock the procession entered the Park, and during its passage through it a scene of confusion and outrage ensued of which the annals of this or any other Christian country can present few parallels. Vast numbers of persons on foot and on horseback passed with great speed along Park Lane. Their object was suspected by the Guards to be to reach that gate before them, with the view of meeting the procession, and forcing it to turn back. To prevent this, the Guards galloped through the Park to gain Cumberland Gate before them. The procession moved at a very quick pace through the Park. Suddenly, it halted, and it was understood that the people had closed the gates. It became necessary to force a way for the procession through whatever impediments might present themselves. The people were equally bent on turning the procession, and forcing it into the route of the city. Here a contest arose, and here, we deeply regret to say, blood was shed!
“Some stones and mud were thrown at the military, and a magistrate being present, the soldiers were sanctioned in firing their pistols and carbines at the unarmed crowd. Screams of terror were heard in every direction. The number of shots fired was not less than forty or fifty. So completely did the soldiery appear at this period to have lost the good temper and forbearance they previously evinced, that they fired shots in the direction in which the procession was moving. Immediately upon the cessation of the firing, the latter part of the procession joined the rest of the funeral train. The rain, which had lately abated, again poured in torrents, as the procession advanced.”
Harriet Arbuthnot, diarist and close friend of the Duke of Wellington wrote in her Journal:
“August 1821: 15th Most disgraceful riots have taken place in London at the Queen’s funeral. The people were dissatisfied at the procession being settled not to go thro’ the City and actually, by force and violence, by breaking up the roads and blocking them with carts and carriages, forced it into the City. One man was killed and many wounded, and nothing prevented a dreadful slaughter but the exemplary patience and forbearance of the military…”
A few days later, she wrote: ” 21st – Mr. Arbuthnot writes me word from London that he thinks all the mischiefs at the Queen’s funeral were caused by Sir Robert Baker’s folly and cowardice, that the Riot Act was not read and the soldiers fired without orders; but, after all, men with arms in their hands cannot be expected to stand and be pelted to death without retaliating. Inquests are sitting upon the two men who were killed, and nothing ever was so absurd as the proceedings. Sheriff Waithman acts as Counsel for the dead men and treats the Coroner and everybody with the utmost impertinence; the Life Guards were paraded today that the witnesses might try and identify the man who fired, but all picked out different people and most of them men who were not on duty, so that it is quite a farce…”
On the 30th of August, Mrs. Arbuthnot wrote: “…There was a great riot at the Knightsbridge barracks at the funeral of the two men who were killed on the day of the Queen’s funeral. The people hissed and hooted the soldiers and at last attacked one who was amongst them unarmed. His comrades defended him and a general battle ensured. Nobody was much hurt.”
Mrs. Arbuthnot added a month later:
“Sept. 14 1821: The Duke of Wellington dined with us and told me that he was quite sure Sir Robert Wilson was at the bottom of whole riot at the Queen’s funeral. The Ministers have evidence that he offered five shillings to the first man who wd break up the roads, and gave beer to the mob to excite them; he also abused one of the soldiers and d—-d him, on which the soldier loaded his pistol and cocked it, which preparation rather alarmed Sir Robert, and he made off. he is to be dismissed the Service as soon as the King returns, and he is expected today. I asked the Duke why he was not tried for treason for obstructing the King’s Highway, but he said people were afraid of appearing as witnesses from the violence of the mob.”
From the Hamburg papers, published September 5, 1821, in The Times:
“Brunswick, August 25: Yesterday was performed here the funeral ceremony of the entrance and depositing of the body of the late Queen of England, with all the solemnity and attachment to the House of their Princes which characterises the brave Brunswickers….The citizens of Brunswick…drew the car to the church themselves….Immediately behind it followed several hundred merchants and citizens with tapers. Behind the train of the citizens followed the carriages of the English, Alderman Wood, Lord Hood, Lady Hamilton, Austin, etc. and several carriages belonging to persons of this city attached to the House of Brunswick…There were 20,000 persons who followed the royal corpse, and the greatest tranquillity and order prevailed during the whole of the funeral solemnity. The church was hung with black, and 60 young ladies, all dressed in white with black sashes, received the corpse, and accompanied it, with wax tapers, to the vault. ”
Caroline is buried in the Brunswick royal tomb in the cathedral in Brunswick (in German, Dom St. Blasii et Johannis), a large Lutheran church in the city now known as Braunschweig.
Numerous volumes have been published about the life of Caroline of Brunswick, her trials and tribulations. Below, the 1996 biography by Flora Fraser, published by Knopf.
Ms. Fraser’s conclusion (p.466): “[Caroline’s] high-spirited, even reckless, response to her predicament brought her unprecedented liberty, as she confounded the machinations of her husband and of the governments in England and on the Continent to bring her to book. But in the end Caroline’s breathtaking audacity had fatal consequences, contributing to the loss of her daughter, her crown and her life.”
The married life and death of Queen Caroline (1768-1821 were equally frenzied. Though she was never officially crowned, Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfbuttel was the wife of King George IV and thus, Princess of Wales and after the 1820 death of George III, the Queen of England. She died on August 7, 1821, just a month after her husband’s lavish coronation ceremony which she was physically restrained from attending.
For an account of her death, we turn to excerpts from a letter from Viscount Hood to Henry Brougham, M.P., who had represented the Queen at her recent trial and had gone to York to attend Assizes.
Brandenburgh House, 8th Aug., 1821.
“. . . The melancholy event took place at 25 minutes past 10 o’clock last night, when our dear Queen breathed her last. Her Majesty has quitted a scene of uninterrupted persecution, and for herself I think her death is not to be regretted. . . . She died in peace with all her enemies. Je ne mourrai sans douleur, mais je mourrai sans regret (I shall not die without pain, but I die without regret) was frequently expressed by her Majesty. I never beheld a firmer mind, or any one with less feelings at the thought of dying, which she spoke of without the least agitation, and at different periods of her illness, even to very few hours of her dissolution, arranged her worldly concerns. . .”
King George IV learned the news of the death of his estranged — and much despised — wife while on board a ship bound for his visit to Ireland. Apparently illness had accomplished what he had tried to do so often in life — rid himself of Caroline. Though there were rumors of poison and other nefarious plots, her death was officially ruled to be from natural causes. George IV greatly resented the popular acclaim that Caroline enjoyed; she was a favorite of the people; they probably loved her mainly because they detested the Prince Regent/King and his profligate ways.
Even in death, Caroline left controversy in her wake, as expressed by our old friend, the Diarist Thomas Creevey:
Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“Cantley, Aug. 11.
. . . The death of this poor woman under all its circumstances is a most striking event and gave me an infernal lump in my throat most part of Thursday. . . . (There) is one subject which gives me some uneasiness in the making of her will, the Queen wished to leave some diamonds to Victorine, the child of Pergami, of whom she was so fond. This was not liked by Brougham and her other lawyers, so the bequest does not appear in the will ; but the jewels are nevertheless to be conveyed to Victorine. This, you know, is most delicate matter to be employed on her deathbed in sending her jewels from Lady Anne Hamilton and Lady Hood to Pergami’s child appears to me truly alarming. I mean, should it be known, and one is sure it will be so, for Taylor had a letter from Denison last night mentioning such a report, and being quite horrified at it. On the other hand, when I expressed the same sentiment to Brougham, he thought nothing of it. His creed is that she was a child-fancier: that Pergami’s elevation was all owing to her attachment to Victorine, and he says his conviction is strengthened every day of her entire innnocence as to Bergami. This, from Brougham, is a great deal, because I think it is not going too far to say that he absolutely hated her; nor do I think her love for her Attorney General (Brougham) was very great.”
Creevey is referring to Victorine, the daughter of Caroline’s companion and perhaps lover, Pergami. She was one of several children Caroline doted upon during her lifetime, Whether any of them were her illegitimate offspring was widely discussed but never proved. Several were left legacies in her will.
George IV was desperate to rid himself of his wife. They had been estranged since shortly after their arranged marriage in 1795, even before the birth of their only child, Princess Charlotte of Wales (1796-1817). Even after Charlotte’s lamented death in childbirth, Caroline had remained abroad, living in Italy until her husband became king. But when she returned to England, she faced an unpleasant situation.
When King George tried to divorce his wife in a trial before the House of Lords in 1820, Henry Peter Brougham (1778–1868), later 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, defended her. The fact that the case was later dropped gave him great prestige. He became Lord Chancellor of Great Britain under King William IV.
Letter from Henry Brougham, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Aug. 14, 1821.
I have seen Lushington and Wilde repeatedly. They are at this moment in negociation with the Govt. ; or rather throwing up all concern with the funeral on account of this indecent hurry. Their ground is a clear one : they won’t take charge of it from Stade the port in Hanover to Brunswick without knowing that arrangements are ready to receive them. . . . The Govt., only wishing the speedy embarkation, as they avow, for the sake of not delaying the dinner at Dublin, insist on getting it on board as quick as possible, and don’t mind what happens afterwards. … I shall, I think, be satisfied with going to Harwich with it, and not go, as I had intended, to Brunswick.”
Poor Caroline. Though the people mourned her, only those required to accompany her body apparently wanted to do so. She had requested burial in her native Brunswick.
Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
” Cantley, Aug. 18th.
“. . . Here is Brougham again. He has been at Harwich, where he saw the body of the Queen embarked about 3 o’clock on Thursday; and then immediately came across the country, and, after travelling all night, got here to dinner yesterday, and proceeds to Durham to-night to join the circuit there. I wish very much I had been at Harwich : according to Brougham’s account it must have been the most touching spectacle that can be imagined the day magnificently beautiful the sea as smooth as glass
our officers by land and sea all full dressed soldiers and sailors all behaving themselves with the most touching solemnity the yards of the four ships of war all manned the Royal Standard drooping over the coffin and the Queen’s attendants in the centre boat every officer with his hat off the whole time minute guns firing from the ships and shore, and thousands of people on the beach sobbing put aloud. … It was as it should be and the only thing that was so during the six and twenty years’ connection of this unhappy woman with this country. . . And now what do you think Brougham said to me not an hour ago? that if he had gone with the Queen’s body to Brunswick, it would have been going too far it would have been over-acting his part ; ‘ it being very well known that through the whole of this business he had never been very much for the Queen ! ‘ Now upon my soul, this is quite true, and, being so, did you ever know anything at all to equal it ?”
Apparently Mr. Creevey did not approve of Mr. Brougham’s dismissal of any affection for the lady he had served as adviser since 1812.
Caroline had long been a popular figure with the masses. During her funeral procession, riots broke out in the London streets. We will continue reporting on Queen Caroline’s death and burial soon.
Perhaps the most famous set of false teeth are the ivory set once worn by George Washington, pictured at left. Ivory dentures were popular into the 18th century, and were made from natural materials including walrus, elephant or hippopotamus ivory. These ill fitting and uncomfortable ivory dentures were replaced by porcelain dentures, introduced in the 1790’s, which weren’t much more successful due to their brightness and tendency to crack. In fact, the most favored material for false teeth was . . . . real teeth.
Presiding at the annual meeting of the British Dental Association held in Dublin in 1888, Mr. Daniel Corbett, Dental Surgeon, stated : “Six weeks was the usual time spent in the manufacture of a complete denture when working bone and natural teeth. When human teeth were in fashion, our supply was usually had from the graveyard, and I recollect what attention was paid to the gravedigger at his periodical visits to my father’s residence with his gleanings from the coffins he chanced to expose in the discharge of his avocation. His visits were generally at night, and no hospitable duty in which my father might chance to be engaged was permitted to interfere with the reception of this ever welcome visitor into the sanctum sanctorum of the house.The gravediggers every Monday morning made their way to the dental depots, each with his sack on his back containing the ghastly burdens collected during the previous week . . . we can scarcely realize the horror of the scene of these men bringing the jaws which they had turned up in “God’s acre” in their daily avocation; but mankind required teeth, and to meet the need most of those put in the mouth came from the jaws of the dead.”
While graveyards were a profitable source for cadever teeth, the quantity of teeth typically on hand was limited. Enter the Peninsular Wars and the Battle of Waterloo. Of the 50,000 men who fell at the Battle of Waterloo, most were young and healthy and their teeth were of a generally good standard, much better than the teeth employed in the majority of dentures. Having been plundered from the battlefield, most of these teeth made their way back to Britain, the country best placed to afford the new top-quality dentures which would incorporate them. These then became known as ‘Waterloo Teeth,’ a set of which are pictured at right. The name quickly established itself as applying to any set of dentures made from young and healthy teeth taken from a Napoleonic battlefield and continued as a term on into the 19th Century.
The Quarterly Review 1842 refers to a portion of Bransby Cooper’s biography of his uncle, surgeon Sir Astley Cooper, and runs – “Tooth hunters followed the armies, moving in as soon as the living had left the field. `Only let there be a battle and there will be no want of teeth; I’ll draw them as fast as the men are knocked down,’ says one such hunter in The Life of Astley Cooper. There were so many spare teeth that they were shipped abroad by the barrel. In 1819, American dentist Levi Spear Parmly, the inventor of floss, wrote that he had `in his possession thousands of teeth extracted from bodies of all ages that have fallen in battle.’
“This seems always to have been a regular though subordinate pursuit with them even at home. One of our author’s acquaintances, Mr. Murphy, robbed the vault under a London meeting-house, in one night, of teeth which he sold for 60 pounds. No wonder, then, if We find in a subsequent page that one of these fellows returned from Waterloo with a box of teeth and jaw-bones valued at 100 pounds. Did the autumnal beauties of 1816 suspect this? But the most precious harvest of all was, we are told, that of 1813. ‘ The German universities,’ says a French dentist, ‘turned out many youths in their very bloom; and our conscripts were so young that few of their teeth had been injured by the stain of tobacco.’ The Polish Jews were very active at this work during Napoleon’s later campaigns; and we remember a British dentist who was nicknamed Dr. Pulltuski from the notoriety of his dealings with them.”
On a more humorous note, it’s interesting that at least two books, Modern England 1820-1885 By Oscar Browning and Sir Spencer Walpole’s History of England both refer to George IV’s false teeth. It seems that the King was set to deliver a speech to Parliament in February of 1825, but had lost his false teeth and so it was delivered, instead, by Lord Eldon.
Separate mineral teeth, designed to be mounted on gold or other plates, which finally gave the death blow to the use of the gleanings of the graveyard, were the invention of a M. Audibran, of Paris, and were introduced into England by Mr. Corbett and their manufacture was taken up by Mr. Claudius Ash, of London, in 1837, who rapidly wrought a marvellous improvement in their strength and beauty, and severed once and for all the gravediggers’ connection with the dental surgery. In America, the Civil War continued to provide a source for human teeth.
The following ad appeared in The Solicitor’s Journal and Reporter of June 4 1859
NO. 9, LOWER GROSVENOR-STREET, GROSVENOR-SQUARE,
(Removed from 61). By Her Majesty’s Royal Letters Patent.
NEWLY-INVENTED APPLICATION of CHEMICALLY PREPARED INDIA-RUBBER in the construction of Artificial Teeth, Gums, and Palates.
MOSELY, SURGEON-DENTIST, Sole Inventor And Patentee.
A new, original, and invaluable invention, consisting in the adaptation, with the most absolute perfection and success, of CHEMICALLY-PREPARED WHITE and GUM-COLOURED INDIA-RUBBER, as a lining to the gold or bone frame. The extraordinary results of this application may be briefly noted in a few of their most prominent features:—All sharp edges are avoided; no spring wires or fastenings are required; a greatly increased freedom ot snction is supplied ; a natural elasticity, hitherto wholly unattainable, and a fit,perfected with the must unerring accuracy, arc secured; while from the softness and flexibility of the agent employed, the greatest support is given to the adjoining teeth when loose or rendered tender by the absorption of the gums. The acids of the mouth exert no agency on the chemically-prepared India-rubber, and, as it is a non-conductor, fluids of any temperature may be retained in the mouth, all unpleasantness of smell and taste being it the same time wholly provided against by the peculiar nature of its preparation.
The introduction of anaesthesia had a dramatic effect on dentistry. Along with ether and chloroform, nitrous oxide became the most preferred option and most surgeries were equipped with general anaesthetic equipment by the end of the 19th century. Many people were now prepared to have their rotting teeth extracted, which led to an enormous demand for cheap and efficient dentures. The introduction of vulcanite in the mid 19th century meant that dentures could be mass-produced and became affordable, replacing the expensive ivory versions. However, old false teeth apparently still had some value as we read in Methods and Machinery of Practical Banking by Claudius Buchanan Patten (1908) – It is asserted that in these days of poor teeth the average adult has at least a dollar’s worth of gold in his mouth, and that, consequently, every generation buries in the cemeteries of the United States 950,000,000 in gold. It may be that in England more economy is shown than here in the disposition of dental deposits, for I have seen in London stores any quantity of old false teeth on sale for the gold that was fixed in them. In the London `Times’ it is very common to see a long list of advertisements of second-hand clothing and secondhand false teeth for sale.
The 20th century saw an explosion of new materials, techniques and technology in dentistry. Novocaine was introduced early in the 1900’s as a local anaesthetic by a German chemist, Alfred Einhorn. The use of local anaesthetics during dental procedures did much to change the public’s attitude towards dentistry. By 1907 the British School Dental Service opened the first UK children’s clinic. Toothbrush clubs operated in London schools, and toothbrushes were issued to all serving men during World War I, which extended their use into working class families for the first time.
Victoria H here: I have always had a special feeling for Queen Victoria, obviously because it was the name my father — with his entirely British heritage — chose for me.
The above view of the Queen in 1838 is one of my favorite portraits.
Above, the Queen in her 1838 coronation robes by American artist Thomas Sully (1783–1872). The painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City though it has been copied many times and can be found in various configurations many places.
Above, Artist Sir George Hayter (1792-1871) also painted Victoria in her coronation robes. The ceremony took place on June 28, 1938, about a year after Victoria became Queen at age 18 after the death of her uncle, William IV (1765-1937).
Victoria was Queen until her death in 1901, the longest reign in English history at the time. The Hayter painting is in the National Collection in Britain and a copy of it hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Victoria’s name became the title of an age characterized by a revolution in industry, transportation, communication, medicine, culture, and, perhaps, family relationships and sexual behavior. At the beginning of her reign, horses and sailing ships provided transportation. At the end of her life, we had dirigibles and the Wright Brothers first flew just a couple of years later. Wonder what Victoria would have thought of blogging?
In celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth this year, Number One London Tour will be exploring all aspects of the Queen’s life, from her birth at Kensington Palace to her death in 1901 at Osborn House on the Isle of Wight, on our 2019 Queen Victoria Tour. Full details and Tour itinerary can be found here.