Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies.

Harris_covent_garden_ladiesHarris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, published from 1757 to 1795, was an annual directory of prostitutes then working in Georgian London. A small, attractive pocketbook, it was printed and published in Covent Garden, and sold for two shillings and sixpence.
A contemporary report of 1791 estimates that it sold about 8,000 copies annually.
Each edition contains entries which describe the physical appearance and sexual specialities of about 120–190 prostitutes who worked in and around Covent Garden.
Through their erotic prose, the lists’ entries review some of these women in lurid detail.
While most compliment their subjects, some are critical of bad habits, and a few women are even treated as pariahs, perhaps having fallen out of favour with the lists’ authors, who are never revealed.Samuel_Derrick,_Master_of_the_Ceremonies_at_Bath
Samuel Derrick is the man normally credited for the design of Harris’s List, possibly having been inspired by the activities of a Covent Garden pimp, Jack Harris.
A Grub Street hack, Derrick may have written the lists from 1757 until his death in 1769; thereafter, the annual’s authors are unknown.
Throughout its print run it was published pseudonymously by H. Ranger, although from the late 1780s it was actually printed by three men, John and James Roach, and John Aitkin.
As the public’s opinion began to turn against London’s sex trade, and with reformers petitioning the authorities to take action, those involved in the release of Harris’s List were in 1795 fined and imprisoned.
That year’s edition was therefore the last to be published, although by then its content was less euphemistic, lacking the originality of earlier editions. Modern writers tend to view Harris’s List as erotica; in the words of one author, it was designed for “solitary sexual enjoyment”.
Read more via Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies – Wikipedia

The Sad Tale of ‘People’s Hero’ Wat Tyler 1381.

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Pictured is poor old Wat Tyler being slain by one of Richard the Second’s thugs during the Peasant’s Rebellion in England during June, 1381.
Just when Wat Tyler and thousands of peasants (mainly women) were getting the upper hand in the Peasant’s Rebellion Wat Tyler made a terrible and fatal mistake.
He trusted the word of the Monarch who said,  “Wat old chap let’s meet to see if we can stop these horrible women peasants from murdering rich people and stealing their fine cutlery”.
So Wat being a lowly peasant thought he’s the King I should trust him and have a nice quiet peaceful chat
WRONG! Wat never got the chance to even get off his horse before he was repeatedly stabbed by some of Richard’s henchman and was soon dead.
Probably, got hung, drawn and quartered as well just for good measure.
Needless to say the Peasant’s Rebellion fell in a great screaming heap and the Nobles took their vengeance on England’s poor.
They were fair game you see and fox hunting hadn’t been invented yet and hunting down and slaughtering humans was so much better fun!
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The Great Boston Molasses Flood, 1919.

An obscure accident led to the first class action lawsuit against a major company, paving the way for modern regulation.
It may sound like the fantastical plot of a children’ story but Boston’s Great Molasses Flood was one of the most destructive and sombre events in the city’s history.
On 15 January 1919, a muffled roar heard by residents was the only indication that an industrial-sized tank of syrup had burst open, unleashing a tsunami of sugary liquid through the North End district near the city’s docks.
As the 15-foot (5-metre) wave swept through at around 35mph (56km/h), buildings were wrecked, wagons toppled, 21 people were left dead and about 150 were injured.
Now scientists have revisited the incident, providing new insights into why the physical properties of molasses proved so deadly.
Presenting the findings last weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston, they said a key factor was that the viscosity of molasses increases dramatically as it cools.
This meant that the roughly 2.3m US gallons of molasses (8.7m litres) became more difficult to escape from as the evening drew in.
Read on via Source: The Great Boston Molasses Flood: why the strange disaster matters today | US news | The Guardian

Sydney’s Convict Hospital was paid for by Rum, 1816.

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When Lachlan Macquarie began his term as governor of New South Wales in 1810, Sydney was in desperate need of a new hospital.
Since settlement, the colony’s hospital had been a portable canvas building on the shores of Sydney Cove.
To Macquarie’s dismay, the British government refused to fund major public works in the colony, so the enterprising governor brokered a deal: in exchange for building a three-winged General Hospital for convicts, he granted a three-year monopoly on the import of rum and spirits to merchants Alexander Riley and Garnham Blaxcell and surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth.
The hospital was the first project in Macquarie’s ambitious building program.
His plan was for a spacious and elegant hospital for 200 convict patients, but as profits from the rum deal fell, so did the quality of workmanship.
When completed in 1816, the hospital formed an imposing group of three buildings – a central building for hospital wards (now demolished), a northern wing (now Parliament House) to house the principal surgeon, and a southern wing (now The Mint) to house his two assistants – but even at the time, it was widely criticised.
Convict architect Francis Greenway thought the columns lacked ‘Classical proportion’ and found serious structural faults.
Within only a few years the buildings required extensive repairs, while for the convict patients who suffered its poor ventilation, overcrowding and rampant dysentery, it quickly became known as the ‘Sydney Slaughter House’.
via A rattling tale | Sydney Living Museums.

The Peterloo Massacre,1819.

The Peterloo Massacre published by Richard Carlile in 1819. Photograph: Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives
On the morning of 16 August 1819, an immense crowd poured into Manchester, perhaps the largest the town had ever seen.
They came in an orderly and peaceful fashion. Banners bearing slogans such as “Liberty and Fraternity” and “Taxation without Representation is Unjust and Tyrannical” flapped in the breeze, and bands played patriotic tunes including Rule Britannia and God Save the King. It was a fine and sunny day.
On they came in cheerful mood; organised contingents from Bolton and Bury; 6,000 marching from Rochdale and Middleton; others from Saddleworth and Stalybridge; 200 women dressed in white from Oldham, together with families bringing their children and picnics with them.
If later estimates that 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s Fields that day are correct, it means that practically half the population of Manchester and the surrounding towns (a crowd somewhat larger than that at Manchester City home matches today) had come to attend a meeting calling for parliamentary reform.
Having the vote mattered, they believed; it would change everything and force politicians to listen to their views and needs – and respond.
A young businessman, 25-year-old John Benjamin Smith, was watching with his aunt from a window overlooking the open space on the edge of the town near St Peter’s Church.

He later wrote: “There were crowds of people in all directions, full of good humour, laughing and shouting and making fun … It seemed to be a gala day with the country people who were mostly dressed in their best and brought with them their wives, and when I saw boys and girls taking their father’s hand in the procession, I observed to my aunt: ‘These are the guarantees of their peaceable intentions – we need have no fears.’”
The people were expecting speeches and a good day out. What they were not anticipating was violence, carried out by troops sent in to disperse them, so aggressively that 18 people would be killed and more than 650 injured in the bloodiest political clash in British history.

The Massacre of Peterloo! or a Specimen of English Liberty by JL Marks. Photograph: The Art Archive/Rex/Shutterstock
What happened at St Peter’s Fields would become known as the Peterloo Massacre – a name coined by a local journalist named James Wroe in punning reference to the Battle of Waterloo four years earlier.
Wroe paid for the joke by seeing his radical newspaper, the Manchester Observer, closed down, and was himself sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for seditious libel.
Read on via Source: The bloody clash that changed Britain | News | The Guardian

Elopement Story with a Twist, 1892.

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Romance for the Victorians could be a dramatic and dangerous affair according to sensational newspaper reports of the time.
A cautionary tale of going back to an old love
Life hadn’t been kind to Jack McKenna. His wife ran off with his best friend and left for America.
His daughter was dying of influenza. He, too, was struck down with the flu. Only a few shillings stood between him and starvation.
Even when fate finally smiled on him, it was more of a mischievous grin.
In January 1892, a well-dressed woman breezed up to the workhouse in Deptford, London and asked for Jack by name.
When shown to his room, the Leeds Mercury reported, she fell to her knees and begged his forgiveness.
It was his estranged wife, back from California, where his ex-best friend had made a fortune in the gold-fields.
The ex best friend was now dead, and his wife wanted to pick up where they’d left off.
But in a plot twist worthy of Thomas Hardy, she, herself, caught influenza while nursing her husband back to health.
She died of pneumonia, leaving him £62,000 in her will
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