From Suffolk to Scotland Yard

The Life & Career of George Read, a Victorian Thames River Policeman In December 1888, Detective-Inspector George Read of the Metropolitan Police Thames Division (CID) retired after 33 years of service. So considerable was the respect for him in the local business community that a committee – which included everyone from shipping merchants to bargeContinue reading “From Suffolk to Scotland Yard”

A Person Unknown Drowned In the Thames

Drownings & Burials in 18th Century Deptford I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately poring over the parish records for St Nicholas’ church in Deptford searching for the burial of an ancestor, shipwright William Saword (b. 1700). His wife Deborah was buried there in 1772 but I can’t find any burial for him.Continue reading “A Person Unknown Drowned In the Thames”

Crowdfunding – Georgian Style

Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to support a startup, community project or someone in need? It might seem like a new idea, but in fact, people had similar ways of fundraising for causes and ideas 250 years ago! In the 1700s-1800s crowdfunding for a new product or project was commonly called ‘publicContinue reading “Crowdfunding – Georgian Style”

Christmas Cheer in the Workhouse

Workhouses have a reputation for cruelty and despair. After watching the BBC’s edgy new production of a Christmas Carol yesterday, and the (not at all edgy) Muppet version today, I’ve been reminded of Scrooge’s famous commentary on the workhouses; his appalling lack of empathy for the poor still resonates in 2019: “At this festive seasonContinue reading “Christmas Cheer in the Workhouse”

Queen Alexandra, a Progressive Police Orphanage, and a Royal Affair

Last year my daughter found an algae-covered claypipe bowl head in the Letcombe Brook in Wantage. We cleaned it up and I realised it was the lovely face of Queen Alexandra (Alexandra of Denmark), who had visited Wantage in 1877 when she was Princess of Wales (a title she held for 38 years until theContinue reading “Queen Alexandra, a Progressive Police Orphanage, and a Royal Affair”