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Westbrook's New Victorian Lights
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Heritage Open Day September 2011
Westbrook Heritage Open Day September 2012
Body Armour for Ladies
The fashion for the crinoline was providing much humour in "Punch" magazine: "40,000 tons of swedish iron have been imported for the manufacture of crinolines. The metal which used to be converted into mail coats is now appropriated for female petticoats". Punch likened it to the "iron maiden" used to torture victims of the Avignon inquisition and felt that young British lovers would risk the same fate.
Victorian Horse Whisperer
An American, Mr Rarey, had introduced a system of breaking and subduing horses which was characterised by a total absence of punishment, violent coercion, drugs, instruments or starvation but only by means consistent with the utmost tenderness for his noble subjects. The most popular test of Mr Rarey's powers was his subjugation of a blood horse, a vicious race horse named "Cruiser" declared to be an untameable devil. Cruiser became one of the best taught and domestic of animals and would follow his teacher lovingly and playfully, would lie down, turn over and allow his master to put his head between his legs and hoist them about.
The French government were pressing the British Government to change our laws on immigration because in the attempt by Count Orsini to assassinate Emperor Napoleon III, the chief of the conspirators had been resident in England for some time.
Theory of Evolution Announced
In 1859 Darwin published the Origin of Species, a theory which included the proposal that man had a common ancestor with the apes. This caused a great furore in the general public and opposition from the church.
World's First Underground Railway.
On 10 Jan 1863 the very first underground railway in the World opened between Paddington and Farringdon St. Drawn by steam locomotives, it passed through Edgware Rd, Baker St, Portland St and Kings Cross. In 1864, the second, the Hammersmith and City Railway opened between Paddington and Hammersmith. Others followed in amazingly rapid succession.
Red Cross Begins
The Red Cross was founded in Switzerland by Jean Henri Dunant, a young Swiss Banker, who having witnessed in 1859 the horrific battle of Solferino between the French, Austrians and Italians where 40,000 men died, organised a group of local women to tend to the wounded even though they were the enemy. in 1862 he wrote a book proposing that army medical services should be set up to regard the wounded and all those attending to them as neutral and that societies of volunteers should be set up to provide help to the wounded. In 1864 the International Geneva Conference adopted the red cross as its emblem, but in the war between Turkey and Russia in 1876-8 the religious connotation of the red cross became evident and the Ottoman Empire decided to use a red crescent to mark its ambulances while respecting the red cross on enemy ambulances.
The International Federation of the Red Crescent and Red Cross was founded in 1919
Manet's Scandalous Picture
Manet's Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe, which depicted a picnic in the country-side where the women were nude and the men dressed up to the nines in sombre garb, scandalised the world, and signalled the start of the impressionist movement.
Reunification of Italy
In 1864 the Italian patriot, Garibaldi, who with British support was instrumental in reunifying Italy was welcomed to London with great praise and visited both houses of parliament. So esteemed was he that William Hobson of Westbrook Villas, in 1865 named his son after him. (See artists)
Darlington Town Clock Built
In 1864, Darlington Old Town Hall, covered market and Town Clock tower were designed by Quaker Architect, Alfred Waterhouse who also designed the Natural History Museum in London. The clock itself was a gift of the first Quaker MP Joseph Pease.
The American Civil War Ended
The American civil war had just ended with victory for the Northern (Yankee) states.
Wallace Memorial Cancelled
In Scotland The Wallace Tower could not be completed because of lack of funds so the project was discontinued and the materials sold by auction
Revolutionary Victorian Sewer System Installed
Following the scandal of the "Great Stink" in the Thames, which caused Parliament to be dissolved. London's revolutionary underground sewage system, the first in the World, opened in 1865. It is still in amazingly good condition today.
Compulsory Education Opposed
Compulsory education for children was being opposed because it would take away earnings from needy families. A young girl in Birmingham was being quoted as working from 6AM to 8PM in a brickyard with 15 mins for breakfast, 30 mins for dinner and no time for tea. In one day she would have to catch and throw to her neighbour 15 tons of bricks. (Punch 1865)
Germans at it again
The Germans were at it again! - in the personages of the King of Prussia and Bismarck stealing Schleswig and Lauenberg from Denmark. "The interview in Baden-Baden between Queen Victoria and the King of Prussia is stated to have lasted only 1/2hr. Nine and twenty minutes too long for we cannot imagine our Queen would have to say except You old fool, Why don't you mind what you are about. We are glad that our sovereign with her usual good taste got out of bad company as quickly as was consistent with courtesy?" (ref: murder of Ott)
Attitudes to the environment!
Despite protests the Great Western Railway and Oxford Corporation agreed to the purchase of Cripley Meadow for a Railway Works
Slavery Abolished in the USA
Slavery was abolished in the USA. It had been abolished in Britain in 1833 when the Abolition of Slavery Act gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.
Grey Squirrels in England for the First Time
Grey squirrels were introduced into England for the first time as a novelty species.They spread to such an extent that they have taken over most of the former habitat of the native red squirrel which is now facing extinction.
Mickey Mouse Castles built in Germany
Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria was building those marvellous castles much copied in Walt Disney films, eg Neuschwanstein (1869)
WWI nearly starts in 1870
The Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, provoked by Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian Chancellor ended in defeat for Napoleon III and the French. The French hoped the British would join with them but sensibly we didn't! Otherwise WWII might have been WWIII. In 1871 Germany was proclaimed an empire under William I (Wilhelm I)
Sacre Coeur planned for Paris
Proposed in 1870 after the capture of Paris by the Germans (Prussians) work on the beautiful Sacre Coeur church began in 1875.
Northern Echo First National Newspaper Launched
The World's first halfpenny morning newspaper, the Northern Echo was published in Darlington on Jan 1st 1870 when the rapid expansion of the railway network made John Hislop Bell realize that he could enable readers to purchase the newspaper simultaneously in Darlington, London and Edinburgh, thus making the Echo the first truly national newspaper.
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