Thursday, 19 April 2012

Did You Know?

I have now finished the 3rd rewrite to the third novel in my Georgian trilogy, working title "Ripples and Shadows." It has gone to my Copy Editor this week and now I look forwards to fighting (sorry working) with her about what stays and what goes. Jo is a history graduate so if I have any historical inaccuracies she will quickly tell me. She will also jump anything that she calls "authors voice" as she doesn't like that.
So the trilogy is nearing completion and I have been asking myself if I will return to the Georgian period in future novels and I don't really know. I seem to have been permanently researching the period for some years now, and perhaps I can share some of the information I have found out about the period, as a sort of, "Did You Know" session.
Let's see: Did you know:-

·        Swearing before women was considered a breach of good behaviour, but swearing other than that was, shall we say, somewhat picturesque. Such as - A plague on you sir – nay a pox. You shit barn door sir. I’ll piss on you sir. Damn you all for a set of sons of whores. The devil take the fellow. Mangy rascal. Scoffing braggart. There were worse ones but for the sake of modesty, well…
·        Not very many English people in the eighteenth century had fruit at all; only a very select, minuscule group of wealthy people had access to fruit. In the 1700s the British feared uncooked fruit; they thought it would give the person who consumed it indigestion or even the plague.
·        Meat made up a large portion of the diets of residents of eighteenth-century England
·        Prisons were profit-making enterprises. Nothing was free in prison. Food and lodging had to be paid for by the prisoner. There were fees for turning keys, fees for putting on of irons and fees for taking them off again. Even visitors had to pay fees.
·        Prisoners with a trade such as tailoring might continue to work and earn while in captivity, but many others were reduced to begging. A grille was built into the wall on the Farringdon street side of the Fleet prison, so that prisoners could beg alms from passers-by.
·        Bow Street Runners were known as Robin Red Breasts.
·        People's behaviour was at its worst in theaters. Drury Lane was wrecked six times in thirty years after the mobs rioted.
·        You could be hanged for one of three hundred offences.
·        Georgians were obsessed with protecting their property. Laws were generally passed to protect the rich and their property. Ergo burglary was punishable by death where theft was usually not.
·        Syphilis was called the French pox. Gonorrhoea was called the Senor.
·        The Prince Regent (the future George IV) was such a glutton he ate pigeon pie made with at least 3 pigeons, 6 steaks and eggs, for breakfast.  (The eggs were found inside the pigeons) all washed down with champagne. His health of course suffered and he became fat, and gouty.
·        Cheese came with cheese mites and maggots - and yes you ate both with the cheese.

Lastly my Copy Editor is Jo Field who lives in Devon. Despite fighting her she is brilliant and I happy to give her a plug here. You can contact her at

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