Special Brews of Scotland:   Groaning Malts and Maturity Ales

The brewing of beers and ales in both England and Scotland is believed to have stemmed from a single, ancient source with roots which run deep into prehistoric times. In fact, fermented beverages are considered to be man’s very first form of alcoholic drink. But as the millenia progressed, the English and Scottish brewing techniques slowly began to diverge, as did the results of those techniques. During the Regency, there were two specific fermented beverages which were made only upon the expected birth of a child, one of them being brewed only upon the birth of an heir.

The link between beer and babies in Scotland . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The First Builder’s Merchant

Prior to 1815, builders in England could not go down to the local builder’s supply house to order the materials they would need for their next project. Each builder, and/or the client who had commissioned the building, would have to locate all the building materials which would be needed for the construction project from multiple sources. The search for building materials could be one of the most complex and time-consuming parts of a construction project. That all began to change in 1815.

How Thomas Cubitt showed the way . . .

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Feathers in Regency Fashion

During the Regency, feathers were often used as fashionable adornments, just as they had been for millenia. But unlike the feather wearers of previous centuries, by the Regency, it was almost only women who arrayed themselves in feathers. Rather ironic, when one considers that in the avian world, it is typically the male who sports the most colorful plumage. Though our Regency fore-mothers did enjoy wearing feathers, particularly on their hats, they did not go to the lengths of women in the Victorian era, who, in some cases, wore entire birds on their hats.

The feathers of fashion in Regency England . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   "An Ass of the Eighteenth Century"

Two hundred years ago, Jemmy, who called himself "An Ass of the Eighteenth Century" made his debut in the children’s book, The Adventures of a Donkey. Jemmy’s "autobiography" predated that of Black Beauty by more than sixty years. In fact, a number of scenes in Jemmy’s life are remarkably similar to those which appear in Anna Sewell’s later tale. However, unlike Black Beauty, Jemmy becomes bored in retirement and goes on to star in a sequel published a few years later.

Jemmy’s purpose in children’s literature . . .

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Of Knife-Cases and Knife-Boxes

Despite their name, by the turn of the nineteenth century, these cases and boxes often held more than just knives. Those which had been made in the early Georgian period were free and unfettered, so they could be easily moved about. Those which were made later in the period were just as often anchored to the sideboard, which had become a ubiquitous piece of furniture in Regency dining rooms. All of these boxes and cases which were made to be used in the public rooms of a house, usually the dining room, were quite elegant. However, there were also more utilitarian knife boxes which never left the kitchen and were quite unremarkable in design and construction.

Some secrets of knife-boxes into the Regency . . .

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Rural Residences by John B. Papworth

Quite serendipitously, I discovered that the original edition of one of my favorite books on Regency architecture was uploaded to the Internet Archive just last week. I first encountered this delightful little book when I was conducting research for my article on the construction of cottages orné. Fortunately, there was a copy of the original 1818 edition of this book in the rare books collection at my local library, since, at the time, the only copy available online was the reprinted edition of 1832 on Google Books. As many of you know, the books made available at Google are often poorly scanned, making some pages illegible. Not so with the superior method used by the Internet Archive, by which each page is carefully scanned so that every page and image is fully legible at any magnification.

Some of the delights of Rural Residences . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   First Printing of Beowulf

How many of us read the epic Old English poem, Beowulf (in translation, of course), when we were in high school or college? If, like me, you found it rather slow going, you now have yet another reason to wish to be transported back to the Regency. No one, except a handful of scholars, had any idea of the existence of this epic poem at that time. Even when the first transcription and translation of Beowulf was finally published, during the Regency, it was not printed in England, or in English. Perhaps fittingly, since British bombardment nearly prevented the first translation from ever being completed. Or did it?

How Beowulf first got to press . . .

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