Those alarming yet strangely familiar Victorians, part 12: grappling with cholera soup

2020-05-30T09:46:00+00:00My Writer's blog|

In which clever Victorians, all without ever having seen a germ, turn a noxious Thames (almost) sweet, saving thousands of lives.

John Snow was a number of things. Besides personifying the Victorian expansion of the middle classes (and you have, of course read the blog on the subject of that expansion […]

Those alarming yet strangely familiar Victorians, part 11: Inventively Credulous Intellectuals

2020-03-27T08:04:46+00:00My Writer's blog|

Victorians ranged from the hard-headed or shifty to the pure-minded, the intellectual, the literary and the enquiring. Whoever they were, apparently, it didn’t stop them from being attracted to spiritualism. This was a craze akin – according to some – a separate religion.

How could this be? Someone recently asked me […]

Those alarming yet strangely familiar Victorians, part 10: Sewing revolution

2020-01-30T21:08:14+00:00My Writer's blog|

Women have been sewing for everybody else for millennia. Straining their eyes late into the night – try to imagine trying to thread a needle or keep the stitching straight and tiny in candlelight. And that would no doubt have been just the one candle, given the cost. In northern […]

Those alarming but strangely familiar Victorians, part 8: a new political philosophy

2019-09-30T09:50:37+00:00My Writer's blog|

It’s appropriate that the so many of the nineteenth century’s great thinkers in the UK were such passionate political sociologists. After all, Karl Marx it was who pointed out that capitalism was the necessary precursor for socialism. And now was the time when capitalism took off – creating an urban […]

Those alarming but strangely familiar Victorians, part 7: how children amused themselves

2019-08-31T13:49:33+00:00My Writer's blog|

Victorian children in Britain didn’t have wardrobes and chests full of toys and games, in general. There was none of that blinking, blurping buzzing stuff on phones and games sets that they have now. Land sakes, even I made up some of my own toys and games when I was […]

Those Alarming but surprisingly familiar Victorians – Part 5: Of bigamy and surprisingly loose domestic arrangements

2019-06-23T10:24:57+00:00My Writer's blog|

There is mention of bigamy in my novel What Empty Things Are These. I won’t say more about those details, since there may be one or two of you out there who haven’t read it. Hard to believe…. But there you are.


As I was saying: bigamy. While I was thinking […]

Those alarming but familiar Victorians. – Part 4: Of fraudsters and their hired thugs

2019-05-30T13:38:43+00:00My Writer's blog|

Of fraudsters and their hired thugs


Ah, my friends, you’re back. I promised you a look at shonky Victorians who took advantage of burgeoning capitalism and the leap to the fore of intrepreneurialism … and inspired a major character in my book, What Empty Things Are These. So did The Way […]

Those alarming but familiar Victorians – Part 3: The society of women (some thoughts)

2019-04-13T13:58:54+00:00My Writer's blog|

The society of women (some thoughts)


This month, I’m continuing with the theme of women in 1860 (or thereabouts), and their relationship with each other. It’s a not-so-subtle, and not at all minor, sub-theme in What Empty Things Are These (or WETAT for short). And you will recognise references to the […]

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