Craftsmen created containers of precious metals, leather, and silks and decorated them with jewels and engraving. Jane Austen and her contemporaries would have used writing boxes, linen boxes when travelling, boxes to hold their food and drink supplies while traveling by carriage, and decorative boxes to keep letters, ribbons, gloves, hairpins etc. Boxes, Cases, and Necessaires By Suzi Love, History Notes Book 11. books2read.com/suziloveBoxesCases.Jane Austen and contemporaries used boxes of metal, leather, or silks, decorated with jewels and engraving. #Travel #JaneAusten #RegencyEra #Antiques https:/books2read.com/suziloveBoxesCases Click To Tweet
For many centuries, road travel was the main way of getting from place to place, but roads were notoriously rutted and badly maintained, especially in Britain. The Romans laid down the roads but they very poorly maintained through the 17th and 18th Centuries. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that improvements were made and rose travel opened up.
Roman Road Construction. Roman roads were constructed in layers. Rubble, slabs of stone, pebbles and gravel, smooth paving stones. Average width of road was 15 to 18 feet.
The dreadful condition of British roads caused great apprehension to all classes of travelers. Making a journey anywhere in the country was a big undertaking and often a gentleman composed his last will and testament before his departure. Traveling in vehicles was only possible during the day or on the nights with very bright moonlight with few vehicles attempting road travel in winter and any travel on a Sunday was frowned upon.
From: 1815 Journal of Tour of Great Britain by a French Tourist via Google Books (PD-180) ‘The roads very narrow, crooked, and dirty, continually up and down. The horses we get are by no means good, and draw us with difficulty at the rate of five miles an hour. We change carriages as well as horses at every post house. They are on four wheels, light and easy, and large enough for three persons. The post boy sits on a cross bar of wood between the front springs, or rather rests against it. This is safer, and more convenient both for men and horse, but does not look well and, as far as we have seen, English post horses and postillions do not seem to deserve their reputation.’
If you’ve read Jane Austen you’ll know that it was improper for a woman to travel alone, which meant that well-bred women were dependent on male relations to accompany them or else they had to take a maid in the carriage with her and be accompanied by a driver and footmen, which of course added to the cost of carriage travel. Any woman traveling by herself on a mail coach would be subject to speculation and probably malicious gossip.
Mail coaches raced across these roads trying to stick to a time table but there were numerous accidents on roads that were often flooded, covered in snow, or up such steep hills that passengers had to alight and either push the coach or walk ups the hill.
1790 Turnpike Gates In The Vicinity Of London, U.K.
1790 Turnpike Gates In The Vicinity Of London, U.K.
Tolls were collected on many roads in Britain but, because the turnpikes were mainly on land belonging to the nobility, money collected went into their personal coffers and very little went to road maintenance. This caused a continual push in parliament to make those who owned the land and collected the money responsible for repairing their roads, but these pleas fell on deaf ears as the lords in who sat in parliament had no interest in spending money to better travel for the common people.
Description of Stage Coach Travel in England. via 1815 Journal Tour of Great Britain.
“The gentlemen-coachmen, with half-a dozen great coats about them,—immense capes,—a large nosegay at the button-hole,—high mounted on an elevated seat,—with squared elbows,—a prodigious whip, beautiful horses, four in hand, drive in a file to Salthill, a place about twenty miles from London, and return, stopping in the way at the several public-houses and gin-shops where stage-coachmen are in the habit of stopping for a dram, and for parcels and passengers on the top of the others as many as seventeen persons. These carriages are not suspended, but rest on steel springs, of a flattened oval shape, less easy than the old mode of leathern braces on springs. Some of these stage coaches carry their baggage below the level of the axletree.”
1825 Observations on the Management of Turnpikes by John Loudon Mc Adam Via Google Books (PD-150)
1825 Observations on the Management of Turnpikes by John Loudon Mc Adam. Via Google Books (PD-150)
John Loudon McAdam, born Ayr, Scotland. (1756 -1836) He acted as a magistrate and assumed other civic roles including one as as trustee of the Ayrshire Turnpike in 1783, where he developed an interest in road construction and engineering, eventually becoming general surveyor for the Bristol Corporation in 1804. He wrote papers on the benefits of raising roads, making them from layers of stone and gravel, and giving priority to drainage. However, no roads were made this way until McAdam was put in charge of remaking the Bristol Turnpike in 1816, when he put his theories into practice and demonstrated macadamization, known as macadam. He made him numerous enemies on the Turnpike Trusts, who preferred to keep the money made from tolls rather than ploughing it back into road improvements but Macadam was soon in widespread use.
John Loudon McAdam (1756 – 1836), Scottish engineer and road-builder who started a new way of raising roads called ‘macadamization’. Via Wikimedia Commons.
1825 John McAdam Observation of English Roads. “In a Country like England, inhabited by an ‘ intelligent people, well educated, active, and enterprising, where every hint at improvement is eagerly caught at and prosecuted with spirit, it is only possible to account for the apathy respecting Roads, and the want of exertion in prosecuting the means given for improvement, by showing that a strong counteracting principle exists in the defects of the Road Laws, and that although much want of encouragement has arisen from the prejudices of old practitioners— the great obstacle to success remains in the zealous opposition of those who proﬁt by mismanagement in various ways.”
McAdam Report on Bristol District Roads, March, 1815.
- Expenditure and Debt.
- • 1802 – 1812 only two roads maintained themselves.
- • Neither able to pay £100 of the debt they owed.
- • No other roads supported themselves at all.
- McAdam’s List of Reasons for Bad Roads.
- • Ignorance and incapacity of Surveyors
- • Lack of any control over the lavish spending of Road Trusts
- • Trust accounts being in an inexplicable mess
- • No system or scientiﬁc mode of constructing roads
- • Every part of a road being differently formed
- • Each road managed by a different person
- • Each area managed by a different Turnpike Trust
- • Winford Road Trust produced no account books
McAdam informed the Road Trusts that smooth roads were the most useful and lasted longer because carriages do little damage to a smooth road because the horses exert themselves less and the carriages do not rock and roll.
Unfortunately for travelers in the late 1700s and early 1800s, the smoothness of a road surface depended on the preparation and distribution of the road building materials used and was therefore entirely in the hands of each individual road-maker. In 1816, Mc Adam reported to the Bristol District the difference in revenue if roads were built of good material, regularly maintained, and if the finances of Turnpike Trusts were under someone’s control.
1823 ‘Construction of a Macadam Road’ by Carl Rakeman. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Travel on these roads was also dangerous as highwaymen stopped and robbed anyone who came along. Male or female made no difference to highwaymen in Britain, nor to the bushrangers in Australia or the gangs on American roads, as they robbed indiscriminately and often with violence.
By the end of the 18th Century, however, travel as a pleasurable pursuit came into vogue and numerous guides were written for traveling all over the British Isles as well as on the continent.
The 1812 ‘Tour Of Dr. Syntax’ was an ironic look at the new obsession of travel and travel guides. Before he set off for the Lake District, Dr. Syntax said to his wife, “You well know what my pen can do, and I’ll employ my pencil too: I’ll ride and write, and sketch and print and thus create a real mint: I’ll prose it here, I’ll verse it there and picturesque it everywhere. I’ll do what all have done before; I think I shall and somewhat more.”
Georgian and Regency travelers were envious of aristocrats, even if they were of the nobility themselves, and loved to view all the British Great Houses.
A gentleman and his wife would even drive up to the front door of a mansion house and demand to be given a tour of the house. If they weren’t admitted, they would write in their journals of the inhospitable nature of the people on a particular estate. Thomas Pennant, William Mavor, and others, loved to write about these bad experiences and have them published. Paterson’s British Itinerary, a travel guide had 17 editions between 1785-1832 – it outlined the roads used by the stage and mail coaches, the tolls, the bridges, etc.
This new touring craze created an industry of hospitality that encompassed more than simple mail coach trips from place to place, and more than a noble family traveling from their country seat to the Metropolis of London for parliamentary sittings. Inns had to improve the quality of the linens and meals if they wanted to attract the wealthier traveling class. Before that, many travelers carried their own linen, crockery, glasses, and utensils, as they didn’t trust the hygiene or standards of country inns.
Travel became something written about by poets with many sonnets written to the beauty of places like the Lake District in England, or the pyramids in Egypt. Inns became cleaner and more respectable so they could welcome travelers of the upper classes. This also meant that women could travel more as roads were slowly improved from rutted tracks that were only suitable for horse riding to roads that family coaches could travel along, though these roads were still narrow and subject to extremes of weather, such as flooding. The race was on to travel from places like London to Edinburgh in the fastest possible time.
1817-1875 ca. Vehicles. From: Pierre Larousse’s World Dictionary Of the 19th Century.
1920-1922 ca. Automobiles.Road Travel In Jane Austen's Times and Beyond. #Regency #JaneAusten BritishHistory #Travel https://www.suzilove.com/wp-admin/books2read.com/SuziLoveTravel Click To Tweet
19th Century Food For The Upper Classes In Bridgerton and Jane Austen Times.
Typical Meals Served for the upper classes in the Georgian and Regency Eras. For the Upper classes in the 18th and through to the end of the 19th century, meals were elaborate affairs. and served by well-trained staff anticipated their every need. Women prided themselves on hosting dinners for 50-60 people which often consisted of numerous courses, and all served with the best wines and followed, for the men at least, by expensive port.
An older lady usually controlled the servants and the serving of meals. For more about this, take a look at Older Lady’s Day Regency Life Series Book 5 by Suzi Love. Overview of what an older lady did, wore, and how she lived in the early 19th Century. Information for history buffs and pictures for readers and writers of historical fiction. books2read.com/suziloveOLD19th Century Food For The Upper Classes In Bridgerton and Jane Austen Times. #Bridgerton #JaneAusten #RegencyEra #HistoricalFood https://books2read.com/suziloveOLD Click To Tweet
The 26th December was St. Stephen’s Day, the first Christian martyr and patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day became associated with horse racing and sports. It was also when the English churches alms boxes were opened and the contents given to the poor of the parish. In the song Good King Wenceslas, the king gave the poor man meat, wine and wood “on the feast of Stephen.” Written by John Mason Neale and first published in 1853, the lyrics celebrate the spirit of Boxing Day which was generosity. King Wenceslas watches a poor man “gath’ring winter fuel. and he then brings the peasant food and logs for his fire. In parts of Europe, St. Stephen’s Day is considered the second day of Christmas.
On the Boxing Day holiday, servants, apprentices, and the poor were presented with gifts. The origin of the holiday is unknown, but was probably first observed in the Middle Ages and the name may come from the opening of alms boxes that had been placed in churches over the holidays for distribution to the poor. It may also be because servants opened their gift boxes on the day after Christmas because on Christmas Day they were busy cooking and serving a large festive meal for their employers. December 26th is also the feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and patron saint of horses, so Boxing Day has now become associated with horse racing and sports.
One of the earliest records of these box gifts dates from 1663. In an entry in his diary, English Parliamentarian Samuel Pepys writes that he sent a coach and messenger to his shoemaker to deliver “something to the boys’ box against Christmas” in addition to funds to cover his bill. During Queen Victoria’s reign, Boxing Day became a chance for church parishioners to deposit donations into a box that was put out for the purpose by the clergyman. The money in the boxes was given to the poor.
Some villages followed the custom of the Hunting of the Wren, where small boys captured a wren, killed it, and then mounted it on a pole and carry to every house in the village while singing a song. Money collected was used for a village dance. In London, and in many other parts of Europe, large families and establishments keep regular lists of tradesman’s servants, apprentices, and other persons, who come about making a sort of annual claim on them for a Christmas box on this day.’
‘The custom of annual donations at Christmas, and on New Year’s-day, is very ancient, being copied by the Christians from the Polytheists of Rome, at the time the public religion was changed. These presents, now-a-days, are more commonly made on the morrow of Christmas. From this circumstance the festival of St. Stephen has got the nickname of Christmas Boxing-day, and by corruption, Boxing-day.’ From:- The Lady’s Monthly Museum, Vernor & Hood: Christmas-boxes, 1824.
‘On the day after Christmas, tradespeople are visited by persons in the employment of their customers for a “Christmas-box,” and every man and boy who thinks he is qualified to ask, solicits from those on whom he calculates as likely to bestow.
A writer, in 1731, describes Boxing-day at that time from his own experience. ” By that time I was up, my servants could do nothing but run to the door. Inquiring the meaning, I was answered, the people were come for their Christmas-box : this was logic to me; but I found at last, that, because I had laid out a great deal of ready-money with my brewer, baker, and other tradesmen, they kindly thought it my duty to present their servants with some money for the favor of having their goods.
This provoked me a little; but being told it was ‘ he custom,’ I complied. These were followed by the watch, beadles, dustmen, and an innumerable tribe; but what vexed me the most was the clerk, who has an extraordinary place, and makes as good an appearance as most tradesmen in the parish; to see him come a boxing, alias begging, I thought was intolerable: however I found it was ‘ the custom’ too, so I gave him half-a-crown; as I was likewise obliged to do to the bellman, for breaking my rest for many nights together.’ From The Every-day book and table book by William Hone, 1839
Boxing Day is one of the many customs and traditions associated with Christmas that is featured in History of Christmases Past (Book 1 History Events) by Suzi Love.Christmas: Boxing Day History #Christmas #holidays #BritishHistory. https://books2read.com/suziloveHOCP Click To Tweet
How did they celebrate Christmas in Bridgerton and Jane Austen times? Historical information about the traditions of Christmas through the centuries, including the religious aspects, decorations, games, food and plays. #holidays #Christmas #BritishHistory #Bridgerton #JaneAusten http://books2read.com/suziloveHOCP.History Of Christmases Past: Historical information about the traditions of Christmas through the centuries, including the religious aspects, decorations, games, food and plays. #holidays #Christmas #History … Click To Tweet
Twelve Days of Christmas
Days and nights used to be counted separately, so the important night was often the night before rather than the night of, which is why some parts of the world celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Therefore, the twelve days of Christmas actually begin on the eve of December 25th, the first night, and end on January 6th, which is Epiphany. The day of December 26 is the first day and the eve of December 26 the second night.
The famous Twelfth Night is the eve of Epiphany and the twelfth day is Epiphany itself. During these twelve days, traditional roles were relaxed or turned upside down so that masters waited on their servants, men were allowed to dress as women and women as men. These crazy antics can also be seen in modern Christmas pantomimes in which authority is mocked, women play male leads and the leading older female character is played by a man.
The Twelfth Night festival marked the onset of the winter solstice, the point in late December when the sun, whose daily arc had reached its lowest and darkest.
Twelfth Night is the eve before the twelfth day of Christmas or the Epiphany celebration, which commemorates the adoration of the Magi before the infant Jesus and marks the final night of the Christmas season. Twelve Nights,” which extended from the 25th of December to the 6th of January. The Twelve Nights were religiously observed by numerous feasts, and were regarded by the ancient Germans as among the holiest and most solemn of their festivals.
In Tudor England, the Twelfth Night marked the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve. A King or Lord of Misrule would be appointed to run the Christmas festivities, and the Twelfth Night was the end of his period of rule. Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, or What You Will, was originally written to be performed as a Twelfth Night entertainment. After Twelfth Night, the Carnival season starts and lasts until Mardi Gras. In some places, Twelfth Night celebrations include food traditions such as the king cake or tortell.
In the Bavarian and Styrian Alps the Twelve Nights are called “Rumor Nights,” on account of their visions of ghosts and hobgoblins, when priests and prudent housewives, with prayer and invocation, holy-water and burning incense, fumigate dwelling and outhouse, and sprinkle their cattle with salt. Hence these nights were also called “Fumigating Nights.” As an additional protection against “witches’ feet” and “devils’ paws,” the initials of the holy magicians were formerly inscribed upon the door-posts. On the dreaded Twelfth-night, when Frau Holle, or Berchta, issues with her fearful train from her wild mountain home, where she dwells among the dead, she is generally preceded by the faithful Eckhart, an old man with a long beard and a white wand, who warns every one of her terrible approach.Christmas: Twelve Days Of Christmas and Twelfth Night. https://books2read.com/suziloveHOCP Click To Tweet
In Jane Austen’s times craftsmen created boxes and containers of precious metals, leather, silks, and decorated them with jewels. Boxes, Cases, Etui, Necessaire and everything else that was used to carry essential items for travel, sewing, medicine, writing, and toiletries. Containers were engraved to make exquisite and expensive items as well as practical carrying cases. books2read.com/suziloveBoxesCasesIn Jane Austen's times craftsmen created containers of precious metals, leather, silks, and decorated them with jewels. #JaneAusten #nonfiction #history books2read.com/suziloveBoxesCases Click To Tweet
How did people travel in Jane Austen's Day? What did they take to make themselves comfortable? #JaneAusten #GeorgianEra #RegencyEra #VictorianEra https://www.suzilove.com/wp-admin/books2read.com/SuziLoveTravel Click To Tweet
Travel and Luggage By Suzi Love History Notes Book 10. How did people travel in Jane Austen’s times. In past centuries? What did they take with them to make their long journeys easier? Travel by road, ship, canal, or railway all took a long time and had dangers so people learned to prepare. And then, in the nineteenth century, road improvements, inventions, and scientific developments made travel more pleasurable. books2read.com/SuziLoveTravel