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Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’

A wonderful post about the Celtic origins of Halloween with a bedtime story thrown in.  Sweet dreams, Blogsprites.

Chrissy Derbyshire

The wheel of the year turns to October. We notice the chill in the air, the earlier dark, rain and rust-red leaves. In the supermarket, oversized boxes of gummy ghosts and snakes take their place next to spiderweb garlands, vampire teeth and pointy hats. Pumpkins are selling out quick, soon to be grinning gargoyles on the doorstep and hearty soups on the stove. Hallowe’en is a much-maligned holiday in our modern times. It is a widely-held misconception that the holiday originated in America as an excuse to sell cards and costumes – that it is both a recent development in our folklore, and a cynical one. Neither of these is true. Hallowe’en originates from Celtic Britain. It stems from a culture that believed in magic and took it seriously, a culture for whom Faeryland and the Land of the Dead were interchangeable, and for whom, on certain auspicious days, the…

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     Visit The Arcade of Arts & Arcana Gallery for more automatons…

 

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We must not look at goblin men,

We must not buy their fruits:

Who knows upon what soil they fed

Their hungry thirsty roots?

“Come buy,” call the goblins

Hobbling down the glen.

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,

You should not peep at goblin men.”

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Goblin Market.

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     We could not allow Puppet Month to go by at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana without wishing a very Happy Birthday to Mr. Punch who is celebrating 350 years of terrifying minors with his anger-management issues.

 

     Here are a few Punch facts to peruse if the pictures haven’t made you run screaming from this post ~

*  Punch & Judy performers are known as “Professors” and are sometimes assisted by a “Bottler” who corrals the audience, collects money and provides musical accompaniment. 

*  Mr. Punch is a manifestation of the mythological Trickster archetype.  His current anglicized form was adapted from the sixteenth century Neapolitan character Pulcinella from the Italian Commedia Dell’ Arte. 

*  Diarist Samuel Pepys recorded Punch’s début in London’s Covent Garden in 1662.

*  Punch regularly beats the other characters with a wooden baton known as a “slapstick”, a name now used as a collective term for a genre of physical comedy.

*  The Punch & Judy Show was originally intended for adults.  Contentious characters such as The Devil and Punch’s mistress Pretty Polly were sidelined in the late Victorian era as the performances were adapted for children.

*  The device which creates Punch’s familiar rasp is called a swazzle.

 

     Click the smiley for lots more information 🙂

 

 

Punch & Judy Pub, Norfolk, UK.

 

 

     Finally, a little treat from Stop-Motion Maestro Jan Svankmajer.  Don’t have nightmares, Blogsprites! 

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     Please don’t be concerned Blogsprites!  The title quote comes from the BBC’s superlative little series The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff.

     The show was first broadcast on the radio and was bumped-up to television status with a Christmas Special in 2011.

     Heavily influenced by the searing wit and irreverent comedy of Blackadder The Bleak Old Shop is a must-see for Dickens’ fans or anyone with a taste for Victoriana and a sense of humour.

     Watch wherever you can!

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*Postage stamps, matches, refrigerators, lightbulbs, antiseptic, inflatable tyres, cars, buses, telephones, iron bridges, railways, cameras, bandstands and promenades are all Victorian inventions.

*After the death of Prince Albert (1861) Queen Victoria dressed in black and had fresh clothes and a wash-stand prepared for Albert every day.

*She also spoke of “the mad, wicked folly of women’s rights”.  No comment.

*Only two British monarchs have reached their Diamond Jubilee.  Victoria celebrated hers in 1897.

*Britain and China went to war… over Opium trafficking!

*A large part of the world still speaks English today because of Victoria’s empire.

*The Commonwealth is made up of countries which were once under British rule.

*The River Thames was so thick with sewage that paddle-steamers could hardly move.  After 30 years of work a new improved sewage system was completed in 1875.  It is still in use today.

*Victorian architecture favoured Medieval Gothic and Classical Roman or Greek styles.

*The first Victorian computer was called the “analytic engine”.

 

     All facts borrowed from The Victorians by Robert Hull.

     Click here for another post 🙂

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     Updated 17/06/2014

     Here at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana we are not ashamed to trawl kids’ books for fascinating factoids.  Here are few of our findings…

 

*Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital opened in 1852.  If you scroll down the sidebar you will find a link to Children With Cancer UK, this site’s nominated charity 🙂 

*Edward Jenner helped to wipe out smallpox in just 40 years when free vaccinations became available in 1840.

*The bell residing in the Houses of Parliament clock tower was cast in 1858 and named for building supervisor Sir Benjamin Hall.  Big Ben of course.

*Building ships from steel instead of heavy iron was a very good idea.

*Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1863) influenced Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweeps Act.  The use of children as sweeps was finally stamped out in 1875.

*Today southeast Asia produces 90% of the world’s rubber.  Rubber seeds were originally sourced in South America, shipped to the UK for cultivation at Kew Gardens and re-distributed to Malaysia and Indonesia.

*The first bicycle, the Penny Farthing, was made in 1883 with solid tyres and no brakes.

*The first electric underground railway opened in London in 1890.  The system soon became known as “The Tube”.

*Many UK newspapers were founded in the Victorian era.  The Times rose to prominence by reporting on the blunders of The Crimean War.

*Many Scots families emigrated to Canada (settling Nova Scotia or New Scotland) due to their own, less well-known potato famine.

 

     All these facts are borrowed from The Victorian Age 1837-1914 by James Harrison.

     Click for another post 🙂

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