Archive for January, 2007

“The Bow Street Runners were the earliest form of detective force operating from the courts to enforce the decisions of magistrates… In 1763 John Fielding introduced the Bow Street horse patrol to make the highways around London safer. Funding lasted for only 18 months. He also became responsible for street lighting and lamp posts in an eighteenth century initiative similar to more modern moves to link street lighting with crime prevention.” Click here for more on this topic.

“One other action which brought about a reduction in crime was the revival in 1805 of the Bow Street Horse Patrol. This consisted of about sixty men whose duty it was to protect travellers on the principal roads whithin sixty miles of London. They were selected with care, and many had previously served in a cavalry regiment. On the main roads, as far out as Epsom, Romford, Enfield and Windsor they created confidence with their clearly spoken greeting, ‘Bow Street Patrol.’ Their single most successful achievement was to rid Houndslow Heath of highwaymen.” From The Regency Underworld, by Donald A. Low.

Quoted from: The Bow Street Runners, Devon and Constabulatory Site:

“When Henry Fielding retired, his half-brother Sir John Fielding took over at Bow Street Court. Sir John had been blind since birth and was known as ‘The Blind Beak’, but despite being blind he was reputed to have known over 3,000 criminals by the sound of their voices. Sir John formed the Bow Street Horse Patrol, men armed with truncheon, cutlass and pistol. These men patrolled London in an area within six miles of Charing Cross and became a familiar sight in their leather hats, blue coats with brass buttons, blue trousers and boots. They too were very successful at their job and eventually rid London of highwaymen. The government decided that they were no longer needed so the Horse Patrol was disbanded – with the result that the Highwaymen returned!”

More about Bow Street Runners

Book Reviews: High and Low in Regency England

Policing in London Before the Bobbies

The History of Policing: The Bow Street Runner

More about Bow Street Runners on the Jane Austen’s World site

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“There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies, and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower, and all were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. In all their walks, he had had to jump her from the styles; the sensation was delightful to her. The hardness of the pavement for her feet, made him less willing upon the present occasion; he did it, however; she was safely down, and instantly, to shew her enjoyment, ran up the steps to be jumped down again. He advised her against it, thought the jar too great; but no, he reasoned and talked in vain; she smiled and said, ‘I am determined I will:’ he put out his hands; she was too precipitate by half a second; she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless?”

– Persuasion

The Cobb at Lyme Regis

The Cobb at Lyme Regis 24 hour live Webcam:

More about Lyme Regis on this blog.

Image: The village of Lyme Regis at low tide

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“The huge size of London meant that is was also the largest single market for basic consumer goods, which stimulated the production of shoes, clothing, furniture, bread, beer and the other necessities of life. London breweries were amongst the most capital intensive concerns in the land. The cattle driven to the market at Smithfield supplied hides for the tanners at Bermondsley who produced leather to be used in shoes, saddles, coaches, book bindings.” P. 35, London – World City, 1800-1840, Edited by Celina Fox, 1992, Yale University Press, New haven & London, in Association with The Museum of London.By the turn of the nineteenth century London had almost ten thousand acres of market gardens serving the hungry metropolis. The gardens were richly fertilized with the dung from the streets and stables from London – each acre had sixty cartloads of manure spread over and dug into it each year. This contrasts with regular farming land about London which, during this period, was only manured once every three or four years. (During September to October.) As well as dung, the market gardeners made copious use of marl, dug up from Enfield chase to the north of the city. A by-product of marl production were thousands of fossilised dinosaur bones, to be sent down to the newly developed British Museum (although many, no doubt, were crushed for the market gardens as well). Manure and/or marl was ploughed in by a clumsy swing plough, and harrowed once ploughed over. Working the gardens began soon after Christmas. Once the weather was favourable, the market gardeners began by sowing the borders with radishes, spinach, onions as well many seed crops.” In An American in Regency England, 1810-1811, Louis Simond writes: “The streets have all common sewers, which drain the filth of every house. The drains preclude the awkward process by which necessaries are emptied at Paris, poisoning the air of whole streets during the night, with effluvia, hurtful and sometimes fatal to the inhabitants. Rich houses have what are called water-closets; a cistern in the upper story, filled with rain-water, communicates by a pipe and cock to a vessel of earthenware, which it constantly washes.” Other Links Related to City Living in the Early 19th Century:

Images: City of London

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The Many Faces of Jane does an admirable job of presenting the few images of Jane that exist.

More images are shown in the Jane Austen Ebooks site. As you see, some of them are duplicates from the first site.

Here is a portrait painted by someone who studied her images and those of her family, and then painted a current likeness of her. Jane also visited or lived at these places and sites .

The image I’ve settled on is not my favorite, but it’s the one I see the most often: The watercolour her sister Cassandra painted in 1810. Find it at the bottom of this post on the right. See both depictions of Jane that are shown on this post here.

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25 Gay Street, Bath

Jane Austen’s father died in Bath on January 20, 1805, leaving the family income depleted. Jane & Cassandra had no resources of their own. Their brothers contributed to their income, which was around 460 pounds per year. The sisters moved to #25 Gay street, reducing their staff from a man and two maids to just one maid of all work. The following year they moved to another house in Trim Street.

Jane Austen Center on Gay Street

For more scenes of Bath, click on the Bath Daily Photo.

In Persuasion, Jane writes:

“Sir Walter had taken a very good house in Camden-place, a lofty dignified situation, such as becomes a man of consequence…they had the pleasure of assuring her…undoubtedly the best in Camden-place; their drawing rooms had many decided advantages over all the others which they had seen or heard of; and the superiority was not less in the style of the fitting-up, or the taste of the furniture. Their acquaintance was exceeding sought after. Everybody was wanting to visit them. They had drawn back from many introductions, and still were perpetually having cards left by people of whom they knew nothing.”

On p. 181 in Jane Austen’s Town and Country Style, Susan Watkins says, “As with most resort towns, friendships were quickly formed. In Bath new acquaintances were the means to an introduction to other fashionable visitors, so as to be placed among the select society, although back in London these ‘friendships’ were quickly forgotten.”

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Jane Austen Dolls

Regency: “Having again seen BBCs excellent adaption of Jane Austen’s wonderful novel Pride and Prejudice set early in the 19th century, I simply had to dress some dolls to resemble the characters in the film. So, here are the two eldest Miss Bennets – Elizabeth returning from a walk wearing a spencer (short jacket) and bonnet, and Jane greeting her, also in a white dress. “(View picture at bottom left; click on bold words top left to see rest of the site.)

Click here for the site, Jane Austen Paper Dolls.

Elizabeth of Pride and Prejudice

Anne of Persuasion

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“[Jane] delighted in the scenery around Charmouth with ‘its sweet retired bay backed by dark cliffs, where fragments of low rock among the sands make it the happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in unwearied contemplation.'” A Portrait of Jane Austen, David Cecil, p. 104

“In the Autumn of 1804 Miss Jane Austen, together with her father and mother, spent some weeks at Lyme Regis. As they drove to that place from Bath, they would probably go by way of Shepton Mallet, Somerton and Crewkerne, and, leaving Axminster a couple of miles to their right, would join the Lyme Road where an old inn called “The Hunter’s Lodge” stands. Then passing through the “cheerful village of Uplyme” they would descend the long hill towards Lyme itself, and pass down its quaint main street, which seems to be “almost hurrying into the water” as Miss Austen says. Half way down the street the chaise would turn into a lane, which, running westward, finally makes a precipitous descent to the harbour. At the end of the little parade or “walk” nearest to the harbour on a grassy hillside there stands a long, rambling, white cottage, [Page 134] and it is in this cottage that tradition declares the Austens to have stayed.” From:  Jane Austen: Her Home and Her Friends

Lyme Regis Assembly Ball Room a century after Jane Austen’s time.

The Cobb as described in Persuasion:

After securing accommodations and ordering a dinner at one of the inns, the next thing to be done was unquestionably to walk directly down to the sea. They were come too late in the year for any amusement or variety, which Lyme as a public place might offer; the rooms were shut up, the lodgers almost all gone, scarcely any family but of the residents left; and as there is nothing to admire in the buildings themselves, the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street almost hurrying into the water; the walk to the Cobb skirting round the pleasant little bay, which in the season is animated with bathing machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town, are what the stranger’s eye will seek; and a very strange stranger it must be who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme to make him wish to know it better.

Lyme Regis Today:

Photos of Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis, Dorset



House in which Jane Austen lodged (see drawing.)

And a Lyme Regis holiday cottage today. (Below)

Also find: Jane Austen in Lyme Regis

Jane Austen and Eleanor Coade

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