The Mistress

Affairs! You say.  Well yes, why not?  They never used to ruin marriages until the perception changed in how Affairs were viewed.  So why did the perception change?  What is so wrong with people having an affair or Mistresses now compared to Regency times?

Regency England – where affairs and mistresses were part of life, well as long as you were discrete about it nobody seemed to care. The wife couldn’t do anything about it though I’m sure their were ways to get her own back, like having a lover of her own.

Of course this is seen more in the lifestyle of the Ton aka the Wealthy. Many marriages were arranged to bring money and estates together and weren’t love matches like we have today.  A woman was the property of her father until her marriage and then she was the property of her husband who could do anything he wished with her and anything that came with her, money, land and body.

There was a lot of money in being a Mistress.  A wealthy man would set them up in a house, furnishing it, gifting diamonds, clothing even paying for the servants, food and entertainment – after all she had to look good, Their dress standards were generally lower, showing more breast than was really necessary, dampening down their dresses, showing their shocking curves and ankles.  

Not like in recent times where it is big news, especially if you’re famous.  

So why did it change.  Was it because women unchained themselves with independence and the rights to vote, or doing so called men’s jobs while their own husbands, brothers and sons were away at war.  Perhaps it was the feminism movement or was it a combination of all these and more.  I’m not sure we’ll ever really know.

Marriage was meant to be a sacrament, a promise before god and witness to be faithful.  It obviously wasn’t like this though.  Mistresses, The Demimonde, Prostitutes, Whore Houses.  Sex is one of the oldest professions in the world.  The first Prostitute I found in my research is Hagar, who had an affair with Abraham – Abraham in the bible and here was me only knowing about Mary Magdalene.   

Why did women prostitute themselves – was it and was it  a ‘necessary evil’ ….I will look into this in another article.

What about the present.  I still remember the upset over Tiger Woods and his affairs.  I’m not sure, though I thought they were all prostitutes and sex is what they did for money.  How can it then be called an affair?  Why did they tell on him?  More money offered from the media?  In my opinion an affair is like having a girlfriend or a bigamous marriage, not paying someone to have sex – if that is what he did.  Yeah I feel for his wife and kids, mainly due to the media and how they handled it.  It wasn’t anyone’s business but his own and his wife or should I say ex-wife.  

Camille Parker Bowles is was another Mistress.  However was she really?  The young Prince Charles was in love with Camille and had wanted to marry her.  Camille was considered unsuitable because she was Catholic and he was told no.  He was sent overseas.  By the time he came back she was married to Mr Parker Bowles.  Did anyone ever notice how similar all Prince Charles’s girlfriends were to Camille, it is quite startling.  

Was the Princes marriage to Diana doomed from the start?  Possible, who really knows.  Princess Diana was a wonderful mother and gave a lot to the future of the royal family.  Would she have looked the other way if it had been 150 years earlier when it was more acceptable for a Prince to have a Mistress?

It certainly shows how society had changed over the last few centuries.

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The Blacksmith

Blacksmith’s were an huge part of village life for many generations.  It was only as steam was introduced and horses used less and less that that their natural jobs in the Smithy were slowly closed down.  Many did survive using numerous skills they’d obtained over the generations.

In my family there are 200 years of Smithy traditions (if not more) which only died our when my mothers cousin sold the business rather than handing it on and training the next generation in the family.  Even so the Smithy is still there today and was very much independent for most of it’s life.  You will find some Smithy’s were attached to local estates so the Lord of the area and the wealthy could have their horses shied without hassle.

A Blacksmith was a clever man who would command much respect in a village.  In some instances he would be a Church Warden or even a Magistrate.  The Blacksmith was the Engineer of the times, not only making horse shoes, also making tools and blades for people to use.  If you look back and thought  about it, you’d realise some would make Armour and swords in their forge along with everyday tools.

Can you imagine having your tooth pulled by a Blacksmith…UGH.  This is another job he could have been called upon to do.  No injections in those days either, more likely a pair of pliers gripping hod of the tooth and yanking it out. Another job would have been Horse Dealing.    The Horse Dealing makes sense, after all you’d presume a Blacksmith would know his horse flesh, maybe this is why they were also sometimes called upon for veterinary services.  One never knows how much work went on, though the skills shown mean the Blacksmith was literate, good at maths and even some science as he designed items of different kinds.

The forge was a hot, smelly and loud place with billows to control and heat the coals of the fire where the metal was heated so it could be shaped on the anvil. His sledge hammer crashing down clanging on the metal which he then dipped in cold water creating a bout of steam.  He would do this over and over again until the item he was making was finished.  Many Blacksmith made their own tools as young men during the time their father’s or uncles trained.  On a sad note in my family line, the eldest boy in one generation was working with his father and kicked in the head by a horse.  He died as a result, at the tender age of 18 years.  Though sad, the young man had two younger brothers, one of who eventually took over the Smithy.  My mother says it was under much protest, so her cousin said from the stories he heard from his Grandfather.

Royal Pavilion at Brighton, England

How did this stunning structure come about, why did the influences of China and India become part of the English heritage.  Who was behind the architecture and the lavish building that we know today.  A definite must see if you ever visit Brighton.  The architecture is totally stunning.

The eldest son of King George III was a young man when he first visited Brighton, prior to it becoming a hot spot for the rich and famous of the time.  It was here he rented a small lodging house so he could take the waters.  A growing trend and what was to become a health spa for those rich enough.  It was from the idea of Dr Richard Russell of Lewes which took The Prince to Brighton at the insistence of his own royal physicians where he could immerse his body in the salty sea water – (wonder if this was the first type of swimming as we know today!) – It seems he enjoyed Brighton, which wasn’t to far from London and decided to extend the lodge in to a Villa.  The Villa was named Marine Pavilion.  It was lavishly decorated by the vain Prince with extravagant articles from India and China, items he’d obviously seen now that the shipping from these countries.  The main company been ‘The East Indian Company,’  which I will go into more at a later date.  

The architect for this stage was Henry Holland.  From 1788 – 1810.  This photo below shows the improvements made to the old farmhouse which the Prince ended up buying.  Henry Holland is also known for working with the Prince on Carlton House.  Henry died in 1806.

Brighton_Marine_Pavilion_edited.jpg

The Prince was lavish in his furnishings and decorating with hand painted Chinese wall paper, furniture and objects of art.  The reason this building took such a long time was due to the Princes’ debts, he always spent more than he had.  The government paid off his debts and increased his income and his lavish lifestyle continued with more gambling and womanizing ways.

In 1811 the Prince became Prince Regent due to the ill health of his father King George III who was going mad.  This is the true start to the Regency Era.  Due to his new role as Regent he decided that Marine Pavilion was not adequate to entertain.  In 1815 the Prince Regent hired architect John Nash who had a tough start in life with an unfaithful wife which ended in divorce.

The architectural style John used on the exterior was Mughal Architecture  which is what gives the Royal Pavilion its exotic look.  In the below photo you can see the changes made, including the extensions added on.

Brighton_-_Royal_Pavilion_Panorama

After the the Regent became King George VI, Brighton was still popular to the royals.  King William IV and then Queen Victoria used the building until it was decided by Queen Victoria’s ever growing family that the Palace was too small.  Queen Victoria sold the Palace to the residents of Brighton in 1850 and stripped all the furnishings thinking the Palace would be demolished.    As you can see from the above photo, the people of Brighton not only restored it, they re furnished it and opened it to the public.  Many of the original furnishings were returned by various royals over the following years.

I visited Brighton Pavilion in 2013.  though I didn’t enter the The Royal Pavilion, I did some shopping in the tourist shop, looked at the gardens and when we walked to the front of the Palace on the road. I was very disappointed that a cafe had been constructed right in front of the Palace therefore hiding its beautiful features from anyone wishing to take a photo.

Rambles through time.

At last my time is here and I am able to share with you my work.  It has been a long four years of discovery, research and learning.  Much enjoyment with the research due to the fact I love history and gathering details on how things were done, how people travelled, how long it took.  How people lived in the different sections of society be they servants or the wealthy, some of whom thought they owned the world.

The people of Regency times sure weren’t prudish.  Brothels were big business, homosexuality though illegal and hidden away was still in abundance.  Nobody cared who did what or how.  After all there were no Police in those days.  All they had were Bow Street Runners, who investigated those who committed what was then perceived as a worse crime, be it murder or poaching or stealing.  

Sir Robert Peel, founded the Peelers who incorporated the Bow Street Runner (if they wished) and were later to become known as the Police that are still around today.  How they have changed of the generations.  There again society had changed too, be it better or worse.  

Big changes were afoot, be it the steam train, steam engines, land enclosures by the wealthy, mills and towns taking over from cottage industry making towns bigger and dirtier.  Laws for school and children working.  Even migration for those who thought they could have a better life in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  The gold rush.  It was like life changed in a blink of an eye.

Today it is changing again as technology advances seemingly monthly. 

My novels will cover some of these events in small ways in each book.  So please enjoy your journey with me as I travel forward and release my first novel in May 2016