A merry life & a short one!: The Drunkard’s Coat of Arms, 1707

Alcohol has long been accountable for the peaks and troughs of many romantic relationships, from bleary-eyed beginnings to booze-fuelled disputes and divorces. It has been at the centre of social life for thousands of years, providing endless amusement for onlookers as well as excuses and encouragement for amorous behaviour – in The Art of Love (1st-century AD), Ovid recommended... Continue Reading →

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A New Sort of Holyday for Husbands, or a warning to troublesome wives, 1733

Here is a particularly heartwarming (*cough*) report of one man's enthusiastic embrace of widowhood in London in 1733. Yes folks, the 'new holyday for husbands' is to be enjoyed when your troublesome wife drops dead. Charming. (Although I do appreciate the tactful description of said wife. Next time anyone asks me about a break-up I am going to... Continue Reading →

Can drinking tea turn you into a whore?

In eighteenth-century England, there were many reasons why families might have been torn apart, or why dutiful wives and hardworking husbands could suffer a fall from grace. Heart-rending tales of orphaned children, abandoned lovers and destitution fill the pages of contemporary newspaper columns and court records. For some, one of the prime suspects behind the... Continue Reading →

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