A call to arms, for Mary Wollstonecraft!

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97) was a pioneering figure in the fight for women's equality. So why no statue? She was a remarkable woman: a devoted friend and sister, a traveller, a single mother, a philosopher and a writer. She had groundbreaking ideas about the future of women's rights, why changes would be better for both sexes, and... Continue Reading →

8 Bad Reasons for Getting Married, 1792

What would you say makes the most solid foundation for a marriage? Trust? Financial security? The sort of profound and death-defying passion that would make Jack & Rose weep with envy? [let's face it, they are the modern-day Romeo & Juliet, and I'm only moderately ashamed to admit it.] It was in the latter half of the... Continue Reading →

How to tell her you love her, c18th style

In the era of instant messaging and online chat, the modern suitor is only ever a 'winky face' and a click away from declaring his amorous intentions. All things considered, I'd say courtship has taken a distinctly unromantic turn. Two hundred years ago, love tokens offered a far more enduring and emotive means of expressing devotion... Continue Reading →

How to Elope in Style, 1793

Detail from 'The Elopement' (1828) In the late eighteenth century, if you were under the age of 21 then you were generally considered too young to be trusted with your own heart. The Marriage Act of 1753 had decreed that no wedding conducted on English soil would be considered valid unless there was a formal church... Continue Reading →

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