1814 London mobs: “Your Windows were Toast”

July 27, 2020 at 5:37 pm (british royalty, entertainment, history, london's landscape, news, places) (, , , , , )


One of the *first* events I ever read about was of the visit of the Allied Sovereigns to Oxford in June 1814. Mary Gosling, the first diarist I uncovered, had visited her brothers in college soon after the festivities, and Mary writes about being on the thrones latterly occupied by Emperor Alexander and King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia.

The allies were partying because of the cessation of the Napoleonic Wars. Of course _we_ (in the future) know that the war did NOT end in 1814…

Elaine Chalus, in 2017, gave a “London Historians Lecture, the subject: the June 1814 visit of the Allied Sovereigns. Although no mention is made of the ball, supper, spectacle of OXFORD, the lecture gives a wonderful feeling of “being there” for the crowds, inconvenience, delight taking place. From the newspapers – publishing every movement; from the “cartoonists” – plotting every moment; from the citizenry – hoping for a glimpse or maybe even a glance or a grip.

Elaine Chalus_2017

Just under 55 minutes. GREAT sound, fun images, and full of information. Stay tuned at the VERY end to glimpse those fashion rages created by the visit: the Blucher Bonnet & Spencer and the Oldenburg Poke Bonnet.

You’ll hear glimpses, too, of the Duchess of Oldenburg (Emperor Alexander’s sister); Betsey Fremantle (whose diaries as Betsey Wynne have been published); and even my “Dear Miss Heber” (a LOVELY group of letters in the book of that title).

  • a tidbit of what Mary Gosling had to say about her visit to Oxford, 1814.

***

I totally forgot to mention the “title” of my blog post: One of the moments at which I chuckled — because of the truth to moment. Prof. Chalus mentioned that a mob broke windows to get a “better look”. When she went on to explain that “mobs” tended to smash windows at the drop of a hat, or, as Chalus said, “Your windows were TOAST” (a phrase _I_ would use myself. My diarist Emma Smith could assent as she lived through just such a ‘crowd reaction’, when Queen Caroline was a polemical figure).

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