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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Oxford, 1814

September 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm (entertainment, europe, history, travel) (, , , , , , , )

Although it’s no longer summer 2014, I can’t help but come across items relating to Oxford — which is what opens my book (in the year 1814). And this past weekend uncovered a few nice *finds*.

I invite readers to Take a Tour of Oxford via OXFORD HISTORY. It’s been years since I clicked photos of places I’ve visited — so I have nothing of my own to share.

Oxford had the dubious distinction of being a bit of a “lay-over” spot. I had taken the bus from Aylesbury into Oxford in order to take the train a few stops south – in order to meet a private collector with whom I’d been corresponding. She had family letters!

Long story short: I went for a walk; got lost. BUT: I stood on the very spotunder “the Great Bell called Tom — that little Mary Gosling, aged 14 stood upon 200 years before me. A proper tour through the city awaits another trip.

Looking for information on Oxford back in 1814, in particular on the old city walls, is how I came across this delightful website. There IS a “Oxford City Walls” tour – and it’s presented online, with some really nice photographs of the sites.

oxford city walls tour

I’m THRILLED to see CARFAX TOWER mentioned; Mary talks about this – and I know that when I first transcribed her travel journal I had NO idea of any of the layout (see CARFAX Views)

If you explore the Walls circuit, you will cover some of the same ground I did: How well I remember the Castle Mound and Castle Street — and (having gotten “lost”) it’s a pity I never ended up at the appropriately-named Turn Again Lane!

Mary and family had come to Oxford to visit William Ellis and Robert Gosling, her two eldest brothers. _I_ was in Oxford on the trail of Mary

The boys were at two different colleges. Robert at Christ Church (Mary seems very unimpressed with his rooms in the Peckwater Quad) and William at Brasenose.

OxfordHistory.org also dedicates a page to the old Star Inn, where the Goslings overnighted (alas, no longer in existence).

In searching, I also stumbled upon the Oxford University magazine Oxford Today, with an article on the very event the Goslings came in the wake of: the visit to Oxford by the Allied Sovereigns. Imagine my delight with this cartoon:

allies in oxford

Mary Gosling, aged 14:
“…they shewed us the chairs … [of] the emperor and king of Prussia
they were of velvet and handsomely mounted in gold,
and I had the honour to sit in both of them.”

The Emperor (tsar) of Russia – and his sister (shown in the full cartoon) – sits on the right hand side of the Prince of Wales; the King of Prussia on his left.

10p to the person who first spots a quite egregious error in the article… [What a difference one letter of the alphabet makes.]

 

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