150 = 1865

Just over a year ago, I published my 100th post on this blog, which I celebrated in suitably withdrawn style with this post. Today I reach my 150th post and again felt the need to mark my personal milestone. Stretching credibility to its extreme I decided to do this by pretending that this was actually the 150th anniversary of my blog starting, i.e. that I had begun this in 1865. Stick with me! I’ve always had an interest in history, so I wanted to see what was happening in 1865, what kind of world this blog would have launched into, if that had been technically possible. Yes I know I’m stretching reality a little here, but it’s my blog so I can do what I like, right? So, tonight I’m going to party like it’s 1865….


Viscount Palmerston

Being British I’m going to concentrate mostly on what happened here, although 1865 was a momentous year in American history so that will get an honourable mention too. The first thing that struck me about the year was that we had two Prime Ministers. Nothing unusual about that, except that the first one died in office, which doesn’t happen every year! The two were Viscount Palmerston, who was succeeded by Lord John Russell. Politics in 1865 hadn’t really opened up to the plebs, had they! But what is, for me, most notable is that both of these were Liberals. Yes, not just one but two Liberal Prime Ministers in the same year. Given their current representation of just 8 MPs out of 650 it may take a while before that can happen again!

In terms of social history, 1865 really was another age! It was the year that saw the first speed limits introduced – 2mph in towns and 4mph in the countryside. Wow! Elizabeth Jumbo_poster_1Garrett Anderson graduated as the first female doctor in the UK, a notable victory for glass ceiling breakages. A new Poor Law Act improved conditions in workhouses. The Salvation Army was formed. And Jumbo, an African elephant, came to live in London Zoo and was a huge attraction to a populace who had heard the explorers’ stories and seen line drawings, but could never have imagined what such an animal really looked like. They didn’t have television to show them!

In the world of science and technology, this was the year that Joseph Lister discovered the sterilising effects of carbolic acid, the Crossness Pumping Station opened – a major part of the newly installed sewage system for London. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one! On another forward-looking note, the SS Great Eastern set off on a voyage to lay transatlantic telegraph cable, an early development in the world of mass communication whose importance cannot be understated. The year also saw important developments in the field of electromagnetics and the first modern publication on the theory of eugenics, which became a kind of forerunner of Hitler’s master race theory. In literature, Charles Dickens published Our Mutual Friend, having earlier in the year survived a major train crash that killed 10 people, and Lewis Carroll published Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

Tinsley Lindley

Tinsley Lindley

The year also saw the usual crop of  notable births and deaths. Among those who died were Mrs Beeton, the Nigella Lawson of her day, and the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. The future King George V was born in 1865, as were the writer Rudyard Kipling and the famous nurse Edith Cavell. But I’m going to close the British part of my look back to 1865 by marking the birth of the rather beautifully named Tinsley Lindley. It’s alright, I’d never heard of him either! But his story is so quaint and so typically British I just had to share it! By profession Lindley was a barrister, but I won’t hold that against him. His claim to fame is that he was a footballer, who at one time held the scoring record for England in international matches: 14 goals in just 13 games. He was a centre forward who, because of his career, never became a professional footballer. The thing that really got my attention was that he hated the idea of football boots, which he believed slowed him down as they were too heavy for him. So he played in his everyday shoes! Isn’t that simply wonderful? Somehow, I can’t imagine Wayne Rooney playing in ordinary shoes nowadays, assuming he owns any, that is.

Booth Shoots Lincoln

Booth Shoots Lincoln

1865 was a momentous year in America, too. It was dominated by the Civil War, which came to an end after four years of fighting that cost around 600,000 lives. With the end of the Civil War came the abolition of slavery, which had until then been legal in the southern states. The US also had a change of leader, Andrew Johnson becoming the 17th President of the United States after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, who was later caught and killed, as were four co-conspirators. The year also saw what has since been recognised as the first quick draw shootout, in which Wild Bill Hickok shot Little Dave Tutt over a poker debt. It was also the year in which the US Secret Service and the Ku Klux Klan were formed. Sorry, America, I really have tried to find good things but it isn’t easy!

I’m no historian, so I’ll leave it at this. Of course I recognise that the world is much bigger than just Britain and the US, but I’m just making a small selection of events to give a feel for how different things were back then and, sadly, in the case of wars and violent deaths how little has changed in some respects. As I said at the outset, I’ve chosen this way to mark my 150th post. If anyone has read all 150 I salute you!


21 thoughts on “150 = 1865

  1. Fancy that Rudyard Kipling born in the year Mrs Beaton died. Who knew? I’m reasonably historically read and I did 18th and 19th century for O and A levels a thousand years ago but I would have been WAY off with Mrs Beaton. I love the footballing barrister best. Thank you Clive this was a lovely post! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only went as far as O level, apart from an obligatory term in the introductory period at uni, and much of this was a surprise to me when I researched it. I’d have placed Mrs Beaton later, to be honest. Tinsley‘ s story just had to be told! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bow to you for telling Tinsley’s story! Mrs Beeton … certainly I would have thought she was born not died in 1865. We live and learn. Which is one of the great things in life! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • One of the great unsung heroes of days gone by. The Harry Kane of his time. I checked Mrs Beeton to be certain – that famous book of hers was published in 1861, much longer ago than most of us would no doubt imagine. And probably why she didn’t have a chapter on microwave cooking. I always feel cheated if I get to the end of a day without having learned something new – blogs are a good source 😊 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • They are a good source of the unexpected and the expected. Mrs Beeton continued to be published for so long that I suspect her life-time got skewed. I have a copy (belonged to my mother-in-law who is certainly someone I should write of – wait a minute … which one – there have been three and all quite fascinating though only one still alive – nothing to do with me m’lud, I swear. Anyway … she gave me her copy which was her mother’s and therefore dates to the first quarter of the last century. I’m guessing that is where my assumption came from (note to self *assume makes and ass out of u and me*) xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • My Mum used to have a copy of similar vintage, passed on by my Grandma. Assumptions can indeed be dangerous – I think I assumed that my Mum’s was an original print, as it was so battered (in the tatty sense, not the chip shop one). I was watching a quiz programme earlier and one of the questions was on the author of a debut novel from 1920. The answer given was Charlotte Bronte: there are assumptions, and then there is downright stupidity! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I remember my mother making Lasagne al Forno in the 1960s – it was very racy and avante garde at the time. How things change! xx I am very thankful to have had a mum who could and did cook … yours sounds as though she came from the same tree xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    Looking through my back catalogue again, I found this piece from two years ago. It was a bit of an oddity, but re-reading it I recalled how much I had enjoyed researching it. Judging by the viewing figures, none of my current regular readers will have seen this before so I thought it worth sharing again – if only to introduce you to the wonderfully named Tinsley Lindley.

    In its original publication, this was – as it says – my 150th post. Today’s recycling makes it my 270th, and sometimes I’m amazed both that I’ve written so much and that people keep reading. Thank you, I appreciate each and every one of you. Maybe if I make it to 300 I’ll celebrate that with another look back into history. On current schedules, that could be sometime next year – does anyone know what happened in 1718? 😉


Please leave a reply, I'd like to know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s