Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Looking for a doctor/surgeon/physician or midwife?

In Canada we have an excellent publicly funded health care system. And medical knowledge throughout the world is improving all the time. Both things make it something of a shock then, when you look at the health care of the Regency era.

The first line of defense against illness was home remedies. The second line of defense was the apothecary. The third line perhaps was a doctor, if there was one within reach. The names doctor, physician and surgeon were occasionally confused and the duties could overlap. Often the practitioner had little or no training. But education and standards for medical practitioners were improving, and medical discoveries were happening apace during the Regency.

The practitioners that did exist had no hesitation in advertising their services in the newspapers and distributing trade cards that explained their business.

Kentish Gazette Tuesday 2 February 1808
Inoculation had only recently been discovered to be effective, but there were already practitioners advertising their services for the procedure.  
Any number of apothecary/surgeons also advertised their services as 'man-midwives'. I find the name discomforting, and I wonder about the extent of their knowledge and the quality of their ministrations.
Carlisle Patriot Saturday 20 March 1819
Stamford Mercury Friday 2 September 1808
Among the dozens of advertisements for the man-midwife, I could find only one for a female midwife. Her qualifications sound excellent, but it is interesting that she feels she has to list them and offer testimonials when the men simply 'hang out their shingle', so to speak.
Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 1 July 1814
 And finally, there were the 'new' practitioners, listing their association with a particular medical college and ensuring that potential clients know they have been trained and educated in medicine.
Westmorland Gazette Saturday 27 June 1818
Whenever I think that I would like to live in the Regency era, dance with an earl at Almack's, or eat ices at Gunter's, I remember the health care of the era, and I am thankful I live where I do, and in the year 2015.

'Til next time,


Friday, September 18, 2015

Publication Day - The Possibility of Scandal

It is my great pleasure to announce that my tenth traditional Regency romance - The Possibility of Scandal - has been published today by Uncial Press. It is available from Uncial Press, Amazon Kindle and many other ebook suppliers.

~When the Haythe twins undertake a mad adventure, there is always the likelihood of disaster.~
The first review came out a few weeks ago, and was most gratifying:

"Ms. McLeod has made the Regency era her specialty, and her research shows. She also imbues her work with originality and creativity. Her plotting and characterization make THE POSSIBILITY OF SCANDAL a riveting read that will draw readers not only into the colorful theatrical world of the times, but into the lives of a varied group of personalities. And if you are interested in the Regency era, make a visit to"

Jane Bowers
Romance Reviews Today

When I began to write 'The Possibility of Scandal' I immersed myself in Regency theatre, although the theatre that the Haythe twins encounter is not at all typical.

This engraving of a theatre from the book Old and New London influenced the appearance of the Haythes' Fortune Theatre in Rotherham, although I added a portico.
I collected pictures of theatre auditoriums in order to make the Haythes' theatre very different from the usual.
Opera House Haymarket 1809

Royal Coburg Theatre 1818

Sadlers Wells Theatre 1810

It has been an interesting adventure researching and writing The Possibility of Scandal. 
Don't forget to visit my Facebook page to enter to win a copy of the ebook--or simply email me at

'Til next time,


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

All the News from Brighton

I thought you might be interested in the latest news from Brighton, according to the Sussex Advertiser of December 27, 1819:

Clicking on the items will enlarge them, for easier reading, in a new window.

It is this kind of research that brings the Regency period to life for me; I hope you find it interesting.

'Til next time,


Thursday, August 13, 2015

J. C. Loudon and his Gardening Vision

J. C. Loudon 1783-1843
John Claudius Loudon was a Scot, educated in horticulture (biology, botany, etc.) at the University of Edinburgh and a prolific garden and landscape designer and writer, despite significant physical frailty.

His most notable publications appeared in the 1820's after the Prince Regent had become King George IV. But Loudon published pamphlets and articles almost from moment he began designing gardens, landscapes and the layout of farms.

One of his most interesting pamphlets was published in 1807. Titled
Engravings, with Descriptions, illustrative of the difference between The Modern Style of Rural Architecture
and the Improvement of Scenery, and that displayed in A Treatise on Country Residences,
and practised by Mr. Loudon
the pamphlet contained 'before' and 'after' engravings of some of Loudon's work. He aimed to improve the 'picturesque' work of Capability Brown with his own 'gardenesque' style.

Mr. Loudon describes the intent of his pamphlet in the introduction:
His engravings of Barnbarroch (Barnbarrow) House, in Scotland, show clearly the significant extent of the changes he proposed.
Barnbarrow House in 1805
Barnbarrow as it would look three years after renovations commenced
In his pamplet, Loudon also used illustrations of some grounds at Harewood House (where he undertook a substantial renovation). In this area he proposed to join three sections of water into one.

Harewood House grounds 1805

Same Harewood location with proposed changes
In a telling series of illustrations of a 400-500 acre portion of an imaginary estate, Loudon shows the progression of design through one hundred years.
Figure 1 shows the formal early 18th century plan:
Figure 2 shows the layout as it would have been conceived by Brown, Repton and their contemporaries:
And Figure 3 shows his own concept for such a property. In all three cases the house is difficult to locate, clearly secondary to the overall landscape design.
A study of Loudon's work shows the development of landscape architecture into the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. In his later years, he undertook city and cemetery planning. But he began his work, in gardens, in the early 1800s, challenging the ideas of the great Repton who died in 1818.

Many of Loudon's works including his "Gardener's Magazine" are available free from Google Books. Those of his wife, Jane (nee Webb), an established author who undertook to write also on botany and flower gardening, are likewise available.

'Til next time,


Saturday, July 4, 2015

The English Social Scene ~ January, 1809

It seems odd to think of January in the middle of the heat and drought that we are enduring where I live. I don't like January, but cold air and precipitation don't seem totally repulsive at the moment!

Adverse weather aside, the January of 1809 was one full of assemblies, balls, concerts and parties. At least it was according to the newspapers I have been reading.

The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of Monday, January 2, 1809 was particularly full of notices:

The Salisbury and Winchester Journal of the same day, advertises the Southampton Winter ball at the Dolphins Inn as did the Hampshire Telegraph, but adds other events as well.

The Bath Chronicle of the same week has, not unexpectedly, a large advertisment for its Assembly Rooms:
The Derby Assembly Rooms meanwhile were looking for sponsors to help with renovation:
It is not clear if winter balls were taking place while this process was going on.
In The Northampton Mercury there were notices of two upcoming entertainments:
And The Bury and Norwich Post was also advertising balls:
On considering the matter, I would have thought that the prospect of driving in an unheated carriage, to an ill-heated ballroom, in inadequate clothing (particularly in the case of women) would dull many people's interest in the parties and balls advertised. But perhaps Regency folk, like us, sought diversion from the dreary winter weather. There was certainly a social whirl underway in January of 1809 all across England!

'Til next time,


N.B. Newspapers from the British Newspaper Archive

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Queen Charlotte visits Bath, October 1817

In October of 1817, Queen Charlotte was recommended by her physicians to visit Bath. She had been struggling with poor health--'spasms' and pain-for some time and it was hoped the spa town would refresh her health and spirits.

The 'Annals of Bath' described her arrival:

 The rest and change of scene seemed to help. Her Majesty took an airing the next day, and in the following days visited the Pump-room, received city officials at her house, and visited a charitable institution, Bailbrook Lodge, of which she was patron.

Within days however, disaster struck the Queen, and the nation. Princess Charlotte died in childbirth at Windsor. Queen Charlotte departed Bath in haste on November 7. The funeral, the attendant ceremonies, and grief took a toll on the Queen's health. By November 24, she returned to Bath, but this time the Queen's visit was notable for its lack of ceremony. She stayed a month taking short excursions and attending briefly at the Pump-room every morning.

'Walks Through Bath', written in 1819 by Pierce Egan, described the Queen's House, and provided an illustration of it.

Queen Charlotte died just under a year later. Her visit to Bath passed into history.

But the house in which she stayed has survived in part. Queen Charlotte's Orangery, 93a Sydney Place, a bed and breakfast inn, purports to be part of the original building. And a stock photo website has two pictures taken at the site (which I cannot reproduce with paying) here and here

Queen Charlotte's visit to Bath, touched by tragedy, lives on in word and in stone.

'Til next time,


Sources: Annals of Bath
              Walks Through Bath
              and several Memoirs of Queen Charlotte are all available for download from                 Google Books.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mr. Fawkes's New Gallery

In light of the recent movie about J. M. W. Turner, it seems appropriate to return to the great artist of the Regency. Indeed, the Regency would be greatly diminished had Turner not existed; its sensibility and style would be irrevocably altered.

But we approach Turner this time from the point of view of  one of his most ardent supporters, Walter Fawkes.

I can do no better than to quote Wikipedia for the basics of Fawke's biography:

Walter Ramsden Hawkesworth Fawkes (2 March 1769 – 24 October 1825) was a Yorkshire landowner, writer and Member of Parliament (MP) for Yorkshire from 1806 to 1807.

Fawkes is be best remembered, however, as the intimate friend and one of the earliest patrons of J.M.W. Turner, the artist. Turner had a welcome and a home at Farnley Hall, Fawkes's Wharfedale residence, whenever he chose to go, and used to spend months at a time there. Mr. Ruskin has borne eloquent testimony to the influence of Fawkes, Farnley, and Wharfedale on the genius of Turner, and the Turner collection still existing at Farnley Hall contains about two hundred of the artist's choicest works.
JMW Turner and Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall by John R Wildman
In 1819 Walter Fawkes decided to display his collection of Turner's work along with the paintings of other British artists. He set up a gallery in his home in Devonshire Place and Turner prepared a drawing of the room.
Every major magazine of the time reviewed the exhibition when it opened in the spring of 1819. And they were delighted.

From The New Monthly Magazine, June 1, 1819 

The Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres had a little trouble getting to the exhibit, and felt it important enough to catalogue their efforts:
 March 27, 1819
 April 24, 1819
 May 1, 1819

A year later The Repository of Arts reported again on the exhibit, but made no secret of its disappointment in the limited access available.
From Ackermann's Repository of Arts, June 1820

Given the criticism that Turner's work sometimes garnered, we are fortunate that far-sighted, intelligent people such as Walter Fawkes recognized greatness when they saw it.

Mr. Fawkes's Gallery must have been a wonderful thing to visit; a delight for a spring nearly two hundred years past.

'Til next time,