Public hangings were brought to an end in Britain by the Capital Punishment Amendment Act of 1868, but the sentence was still carried out behind closed doors. This is one account of a hanging. Continue reading Hanging a murderer – 1881
The Victorian era saw an horrific number of fatal train crashes. The writer Charles Dickens was involved in a train crash in Staplehurst but fortunately survived. Here is his eyewitness account.
Continue reading Charles Dickens survives a train crash – 1865
Charlotte Bronte was one of millions who visited the Great Exhibition in the “Crystal Palace” at Hyde Park in 1851. This is her eyewitness account.
Continue reading Charlotte Bronte visits the Great Exhibition – 1851
Karl Marx appears an imposing and rather serious figure in his photographs. But that was not the full story as this eyewitness account of Marx on a London pub crawl reveals. Continue reading Karl Marx on a London pub crawl – 1850s
Public hangings drew huge crowds in the early 19th century. This is one man’s recollection of the spectacle that surrounded executions. Continue reading Hanging as public entertainment
After all other avenues for reform had failed, some Chartists turned to armed uprising. But the Orange Tree conspiracy of 1848 ended badly, as this newspaper account of the arrest of the leaders shows. Continue reading Police foil a Chartist rising – 1848
The journalist Alexander Somerville reported from inside the offices of the Anti Corn Law League. This is his account, published in 1843. Continue reading Inside the offices of the Anti Corn Law League – 1843
Factory children as young as five years old worked long hours in appalling conditions. This is the evidence given by a factory inspector based on his experience and interviews with the children. Continue reading Factory children – 1842
London smogs became famous in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is an eyewitness account by Flora Tristan, a Frenchwoman who visited the capital in 1839. Continue reading Smog in Victorian London – 1839
Charles Darwin’s five-year voyage on HMS Beagle gave him the evidence and the ideas he needed to outline his theory of evolution by natural selection. Here is his famous account of that voyage. Continue reading Voyage of the Beagle – 1831