Time Served

I’m scrolling through England and Wales Criminal Registers on Ancestry.com.  I need one of my characters to serve time and wondered what the penalty would be.  Boy, interesting read!  Here’s a few examples:

  • Larceny – Ranges from 3-6 months.
  • Attempting to commit suicide – 2 months
  • Attempting sexual relations with an underage child – 1 year
  • Embezzlement as a servant – 6 months
  • Maliciously killing a horse – 1 year
  • (No laughing at this one) Adjudged as an incorrigible rogue – 9 months.
  • Attempting to commit buggery (that’s an old term for homosexual acts) – 10 years
  • Obtaining goods by false pretenses – 3 months
  • Keeping a disorderly house (conduct of inhabitants are a public nuisance) – 1 year
  • Keeping a house of ill fame (brothel/prostitution) – 18 months
  • Assaulting a police officer – 3 to 6 months

Well, it’s an interesting read for sure. I can’t imagine the horrors of serving time in a Victorian-era prison.

Vicki

Progress Update

I’ve worked extremely hard this past four days to push the book forward into the last stage of draft one.  Writing is a daunting task.  The first draft can be a breeze because a writer’s brain is buzzing with characters, dialogue, and a storyline that needs to get down on paper before we forget it.  However, that’s only the start.

Afterward, at least for me, comes the pain.  The process of revisions and self-editing that can take time and tears.  Then it’s off to the professional editor, to take the last pass before release, finding your goofs and stupid errors your eyes didn’t see the first time.

As I’m staring at the end of book one, I’m overwhelmed by the hours I’ve spent reading union news and testimony regarding the hooligans of the nineteenth century involved in the trade. I’ve found absolutely fantastic resources online through the British Newspaper Archives and Google Books, which contain the scanned text of trade reports and investigations dating back to the mid-1860’s. 

Of greater concern, is the name of my second great grandfather that repeatedly came up in testimony as one of the regulars who went about enforcing the union rules, as they were, sometimes violently.  He died in his early forties, which makes me wonder if his lifestyle contributed to his early demise.

Nevertheless, next post as I near the end, I’ll give you a short glimpse into the world of trade unions. Some of what you’ll read in Toil Under the Sun may surprise and sicken you, but the occurrences were taken from actual events. The names were changed to spare those involved and their ancestors. However, I felt it important to make this saga historically correct, including actual events, for my own sake and that of my readers.

Stay tuned as I look at the end of my first draft.  Thankfully, no one will wallop me over the head with a brick after I’m finished.  Apparently, a few watchmen of brickyards suffered that fate.

All my best, Vicki

Choosing a day in the Week

Let it not be said that I don’t research when it comes to writing my books! When you’re talking about getting married on a certain day of the week in 1863, a calendar is important!  I found one!

What day of the week did I choose for the first marriage in this lengthy saga? According to a Victorian Wedding article, a popular rhyme went like this:

Marry on Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses, and
Saturday for no luck at all.

I noticed that Sunday wasn’t in the rhyme, but strangely enough, my second great uncle married on a Sunday.  Hmm…I’m confused.

Vicki

Early Victorian Clothing for Men at Historical Emporium

When I look at men’s fashions in the Victorian era, I don’t think they changed as drastically as the female dresses did over the years.  Of course, looking at these outfits, as shown on fashion website linked below, we’re talking about the well-dressed male of the 1850s to 1870s.

The males initially in book one, Toil Under the Sun, are dressed in far less fashionable trends for being common laborers in the construction business. Dirty clothes, tattered sleeves, worn shoes are the norm. They represented the stark contrast between the class line of laborer and master in a world of the haves and have-nots.

To read more about the male fashions, enjoy the site below.   You can even purchase a few items to dress up your husband or boyfriend just for fun!  Throw away those blue jeans and put some class back into his life.

(1850 – 1870) Full Line of Men’s Early Victorian Style Clothing. Everything a gentleman needs, from head to toe. Hats, coats, shirts, shoes, ties, trousers and beautiful vests. Period correct for theatrical and reenactor use.

Source: Early Victorian Clothing for Men at Historical Emporium

Patented Brickmaking Machines  

The fear of men losing their jobs because of automation has continued since the dawn of the industrial revolution.  Even in our lifetime, robotic counterparts are replacing human workers and jobs are being lost.

Can you imagine the fear this must have instilled in the man of 1860 who made his life hand-molding bricks?  An inventor comes along and makes this huge monster machine that threatens his usefulness and income as a laborer in Victorian England.  No wonder he hates it — no wonder he wants it destroyed.

Progress, however, continues whether humans like it or not, and such was the case during these turbulent years when the union fought against industrialization in brickmaking.  Attacks were regularly made on master brickmakers who purchased these devices.  Owning one meant it took jobs away from other able-bodied men who once worked in the clay fields and hand-molded bricks like craftsmen. There were various patented machines from different inventors introduced throughout the years as early as 1859 and many newer versions introduced in the subsequent decades.

Owning one of these contraptions is a point of contention in Toil Under the Sun.   In 1865, the Manchester Bricklayer’s Union would not allow machine-made bricks to be used in the district.  It wasn’t until many years later that they changed the ruling, but even afterward there were instances where union members would attack businesses and attempt to destroy the machines out of anger.

How many more jobs will be lost in the decades ahead from machines being invented to take our place?  I dare say many more, which will have the same effect on the human counterpart–loss of income and a sense of uselessness.  Like the brickmakers of the past, workers learn to adapt or starve.  Sometimes it’s a hard lesson.


From: The Mechanics’ Magazine: Journal of  Engineering, Agricultural Machinery, Manufactures, and Shipbuilding, Vol. 2, No. 50, Dec. 9, 1859.  Source: Clayton’s Patent Brickmaking Machine (Thanks to the Brickfrog Blog for posting this article information. https://brickfrog.wordpress.com/)  Excerpt below:

The Production of solid bricks has of late received much of the attention of engineers and architects, with a view of their being produced more economically, of a better quality, and with greater facility, than by the time-honored means known as “hand-moulding;” and although many mechanical contrivances for making bricks have been introduced, not one has realised the requirement practically, or been considered worthy of adoption, until Mr. Henry Clayton, of the Atlas Works, London, produced and patented his brickmaking machine. On an average 20,000 to 25,000 good bricks are made daily by each of Clayton’s large machines with the attention of two men and four boys.

Your latest historical tidbit!
Vicki

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