Sluggish liver? Members of the public in Victorian Britain could purchase the ‘perfect’ remedy: Crane’s little bon-bon pills. According to an advert from the time, this remedy was a ‘Cure for Torpid Liver and a Beautifier of the Complexion’. This is just one of the entertaining ‘quack’ medicines that can be explored via original illustrations in some new online resources at the British Library (BL) in central London.
Indeed, if you are interested in the history of Britain during the Georgian and Victorian periods, there is very good news: the BL have recently made available via their popular website some exciting new online resources devoted to both of these periods.
Moreover, the resources could be invaluable aids for any historian or student of historical studies who may be thinking of developing a new project on aspects of life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain, such as the social history of the country, or its economic development, or the quite groundbreaking political developments of the time.
The BL’s new ‘Georgian Britain’ page, now available via their main website, contains a range of articles on topics such as poverty in Georgian Britain, health and hygiene (and the rise of ‘Mother Gin’), and the rapid rise of the main cities. There are also some fascinating illustrations available from the BL’s huge collection, such as one image of Billingsgate Market, and another equally beguiling one of the infamous Bedlam asylum. As the BL point out in their publicity guidance, the Georgian period was a time of great change, as the cities of Britain grew, trade expanded enormously, and consumerism and popular culture blossomed.
Similarly, academic scholars will also be interested in the BL’s new online resources page covering Victorian Britain, which also offers a wide range of potential material for the student or casual visitor, such as some great articles on health and hygiene during Victorian times, prisons and punishments, prostitution, the working classes and poverty, the Victorian middle classes, the famous Great Exhibition, travel, transport, communications, and Victorian popular culture.
As with the Georgian material, the BL have also made available a range of items from the BL’s own unique collection, which can help the researcher understand life in Victorian Britain in all its colourful (and sometimes less than colourful!) ‘glory’. This includes the opportunity to view posters, pamphlets, personal diaries, newspapers, political reports, and various illustrations.
And if you like visiting archives, the BL’s new online material also helps remind us what a fantastic resource is available just 30 minutes or so away via train into central London from Kingston.
You can view the BL’s new online resources at: