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We all have traditions around Christmas time and for many this will include a flaming Christmas pudding triumphantly brought to the dinner table, presented to both family and friends. Not all of us though, like a slice of Christmas pudding to round off our Christmas meal. I have heard it described as ‘the dessert from the depths of hell itself’ and ‘a flaming delight; a feast for the eyes and mouth.’ Both descriptions reminded me of a quote from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and made me wonder about the origins of the Christmas pudding.
If we were able to return to Victorian London and head down to the banks of the Thames at low tide, we could observe silent human figures aged from childhood upwards, bent over, wading (sometimes waist-high) in the wet mud. Their ragged clothes and limbs would be coated in the foul-smelling mud which included all manner of detritus, but it was within the mud and sewers that they searched for the modest riches which had been thrown away, dropped or lost overboard from the vessels moored on the Thames. These bent, bedraggled figures of humanity were the mudlarks, scavengers in London’s river and sewers who scratched a living by selling the articles they found.
Discover the Tudor origins of some of today's well known Christmas traditions including tales of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I at Greenwich.
Researchers working under the explorer William Parry in the far North sought to uncover the mysteries of the Arctic, but extreme cold and bizarre magnetic effects interfered in their research more than they had anticipated.
In what is often considered one of the most extreme environments on Earth, harsh conditions made work difficult not only for the scientists, but also for their instruments.
A look at the life and achievements of Cutty Sark's designer Hercules Linton.
One of my recent cataloguing projects has been a collection of business records relating to Sir William Fraser, principal managing owner of several vessels in the service of the East India Company at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The catalogued items all have the prefix FRS in the Archive Catalogue.
Read about the eventful history of the world's only surviving tea clipper as it approaches 150 years old.
Edward Thatch had built up a fearsome reputation as the most notorious pirate of the early 18th Century. Never heard of him? If you had lived in His Majesty’s colony of Virginia in 1718 you certainly would have.