History

The countess, having taken a dose of laudanum nears death, and is kissed by her sickly child held towards her by an elderly maid; her father slips her ring from her finger. Engraving by Louis Gérard Scotin after William Hogarth, 1745. (Source: Science Museum, London)

Laudanum: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Super Drug

In an era before the invention of aspirin, painkillers and sleeping tablets, to be in pain was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Laudanum’s medical role, as a tool for pain management in sickness and end-of-life care, was crucial.

Jenny Hanniver

Jenny Haniver: The Original Fake Mermaid

Everyone has a side hustle these days don’t they? Even 16th century sailors took part in the gig economy by making particularly horrendous looking Jenny Hannivers for extra income. However, these ‘devil fish wouldn’t look out of place on the movie set of Aliens.

Frozen Charlotte Dolls

The Grisly Tale Behind Frozen Charlotte Dolls

What was bath time like for you as a child? Loads of bubble-bath, maybe the obligatory rubber duck or some colorful plastic cups? Did you ever enjoy your soapy adventures with a porcelain doll embodying the spirit of a teenage girl who froze to death on her way to a New Year’s ball? Those Victorians were a dark bunch.

Snap Crackle and Pop

The Snap! Crackle! Pop! Origin Story

Snap, Crackle and Pop have been around since 1932 and pocketed their creator, Vernon Grant, a cool $250,000. They even have a lesser known fouth ‘band member’ called Pow who made a brief appearance in the 1950’s.

A traditional Viking wedding couple, Trelleborg, Sweden (Photo: Flickr/Maria Eklind)

The Ultimate Guide to a Viking Wedding

Your knowledge of Vikings weddings and Vikings may begin and end with the antics of Ragnar Lothbrok and his clan in the TV show Vikings. However, a Viking wedding was an elaborate and meticulously planned event, from the opening of financial negotiations to the ending bestowment of the morning-gift.

For thousands of years, Europeans had no clue about where birds went during Winter. Until 1822, when a German hunter shot a stork and discovered an 80cm long African spear protruding from its neck. This provided the first evidence of bird migration to Africa.

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