Winter Blog Hop Day 19 – Happy Book Birthday to Me!

Today on the hop I’m featuring yours truly. ūüôā ¬†Today is release day for my third book, Tempting Mr. Jordan. I really love this book, which tells the story of Julia Tenwick (Jonathan’s little sister from Stirring Up the Viscount, all grown up). I hope you like it too! (And do scroll to the end of this post for a chance to win a Maine gift basket from me and Becky Lower!)

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Tempting Mr. Jordan

After four unsuccessful London seasons, Lady Julia Tenwick despairs of ever making a love match. With spinsterhood looming on the horizon, she and a friend set sail for America on one last adventure. When her travels take her to northern Maine, Julia meets a reclusive but handsome artist, whose rudeness masks a broken heart Julia feels compelled to mend.

Still haunted by the betrayal and death of his pregnant wife two years before, Geoffrey Jordan is determined never to risk his heart again. Certainly not with the gorgeous and impetuous aristocrat who intrudes upon his small-town solitude, and is far too similar to his late wife to tempt him to take another chance on love.

But when Julia and Geoffrey find themselves united in a reckless plan to save Julia’s friend from ruin, they discover that temptation is impossible to resist.

Excerpt:

Cranberry Cove reminded her of home, her family’s estate in Durham, where ton rules were abandoned in favor of lazy days riding, reading, caring for her pets, or playing the piano. It occurred to her that she had not played in weeks. Her fingers itched to touch a keyboard, and she flexed her hands inside her calfskin gloves. She vowed to play soon. She thought she had seen a harpsichord in the drawing room of Maria’s enormous house.

Reaching the end of the little lane on which Maria lived, she took a right onto Main Street. It consisted of several houses similar to the one in which she was staying, so she turned left onto Maple Street, which was much more interesting. There was a green grocer, a bookseller, a milliner, a tailor, a blacksmith‚ÄĒeverything one could want in a village. The streets were clean‚ÄĒmuch cleaner than London‚ÄĒand the air was crisp and fresh, even if it smelled ever so slightly of fish.

Julia was staring into the newspaper office‚ÄĒa badly written but oddly gripping tale about missing lobster traps was plastered to the window‚ÄĒwhen she was nearly knocked off her feet.

‚ÄúOh, I beg your pardon!‚ÄĚ She managed to right herself, wondering why she should be the one to apologize. She looked up into the hooded eyes of Geoffrey Jordan, who held a book in one hand. ‚ÄúMr. Jordan!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúLady Julia.‚ÄĚ He reached out to steady her, the touch of his hand on her arm causing a charge to shoot up her spine. ‚ÄúPlease forgive me. Are you hurt?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúAre you in the habit of running over tourists on your streets?‚ÄĚ She freed her arm, flustered by her own reaction, and busied herself with adjusting her hat. When she regarded Mr. Jordan again, he was smirking.

‚ÄúNo, just the ones who stop in the middle of the street,‚ÄĚ he said.

Julia opened her mouth to retort, but he held up a finger to silence her. ‚ÄúNevertheless, I am sorry. I wasn‚Äôt paying attention. And the scintillating prose of our local newspaper could halt anyone in her tracks.‚ÄĚ

She laughed. ‚ÄúIt is not The Times, to be sure.‚ÄĚ

His lips quirked up at the tips in something approaching a smile. Julia thought she hadn‚Äôt seen him do that before and found it oddly entrancing. ‚ÄúWhere are you headed, Lady Julia?‚ÄĚ

She forced herself to look away from his lips. ‚ÄúUm. Nowhere in particular. I was in need of a walk after luncheon, so I thought I would explore a bit.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe Universalist church, just around the corner, is particularly beautiful, and you will need to sample lobster from the establishment run by the Maclays, on the pier. It will melt in your mouth.‚ÄĚ

The way he looked at her as he made the remark made her own mouth dry. Her cheeks burned.

‚ÄúUm. Yes. That sounds lovely.‚ÄĚ She gazed down at her feet until she collected herself. Raising her head, she found herself caught in his sights. She swallowed nervously. ‚ÄúWell, if you‚Äôll excuse me, Mr. Jordan, I really must get back. Constance will be wondering where I‚Äôve got to.‚ÄĚ She brushed past him, her shoulder tingling at the contact with his arm.

‚ÄúLady Julia?‚ÄĚ His tone was vaguely amused.

She stopped and turned to face him. ‚ÄúYes, Mr. Jordan?‚ÄĚ

His thin lips turned up at the corners again, and he pointed behind him. ‚ÄúI believe your house is that way.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúOh. Yes. Of course.‚ÄĚ She willed herself not to stumble as she passed him, at least not until she‚Äôd cleared the corner.

You can find Tempting Mr. Jordan at these retailers: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iBooks ~ Wild Rose Press.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this fabulous gift basket¬†Becky Lower and I are offering. In addition to the items pictured, Becky is offering an ecopy of her new Wild Rose novella,¬†Love’s in the Cards!fullsizerender
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Winter Blog Hop, Day 12 – Victorian Cookies

SecretPromise_w9701_750Today’s scheduled guest is unable to be here, so I’m filling in with a Victorian era recipe¬†for Cinnamon Cakes, which are actually cookies. I found it¬†in Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery, and featured them in Secret Promise. Here’s an excerpt:

Zachary was curled up in a chair in the sitting room, reading.

‚ÄúZachary,‚ÄĚ Anna said, ‚ÄúI have a surprise for you.‚ÄĚ

Zachary‚Äôs head snapped up, and he sniffed the air.¬†‚ÄúHave you been baking, Mam?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI have not, but Mrs. Graham has.‚ÄĚ The woman¬†herself appeared at the top of stairs, smiling in¬†welcome. She removed a cinnamon cake from the bag¬†she carried and held it out to Zachary.

Zachary leapt out of his chair. ‚ÄúIs that for me?‚ÄĚ He¬†hesitated, looking from¬†a smiling Mrs. Graham to Anna¬†for verification.

Anna nodded. ‚ÄúYes, it‚Äôs for you. Mrs. Graham¬†spoiled me with treats when I was young, and I have no¬†doubt she‚Äôd very much like to spoil you, too.‚ÄĚ

Zachary took the cake, inhaling its sweet, spicy¬†smell before devouring it in three bites. ‚ÄúThank you,¬†Mrs. Graham. It was delicious!‚ÄĚ

Here’s the original recipe from the 1845 edition of Modern Cookery:

CINNAMON, OR LEMON CAKES

Rub six ounces of good butter into img_4520a pound of Ô¨Āne dry Ô¨āour, and work it lightly into crumbs, then add three quarters of a pound of sifted sugar, a dessertspoonful of pounded cinnamon (or half as much when only a slight Ô¨āavour is liked), and make these ingredients into a Ô¨Ārm paste with three eggs, or four, if needed. Roll it, not very thin, and cut out the cakes with a tin shape. Bake them in a very gentle oven from Ô¨Āfteen to twenty minutes, or longer, should they not be done quite through. As soon as they are cold, put them into a clean and dry tin canister, a. precaution which should be observed with all small sugar cakes, which ought also to be loosened from the oven tins while they are still warm.

Flour, 1 lb.; butter, 6 ozs. ; sugar, 3/4 lb.; cinnamon, 1 dessertspoonful (more or less, to the taste) ; eggs, 3 to 4.

Obs. Lemon cakes can be made by this receipt by substituting for the cinnamon the rasped or grated rinds of two lemons, and the strained juice of one, when its acidity is not objected to. More butter, and more or less of sugar, can be used at will, both for these and for the cinnamon cakes.

And here’s my modern variation, which is a bit easier to follow:

CINNAMON CAKES
Makes about 4 dozen large or 6 dozen small cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

6       oz. (approx 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1        lb      cake flour (approx. 3-1/4 cups)
1        tsp    baking powder
1/4    tsp   salt
3/4   lb      sugar (approx. 2-1/4 cups)
1        tsp    cinnamon
3        lg      eggs

img_4518Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Mix together the baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon and add to the flour. Add the eggs and beat just until mixed. If the dough is too dry, add up to 1-2 tablespoons of milk, just enough so that the dough holds together.

img_4519Roll out the dough on a floured board to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a your favorite cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with decorating sugar (or if you really like cinnamon, use cinnamon sugar).

Bake in a 375 oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly brown on the edges.

Cool on a wire rack.img_4521

Just as an FYI, I omitted the salt in one half of the dough and compared the two versions. I liked the salt version a little bit better, but my kid noticed no difference in taste–so if you’re limiting your salt intake, go ahead and try them without.

Feel free to experiment and let me know what changes you made. ūüôā

Winter Blog Hop Coming Soon!

Happy almost winter, everyone! In order to celebrate the December release of my next book, Tempting Mr. Jordan, I have invited some of my author friends to join me in an advent calendar-style blog hop. Every day from December 1-25 will feature a post from a different romance author. Most of them are offering giveaways, so check back here every day for a chance to win some great prizes, including a fabulous Maine-themed gift basket from me and Becky Lower, in honor of our Maine-set books coming out this month.

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Check out this talent!
December 1: Peggy Jaeger
December 2: Anni Fife
December 3: Cynthia Blackburn
December 4: Maggie Preston
December 5: Becky Lower
December 6: Landra Graf
December 7: Becky Lower, part two!
December 8: Miranda Liasson
December 9: Jennifer Shirk
December 10: Lori Sizemore
December 11: Judy Ann Davis
December 12: Hywela Lyn
December 13: Julie Jarnagin
December 14: Lynn Crain
December 15: Nina Croft
December 16: Tricia Schneider
December 17: Judy McDonough
December 18: Tara Harlow
December 19: Marin McGinnis
December 20: Anna Durand
December 21: Barbara Bettis
December 22: Tena Stetler
December 23: Clair Brett
December 24: Danielle Haas
December 25: Merry Christmas!

And now I have about 10,000 words to go to win NaNo¬†and four days remaining (you do the math), so I’d better get back to work…

It’s NaNovember so this will be short…

typewriter-801921_1920It’s NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–for many of us in the writing world, that crazy time of year when we are glued to our laptops for an entire month, even more antisocial than usual, vomiting at least 1667 words per day for a total of 50,000 by November 30. I’ve spent the latter part of this week catching up to the first part–Election Day put a wee hitch in my stride–but for the first time in several years I’m reasonably close to being on target to finish (knock on wood).

Although I was planning to write a futuristic dystopian I plotted during the RNC, it was far too depressing. So I’m writing a romantic historical mystery instead, and I am completely pantsing it. Other than knowing who killed the odious Clive in the very first scene, I’m playing everything by ear. This is usually a recipe for disaster for me, and trying to do it with a mystery is likely to be incredibly stupid. But I was trying to finish the last book before this one, so I didn’t have time to plot. We shall see if I still manage to get through the middle without flying off the rails, but so far the words are flowing with minimal obstruction. (Knocking again.)

Are you trying NaNo this year? How’s it going? Words flowing? Not so much? Take a little break and share!

Victorian Food: Divided by a Common Language

One of the things I’ve encountered in British recipes–both old and new–is an entirely different vocabulary. ¬†Spelling is also an issue: I just spent ten minutes looking for pudding molds in Mrs. Beeton¬†before I remembered¬†it’s spelled moulds in the UK. There are different terms for so many things in baking, and finding out what they mean takes a bit of effort.

Measurements and Oven Temperatures

In the US, modern baking recipes provide temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and measurements based on volume–a cup of flour, a tablespoon of butter.

British recipes provide temperature in either degrees Celsius or according to a gas mark. Older recipes use the terms gentle oven, moderate oven, or something similar. Ingredients are listed by weight–a pound of flour, 20 grams of butter.

I invested in a decent scale to help me with the weights, but a conversion chart for oven temperatures is essential in making these recipes. There’s a good one here,¬†but basically, a slow oven is 275-300 degrees, a moderate oven 325-350, and a hot oven 425-450. I am still trying to figure out what a “gentle” oven is, but I’m going to assume it’s similar to “slow.” It remains to be seen whether I will burn the crap out of things with this theory–I’ll keep you posted.

This is a fantastic article, by the by, which talks about oven temperatures and how even though we have temperature ¬†settings on ovens now, they don’t always mean what we think they do.

Mrs. Beeton notes the following about the mysterious spoonful measurements you can find in Victorian recipes:

A TABLE-SPOONFUL is frequently mentioned in a recipe, in the prescriptions of medical men, and also in medical, chemical, and gastronomical works. By it is generally meant and understood a measure or bulk equal to that which would be
produced by half an ounce of water.
A DESSERT-SPOONFUL is the half of a table-spoonful; that is to say, by it is meant a measure or bulk equal to a quarter of an ounce of water.
A TEA-SPOONFUL is equal in quantity to a drachm of water.
A DROP.‚ÄĒThis is the name of a vague kind of measure, and is so called on account¬†of the liquid being dropped from the mouth of a bottle. Its quantity, however, will¬†vary, either from the consistency of the liquid or the size and shape of the mouth of¬†the bottle. The College of Physicians determined the quantity of a drop to be one¬†grain, 60 drops making one fluid drachm. Their drop, or sixtieth part of a fluid
drachm, is called a minim.

(A drachm is pronounced dram, and is about 1/8 of a fluid ounce.)

Ingredients

Another curiosity is¬†the various names for standard ingredients. In the U.S. we have all-purpose flour, cake flour, whole wheat flour, and bread flour, among others. British recipes call for strong flour, hard flour, self-raising flour, soft flour, and plain flour. Essentially, plain flour is roughly the same as cake or soft flour¬†(although there are some who say it’s equivalent to our all-purpose flour). Hard or strong flour is equivalent to bread flour. Self-raising flour is roughly the same as our self-rising flour, which is all-purpose flour to which baking powder and salt have been added. I have heard, however, that UK self-raising flour doesn’t have salt in it, so it might be better to make your own. Google “self-rising flour substitute” and you’ll find plenty of options. This is a great discussion of flour equivalents between the US and the UK.

Sugar is also different. In addition to granulated sugar, which is the same on both sides of the pond, UK baking recipes use caster sugar and icing sugar. Our US equivalents are superfine sugar and powdered sugar.

Below is a nice conversion chart for some of these items, which I found at http://www.sweet2eatbaking.com/. She has some other conversion charts and some fun recipes too.

The Victorian Diet

Last October I turned 50. My sixth decade began with shingles on my face¬†and in my eye, which took about 6 months to¬†vanquish. I gained ten pounds and was diagnosed with high blood pressure, started a new law firm, and finished a book, so it’s safe to say there have been ups and downs. A couple of months ago I decided to get¬†serious about making myself healthier, so I joined a gym, am working with a trainer, and last week I put myself on¬†a diet.

If you have read this blog, or know me at all, you know I love food. Restricting myself to 1350 calories of it is tortuous, especially when I have an active, underweight teenager who needs to have high calorie foods in the house or he’ll blow away in a strong wind. So to occupy my brain while I digest my measly caloric intake, I thought I’d do a little research on the Victorian diet. I know from research for previous blog posts¬†what the Victorians cooked, but I suspected that it was really only the upper and middle classes who ate well, and the poor, working classes ate scraps of bad meat and potatoes. I was, as so often happens, wrong.

One of the Family. Frederick George Cotman, 1880.

One of the Family. Frederick George Cotman, 1880.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the Victorian working classes in the UK were healthier than we are today. For¬†the most part, the Victorians ate nutritious foods (and a LOT of them–the average male consumed 5,000 calories, the average female 3,000), exercised¬†more (which actually means their work was highly physical), ate less sugar and salt, and¬†drank and¬†smoked less. ¬†Their average life expectancy (about 75 for men, 73 for women) was¬†comparable to¬†ours, taking into account the higher infant mortality rate in the mid-19th century. ¬†But infants died due to disease, not malnutrition–one child in five died in its first year, one in three before the age of 5. ¬†Today’s UK working and lower-middle class men live to about 72, and women to about 76.

The working class diet involved¬†stone-ground wholemeal breads made daily, fresh meats and fish, and 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. They ate what was in season, usually grown themselves–apples in the fall and winter and lettuces, peas, beans, and cherries and other fruits in the summer–and because it was fresh it had more nutrients. Daily vegetables included what we consider superfoods today–onions, watercress, cabbages, and beets. Portions were smaller.¬†They arguably had stronger immune systems due to more natural yeasts in their diet–from the bread (including the moldy bits) and the large amounts of beer they drank. And no, this is not incompatible with the statement I made earlier about drinking less. Their beer had less alcohol in it to begin with, and was often watered down. ¬†They ate cheaper cuts of meat on the bone–often boiled with vegetables, resulting in greater¬†nutrition and flavor. Their work involved long hours in the fields or in the house, and often required them to walk long distances to and from home in order to get to their jobs. Most people, unless they were carried off by disease, enjoyed robust health into their 70s.

Starting in the late 19th century, the same industrial factors that led to an increased quality of life–easy travel, cheaper goods–also led to a¬†decrease in overall health. Work became less physically demanding, so people began to expend¬†fewer calories every day. That coupled with the advent of processed wheat flour, cheap sugar, and mass production of inexpensive,¬†high salt, high sugar foods led to a decrease in nutrition and a rise in obesity which only gets worse with each passing year.

 

 

 

 

So don’t think Dickens, poverty, and squalor when you think of the Victorians. Think of fresh fruits and veggies, tasty bread and meat, and lots of walking, and then consider eating more like they did.

 

 

 

 

Sources for more reading:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3317096/Forget-Paleo-try-VICTORIAN-diet-Eating-onions-cabbage-beetroot-cherries-meant-19th-century-people-healthier-today.html
https://chriskresser.com/what-mid-victorians-can-teach-us-about-nutrition-and-health/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672390/
http://health.spectator.co.uk/forget-paleo-go-mid-victorian-its-the-healthiest-diet-youve-never-heard-of/
http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/diet-nutrition/nutrition/healthy-eating-victorian-style.aspx#

New Blog Series! Victorian Food

So lately I have been watching the early seasons of The Great British Bake-Off.  Of the five seasons aired so far, only the last three made it to network TV in the US, but the first two are available on YouTube, and they are so worth the watch. Each episode contains historical snippets about particular foods. Several of the classic items featured on the show have Victorian roots, and it gave me an idea.

I am a reasonably competent cook, but my baking efforts have been hit or miss at best. Baking is far less forgiving of the “oh, just throw in some extra [insert food item here–usually garlic]” method I typically employ in my cooking. Nevertheless, the show has inspired me to learn to be a better baker, and since Victorian food plays a part in every one of my books, I thought I might share that journey with you. So once a month (give or take), I’ll feature a Victorian era recipe and my efforts to recreate¬†it. My husband thinks I’m a lunatic for even trying this (probably because he’s been forced to¬†sample a hockey puck biscuit or two), but what the hell.

So I am off to gather recipes from various sources–primarily websites and Victorian era cookbooks–and to wait for the summer heat to die down so I can fire up the oven.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this picture of the glorious Victoria Sandwich I made for the launch party for my first book. ¬†IMG_2374The recipe¬†appeared in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management in 1861, and was reportedly named after Queen Victoria because it was¬†one of her favorite cakes.

Queen Victoria, 1856

VICTORIA SANDWICHES.
INGREDIENTS.– 4 eggs; their weight in pounded sugar, butter, and flour; ¬ľ saltspoonful of¬†salt, a layer of any kind of jam or marmalade.
Mode.РBeat the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour and pounded sugar; stir these ingredients well together, and add the eggs, which should be previously thoroughly whisked. When the mixture has been well beaten for about 10 minutes, butter a Yorkshire-pudding tin, pour in the batter, and bake it in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Let it cool, spread one half of the cake with a layer of nice preserve, place over it the other half of the cake, press the pieces slightly together, and then cut it into long finger-pieces; pile them in crossbars on a glass dish, and serve.
Time.– 20 minutes.
Average cost, 1s. 3d.
Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.
Seasonable at any time.

You can find a more modern recipe, which is the one I used, here.

I’ll delve more into other recipes, as well as terms¬†that make an American baker scratch her head (what is a moderate oven anyway?) in later posts. If you have a recipe you’d like to share in a guest post, or you have a burning curiosity about a particular topic, email me at marin@marinmcginnis.com.

Sources:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8753182/The-great-Victoria-sandwich.html
http://www.lavenderandlovage.com/2011/08/queen-victoria-womans-institute-famous.html
http://teainengland.com/2012/12/the-victoria-sponge-its-history-and-a-recipe/
http://www.picturebritain.com/2012/05/cake-fit-for-queen-victoria-sponge.html

Book Blast Friday: Cover Reveal!

Happy Friday, everyone!¬†I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with breathless anticipation–or possibly not–but¬†finally,¬†the time has come to reveal my beautiful cover for my¬†third book featuring the Tenwick family.

Tempting Mr. Jordan is set six¬†years after my first book, Stirring Up the Viscount,¬†and features Jonathan Tenwick’s¬†younger sister, Julia, all grown up.

After four unsuccessful London seasons, Lady Julia Tenwick despairs of ever making a love match. With spinsterhood looming on the horizon, she and a friend set sail for America on one last adventure. When her travels take her to northern Maine, Julia meets a reclusive but handsome artist, whose rudeness masks a broken heart Julia feels compelled to mend.

Still haunted by the betrayal and death of his pregnant wife two years before, Geoffrey Jordan is determined never to risk his heart again. Certainly not with the gorgeous and impetuous aristocrat who intrudes upon his small-town solitude, and is far too similar to his late wife to tempt him to take another chance on love.

But when Julia and Geoffrey find themselves united in a reckless plan to save Julia’s friend from ruin, they discover that temptation is impossible to resist.

So without further ado, here’s the cover, designed by cover artist extraordinare, Rae Monet:

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Stay tuned for a release date! In the meantime, check out my Pinterest page for some of my inspiration for this book.

Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND Two Giveaways!

We’re starting our weekend early at the blog today, just because–it’s summer! I always think of summer as a lazy, quiet time, with long evenings spent on the patio with a glass of wine, vacations in¬†locales exotic, familiar, and somewhere in between,¬†and schlepping the kid to day camp. Naturally, his favorite camp is a 25 minute drive.

I tend to think of Victorian era summers as similarly lazy and quiet, although I have no idea if they truly were. I’ve written before how affordable train travel revolutionized the way middle-class Victorians spent their leisure time, and summer was a¬†popular time to take that vacation they’d saved for all year. Victorians traveled a lot, including women on their own, and their travels took them not just to the Continent, but¬†to the Middle East,¬†Asia, India, Australia, and America.

Brighton, Frederick William Woledge. 1840.

But for those less adventurous souls, a trip to the seaside was just the thing. For those who wished to stay fairly close to London, Brighton was only fifty miles away, easily accessible by train. Sometimes called “London-by-the-Sea,” Brighton was a mini-London without the smog. Bradshaw in his 1863 Railway Handbook writes of the traveler’s first view of Brighton from the train station:¬†The twang of saltiness that greets the lip, and the freshening invigorating tone of the breeze, are agreeable proofs, on your first entrance, of the bracing bleak atmosphere that characterises the climate, though in various portions of the town, more shelter, the air will be found adapted to the exigencies of the most delicate invalid. The panoramic view that first bursts upon the eye is so striking of itself, that it may be worth while glancing at it in detail, for the benefit of the visitor’s future peregrinations.

Brighton, from the Pier, ca 1890. Source: Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

He also notes,

Bathing establishments, too, are almost as numerous [as accommodations], whilst, for amusements, there is no provincial town in the kingdom that can offer such a variety of assembly and concert-rooms, libraries, bazaars, and other expedients for slaughtering our common enemy–Time.

The more things change…

Blackpool Promenade, 1898

 

 

 

Brighton, of course, wasn’t the only seaside destination. For those in the North, a¬†popular resort was¬†Blackpool, on the northwest coast. When the cotton mills in Lancashire closed for a¬†week every ¬†summer, the town was inundated with factory workers seeking a respite from their usual lives.

Southend Pier, date unknown. By Snapshots Of The Past (Wikimedia Commons).

 

 

On the east coast, holidaymakers sought their summer break in Southend-on-Sea, situated at the mouth of the Thames in Essex, famous for its pleasure pier and miles of sandy beaches. Currently the longest pleasure pier in the world at over a mile long, in 1848 it was the longest pier in Europe at 7,000 feet long. Our friend Mr. Bradshaw notes of Southend in 1863, “The company that assemble here in the season will be found more select than at Margate, but it suffers severely in its climate when an easterly wind prevails…[Its pier] forms besides a pleasant promenade for those who love to enjoy the salubrity of the sea-breeze…”

 

Woman in bathing suit, 1893.

There were countless other resorts dotting the English coast–Margate, Ramsgate, Tynemouth, Dover, etc.–and at most of them you could find the ubiquitous bathing machine. These cabanas on wheels would be pushed out in the water, where bathers could descend into the sea, modesty intact, via a set of stairs.

Many of these resorts remain popular today–minus the bathing machines.

What’s your favorite summer vacation spot? If you comment below, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card OR an autographed¬†copy of one of my books, your choice. (I will use a random name generator to pull the name of a commenter on July 31, when the Summer Blog Hop has concluded!)

And now that you’ve finished taking the seaside air with me, click here¬†to visit¬†my fellow Wild Rose authors¬†on their summer blogs.¬†Each blog offers another glimpse at summer–and possibly another giveaway–so be sure to check them all out. You can also enter to win a Kindle Fire from Wild Rose Press using the Rafflecopter below. Thanks for visiting and happy Summer!!

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Sources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/seaside_01.shtml
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackpool#Arrival_of_the_railways
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southend-on-Sea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southend_Pier
Bradshaw’s Descriptive Railway Hand-Book of Great Britain and Ireland (1863).

Happy Father’s Day!

Wishing all the fathers out there the happiest of Father’s Days. And because I am far too lazy today to write two blog posts, I will direct you to my post about Victorian fathers at Heart-Shaped Glasses. ¬†I hope you’ll take a moment to stop by.

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