Majesty and Machinations: A Glimpse into Pre-1900s United Kingdom

31Oldest Currency Legacy

Oldest Currency Legacy

The British Pound stands as the world's oldest currency, having been in circulation for over 1,200 years and tracing its origins back to the Anglo-Saxon era. During that time, it equated to 1 pound of silver and could purchase 15 cows.

32Copper Hull Protection

Copper Hull Protection

Barnacles presented significant challenges for old ships. In the 18th century, the British Navy gained a considerable advantage by covering their ships' hulls with copper to prevent barnacle growth.

33Criminal Transport Practice

Criminal Transport Practice

Approximately 50,000 British criminals were "transported" to the American colonies, serving sentences of 7 or 14 years instead of facing the death penalty. This practice came to an end with the American Revolution, resulting in overcrowded UK prisons until the establishment of the Australian colony, which revived the transportation tradition.

34Ireland's Forgotten Role

Ireland's Forgotten Role

During the 11th century, Ireland played a pivotal role in the slave trade, abducting individuals from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The ban on slavery in England significantly impacted Ireland, contributing to the reasons behind the Norman invasion of Ireland as the Irish clung to their practice of slavery.

35Snake-Filled Banking Idea

Snake-Filled Banking Idea

In the midst of a financial crisis in 1720, the British parliament deliberated a resolution suggesting that bankers be placed in sacks with snakes and then dumped into the Thames River.

36Lemon's Scurvy Cure

Lemon's Scurvy Cure

While the curative potential of lemons for scurvy was documented in 1753, the British Admiralty only implemented this knowledge in 1793. The Merchant Navy, on the other hand, ignored this discovery until 1867.

37London's Sewage Overhaul

London's Sewage Overhaul

Joseph Bazalgette, the man who designed London's sewer system in the 1860s, made the strategic decision to double the pipe's diameter, stating, 'We're only going to do this once, and there's always the unforeseen.' This foresight prevented overflow issues in the 1960s, and his sewer system remains functional to this day.

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38Unconventional Cholera Treatment

Unconventional Cholera Treatment

During the cholera outbreak in London in the 1830s, one prescribed cure was to inject turpentine and mutton stew into the anus.

39Restrictive Shire Horse Laws

Restrictive Shire Horse Laws

The Shire horse breed emerged as the "Great Horse" during King Henry VIII's reign. In 1535 and 1541, legislation was enacted to prohibit the breeding of horses under 15 hands in height (60" at the shoulder) and to ban the export of horses, even to Scotland.

40Accessible Legal Justice

Accessible Legal Justice

England established a "Court of Requests" during the 15th century with the intention of offering expedited and more cost-effective legal remedies for individuals with limited means. This court faced opposition from traditional legal institutions and practitioners due to its efficiency and affordability, and some sources attribute its founding to Richard III.

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