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

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41 Northern Rebellion Horror

Northern Rebellion Horror

In response to the northern rebellion in England, William I ordered the wholesale slaughter of inhabitants in the northern shires. He also commanded the destruction of food, homes, crops, tools, and livestock, leaving survivors to freeze or starve.

42 Ancient Wooden Church

Ancient Wooden Church

The Greensted Church stands as the oldest wooden church in the world, located in Essex, England. It also holds the distinction of being England’s oldest wooden building. This structure has endured for 1200 years, though multiple renovations over the centuries have left little of its original construction.

43 Royal Gift Elephant

Royal Gift Elephant

Louis IX of France gifted an elephant to Henry III of England in 1255. Housed in the Tower of London, the elephant enjoyed a diet of prime cuts of beef and expensive red wine. Rumors suggest that the elephant died in 1257 due to excessive wine consumption.

44 Extreme Death Penalties

Extreme Death Penalties

In 1810, the United Kingdom had a total of 220 crimes punishable by death, including peculiar offenses such as “being in the company of gypsies for one month.”

45 Poisoned Sweet Tragedy

Poisoned Sweet Tragedy

In 1858, more than 200 people in England were poisoned with arsenic after consuming accidentally contaminated sweets. Tragically, 21 of them lost their lives. This incident contributed to the passage of the 1868 Pharmacy Act in the United Kingdom, along with legislation addressing food adulteration.

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46 Taxed Windows History

Taxed Windows History

England once implemented a “window tax.” People resisted disclosing their income as an invasion of privacy, leading to taxation based on the number of windows in a house, starting in 1696. In response, individuals bricked up their windows. Some of them can still be seen today.

47 London’s Great Stink

London's Great Stink

The “Great Stink” plagued London during the summer of 1858. A heat wave combined with an inadequate sewer system caused the area to reek of human waste for weeks. This crisis prompted a 17-year overhaul of the sewer system.

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48 Left-Side Driving Origin

Left-Side Driving Origin

The origins of left-side driving trace back to medieval England, where knights rode their horses on the left side of the road, ensuring their sword hand was positioned correctly to confront an enemy. Many countries driving on the left today were once English colonies.

49 Symbolic Pub Names

Symbolic Pub Names

Pubs in England boast peculiar names due to medieval illiteracy. People recognized symbols better, leading to names like “Boot and Castle” or “Fox and Hound.”

50 Victorian Limp Trend

Victorian Limp Trend

Limping became a trend in Victorian England, inspired by Alexandra of Denmark’s authentic limp. Young women admired her, leading to the “Alexandra Limp” fad. Merchants even sold shoes with one high and one low heel to emulate it.

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