Victorian era

Victoria and Albert – A Royal Wedding

Victoria and Albert – A Royal Wedding

Victoria Alexandrina was born as the fifth in the line of succession and her childhood was rather unspectacular, as her mother kept her from contact with other children and granted her an excellent home schooled education, wherefore she was able to speak many languages. In 1836, Leopold, King of the Beligians, and uncle to Victoria suggested that his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha should marry his niece Victoria. After a first…
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John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

On February 8, 1819, prominent social thinker and philanthropist John James Ruskin was born. He is considered the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman and watercolourist. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century up to the First World War and today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Ruskin grew up…
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Charles Wheatstone – From the Concertina to the Telegraph

Charles Wheatstone – From the Concertina to the Telegraph

On February 6, 1802, Charles Wheatstone, English scientist and inventor of many scientific breakthroughs of the Victorian era was born. He is well known for his research in acoustics, electricity, and telegraphy. Well, if you don’t happen to be an engineer or a physicist, then you have probably never heard of Charles Wheatstone. But we will show you that he was really some remarkable fellow. Charles Wheatstone was born on February 6, 1802, in…
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Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

On January 27, 1832, British mathematician, photographer, and children’s book author Lewis Carroll, creator of the stories about ‘Alice in Wonderland’, was born. The English all round talented Carroll was first home schooled and confronted with challenging works like ‘The Pilgrim´s Progress‘ – a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan, regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature – from early years on. When being transferred to grammar…
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Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

On April 27, 1820, English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era Herbert Spencer was born. Spencer is best known for the expression “survival of the fittest”, which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This term strongly suggests natural selection, yet as Spencer extended evolution into realms of sociology and ethics, he also made use…
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Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

On April 14, 1832, English army officer, ethnologist, and archaeologist Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was born. He is often called the “father of British archaeology”, who stressed the need for total excavation of sites, through stratigraphic observation and recording, and prompt and complete publication. Like Sir Flinders Petrie, Pitt-Rivers adopted a sociological approach to the study of excavated objects and emphasized the instructional value of common artifacts. Pitt Rivers entered the…
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William Budd and the Infectious Diseases

William Budd and the Infectious Diseases

William Budd(1811 –  1880) On September 14, 1811, English physician and epidemiologist William Budd was born. He is best known known for his discovery that infectious diseases were contagious. Budd was born in North Tawton, Devon. Already his father was a surgeon and also six of the ten children in the family became doctors. Three graduated in Edinburgh and three in Cambridge. William Budd attended the École de Médecine in Paris and…
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Joseph Carey Merrick – the Elefant Man

Joseph Carey Merrick – the Elefant Man

Joseph Carey Merrick (1862-1890) On August 5, 1865, Joseph Carey Merrick was born. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as John Merrick, Joseph Carey Merrick was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man. He became well known in London society after he went to live at the London Hospital. You might have heard of Merrick from David Lynch’s popular film ‘The Elefant Man’, released in 1980 starring…
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John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

John Tyndall (1820–1893) caricatured as a preacher in the magazine Vanity Fair, 1872 On August 2, 1820, British physicist John Tyndall was born. His initial scientific fame arose in the 1850s from his study of diamagnetism. Later he made discoveries in the realms of infrared radiation and the physical properties of air. As the most prominent example, he was able to demonstrate why the sky is blue. John Tyndall was born in Leighlinbridge,…
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