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The Probus Club of Meltham - Meeting 25 Jan 2017

25 Jan 2017

The Essence of a Georgian Gentleman

David Allen

Today's speaker was Doctor David Allen who had kindly agreed to step in after David Metcalfe became unavailable. His subject was "The Essence of a Georgian Gentleman" He has traced his ancestry back to Richard Arkwright, who was sometimes known as "The father of the industrial revolution" and who was Knighted by George III in 1786.

David told us that Edwardian men were recognised by the finery of their accessories such as snuff boxes, (self explanatory), Vinaigrettes,(used to cover the smell of unwashed fine clothes and bodies), Patch boxes,( patches to cover up sores on the face from Syphyllis etc.) and toothpick boxes. It was common to pick one's teeth constantly during meals.

Eating was in the "a la Francaise" style. All the food was put out within arm's reach and the one with the longest table spoon could reach a wider variety of food. Meals would take up to 5 hours.

Alcohol was consumed in vast quantities (he quoted from a Norfolk parson whose month's supply of 4 gallons of gin and 6 gallons of brandy came from his new smuggler, Moonshine Buck) and was seen as medicinal because it was unsafe to drink water. Tea was hugely expensive and so was served in tiny bowls.

Bleeding was seen as the cure for all ailments. Many people including William IV bled to death by being bled excessively.

His fascinating talk was followed by a number of questions

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