Thursday, January 17, 2013

Researching Fun


I hope everyone is finding the new year to be at the very least agreeable.  So far it's been a fine January with a bit of snow and lots of sunshine. 

January has also been all about writing as I continue the journey toward writing my first historical romance.  I'm striving to write as factual a historical romance as possible and it's the research that tickles my fancy so darn much.  Ackermann's Repository is a great source of information from fashion to stocks and I refer to it quite often.

Then came Pinterest.  Oh much time I can spend oooing and ahhhhing the finds of others and repinning to my own boards.  Pinterest provides a handy way to keep inspiration and story board ideas all in one place.  My goal is to find images that inspire and aid in writing descriptions.     

Today I wandered off to Amazon to check my wishlist and decided to download to Kindle What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Poole.  I like having it on the computer so I can refer to it with just a click. 
It's chock full  of details about life in the 19th century.  Reading this book about a past that intrigues me and inspires me to learn more is just plain delightful.

The word mudlark came along and off I went to discover that a mudlark was usually a male child between the ages of 8 and 15 who scavenged the Thames River of London at low tide searching for something...anything worth a little money.  Elderly men, still fit enough, along with girls and women were mudlarks, too.  This of course was an occupation set upon by the poor and poverty stricken.  The waters at the time were dirtied by human waste, garbage, and industrial dumping. Dead bodies of humans, dogs, and cats often washed ashore as the mud larks searched for something to sell or use.  It must have been a difficult existence, but as one author put it, at least mud larks had the freedom of being their own bosses, deciding when to work and how long and of course, they kept all the money they earned.

You can read a first hand account and interview with a mudlark on Spitalfield's Life

Mr. Pool walks his readers through the tangle of peerage giving background and demonstrating how the aristocracy, gentry and middle class change throughout the 19th century.  He explains the money situation, society, the season, schools and the grim side of life for the less fortunate residents of 19th century England.
Oh yes, I'm enjoying this new resource ever so much.  I'm not finished reading it, but you can be sure I'll share any fascinating tidbits.


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