Archive for May, 2013

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

James Kennedy
13 Jan 1797 – 25 Sep 1886


James Kennedy

Kennedy was born in the village of Gilmerton. He was apprenticed at the age of 13 to a millwright near Dalkeith, where he remained for five years. He spent some years working as a millwright, working with winding and pumping engines at several places before moving to Lavenoch Hall, where he was employed to erect pumping and winding engines of his own design.

In Liverpool to supervise the installation of a marine engine, he met George Stephenson, the locomotive pioneer. Stephenson was then establishing his locomotive works, Robert Stephenson and Company, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and appointed Kennedy manager in 1824. While in this post he constructed two pairs of stationary winding engines and planned the first three locomotives for the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825.

In 1825 he left Stephenson to return to Liverpool as manager of Mather, Dixon and Company but very soon joined locomotive builder Edward Bury and Company as foreman of the Clarence Foundry. In 1842 he became a partner in the firm, now renamed Bury, Curtis and Kennedy.

In 1844 he moved again to manage the Liverpool shipmaker Thomas Vernon and Son where he introduced iron deck beams.

He was a founder member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1847, becoming its President in 1860.

He died in 1886 at his home, Cressington Park. He was survived by his wife, Adelaide.

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

James Kenney
1780 – 25 July 1849


James Kenney

Kenney was an English dramatist, the son of James Kenney, one of the founders of Boodles’ Club in London.

His first play, a farce called Raising the Wind (1803), was a success owing to the character of “Jeremy Diddler”.

Kenney produced more than forty dramas and operas between 1803 and 1845, and many of his pieces, in which Sarah Siddons, Madame Vestris, Maria Foote, Monk Lewis, John Liston and other players appeared .

His most popular play was Sweethearts and Wives, produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1823; and among the most successful of his other works were: False Alarms (1807), a comic opera with music by Braham; Love, Law and Physic (1812); Spring and Autumn (1827); The Illustrious Stranger, or Married and Buried (1827); Masaniello (1829); The Sicilian Vespers, a tragedy (1840).

Kenney, who numbered Charles Lamb and Samuel Rogers among his friends, died in London in 1849. He married the widow of the dramatist Thomas Holcroft, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Sir George Henry Rose
1771 – 17 June 1855


George Henry Rose

Educated at St John’s College, Cambridge. The eldest son of George Rose, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Southampton from 1794–1813 and for Christchurch from 1818–32 and 1837–44.

Clerk of the Parliaments from 1818–55 and sometime Envoy Extraordinary to Munich and Berlin, and to the United States in 1807–1808 in the wake of the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. This last mission was an utter failure owing to the harsh and inflexible instructions he received from George Canning.

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Eliab Harvey
5 December 1758 – 20 February 1830


Eliab Harvey

Eliab Harvey was born in Chigwell, to William and Emma Harvey. His father was a Member of Parliament for Essex, but died when Harvey was only five years old. Until 1768, Harvey was raised at the family estate of Rolls Park in Chigwell, which had passed to his elder brother William on the death of their father.

Harvey then attended Westminster School for two years before moving to Harrow School in 1770. At the age of thirteen in 1771, Harvey was entered onto the books of the naval schooner HMS Mary, although he did not actually serve aboard the ship. Utilising a standard legal fiction of the time, Harvey’s name was entered on the ship’s books without his actual presence, a ruse that would provide him with sufficient seniority to gain rapid promotion when he did enter the Navy. In his summer holidays from school, Harvey served at sea, joining HMS Orpheus in 1773.

Entering the Navy in 1774, Harvey became a midshipman aboard the sloop HMS Lynx and spent the next two years in the West Indies. Briefly returning to Britain at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, Harvey returned to the eastern seaboard of North America late in 1776 aboard HMS Mermaid, before transferring to the flagship of the North America Station HMS Eagle. From there Harvey joined HMS Liverpool on temporary assignment, only to be wrecked on Long Island in 1778. Harvey rejoined Eagle after the wreck and returned to Britain in her. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1779.

Following his promotion, Harvey took a leave of absence from the Navy which would last three years. He stood for parliament in the seat of Maldon in Essex, which he won in 1780 and represented for the next four years. In 1781 Harvey briefly commanded HMS Dolphin, but took leave once again. In 1782 Harvey again returned to the Navy just as peace was agreed and was promoted to commander. Briefly taking over the sloop HMS Otter before rapidly making the jump to Post Captain less than a year later. (DWW-this was very quick. Either Harvey was the most skilled and noticed Ship Commander on the Seas, or he had a great deal of influence.)

With the peace of 1783, Harvey again took leave from the Navy, seeing out his parliamentary term and continuing his notorious lifestyle of gambling and debauchery. The young death of Harvey’s elder brother William Harvey, MP in April 1779 had provided Harvey with a substantial fortune, which he immediately began squandering in epic nights at London’s fashionable drinking and gambling establishments. Harvey gained a reputation among this crowd for playing exceptionally high stakes; one often repeated story concerns his loss, on his 21st birthday in 1779, of over £100,000 in a single game of hazard to a Mr O’Byrne. O’Byrne, recognising that such a sum would bankrupt his opponent, refused to take more than £10,000, insisting that they roll the dice again to determine the fate of the remaining £90,000. Harvey won and kept his fortune, but reportedly failed to pay the £10,000.

Harvey married Lady Louisa Nugent in 1784. Louisa was a daughter of Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent and co-heir to his substantial wealth. The couple had nine children, eight of whom survived infancy and six of whom, all daughters, outlived their father. Harvey’s eldest son was killed in action serving in the British Army under the Marquess of Wellington at the Siege of Burgos in 1812. Harvey remained in semi-retirement until 1790, dividing his time between London and Rolls Park.

In 1790, Harvey was called back to the Navy during the Spanish armament and commanded the frigate HMS Hussar for six months, until the Navy returned to its peacetime complement. Three years later, Harvey was once again recalled to the Navy with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. Harvey would remain in service for the next 16 years, only briefly taking leave in 1802 during the Peace of Amiens. In 1793, Harvey became captain of the frigate HMS Santa Margarita in the West Indies. There he participated in the successful campaigns against the French colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique under Admiral John Jervis. In May 1794 Harvey returned to Britain and served in the squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren which raided the French coast with great success in 1794 and 1795.

In 1795, Harvey took command of the ship of the line HMS Valiant, initially in the Channel Fleet and later in the West Indies under Sir Hyde Parker. In 1797 Harvey returned to Britain due to ill-health, and was given command of the Essex sea fencibles during the next year. In 1800 Harvey returned to sea in command of HMS Triumph, which he retained until the Peace of Amiens. During the peace he again dabbled in politics, becoming MP for Essex in 1802. Even after returning to the Navy in 1803 as captain of the second rate HMS Temeraire, Harvey remained in parliament, serving until 1812.

With the resumption of the war against France, Temeraire was attached to the Channel Fleet and blockaded ports in eastern France until 1805, when Harvey was sent to join Horatio Nelson’s blockade off Cadiz. When the Battle of Trafalgar was joined on 21 October, Harvey’s Temeraire was the second ship in Nelson’s division and was a faster and more agile ship than HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship. As a result, Temeraire began to pull ahead of Victory as the division closed on the Franco-Spanish fleet and Harvey was consequently reprimanded by Nelson, who hailed Temeraire: “I will thank you Captain Harvey, to keep your proper station which is astern of the Victory“.

During the combat that followed, Harvey was heavily engaged with the enemy, passing behind Bucentaure and astern of Redoutable. The broadside fired into Redoutable reduced the French ship to a wreck and forced its surrender soon afterwards when it became tangled with Victory and Temeraire. The three ships then drifted into the following French Fougueux, British fire disabling her and giving cover to a boarding party led by Temeraire‘s first-lieutenant, Thomas Fortescue Kennedy, which forced the surrender of Fougueux’s crew. In later years Harvey would use this incident for his personal motto “Redoutable et Fougueux”.

Controversy erupted concerning Harvey’s role in the battle. Although his bravery and skill were not questioned, his prominence in the dispatch sent home by Cuthbert Collingwood was. In the dispatch, Harvey was singled out over the other captains for his bravery, Collingwood writing: “I have not words in which I can sufficiently express my admiration of it”. As a result of this special mention, Harvey was promoted to rear-admiral on 9 November 1805, and given the honour of being one of Nelson’s pallbearers at the admiral’s funeral despite their short acquaintance. Harvey’s new motto and his penchant for “bragging” further alienated him from his fellow officers.

Returning to naval service, Harvey was given the 80-gun HMS Tonnant as his first flagship, in which he remained until 1809. Serving under Lord Gambier in the Channel Fleet, Harvey was outraged not to be given command of the British ships in action at the Battle of Basque Roads. Harvey expressed his disgust that command had been given to the more junior Lord Cochrane in no uncertain terms to Gambier, and was dismissed from the admiral’s council as a result.

Harvey resigned his commission on 23 May 1809, before the attack went ahead, in protest at Cochrane’s preferment. Returning to the Navy a year later, Harvey was never again called to active service, Gambier blocking his efforts to obtain gainful employment.

Despite his failure to return to the sea, Harvey’s seniority brought more promotions; he made vice-admiral in 1810 and finally became a full admiral in 1819. He was also made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1815 when the order was reformed, becoming a Knight Grand Cross in 1825. Harvey’s retirement included a further period in politics, returning to his seat as MP for Essex between 1820 and 1830.

Harvey died in 1830 at his family estate of Rolls Park and was buried in the Harvey family crypt at St Andrews Church at Hempstead in Essex, which contains the remains of over 50 family members.

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Humphry Repton
21 April 1752 – 24 March 1818


Humprey Repton

Repton was born in Bury St Edmunds, the son of a collector of excise, John Repton, and Martha (née Fitch). Humphry attended Norwich Grammar School. At age twelve he was sent to the Netherlands to learn Dutch and prepare for a career as a merchant.

Returning to Norwich, Repton was apprenticed to a textile merchant. He married Mary Clarke in 1773, and set up in business himself. He was not successful. In 1778 he used his legacy to move to an estate at Sustead. Repton tried his hand as a journalist, dramatist, artist, political agent, and as confidential secretary to his neighbour William Windham. Repton also joined John Palmer in a venture to reform the mail-coach system. The scheme ultimately made Palmer’s fortune, Repton lost money.

Repton’s childhood friend was James Edward Smith, who encouraged him to study botany and gardening.

His capital dwindling, Repton moved to a modest cottage in Essex. In 1788, aged 36 and with four children and no secure income, he hit on the idea of combining his sketching skills with his limited experience of laying out grounds at Sustead to become a ‘landscape gardener’ (a term he himself coined).

Since the death of Capability Brown, no one figure dominated English garden design; Repton was ambitious to fill this gap and sent circulars round his contacts in the upper classes advertising his services.

Repton, with no real experience of practical horticulture, became an overnight success. To help clients visualise his designs, Repton produced ‘Red Books’ (so called for their binding) with explanatory text and watercolours with a system of overlays to show ‘before’ and ‘after’ views.

Repton got the chance to lay out grounds from scratch it was generally on a modest scale. On these estates, Repton cut vistas through to ‘borrowed’ items such as church towers, making them seem part of the designed landscape. He contrived approach drives and lodges to enhance impressions of size and importance, and even introduced monogramed milestones on the roads around some estates.

Repton acted as a consultant, charging for his Red Books and sometimes staking out the ground, but leaving his client to arrange the actual execution. Many of Repton’s 400 or so designs remained wholly or partially unexecuted and Repton’s income was never more than comfortable.

As his career progressed Repton drew more and more on picturesque ideas. Repton re-introduced formal terraces, balustrades, trellis work and flower gardens around the house in a way that became common practice in the nineteenth century. He also designed one of the most famous ‘picturesque’ landscapes in Britain at Blaise Castle.

At Woburn Abbey, Repton foreshadowed another nineteenth century development, creating themed garden areas including a Chinese garden, American garden, arboretum and forcing garden. At Stoneleigh Abbey in 1808, he created a perfect cricket pitch called ‘home lawn’ in front of the west wing and a bowling green lawn between the gatehouse and the house.

Success at Woburn earned him a further commission from the Duke of Bedford. He designed the central gardens in Russell Square, the centre piece of the Bloomsbury development. The gardens were restored with the additional help of archaeological investigation and archive photographs, to the original plans and are now listed as Grade II by English Heritage. The square was to be a flagship commission for Repton and was only one of three within the central London.

Buildings played an important part in many of Repton’s landscapes. In the 1790s he often worked with the relatively unknown architect John Nash, whose loose compositions suited Repton’s style. Nash benefited greatly from the exposure, while Repton received a commission on building work. Around 1800, however, the two fell out. Thereafter John Adey Repton and Repton’s younger son George Stanley Repton often worked with their father.

In 1811 Repton suffered a serious carriage accident which often left him needing to use a wheelchair for mobility. He died in 1818 and is buried in the Churchyard at Aylsham.

Repton published three major books on garden design: Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (1795), Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803), and Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816). These drew on material and techniques used in the Red Books.
Several lesser works were also published, including a posthumous collection edited by John Claudius Loudon, despite having severely criticised his approach to gardens.
His published titles were:

  • Hundreds of North and South Erpingham, a part of the History of Norfolk, 1781, vol. iii. I
  • Variety, a Collection of Essays, 1788.
  • The Bee: a Critique on Paintings at Somerset House, 1788.
  • The Bee; or a Companion to the Shakespeare Gallery, 1789.
  • Letter to Uvedale Price, 1794.
  • Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, 1794.
  • Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening,’ 1803.
  • Odd Whims and Miscellanies, 1804, 2 vols.
  • An Inquiry into the Changes of Taste in Landscape Gardening, with some Observations on its Theory and Practice, 1806.
  • Designs for the Pavilion at Brighton, 1808.
  • On the Introduction of Indian Architecture and Gardening, 1808.
  • Fragments on Landscape Gardening, with some Remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture, 1816.
  • Repton contributed to the Transactions of the Linnean Society, xi. 27, a paper “On the supposed Effect of Ivy upon Trees.”

Read Full Post »

Mechanized Masterpieces Cover

Mechanized Masterpieces Cover

I’ve mentioned that Mechanized Masterpieces is Steampunk and I know that does not appeal to everyone. The story though harkens to the days of Historical Age of Sail, Wooden Ships and Iron Men. The Likes of CS Forester, Patrick O’Brian, Dudley Pope, Alexander Kent, Julian Stockwin, Dewey Lambdin. And then should you like Charles Dickens, my story is filled with not only the characters of David Copperfield but from others of the Dickensian Canon. The other authors also pay homage to Dickens, as well as Jane Austen, Gaston Leroux for the Opera Ghost (OG) lovers out there, and others. Something for everyone.

Should you like any of this type of literature, or know someone who does, it is on sale even further at Amazon today.

That’s right. My book with my story, Micawber and Copperfield and the Great Diamond Heist of 1879. Now down to $11.57 or 23% off.

It can be found at the following link Amazon

Read Full Post »

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Vincent
2 November 1739 – 21 December 1815


William Vincent

Vincent born in London, the fifth surviving son of Giles Vincent, packer and Portugal merchant. He was admitted at Westminster School as a ‘town boy’ in 1747; and became a king’s scholar in 1753. In 1757 was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge. After graduating as B.A. in 1761, he returned to Westminster as usher.

He became second master in 1771, and was made chaplain in ordinary to the king. He graduated M.A. in 1764 and D.D. in 1776, and two years later received the vicarage of Longdon, Wiltshire, which, however, he exchanged within six months for the rectory of All Hallows, Thames Street.

In 1784 he became sub-almoner to the king. He shared the Tory views of his family, and in 1780 published anonymously a Letter in reply to a sermon preached at Cambridge by Richard Watson. A sermon preached by him in 1792 at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, for the benefit of the greycoat charity, attracted attention, and when reprinted in the following year by the Patriotic Association against republicans and levellers, twenty thousand copies were sold.

In 1788, Vincent was appointed headmaster of Westminster. He held the position for fourteen years, respected alike for both scholarship and character. Tothill Fields, a playground, called Vincent Square after him. The attention he paid to his pupils’ religious education rendered him well qualified to answer the attacks of Thomas Rennell, master of the Temple, and Thomas Lewis O’Beirne, bishop of Meath, who had charged headmasters with neglecting this branch of their duties.

Vincent’s Defence of Public Education, issued as a reply to the latter in 1801, reached a third edition two years later. In 1801 he was nominated by William Pitt, the Prime Minister, to a canonry of Westminster. The following year Pitt’s successor, Henry Addington, offered him the deanery of Westminster.

In 1805 Vincent obtained the rectory of St. John’s, Westminster, and resigned that of All Hallows to his son. In 1807 he exchanged St. John’s for the rectory of Islip, Oxfordshire, where he made his country residence.

He had been appointed president of Sion College in 1798, and acted as prolocutor of the lower house of convocation in 1802, 1806, and 1807. He oversaw many restoration and repair projects to Westminster Abbey.

Vincent made his reputation as a classical scholar by the publication of a Latin treatise entitled De Legione Manlianâ Quæstio ex Livio desumta, et rei militaris Romanæ studiosis proposita. Only four copies of the work are said to have been sold. In the next year Vincent published The Origination of the Greek Verb: an Hypothesis, followed in 1795 by The Greek Verb Analysed: an Hypothesis in which the Source and Structure of the Greek Language in general is considered.

Ancient geography was the subject which Vincent made his chief study. In 1797 he issued his commentary on Arrian’s Voyage of Nearchus. The subject was pursued in The Periplus of the Erythræan Sea, which appeared in two parts in 1800 and 1805. These three commentaries, which occupied Vincent’s leisure during eight years, were dedicated to George III. The Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients in the Indian Ocean, 2 vols., issued in 1807, forms a second edition of the whole work. It was considered the most valuable contribution to the geography of antiquity and the history of commerce. An English translation of the Voyage of Nearchus and of the Periplus was published separately by Vincent in 1809.

Gleanings from the Asiatick Researches of the learned Dr. Vincent, was privately printed in 1813 by Joseph Thomas Brown. Vincent also contributed notes to Gibbon’s Inquiry into the Circumnavigation of Africa, and to the Classical Journal articles on Ancient Commerce, China as known to Classic Authors, The Geography of Susiana, and Theophilus an African Bishop. For the first series of the British Critic, conducted by his friend Nares, he wrote several important reviews. Vincent was also a frequent contributor to The Gentleman’s Magazine.

Vincent died at Islip on 21 December 1815, and was buried in St. Benedict’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on 29 December 1815.

In 1771 he married Hannah, fourth daughter of George Wyatt, chief clerk of the vote office, House of Commons. She died on 17 February 1807, leaving children.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »