Page 1. " Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that came from the puzzling East "
Qing Dynasty Lacquer Box
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeQing Dynasty Lacquer Box - Credit: Andrew Lih
By the late 19th century, imperial Britain had extended its reach to exotic parts of the world such as Singapore, East Africa, India and the British West Indies. Design influences and decorative items arrived in Britain from around the world. Items from the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia allowed the British to mix and match different styles. This new style became known as the Victorian style.
Middle Eastern Decor Infiltrated Britain in the Victorian Age
Creative Commons AttributionMiddle Eastern Decor Infiltrated Britain in the Victorian Age - Credit: Eurok at
Page 3. " I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office "
An English Penny from an 1899 Book by Herbert Appold Grueber
Public DomainAn English Penny from an 1899 Book by Herbert Appold Grueber - Credit: Herbert Appold Grueber

Prior to decimalization in 1971, Britain used a system of pounds, shillings and pence introduced by King Henry II. The currency was denoted '£sd' or 'LSD' (L latin word libra; d coming from the latin word denarius).

One pound equalled 20 shillings and one shilling equalled twelve pennies. A guinea was 21 shillings. Two and six, abbreviated 2s 6d, was half a crown; a crown was five shillings. According to the National Archives, one pound seventeen in 1890 would have had the same purchasing power today as £112.29 (around $173). Two and six back in 1890 would be worth £7.49 today (around $11.60).

Page 5. " The Darlings had become acquainted with her in Kensington Gardens "


Kensington Gardens
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeKensington Gardens - Credit: Iridescent

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Kensington Gardens consists of 275 acres of manicured lawns, trees and flower beds. It is the site of Kensington Palace, home to the late Princess Diana and, now, Prince William and Catherine. The free Diana Memorial Playground is Peter Pan-themed.  Over 750,000 children enjoy the park annually, playing with pirate ships and beaches.

On May 01, 1912, a statue magically appeared in Kensington Gardens. J.M. Barrie placed this statement in The Times:


Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
Creative Commons AttributionPeter Pan in Kensington Gardens - Credit: Ben Leto
"There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning. Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around. It is the work of Sir George Frampton, and the bronze figure of the boy who would never grow up is delightfully conceived."

The Times concluded:

"Men were enraged on Monday and yesterday in placing the work of the sculptor in position behind drawn curtains. These will be removed during the night, and the children will just find Peter Pan there as if he had grown out of the turf on May morning. It was the wish of Mr. Barrie and of Sir George Frampton that there should be no formal unveiling, and the Office of Works fell in with a happy idea." 

Page 12. " They were skeleton leaves "
The Skeleton of a Hydrangea Leaf
Creative Commons AttributionThe Skeleton of a Hydrangea Leaf - Credit: Looking Glass

Making skeleton leaves was a Victorian pastime that amused and absorbed bored housewives. Used in elaborate decorations, the leaves would be stripped to the veins using a technique known as maceration. This essentially involved soaking the leaves to soften them and allow the veins to reveal themselves.

The process called for flawless, mature leaves, which were placed in a container and covered with rain water. The container was then kept outside in the sunshine, and topped up with more water as needed. After two weeks or so, the flesh of the leaves would deteriorate and become pulpy, allowing for its removal with a soft brush.

Free of flesh, the skeleton leaf would be floated in diluted bleach and then dried in a warm place. The leaves remained relatively malleable, making them ideal for use in floral decorations. The maceration process has been adapted and perfected since the Victorian era; here is a guide.




Page 24. " Father's a cowardy custard "
Bird's Custard is Still the Number One Custard in the UK
Public DomainBird's Custard is Still the Number One Custard in the UK - Credit: Benjah-bmm27

British children used this term to ridicule a person who acted "yellow" or displayed signs of fear. As for custard, this British delicacy has been around since the 14th century. In fact Bird's Custard, established by Alfred Bird in 1837, remains the number one custard powder sold in the UK.

In 1899, Percy B. Green included this rhyme in A History of Nursery Rhymes:

"Cowardly, cowardly custard, Eats his mother's mustard."

Both custard and English mustard are yellow.