Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689) was an English physician. He published many medical works, and was known as an innovator in pharmacy and medical practice. His enormous contribution to medicine was only properly realised in the years after his death – by the early 1700s he was being referred to as 'The English Hippocrates.’
He was known for doing the best he could for his patients, and for purposefully demystifying medicine and disease as much as possible for them.
Grosvenor Square is a large garden square in London’s exclusive Mayfair area. Sir Richard Grosvenor obtained a licence to develop Grosvenor Square and the surrounding streets in 1710. Development commenced in about 1721.
Grosvenor Square was one of the most fashionable residential addresses in London during the 18th and 19th centuries. Between 1727 and 1741, the residents included 16 peers (including two dukes and nine earls), six children of peers, four baronets, four knights, and five titled widows, as well as 19 Members of Parliament, and various generals. Members of the Grosvenor family lived in the Square from at least 1755 to 1885.
The original houses generally had three stories and an attic, and were built to individual designs.
Nearly all of the older houses were demolished during the 20th century and replaced with blocks of flats in a neo-Georgian style, hotels and embassies. The central garden was originally reserved for the use of the occupants of the houses. It is now a public park.
A London guide from the 1800s describes the Bull and Gate as being ‘at 243, three doors E. from Little Turnstile, Lincoln’s Inn fields.’
John Nichols, in The Gentleman's magazine, 1818, explains that ‘the Bull and Gate in Holborn is a corruption of the Gate of Boulogne, a gate at Calais on the road to Boulogue.’ He further explains that ‘the Bull and Mouth, a large coach inn… exhibits a bull standing by the side of a monstrous human mouth, almost as large as the bull itself,’ and is a corruption of the mouth or harbour of Boulogne. Nichols explains that ‘the sign was probably intended originally as a compliment to Henry VIII, who took the sea port in 1544.'
Mythology has him as the offspring of Echidna, a half-woman half-serpent, and Typhon, a fire-breathing giant.
Broughton used the money he earned from fighting, together with contributions from wealthy patrons, to open his own amphitheatre in 1743. He established seven rules to govern fighting in this arena - the first person to codify a set of rules for this purpose. The code aimed to provide fighters with a certain degree of protection, and was prompted at least in part by the death of George Stevenson, who died of injuries suffered in a fight with Broughton in 1741. The London Prize Ring Rules of 1838 expanded upon Broughton's code.
Broughton's amphitheatre hosted not only boxing, but also armed combat and bear baiting.
He supplanted Charles Cotton’s The Compleat Gamester, which had been England’s primary reference book on gaming and gambling since its publication in 1674. In 1748, a collected edition of his works, under the title Mr. Hoyle's Treatises of Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Chess and Back-Gammon went on sale.
White's is a London gentlemen’s club, established at 4 Chesterfield Street in 1693 by Italian immigrant Francesco Bianco, otherwise known as Francis White. It was originally established to sell hot chocolate, at the time a rare and expensive commodity. "Chocolate houses" were seen as hotbeds of dissent by Charles II, but many converted into fashionable and respectable gentlemen's clubs.
In the early 18th century, White's was notorious as a gambling house. Those who frequented it were known as "the gamesters of White's." Jonathan Swift referred to White's as the "bane of half the English nobility."
In 1778 White’s moved to numbers 37-38 St James Street. From 1783 it was the unofficial headquarters of the Tory party.
John James (Johann Jacob) Heidegger (1666 - 1749) was a leading impresario of masquerades in the early 18th century. He came to England in 1708, leaving Switzerland 'in consequence of an intrigue.' After trying his hand at various occupations, he became influential in opera, writing and directing. From 1710 he promoted masquerade balls at the Haymarket Theatre. London’s fashionable set loved this new form of entertainment, and lauded the ‘Swiss Count,’ despite the protestations of clergymen and moralists, who worried about immoral influences. Much of the pleasure and excitement associated with the balls resulted from the aura of sexual danger and mystery, and women of pleasure were always present.
Heidegger and Handel enjoyed a long collaboration, producing operas at the King's Theatre to great acclaim.
Heidegger is alleged to have boasted: "I was born a Swiss, and came to England without a farthing, where I have found means to gain 5000 a year, — and to spend it. Now I defy the ablest Englishman to go to Switzerland and either gain that income or spend it there.”
Quinzy, or quinsy, is an archaic word for tonsillitis, an acute inflammation of the tonsils and the surrounding tissue, often leading to the formation of an abscess.
The French were rather more daring than the English in their 18th century novels, exploring themes of eroticism, seduction, manipulation, and social intrigue. Robert Browning, in his Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister published in 1842, warned of the dangers in such reading materials:
Or, my scrofulous French novel
On gray paper with blunt type!
Simply glance at it, you grovel
Hand and foot in Belial’s gripe (Belial is the personification of evil in the Old Testament, and a fallen angel in Milton’s Paradise Lost).
But the French (and indeed the Italians) didn't stop at scandalous plotlines. Erotic prints had been popular in Europe from the middle of the fifteenth century. These often portrayed the ancient Greek gods in explicitly sexual acts (because the subject matter was from the Classical period, it was justified as a legitimate and above-board art form). By the 17th century, numerous examples of pornographic or erotic literature has begun to achieve a wider circulation. These included L'Ecole des Filles, a French work printed in 1655 that is considered to be the beginning of pornography in France. Samuel Pepys, writing in his diary, confessed to purchasing a copy for solitary reading, and then burning it so that it would not be discovered by his wife.
During the Enlightenment, many of the French Libertines began to exploit pornography as a medium of social criticism and satire, often targeting the Catholic Church and general attitudes of sexual repression. Mass-produced, inexpensive pamphlets brought pornography to the masses. By the early 18th century, the English upper classes were terribly worried about the morals of women and the working classes being corrupted by the ready availability of these salacious materials.
A booby is a tropical sea bird, related to the gannet. The name was possibly based on the Spanish slang bubie, meaning dunce, as these tame birds had a habit of landing on board sailing ships, where they were easily captured and eaten.
Applied to a person, ‘booby’ indicates stupidity.