East Lodge, Belper was built about 1795. This page highlights some
of the happenings around the world at the end of the 18th century.
50 years before, Bonnie Prince Charlie marched from Scotland
to take the English throne from George II in the Jacobite
rebellion. They were stopped by deception at Swarkestone Bridge, Derby,
15 miles south of where East Lodge would later be built.
In 1760 Britain, George III came to the throne and a
capitalist economy developed, dedicated to the ever increasing
production of goods and services. In Scotland, following the
clan's defeat at Cullodon after the Jacobite rebellion, the clan leaders didn't want people
on their land anymore even though they had lived there for thousands
of years. It was now more profitable to run sheep to feed the
mills of the industrial revolution which had started. The clearing
of tens of thousands of settlers started and continued through
the 1800s. The British Empire was still growing.
1762 Wesley preaches in Belper.
1764 London houses were numbered for the first time.
1766 Henry Cavendish separated the gas hydrogen and found it was
lighter than air. 1769 James Watt patented a practical steam
engine. By the last quarter of the 18th century Britain was
at war with both America and France.
The first purpose built "prisoner of war camp" was built at
Norman Cross in the 1790s for the increasing number of prisoners
from the Napoleonic War. The pictures above show re-enactment
troops from Elizabeth Castle, Jersey. Their forbears repelled a
French attempt to take the island in 1781.
Following a failed attempt in 1796/7, it was not until the early
1800s that the threat of Napoleon invading England became a
reality and the south coastline was strongly fortified with
Martello towers. The earlier attempt shocked the complacent
English military since it only failed because of bad weather and
indiscipline in the invading troops.
The King's Observatory, Richmond was built in 1769, later known
as "Kew Observatory".
In 1780 the public executions at Tyburn were moved to the
relative "privacy" of the area outside Newgate Prison, where
they were an attraction every Monday morning. Later, in 1868, the
executions were performed privately within the prison.
The move towards abolishing slavery was helped by an incident in
1781. The captain of the slave ship "Zong", believing that the
ship was running short of water, ordered 132 sick slaves thrown
overboard to their deaths. When he later attempted to collect on
the insurance policy, the public were outraged.
Jonas Hanway reported in 1785, that there were estimated to be 550
climbing boys and girls in the sweep's business in London. These
children did not live far into their teens when general life
expectancy was only about 30. An act was passed in 1788 "for
better regulation of chimney sweepers and their apprentices".
The whipping of females as punishment was banned in 1792.
1793 Captain Bligh returns with a ship load of plants for Kew in
HMS Providence after delivering breadfruit plants from Tahiti to
the West Indies to feed slaves working the sugar plantations. This
was a repeat of the fateful voyage of the HMS Bounty in 1789.
In 1795 the Admiralty started to provide citrus juice to the navy
to prevent scurvy. Also the original residence for the Speaker of
the House of Commons was built on the Palace of Westminster site.
The palace was then a group of buildings which were largely burned
down in 1834 and later incorporated into the present palace or
Houses of Parliament as it is more commonly known.
The first smallpox vaccination was made in 1796.
The Bank of England issued the first "pound note" in 1797.
In 1799 income tax was introduced by William Pitt as a temporary
way of funding the Napolionic Wars.
Beethoven was born in 1770, Jane Austin in 1775, Lord Byron in
1788 and Mary Shelly in 1797.
Mozart died in 1791 and "Robbie" Burns died in 1796.
Portugal 1755, a great earthquake devastated Lisbon. 100,000
people died. The reconstruction lead to a period called
'The Enlightenment' during which science gained influence
in Europe, reducing religious influences.
America was fighting for its independence. Although France
recognised the official 1776 declaration in 1778, it was 1783
before Britain agreed to recognise it, and even then war broke
out again in 1812. The causes then were British interference with
American shipping during the Napoleonic wars and control of the
Indians and fur trade around the Great Lakes. These formed the
boundary between America and Canada where British control was
William Fogel, a Nobel prizewinner, has found that the life
expectancy in 1775 America was 53.5 as against 36.5 for Britain.
In 1776 the first attack by a submarine took place by the "Turtle"
in New York harbour as an attempt was made to breach the British
Captain Cooke discovered Hawii in 1778.
George Washington died in 1799.
Also in 1799 the American system of manufacture started. Individual
components were precision manufactured by new machines and then
assembled together in a separate operation.
There were 700,000 Negro slaves in 1790 America, mainly in the
South, since this was some 70 years before the American Civil war
of 1861. Britain had played a significant part in the
transportation of these slaves.
In 1757 France, the man who attempted the murder of king Louis
XV was finally publicly executed by being pulled apart by
horses, after dreadful torture. Louis was overthrown in 1789 by
the revolution and executed in 1793.The revolution turned against the
very rich Catholic church and many priests and monks were
slaughtered. The new power base declared
war on Austria. Robespierre was executed in 1794 and Napoleon
Bonaparte took power in 1799. After his many successful wars he
was forced to abdicate a second time in 1815 following his defeat
at Waterloo by Wellington. Earlier Nelson had crushed the French
and Spanish fleets in 1805 at Trafalgar.
In 1794 a defensive tower on Mortella Point, Corsica, fought off
an attack by two British warships, HMS Fortitude and HMS Juno.
This tower design later formed the basis of the Martello towers
built in southern Britain.
The SI system of measurement, based on the Meter, was adopted in 1799.
In 1796 Russia, Catherine the Great died after taking the throne
from her husband, Peter III, who was murdered in 1763 by her
lover's brother. Catherine was believed to have married Potempkin,
her greatest lover, in a private ceremony so she could keep the
throne. Potempkin took the Crimea for her in order to expand
Russia's southern border to the Black Sea
Egypt 1798, Napoleon defeated the Mamelukes at the Battle of the
Pyramids but lost his entire fleet to Nelson's British men-of-war
which had been hunting the French ships in the Mediterranean sea.
This cut off Napolean's supplies and ended France's occupation
in 1801 when the British drove them out and captured antiquities
including the Rosetta Stone.
In Germany, the Prussian influence declined and Napoleon occupied
1789 Martin Klaproth recognised uranium as a
chemical element and used it to colour glass yellow/green.
Australia was "discovered" by the Dutch in 1606 and later the
British charted the east coast in 1770, but it was not until 1788
that the Europeans established a colony there.
The "First Fleet"
set sail from Plymouth, England in May of 1787 as a new experiment in
peneology. 582 male and 193 female felons were sentenced to
transportation to Botany Bay. A new destination was needed to
send the criminal population following the loss of the American
colonies. The imbalance in the felon's sexes led to a quick request
for more women deportees and in 1789 the "Lady Juliana" sailed full
of women of child bearing age or younger, from Newgate prison
and other prisons around the country. The stories of these women,
some not even in their teens, is quite harrowing by today's standards.
One, aged eleven , was condemned to death for robbing another young
girl of her clothes. Her sentence was commuted to deportation in a
gesture from the crown because King George's health had improved,
and she was included in the cargo because another girl died while
waiting for the ship to set sail.
They arrived in very good condition a few weeks before the
"Second Fleet" and many formed
the basis of the future community having used their experience and
talents to their advantage during the journey and afterwards.
New Zealand was re-discovered by James Cook in 1769, ten years
before he was killed by Hawaiian natives.
Japan was in it's period of near isolation until the Americans
forced the ports to open in the mid 19th century. The isolation
had followed the Portuguese Jesuits spreading Christianity
throughout Japan in the late 16th century and was an attempt to
return to the old ways.
China had been the dominant sea power but other countries,
particularly Britain, were successfully using modern ships to take
the trade to provide China with it's national addiction for
opium. China was also influencing Europe with its porcelain which
Europe learned to make earlier in 1708. The famous English
"willow pattern" designs date from 1790.
India 1757, Robert Clive's victory drove out the French and
started a period of British dominion.
Africa 1795, Britain occupied the Cape, taking over from the
Dutch. Sadly Africa was seen by the Arabs and Europeans as a
source of trade in slaves and ivory, even though Freetown had
been established by British abolitionists in 1787 as a settlement
for slaves liberated from their "owners".
South America 1763, Rio de Janeiro became Brazil's capital and a
centre for gold and diamond trading. The southern countries were
dominated by Spain for another few decades.
Iceland 1783, a devastating rift volcano ( Laki ) erupted for a year
killing a quarter of the population over several years. Because of the
unusual NE wind the sulpherous gas
cloud caused the worst european disaster on record. Huge loss of life
was recorded in Germany and France. In Britain 23000 died during August
and September from lung damage and thousands more died through the
terrible winter that followed.
1795 was the year the hero of Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" was
sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, and was released 19