Showing posts from May, 2016

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Joseph Hanson

My biography of Joseph Hanson (1774-1811) of Strangeways Hall is now available on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography site to view for free -

people called Napoleon

I'm doing some quick research on William Fitton, the ultra-radical of Royton, who had a son called Napoleon. He died in 1820, so I looked him up on FindMyPast, and to my amazement I found hundreds of people called Napoleon.

I searched for people called Napoleon who were born in 1803-5, i.e. at the height of the French invasion scares and peak propaganda against 'Old Boney'.

Even accounting for multiple entries, the results are astounding:

Matt McCormack pointed me to the excellent work of Simon Bainbridge of Lancaster University - I've not got time to check what he's written on this topic to see if he's got an answer to why so many people were baptised with the name, but will do so as soon as I can.

It does question the patriotism thesis about the effectiveness of anti-French anti-Napoleonic propaganda. Even though we were all supposed to be against Old Boney, the Romantic appeal of a great leader obviously still had a great pull even during the peak invasion s…

Short piece on the spaces of the Reform Bill crisis 1830-2

I've been adding 'off-cuts' that didn't manage to make it in the published book to my website. Here's a piece on the spaces of the Reform Bill crisis, 1830-2: