19th-century british history

A botched coup: the desperate Cato Street conspiracy

Almost half of the terrorists hadn’t even turned up. Still, on the night of 23 February 1820, 25 men, including a butcher, several shoemakers and a cabinet maker, met in a hayloft on Cato Street, just off the Edgware Road in central London. Led by the semi-respectable son of a tenant farmer, Arthur Thistlewood, their plan was to assassinate the prime minister Lord Liverpool and his cabinet, who were thought to be dining together at the Grosvenor Square mansion of Lord Harrowby, the president of the privy council. The butcher, James Ings, would decapitate everyone at the table, putting the severed heads of Lord Castlereagh and Viscount Sidmouth (foreign and

She didn’t go quietly: Caroline Norton’s campaign for married women’s rights

When Caroline Sheridan married George Chapple Norton in 1827 she ceased to exist. According to the legal status quo, as a wife she no longer had any rights separate to her husband. He could abuse her, claim her work as his own, spend her earnings and prevent her from seeing their children — and still be on the right side of the law. The Case of the Married Woman is the third book in Antonia Fraser’s unofficial trilogy about the major legal upheavals of the 19th century. The previous two volumes have dealt with the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 and the Reform Act of 1832 — both turning