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Georgian historian at Family History Society

The Frome Family History Society welcomed Mike Rendell to their July meeting.

Mike is an author and lecturer on Georgian history and his talk was entitled ‘Life in the 18th Century –  What life was like for our ancestors six generations ago’.

The talk was about the life of one of Mike’s ancestors, a man called Richard Hall who was born in 1729 and died in 1801.  Based on documents passed down through his family over generations he was able to give a unique insight into life in the 18th Century.

Richard Hall came from a wealthy land owning family whose fortune was lost in the South Sea Bubble, meaning that Richard’s father, Francis had to find gainful employment.

He set up as a hosier in a poor area in a south London street in 1729 and worked hard to ensure that Richard had a good education and that the family could relocate to a respectable neighbourhood north of the river.

The shop prospered and Richard married Eleanor Seward finally moving to a property next to London Bridge. Eleanor’s parents died leaving the couple very wealthy and able to enjoy a good standard of living. Richard’s diaries tell of the places they visited, their shopping habits and even the weather at the time.

When Eleanor died from a brain haemorrhage in 1780 we know from his diary entry that the funeral cost £51 8s 6d. Richard remarried his sister-in-law Betty Snooke and the couple moved to the Cotswolds, leaving Richard’s eldest son to run the business, but the children from his first marriage remained estranged from them for over 20 years.

Mike was thanked for a most interesting talk and copies of his book ‘The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman’ by Mike Rendell were available for sale.

Our next talk will be on Tuesday 29th September and is a change to our advertised programme. The talk will be on local witchcraft by lecturer and historian, Andrew Pickering. Regular Saturday morning advice sessions continue on the first Saturday of every month. Please book a place with the library staff.