the year 1895?


Forum Staff
Mar 2008
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
Although Dickens has been dead for fifteen years perhaps your soldier has memories of seeing Dicken's give one of his public performances of the Christmas Carol. It was Dicken's favorite work and he loved to perform it with impersonations of 23 of its characters. The first year the Christmas Carol was published it generated no fewer that nine London stage productions. Surely it would be staged during your time frame.
Perhaps one of your characters could see the play and mimic what was said by the cranky Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle's wife who recalled that the moment he finished the book, her husband was seized with a "perfect convulsion of hospitality and arranged two dinner parties."
Some commentators have suggested that the story helped accelerate the commercialization of Christmas with its underlying theme that a little greed is OK. A point not lost on your toy seller? After all Scrooge doesn't enter a monastery. He goes out and buys stuff. (phooey to the wag that suggested Scrooge also gave Christmas a goose.)
Pedro, you've hit the nail on the head. The comercialization of Christmas is going to be one of the 'themes' (I hate that word) of the story.

I know Santa Clause was popular in America at this time but am unsure if he had travelled the atlantic and converged with Father Christmas by 1895. I'm finding it all damn interesting.


Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
Sorry, I didn't mention that the book centres round Christmas, which is why I was going on about Dickens. Apparently he had a big part in shapping the modern idea of Christmas which is why I've been reading a lot about him.

Anyway, concerning the soldier. He's recently retired, but I don't want him to be too old or really injured (so not that he was forced into retirement by losing an arm or anything) At what age would a soldier have retired at this time? Can anyone think of any injury which would make him retire but mean he could function normally?

Age. If he was a career soldier he could have spent as long as 40 years in the army (reenlisting due to his inability to adjust to civilian life). Assuming he first enlisted age 15 he'd be 55 (possibly older) in 1895.
Chances are he'd be a sergeant (or at least a corporal) by this time, unless he had a bad service record (eg a drunk), in which case he'd have remained a pvt.
He'd look different (sunburnt instead of the pale skin most Victorians had), talk in a different way (using stronger language than the other characters), and reminisce about his past adventures (eg fighting the Mad Madhi's "fuzzy-wuzzies"). He may have been present at significant events like Rorke's Drift or Lucknow.
Last edited:
Jul 2008
If you want the past details of weather reports try the Met office, they would be able to give you all the official weather reports, just say what you want the info for, ther may be a small charge, but they will let you know before doing any research for you.

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Jul 2008
if you want any info on what was happening at the central court at this time google
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913

Sorry but at not very good with posting links, this will take you to a site that will give all the details of trials at the Old bailey, the central court for London, hope it helps and good luck with the book.
Mar 2007
Oxford, England
Electricity was coming on across London - streetlights, houses, hotels, even parts of the Tube were electrified by 1895. Cholera was a distant memory, being largely 'eradicated' thanks to sewer/water improvement. The Thames was also much cleaner. The introduction of the 'paid holiday' was also greeted with pleasure by the working class. As for the poor slums, these were being destroyed due to metropolitan improvements - roads were driven through the worst of them. Education was compulsory for children, and I believe vaccinations (like smallpox, etc) were as well. For general atmosphere, it is important to note that Britain (and London) were also in the midst of (what was seen as a severe) depression; the US and Germany were outdoing them in terms of industrial manufactures, and there was a lively debate in government whether or not to eradicate free trade and bring back protection (in the form of tariffs - but not for the Commonwealth nations). In terms of international stuff, tensions with France and Germany were beginning to mount after Bismarck's dismissal in 1890; Britain and France almost went to war in 1898 at Fashoda. As has been mentioned, the Boer War was around the corner. I strongly recommend you visit Lee Jackson's great site, as well - it's full of useful information and primary source detail.
Jun 2008
wilmington, nc
I remember seeing years ago a discharge paper 1885ish where the person lost some fingers on his right hand. he had been in a welsh regiment. The paper stated the fingers where lost in action.(action not stated or when).


Forum Staff
Mar 2008
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!

Lloyd Marie -- (Encyclopædia Britannica) foremost English music-hall artiste of the late 19th century, who became well known in the London, or Cockney, low comedy then popular. She first appeared in 1885 at the Eagle Music Hall under the name Bella Delmare. Six weeks later she adopted her permanent stage name. --Well I think she's cute!!