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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Review of my year 2014

Rachel at the Jane Austen Festival
Grand Regency Promenade in September 2014
Join me as I review my year – the exhibitions and places I have visited and the things I have blogged about – together with my favourite post each month. If you want to ensure you don’t miss any of my posts in 2015 and are the first to hear my news each month, please sign up to my monthly newsletter here.

January

The year started with some of the worst storms I can remember. The road across from where I live in Weymouth in Dorset to the nearby Isle of Portland was shut and Chesil Beach was reshaped by the ferocious waves. It prompted me to write about the Great Storm of 1824 which caused even greater damage, washing away Weymouth promenade.

My favourite January post: The Great Gale in Weymouth and Portland

Stone commemorating the Great Gale of 1824  on Weymouth seafront
Stone commemorating the Great Gale of 1824
on Weymouth seafront
February

In February, the rain kept on falling and parts of Weymouth were flooded. I gave my first blogging workshop and wrote about the bluestockings.

My favourite February post: The bluestocking circle

March

Whilst in Yorkshire for a family funeral, I was able to visit Nostell Priory and admire the work of architect Robert Adam and furniture made by Thomas Chippendale. I visited the Georgians Revealed exhibition at the British Library and braved the cold to look round Georgian Leamington Spa.
 
My favourite March post: Regency History’s guide to Nostell Priory

The Royal Pump Room, Leamington Spa
The Royal Pump Room, Leamington Spa
April

I was invited to a bloggers’ event at the Queen’s Gallery in April and had the privilege of previewing the First Georgians exhibition. I researched the life of actress Mary Robinson who became the mistress of the future George IV and blogged about her.

My favourite April post: Mary ‘Perdita’ Robinson

David and Eva Garrick by Hogarth  on poster advertising The First Georgians exhibition
David and Eva Garrick by Hogarth
on poster advertising The First Georgians exhibition
May

I visited the Georgian fayre at Blandford, which was nice, but not very Georgian, and the wonders of Stourhead.

My favourite May post: Regency History’s guide to Stourhead

Stone bridge, Stourhead
Stone bridge, Stourhead
June

My youngest daughter turned 18 in June and I celebrated my birthday with a visit to Arlington Court in Devon to visit the National Trust Carriage Museum. I blogged about The Sylph by Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, and was fascinated by what her novel can tell us about her.

My favourite June post: What can The Sylph tell us about its author?

July

We had a short break in Plymouth in Devon in July and visited Saltram, Mount Edgcumbe and Cotehele. I also attended a bloggers’ event at Buckingham Palace with a special tour of the state apartments and a preview of the summer exhibition.

My favourite July post: Mary Robinson – more than Perdita

Home-made wooden dolls that belonged to the young  Queen Victoria at the Royal Childhood exhibition  at Buckingham Palace
Home-made wooden dolls that belonged to the young
Queen Victoria at the Royal Childhood exhibition
at Buckingham Palace
August

As well as plenty of visits to the Sealife Centre with my grandchildren, I also found time to visit a number of historical places: Haddon Hall, Osterley Park, Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood (which the grandchildren loved), Kedleston Hall and Uppark.

Favourite August post: Georgian architecture (the first post on my site by my husband)

September

It was very exciting to have my own Regency costume made and I thoroughly enjoyed parading at the Jane Austen Festival Grand Regency Promenade in September, meeting lots of lovely people who shared a love of Regency history and Jane Austen. Another highlight was being filmed by KBS-TV, the South Korean equivalent to the BBC, talking about George III and the Georgian fashion of seabathing.

Favourite September post: Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Rachel being filmed by KBS  on Weymouth seafront
Rachel being filmed by KBS
on Weymouth seafront
October

A long overdue holiday in Derbyshire enabled me to visit Chatsworth, Eyam Hall and Lyme Park as well as go down a Blue John mine. Other visits included Kenwood and The Vyne and a visit to London to join Louise Allen in an event called Writing Historical Fiction the Westminster Way.

Favourite October post: Polesden Lacey

The Painted Hall, Chatsworth
The Painted Hall, Chatsworth
November

November did not go according to plan as we had water damage after a particularly violent storm leaving the house in a mess until we could get the roof fixed. I paid a fleeting visit to Kingston Lacy where the National Trust team were busy boxing up the outside ornaments to protect them during the winter closure.

Favourite November post: Regency History guide to Chatsworth and A photo tour of Chatsworth.

December

The roof was finally repaired, a new ceiling put in and we just managed to get the decorating done in time for Christmas. A few days after Christmas, we took our daughter to a wedding in Alton and stopped off at Jane Austen's House in Chawton.

This is my video of a 360° panorama from outside Jane's house:


Favourite December post: What is the haut ton?

I hope you have enjoyed my reminiscences. Have a very Happy New Year in 2015!

For 21 of my favourite Georgian posts in 2014 on my fellow bloggers' sites, click here.

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato

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