Satire and people spotting in Victorian Hastings

If you wanted to know the local lowdown in Hastings during the mid 1800s, then the Gossiping Photographer was your man. Francis Frith published his book The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings in 1864, which he both authored and illustrated with his own photographs. The titlepage of the book features several images, including crinoline-clad ladies sitting on the beach at Hastings in front […]

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome

[Image: Nameless and Friendless, 1857, Emily Mary Osborn] Hello, friends, Romans, and lovers of the creative, historical, queer, and macabre! Thank you for taking the time to visit my attempted cabinet of curiosities. For anyone who may have stumbled across this blog and might be wondering who I am, my name is Emily, I’m a writer […]

Spooky Sussex: county folklore

  [Image: Kingley Vale, near Chichester]   ‘Knuckerholes’, a haunted ASDA store and a mysterious fiery dragon spotted in the forest: Celebrating the weird and wonderful folklore of Sussex to mark this Halloween season Dancing fairies, jumping devils and all-female cuckoo clans – Sussex is home to some truly weird and wonderful beliefs, customs and tales. The […]

Tales from the Archives: Unearthing an iron foundry

[This story was published on September 8 in the Observer series. Read the original story at] [All images: West Sussex Record Office] A fascinating history was unearthed at Fernhurst in 1989. Historical remains tracing the local iron industry in the 16th century were unearthed by a team of archaeologists. Experts were uncovering and cleaning up […]

Superstitions, old wives’ tales and the Devil: haunted histories at Brighton’s Preston Manor

[This story was published on September 2 in the Brighton and Hove Independent. Read the original story at] Preston Manor’s current exhibition, Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern Witchcraft and Folk Culture in Britain, is a suitable showcase for a place considered the most haunted in Brighton. Featuring a unique display of artefacts, manuscripts and documents from […]

Remembering Russian Royalty

This story was published on August 18 in the Shoreham Herald. Read the original story at] [All images: John and Jeannette Simpson] The 95th anniversary of the death of a mysterious Russian princess who lived in Shoreham will be marked at St Nicolas’ Church in Old Shoreham. John and Jeannette Simpson have researched the story of Lydia Yavorska, […]

Volunteers help unearth woodland’s secrets

[This story was published on August 11 in the Observer series. Read the original story at] [All images: South Downs National Park Authority] Volunteers working on a project revealing the secrets of the ancient woods of West Sussex have spoken about their experiences unearthing the fascinating history of the South Downs. Secrets of the High […]