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This Sceptred Isle

Suicide of Castlereagh, Peel and Criminal Reform
In 1822 George IV was king. Queen Caroline and Princess Charlotte, their only child, were dead. William, duke of Clarence was heir to the throne and Victoria was just three years old.

Lord Castlereagh committed suicide. He had guided the nation's foreign policy through seven dangerous years, rewriting the political and diplomatic laws of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon. Castlereagh was overworked. He became deranged and on 13th August 1822 he cut his own throat.

This brought about a new age in Tory government. Liverpool was Prime Minister, Peel went to the Home Office, Huskisson to the Board of Trade and Canning replaced Castlereagh as foreign secretary.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen
JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)

  • Novelist
  • Father was the rector of Steventon in Hampshire
  • Had six siblings
  • Started writing in her teens
  • Sense And Sensibitility was published in 1811, Pride And Prejudice in 1813, Mansfield Park in 1814, Emma in 1816, Northanger Abbey and Persuasian both posthumously in 1818
  • Lived most of her life in Hampshire
  • Moved to Bath between 1801 and 1805
  • The Prince Regent (the future George IV) enjoyed her novels but she was not really successful until after her death

did you know?
In 1809 Lord Castlereagh fought a duel with Lord Canning on Putney Heath.


Your Committee find, the gaol of Newgate, as at present regulated, is able to conveniently hold one hundred and ten debtors, and three hundred and seventeen criminal prisoners; and it is the opinion of the surgeon, that when the whole number exceeds five hundred, great danger of infectious disorder is to be apprehended ... in January last the whole number amounted to eight hundred and twenty two.

The rooms are generally about fifteen feet wide, and from twenty three to thirty six feed in length, and contain in each of them, day and night, from ten to fifteen men, when the prison is not crowded; but doubt that number have occasionally been placed in them ........

No bedding is provided: the poorer description of prisoners sleep on the boards, between two rugs given by the city; those who can afford it hire beds at sixpence the night, from persons who carry on this traffic with the prison. The allowance of food to debtors is fourteen ounces of bread a day ... to the debtors no coals or candles, no mops or pails are given ....

Select historical period

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1803The Napoleonic Wars begin
1792French Revolutionary Wars begin
1793Britain enters the Wars
1801Pitt the Younger resigns
1802 Napoleonic Wars begin
1805Nelson is victorious but dies at Trafalgar
1810 George III becomes insane
1815 Battle of Waterloo end Napoleonic Wars
1820 George III dies
George IV becomes king
1821George IV excludes Queen Caroline from the coronation
1822Castlereagh commits suicide
1823O'Connell forms the Catholic Association
1828 Wellington becomes Prime Minister
1829Metropolitan Police is formed
1830George IV dies
William IV becomes king

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