Sometimes Research Is Not Easy

… and sometimes even the experts are wrong. When you look at histories of gardening, most will tell you that glasshouses only spread after the lifting of the window tax of 1845. However, as I’ve already found out during my last-minute research for BEWITCHED back in March 2007, greenhouses already existed in the early decades of the 19th-century. THE LONDON ENCYCLOPEDIA, published in 1829, provided further evidence:

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The London Encyclopaedia, Or, Universal Dictionary of Science, Art, Literature, and Practical Mechanics By Thomas Tegg

The entry on “Horticulture” also proves that forcing beds and frames (which were usually covered by glass panes) were already in use as well:

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The London Encyclopaedia, Or, Universal Dictionary of Science, Art, Literature, and Practical Mechanics By Thomas Tegg

So it seems that at least in regard to the gardening, I didn’t make any horrible blunder in BEWITCHED. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Sometimes Research Is Not Easy

  1. Laura Vivanco

    So it seems that at least in regard to the gardening, I didn’t make any horrible blunder in BEWITCHED

    Sandra, given that it’s a paranormal and one could therefore legitimately assume it’s not set in our world, I think you deserve to be given a lot of leeway on all sorts of things, including glasshouses. But it’s always satisfying to do the research and have confirmation that one is, in fact, correct 😉

  2. The Tudor Rose

    Um… Greenhouses were in use, yes, but they weren’t horribly popular. You have to remember that the average Englishperson certainly could NOT afford the dictionary you quote there, much less greenhouses! So, yes, a member of the nobility or a rich person might have had a greenhouse, and some people of middling status might even have had forcing beds, but they certainly weren’t popular.

    Just my two historian’s cents. 🙂

  3. Sandra Schwab

    Laura, unfortunately, BEWITCHED is not paranormal enough that it might not get bashed if there are really any grave historical inaccuracies. Therefore, the author’s note will also include a bit about water closets in Albany in the early years of the 19th century. 🙂

    Kate, there’s no question that “normal” people couldn’t afford a greenhouse. I was referring to the kitchen gardens of the large country estates. — Do you know the series “The Victorian Kitchen Garden”? Right now I’m watching it again as I have to write an article on 19th-century gardening for the LoveLetter magazine. It’s a brilliant series, imo (and it is also mentioned in the author’s note of BEWITCHED *g*)!

  4. The Tudor Rose

    True enough. Money can’t buy everything, but it could sure buy your plants warmth!

    I’ve not seen the series – it sounds like it’d be quite nifty!

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