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Regency Pranks

The odd bits of information I come across while researching details for my stories are often fascinating and sometimes amusing. One story that made me chuckle, and made me include him as a background character, was known as the Berner Street Hoax.

Theodore Hook was a young blood who made a wager with his friend Samuel Beazley that he could make an address famous. Everyone certainly knew the address by the end of the day when, on November 27, 1810 the first of thousands of people answered his summons to Mrs. Tottenham's residence. By the end of the day she had dealt with a stream of venders and personalities that began arriving at 5am.

All in all, the parade included twelve chimney sweeps, and equal number of coal deliveries, wedding cake makers, fishmongers, doctors, lawyers, shoemakers, pianos, an organ, several priests who had been told someone had died, and no less personages than the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Mayor of Westminster. Between the deliveries and the onlookers, the streets of London were clogged and much of the city came to a standstill. Several people suspected who was behind the prank and young Mr. Hook soon decided to remove himself to the country to "recover."

Not all the stories I discover are as amusing but I do enjoy uncovering interesting bits that may or may not find their way into the events of my plot. When they do, the names and details are often altered in the name of fictional license.


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