2012.42.13 - Lucky for Some?: With the belief in reason and rational thought all ideas of superstition should have been swept away. Yet for many they must have clung on to lucky charms or why would they still exist today?
2012.42.14 - The Importance of Letters: The eighteenth century was the great era of publishing. Even if you could not read you probably knew someone who could read out loud the latest news. Newsletters, magazines, books, novels, pamphlets – all flourished in the eighteenth century. For girls, particularly the poor, it was not believed necessary for them to learn to write and yet stitching samplers ready for a life in service and the marking of linen meant that most would know their letters. Wealthy women were even advised not to let it be known if they became too clever as it could spoil their marriage prospects.
2012.42.15 - Nature in Lace: William Cowper was a poet and co-author of the Olney hymns. Olney, famous for its lace making was where he met John Newton, an ex-slaver now Evangelical preacher – the hymns were written with ordinary people in mind. Cowper wrote many works inspired by nature seeing it as proof of God's existence and an ordered world – he was a great favourite of the author Jane Austen.
To learn more about Cowper and Newton, there is a museum in Olney, Buckinghamshire - http://www.cowperandnewtonmuseum.org.uk/
2012.42.16 - The Silent Monitor: In New Lanark, Robert Owen tried to create a better system of industrialisation. He wanted to improve the health, education and well-being of his workers. The silent monitor, made of wood, was one way of encouraging good working practice – each side colour coded to indicate how well an individual was doing. Some of his methods were controversial and it was even suggested that he turned his workers into robots but he believed Utilitarianism would create a better world.
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