After 22 years of almost continuous war, Britain is faced with social unrest. For some years the government imposed harsh penalties on movements and assemblies intent on securing political and social reform. Eventually this period closes with the passing of The Great Reform Bill and the Abolition of Slavery Bill.
Britain was visibly entering a new age. Men and women could ascend into the sky in hot air balloons and people with fairly modest means were taking holidays by the sea. A century earlier, great men wore full-bottomed wigs of lustrous curly hair, now a few old men were casting aside the last grey-powdered peri-wigs. Men’s stockings were replaced by trousers or tightly-tailored breeches, first popularised by regency dandies. Ladies had also cast aside their huge wigs and ‘Gainsborough’ hats for the more demure hairstyles, bonnets and slim dresses of a Jane Austen heroine. Everywhere in genteel society the restrained elegance of Regency dress was becoming the standard.
The elegance of the comfortable sections of society was in contrast to the darkening appearance of the new industrial towns in the North and Midlands, where every year more tall chimneys were erected to bear away the smoke emitted by increasing numbers of steam-powered engines.
1816 The Elgin marbles, stripped from the Parthenon in Athens, which is part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, are sold to the British Museum by Lord Elgin (1766-1841).
~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), women’s rights radical and novelist, wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), the poet, writes the novel Frankenstein at Geneva.
~ The East India Company concludes the Gurkha War with the Treaty of Sugauli which permits it to recruit Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.
~ The Leeds-Liverpool Canal is finally completed.