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A Brave New World

The Inquisitive hearts of our Victorian ancestors

You may have noticed that we’ve caught the travel bug. We have a stunning new collection of oddities in our shop celebrating the spirit of exploring - Around The World Collection - whether it’s our vintage bike repair kit to help you and your little ones in their first small-scale expeditions, or all the way up to our gorgeous new globe and travel poster, where you can scratch off all the places you’ve been on your around the world expeditions.

These charming items are inspired by our forefathers from the Victorian age, because through the 19th century there was a boom in the desire and ability to explore. By the end of the 1800’s, Antarctica was the last unexplored continent and this prompted a race to see who could be the first to navigate the difficult territory because the last two centuries had seen explorers from all over the globe racing to be the first to step on new land and secure it for their country.

This was a time when almost every European country was trying to grow their empires and discover new land to put their name on. This was nothing new, by this point - America had already been made independent from the British Empire after colonisation began as early as the 16th Century, but the Victorian age saw a large increase in that desire for discovery, and explorers traveled far and wide to collect oddities and adventure.

It’s likely that this was spurred on by the industrial revolution, as this was going on at a similar time and it put the entire nation in an enterprising mood and science was quickly taking hold, with new machinery and medicine leading the way. Suddenly more companies had money and science seemed to be taking over, which meant that these businesses would often sponsor an explorer to go on an expedition to bring back new ideas or plants and specimens that could be used to make something new or even used for medicines.

The industrial revolution brought its own age of steam to the nation and by the end of the century electric engineering was starting to make waves. This allowed transport to progress quickly and become more accessible for people who simply wanted to see the world or start their lives somewhere new, with hundreds of young men leaving on boats to find their fortune in the New World.

These everyday men and women were also now able to understand all that there was to be explored, as recent inventions were making sharing information increasingly easy. By this point newspapers were only 100 years old, but they were growing rapidly and meant that more and more people could read about new discoveries, inventions and adventures and be inspired to go out on their own. The first photograph was taken in 1838 in Britain, which began a whole new media form that meant people were able to see the world on a page if not with their own eyes.

This was only one of the hundreds of inventions from the Victorian era, a time where leaps and bounds were taken in the name of science. Once the new machines of the industry were embraced, people began to wonder about other ways life could be made easier for everyday people. By the end of the decade we had flushing toilets, bikes, sewing machines and most importantly, Easter eggs, jelly babies, and ice cream.

This was a time of wonder and discovery, something we think everyone could do with a little bit of in their lives. We like to think of our little high street home as a haven of curiosity, with oddities and items inspired by history and geography to collect. Put on your explorers hat and come on an expedition to our store, or even just our website if you’re busy on adventures and see what you can discover in our new Around the World Collection, and further afield in the rest of our eclectic cave of wonders.

November 28, 2019 — Georges Whitstable Admin