The Swan Circle

A story of Georgian networking

A Modern Glossary of witticisms

18th Century Digressions, Society and Politics 2 Comments »

The following Modern Glossary of witticisms appeared in the British press – probably The London Chronicle – in 1764, however please see the comment from John Overholt below, regarding the original date and author Henry Fielding:

Angel. The name of a woman, commonly a very bad one.

Creature. A quality expression of low contempt, properly confined only to the mouths of ladies who are right honourable.

Coxcomb. A word of reproach, and yet at the same time signifying all that is most commendable.

Damnation. A term appropriated to the theatre; though sometimes more largely applied to all works of Invention.

Eating. A Science.

Fine. An adjective of a very peculiar kind, destroying, or, at least, lessening the force of the substantive to which it is joined, as fine gentleman, fine lady, fine house, fine cloaths, fine taste; – in all of which it is to be understood in a sense somewhat synonymous with useless.

Fool. A complex idea, compounded of poverty, honesty, piety, and simplicity.

MJ Holman


History tells the story…

Family History, The Swan Circle No Comments »


Now that we are four months further along the path towards The Swan Circle, it is time to reassess, to look at how the story is evolving. At the centre is the tavern itself and all those that connected to it, the ones we are yet to encounter, the novelist Samuel Richardson, the diarist William Hickey, the actress Mary Robinson, the Prince Regent and the Court, with its delightful parties so vividly described by Mrs Papendiek.

The story begins with the island, the Thames and the famous 'pitch-cocked eels'; the fishermen that built the tavern and created its fishponds, where did they come from? Who were the West family and how did they come to build this notorious place of 'iniquity'?

We tell the story of their names, their acquaintances and their roles in the wider community. We explore their story, as we explore the story of London and Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We discover a contextual view of their lives through a broader history, what it was like to be mentally ill, to be an Apprentice, to seek a wife, to be a female musician or to be in want of food?

The story of The Swan Circle can be followed alone without the context of history (just follow The Swan Circle category), but it is better to understand the events and society of the era, to realise the motives and needs of the purveyors of such notoriety.

This is the object and ambition of The Swan Circle, history telling the story of people's lives.

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