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Historical Facts

Martello Towers

Martello Towers are small forts built between 1805 and 1808 for defence during the Napoleonic War. The first ones were built in south-east England, but a number were built throughout the British Empire during the first half of the 19th Century. Just over100 of these round towers were built around Britain. Most have now fallen into ruin or washed away, but some have been turned into homes.

The towers varied in size but followed a standard plan. A typical Martello tower found in south-east England was about 45 ft (13.7m) in diameter at the base and up to 40ft (12m) tall. The walls, which were up to 13ft thick, were built of brick and rendered with lime mortar. There were ususally two floors. The lower floor housed supplies and a powder store, and the first floor provided both quarters for both men and officers. Each tower housed between 15 and 25 men.

You can find out more about Martello Towers at:

The Breeching Ceremony

This marked the transition from babyhood to childhood for a boy. For the first time he left off his petticoats and stepped into breeches. It was the first step to growing up and moving out of the sphere of women. During Regency times this usually occurred at around 4 years of age, but the boy could be anywhere between 3 and 7 years old. In earlier times the boy tended to be in the older range and once breeched was general lost to his mother's company. Children of wealthy parents were often sent away to school once breeched, and poorer children may well have been put to work. However, following the publication of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile: or, On Education in 1762 this was less common and boys were granted a period of childhood.

Further information on the breeching ceremony can be found at:




The Martello tower at Clacton-on-Sea on the east coast of England



Fluyder Children

The Fluyder Children (1805) by Sir Thomas Lawrence. Held at the Museum of Art, Sao Paolo.




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