So my final piece on the Diamond Jubilee and we’ll take a brief look what was happening when Queen Victoria reached her 60th year.
Of course Victorian England was a very different place or was it!
There was coalition government. The coalition of 1897 was made up of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Unionists, sound familiar! The Prime Minister Lord Salisbury (a man with a mighty beard) an old Etonian just like our current PM, Deputy PM and most of the rest of the government.
The Government had a foreign policy which was termed as ‘splendid isolation’ during his tenure as Prime Minister, this mean’t we entered into no formal alliances during the last two decades of the 19th century although were bit chummy with Germany with informal agreement with Bismarck and Germany.
In 1897 we were at war in…Afghanistan, a fact hat was not overlooked in the rather excellent BBC series Sherlock.
This war culminated in the Siege of Malakand where British troops faced a force of Pashtun tribesmen, the British forces held out in their garrison for six days against a 10,000-strong Pashtun army before being relieved and was the first action a certain Winston Churchill saw.
Britain was also facing a period of economic bust, again sound familiar! Apparently a investment boom in the 1880s fed a massive financial bubble around United States and Argentine assets. The bubble burst in the Panic of 1890, leaving banks in London exposed which led to a banking bailout, this time not by the public but by the Bank of England and the Rothschilds.
Natty (great name!) remarked at the time that the:
“entire private banking system in London would have collapsed”
So…Victorian England was a very different place or was it!