Sunday Selection: Lots of Thornton

Not sure whether I am going to make this a regular Sunday series, but the idea came to me when I was wondering what I should post today. As you may have noticed, I am trying to post daily at the moment – kind of making up for the lack of more RA focussed blogs. If you are sick and tired of reading me, here is my promise: As soon as there are more blogs again, Guylty will shut up! No hard news really. And it’s not necessarily wildly exciting for you if I tell you that I have embarked on another Thornton inspired junk journal. But in that context I decided to show you the above-mentioned Thornton selection: While searching for suitable vintage imagery for the journal, I came across some stuff that I found amusing. Apparently, Mr Thornton was a bit of a business whizz! After turning around Marlborough Mills, he started a whole business empire. Ah, marrying an heiress was a *great* idea…

Moving from cotton to rubber – very foresighted, Mr Thornton. You had your finger on the pulse, understanding that the future was going to be plastic. The Thornton empire definitely grew:

Very nice flagship store!! I am amused by the fact that Thornton & Co were based in Edinburgh (where NS) was filmed, as well as Leeds (which, as the centre of flax milling in the 19th century, was a similar place to the fictional Milton of the novel. Oh, and of course we know that Richard Armitage has family connections to Leeds). Ok, one last one of rubber baron Thornton:

By the grown number of warehouses you can see how Thornton’s business expanded into the 20th century…

However, diversification obviously was another strategy of Mr Thornton’s:

I have to admit that I like the packaging better than its contents. Especially as the wholesaler is based in Farringdon, London, where I used to work when I had my great job with my London client. However, again I have to admire Mr Thornton’s foresight – as dental hygiene eventually really took off… BTW, I’d just like to say here that I almost prefer Mr Thornton’s set of *normal* teeth to the high-gloss, ultra-white finish of someone else.

Anyway, what do you think would have been Mr Thornton’s leisure activity? I know, the word “hobby” really doesn’t suit Mr Thornton. He just doesn’t “dabble”, as he quite clearly stated at some point. And an entrepreneur is never at leisure but always works. I’d like to think, though, that Mr Thornton, once his marriage with Margaret was blessed with a respectable number of children (any number between 4 and 8 – it was a love match, after all!) calmed his own business activities down a bit, not least because his business empire (see above) was so successful that he was able to employ people to take over whenever he wanted some time with his wonderful family. And somehow I believe that this forward-thinking and technically minded man would’ve been open to new technologies like photography – a mixture of science and documentary. Not art at that stage, but Thornton would have enjoyed fiddling with lenses and shutters, plates and chemicals, arranging his children around his beloved wife, recording country walks and domestic scenes of the Victorian middle class.

By the way – Ruby Thornton was the Thornton’s beloved baby of the family, arriving late as quite a surprise, the youngest daughter by far, just before Margaret’s 41st birthday…

And they lived happily ever after.

North and South, 2004 (BBC)

 

 

83 thoughts on “Sunday Selection: Lots of Thornton

  1. Awww, this is lovely. Photography definitely sounds like an occupation that might have interested Mr. Thornton for the technical aspects.

    Then again, he did go to see Mr. Hale to read the classics because he craved a higher education he never had, so maybe who took that family of 8–I’ve settled on no more than 6 children including Baby Ruby for poor Margaret’s sake—to places like Greece and Italy for the culture. I could see him studying up on the history and then lecturing on a tour for his loved ones. And he would make sure his children got the education he never had. So my head canon is extensive reading and traveling.

    P.S. I don’t mind you posting a lot. If other existing blogs—cough!MdL!cough— weren’t run by such slackers aka me, there would be more to read. 🙄

    Liked by 3 people

    • 🙂 🙂 🙂 That is a remarkable work of historian with antique sources. Your broad background allows you to continue to inform and instruct our fandom, with a real sense of quality in communication. Dentistry: Those Antique Bottle and Photography: Triple Extension Camera are great discoveries. I look forward to other fruitful large quantity of findings. Happy, I have no doubts that daily we will hear far more from you.
      Throughout my daily roundabout, I observe some beautiful yellow climbing roses and since they bloomed I have been marvelling at this old parsonage rock wall. For your sake, I should try to photograph them in their special uniqueness (parsonage wall an church together).
      Nice sunday, I wish you good weather. It’s too cold here.

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      • Hehe, yes, I was totally thrilled when I came across all these Thornton enterprises. They seemed to fit reasonably well with the character. And the camera was the biggest bonus ever for me as a photographer…
        Your story about the yellow roses you are watching grow, is the best example how things in everyday life often remind me of Richard. And I really enjoy that feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Me too! L’impression que quotidiennement, il y a une situation, un évènement,… qui nous ramène à Richard. L’idée que continuellement, l’on ne peut échapper à un retour à l’univers des fans de Richard Armitage …
          Mais malgré tout vos recherches sont très poussées, je ne sais comment trouver des gadgets de qualité à offrir …

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        • Peut-être l’explication est inversée. A savoir que c’est nous qui inconsciemment, inexorablement trouvent ou créent un lien avec le fandom, dans la vie quotidienne.

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        • It happens all the time and I, too, enjoy the little instances of being reminded of him in completely unrelated scenarios.

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    • Convincing argument, Kate. I definitely agree with you that Thornton is very keen on seeing his offspring get all the education he had to forego. Travelling en famille is probably a big part of his family life, not least because he is proud to be seen with his lovely wife – and all the children they have produced together.
      As for slackers – well, there are extenuating circumstances… Not everybody’s free time is also their personal private time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True about the free time, but I’m still frustrated with myself. At least the Spare Room Hell is mostly under control. I might do a mini post about mail call later today. 📫💌

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          • Thanks! I’m still debating the table vs. dresser distribution. Poor Mr. Kate might have some furniture pushing in his immediate future. 😝

            But at least I will soon be back to spending time crafting, not cleaning. I did find a few bits and pieces while cleaning that will make their way into the Guy journal, so it was worth it.

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    • “Awwwww.” just sums it up perfectly 🙂 I love the style of that period, the typography and design (enjoying to look at advertisement – who would have thought…) and how fitting for industrious Mr. Thornton. also photography as a pasttime does indeed seem likely but I’d guess he’d have used it for something practical like showing motion sequences that could not be analysed before (like the horse in motion by E. Muybridge). But 8 children?!? poor Margaret! I’d say two are more than enough…

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      • Edward Muybridge – I am impressed you know him. Good point – yes, I’d say Mr Thornton would’ve been interested in that kind of photographic study.
        Nah, definitely 8 children. You have to remember: the two of them really loved each other. So procreation was not a chore but simply the expression of their love… (or lovemaking…)

        Liked by 1 person

        • had a good arts teacher at school 😉
          and I wasn’t suggesting that *that* was a chore. 😛 but giving birth to 8 children and then nursing them and looking after them – poor Margaret…maybe rubber entrepreneur Thornton could have come up with something… 😏

          Liked by 1 person

        • They didn’t have ready birth control, (right?) so I’d say reproduction was a chore. Even if the father is hot. 😁 Haha

          PS: Growing up Catholic and seeing two aunts have 14 living kids, as well as other large reproducing families, I stick to my mantra; The Vagina is Not a Clown Car.
          👶🏻👶🏻👶🏼👶👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻👶🏻 🎈 😂

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Totally in agreement with you on the teeth. Like the nose, I love the original. But then again, he is an actor and he is vain (as he said himself).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me too, I prefer his imperfect features, they make his face more interesting and characterful IMO. There was a recent image posted of RA as Raymond de Merville in full on medieval warrior mode in Pilgrimage. However, my eye was drawn immediately to his gleaming white gnashers in the black and white image which put me off, and almost ruined the effect the image was trying to create.
      Can’t help wondering whether RA may have (indirectly) missed out on roles because of his ‘perfect veneers’, and whether the advice to up and coming actors would be to get a “perfect Hollywood smile” or maybe something more subtle now?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “gleaming white gnashers” 😂. Oh Zigzag, spot on! They are totally not in keeping with the middle ages. It did not stand out quite so much with Sir Guy (because Gizzy scowled and kept his mouth shut most of the time, anyway) but it didn’t matter there because the show was so clearly anachronistic that there were lots of inconsistencies. PIlgrimage appeared to be a bit more serious in terms of historical correctness. It’s a constant bone of contention to me that that never goes as far as making the actor’s dentistry appropriately dirty and rotten. But well, actors can’t be ugly…
        Interesting point re. the connection between lack of roles and too perfect teeth. I did a quick cursory image search and have to agree with you. Cumberbatch, Fassbender, Hiddleston all seem to have far more normal teeth with certain irregularities and definitely not perfect. Maybe our resident dental expert has something to say to that *nods to Rachel*.

        Liked by 1 person

        • If only Rachel could get her hands on him, she would have a ton of suggestions re. the gnashers. He will need an update at some point (simply for technical reasons of wear and tear) and I pray, PRAY that he’ll take the opportunity to tone it down a bit. My mom is a dental nurse, so it’s ingrained in my brain to look at people’s teeth (and strive for no replacement dentistry) and it’s probably my biggest 😭😭 with him. I so want the old ones back.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Phew, I am glad to hear my own impression corroborated by people who know a bit more about dentistry than I do. Yep, it’s just a little bit much imo. And btw, afaik The Impressionists was the first show where he flashed his new teeth, and I swear I think you can actually see that they are new and unused…

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      • From my professional view point-they’re not perfect. Perfect cosmetic dentistry is where you don’t notice someones had work done. On that you look at their smile and go -aren’t their teeth nice but they look natural. So RA has strayed into the territory where its obvious he’s had his teeth done because they’re too white and bulbous-they catch the eye for the wrong reasons. Great example is one of pts who has no teeth but implant retained dentures. They are beautiful teeth…they’re straight and they’re bright but they’re not glaring and they look amazing and you would never ever guess they’re dentures. I mean a good example is the tennis player Andy Murray who been in the press last couple days -he’s had a smile makeover and they look great but really natural.

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        • Great, thank you for adding that here, Rachel. That’s exactly what I was interested in, and it confirms my own impression: His teeth are too obviously beautiful. (He doesn’t really smile with an open-mouth very often – I wonder whether that is a result of feeling self-conscious about his far-too-pretty teeth?)
          Had a look at Andy Murray and have to say: yes. Beautiful teeth, but not lilywhite and not uniform either. Perfectly done.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I noticed his dental work and don’t blame him for it. Film biz is pretty harsh on things like that. Still, men aren’t scrutinized the same as women. I’ve had no real work done on my teeth. Annual or biannual cleaning. I lucked out, needed no braces or replacement teeth, etc. Father’s side of family seemed to have good teeth and bones. However, lots of people have assumed I’ve had work done on my teeth. Maybe it’s why I’m not noticing the same thing with his teeth as the new nose. I do like the original a whole lot more. Then again, he can always have his teeth smudged for a film. 🦷 Eating an Oreo cookie would be all it takes to have a medieval looking set if choppers. 🦷 Haha

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            • Thanks for putting a bit of perspective on it, Mimi. When I criticise him for his overly perfect teeth, I often forget that it’s part of the business he is in. Of course he has to shine with his smile, and his “real” teeth were *not* perfect – just normal, and normal only works for character actors but not for actors who have aspirations to be leading men.
              Grah, all I am writing sounds snide and snarky. And I don’t mean that. I totally believe that he took the right decision – it’s just that *I think* his teeth are a little too perfect to be believable.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I don’t think you sound snarky at all. I think I am more used to seeing people with teeth that are whiter and straighter than nature usually allows. My husbands teeth aren’t as white as mine are. As we age, our teeth naturally don’t stay as white. I brush with baking soda added to my toothpaste to keep my teeth looking as white as possible now, it does not wear down your enamel either.

                Funny in a way, cause when I was a kid, for a while we couldn’t afford toothpaste and we brushed with baking soda. Didn’t know it makes your teeth brighter and whiter then.

                Anyway, I don’t think your are being snarky or hyper critical. It is what we get used to and observations. I think its okay to discuss it. 🌼

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    • Yep. I always love it when there is a bit of ‘normal’ left with the demi-god I admire. But yeah, even besides the vanity, I totally believe that there is nothing wrong with cosmetic surgery IF it makes the person happier with themselves… And I daresay the new nose *has* made RA happier. So good on him.

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      • It seems to have made him happier (he now has grown into his nose?) and that is indeed the most important thing. But it makes our demi-god almost perfect as do the teeth and I really fall for imperfections: they make you who you are, they define you.

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  3. Surprise! I’m wildly excited! You know, a man is a man, but a junk journal is a good piece of stationery! I’m elated to see all these beautiful things – and the Theets. I miss them, but mr. A seems older as Thornton then now! Not sure I like it, but if he feels comfortable…

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  4. Love your post. John Thornton remains my favourite character RA has played, not least because it is one of the few occasions he plays a romantic lead. I don’t think I would still be a fan if he hadn’t have played this role. Don’t suppose he gave any indication at RDC5 as to if and when he would don a cravat again?! 😆

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    • Well, he didn’t say anything concrete, but I take the liberty of interpreting his breathy-excited “Is this period?” as a reaction to my (convoluted) question “Would you like to work with Brian Percival again?” as indication of his enthusiasm for that sort of material.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I have always nagged and bitched that I don’t like Mr Thornton because he is a patriarchal capitalist. But you are right – he totally was the romantic lead, and that is something that I am always calling for RA to get more of. So, yeah, I agree, Thornton is one of his most enduring – and endearing – roles.
      As for future cravat-wearing opportunities – no, no actual time frames mentioned. However, when Kate told him that Brian Percival had been quite open to the idea of working with RA again, RA totally perked up and his immediate reply was: Is it period???? To me that indicates that he is interested in a period piece. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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      • I’ll agree with capitalist but he’s not patriarchal. ..at least not in in the show (I’ve not read the book) in fact there’s a point where Margaret is going on about how he should guide his workers on how they spend their money (she’s more patronising Victorian than he is about the lower classes) and he says it’s none of his business how they spend their earnings.

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        • Ah, well, it depends on how you interpret the word “patriarchal”. I didn’t mean it in your sense – as in. “the patrician who knows better than the working class” – but patriarchal meaning that all authority is with men (no matter what class) and not with women.

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          • Hmm, it’s been a few years since I read the N&S book, but Gaskell was pretty forward thinking not just in her own life, but in her writing. I don’t see Thornton “patriarchal” in the way you might see him Guylty. But that might be my person bias from Gaskell’s viewpoint. In many of her stories, she creates characters that are domineering patriarchal but the heroes tend to be far better, like Thornton, (IMO) more well rounded. Wanting an equal partnership with their spouse. Again from my view and memory which isn’t flawed of course.
            🎩
            My favorite character is of course Sir Guy. ⚔️ Not that I’d ever have him in real life. ⚔️ Just for fun stuff. Haha

            Almost forgot, even tho Gaskell was a preachers wife, there are letters that exist where she helped and advocated for unwed mothers. Not blaming them at all for the circumstances they were in. Cool, right! 💕

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            • I completely concede that it is actually *I* who has some personal bias when it comes to interpreting Mr Thornton, Mimi ;-). I am a left-winger, and a capitalist mill-owner is totally my concept of the class enemy ;-). However, Gaskell did actually write him with nuance. He is a progressive capitalist who has understood that you have to look after your employees in order to exploit the full extent of their labour. And much of the relationship between him and Margaret is rooted in the time the novel was written in. Women simply were NOT equal. I find it difficult to overlook both of those things – and to love both the book and the character unconditionally. Add to that, that I really do not like Margaret at all – which also means that I am critical of the man who chooses her as his partner…
              But I do appreciate that Gaskell was one of the first to actually write about the class conflict – and to depict poor working class people with dignity and intellect.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, I see the whole class struggle. In fact it was how I originally was exposed to the story as a kid. I’m more of a libertarian in my politics. But not the shove it in anyone’s face kind of way, I hope anyway.

                As to Margret, I think of her as a 19 year old, even though she and Thornton finally get together when she is what? 21? 22? I cut her some slack because I remember what I was like then. I was pretty judgemental and thought I knew how life should be and how people should behave. Especially when it came to other people making decisions for me. Patriarchal malarkey drives me bat-shit and so much more when I was a teen and early 20s. (Hubs probably would tell you I haven’t changed much since then.) Sooo, I don’t relate to Margret in all her thinking, but I do see her as a really young, naive inexperienced girl. She really has no idea of what is ahead and yeah, she is not likable. Oh, there is more I could say and even more about the whole older man Thornton is in comparison. But as you say, have to remember the time it is written and acceptance of the age difference between couples.

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  5. I love the historical discoveries (and the fact that you are working on anotherThornton junk journal!) For the auction, hint hint hint? ❤️

    You know it took me ages to agree he’d even had a nose job and know I don’t know how I missed it – or why he wanted it! 😳 It’s far too pointy now 😟 And I liked the old teeth too… I’m thinking he was told to get them done to get more American work 😕

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    • I wonder if the teeth question isn’t a British/American cultural difference. Are those of you who complain about RA’s “flashing white” teeth Brits or UK citizens?

      As an American, I wince at the horrible teeth on some British actors (not “before” him, which wasn’t that bad, but others whose teeth are much more crooked) and wonder that they are employed! Seriously. There are some that the moment they open their mouths, that’s all I can see, and it’s hugely distracting. I guess it’s as distracting as you find a medieval knight’s (Raymond) bright white straight teeth — though I’ll give you that one!

      And crooked teeth are a disconnect about the character to me, if the show isn’t a period piece (when, presumably, everyone’s teeth were rotten) or if the actors aren’t cast as lower class characters, oops make that “working class” (a designation I hate, because aren’t we all workers?), because that’s what crooked teeth mean in the U.S.–that your parents couldn’t afford braces for you as a child. Teeth are a class divider in the U.S., not that we Americans will ever admit out loud that we have classes…. Straight teeth are the presumed “norm” that all strive for, if it can be afforded.

      Also, the solution of grinding them down and capping them as adults (so they appear to be straight, though their roots are still crooked in your jaw bone) is recent. Adults who worked in non-screen industries didn’t do that so much until the last two decades or so (my estimate, along with increases in plastic surgery and other bodily “interventions” for ordinary people).

      Previously, parents who could afford it paid an orthodontist to move children’s teeth around while they were still growing, so they would “set” in straighter lines before their jaw bones became firm. Adults lived with whatever their parents had been able to afford, or not afford, the rest of their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that it’s an American thing to go for the whitest of whites to the point of unnatural. That’s not so popular in Europe.

        I’m always saying that I have no issue with him doing ‘something’ with his teeth. That’s fine, especially if you didn’t have the opportunity as a kid. I just wish he’d taken some time about it and straightened his own teeth through orthodontics and maybe color corrected a bit instead of going straight for the caps. All that filing down makes me shudder. To destroy a (presumably) healthy tooth is such a waste. *sigh*

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        • I didn’t think Richard’s original teeth were that bad, I found the slight crookedness endearing. I read recently that there is a trend away from bright white teeth to more natural looking ones, in the UK I think it was. Some people are even asking for a slight imperfection.
          The disadvantage of having your own teeth as you age though is that as the enamel wears, the yellowish dentine underneath can start to show through. It’s not something I like seeing as I get older. 🙁 My dentist doesn’t recommend bleaching at my age, just a whitening toothpaste. I couldn’t face going through the process of having veneers, so will just have to hang in there with what I’ve been given.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I didn’t mind the old teeth at all. As a matter of fact, I’m quite the fan. But as I said, if it was important to him, I do understand. It just went a little far for my taste.

            Liked by 1 person

      • I completely believe it is a cultural issue, too, Besotted. I don’t think Europeans are quite as fixated on a million-dollar-smile. We are possibly even reverse-snobs, in that we find anybody who makes radical changes like that, is actually overly vain and silly. I suspect that we would like to claim that we are against all those lilywhite veneers and straight-as-a-pole teeth because we are not superficial. But that is superficial in itself. (I also must disclose here that many Europeans find it hilarious how straight and beautiful teeth are such an American obsession. There is more to beauty than perfect teeth…)
        By the way, it’s not as if having teeth corrected is a new or unseen thing in Europe. 40 years ago it was already completely normal for young teenagers to wear braces to make their teeth look straight. I was lucky that I never needed that, but almost all of my friends did. So, in essence, I think over here the approach is that you straighten teeth at teen age, or, if you really have bad teeth, as an adult. Whitening etc. is mostly discouraged by dentists afaik. Massive dental work like RA’s, is really only done by people in the meat industry – or those who have money to burn. “A little imperfection is natural. Perfection is unnatural.” That kind of sums up the attitude of dentistry professionals in Europe, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, yes, auction indeed… Preparing early, especially as I may spend long periods of time away from home this summer. So better forge the steel while I can…
      I also find his nose too pointy. In fact, I sometimes think that a nose as pointy as that for *me* would have been a reason to have it cosmetically changed… Well, taste is obviously very individual…
      I’m sure you are right re. the reason why he had the teeth done.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think his too perfect teeth have held him back in his career. They don’t seem that glaring to me. But being in So Cal, one sees perfect white teeth everywhere. As for the nose, I thought the tip was getting a little long and droopy. I like the new one. It is still sharp enough to slice bread.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve said it yourself there – it’s all a matter of what you are used to. Over here, those glaring white teeth are standing out for all the wrong reasons; in So Cal they are the norm.
      Even though I still think the nose job was unnecessary, I have to actually concede that it was quite sensitively done. It’s not really that obvious, and as you said, it is still quite impressive. Whoever his surgeon was, was really top-notch.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kathy you are a spoiled Southern California woman! I’ve never seen such naturally gorgeous long legs as you and your lucky daughters have! So not fair. My 5’5” ass is totally jealous! ❤️

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  7. I don’t think his too perfect teeth have held him back in his career. They don’t seem that glaring to me. But being in So Cal, one sees perfect white teeth everywhere. As for the nose, I thought the tip was getting a little long and droopy. I like the new one. It is still sharp enough to slice bread. Loved your Thorton book. So happy to see he branched out from his cotton mill.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. OMG you’ve done amazing research! YES, keep at it. Post every day, please!
    The water mattress! Do you think Elizabeth Gaskell put that into the plot as an homage to this other real Mr. Thornton?
    The C19 crowd did an amazing, fabulous job of researching the real Mr. Thornton years ago. They identified a mill owner that seemed to fit Gaskell’s Thornton’s patterns. Do you think she cribbed the name for her character from this other man?
    And lastly, does this rubber man have anything to do with the chocolate brand?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, the water mattress, I had forgotten that. Another case in point for Thornton & sons, rubber merchants in Edinburgh *lol*.
      I had no idea that there was possibly a real Mr Thornton that Gaskell was looking to as a model for her male protagonist.
      I don’t think the chocolate Thornton’s is related to the rubber Thornton’s…

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  9. I might just possibly have a teensy bit of a thing for medieval knights so I wish to speak up for Gizzy and Raymond’s pearly white gnashers. 😬The upper classes at least had pretty good dental hygiene, since sugar was rare to non-existent in the diet at the time and rates of decay were lower than today. It was in the Tudor and Elizabeth eras that you hear all those stories about blackened teeth and bad breath.

    Maybe teeth a la Mr Thorton would have been a tad more authentic though. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m always behind reading your posts Guylty and miss so many even when you don’t post regularly, daily or whatever. But I never get tired of reading your words.

    You were the first person I started following and I think it actually might have been just about when you started because looking back, I didn’t realize at the time you hadn’t always been posting about our favorite thing.

    I discovered Zeesmuse because of you, and thanks to your introducing us, Kathy Jones is now also a dear friend. Good things have come from your writing. I suspect more than we could ever know. So do your thing girl, I love all of it. 💕🌼🦋🌸

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    • Aw, thank you Mimi, what a lovely comment. You are certainly one of the reasons why I really got stuck into my shrine crafting – and subsequently made me a much more creative person than I was for a long time. It was your packages and your constant support that spurred me on.
      I am absolutely delighted that you and Kathy hooked up. There is no better reward to blogging than knowing that friendships were forged that way.
      xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course I enjoy the interaction, but yeah, never would have guessed I’d make new friends. I certainly wasn’t looking to do that, still I am grateful for all of it. 🌼💕🌷
        BTW—Poor Kathy has been a huge help to me. I can’t say she has gotten the better end of you introducing us because I’ve worked that poor woman to the bone. haha💕

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