Pedant’s Corner: Dear BBC Knowledge Channel,

the cover of the DVD for the documentary show Edwardian FarmLiving on an “An Edwardian Farm”, or indeed an Edwardian anything, cannot be said to be seeing what life what like at the “dawn of the Industrial Age”. The “dawn of the Electrical Age”, maybe.

The Industrial Age is generally held to have begun with the mechanisation of the textile industry and the development of coal-fired steam power generation between 1780-1820, which is well over 200 years since the the 6th King Edward died and close to a century before the 7th King Edward was crowned (see below). Where does any Edward fit into those decades? A 60-years reign of a George, certainly, and afterwards an even longer-reigning Victoria oversaw 64 years worth of construction of all those canals, bridges and railways for steam powered transport – but by the time her son Edward was on the throne we were well into the era of Electrical Power Generation and Internal Combustion Engines.

Your earlier show “A Victorian Farm” could have been arguably marketed as “the dawn of the Industrial Age”, but it was well past noon by Edward’s time. Why does your marketing department have to embarrass all those poor historians like this?


Reigns of the Kings named Edward in England before William the Conqueror:

    House of Wessex

  • Edward The Confessor – 1042-1066

Reigns of the Kings named Edward in England after William the Conqueror:

    House of Plantagenet

  • Edward I (Longshanks) – 1272-1307
  • Edward II – 1307-1327
  • Edward III – 1327-1357
  • Edward IV – 1461-1470 (deposed), 1471-1483
  • Edward V (Prince in the Tower) April-June 1483

    House of Tudor

  • Edward VI – 1547-1553

    House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

  • Edward VII – 1901-1910

    House of Windsor

  • Edward VIII – January-December 1936

NB: I originally had noted Edward III as The Black Prince. As pointed out in comments below, he was the father of the noted warrior Edward of Woodstock who was also known as the Black Prince, who died one year before his father, so the throne passed to his son Richard II.

Categories: arts & entertainment, history, technology, work and family

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8 replies

  1. They could even call it “the dawn of the twentieth century”, which would have the minor advantage of being accurate.

  2. Your earlier show “A Victorian Farm” could have been arguably marketed as “the dawn of the Industrial Age”,

    I am pretty sure that they did market Victorian Farm like this. looks like there’s a bit of recycling going on? When budgets are cut the Marketing department is always the first to go.

  3. Um, Edward III was not the Black Prince; that was his son. (Somewhere around here there is a chart for the Plantagenets, but I’m pretty sure Wikipedia can also help.)

    Another Pedant

    • Damn, you’re so right. It must be like that Internet Law about snarking on splelling errors.

      • Also, my internet was c r a w l i n g last night, so I just checked the dates of the reigns in google search results, and one of those paras said something about the Black Prince, and I thought “really?” but added it anyway. Serves me right.

  4. So much for “Knowledge”.

  5. The Victorian Farm was a great show, though, and was entirely aware that it was spanning a number of very exciting decades. So, pedantry directed at the marketing department aside, I think I will be getting this sequel!

  6. I’m sure that the show will be excellent, especially because it will be showing the transition from steam engines to internal combustion engines for threshing machinery etc, and the broader availability of mass-produced hardened steel tools, plus the various new labour-saving household devices that all rushed into the first decade of the 20th century – having all these archaeologists/anthropologists/historians working the farm and geeking out at all this stuff should be marvellous to watch.
    That’s why it’s so disappointing when they get this marketing stuff so wrong.

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