The 83rd Regiment comes to town

83rd Regiment of Foot - 1838 uniform

83rd Regiment of Foot - 1838 uniform

Local historian Roxanne Lutz has been documenting the Eldon House ghost story in a series of videos at MisstoricalFiction. The Eldon House ghost story centres on the mysterious death of an officer of the 83rd Regiment named Lieutenant Wenman Wynniatt in May 1841. Roxanne Lutz and Alex Chartrand gave a talk on the ghost story at the Eldon House interpretive centre to a capacity crowd on May 15, 2011. A flavour of that talk can be gained from reading their article in the London Free Press, New Light Shed on Chilling Tale.

One of Roxanne’s recent blog-posts (The 83rd Regiment comes to town) mentions the theatre

Attending balls, plays, concerts & horse races were just a few ways the redcoats & early London well-to-dos unwound when they weren’t fixing their wagons or marching around in circles at the barracks.

and includes a terrific graphic of an Officer of the 83rd (right).

We are pleased to offer, with Roxanne’s kind permission, her recent blog post and video on the 83rd regiment coming to town.


The 83rd regiment comes to town
by Roxanne Lutz

How did Wenman Wynniatt get to London, anyway? Why, he arrived with the 83rd Regiment of Foot, of course! They came to town on May 30th, 1841.

With little entertainment, many Londoners were stoked to learn the British garrison and the touring regiments were going to lay roots nearby, arriving to pour cash into the shops and ale into their bellies.

A lack of military action, after the initial rebellion in 1838, motivated British military gents to figure out ways to pass the time in an attempt to remain civilized in the face of total boredom. Attending balls, plays, concerts & horse races were just a few ways the redcoats & early London well-to-dos unwound when they weren’t fixing their wagons or marching around in circles at the barracks.

As for London ladies, nineteenth-century chicks thought those red jackets looked pretty snug in all the right places… even Sarah Harris, who initially rolled her eyes at the prospect of catching “scarlet fever” thought differently after a summer or two of shiny buttons and shouts of “tally-ho”.

Photos in video courtesy of Archives Canada and the University of Western Ontario Archives.

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