Downton Abbey History & Costumes

What Was and What Could Be

The “Downton Abbey” movie is coming to theaters on September 20, 2019, in North America. And that’s just pretty, as a result of it’s definitely time for a trip to 1927 England to go to the Crawley family.

Downton Abbey, a Focus Options launch. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

The official trailer (under) has the tagline of “Welcome to a new era. We’ve been expecting you.” That obtained us excited about how a lot issues modified over the course of the collection’ six seasons, and what is perhaps ahead for everybody above, and below-stairs at Downton.

“Downton Abbey” followed the Crawley family and their servants from 1912 via 1925. While nearly all of the tales have been fabricated, the interval drama did touch on multiple real-life events and historical details to help convey the characters to life. The upcoming film will probably do the identical.

We thought it will be fun (in a nerdy type of approach), to take a look at a few of these actual occasions from the collection. Then we make some history-based guesses at what we may even see within the plot of the “Downton Abbey” movie, followed by the official trailer for the movie.

This walk by way of historical past must be an excellent refresher when you haven’t watched the collection because the finale. Downton Abbey Returns!, a special coming to PBS in June, will even get you in control.

History and Season 1

You’ll doubtless recall that “Downton Abbey” begins with Lord Grantham receiving news of the sinking of the Titanic, and with it the deaths of his inheritor, James, and James’s son, Patrick. The episode ends with their memorial service three months later, sometime in July 1912. Their deaths convey into question the inheritance, in addition to who eldest daughter, Mary, will wed. Solicitor, Matthew, is launched as subsequent in line and as a romantic foible for Mary.

The historical past? The Titanic, one of many largest ships on the planet, was declared to be unsinkable. Nevertheless, in the early hours of April 15, 1912, the ship struck an iceberg and inside three hours had sunk within the north-Atlantic ocean. Of the two,224 passengers and crew on board, over 1,500 died. Those who died included millionaire John Jacob Astor IV; co-owner of Macy’s Isidor Straus; Benjamin Guggenheim; and architect of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews.

Keep in mind the character Kemal Pamuk? Right here’s how he matches in to real world events. In 1912 the First Balkan Warfare occurred between the Balkan League (Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro) and the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan League beat the Ottomans in a number of fronts, and the Ottoman Empire misplaced almost all of its territory across Europe. The armistice of the First Balkan Conflict befell on December 3, 1912, with a peace convention in London culminating in a signed peace treaty on Might 30, 1913. (A Second Balkan Conflict befell in 1913, with one other peace treaty being signed in August.)

The Downton connection? One of the characters in London for the peace convention is Kemal Pamuk. Pamuk visits Downton Abbey with Evelyn Napier, has a really temporary fling with Woman Mary, and finally dies in her mattress. Pamuk’s dying has repercussions for Mary and her family, but in addition for Bates and different characters who study concerning the scandal afterward.

In episode six, Woman Sybil is turning into more political, turning into curious about equality for ladies and the poorer courses. Initially of the episode, Emily Davison is briefly mentioned. Davison was an actual individual, a suffragette who was working for ladies’s right to vote. At the 1913 Epsom Derby, she walked onto the race course and was hit by the horse of King George V; she died 4 days later.

Season one ends with the beginning of World Conflict One, in August 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his spouse have been assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a part of Younger Bosnia, a gaggle making an attempt to finish Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina. When he was arrested, Princip implicated the Black Hand, inflicting Austria-Hungary to supply an ultimatum to Serbia, ultimately invading Serbia, setting off a sequence of alliances, resulting in the outbreak of the First World Warfare. The episode ends with a Lord Grantham studying a telegram saying the outbreak of conflict; Great Britain declared warfare on Germany on August 4, 1914.



History and Season 2

In 1916, The Army Service Act had gone into impact which introduced conscription into the British army for the first time. The Act specified men aged 18 to 41 might be eligible – this impacts William Mason, Molesley, and Tom Branson. Season two opens with a title card studying “The Somme, 1916.” The Somme, the most important battle on the Western Front through the First World Warfare. On simply the primary day of the Somme, virtually 20,000 British men have been killed; over three million males fought in the battle and there have been a million deaths and casualties.

In a later season we additionally hear concerning the 1916 Battle of Jutland, once we study that Charles Blake and Anthony Foyle served collectively there.

In episode three of season two, Lavinia Swire, Matthew’s fiance, admits to starting the Marconi Scandal, having stolen papers from her uncle for Richard Carlisle. The Marconi Scandal occurred in the summer of 1912 and implicated members of Asquith’s government of insider trading of shares in Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company.

Additionally talked about in this episode is the 1916 Easter Rising, an armed rebel in Ireland, launched to end British rule and create an unbiased Irish Republic, profiting from England’s involvement in WWI. Nevertheless, the British have been capable of suppress the rebellion, with unconditional surrender occurring on April 29. Approximately three,500 individuals have been taken prisoner by the British, many who weren’t even involved, and 1,800 have been despatched to internment camps or prisons in England. The leaders of the Rising have been executed and 485 individuals had been killed.

In episode 5, a title card reads “Amiens, 1918.” Ultimately the Battle of Amiens (August 8-12, 1918) can be referred to as the Hundred Days Offensive and is credited with leading to the top of the First World Struggle. It was one of the first major battles to include tanks and ended using trench warfare, permitting the preventing to be cellular as soon as again. Later within the episode, Branson mentions the killings of “the Tsar and all of his family” which had occurred on July 17, 1918. The Romanovs (Nicholas, Alexandra, and their youngsters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) and a few of their associates and servants, have been killed by Bolsheviks underneath the orders of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, following the February Revolution.

Episode six covers, roughly, September-November 11, 1918. Throughout this time interval the battle of Vittorio Veneto occurred, from October 24-November three. It’s in this battle that we study Major Charles Bryant, the daddy of Ethel’s son, was killed. At Vittorio Veneto, Italian forces gained, marking the top of preventing in Italy. It’s also at this battle during which the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was secured. Some view Vittorio Veneto as the last piece in the motion for Italian unification, as nicely.

Within this episode we additionally meet the burn victim claiming to be cousin Patrick – the cousin that drowned on the Titanic at first of the present. The episode ends with Armistice Day, the top of preventing in the struggle, on November 11, at 11:11 am.

The sixth episode additionally covers the period by which the Spanish Flu arrives in London. Between October 27 and November 2, 2,200 deaths occur in London alone, attributed to the Spanish Flu. The Flu doesn’t hit Downton till the following April, episode eight, affecting Cora, Lavinia, Carson, Molseley, and different employees. In the UK, roughly 250,000 individuals die from the Spanish Flu.

Historical past and Season 3

Keep in mind once we find out that Robert had invested a big a part of Cora’s money within the Grand Trunk Railway, causing large monetary repercussions? In March 1919, the Canadian Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad, owned by the Grand Trunk Railway, an English firm, was nationalized after it had defaulted on its loan funds. Sorry Cora.

In episode 4, Robert mentions Tennessee ratifying the 19th amendment, which occurred in August of 1920, allowing ladies the vote. It’s presently that Edith mentions not having the vote. This can be a reference to the Illustration of the Individuals Act from February 1918. This Act opened up parliamentary voting to men 21 and over no matter property standing, and ladies 30 and over who opened property or whose husbands did, and native government voting to men and ladies 21 and over.

It’s also on this episode that Branson goes on the run after a citadel in Ireland is burned down. The rationale? In the summer of 1920 there was an abundance of conflicts over Ireland’s Independence from Britain. There were 18 deaths in Derry, a British colonel was assassinated by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Cork, loyalists pressured over 7,000 staff from their jobs, riots broke out leading to many extra deaths, and a detective was killed by the IRA.

On the end of season three we are launched to the Scottish residence of Woman Rose MacClare and her mother and father, the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire (Shrimpie and Susan). Rose’s mother and father are off to India, which was making an attempt to realize its independence from England. Mohandas Gandhi assumed management of the Indian National Congress in 1921 and began advocating ways of attaining Indian self rule.



History and Season 4

Season 4 introduces us to Cora’s brother, Harold, and his scandalous ways. In episode seven, in July 1922, Robert travels to America to assist out his brother-in-law, who’s implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal. In April, US Senator John B. Kendrick had referred to as for the investigation of a land deal in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, relating to petroleum reserves. There have been accusations of bribery and land offers being made in personal. Secretary of the Inside Albert Fall was convicted of accepting bribes from the oil corporations and turned the primary cabinet member to go to jail, and the scandal severely broken President Harding’s popularity.

Harold is mentioned within the next episode as nicely. While discussing Prohibition, which banned alcohol in the USA and went into impact in 1920, Robert feedback that Harold has his makes use of, implying that Harold provides bootleg alcohol.

Season 4 ends with Rose’s popping out ball. Intrigue surrounding the Prince of Wales and Freda Dudley Ward, (and a letter that has fallen into the incorrect arms), runs throughout the episode. The rationale for the intrigue? Freda Dudley Ward was the married mistress of the Prince right now.

History and Season 5

All through the second half of season 4, Michael Gregson, Woman Edith’s lover, had been in Germany, trying to realize citizenship to be able to divorce his spouse and marry Edith. In the first episode of season 5, Edith is distraught because she hasn’t heard from him in months.

Throughout the season are hints about what happened to Gregson. He went missing after a battle with some Brownshirts or Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary a part of the Nazi Social gathering that performed a key position in Adolf Hitler’s rise to energy in the 1920s and 30s, and died within the Beer-Hall Putsch, Hitler’s failed try and seize energy in November 1923. On April 1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for this attempt.

In episode two, upset over Miss Bunting being in the house, Robert compares her to Rosa Luxemburg. Rose asks who that’s and Cora briefly says. Luxemburg was a Polish Marxist and Social Democrat who turned a German citizen and was a Social Democrat and Communist there. She and Karl Liebknecht co-founded the Spartacus League. Luxemburg thought-about their January 1919 uprising to have been a nasty move, however she was captured by a paramilitary group after the rebellion, executed, and her physique was thrown in a canal. She was thought-about a Communist martyr.

Also the second episode, Rose is making an attempt to get Robert to buy a radio. Robert lastly decides to lease one when he learns King George V will probably be talking on the wireless. This speech happened on April 23, 1924, to open the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in London. The speech was recorded by the BBC and performed on the radio that evening. Round 10 million individuals heard the King’s message and occasions have been suspended during its broadcast.

In episode 5, Rose is reading the paper and mentions the Moonella Group, which was the primary nudist colony in England. Naturalism was in style in mainland Europe, however didn’t catch on in England until after WWI. The Moonella Group was simply the primary of a handful of teams promoting “air bathing.”

In episode eight of season five, Isobel, Shrimpie, And Lord Sinderby (Atticus Aldridge’s father) talk about the 1919 Amritsar massacre, also referred to as the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. British soldiers underneath the command of Brigadier-Basic Reginald Dyer fired on a crowd of of Indians protesting the arrest and deportation of Dr. Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two nationwide leaders. This protest is seen by some as the beginning of the Indian nationalist movement. The soldiers fired for ten minutes, killing 370 and wounding 1200.

Historical past and Season 6

In season six, episode two, Edith mentions Adrienne Bolland. Bolland was a French aviatrix, who in April 1921 turned the primary lady to fly over the Andes mountains, from Argentina to Chile. She went on to set a ladies’s document for number of loops executed in an hour and was given the Legion of Honor by the French authorities.

Also in this episode we find out that Spratt, Violet’s Butler, is a stamp collector and the primary commemorative stamp is talked about. This stamp is from 1924, commemorating the British Empire Exhibition – the event that prompted Robert to lease a radio in season five.

In episode seven Mary’s new beau, Henry Talbot, invitations her to observe him race his automotive at Brooklands. Brooklands housed a monitor for automotive racing in addition to an aerodrome. It opened in 1907 and was a serious middle for plane production during WWI. The monitor closed in 1939 and is now part of Brooklands museum.

Historical past and The Downton Abbey Film

With the announcement of a Downton Abbey movie to be released in September 2019, here’s what we all know and what we expect we’d see.

The story picks up within the fall of 1927 – over a yr after the collection ended – and has been stated to span a couple of years. Figuring out this, we will hope to see evidence of the ever altering world across the Crawleys.

Ladies’s suffrage was expanded in 1928 to incorporate all ladies over age 21 with the Illustration of the Individuals (Equal Franchise) Act. This meant that, whereas previously solely ladies over 30, landowners, and wives of landowners might vote, now all ladies, from kitchen maids to the aristocracy, might vote on the identical phrases as each other and on the same phrases as males.

Also in 1928, the first film with dialogue premiered in Britain. “The Jazz Singer” premiered in London that September and the primary European sound movie premiered in England the next January. Britain began to get into the talking footage market in 1929, and the first actual success that they had was “Blackmail,” which premiered that June. The transition to sound in theaters was fairly quick in Britain compared to in different European nations, so it’s potential we’ll see this play out in the movie.

The inventory market crashed in 1929, and led to the “Great Slump” in the UK as part of the global Nice Melancholy. The UK was nonetheless recovering from World Conflict I’s impact on their financial system, in order that they weren’t hit as onerous by the Melancholy as different nations have been during the same time period. While the north of England and Wales suffered closely from poverty and unemployment in the course of the 1930s, around London the suburbs and jobs grew. It’s exhausting to say fairly how the Stoop will effect Downton, however there’s positive to be some effect.

From 1930 to 1932, there were the three Spherical Table Conferences relating to constitutional reforms in India. Self-rule was an increasingly essential matter in India and in 1930, Muhammed Ali Jinnah beneficial these talks to Viceroy Lord Irwin. These talks happened in three phases over a number of years, but little was completed. Given the importance of India to Britain at the time, it’s attainable this event shall be talked about within the film.

Depending on how many years are coated, it’s attainable we might see the demise of King George V in 1936, and the ascension, and attainable abdication, of Edward VIII. We all know from the trailer under that King George V and his spouse, Queen Mary, will go to Downton. The ascension of Edward VIII was a huge change in customs as he broke with many royal traditions, ending in his abdication in late 1936.

If the film does go into the late 1930s, the dying of the King could possibly be massively essential for the world the Crawleys stay in. We’ll find out soon sufficient.

Watch the trailer for the film, under:


Bronwyn Mróz Benson is hands-on sort of historian. Her deep love of history led her to Michigan’s Greenfield Village and Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, the place she drove the horse-drawn carriages and advised visitors concerning the Village and Henry Ford’s vision for what it might be.

When Bronwyn isn’t educating knitting, or chasing around her toddler, you’ll find her watching her favourite interval dramas, like “The Forsyte Saga” and “Downton Abbey.” Bronwyn lives in Ohio and has a BS in historical past and museum research, and an MA in early 20th century US history.


Should you loved this publish, you’ll need to wander over to The Period Movies Record. You’ll particularly like The Submit-Downton Survival Information and Downton’s Forged in Other Period Dramas. You’ll also need to read about Downton Abbey Returns! a particular coming to PBS in June. Also see our assessment of The Chaperone.