Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Duchess of Gordon's Sim City

The Duchess of Gordon was known as being the quintessential Tory political hostess in fashionable London society.  However, like many politicians today, she had a soft spot that didn't get exposed in the public area as much.  The duchess was an economic stimulator! 

The little highland estates of Badenoch and Strathspey didn't have much going on in terms of economy but when Jane Gordon looked across those rolling fields she saw an opportunity to roll in the pounds.  Either that or this was how eighteenth century aristocrats played Sim City.  She hired instructors to teach the locals how to raise crops of flaxen and linen (to make all those fashionable gualle gowns Marie Antoinette had popularized!).  The duchess then pulled some threads to get supplies to the area. 

There was only one problem, Badenoch and Strathspey weren't actual towns and therefore couldn't sustain this new influx of economy.  So what did Jane do?  She damn-well built a village.  Because she was a duchess and duchesses have money to build their own villages if it suits their fancy.

Jane seems to have been very good at establishing and tending to villages for Kingussie (look you can have a pretty wedding there and eat haggis in the pubs and other fun things!) is still alive and well today thanks to the Duchess of Gordon.

10 comments:

Retro Blog said...

Wonder what the fall out of all this economic stimulation was?

Anonymous said...

FYI flax is the plant, linen is the cloth that is woven from the fibers of the plant.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flax#Flax_fibers

aurora said...

The Duchess of Gordon was amazing.

Violet said...

All of these women were amazing!
Does anyone know of more Tory hostesses by the way. I know of many Whig hostesses, but not many Tories.
Great Blog by the way, Heather, I am a follower :)

Heather Carroll said...

The Duchess of Gordon is pretty awesome! I'm actually working on political hostess now in my non-blogging life. The other famous Tory hostess were Lady Salisbury (also awesome) and the beautiful Duchess of Rutland.

nightsmusic said...

Odd how the history books (most written by men, I'm presuming) have women during those times as helpless little creatures who weren't allowed to do anything but look pretty, and yet, we find capable, wonderful women throughout time.

Some smart woman ought to write a book *hint*

Heather Carroll said...

Hahaha! Don't worry it's on my todo list!

Anonymous said...

Are there any biographies written about her?

Heather Carroll said...

Sadly no contemporary ones. I believe there is a fiction book on her though.

G. Petri said...

The LITTLE estate!? The Gordon estates were over 250 000 acres!