For some time after watching the BBC adaptation of North & South I wanted to date an industrialist. Faced with the dearth of hard-working, well-dressed, 21st century cotton mill owners, I wrote this steampunk short story. I hope you enjoy it!
- When Vicky picks up the top hat, she alludes to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Blue Carbuncle.
- Cicely Fairfield was the real name of author, Rebecca West.
- Henry Mayhew wrote a newspaper column which was later published in four impressive volumes as London Labour and London Poor. His prose is rather beautiful, in my opinion.
- “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” is, of course, a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and continues, “and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”
- The film that the couple see is Waterloo Bridge, starring Vivien Leigh & Robert Taylor.
- The scene in which Sir Aubrey tells Vicky his real name, I imagined rather like the Doctor Who episode, ‘The Wedding of River Song’, though of course, he really does tell her. Spoilers! ;)
- I snuck in a tiny allusion to Ada or Ardor in Chapter 3.
- Vicky shares her surname with North and South’s heroine, Margaret Hale. This was my subconscious at work!
- Whistler’s London nocturnes.
- The descriptions of the steam engines were inspired by my visit to Coleham Pumping Station, Blists Hill, and several smaller mills.
- What little I know about letterpress typesetting comes from Wikipedia and this playlist.
A few readers have expressed interest in a sequel. Nothing would delight me more than to write one, but I have to prioritise stories, so I’ve set up a mailing list for those of you who wish to read a second Steampunk Club story. You can sign up here, and I will start working on it when I reach 100 subscribers! :)