Keeping Account

Georgian Lottery Handbill


England’s first lottery was held in 1568 when Elizabeth I was on the throne. It was not a success though (partly because the Queen appropriated a large slice of the money for her own use) and the concept wasn’t popularly revived until the eighteenth century.

This handbill from Hornby & Co. is from about 1810 and announces not just one but two top prizes of £20,000 – the equivalent of 1.5 million pounds today, so not an inconsiderable sum!

I suspect though that the person in possession of this handbill was not one of the lucky winners as he subsequently put the bill to good use for recording travelling expenses for himself and a companion. Overnight accommodation was 1s per night whilst dinners were the largest expense at 3s 6d or 4s 6d for three people. Tea and ale were extras. It’s interesting to see that prompt payment in cash attracted a 10% discount.

An excellent survivor and a fascinating insight into the period. Apart from a chip to the top right corner and old fold lines, the bill is in remarkably good condition.


Item Ref. 6737

Size: 184 x 114mm (7¼ x 4½")