Titanic: The Hero Musicians

The night of April 14/15 1912 will be remembered as the night the ‘unsinkable’ RMS Titanic sank. The ship struck an iceberg soon after 11.30 p.m. and it was gone by 2.20 a.m., with not enough lifeboats for the passengers and crew, women and children were placed into lifeboats that were scandalously nowhere near filled to capacity. More than 1500 people lost their lives,  only … Continue reading Titanic: The Hero Musicians

Harry Potter: A History of Magic – the Exhibition

Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library, for those that don’t know – a stone’s throw from King’s Cross Station, has been open since 20 October 2017 and will close 28 February 2018. It celebrates the twenty years since the release of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Photography is prohibited, as it is at many institutions that house … Continue reading Harry Potter: A History of Magic – the Exhibition

British Home Children

For over a hundred years, starting in 1869 until the 1970s, Britain sent children abroad; to Canada prior to the Second World War and later to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia. Over 100,000 children were sent to Canada alone. The children ranged in age from four to fifteen and would be sent from seemingly well-meaning philanthropic or religious organisations, such as Dr Barnardo’s, … Continue reading British Home Children

Killed by Enemy Action: A Family Tragedy

On Tuesday 17 September 1940, Joseph Boyland, Joey to his brothers, was machine-gunned walking down Scotland Road, Liverpool. He died the following day at the city’s Royal Infirmary. Aged fourteen, he had left school and was about to ‘go to sea’. The Merchant Navy was a common occupation for young men in Liverpool at the time. The Liverpool Evening News briefly reported on 18 September … Continue reading Killed by Enemy Action: A Family Tragedy

Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition

  Today I write this from Kensington Palace. It sounds grander than it actually is; I’m in the bustling cafe and trying to ignore the general cacophony of families and friends enjoying a day out. I am hugely excited to be using this space to share my enjoyment of the historic surroundings and an exhibition showcasing one of the palace’s erstwhile residents. I specifically visited … Continue reading Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition

Spanish Flu: The Deadliest Pandemic the World has Ever Seen

As World War One drew to a close, a new terror materialised that would more than double, and some suggest treble, the 16 million people killed during the conflict. A deadly global pandemic was facilitated by an airborne virus, the movement of troops around Europe, global commerce and migration. More died in a single year than four years of the black death, or bubonic plague … Continue reading Spanish Flu: The Deadliest Pandemic the World has Ever Seen

Typhoid Mary: The Tragedy of Mary Mallon

  On 11 November 1938, a 69 year old Irishwoman died on North Brother Island, New York. She had been held in isolation for 23 years, yet she had not been charged or convicted with any criminal offence. Mary Mallon was born in Cookstown, Ireland in 1869. She immigrated to America when she was a teenager and found employment in domestic service. She developed an … Continue reading Typhoid Mary: The Tragedy of Mary Mallon

A Suffragette, Hate Mail and a Grave

Last week I visited the grave of militant suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. I’ve wanted to visit it for a while and had driven close to it once or twice, but I didn’t want to inconvenience my fellow traveller with a diversion that amounted to a two-hour addition to our already considerable driving time from Surrey, England, to Scotland. Having found myself with a spare morning … Continue reading A Suffragette, Hate Mail and a Grave

Suffragettes and the Post: Pillar Box Attacks in Edwardian Britain

Emily Wilding Davison’s infamy was guaranteed when she stepped in front of the King’s horse, Anmer, at the 1913 Epsom Derby. Emily, in a long campaign of civil disobedience as a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), was a vociferous agitator for equal voting rights with men. In late 1911, she attempted to set fire to the contents of the pillar box … Continue reading Suffragettes and the Post: Pillar Box Attacks in Edwardian Britain

Fatty Arbuckle: Hollywood’s First Sex Scandal

The current Hollywood scandal engulfing Harvey Weinstein is sending shockwaves across showbiz communities.  Almost daily new allegations emerge from actresses who accuse him of sexual harassment and even assault.  Weight has been added to the accusations (if it were needed) as damning audio has emerged of Weinstein trying to entice a female into his hotel room, along with respected Oscar winning A-list stars, Angelina Jolie … Continue reading Fatty Arbuckle: Hollywood’s First Sex Scandal

A Recognition Long Due

The French Government has awarded several thousand World War II veterans who took part in the liberation of France the rank of Chevalier (knight) of the Legion d’Honneur and its accompanying medal. The Legion d’Honneur is France’s highest military honor and is in recognition of the selfless heroism that was displayed during the Normandy landings and the wider campaign in liberating France. French President, Francoise … Continue reading A Recognition Long Due