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Tag Archives: History

Animals of War

Ever since man realised that riding a horse into battle was much more effective than running on their own two feet, animals have become an effective and potent game changer in war. For Alexander the Great, the horse proved vital in carving out his empire in the ancient world. Alexander’s ‘Companian’ cavalry would charge forward in a wedge formation, their …

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Rebecca Rideal reviews “A Million Years in a Day” by Greg Jenner

A Million Years in a Day By Greg Jenner Weidenfeld & Nicolson RRP £12.99 Like many of the best ideas, the premise behind Greg Jenner’s debut book is extraordinarily simple – to trace the history of everyday life through the prism of a modern Saturday. Opening with ‘9.30 a.m. Rise and Shine’, each chapter deals with a different part of …

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The Radium Craze – America’s Lethal Love Affair by Matthew Moss

At the beginning of the 20th century America became gripped by a dangerous phenomenon. Radium had been discovered in 1898 and was quickly hailed as a miracle element. The radioactive metal’s unusual and unique properties captured the imaginations of both the scientific community and the public. Within forty years radium had permeated American society to the point where it was …

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Taking Back Tyburn by Jessica Cale

Tyburn. Once enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone in London or greater Middlesex, these infamous gallows have at last begun to fade from collective memory. Eight times a year, Tyburn served as the place of execution for the condemned from the courts of Westminster, the Guildhall, Middlesex, and the Old Bailey Sessions. Between 1196 and 1783, …

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The Bloody History of Chocolate

Delicious chocolate has a far stranger history than you may at first think biting into its brown creamyness. Chocolate is derived from Theobroma cacao seeds, better known as cocoa beans, which are indigenous to South America. The very earliest discovery of chocolate being processed for human consumption comes from drinking cups that have been dated to around 1,750 BC. These cups were …

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Extradition – A Very Brief History

In October 2012, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that computer hacker Gary McKinnon would not be extradited to the USA. It marked the end of a ten-year battle. Some commentators argued that the request for extradition should never have been made in the first place and that, once again, it highlighted the unequal Anglo-American extradition treaty. McKinnon, who suffers …

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James I & VI and his male ‘favourites’

Samantha Smith examines James VI & I’s relationships with his ‘favourites’ “And yet I cannot content myself without sending you this billet, praying God that I may have a joyful and comfortable meeting with you, and that we may make at this Christenmass a new marriage, ever to be kept thereafter; for God so love me, as I desire only …

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Historic St Pancras Launches Second Annual Lecture Series

An outlaw, unconventional women and a cross-dressing French spy will feature in a new series of lectures to raise money to keep the doors of historic St. Pancras Old Church open.   The church, in Pancras Road, Camden, reportedly a site of worship since the 4th century, may have to permanently close doors which have welcomed visitors for at least …

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Going along with the ride: Museums in the 21st century

21st century museums are exciting places to visit. Exhibition opening nights resemble something more akin to an Oscars after party than a tea and sandwich get together of professors in tweed coats. It seems that museums would like to remind their audiences that they have come a long way from the era of glass cases and “do not touch” signs …

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SHAKESPEARE’S LOVERS – Part One: The White Lady

The White Lady There is a theory that most of us fall deeply in love twice in our lives.  I believe that William Shakespeare did: that there were two women with whom he fell in love; that these two love affairs had a lasting impact on his life and work; and that neither of these women was his wife. As …

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