Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year

Happy New Year everybody. I wrote a history of New Year 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Boudicca was a hero in British history. In 60 AD the Iceni tribe of East Anglia rebelled. At first the Romans allowed them to keep their kings and have some autonomy. However in c. 50 AD the Romans were fighting in Wales and they were afraid the Iceni might stab them in the back. They ordered the Iceni to disarm, which provoked a rebellion. However the Romans easily crushed it. In the ensuing years the Romans alienated the Iceni by imposing heavy taxes. Then, when the king of the Iceni died he left his kingdom partly to his wife, Boudicca and partly to Emperor Nero Soon, however Nero wanted the kingdom all for himself. His men treated the Iceni very high-handedly and they provoked rebellion. This time a large part of the Roman army was fighting in Wales and the rebellion was, at first, successful. Led by Boudicca the Celts burned ColchesterSt Albans and London. However the Romans rushed forces to deal with the rebellion. Although the Romans were outnumbered their discipline and tactics gave them victory.

Friday, 19 December 2014


On 19 December 1843 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published. It gave us the immortal words 'bah humbug!' but it also made the phrase 'Merry Christmas' popular. It was uncommon before then. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas food

Puddings used to be meat based (even Xmas pud!). Brussel sprouts were not popular in England till the 17th century. Turkey at Xmas was not common till the 19th century. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to all our readers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


On 9 December 1979 the WHO declared smallpox to be eradicated. Smallpox was a terrible disease which killed millions of people every year. (It nearly killed out Queen Elizabeth I). Thank you Dr Edward Jenner who invented vaccination in 1796.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Maria Mitchell

The first American woman to discover a comet was Maria Mitchell in 1847. In 1848 she became the first woman member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel was a great woman astronomer of the 18th century and early 19th century. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Women Scientists

I wrote a timeline of women scientists. Its a myth that there have been women scientists only recently. There have been women scientists as long as there has been science.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014

More women's rights

I also wrote a timeline of women's rights in the USA

Thursday, 23 October 2014


On 23 October 1642 the first battle of the English Civil War was fought at Edgehill 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Queen Matilda

Matilda is sometimes called England's forgotten queen. She came the throne in 1135. However there was another claimant to the throne and they fought a long civil war till 1154. So Matilda never ruled over the whole of England. Nevertheless she deserves to remember as the first queen to reign in England. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Mary Rose

On 11 October 1982 Henry VIII's warship the Mary Rose was raised from the sea bed near Portsmouth. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

William Tyndale

On 6 October 1536 the great English Bible translator William Tyndale was strangled and burned. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Monty Python

5 October 1969 was a great day in history. Monty Pythons Flying Circus was first broadcast.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Friday, 26 September 2014

New Zealand

Happy birthday New Zealand. It became a self governing dominion on 26 September 1907. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

St Bartholomew's Day Massacre

On 24 August, St Bartholomew's Day 1572 Catholics in France began murdering thousands of French Protestants. The massacre began in Paris and soon spread to other parts of France. When the Pope heard the news he ordered a Te Deum (hymn of praise) be sung.'s_Day_massacre

Friday, 22 August 2014

Battle of Bosworth

On 22 August 1485 Henry Tudor won the battle of Bosworth. Richard III was killed and Henry became King Henry VII founding the Tudor dynasty in England.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Myths about the First World War

I found this very interesting article of myths about the First World War

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

London Place Names

I wrote an article about the origin of place names in London. Unfortunately some of them are a mystery.  

Thursday, 31 July 2014

More Women's History

I made another video. More women's history

Monday, 28 July 2014


On 28 July 1794 Maximilien Robespierre was guillotined.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Neil Armstrong

On 21 July 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon. Well done Neil.  

Friday, 18 July 2014

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ruth Ellis

On 13 July 1955 Ruth Ellis was hanged. She was the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Myths about old sayings

I made a video about myths about where old sayings come from. Unfortunately there are many of them. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Thomas More

On 6 July 1535 Thomas More was beheaded. But don't spare any tears for him. From 1529 to 1532 More was chancellor of England and he persecuted Protestants. He was responsible for the deaths of several people. In 1530 a man named Thomas Hitton was burned at Maidstone. Thomas More called him 'the Devil's stinking martyr'. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014


Two dates in Canadian history. On 3 July 1608 Quebec was founded. On 3 July 1814 the Americans invaded Canada but they soon withdrew. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


I uploaded a new video about Portchester, near Portsmouth. Its famous for its Roman fort.

The Somme

On 1 July 1916 the battle of the Somme began during the First World War. On the first day 19,000 British soldiers were killed.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Little Big Horn

On 25 June 1876 the Native Americans won a great victory at the battle of Little Big Horn.

Friday, 20 June 2014


I wrote a little history of Uruguay. Its a poor country and it has a tragic past but recently the economy has been growing strongly and there is reason to be optimistic for its future. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014


On 19 June 1829 Robert Pool founded the first modern police force in London. They were called bobbies or peelers after him 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Magna Carta

On this day in 1215 King John sealed the Magna Carta. Its the foundation of all our freedoms so I think we should call this Magna Carta Day.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Last hanging

The last aristocrat to be hanged in England was Laurence Shirley, Earl Ferrers in 1760 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Monday, 9 June 2014

Charles Dickens

9 June 1870 was a sad day for Portsmouth. Our most famous son, Charles Dickens died. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014


A gentleman sent me an article about Luddites in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

Monday, 2 June 2014


The great Canadian city of Edmonton began as a trading post called Fort Edmonton, built in 1795. It was named after Edmonton in England, which was then a town north of London. However in the late 19th century the settlement began to spread outside the fort. Then in 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town and in 1904 it was incorporated as a city. Despite its small size Edmonton was chosen to be the capital of Alberta in 1905. 

Friday, 30 May 2014


I wrote a little history of Chicago. From being a tiny settlement in 1830 it has grown to be one of North America's largest cities. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Saturday, 24 May 2014


On 24 May 1543 the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died. He is famous for his revolutionary theory that the Earth orbits the Sun and not the other way round.  

Friday, 23 May 2014

World Turtle Day

Today (23 May) is World Turtle Day. It was begun by American Tortoise Rescue in 2000. I don't know anything about turtles or tortoises except that their shell was used for decoration.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Toilets in the Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD sophisticated plumbing disappeared from Europe for centuries. In Saxon times toilets were simply pits in the ground with wooden seats over them. (For ordinary people that remained the case for centuries afterwards).

However in the Middle Ages monks built stone or wooden lavatories over rivers. At Portchester Castle in the 12th century monks built stone chutes leading to the sea. When the tide went in and out it would flush away the sewage.

In castles the toilet was called a garderobe and it was simply a vertical shaft with a stone seat at the top. Some garderobes emptied into the moat.

In the Middle Ages wealthy people might use rags to wipe their behinds. Ordinary people often used a plant called common mullein or woolly mullein. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


On this day in 1607 the first permanent English colony was founded in North America at Jamestown. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Crown Jewels

On 9 May 1671 Colonel Thomas Blood stole the English crown jewels. He is (so far) the only person to steal them. However he didn't get far before he was arrested. Yet King Charles II pardoned him. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Youtube Channel

This is my Youtube channel 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Poison gas

On 22 April 1915 the Germans used poison gas (chlorine) on the western front for the first time. In 1917 they began using mustard gas. The allies also developed their own chemical weapons. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Yuri Gagarin

On 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. The first American in space was John Glenn on 20 February 1962.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


On 10 April 1633 bananas went on sale in England. Fruits like apricots, oranges and pomegranates were already common in England - for those who could afford them.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Women's Education

Its a myth that only men were educated in the past. Girls did not have the same opportunities as boys and they could not go to university but that does not mean they were never educated. Girls from rich families were usually educated at home by a tutor. They were often highly educated. Middle class girls were usually taught by their mothers but in 17th century England boarding schools opened for girls. Of course most boys had little or no education as it was expensive. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Olympic Games revived

On 6 April 1896 the Olympic Games opened in Athens. It was a revival of the Ancient Greek Olympic Games and has been tremendously successful ever since. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Fool

The earliest recorded April fools joke was in 1698 when people went to the Tower of London moat to see the lions being washed.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Charlotte Bronte

31 March 1855 was a sad day. The famous writer Charlotte Bronte died. She was only 38. Early death was common in those days, far more common than it is today but its a great shame because if she had lived another 30 years she could have written many more great works of literature. She did show that women could achieve great things even in the 19th century. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Battle of Towton

On 29 March 1471 the battle of Towton was fought in England during a civil war. It was the worst battle in English history. Its believed that at least 20,000 men died and perhaps as many as 28,000. That was at a time when the whole population of England was about 2 and a half million. So about 1% of the population of England died in a battle in a single day. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Victorian Women

Women in Britain gradually gained more rights during the 19th century.
In 1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917) became the first woman in England to qualify as a doctor. Elizabeth also became the first woman in Britain to become mayor of a town (Aldeburgh) in 1908. The first woman in Britain to qualify as a dentist was Lilian Lindsay in 1895. The first woman to qualify as an architect in Britain was Ethel Charles in 1898.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

St Davids Day

Happy St Davids Days all Welsh people. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

Women's rights

In the Ancient World women's rights varied from one civilization to another. In Ancient Egypt women had virtually the same rights as men. They could own property and they could sign contracts. A famous woman Pharaoh called Hatshepsut once ruled Egypt. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I wrote a little history of Honduras. Its still a very poor country with a long way to go to eliminate poverty. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Monday, 17 February 2014

Renaissance Italy

In the late 14th and 15th centuries a great cultural change came over Italy. It is called the Renaissance, which means 'rebirth'. In the Middle Ages education was mostly controlled by the church for the church. In the late 14th century there were an increasing number of secular educated men in Italy. There was also an increasing interest in the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. At the time Greek scholars (from the Byzantine Empire) came to Italy.

The Renaissance benefited from the printing press, which was introduced into Venice by 1470. Furthermore rich Italians patronised the arts.

Meanwhile Italian trade and commerce prospered. The city-states flourished. In the 15th century Florence was ruled by the Medicis, a family of bankers. (Florence was a republic ruled by an oligarchy but the Medicis managed to control it). The greatest Medicis were Cosimo who ruled from 1434 to 1464 and Lorenzo the Magnificent who ruled from 1469 to 1492. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Life boats

A man named Lionel Lukin was a pioneer of the lifeboat. Its difficult to say who invented the lifeboat because several men had a similar idea around the same time. Nevertheless Lukin patented his idea in 1785.His invention has saved countless lives. Thank you Mr Lukin. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

18th Century Towns

During the 18th century towns in Britain grew larger. Nevertheless most towns still had populations of less than 10,000. However in the late 18th century new industrial towns in the Midland and the North of England mushroomed. Meanwhile the population of London grew to nearly 1 million by the end of the century. Other towns were much smaller. The population of Liverpool was about 77,000 in 1800. Birmingham had about 73,000 people and Manchester had about 70,000. Bristol had a population of about 68,000. Sheffield was smaller with 31,000 people and Leeds had about 30,000 people. Leicester had a population of about 17,000 in 1800. In the south Portsmouth had a population of about 32,000 in 1800 while Exeter had about 20,000 people. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Life in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages chimneys were a luxury. As time passed they became more common but only a small minority could afford them. Certainly no peasant could afford one.

About 1180 for the first time since the Romans rich people had panes of glass in the windows. At first glass was very expensive and only rich people could afford it but by the late 13th and early 14th centuries the middle classes began to have glass in some of their windows. Those people who could not afford glass could use thin strips of horn or pieces of linen soaked in tallow or resin which were translucent.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Edmonton, Canada

I wrote a history of Edmonton, Canada. Like other Canadian cities it began as a fort but in 1905 it became the capital of Alberta and since then it has mushroomed. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Toronto, Canada

I wrote a brief history of Toronto. It started as a fort in the 18th century and grew into a great Canadian city. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

History of Venezuela

I wrote a little history of Venezuela. Its a troubled country but hopefully things will get better in future.