INDEX of Volume 2

  1. The longitude's Marine Chronometer by John Harrison (1693 – 1776)

  2. The History of Television - England 1924

  3. British Broadcasting Corporation – BBC History

  4. English Pantomines – Their History

  5. Dads Army – The Funny TV Series

  6. History of the Funny Carry On Film Series

  7. David Niven – Iconic British Actor

  8. Cary Grant – Iconic British Actor

  9. Sir Charlie Chaplin – Iconic British Comic Actor and Director

  10. Sir Laurence Olivier ( Lord Larry ) – Iconic Theatre Actor

  11. Dame Margarat Rutherford – That Funny English Actress

  12. SuperGroup Queen and Freddie Mercury – History

  13. The Funniest English Joke in the World - I Think

  14. History of English Nursery Rhymes

  15. The Freemasons – It's English Origins and History

  16. History of British Cat and Kitten Shows from 1871

  17. History of British Dog Breeds from 63 BC to 1886 AD

  18. Famous Victorian London Engineer Joseph Bazalgette

  19. Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee Inventor of The World Wide Web

  20. Famous British Engineers – History

  21. British Space Satellites – History

  22. British Radar – It's History

  23. The Battle Of Britain – 1940

  24. The Spitfire – A British Icon

  25. The First VTOL Harrier Jump Jet – A British Icon 1941

  1. Concorde – A British Icon

  2. 10 Turning Points that could have lost GB WW2

  3. The Union Jack – Iconic British Flag

  4. Sir Francis Drake  1540 to 1596 – British Icon

  5. Famous London Icons:  The Crystal Palace Exhibition – London 1851

  6. The London Hansom Cab – History

  7. London Routmaster Buses – History

  8. City of London Livery Companies

  9. England's House of Parliament - It's History

  10. Guy Fawkes and The Gunpowder Plot 1605

  11. London Underground – The World's First Underground Railway

  12. The London River Thames – It's History

  13. The London Thames Watermen and Lightermen

  14. London Bridges and Other Thames Crossings – History

  15. British Cheques – History

  16. Dick Whittington - Lord Mayor of London 1397

  17. Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London Icon – History

  18. British Silver and Gold Hallmarking from 1300 AD to present

  19. Portobello Road Market, London Icon

  20. London Parks and Gardens– Free Entry

  21. Invasion of Lovebirds and Parrots in London

  22. Tower of London – London Icon

  23. The Great Plague of London -1665

  24. Sir Christopher Wren – London Icon

  25. Smithfield Market – London Icon

  26. London Museums and Art Galleries with Free Entry

The longitude's Marine Chronometer by John Harrison (24 March 1693 – 24 March 1776)

As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren and I have a keen interest in English and British history especially English hero's like John Harrison I thought I would write this article.

John Harrison (24 March 1693 – 24 March 1776) was a self-educated English Clockmaker and Yorkshire Carpenter who invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought device in solving the problem of establishing the East-West position or Longitude of a ship at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel in the Age of Sail. The problem was considered so intractable that the British Parliament offered a prize of £20,000 (comparable to £2.87million / €3.65million / $4.72million in modern currency) for the solution.

John Harrison was born in Foulby near Wakefield in West Yorkshire the first of five children in his family. His father worked as a carpenter at the nearby Nostell Priory estate. The house where he was born bears a blue plaque.

Around 1700, the family moved to the North Lincolnshire village of Barrow upon humber. Following his father's trade as a carpenter, Harrison built and repaired clocks in his spare time. Legend has it that at the age of six while in bed with smallpox he was given a watch to amuse himself, spending hours listening to it and studying its moving parts.

In 1730 Harrison created a description and drawings for a proposed marine clock to compete for the

Longitude Prize and went to London seeking financial assistance. He presented his ideas to Edmond Halley, the Astronomer Royal. Halley referred him to George Graham the country's foremost clockmaker. He must have been impressed by Harrison, for Graham personally loaned Harrison money to build a model of his marine clock.

It took Harrison five years to build Harrison Number One or H1. He demonstrated it to members of the Royal Society who spoke on his behalf to the Board of Longitude. The clock was the first proposal that the Board considered to be worthy of a sea trial. In 1736, Harrison sailed to Lisbon on HMS Centurion and returned on HMS Oxford. On their return, both the captain and the sailing master of the Orford praised the design. The master noted that his own calculations had placed the ship sixty miles east of its true landfall which had been correctly predicted by Harrison using H1.

This was not the transatlantic voyage demanded by the Board of Longitude, but the Board was impressed enough to grant Harrison £500 for further development. Harrison moved on to develop H2, a more compact and rugged version. In 1741, after three years of building and two of on-land testing, H2 was ready, but by then Britain was at war with Spain in the War of Austrian succession and the mechanism was deemed too important to risk falling into Spanish hands. In any event, Harrison suddenly abandoned all work on this second machine when he discovered a serious design flaw in the concept of the bar balances. He was granted another £500 by the Board while waiting for the war to end, which he used to work on H3. Harrison spent seventeen years working on this third 'sea clock' but despite every effort it seems not to have performed exactly as he would have wished. Despite this, it had proved a very valuable experiment. Certainly in this machine Harrison left the world two enduring legacies — the bimetallic strip and the caged roller bearing.

After steadfastly pursuing various methods during thirty years of experimentation, Harrison moved to London in the late 1750's where to his surprise he found that some of the watches made by Graham's successor Thomas Mudge kept time just as accurately as his huge sea clocks. Harrison then realized that a mere watch after all could be made accurate enough for the task and was a far more practical proposition for use as a marine timekeeper. He proceeded to redesign the concept of the watch as a timekeeping device, basing his design on sound scientific principles.

He had already in the early 1750's designed a precision watch for his own personal use, which was made for him by the watchmaker John Jefferys C. 1752 - 53. This watch incorporated a novel frictional rest escapement and was also probably the first to have both temperature compensation and a going fusee, enabling the watch to continue running whilst being wound. These features led to the very successful performance of this "Jefferys" watch and therefore Harrison incorporated them into the design of two new timekeepers which he proposed to build. These were in the form of a large watch and another of a smaller size but of similar pattern. However only the larger No. 1 (or "H4" as it sometimes called) watch appears ever to have been finished. (See the reference to "H6" below) Aided by some of London's finest workmen, he proceeded to design and make the world's first successful marine timekeeper that for the first time, allowed a navigator to accurately assess his ship's position in Longitude. Importantly, Harrison showed everyone that it could be done. This was to be Harrison's masterpiece — an instrument of beauty, resembling an oversized pocket watch from the period. It is engraved with Harrison's signature, marked Number 1 and dated 1759.

This first marine watch (or "Sea watch" as Harrison called it) is a 5.2" diameter watch in silver pair cases. The movement has a novel type of escapement which can be classed as a frictional rest type, and superficially resembles the verge escapement with which it is often incorrectly associated. The pallets of this escapement are both made of diamond, a considerable feat of manufacture at the time. The balance spring is a flat spiral but for technical reasons the balance itself was made much larger than in a conventional watch of the period. The movement also has centre seconds motion with a sweep seconds hand. The Third Wheel is equipped with internal teeth and has an elaborate bridge similar to the balance cocks of the period. It runs at 5 beats (ticks) per second, and is equipped with a tiny remontoire. A balance-brake stops the watch half an hour before it is completely run down, in order that the remontoire does not run down also. Temperature compensation is in the form of a 'compensation curb' (or 'Thermometer Kirb' as Harrison put it). This takes the form of a bimetallic strip mounted on the regulator sector-rack, and carrying the curb pins at the free end. During development of No.1, Harrison abandoned the regulator, but left the regulator disc in place for æsthetic reasons, and the compensation.

H4 took six years to construct and Harrison, by then 68 years old, sent it on its transatlantic trial in the care of his son, William, in 1761. When HMS Deptford reached Jamaica the watch was 5 seconds slow, corresponding to an error in longitude of 1.25 minutes, or approximately one nautical mile. When the ship returned, Harrison waited for the £20,000 prize but the Board believed the accuracy was just luck and demanded another trial. The Harrisons were outraged and demanded their prize, a matter that eventually worked its way to Parliament, which offered £5,000 for the design. The Harrisons refused but were eventually obliged to make another trip to the Caribbean city of Bridgetown on the island of Barbados to settle the matter.

At the time of the trial, another method for measuring longitude was ready for testing: the Method of Lunar Distances. The moon moves fast enough, some twelve degrees a day, to easily measure the movement from day to day. By comparing the angle between the moon and the sun for the day one left for Britain, the "proper position" (how it would appear in Greenwich, England at that specific time) of the moon could be calculated. By comparing this with the angle of the moon over the horizon, the longitude could be calculated.

During Harrison's second trial of "H4" the Reverend Neville Maskelyne was asked to accompany HMS Tarter and test the Lunar Distances system. Once again "H4" proved almost astonishingly accurate, keeping time to within 39 seconds, corresponding to an error in the longitude of Bridgetown of less than 10 miles (16km). Maskelyne's measures were also fairly good, at 30 miles (48 km), but required considerable work and calculation in order to use. At a meeting of the Board in 1765 the results were presented, and once again they could not believe it was not just luck. Once again the matter reached Parliament, which offered £10,000 in advance and the other half once he turned over the design to other watchmakers to duplicate. In the meantime H4 would have to be turned over to the Astronomer Royal for long-term on-land testing.

Harrison began working on his H5 while the H4 testing was conducted, with H4 being effectively held hostage by the Board. After three years he had had enough; Harrison felt "extremely ill used by the gentlemen who I might have expected better treatment from" and decided to enlist the aid of King George III. He obtained an audience by the King, who was extremely annoyed with the Board. King George tested H5 himself at the palace and after ten weeks of daily observations between May and July in 1772, found it to be accurate to within one third of one second per day. King George then advised Harrison to petition Parliament for the full prize after threatening to appear in person to dress them down. In 1773, when he was 80 years old, Harrison received a monetary award in the amount of £8,750 from Parliament for his achievements, but he never received the official award (which was never awarded to anyone). He was to survive for just three more years.

In total, Harrison received £23,065 for his work on chronometers. He received £4,315 in increments from the Board of Longitude for his work, £10,000 as an interim payment for H4 in 1765 and £8,750 from Parliament in 1773. This gave him a reasonable income for most of his life (equivalent to roughly £45,000 per year in 2007, though all his costs, such as materials and subcontracting work to other horologists, had to come out of this). He became the equivalent of a multi-millionaire (in today's terms) in the final decade of his life.

James Cook used K1, a copy of H4, on his second and third voyages, having used the Lunar distance method on his first voyage. K1 was made by Larcum Kendall, who had been apprenticed to John Jeffreys. Cook's log is full of praise for the watch and the charts of the southern Pacific Ocean John Jeffrey's made with its use were remarkably accurate. K2 was on HMS Bounty was recovered from Pitcairn Island, and then passed through several hands before reaching the National Maritime Museum in London.

Harrison died on his eighty-third birthday and is buried in the graveyard of St. John's Church, Hampstead along with his second wife Elizabeth and their son William. His tomb was restored in 1879 by the Worshipful Company of Clockmaker's even though Harrison had never been a member of the Company.

Harrison's last home was in Red Lion Square in London, now a short walk from the Holborn Underground Station. There is a plaque dedicated to Harrison on the wall of Summit House in the south side of the square. A memorial tablet to Harrison was unveiled in Westminister Abbey on 24 March 2006 finally recognising him as a worthy companion to his friend George Graham and Thomas Tompion, "The Father of English Watchmaking", who are both buried in the Abbey. The memorial shows a meridian line (line of constant longitude) in two metals to highlight Harrison's most widespread invention, the bimetallic strip thermometer. The strip is engraved with its own longitude of 0 degrees, 7 minutes and 35 seconds West.

The Corpus Clock in Cambridge, unveiled in 2008, is an homage to Harrison's work. Harrison's grasshopper escapement — sculpted to resemble an actual grasshopper — is the clock's defining feature.

Captain James Cook took the first Chronometer on his voyage of discovery which forced the British government to give his reward.  Though the British Parliament rewarded John Harrison for his marine chronometer in 1773, his chronometers were not to become standard such as those by Thomas Earnshaw, suitable for general nautical use by the end of the 18th century. However, they remained very expensive and the lunar distance method continued to be used for some decades.

The History of Television - England 1924

As an Englishman with an interest in English History I thought it would be of interest to tell the History of Television and it's invention by John Logie Baird at Ally Pally in London. The British Broadcasting Company started daily transmissions on November 14th 1922, by which time more than one million ten-shilling (50p) licences had been issued. In 1927 the company was restructured as a public corporation -the BBC that we know today- by its founding father, John (later Lord) Reith, but by this time an even newer technology was being developed -television.

In truth, the Corporation was very interested in the Television invented by John Logie Baird's experiments and wanted them to continue under their sponsorship, and not under that of any other company. Accordingly, Baird's company was offered the use of facilities on London's South Bank. By 1932 the BBC were sufficiently happy to allow regular experimental broadcasting. They now offered Baird a studio in their newly acquired premises in Portland Place, W1. Studio BB, Britain's first dedicated television studio, was housed in the basement of Broadcasting House, and it was from here that Baird continued to experiment and refine the new medium. Competition came from the Electronic and Music Industries (EMI), based in Hayes, Middlesex, where they had been working with the Marconi Company on developing a high definition system.

In May of 1934 the British government appointed a committee, under the guidance of Lord Selsdon, to begin enquiries into the viability of setting up a public television service, with recommendations as to the conditions under which such a service could be offered. The results of the Selsdon Report were issued as a single Government White Paper in January of the following year. The BBC was to be entrusted with the development of television, which had to transmit a definition of not less than 240 lines with a minimum of 25 pictures per second. With the publication of this report the era of the low definition picture came to an end with ballerina Lydia Sokolova being the last artiste in Britain to appear via the old 30-line system.

The committee proposed that the two new high definition systems (Baird's 240 line and Marconi-EMI's 405 line) would be chosen to alternate transmissions by the BBC over a set period, until it was decided which was the better. Looking for a suitable site for the new service, the BBC chose Alexandra Palace in Haringey, Greater London. Its position, high on a hill, made it the ideal place to place a transmitter that would cover all of London and many of its surrounding counties.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the magic of television..."

With those words Leslie Mitchell introduced Britain's first high-definition public television programme from Radiolympia. The date was 26th August 1936. This was the World's first Television broadcast. At the start of the war in 1939 over 80,000 viewers had been watching television 7 days a week.

During September 1st 1939 while Mickey Mouse was being shown on Television, All television's became blank and went off air. This programme returned in 1946 and BBC Television and radio has gone from strength to strength.

Time Line of British Television

1924 Feb

John Logie Baird sends rudimentary pictures over short distance

1925 May

Baird gives first public demonstration of television

1926 Jan 27

Baird demonstrates tv by wireless transmission to the Royal Institution, London

1927 Jan 1

The BBC becomes a public corporation


1932 Aug 22

BBC starts 30-line tests using Baird's system (until Sep 1935)

1936 Nov 2

Start of 405-line high definition service (for a few months alongside Baird's 240-line system)

1937 May 12

First outside broadcast: King George VI's Coronation procession

1939 Sep 1

Suspension of TV service because of WW2

Re - Start of TV Service in 1946.

British Broadcasting Corporation – BBC History

The British Broadcasting Company started daily transmissions on November 14th 1922, by which time more than one million ten-shilling (50p) licences had been issued. In 1927 the company was restructured as a public corporation -the BBC that we know today- by its founding father, John (later Lord) Reith, but by this time an even newer technology was being developed -television.

In truth, the Corporation was very interested in Baird's experiments and wanted them to continue under their sponsorship, and not under that of any other company. Accordingly, Baird's company was offered the use of facilities on London's South Bank. By 1932 the BBC were sufficiently happy to allow regular experimental broadcasting. They now offered Baird a studio in their newly acquired premises in Portland Place, W1. Studio BB, Britain's and the World's first dedicated television studio, was housed in the basement of Broadcasting House, and it was from here that Baird continued to experiment and refine the new medium. Competition came from the Electronic and Music Industries (EMI), based in Hayes, Middlesex, where they had been working with the Marconi Company on developing a high definition system.

In May of 1934 the British government appointed a committee, under the guidance of Lord Selsdon, to begin enquiries into the viability of setting up a public television service, with recommendations as to the conditions under which such a service could be offered. The results of the Selsdon Report were issued as a single Government White Paper in January of the following year. The BBC was to be entrusted with the development of television, which had to transmit a definition of not less than 240 lines with a minimum of 25 pictures per second. With the publication of this report the era of the low definition picture came to an end with ballerina Lydia Sokolova being the last artiste in Britain to appear via the old 30-line system.

The committee proposed that the two new high definition systems (Baird's 240 line and Marconi-EMI's 405 line) would be chosen to alternate transmissions by the BBC over a set period, until it was decided which was the better. Looking for a suitable site for the new service, the BBC chose Alexandra Palace in Haringey, Greater London. Its position, high on a hill, made it the ideal place to place a transmitter that would cover all of London and many of its surrounding counties.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the magic of television..."

With those words Leslie Mitchell introduced Britain's first high-definition public television programme from Radiolympia. The date was 26th August 1936. This was the World's first Television broadcast. At the start of the war in 1939 over 80,000 viewers had been watching television 7 days a week.

During September 1st 1939 while Mickey Mouse was being shown on Television, All television's became blank and went off air. This programme returned in 1946 and BBC Television and radio has since gone from strength to strength.

English Pantomines – Their History

As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren and have many ancestors from London who were members of various Theatre companies so I have created this article on English Pantomines which I hope is of interest to the reader.

The pantomime first arrived in England as entr'actes between opera pieces, eventually evolving into separate shows. Between 1660 and 1843 only two theatres in London were allowed to put on plays with prose. Other theatres had to put on other forms of entertainment to survive, such as music and dance, circus, and stories told in rhyming couplets and mime. Sometimes these proved more popular than the plays so that it was the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London was one of the licensed theatres, which put on the first performance of an entertainment with pantomime in the title in 1717. ( Which theatre still exists and which shows excellent Pantomines and Plays ).

In Restoration England, pantomime was considered a low form of opera, but without Harlequin. In 1717, actor and manager John Rich introduced Harlequin to the British stage under the name of 'Lun' (for 'lunatic') and began performing wildly popular pantomimes. These pantomimes gradually became more topical and comic, often involving as many special theatrical effects as possible.Colley Cibber and his colleagues competed with Rich and produced their own pantomimes, and pantomime was a substantial (if decried) subgenre. According to some sources, the Lincoln's Inn Field Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre were the first to stage something like real pantomimes (in the later sense that has become codified with its fairly rigid set of conventions), creating high competition between them to put on the more elaborate show.

William Beverley was responsible for the introduction of the transformation scene into pantomime. In Planche's 'Island of Jewels' in 1849 he designed a scene in which a desert island turned into the Island of Jewels of the title. This was the final act of the performance, whereas today the transformation scene generally occurs in the last scene before the interval.

As manager of Drury Lane in the 1870s, Augustus Harris is now considered the father of modern pantomime.

There seems to be some disagreement among scholars as to exactly when the true modern pantomime genre got started. The first modern Cinderella Pantomime in England was the 1804 production at Drury Lane, dir. Mr. Byrne, with music by Michael Kelly (1762-1826).

The Part of Mother Goose whereby a man dresses up as a woman, began in 1902 , when DAN LENO took the part of Mother Goose and set the standard for subsequent modern pantomime dames.

Dads Army – The Funny TV Series

Dad's Army is a British Sitcom by the BBC about the Home guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and broadcast on BBC television between 1968 and 1977. Dads Army the TV Series is one of the funniest series you could watch with It's gentle humour and hilarious situations. As a fan of this British TV Icon I thought I would write the story of the TV series. If you enjoy British comedy can I recommend you get your hands on a DVD and watch an episode of Dad's Army.

Despite the first episode being shown in 1968 the Dad's Army TV Series remain's immensely popular in Britain and the rest of the world. Dad's Army was first shown on British TV on July 31, 1968. There were nine series totalling 80 episodes including three Christmas specials and an hour-long special. At its peak, the programme regularly gained audiences of 18.5 million. There were also four short specials broadcast as part of Christmas Night With The Stars in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1972 plus a Film. It attracted a weekly audience of between 13 - 18 million and is regularly repeated Worldwide. There were also 67 radio shows produced which can also still be heard on BBC Radio 7.

The Home Guard consisted of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, usually owing to age, and as such the series starred several veterans of British film, television and stage, including Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Arnold Ridley, Bill Pertwee, Edward Sinclair and John Laurie. Relative youngsters in the regular cast were Ian Lavender, Clive Dunn (who was made-up to play the elderly Jones), Frank Williams, James Beck (who died suddenly during production of the programme's sixth series, despite being one of the youngest cast members) Janet Davies, Wendy Richards and Colin Bean.

The series has had a profound influence on popular culture in the United Kingdom, with the series' catchphrases and characters well known. It is also credited with having highlighted a hitherto forgotten aspect of defence during the Second World War.


Originally intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad’s Army was based partly on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry’s real-life experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers (later known as the Home Guard). Perry had been 17 years old when he joined the 10th  Hertfordshire Battalion and with a mother who did not like him being out at night and fearing he might catch cold, he bore more than a passing resemblance to the character of Frank Pike.

An elderly lance corporal in the outfit often referred to fighting under Kitchener against the “Fuzzy Wuzzies” and proved to be a perfect model for Jones. Other influences were the film Whiskey Galore! and the work of comedians such as Will hay whose film Oh, Mr. Porter! featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike. Another influence was the Lancastrian comedian Robb Wilton who portrayed a work-shy husband who joined the Home Guard in numerous comic sketches during WW2.

Perry wrote the first script and gave it to David Croft while working as a minor actor in the Croft-produced sitcom Hugh and I, originally intending the role of the spiv, Walker, to be his own. Croft was impressed and sent the script to Michael Mills, Head of Comedy at the BBC. After addressing initial concerns that the programme was making fun of the efforts of the Home Guard, the series was commissioned.

In his book, Dad's Army, Graham McCann explained that the show owes a lot to Michael Mills. It was he who renamed the show Dad's Army. He did not like Brightsea-on-Sea so the location was changed to Walmington-on-Sea. He was happy with the names for the characters Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike but not with other names and he made suggestions: Private Jim Duck became Frazer, Joe Fish became Joe Walker and Jim Jones became Jack Jones. He also suggested adding a Scot to the mix. Jimmy Perry had produced the original idea but was in need of an experienced man to see it through. Mills suggested David Croft and so the successful partnership began.


·       Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe)—the pompous—if essentially brave and unerringly patriotic—local bank manager, Mainwaring appointed himself leader of his town’s contingent of Local Defence Volunteers.

·       Sergeant Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier)—a diffident, upper-class bank clerk who would quietly question Mainwaring's judgement ("Do you think that's wise?"). Wilson served as a Captain in the First World Was.

·       Lance-Corporal Jack Jones (Clive Dunn)—born in 1870, Jones who was the local butcher, was an old campaigner who had joined up as a drummer boy aged 14 and participated, as a boy soldier, in the campaign of Kitchener in the Sudan between 1896 and 1898.

·       Private Joe Walker (James Beck)—“a black market spiv”, Walker was the only fit, able-bodied man of military age in Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard. His absence from the regular armed forces was due to a corned beef allergy.

·       Private Frank Pike (Ian Lavender)—a cosseted mother’s boy, constantly wearing a thick scarf with his uniform to prevent illness, and often the target of Mainwaring’s derision ("Stupid boy!"). His Uncle Arthur was his mother's boyfriend and unwritten father which Pike never clicked on. He also works under Mainwaring in his day-job as assistant bank clerk.

·       Private James Frazer (John Laurie)—a dour Scottish coffin maker and a Chief Petty Officer on HMS Defiant in the Royal Navy who served at the Battle of Jutland as a ship's cook.

·       Private Charles Godfrey (Arnold Ridley)—he is the platoon’s medical orderly.

·       ARP Warden William Hodges (Bill Pertwee)—the platoon’s major rival and nemesis.

·       Mrs. Mavies Pike (Janet Davies)—Pike’s mother and Sergeant Wilson’s lover.

·       Reverend Timothy Farthing (Frank Williams)—The effete vicar of St. Aldhelm’s Church, he shares his church hall and office with Mainwaring’s platoon.

·       Maurice Yeatman (Edward Sinclair)—Mr. Yeatman was the verger at St. Aldhelm’s Church and head of the Sea Scouts group, and was often hostile to the platoon.

·       Private Sponge (Colin Bean)—Private Sponge had the job of representing those members of the platoon not in Corporal Jones’ first section.

·       Private Cheeseman (Talfryn Thomas)—a Welshman who joined the Walmington-on-Sea platoon during the seventh series to compensate for the death of James Beck who played Private Walker.

In June 2010, a statue of Captain George Mainwaring was erected in the Norfolk town of Thetford where most of the TV series Dad's Army was filmed. The statue features Captain Mainwaring sitting to attention on a simple bench in Home Guard uniform, with his pace stick across his knees. The statue is mounted at the end of winding brick pathway with a Union Flag patterned arrow head to reflect the opening credits of the TV series, and the sculpture has been designed so that members of the public can sit alongside Captain Mainwaring for the purpose of having their photo taken.

Goodbye Forever to Dad's army, which was recorded for the last time at the BBC TV Centre in Shepard's Bush in July 1977 and broadcast in November 1977. 

History of the Funny Carry On Film Series

The Carry On Films are some of the funniest films you could watch and as a great fan I thought I would write the history of same. Despite being half a century old, the Carry On films remain immensely popular in Britain and the rest of the world. Twenty-nine original films and one compilation were made between 1958 and 1978 at Pinewood Studios, with an additional movie made in 1992.

Beginning with Carry On Sergeant in 1958, the Carry On films were a long-running series of low-budget British comedy films made at Pinewood Studios. Still often cited as examples of classic British humour, the Carry On films involved fairly simple plots that were then fleshed out with bawdy jokes, farcical situations and slapstick. The Carry On series proved hugely popular with the British public and there were twenty-nine original films and one compilation film made between 1958 and 1978.

As well as spoofing popular films of the time (Carry On Cleo, for example, being a send-up of Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), the Carry On films frequently took inspiration from archetypal British institutions and customs, such as the National Health Service, the monarchy, the empire and the behaviour of Brits abroad. Key to the success of the Carry On films was the roster of actors and actresses who made regular appearances in the films, frequently playing the same kind of character.

The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards.. Many of them parodied more serious films — in the case of Carry On Cleo (1964), the Burton and Taylor film Cleopatra (1963).

The stock-in-trade of Carry On humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British institutions and custom. Although the films were very often slated by the critics, they were popular.

The series began with Carry On Sergeant (1958), about a group of recruits on National Service and was sufficiently successful that others followed. A film had appeared the previous year under the title Carry On Admiral although this was a comedy in a similar vein (with Joan Sims in the cast) it has no connection to the series. There was also an unrelated 1937 film Carry On London, starring future Carry On performer Eric Barker.

The cast were poorly paid — around £5,000 per film for a principal performer. In his diaries, Kenneth Williams lamented this and criticised several of the movies despite his declared fondness for the series as a whole. Peter Rogers, the series' producer, acknowledged: "Kenneth was worth taking care of, because while he cost very little he made a very great deal of money for the franchise."

The films

1.  Carry On Sergeant (1958)

2.  Carry On Nurse (1959)

3.  Carry On Teacher (1959)

4.  Carry on Constable (1960)

5.  Carry On Regardless (1961)

6.  Carry On Cruising (1962)

7.  Carry on Cabby (1963)

8.  Carry on Jack (1963)

9.  Carry on Spying (1964)

10.                Carry on Cleo (1964)

11.                Carry on Cowboy (1965)

12.                Carry on Screaming (1966)

13.                Don't lose Your Head (1966)

14.                Follow That Camel (1967)

15.                Carry On Doctor (1967)

16.                Carry On Up The Khyber (1968)

17.                Carry On Camping (1969)

18.                Carry On Again Doctor (1969)

19.                Carry On Up The Jungle (1970)

20.                Carry On Loving (1970)

21.                Carry On Henry (1971)

22.                Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)

23.                Carry On Matron (1972)

24.                Carry On Abroad (1972)

25.                Carry on Girls (1973)

26.                Carry on Dick (1974)

27.                Carry on Behind (1975)

28.                Carry on England (1976)

29.                That's Carry On (1977)

30.                Carry On Emmanuel (1978)

31.                Carry On Columbus (1992)


Perhaps the most well-known of the Carry On regulars were:

●      Sid James  Appeared in 19 Films

●      Kenneth Williams Appeared in 26 Films

●      Charles Hawtrey  Appeared in 23 Films

●      Barbara Windsor  Appeared in 10 Films

●      Joan Simms Appeared in 24 Films

●      Kenneth Connor  Appeared in 17 Films

●      Hattie Jacques  Appeared in 14 Films

●      Jim Dale  Appeared in 11 Films

●      Bernard Bresslaw  Appeared in 14 Films

●      Frankie Howard  Appeared in 2 Films

●      Peter Butterworth  Appeared in 16 Films

●      Terry Scott Appeared in 7 Films

●      Peter Gilmore Appeared in 11 Films

●      Patsy Rowlands Appeared in 9 Films

●      Jack Douglas Appeared in 8 Films

●      Jon Pertwee Appeared in 4 Films

The characters and comedy style of the Carry On film series were adapted to a television series titled Carry On Laughing and several Christmas Specials.

The golden era for the Carry On films was from 1963 to 1974 when Talbot Rothwell was acting as screenwriter for the series. It was during this period that classic films such as Carry On Screaming (My personal favourite) , Carry On Camping, Carry On Up the Khyber and Carry On Henry were released. Carry On Camping was the standout success of the series and was the highest grossing film in the UK in 1969.


David Niven – Iconic British Actor

David Niven was one of Britain's greatest actors who was famous for his great acting and humour.

David Niven (James David Graham Niven) was born on Monday, March 01, 1909.

The son a well-to-do British Army captain who died in the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, David Niven was shipped off to a succession of boarding schools by his stepfather, who didn't care much for the boy. Young Niven hated the experience and was a poor student, but his late father's reputation helped him get admitted to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and he was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry.

Rakishly handsome and naturally charming, Lt. Niven met a number of high society members while stationed in Malta, and, through their auspices, made several important contacts while attending parties. Although he later claimed to have been nothing more than a wastrel-like "professional guest" at this stage of his life, Niven was actually excellent company, a superb raconteur, and a loyal friend, and he paid back his social obligations by giving lavish parties of his own once he become famous. Niven also insisted that he fell into acting without any prior interest, although he had done amateur theatricals in college.

Following his military discharge, Niven wandered the world working odd jobs ranging from a lumberjack to a gunnery instructor for Cuban revolutionaries to (by his own account) a petty thief. He became a Hollywood extra in 1932 and eventually came to the attention of producer Samuel Goldwyn who had been building up a stable of attractive young contract players. Having made his speaking debut in Without Regret (1935), Niven quickly learned how to successfully get through a movie scene. After several secondary roles for Goldwyn he was loaned out for a lead role in the 20th Century Fox feature Thank You Jeeves (1936). The actor formed lasting friendships with several members of Hollywood's British community – notably Errol Flynn with whom he briefly lived -- and was quite popular with the American-born contingent as well, especially the ladies.

Although he worked steadily in the '30s, it was usually in support of bigger stars; he was seldom permitted to carry a film by himself, except for such modest productions as Dinner at the Ritz (1937) and Raffles (1939). Anxious to do something more substantial than act during World War II, Niven re-entered the British service as a Lieutenant Colonel, where he served nobly, if not spectacularly. (His batman, or valet, during the war was a Private. Peter Ustinov, himself an actor of no mean talent.) Married by the end of the war, Niven went back to films but found that he still wasn't getting any important roles; despite ten years experience, he was considered too "lightweight" to be a major name. His life momentarily shattered by the accidental death of his wife in 1946.


Niven's spirit was restored by his second marriage to Swedish model Hjordis Tersmeden, his wife of 37 years until the actor's death. Once again, Niven took a self-deprecating attitude towards his domestic life, claiming to be a poor husband and worse father, but despite the time spent away from his family, they cherished his concern and affection for them.

After his Goldwtn contract ended in 1949, Niven marked time with inconsequential movies before joining Dick Powell,Charles Boyer and Ida Lupino to form Four Star, a television production company. Niven was finally able to choose strong dramatic roles for himself, becoming one of TV's first and most prolific stars, although his public still preferred him as a light comedian. The actor's film career also took an upswing in the '50s with starring performances in the controversial The Moon Is Blue (1953) -- a harmless concoction which was denied a Production Code seal because the word "virgin" was bandied about -- and the mammoth Around the World in 80 Days (1956), in which Niven played his most famous role, erudite 19th century globetrotter Phileas Fogg. When Laurence Olivier dropped out of the 1958 film Separate Tables, Niven stepped in to play an elderly, disgraced British military man. Although he was as flippant about the part as usual -- telling an interviewer, "They gave me very good lines and then cut to Deborah Kerr while I was saying them" -- he won an Oscar for this performance.

Niven continued his career as a high-priced, A-list actor into the '60s, returning to television in the stylish "caper" series The Rogues in 1964. He revisited his hobby of writing in the early '70s; an earlier novel, -Round the Ragged Rocks, didn't sell very well, but gave him pleasure while working on it. But two breezy autobiographies did better: -The Moon's a Balloon (1972) and -Bring on the Empty Horse (1975). Working alone, without help of a ghostwriter (as opposed to many celebrity authors), Niven was able to entertainingly transfer his charm and wit to the printed page (even if he seldom let the facts impede his storytelling).

In 1982, Niven discovered he was suffering from a neurological illness commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which would prove fatal within a year. Courageously keeping up a front with his friends and the public, Niven continued making media appearances, although he was obviously deteriorating.


While appearing in his last film, Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), the actor's speech became so slurred due to his illness that his lines were later dubbed by impressionist Rich Little. Refusing all artificial life-support systems, Niven died in his Switzerland home later that year.

While his career produced a legacy of worthwhile films, and despite his own public attitude that his life had been something of an elaborate fraud, Niven left behind countless friends and family members who adored him.


·       There Goes the Bride (1932)

·       Eyes of Fate (1933)

·       Cleopatra (1934)

·       Without Regret (1935)

·       Barbary Coast (1935)

·       A Feather in Her Hat (1935)

·       Splendor (1935)

·       "Mutiny On the Bounty" (1935) extra-uncredited

·       Rose-Marie (1936)

·       Palm Springs (1936)

·       Dodsworth (1936)

·       Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 4 (1936)

·       Thank You, Jeeves! (1936)

·       The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

·       Beloved Enemy (1936)

·       We Have Our Moments (1937)

·       The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

·       Dinner at the Ritz (1937)

·       Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)

·       Four Men and a Prayer (1938)

·       Three Blind Mice (1938)

·       The Dawn Patrol (1938)

·       Wuthering Heights (1939)

·       Bachelor Mother (1939)

·       The Real Glory (1939)

·       Eternally Yours (1939)

·       Raffles (1939)

·       The First of the Few (1942)

·       The Way Ahead (1944)

·       A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

·       Magnificent Doll (1946)

·       The Perfect Marriage (1947)

·       The Other Love (1947)

·       The Bishop's Wife (1947)

·       Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948)

·       Enchantment (1948)

·       A Kiss in the Dark (1949)

·       A Kiss for Corliss (1949)

·       The Elusive Pimpernel (1950)

·       The Toast of New Orleans (1950)

·       Happy Go Lovely (1951)

·       Soldiers Three (1951)

·       Appointment with Venus (1951)

·       The Lady Says No (1952)

·       The Moon Is Blue (1953)

·       The Love Lottery (1954)

·       Happy Ever After (1954)

·       Carrington V.C. (1955)

·       The King's Thief (1955)

·       The Birds and the Bees (1956)

·       The Silken Affair (1956)

·       Around the World in 80 Days

·       Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957)

·       The Little Hut (1957)

·       My Man Godfrey (1957)

·       Screen Snapshots: Glamorous Hollywood (1958)

·       Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

·       Separate Tables (1958)

·       Ask Any Girl (1959)

·       Happy Anniversary (1959)

·       Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)

·       The Guns of Navarone (1961)

·       The Shortest Day (1962)

·       Conquered City (1962)

·       The Best of Enemies (1962)

·       The Road to Hong Kong (1962)

·       Guns of Darkness (1962)

·       55 Days at Peking (1963)

·       The Pink Panther (1963)

·       Bedtime Story (1964)

·       Where the Spies Are (1965)

·       Lady L (1965)

·       Eye of the Devil (1966)

·       All Eyes on Sharon Tate (1967)

·       Casino Royale (1967)

·       Prudence and the Pill (1968)

·       The Impossible Years (1968)

·       The Extraordinary Seaman (1969)

·       The Brain (1969)

·       Before Winter Comes (1969)

·       The Statue (1971)

·       King, Queen, Knave (1972)

·       The Canterville Ghost (1974)

·       Vampira (1974)

·       Old Dracula (1974)

·       Paper Tiger (1975)

·       The Remarkable Rocket (1975)

·       No Deposit, No Return(1976)

·       Murder by Death (1976)

·       Candleshoe (1977)

·       Speed Fever (1978)

·       Death on the Nile (1978)

·       A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979)

·       Escape to Athena (1979)

·       Rough Cut (1980)

·       The Sea Wolves (1980)

·       Better Late Than Never (1982)

·       Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

·       Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)



Cary Grant – Iconic British Actor


Cary Grant was one of Britain's greatest actors who was famous for his great acting and comic timing.


Archibald Alexander Leach (January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986), better known by his screen name, Cary Grant, was an English film actor. With his distinctive Mid-Atlantic accent, he was perhaps the foremost exemplar of the debonair leading man, not only handsome, but also witty and charming. He was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.


Archie Leach was born in Horfield, Bristol, England. An only child (before he was born his parents had had another son who died in infancy), Leach had a confused and unhappy childhood. His mother, Elsie, was placed in a mental institution when he was nine. His father (who later had a relationship with another woman, with whom he had a son) never told him the truth, and he only learned in 1935 that she was still alive, in an institution.

This left Leach with an insecurity in his relations with women and a secretiveness about his inner life. These insecurities, by his own admission, led him to crave applause and attention and to create a new persona that would attract it. After being expelled from Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918 (for investigating the girls' bathroom), he joined the Bob Pender stage troupe. Grant traveled with the troupe to the United States in 1920 for a two-year tour; when the troupe returned to England, Grant decided to stay in the U.S.


Over time, he created a unique accent and persona that mixed working and upper class accents, while supporting himself as, among other things, a hawker.


After some success in light Broadway comedies, he came to Hollywood in 1931, where he acquired the name Cary Grant.


Grant starred in some of the classic screwball comedies, including The Awful Truth with Irene Dunne (the pivotal film in the establishment of Grant's screen persona), Bringing Up Baby with Katharine Hepburn, His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Arsenic and Old Lace with Priscilla Lane. These performances solidified his appeal, and The Philadelphia Story, with Hepburn and James Stewart, presented his best-known screen role: the charming if sometimes unreliable man, formerly married to an intelligent and strong-willed woman who first divorced him, then realized that he was — with all his faults — irresistible.


Grant was one of Hollywood's top box-office attractions for several decades. He was a versatile actor, who did demanding physical comedy in movies like Gunga Din with the skills he had learned on the stage. Howard Hawks said that Grant was "so far the best that there is. There isn't anybody to be compared to him".


Grant was a favorite actor of Alfred Hitchcock, notorious for disliking actors, who said that Grant was "the only actor I ever loved in my whole life". Grant appeared in such Hitchcock classics as Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.

In the mid-1950s, Grant formed his own production company, Grantley Productions, and produced a number of movies distributed by Universal, such as Operation Petticoat, Indiscreet, That Touch Of Mink (co-starring Doris Day), and Father Goose.

While Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards in the 1940s, he was denied the Oscar throughout his active career as he was considered a maverick by virtue of the fact that he was the first actor to "go independent," effectively bucking the old studio system, which pretty much completely controlled what an actor could or could not do. In this way, Grant was able to control every aspect of his career. The cost was no golden statuette during his active career.


Grant finally received the long overdue honors he so deserved in 1970 with a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 1981, he received the Kennedy Centre Honours.




1)    This Is the Night (1932)

2)    Sinners in the Sun (1932)

3)    Singapore Sue (1932) (short subject)

4)    Merrily We Go to Hell (1932)

5)    Devil and the Deep (1932)

6)    Blonde Venus (1932)

7)    Hot Saturday (1932)

8)    Madame Butterfly (1932)

9)    Hollywood on Parade (1932) (short subject)

10) She Done Him Wrong (1933)

11) Woman Accused (1933)

12) Hollywood on Parade No. 9 (1933) (short subject)

13) The Eagle and the Hawk (1933)

14) Gambling Ship (1933)

15) I'm No Angel (1933)

16) Alice in Wonderland (1933)

17) Thirty Day Princess (1934)

18) Born to Be Bad (1934)

19) Kiss and Make Up (1934)

20) Ladies Should Listen (1934)

21) Enter Madame (1935)

22) Wings in the Dark (1935)

23) The Last Outpost (1935)

24) Pirate Party on Catalina Isle (1935) (short subject)

25) Sylvia Scarlett (1935)

26) The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss (1936)

27) Big Brown Eyes (1936)

28) Suzy (1936)

29) Wedding Present (1936)

30) When You're in Love (1937)

31) Topper (1937)

32) The Toast of New York (1937)

33) The Awful Truth (1937)

34) Bringing up Baby (1938)

35) Holiday (1938)

36) Gunga Din (1939)

37) Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

38) In Name Only (1939)

39) His Girl Friday (1940)

40) My Favorite Wife (1940)

41) The Howards of Virginia (1940)

42) The Philadelphia Story (1940)

43) Penny Serenade (1941)

44) Suspicion (1941)

45) The Talk of the Town (1942)

46) Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

47) Mr. Lucky (1943)

48) Destination Tokyo (1943)

49) Once Upon a Time (1944)

50) Road to Victory (1944) (short subject)

51) None But the Lonely Heart (1944)

52) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

53) Without Reservations (1946) (Cameo)

54) Night and Day (1946)

55) Notorious (1946)

56) The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

57) The Bishop's Wife (1947)

58) Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

59) Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)

60) I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

61) Crisis (1950)

62) People Will Talk (1951)

63) Room for One More (1952)

64) Monkey Business (1952)

65) Dream Wife (1953)

66) To Catch a Thief (1955)

67) An Affair to Remember (1957)

68) The Pride and the Passion (1957)

69) Kiss Them for Me (1957)

70) Indiscreet (1958)

71) Houseboat (1958)

72) North by Northwest (1959)

73) Operation Petticoat (1959)

74) The Grass Is Greener (1960)

75) That Touch of Mink (1962)

76) Charade (1963)

77) Father Goose (1964)

78) A Tribute to the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital (1965) (short subject)

79) Walk, Don't Run (1966)

80) Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) (Documentary Commentary)


In the last few years of his life, Grant undertook tours of the United States with "A Conversation with Cary Grant", in which he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions. It was just before one of these performances, in Davenport, Iowa, on November 29, 1986, that Grant suffered a stroke (November 29, 1986), and died in the hospital a few hours later.


Ian Fleming stated that he partially had Cary Grant in mind when he created his suave super-spy, James Bond. The later Bond, Roger Moore, was selected for sharing Grant's wry sense of humour.


In November 2004 Grant was named "The Greatest Movie Star of All Time" by Premiere Magazine.


Sir Charlie Chaplin – Iconic British Comic Actor and Director


Sir Charlie Chaplin was one of Britain's greatest actors/directors who was famous for his great acting, Directing and genius comic performances.


Sir Charlie Chaplin was born into a poor London family of music hall entertainers on April 16th 1889.

Even as a child he found success as a performer, making his stage debut in 1894.

He played a paper-boy in 'Sherlock Holmes', which ran from 1903-6, after which he worked as a mime in vaudeville theatres, until he left London for America.

In 1910 when Charlie first arrived in the States he joined the Karno pantomime troupe, and toured with them for six years.

He signed his first film deal at the end of 1913, with Keystone pictures. His film debut was called 'Making a Living'. It was in the 1915 film, 'The Tramp', that Chaplin first appeared as the downtrodden, dreamy character for which he is most famous.

By the early 1920's Chaplin was making his own films with actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Having control of his own films lead to classics, such as 'The Kid', 'The Gold Rush', 'City Lights', 'Modern Times' and 'The Great Dictator'. These films made him the most popular and successful film star of his time.

When sound films appeared, Charlie's natural terrain of silent film was eclipsed by the novelty and realism of this new technology.

Chaplin was accused of being a communist by senator McCarthy, and a file was produced that supposedly detailed his subversive political activities since 1922.

In 1952, Chaplin visited Europe and was not allowed to return to the US; he settled in Switzerland. He made a film, 'The King In New York', in 1957, which was full of criticism of McCarthy and American society in general.

He was allowed to return to the US in 1972 to receive an Oscar for his services to film.


1.   A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) .... An old steward

2.   A King in New York (1957) .... King Shahdov

3.   Limelight (1952) .... Calvero

4.   Monsieur Verdoux (1947) .... Henri Verdoux

5.   The Great Dictator (1940) .... Hynkel - Dictator of Tomania / A Jewish Barber

6.   Modern Times (1936) (as Charlie Chaplin) .... A Factory Worker

7.   City Lights (1931) (as Charlie Chaplin) .... A Tramp
... aka "City Lights: A Comedy Romance in Pantomime" - USA
(copyright title)

8.   The Circus (1928) (as Charlie Chaplin) .... A Tramp

9.   Camille (1926/II) .... Mike
... aka "The Fate of a Coquette" - USA

10. The Gold Rush (1925) .... The Lone Prospector

11. A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) (uncredited) .... Station Porter

12. The Pilgrim (1923) .... The Pilgrim

13. Pay Day (1922/I) .... Laborer

14. Nice and Friendly (1922) .... Tramp

15. The Idle Class (1921) .... Tramp and Husband
... aka "Vanity Fair" - USA
(alternative title)

16. The Nut (1921/I) (unconfirmed) (uncredited) .... Chaplin impersonator

17. The Kid (1921) (as Charlie Chaplin) .... A Tramp

18. A Day's Pleasure (1919) (as Charlie Chaplin) .... Father
... aka "A Ford Story" - USA
(alternative title)

19. Sunnyside (1919) .... Farm handyman

20. The Professor (1919) .... Professor Bosco

21. Shoulder Arms (1918) .... Recruit

22. The Bond (1918) .... Charlie

23. Triple Trouble (1918) .... The Janitor
... aka "Charlie's Triple Trouble" - USA
(alternative title)

24. A Dog's Life (1918) (uncredited) .... Tramp

25. The Adventurer (1917/I) .... The Convict

26. The Immigrant (1917) .... Immigrant
... aka "A Modern Columbus" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Broke" - USA
(8mm release title (short version))

... aka "Hello U.S.A." - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The New World" - USA
(alternative title)

27. The Cure (1917) .... The Inebriate
... aka "The Water Cure" - USA
(alternative title)

28. Easy Street (1917) .... The Derelict

29. The Rink (1916) .... A Waiter. Posing as Sir Cecil Seltzer
... aka "Rolling Around" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Waiter" - USA
(alternative title)

30. Behind the Screen (1916) .... Goliath's Assistant - David
... aka "The Pride of Hollywood" - USA
(alternative title)

31. The Pawnshop (1916) .... Pawnshop assistant
... aka "At the Sign of the Dollar" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "High and Low Finance" - USA
(alternative title)

32. The Count (1916) .... Tailor's apprentice
... aka "Almost a Gentleman" - USA
(alternative title)

33. One A.M. (1916) .... Drunk
... aka "Solo" - USA
(alternative title)

34. The Vagabond (1916) .... Street Musician
... aka "Gipsy Life" - USA
(alternative title)

35. The Fireman (1916) .... Fireman
... aka "A Gallant Fireman" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Fiery Circle" - USA
(alternative title)

36. The Floorwalker (1916) .... Tramp
... aka "Shop" - USA
(alternative title)

37. Burlesque on Carmen (1916) .... Darn Hosiery
... aka "Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on Carmen" - USA
(complete title)

38. Police (1916) .... Charlie, Convict 999
... aka "Charlie in the Police" - USA
(alternative title)

39. A Burlesque on Carmen (1915) .... Darn Hosiery
... aka "Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on Carmen" - USA
(complete title)

40. A Night in the Show (1915) .... Mr. Pest and Mr. Rowdy

41. Shanghaied (1915/I) .... Tramp
... aka "Charlie Shanghaied" - USA
(alternative title)

42. The Bank (1915) .... Charlie, a Janitor
... aka "Charlie in the Bank" - USA
(alternative title)

43. A Woman (1915) .... Gentleman/'Nora Nettlerash'
... aka "Charlie the Perfect Lady" - USA
(alternative title)

44. Work (1915) .... Izzy A. Wake's assistant
... aka "Charlie the Decorator" - USA
(alternative title)

45. His Regeneration (1915) (uncredited) .... A customer

46. By the Sea (1915) .... Stroller
... aka "Charlie by the Sea" - USA
(alternative title)

47. The Tramp (1915) .... Tramp
... aka "Charlie on the Farm" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Charlie the Tramp" - USA
(alternative title)

48. A Jitney Elopement (1915) .... Suitor, the Fake Count

49. In the Park (1915) .... Charlie

50. The Champion (1915) .... Challenger
... aka "Charlie the Champion" - USA
(alternative title)

51. A Night Out (1915/I) .... Reveller
... aka "Charlie's Drunken Daze" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Charlie's Night Out" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "His Night Out" - USA
(alternative title)

52. His New Job (1915) .... Film Extra

53. His Prehistoric Past (1914) .... Weakchin
... aka "The Hula-Hula Dance" - USA
(alternative title)

54. Getting Acquainted (1914) .... Mr. Sniffels

55. Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914) .... The City Guy

56. His Trysting Place (1914) .... Clarence, the Husband
... aka "His Trysting Places" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Henpecked Spouse" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Ladies' Man" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Very Much Married" - USA
(alternative title)

57. His Musical Career (1914) .... Charlie, Piano Mover
... aka "Charlie as a Piano Mover" - USA
(alternative title)

58. Gentlemen of Nerve (1914) .... Mr. Wow-Woe, Track Fanatic

59. Dough and Dynamite (1914) .... Pierre, a Waiter

60. Those Love Pangs (1914) .... Masher
... aka "Oh, You Girls" - USA
(alternative title)

61. The New Janitor (1914) .... Janitor

62. The Rounders (1914) .... Reveller
... aka "Going Down" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Oh, What a Night" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Love Thief" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Tip, Tap, Toe" - USA
(alternative title)

63. His New Profession (1914) .... Charlie

64. The Masquerader (1914/I) .... Film Actor/Beautiful Stranger
... aka "The Female Impersonator" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Perfumed Lady" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Picnic" - USA
(alternative title)

65. Recreation (1914) .... Tramp

66. The Face on the Bar Room Floor (1914) .... Artist

67. The Property Man (1914) .... The Property Man
... aka "Charlie on the Boards" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Hits of the Past" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Props" - USA
(alternative title)

68. Laughing Gas (1914) .... Dentist's Assistant
... aka "Busy Little Dentist" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Laffing Gas" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Tuning His Ivories" - USA
(alternative title)

69. Mabel's Married Life (1914) .... Mabel's Husband

70. Mabel's Busy Day (1914) .... Tipsy Nuisance

71. The Knockout (1914) .... Referee

72. Her Friend the Bandit (1914) .... Bandit

73. The Fatal Mallet (1914) .... Suitor

74. A Busy Day (1914) .... Wife
... aka "Busy as Can Be" - USA
(alternative title)

75. Caught in the Rain (1914) .... Tipsy Hotel Guest
... aka "In the Park" - USA
(reissue title)

76. Caught in a Cabaret (1914) .... Waiter
... aka "Charlie the Waiter" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Prime Minister Charlie" - USA
(alternative title)

77. Twenty Minutes of Love (1914) .... Pickpocket

78. Mabel at the Wheel (1914) .... Villain
... aka "A Hot Finish" - USA
(alternative title)

79. The Star Boarder (1914/II) .... The Star Boarder
... aka "The Fatal Lantern" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Landlady's Pet" - USA
(alternative title)

80. Cruel, Cruel Love (1914) .... Lord Helpus/Mr. Dovey

81. His Favorite Pastime (1914) .... Drunken masher
... aka "Charlie Is Thirsty" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "Charlie's Reckless Fling" - USA
(alternative title)

... aka "The Reckless Fling" - USA
(alternative title)

82. Tango Tangles (1914) .... Tipsy Dancer

83. Film Johnny (1914) .... The Film Johnnie
... aka "A Film Johnnie"- USA
(original title)

... aka "Charlie the Actor" - USA
(alternative title)

84. Between Showers (1914) .... Masher
... aka "In Wrong Thunder and Lightning" - USA
(alternative title)

85. A Thief Catcher (1914/I) (uncredited) .... Cop

86. Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914) .... Tramp

87. Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914) .... Tramp
... aka "The Pest" - USA
(alternative title)

88. Making a Living (1914) .... Swindler
... aka "Take My Picture" - USA
(alternative title)

Chaplin's robust health began to slowly fail in the late 1960s, after the completion of his final film A Countess from Hong Kong and more rapidly after he received his Academy Award in 1972. By 1977, he had difficulty communicating, and was using a wheelchair. Chaplin died in his sleep in Corsier-Sur-Vevey Switzerland on Christmas Day 1977.

Chaplin was interred Corsier-Sur-Veveyn Cemetery, Vaud, Switzerland. On 1 March 1978, his corpse was stolen by a small group of Swiss mechanics in an attempt to extort money from his family. The plot failed, the robbers were captured, and the corpse was recovered eleven weeks later near Lake Geneva. His body was reburied under 6 feet (1.8m) of concrete to prevent further attempts.


Sir Laurence Olivier ( Lord Larry ) –  Iconic Theatre Actor


Lord Laurence Olivier was one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the greatest Theatre actors of the 20th Century. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his early beginnings to his present day status as a great English Icon.


Laurence Kerr Olivier was born into an old but modest Anglican family on March 22nd  1907 in Dorking, Surrey, England. His father was a stern minister with a closet fanaticism for plays and literature. So when Master Olivier inherited his fathers mania for the stage it was heartily encouraged and he debuted in a parochial school production of ‘Julius Caesar’ at the age of 9. He was even invited to present a special matinee of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1922.

In preparation for a professional career in acting, Olivier studied at the Central School in London where one of his instructors was Claude Rains. He made his professional London debut in ‘The Suliot Officer’ and joined the Birmingham Repertory in 1926; by the time Olivier was 20 he had played the title role in Chekhov's ‘Uncle Vanya’ (1927). For many years he scorned the ‘silver screen’ actually not appearing in a film until 1930 - ‘Too many crooks’.

His subsequent West End stage triumphs included Journey's End and Private Lives. He married actress Jill Esmond in 1930, and moved with her to America when Private Lives opened on Broadway. They were destined to have just the one son, Tarquin, six years later.
Signed to a Hollywood contract in 1931, Olivier was promoted as "the new Ronald Colman," but he failed to make much of an impression onscreen. By the time Greta Garbo insisted that he be replaced by John Gilbert in her upcoming Queen Christina (1933), Olivier was disenchanted with the movies and vowed to remain on-stage.

This theatre breakthrough came in 1935, when he was cast as Romeo in John Gielgud's London production of Romeo and Juliet. (He also played Mercutio on the nights Gielgud assumed the leading role himself.) He was also becoming disenchanted with Gielguds style of acting Shakespeare and it was around this time that Olivier reportedly became fascinated with the works of Sigmund Freud. This led to his applying a ‘psychological’ approach to all future stage and screen characters. Whatever the reason, Olivier's already superb performances improved dramatically, and, before long, he was being judged on his own merits by critics, and not merely compared (often disparagingly) to Gielgud or Ralph Richardson.

He also made several films at this time without enjoying the medium, though he won some popularity for such films as Fire Over England (1937) and The Divorce of Lady X (1938), but it was William Wyler, directing him as Heathcliff in Hollywood's Wuthering Heights (1939), who taught him how to value film.

When World War II broke out, Olivier intended to join the Royal Air Force, but was still contractually obliged to other parties. He apparently disliked actors such as Charles Laughton and Sir Cedric Hardwicke, who would hold charity cricket matches to help the war effort. Olivier took flying lessons, and racked up over 200 hours. After two years of service, he rose to the rank Lieutenant Olivier RNVR, as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm but was never called to see action.

A new biography of Olivier written by Michael Munn (titled Lord Larry) claims that in 1940, while still in America Olivier was recruited by Special Operations Executive as a agent to build support in the United States for Britian's war with Nazi Germany. According to the book Olivier was recruited by film producer and MI5 operative Alexander Korda on the instructions of Winston Churchill.

According to an article in The Telegraph David Niven, a good friend of Olivier's, is said to have told Michael Munn,

'What was dangerous for his country was that (Olivier) could have been accused of being an agent'.

This sounds ludicrous now in the light of history, but before America was brought into the war it didn't tolerate foreign agents. Niven continues...

"So this was a danger for Larry because he could have been arrested. And what was worse, if German agents had realised what Larry was doing, they would, I am sure, have gone after him."

One of this other more conspicuous contributions to the war effort was his joyously jingoistic film production of Henry V (1944), for which he served as producer, director, and star. Like all his future film directorial efforts, Henry V pulled off the difficult trick of retaining its theatricality without ever sacrificing its cinematic values. ‘Henry V’ won Olivier an honorary Oscar, not to mention major prizes from several other corners of the world. The King bestowed a Knighthood upon him in 1947, and he served up another celluloid Shakespeare the next year, producing, directing and starring in Hamlet (1948). This time he won two Oscars: one for his performance, the other for the film itself a feat only once again repeated by Roberto Benigni for ‘Life Is Beautiful’ (1997).

Olivier's stage work took precedence during the 1950s and 1960s, during which time he directed himself in only two other films: the spellbinding Richard III (1955) a film laden with the theatre's acting great (Gielgud is especially moving as Clarence); and ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (1957).

Among the other British films, there are some razor-sharp character studies, such as the courteous, cautious policeman in ‘The Magic Box’ (1951), the investigating inspector in ‘Bunny Lake Is Missing’ (1965) and the failed teacher in ‘Term of Trial’ (1962). It is also a treat for future generations to have on film his seedy music hall ‘has been’ in ‘The Entertainer’ (1960), the theatrical version of which (1957-58) had marked his induction into the changing drama of the mid-century. His Mahdi in ‘Khartoum’ (1966) is really out acted by the quieter, more cinematic performance of Charlton Heston as General Gordon; this was symptomatic of how Olivier's mesmeric theatricality (and he is by no means alone in this matter in the history of British cinema) could sometimes seem too coarse for the intimacy of the cinema.

His personal life was never personal. He was married to Jill Esmond in 1930 and they finally divorced to allow Olivier to marry Vivien Leigh in 1940. They became one of the cinemas most famous double acts, appearing in both films and plays together. Vivien suffered from depression and during the couples tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1948 she suffered dreadfully from it. Laurence was later to remark he ‘had lost her’ in Australia. They both had affairs in the 1950’s and eventually divorced in 1960.

Larry then married Joan Plowright in 1961, his co-star in ‘The Entertainer’. Together the couple had three children, Richard Kerr, Tamsin Agnes Margaret and Julie-Kate. Both daughters are actresses. The couple were married until his death from cancer in 1989.. He was knighted in 1947 and in 1970, he became Lord Olivier and assumed a seat in the House of Lords the following year. Four years later, suffering from a life-threatening illness, he made his last stage appearance.

Sir Larry continued making two or three films a year well into his seventies and eighties and was nominated twice more for Best Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor (none of them, it should be noted, for Shakespearean films!). He even did some TV, receiving five Emmy Awards, most notably for the delightful "Love Among the Ruins" (1975) in which he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn.

He was involved with Richard Attenborough in ‘A Bridge Too Far’ (1977). His portrayal of the Dutch doctor caught up in the midst of a dreadful conflict was both sensitive and strong. He, by this stage, had both British and Danish Knighthoods. One of his best performances I felt (there are many!) came late in his film career as he played Ezra Lieberman, the Nazi Hunter, in ‘The Boys from Brazil’ (1978). Gregory Peck (brilliant every time) was outshone by Larry as he quietly and thoughtfully went about the task of tracking down Josef Mengele. The following year his ‘Van Helsing’ in the film ‘Dracula’ (1979) was thoughtful and although the film was poor Olivier hid not shame himself in role. By this stage he had established a record of near-unparalleled achievement on stage, screen and TV, and was so heaped with honours that nothing could have diminished him – even if the critics were having a go!

It should also be noted that even with wealth of noble titles, he refused to carry on a conversation with anyone who wouldn't address him as "Larry".

He was nominated 13 times for US Academy Awards and won 4

He was nominated for 8 British Academy Awards and won 2

Along the way he also collected 5 Emmy's, 3 Golden Globes and countless other accolades.

'I'd like people to remember me for a diligent expert workman. I think a poet is a workman. I think Shakespeare was a workman. And God's a workman. I don't think there's anything better than a workman'

'Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word'.

Larry Olivier – the stage and screen actor who had nearly every accolade known to man heaped upon him. Undoubtedly the best Shakespearean interpreter of all time, perhaps the greatest classical actor of the era and one of the finest cinematic actors of his generation. He died on the11th  July 1989 (aged 82) at Steyning, West Sussex, England.

Dame Margarat Rutherford – That Funny English Actress

I have always been interested in English History and arts and as a fan of Margarat Rutherford the character actress, who was famous for her playing of Miss Marple in the 1950's and her comical parts in films from the 1940's to 1960's.

Margaret Rutherford, the daughter of William Benn and Florence Rutherford, was born on 11th May 1892. Her father was the brother of the politician John Benn. Before her birth, her father had murdered her grandfather, Julius Benn. As a result of this tragedy, Margaret took her mother's name. Margaret's mother then died when she was three years old and she was brought up by her aunt.

At school Rutherford developed an interest in the theatre and her aunt paid for her to have private acting lessons. When her aunt died she left Margaret a small amount of money so she could pursue a career on the stage. Following a number of years spent as a speech and piano teacher, she trained at the Old Vic and debuted onstage in 1925 where she appeared in several small roles.

Her slightly fully shape was unconventional for many female stars at this time and this often lead her to a number of unusual female roles such as spinsters and detectives. She was originally a teacher of elocution, (that's an English word for speaking with the correct pronunciation of words), which meant that in many ways much of her comedy was derived from her extensive vocal ability.

Some of her finest parts actually originated in the theatre – for example she had played both Madame Arcati and Miss Prism on the stage before she repeated the roles in the screen adaptations of Blithe Spirit (1945) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1952).

Rutherford made her first appearance in London's West End theatres in 1933 but her talent was not recognised by the critics until her performance as Miss Prism in the play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest' (1939).

In summer 1941, Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opened on the London stage, with Coward himself directing. She played as Madame Arcati, the fake psychic in a role in which Coward had earlier envisaged for her and which he then especially shaped.

It would be as Madame Arcati in David Lean's 'Blithe Spirit' (1945) that would actually establish her as a big screen success. This would become one of her most memorable performances, with her bicycling about the Kentish countryside, cape fluttering behind her. Interestingly it would also establish the model for portraying that pseudo-soothsayer forever thereafter and there have been about six remakes of the film. As a slight aside - as Noel Coward had Margaret in mind for his Madame Arcati creation, so also did Agatha Christie create Miss Marple for Rutherford a number of years later.
Some of her finest screen work was when she was in fifties. She was superb as Nurse Carey in Miranda (1948) and completely believable in the role of Professor Hatton Jones Passport to Pimlico (1949). More success followed as see starred along Alistir Sim in ‘The Happiest days of your life' (1950).

Then came along the role that she was so destined for, that of Miss Letitia Prism in Anthony Asquiths ‘The Importance of Being Earnest' (1952). Incredibly despite a whole string of very capable and distinguished performances – she had still not won a single film honour. More comic characters followed including Prudence Croquet in ‘An Alligator Named Daisy' (1955), and, quite properly part of those self-conscious celebrations of British cinema, ‘The Magic Box' (1951).

She was then Mrs. Fazackalee in Basil Deardens ‘The smallest show on Earth' (1957) with such notables as Virginia McKenna, Peter Sellers and Leslie Phillips. For much of the 60's she become synonymous with Miss Jane Marple) although a particular favourite of mine is the 1963 film The Mouse on the Moon. She also was awarded an OBE for services to stage and screen in 1861.

She evatually got some recognition from her peers winning the Oscar and Golden Globe for her role as The Duchess of Brighton in ‘The VIPs' (1963) directed by Anthony Asquith. Also that year Agatha Christie dedicated her 1963 novel "The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side" to Rutherford in admiration of her work.

Orson Welles made an art house tribute by casting her as Mistress Quickly in ‘Chimes at Midnight' (1965). Two years later her OBE was elevated to DBE making her a Dame of the British Empire. She finished working a year later although she read a number of stories on the childrens programme Jackanory (BBC1).

She was married to actor Stringer Davis from 1945 to her death – she also appeared in several films with him.

Dame Margaret was a cousin of the radical left-wing Labour politician Tony Benn. Towards the end of her life she started to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, Dame Margaret Rutherford died in 1972 at the ripe old age of 80.



Film Role Notes:


Talk of the Devil


Dusty Ermine

Evelyn Summers aka Miss Butterby, old gang moll

Troubled Waters

Bit role



Missing, Believed Married

Lady Parke

Catch As Catch Can

Maggie Carberry

Big Fella



Beauty and the Barge

Mrs. Baldwin


Spring Meeting

Aunt Bijou

Quiet Wedding



Yellow Canary

Mrs. Towcester

The Demi-Paradise

Rowena Ventnor


English Without Tears

Lady Christabel Beauclerk


Blithe Spirit

Madame Arcati


While the Sun Shines

Dr. Winifred Frye

Meet Me at Dawn

Madame Vernore



Nurse Carey


Passport to Pimlico

Professor Hatton-Jones


The Happiest Days of Your Life

Muriel Whitchurch

Quel bandito sono io
(UK title:
Her Favorite Husband)

Mrs. Dotherington


The Magic Box

Lady Pond


Curtain Up

Catherine Beckwith/Jeremy St. Claire

Miss Robin Hood

Miss Honey

The Importance of Being Earnest

Miss Letitia Prism

Castle in the Air

Miss Nicholson


Innocents in Paris

Gwladys Inglott

Trouble in Store

Miss Bacon


The Runaway Bus

Miss Cynthia Beeston

Mad About Men

Nurse Carey

Aunt Clara

Clara Hilton


An Alligator Named Daisy

Prudence Croquet


The Smallest Show on Earth

Mrs. Fazackalee

Just My Luck

Mrs. Dooley


I'm All Right Jack

Aunt Dolly


On the Double

Lady Vivian

Murder, She Said

Miss Jane Marple


Murder at the Gallop

Miss Jane Marple

The Mouse on the Moon

Grand Duchess Gloriana XIII

The V.I.P.s

The Duchess of Brighton

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe


Murder Most Foul

Miss Jane Marple

Murder Ahoy!

Miss Jane Marple


Chimes at Midnight

Mistress Quickly

The Alphabet Murders

Miss Jane Marple

uncredited cameo


A Countess from Hong Kong

Miss Gaulswallow


Princess Ilaria

The Wacky World of Mother Goose

Mother Goose voice

Supergroup Queen and Freddie Mercury – History

I have decided to create this article about the greatest pop group in the world - "Queen" as it's one of the Icons of Britain.

Arguably Britain's and the World's greatest Pop Group.

Queen began life as a glam rock unit in 1972. Brian May (b. 19 July 1947, Twickenham, Middlesex, England; guitar) and Roger Taylor (b. Roger Meddows-Taylor, 26 July 1949, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England; drums) had been playing in a college group called Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. When the latter left to join Humpty Bong (featuring former Bee Gees drummer Colin Petersen), May and Taylor elected to form a new band with vocalist Freddie Mercury (b. Frederick Bulsara, 5 September 1946, Zanzibar, Africa, d. 24 November 1991). The name Bulsara was taken from the small Gujarati town in which Bomi Bulsara, Freddie's father, was brought up. Freddie's father was an accountant for the British Colonial Office in Zanzibar. Early in 1971 bassist John Deacon (b. 19 August 1951, Leicester, England) completed the line-up.

Queen were signed to EMI late in 1972 and launched the following spring with a gig at London's Marquee club. Soon after the failed single, Keep Yourself Alive, they issued a self-titled album, which was an interesting fusion of '70s glam and late '60s heavy rock.

After spending his formative years in India, Freddie and his family fled to England because of a revolution in Zanzibar. He was 18 when he arrived in England. There, he pursued a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design at Ealing Art College, following in the footsteps of Pete Townshend. This knowledge was to come in useful when he designed queens famous crest. After a few short years, he fell in love with Britain and consequently he took out British Citezenship.

Queen started using studio overdubs in a serious way with their second album, Queen II, which features Freddie's music on the entire second side of the LP (or, in CD parlance, tracks 6-11). Many listeners identify "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the pinnacle of his musical achievement, but it is possible to find the seeds of this mini-opera in his earlier works.

Queen toured extensively and recorded a second album which fulfilled their early promise by reaching the UK Top 5. Soon after, Seven Seas Of Rhye gave them their first hit single, while SHEER HEART ATTACK consolidated their commercial standing. The title track from the album was also the band's first US hit.

The pomp and circumstance of Queen's recordings and live act were embodied in the outrageously camp theatrics of the satin-clad Mercury, who was swiftly emerging as one of rock's most notable showmen during the mid-'70s.1975 was to prove a watershed in the group's career.

After touring the Far East, they entered the studio with producer Roy Thomas Baker and completed the kitsch epic Bohemian Rhapsody, in which Mercury succeeded in transform ing a seven-minute single into a mini-opera. The track was both startling and unique in pop and dominated the Christmas charts in the UK, remaining at number 1 for an astonishing nine weeks. The power of the single was reinforced by an elaborate video production, highly innovative for its period and later much copied by other acts.

The album, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, was one of the most expensive and expansive albums of its period and lodged at number 1 in the UK, as well as hitting the US Top 5. Queen were now aspiring to the superstar bracket. Their career thereafter was a carefully marketed succession of hit singles, annual albums and extravagantly produced stage shows.

A DAY AT THE RACES continued the bombast, while the catchy Somebody To Love and anthemic We Are The Champions both reached number 2 in the UK. Queen singles output took off with the rockabilly Crazy Little Thing Called Love and disco-influenced Another One Bites The Dust (both US number 1's).

The group's soundtrack for the movie FLASH GORDON was another success, typical of their pretentious approach. By the close of 1981, Queen were back at number 1 in the UK for the first time since Bohemian Rhapsody with Under Pressure (a collaboration with David Bowie).

After a flurry of solo ventures, the group returned in fine form in 1984 with the satiric Radio Gaga, followed by the histrionic I Want To Break Free.

A performance at 1985's Live Aid displayed the group at their most professional and many acclaimed them the stars of the day. Coincidentally, their next single was One Vision, an idealistic song in keeping with the spirit of Live Aid. Queen's recorded output lessened during the late '80s as they concentrated on extra-curricular ventures.

With a wide vocal range and a somewhat operatic technique, Freddie Mercury was one of the most versatile and technically accomplished singers to work in the pop idiom. He was the composer of many of Queen's hits, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Somebody to Love" and "We Are the Champions". Freddie's songwriting was unique, demonstrating influence from a variety of sources, but a strong individual sense of melody, harmony, and complex orchestration. In several of his most well-crafted and popular tunes he provided all of the vocal tracks, resulting in a smooth controlled sound that was at the time unprecedented.

The space between releases did not effect the group's popularity, however, as was proven in 1991 when INNUENDO entered the UK chart at number 1. After Freddie's death the group re-listened to the last album and realised he had opened his heart with the lyrics and music of INNUENDO and with there powerful harmonies, and faultless musicianship, held together with May's biting guitar virtuosity and the spectacular Freddie Mercury, I think Queen were and still is the greatest complete rock act ever seen.

The career of the group part one ended with the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury on 24 November 1991. Bohemian Rhapsody was immediately reissued to raise money for AIDS research projects, and soared to the top of the British charts.

A memorial concert for Freddie Mercury took place at London's Wembley Stadium in the spring of 1992, featuring an array of stars including Liza Minnelli, Elton John, Guns N' Roses, David Bowie, Annie Lennox and George Michael who at the tribute concert hit the notes that normally only Freddie Mercury could reach – well done George.

He released two solo albums: Mr. Bad Guy (1985) and Barcelona (1988), the latter with Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballé. The collaboration came as surprise to critics, being the first of its kind, but was nonetheless widely acclaimed if not commercially successful.

Freddie possessed a very slight tenor voice, he was able to produce very sharp sounds, but also quite grave sounds. Mercury had an enviable voice range, with the superb extension of three and a half octaves.

One of his hits as a solo artist was a cover of the song "The Great Pretender" (1987), but after his death gained his first solo number 1 hit "Living On My Own", remixed by No More Brothers, which was his biggest UK hit.

Freddie Mercury was bisexual; however, he did not officially come out until his announcement that he had AIDS ( Which he caught when he was living in New York ), one day before he died. He was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery; the wherabouts of his ashes are unknown. The remaining members of Queen founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust and organized The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

He was a fan of Liza Minnelli and Michael Jackson, the latter of whom he collaborated with on some tracks, which were never published including "State Of Shock" which was performed by Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger for the official release. He was well known for his extravagance and hedonism, but also for his kindness and generosity. He adored cats and kept several, even writing a song about his favourite ("Delilah", on the Innuendo album, 1991). He was a heavy smoker, which contributed to a roughening of his voice in the eighties.

He was a Zoroastrian. His famous overbite was caused by the presence of four extra teeth which pushed his incisors out. He commented early in his career that he wished to have work done on his teeth, but regretted that he didn't have time to do it. He also expressed fears that such an operation might damage his voice.

Freddie Mercury appears in the 2002 List of "100 Greatest Britons" (sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public).

Solo Albums:

Mr. Bad Guy (1985)
Barcelona (1988) (with Montserrat Caballé)
The Freddie Mercury Album (1992)
The Great Pretender [UK Version Of The Freddie Mercury Album] (1992)

Box set:

The Solo Collection (10 CDs and 2 DVDs) (2000)

The Funniest English Joke in the World - I Think

I have decided to create this article about The Funniest English Joke in The World.

An aeroplane took off from London heading towards New York. Inside the plane were 20 represetatives from the United Nations.

Halfway across the atlantic the plane started to run out of fuel and to lose height.

The cabin crew decided to throw out all the freight and baggage to try to gain height. Alas, the aircraft was still losing height.

All the seats and fittings in the plane were thrown out, still to no effect.

The German Represetative ran and jumped out the open door and shouted "Long Live Germany".

The American Represetative ran and jumped out the open door and shouted "Remember the Alamo".

The Spanish Represetative ran and jumped out the door and shouted "Remember the 2010 World Cup".

The Russian represetative ran and jumped out the open door and shouted "Remember Stalin".

The English Represetative walked to the door and shouted "Remember Trafalgar" and pushed the French represetative out of the door, so saving the lives of the remaining UN big wigs.

History of English Nursery Rhymes

Growing up in 1960's England one of the traditions we all learnt were the various nursery ryhmes which to this day I still have fond memories off. The history and origins of most nursery rhymes reflect events in history and where available we have included both the meanings, history and origins of everyone's favourite nursery rhymes.

Two examples of these types of nursery rhymes history and origins are 'Ring a Ring of Roses' which refers to the Bubonic plague and 'Remember, Remember the Fifth of November' nursery rhyme which alludes to Guy Fawkes' foiled attempt to blow up the English Houses of Parliament! Many of the words and nursery rhymes lyrics were used to parody the British royal and political events of the day, direct dissent would often be punishable by death! Strange how these events in history are still portrayed through children's nursery rhymes, when for most of us the historical events relationship to the nursery rhymes themselves are long forgotten!

Please click here to visit the web page where the lyrics of Nursery Rhymes are on display.

Various Nursery Rhymes

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
London Bridge is Falling down
The Sandman
Aiken Drum
The Big Ship Sails on the Ally-Ally-oh

A Wise Old Owl Nursery Rhyme
An Apple a Day lyrics
As I was Going to St. Ives lyrics
Baa Baa Black Sheep rhyme
Christmas is Coming
Cry Baby Buntin lyrics
Diddle Diddle Dumpling
Ding Dong Bell ryme
Doctor Foster lyrics
For Want of a Nail rhyme
Georgie Porgie Nursery rhyme
Goosey Goosey Gander lyrics
Grand Old Duke of York
Hark hark the Dogs do Bark
Here is the Church rhyme
Hey Diddle Diddle lyrics
Hickory Dickory Dock lyrics
Horsey Horsey Rhyme
Hot Cross Buns rhyme
Humpty Dumpty story
Hush-a-bye Baby
Itsy Bitsy Spider lyrics
Jack and Jill went up the Hill lyrics
Jack be Nimble rhyme
Jack Sprat
Ladybug Ladybug rhyme
Little Bo-Peep rhyme
Little Boy Blue rhyme
Little Hen Nursery Rhyme
Little Jack Horner lyrics
Little Miss Muffet rhyme
Little Robin Red breast
Little Tommy Tucker rhyme
Mary had a Little Lamb lyrics
Mary Mary Quite Contrary
Mondays Child rhyme
Old King Cole lyrics
Old Mother Hubbard
London Bells Nursery Rhyme

London Bridge is Broken down
Lucy Lockett
One Two Buckle my Shoe
One Two Three Four Five
Oranges and Lemons Nursery Rhyme
Pease Pudding Hot Rhyme
Pat a Cake Pat a Cake
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
Polly put the Kettle on Rhyme
Pop goes the Weasel
Pussycat, Pussycat rhyme
Rain Rain go Away
Red Sky at Night lyrics
Remember Remember
Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross
Ring around the Rosy lyrics
Rock a Bye Baby rhyme
See Saw Marjory Daw rhyme
Simple Simon lyrics
Sing a Song of Sixpence rhyme
Star Light Star Bright lyrics
Three Blind Mice Rhyme
Three Little Kitten lyrics
The Cat, the Rat & Lovell the dog
The Elephant Rhyme
The Lion and the Unicorn rhyme
The North Wind doth Blow
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Queen of Hearts
There was a Crooked Man
There was an Old Lady lyrics
There was an Old Woman
Thirty Days hath September rhyme
This is the House that Jack built
This Little Piggy lyrics
Tom Tom the Pipers son
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star rhyme
Two Little Dicky Birds rhyme
Wee Willie Winkie rhyme
What are Little Boys made of lyrics
Who Killed Cock Robin lyrics

When Adam delved, and Eve span

The Freemasons – It's English Origins and History

As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren and have many ancestors from London who were members of various Freemasonry and London Livery companies I have created this article on the history of the Freemasons. England is the oldest European country ( 1500 years old ) and London itself was founded by the Romans in 53 AD.

The history of Freemasonry originates from the time of the Knights Templer. The aim of Freemasonry is to study the development, evolution and events of the fraternal organisation known as Freemasonry. This history is generally separated into two time periods: before and after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Before this time, the facts and origins of Freemasonry are not absolutely known and are therefore frequently explained by theories or legends. After the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, the history of Freemasonry is extremely well-documented and can be traced through the creation of hundreds of Grand Lodges that spread rapidly worldwide.

English Masonic historians place great importance on 24 June 1717 (St. John the baptist's day) when four London lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St Paul's churchyard and formed what they called The Grand Lodge of England. Although Freemasonry had existed in England since at least the mid-1600s and in Scotland since The Schaw Statutes were enacted in 1598 and 1599, the establishment of a permanent Grand Lodge in London in 1717 is traditionally considered the formation of organized Freemasonry in its modern sense.

A credible historical source asserting the antiquity of Freemasonry is the Halliwell Manuscript or Regius Poem - believed to date from ca. 1390. This makes reference to several concepts and phrases similar to those found in Freemasonry. The manuscript itself seems to be an elaboration on an earlier document, to which it refers.

There is also the Cooke Manuscript, an undated manuscript constitution from the mid-15th century, the oldest of the Gothic Constitutions. The first statutory use of the word 'Freemason' in England appears in the Statutes of the Realm enacted in 1495 under Henry VI, although the archaic term "frank mason" had been used fifty years earlier. Prior to that, the earliest use of the term "frank Masons" was in a 1376 reference to the "Company of frank Masons," one of the numerous craft guilds of London.

By 1583, the date of the Grand Lodge manuscript, the documentary evidence begins to grow. These are described as Head and Principal respectively. As a side note, following a dispute over numbering at the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland (GLS) - Kilwinning is numbered as Lodge Mother of KilwinningNumber 0 (pronounced 'Nothing'), GLS. Quite soon thereafter, a charter was granted to Sir William St. Clair (later Sinclair) of Roslin (Rosslyn), allowing him to purchase jurisdiction over a number of lodges in Edinburgh and environs. This may be the basis of the Templar myth surrounding Rosslyn Chapel.

The Regius Poem and Cooke manuscript, about 1390 and 1410 respectively, are written in the dialects of the west and southwest of England, and may have been written for the school of masonry associated with Salisbury Cathedral.

Early operative Freemasons, unlike virtually all Europeans except the Clergy, were Free - not bound to the land on which they were born. The various skills required in building complex stone structures, especially churches and cathedrals, allowed skilled masons to travel and find work at will. They were lodged in a temporary structure - either attached to, or near, the main stone building. In this lodge, they ate, slept and received their work assignments from the master of the work. To maintain the freedom they enjoyed required exclusivity of skills, and thus, as an apprentice was trained, his instructor attached moral values to the tools of the trade, binding him to his fellows of the craft.( citation needed ).

Freemasonry's transition from a craft guild of operative, working stonemasons into a fraternity of speculative, accepted, gentleman Freemasons began in Scottish lodges during the early 1600s. The earliest record of a lodge accepting a non-operative member occurs in the records of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), 8 June 1600, where it is shown that John Boswell, Laird of Aucheinleck, was present at a meeting. The first record of the initiation of a non-operative mason in a lodge is contained in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) for 3 July 1634, when the Right Honourable Lord Alexander was admitted a Fellowcraft. The first record of the Initiation of a non-operative on English soil, was in 1641 when Sir Robert Moray was admitted to the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) at Newcastle.

From the early 1600s references are found to Freemasonry in personal diaries and journals. Elias Ashmole was made a Mason in 1646 and notes attending several Masonic meetings. There appears to be a general spread of the Craft, between Ashmole's account and 1717, when four English Lodges meeting in London taverns joined together and founded the Grand Lodge of London (now known as the United Grand Lodge of England). They had held meetings, respectively, at the Cheshire Cheese Tavern, the Apple-Tree Tavern, the Crown Ale-House near Drury Lane, the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Churchyard, and the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Westminster.

With the foundation of this first Grand Lodge, Freemasonry shifted from being an obscure, relatively private, institution into the public eye. The years following saw new Grand Lodges open throughout Europe. How much of this growth was the spreading of Freemasonry itself, and how much was due to the public organization of pre-existing private Lodges, is uncertain.

History of British Cat and Kitten Shows from 1871

Imbued in English culture is a love of animals of all kinds.British Cat Breeds have been bred over the centuries and shown at Cat shows up and down the British Isles. Below is the history of British Cat Shows and when they first appeared.

The very first 'official' cat show was held at the Crystal Palace in London on the 13th July 1871, the first 'show manager' was Harrison Weir the well known artist and writer. The show was held on a Thursday not the familiar Saturday we know today. There were 25 classes for Eastern and other Foreign breeds as well as native British varieties. The first shows to be held by any of the present day clubs was held by The National Cat Club in 1887 followed by The Scottish Cat Club in 1894.

Louis Wain 1860-1939 the anthropomorphic artist had a vision of the cat world, which soon brought him fame and as a result of his popularity and love of cats he was elected President of the British National Cat Club in 1891.

Shows had to be abandoned during the years of the First and Second World Wars so the National Cat Club's Centenary Show was held in December 1996.

When The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy was founded by the Cat Clubs in 1910 there were 16 cat clubs represented, including one - Wilson's Ltd. Cat Club - which seems to have been something of a business venture; not surprisingly it does not appear to have survived for very long. The first GCCF Stud Book lists winners from shows held from 1910 to 1912. The Longhairs appeared in black, white, blue, red or orange, cream, smoke, silver tabby, brown tabby, red tabby, Chinchillas, tortoiseshell and tortie and white. The British Shorthairs were represented by most of the same colours and patterns except red, smoke, Chinchilla and tortoiseshell. The other breeds were Abyssinians, Siamese and Manx. Today the number of breeds and colours have increased tremendously.

Conditions at cat shows have improved over the years, the cats are no longer penned on straw, the judges and stewards all wear white coats and hygiene is very much more evident. Judges now use trolleys on which to place the cats for judging and these can be wheeled from pen to pen but thirty years ago the stewards had to struggle with a card table moving it from pen to pen for the judge - this needed real stamina!

Important events have been celebrated with special shows, in 1953 The Coronation Cat Show was held at The Royal Horticultural Society's New Hall in Westminster. A quick glance at the first page of the catalogue tells us that one of the veterinary surgeons in attendance was Mrs Muriel Calder who was, until recently, our GCCF Veterinary Officer and was our Vice-President; surely an honour for a youthful Vet.

Sadly none of the judges are still alive but there are a few familiar names in the list of exhibitors. 388 cats attended the show and the catalogue cover pictures 'the cat that came to London to see the Queen'

1976 saw a new Cat Show enter the calendar, the Supreme Cat Show. The show was organised by the GCCF and all the cats had to qualify by winning open classes at other Championship Shows. Today the Supreme has developed into a large and prestigious show and is held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham each November. A new method of judging was introduced - Ring Judging - all the cats are taken from their brilliantly decorated pens to the judging rings where the judges sit facing the public to judge the cats and often give a commentary on their judging. This show produces the country's top prize winners, the Supreme title holders.

History of British Dog Breeds from 63 BC to 1886 AD

Imbued in English culture is a love of animals of all kinds. I have a website of funny animals on art prints. British Dog Breeds have been bred over the centuries and shown at dog shows up and down the British Isles. Below is the history of British Dogs and when they first appeared.

63-21 BC Strabo mentions the export of Hunting dogs from Britain
c50 AD The sons of Uisnech flee from Ulster to Scotland taking 150 hounds with them
c80-120 AD Occupation of Corbridge Roman Station in Northumberland by a garrison whose dogs have been identified as 'bassets' and 'small greyhounds'
161-180 AD Oppian describes a British dog called the agassaeus - probably a terrier
727 or 730 AD The death of St Hubert, Bishop of Liege ………credited with the development of the hounds bearing his name , the Black St Hubert ( possible ancestor of the Bloodhound) and the White St Hubert ( supposed ancestor of the Southern Hound).
c800 AD Pictess huntress with hounds portrayed coursing deer on the Hilton of Cadboll Slab, Scotland
c1016 First Forest Laws imposed by Canute ………keeping of greyhounds forbidden to anyone under the status of freeman.
c1070 Bayern Tapestry depicts only two breeds of dogs one which may be a mastiff
1301 Archbishop Winchesley allows the Abbot of Gloucester to keep twelve hunting dogs.
1335 Edward III imports Irish hounds.
1340-1400 Geoffrey Chaucer makes first reference to apaniels in The Wife of Bath's Prologue.
1371 Traditional date for combat between Aubrey de Montdidier's Irish hound and its master's murderer , Macaire.
1486 Dame Julian Berners describes the ideal greyhound as follows in her Book of St Albans; 'Headed like a snake, necked like a drake, footed like a cat, tailed life a rat, sided like a bream, chined like a beam'
1570 Dr John Caius publishes a book about British dogs.
1576 Abraham Fleming describes the use of terriers for hunting fox and badger.
1621 Gervase Markham gives a description of the setting spaniel in The Art of Fowling. He also describes the water dog.
1653 Dorothy Osborne writes to Sir William Temple to ask for an Irish hound.
1730 Sir Robert Walpole tries unsuccessfully to establish the post of Master of the Royal Foxhounds.
1732 The Newfoundland dog under the name of 'the Bear Dog' is described as being in use in England as a guard-dog and for turning water wheels.
c1770 Oliver Goldsmith , Irish author of Animated Nature , says that Irish hounds are rare and the largest he has seen is 'about four feet high'.
1780 Ashdown Park Coursing Society begun.
1782 Huo Meynell forms his pack at Quorndon from Arundel hounds…….
1787 Foxhounds pedigrees begin.
1790 One of the eight remaining Irish hounds is measured by A.R.Lambert who records it to be 36inches from hind toes to hind shoulders and 28!/2 inches from two to foreshoulder.
1796 Dog population estimated at 1 million.
1800 Edwards depicts the rough and smooth coated collie.
1800-1877 Edwarde Laverack , the developer of the English Setters called Laveracks.
1803 Willam Taplin declares the Irish Hound probably extinct.
1815 Guy Mannering is published by Sir Walter Scott , in which Danie Dinmont Terriers are described
1815 The Reverend John ( 'Jack') Russell begins breeding terriers.
1820 The Bedlington terrier supposedly introduced from Holland bu a weaver of Longhorsley.
1827 Death of the Duke of Gordon , originator of the Gordon Setter.
1836 The Waterloo Cup Meet begins at Sefton Altcar, near Liverpool. Silver collars are awrded to the winners till 1830 when a cup is instituted.
1843 Skye Terrier first mentioned
1847 A description of the 'English terrier' suggests that it is a Manchester terrier.
1850-1891 Captain John Edwarde develops the Sealyham on his estate at Sealyham in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.
1858 National Coursing Club formed.
1859 First dog show , at Newcastle.
c1860 The Hin. Dudley Marjoribanks ( later Lord Tweedmouth) starts golden retrievers from a yellow retriever, one yellow pup in a litter of black wavy-coated pups that he has bought from a Brighton cobbler.
1862 Captain G.A.Graham attempts to revive the great Irish hound, using deerhound blood.
1870 A Mr W.C of Halifax, Nova Scotia mentions the report that the Beothuk Indians had ' a dog , but that it was a small breed…..The Labrador dog is  a distinct breed ………..formerly they were only to be met with on that part of the coast of Labrador which to us is known as the South Shore of the mainland in the Straits of Belle Isle.
1873 Kennel Club set up.
1877 Foxhound Show at Peterborough founded.
1882 Greyhound Stud Book.
1886 First Crufts Show . Terriers only.

Famous Victorian London Engineer Joseph Bazalgette

As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren I have been interested in English history and researching fun and interesting bits of England including famous British Engineers..

Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, (28 March 1819 – 15 March 1891) was born at Hill Lodge, Clay Hill, Enfield, London, England, the son of Joseph William Bazalgette (1783–1849), a retired captain of the Royal Navy and Theresa Philo, née Pilton (1796–1850).

He began his career working on railway projects, articled to noted engineer Sir John Macneill and gaining sufficient experience in land drainage and reclamation works for him to set up his own London consulting practice in 1842. By the time he married, in 1845, Bazalgette was deeply involved in the expansion of the railway network, working so hard that he suffered a nervous breakdown two years later.

As Civil Engineer and Chief Engineer of the London Metropolitan Board of Works his major achievement was the creation in response to "The great stink" of 1858 which caused Parliament to finally create the world's largest Sewer complex and underground sewer tunnels and the cleaning of the River thames.

Championed by fellow engineer Isambaard Kingdom Brunel, Bazalgette was appointed chief engineer of the London Metropolitan Board of Works, in 1856 (a post he retained until the MBW was abolished and replaced by the london County Council in 1889). In 1858, the year of the Great Stink, Parliament passed an enabling act, in spite of the colossal expense of the project, and Bazalgette's proposals to revolutionise London's sewerage system began to be implemented. The expectation was that enclosed sewers would eliminate the stink ('miasma'), and that this would then reduce the incidence of cholera.

Joseph Bazalgette Civil Engineer and Chief Engineer of the London Metropolitan Board of Works, was given responsibility for the work. He designed an extensive underground sewerage system that diverted waste to the Thames Estuary, downstream of the main centre of population. Six main interceptory sewers, totalling almost 100 miles (160 km) in length, were constructed, some incorporating stretches of London's Lost Rivers. Three of these sewers were north of the river, the southernmost, low-level one being incorporated in the Thames Embankment. The Embankment also allowed new roads to reduce traffic congestion, new public gardens, and the Circle Line of the London Underground.

The intercepting sewers, constructed between 1859 and 1865, were fed by 450 miles (720 km) of main sewers that, in turn, conveyed the contents of some 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of smaller local sewers. Construction of the interceptor system required 318 million bricks, 2.7 million cubic metres of excavated earth and 670,000 cubic metres of Concrete. Gravity allows the sewage to flow eastwards, but in places such as Chelsea, Deptford and Abbey Mills pumping stations were built to raise the water and provide sufficient flow. Sewers north of the Thames feed into the Northern Outfall Sewer, which feeds into a major treatment works at Beckton. South of the river, the Southern Outfall Sewer extends to a similar facility at Crossness.

During the 20th century, major improvements were made to the sewerage system and to the Sewage treatment provision to substantially reduce pollution of the Thames Estuary and the North Sea.

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee Inventor of The World Wide Web

I have decided to create this article about The British inventor of the World Wide Web.

A graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee ( born 8 June 1955 ) invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing while at Cern, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URL's, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread. He is also a Professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK.

On December 25,1990 he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet with the help of_Robert Cailliau and a young student staff at CERN whose name is unknown. In terms of the technology that enables all forms of data communication (web,email,instant_messaging,digital phone, etc) between all the connected computer systems of the world.

The first Web site built was at CERN, and was first put on line on 6 August 1991.

The Internet and Transmission Control Protocols were initially developed in 1973 and published in 1974. There ensued about 10 years of hard work, resulting in the roll out of Internet in 1983. Prior to that, a number of demonstrations were made of the technology - such as the first three-network interconnection demonstrated in November 1977 linking SATNET, PRNET and ARPANET in a path leading from Menlo Park, CA to University College London and back to USC/ISI in Marina del Rey, CA.

Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web's continued development. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation and is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI),[4] and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Centre for Collective Intelligence In April 2009, he was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences based in Washington, D.C.


In 1994 he is one of only six members of the World Wide Web Hall of Fame of 1994.

·      In 1999, Time magazine named Berners-Lee one of the 100 most important people of the 20th Century.

·      In March 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the Open University as Doctor of the University.

·      In 2003, he received the Computer History Museum's Fellow Award, for his seminal contributions to the development of the World Wide Web.

·      On 15 April 2004, he was named as the first recipient of Finland's Millenium Technology Prize, for inventing the World Wide Web. The cash prize, worth one million euros (about £892,000, or US$1.3 million, as of May 2009), was awarded on 15 June, in Helsinki, Finland, by the President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen.

·      He was awarded the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (the second-highest class in this order of knighthood) by Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the 2004 New Year's Honours, and was invested on 16 July 2004

·      On 21 July 2004, he was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Lancaster University.

·      On 27 January 2005, he was named Greatest Briton of 2004, both for his achievements and for displaying the key British characteristics of "diffidence, determination, a sharp sense of humour and adaptability",

·      In 2007, he was ranked Joint First, alongside Albert Hofmann, in The Telegraph's list of 100 greatest living geniuses.

·      On 13 June 2007, he received the Order of Merit, becoming one of only 24 living members entitled to hold the award, and to use 'O.M.' after their name. (The Order of Merit is regarded as a personal gift bestowed by the reigning monarch, and does not require ministerial advice.)

·      On 20 September 2008, he was awarded the IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award, for conceiving and further developing the World Wide Web IEEE.

·      On 21 April 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

·      On 28 April 2009, he was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

·      In 2009, he won the Webby Award for Lifetime Achievement.

·      In October 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Vriji Universiteit Amsterdam.

In 2010 Berners Lee updated HM Queen Elizabeth II website which is now much easier to navigate and load and is full of really interesting details.

Famous British Engineers – History

Britains history is made up of very famous engineers all through their history. This has made me decide to list just some of the most famous with links to websites with more details on the various engineers.

Thomas Savery (1650-1715)
Thomas Savery was an English military engineer and inventor who in 1698, patented the first crude steam engine.

James Watt (1736-1819)

Was the son of a merchant, was born in Greenock, Scotland, in 1736. At the age of nineteen Watt was sent to Glasgow learn the trade of a mathematical-instrument maker.

After spending a year in London, Watt returned to Glasgow in 1757 where he established his own instrument-making business. Watt soon developed a reputation as a high quality engineer and was employed on the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Caledonian Canal. He was also engaged in the improvement of harbours and in the deepening of the Forth, Clyde and other rivers in Scotland.

Thomas Telford (1757-1834) (Famous Bridge Builder)

Was the son of a shepherd, was born in Westerkirk, Scotland in 1757. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a stonemason. He worked for a time in Edinburgh and in 1792 he moved to London where he was involved in building additions to Somerset House. Two years later he found work at Portsmouth dockyard.

George Stephenson (1781- 1848)

Was a British engineer who designed a famous and historically important steam-powered locomotive named Rocket, and is known as the Father of British Steam Railways.

George Stephenson was born in Wylam, England, 9.3 miles (15 km) west of Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1748, a wagonway -- an arrangement similar to a railway, but with wooden tracks and designed to support horse-drawn carts -- had been built from the Wylam colliery to the River Tyne, running for several miles (several km). The young Stephenson grew up near it, and in 1802 gained employment as an engine-man at a coal mine. For the next ten years his knowledge of steam engines increased, until in 1812 he stopped operating them for a living, and started building them.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871) (Inventor of First Computer)

Charles Babbage was born in Teignmouth, Devon, in 1791. Educated at Trinity College Cambridge, he spent most of his life trying to build calculating machines. The first of these was designed to calculate tables of logarithms and similar functions by repeated addition performed by gear wheels. A small prototype model of the difference engine was produced in 1822 and this resulted in him receiving a government grant to build a full-sized machine.

Robert Stephenson (1803-1859)

In 1827 he began work on the Rocketlocomotive. Robert's abilities as an engineer was illustrated by the success of the Rocket at the Rainhill Trials in October, 1829.

Isaambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859)

Was born in Portsmouth on 9th April, 1806. He was educated at Hove, near Brighton. In 1823 Brunel went to work with his father on the building of the Thames Tunnel. He was later to be appointed as resident engineer at the site.

In 1829 Brunel designed a suspension bridge to cross the River Avon at Clifton. His original design was rejected on the advice of Thomas Telford, but an improved version was accepted but the project had to be abandoned because of a lack of funds.

Sir William Arrol (1839-1913)

Sir William Arrol was born in 1839 and became famous for his building of the Forth Rail Bridge between North and South Queensferry in Scotland. The bridge with its three cantilever towers which are each 104m (340 feet) high was the design of Sir John Fowler (1817-98) and Sir Benjamin Baker (1840 - 1907) and was constructed by Arrol at a cost of some £2½ million. Building began in 1883 and took seven years to complete; the Prince of Wales at the time (later to become King Edward VII) finished the construction by driving home an inscribed gold rivet on 4th of March 1890.

Thomas Andrews (1873-1912)

Born in Comber (pronounced cum-ber), County Down, Thomas Andrews was the son of a politician and a mother whose father owned Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard. In 1884 at the age of 11 Andrews entered the Belfast Academic Institute and left in 1889 to become an apprentice at Harland and Wolff where his parents paid the sum of £100 for his apprenticeship.

Sir Frank Whittle (1907-1996) (Inventor of the Jet Engine)

Whittle's jet-propelled Gloster E28 took its first flight on 15th May, 1941 and travelled at speeds of 350 mph. This was followed by the Gloster Meteor that was used to intercept German V1 Flying Bomb. Power Jets Company was taken over by the British government in 1944.

Sir Christopher Cockerell (1910-1999) (Inventor of the Hovercraft)

In 1953 Cockerell began work on his invention the hovercroft. After successful experiments on Oulton Broad, Cockerell approached the government National Research Development Council (NRDC) who invested £1,000 in his invention. However, it took him another three years before he got full commercial backing for his project.

·      Please click here for A to Z Scientists and Engineering Encyclopedia

Below is a list of more British Engineers.

·       James Abernethy - Scottish canal, marine and bridge engineer

·       John Aird - English engineer from the late 19th century

·       David Anderson - Scottish civil engineer and lawyer

William George Armstrong - British engineer and 22nd president of the Institution of Civil Engineers

·       Sir William Arrol - Scottish engineer involved with the construction of the Tay Rail Bridge, Forth Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge

·       Sir Ove Arup - Founder of Arup

·       John Aspinall - British railway engineer

Benjamin Baker - English engineer in late 19th century

James Arthur Banks - British Dam engineer

·       Robert Barker - English railway engineer who also played in the first ever football international game.

·       Peter W. Barlow - English engineer in late 19th century. Notable for Lambeth Bridge (old) and tunnelling shield

·       William Henry Barlow - English engineer in late 19th century; railway engineering

·       Sir John Wolfe-Barry - English engineer in late 19th century; designed Tower Bridge

·       John Frederic La Trobe Bateman - British hydraulic engineer

·       Sir Joseph Bazalgette - English engineer in late 19th century;

·       Sir George Berkley - British railway engineer

·       George Parker Bidder - British engineer; railways, telegraphs and hydraulics

·       Sir Alexander Binnie - English engineer in late 19th century; tunnels and bridges across the Thames

·       William Binnie - British waterworks engineer, son of the above

·       John Blenkinsop - English engineer in mid 19th century; railways, locomotives and mining

·       Benjamin Blyth - Scottish railway engineer

·       Benjamin Blyth II - Scottish railway engineer, first practising Scottish engineer to become president of the Institution of Civil Engineers

·       Sir Thomas Bouch - English engineer in late 19th century; first Tay Rail Bridge disaster

·       William Bragge - English engineer in the 19th century

·       Frederick Bramwell - British Engineer

·       James Brindley - English engineer from mid 18th century - canals and watermills

·       John Alexander Brodie - City Engineer of Liverpool and inventor of the football goal net

·       George Barclay Bruce - English railway engineer

·       Henry Marc Brunel - English engineer in late 19th century.

·       Isambard Kingdom Brunel - English engineer in mid 19th century - designed Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, and important bridges.

·       James Brunlees - Scottish engineer notable for designing Southend Pier

·       Peter Bruff - English engineer in 19th century. Notable for work in Clacton on Sea

·       Sir George Buchanan - British civil engineer associated with harbour works in Burma, Iraq and Bombay, during early 20th century.

·       William Tierney Clark - English engineer in mid 19th century; suspension bridges

·       Reginald Coates - British civil engineer and academic

·       John Coode - English engineer, notable for work on Portland Harbour

·       Henry Cronin - British civil engineer

·       William Cubitt - English engineer in 19th century.

·       Jonathan Davidson - British civil engineer

·       Sydney Donkin - British civil, mechanical and electrical engineer

·       Francis Drake

·       Thomas Dadford Junior — canals

·       Robert Elliott-Cooper - British civil engineer

·       William Henry Ellis - British civil engineer and steel maker

·       Joshua Field - telegraph cables, sewerage

·       Maurice Fitzmaurice - Irish bridge, dam and tunnel engineer

·       Ken Fleming - Northern Irish civil engineer and piling and foundations specialist

·       Sanford Fleming - railroads, time zone

·       Sir John Fowler - bridges

·       Sir Charles Fox - British railway engineer

·       Charles Douglas Fox - British railway engineer

·       Thomas Pierson Frank - British civil engineer

·       Ralph Freeman - English bridge and highways engineer

·       Buckminster Fuller

·       Angus Fulton - British civil engineer

·       William George Nicholson Geddes - Scottish engineer

·       Alexander Gibb - Scottish railway and military engineer

·       Alfred Giles - British civil engineer

·       William Glanville - British highways engineer

·       Charles Hutton Gregory - railways,

·       William Grierson - British railway engineer

·       John Griffith - Irish engineer

·       Sir William Halcrow - tunnels

·       Benjamin Hall, 1st Baron Llanover - Big Ben

·       Archibald Milne Hamilton - Callender-Hamilton Bridge and Hamilton Road in Kurdistan

·       Dr Edmund Hambly - British structural engineer

·       Sir William Gordon Harris - British docks and roads engineer

·       Thomas Elliott Harrison - British railway and bridge engineer

·       Arthur Hartley - British oil engineer

·       Sir John Hawkshaw - British railway and harbour engineer

·       John Clarke Hawkshaw - British engineer, son of the above

·       Thomas Hawksley - English engineer noted for his work on water supplies

·       Charles Hawksley - Son of the above, also a water engineer

·       Harrison Hayter - British railway and harbour engineer

·       Brodie Henderson - British railway engineer

·       Hugh Henshall - British canal engineer and student of James Brindley

·       Roger Hetherington - British civil engineer

·       Roger Gaskell Hetherington - British Ministry of Health civil engineer

·       Clement Hindley - British railway engineer

·       George Humphreys - British civil engineer

·       James Charles Inglis, British engineer

·       John Holmes Jellett - docks and harbours

·       John B. Jervis - canals and railroads

·       William Jessop - canals

·       Albert Mussey Johnson - helped design Scotty's Castle.

·       Theodore Judah - railroads

·       Edward Judge - bridges

·       Alexander Kennedy - British maritime and electrical engineer and academic

·       Kirby Laing - former chairman of John Laing plc

·       Anthony George Lyster - British docks engineer

·       John MacAdam - roads

·       Sir John MacNeill - railways

·       William Mahone - plank road, railways

·       Robert Manning - Open channel flow

·       James Mansergh - English railway, water supply and sewage engineer

·       William Marriott - English railway engineer

·       William Matthews - British harbour engineer

·       William Maw - British railway engineer

·       Sir Henry Maybury - British railway and highways engineer

·       John Robinson McClean - British engineer, railways, water supply

·       Conde McCullough - bridges

·       Scott McMorrow - playwright, poet, and engineer

·       John Miller (engineer), 19th century Edinburgh-based railway engineer (Grainger & Miller)

·       Guilford Lindsey Molesworth - English railway engineer

·       General Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD - bridges and precast concrete (also Commander of the Australian Corps in World War I)

·       Charles Langbridge Morgan - British civil engineer

·       James Morgan - Regent's Canal

·       Basil Mott - mines, tunnels, bridges

·       Sir Alan Muir Wood - British tunnelling engineer

·       Benjamin Outram - canals

·       William N. Page - railways, mining

·       Frederick Palmer - Dockyards

·       William Barclay Parsons

·       Thomas Paton - British dam engineer

·       Allan Quartermaine - British civil engineer

·       Robert Rawlinson - English canal engineer and sanitarian

·       Richard Redmayne - British mining and civil engineer

·       Vernon Robertson - British civil engineer

·       Alexander Ross (engineer) - Scottish railway engineer

·       Leopold Halliday Savile - British reservoir engineer

·       Robert Stephenson - railways

·       Robert Stevenson - lighthouses

·       John Edward Thornycroft - British ship builder and president of the Institution of Civil Engineers

·       Ernest Crosbie Trench - British railway engineer

·       William Unwin - British civil and materials engineer

·       Charles Blacker Vignoles - British railway engineer

·       James Walker

·       William Kelly Wallace - Irish railway engineer

·       André Waterkeyn designed the Atomium

·       John Duncan Watson - British sewage treatment engineer

·       David Mowat Watson - British civil engineer

·       Francis Wentworth-Shields - British civil engineer

·       William Henry White - British engineer and chief constructor of the Admiralty

·       William Willcocks - British irrigation engineer served in India and Egypt

·       Edward Leader Williams - canals, bridges

·       George Ambler Wilson - British port engineer

·       Norman D. Wilson - mass transit

·       John Wolfe-Barry

·       A. Baldwin Wood - pumps

·       Edward Woods - British railway engineer

·       William Barton Worthington - British railway engineer

·       Robert Wynne-Edwards - British tunnel and pipeline engineer

·       Andrew Yarranton - English navigation engineer

British Space Satellites – History

In the Autumn of 1945 an RAF electronics officer and member of the British Interplanetary Society, Arthur C. Clarke, wrote a short article in Wireless World that described the use of manned satellites in 24-hour orbits high above the world's land masses to distribute television programs. His article apparently had little lasting effect in spite of Clarke's repeating the story in his 1951/52 The Exploration of Space. Clarke's concept, outlined clearly (incidentally, it was unpatented) in the October 1945 edition of the British publication Wireless World and showed how geostationary satellites would work. Twenty years later the idea was tested by the Soviet Union. The first British Satellitte Ariel 1 was sent into space in 1962 from the USA.

Time Line


Oct 1945 - Clarke's concept, outlined clearly (incidentally, it was unpatented) in the October 1945 edition of the British publication Wireless World, showed how geostationary satellites would work. Twenty years later the idea was tested by the Soviet Union and led to the ...Clarke's concept, outlined clearly (incidentally, it was unpatented) in the October 1945 edition of the British publication Wireless World, showed how geostationary satellites would work. Twenty years later the idea was tested by the Soviet Union and led to the more than one thousand geostationary satellites that now orbit our planet. A phone call, routed through satellite service, reaches its "uplink" point and is directed via microwave toward one of the geostationary.


Oct 7, 1957 - One British writer called the satellite a potential spy-in-thesky. Fears Satellite May BeLie a Spy in the Sky. Army Men Dispute ... past chairman of the British society said: . "This launching is a tremendous thing. It is one of the greatest scientific ad. vances in world history.


Aug 11, 1958 - A combined British and Australian operation to launch a satellite into space will be made soon at the Warmora Rocket Ranze in Central Australia ... The British government official said the Royal Society in London is now examin ing the probable value of a UK satellite program to ...


Jun 20, 1959 - Britain named today an eightman team of space experts to leave here soon for talks in Washington about putting British scientific instruments into orbit in an American earth satellite. The group, which will arrive in time to begin talks on June 25.


Dec 16, 1960 - WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (AP)-The first British space i satellite will be launched " in about one year" from a United States site and will be powered by an American Scout rocket, it was announced today.


Dec 7, 1961 - Britain plans ,to fire its first space satellite around ,the earth next spring aboard a United States Delta rocket,'the House of Lords was told tonight. Viscount Hailsham, Minister for Science, told the House "it is flattering to be told the Americans regard the payload of the first ...


Feb 1962 - A series of six British satellites launched by NASA. The first four were devoted to studying the ionosphere, the remaining two to X-ray astronomy and cosmic-ray studies. Ariel 1 was the first international satellite. It was named in February 1962 for the ...A series of six British satellites launched by NASA. The first four were devoted to studying the ionosphere, the remaining two to X-ray astronomy and cosmic-ray studies. Ariel 1 was the first international satellite. It was named in February 1962 for the spirit of the air who was released by Prospero in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The name "Ariel" – a traditional one in British aeronautics – was chosen by the UK Ministry of Science and endorsed by NASA.

Mar 11, 1962 - WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI)-The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said today it would join with the British Ministry of Science this spring to launch the first international satellite from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Britain is supplying the equipment for experiments to be ...

Mar 12, 1962 - CAPE CANAVERAL FlaAPNext assignment for ThorDelta America's proven and reliable space booster is to hoist Britain's first scientific satellite into orbit next month. The British payload UK1 for United Kingdom will probe the ionosphere a series of electrically charged layers in the atmosphers.

Jun 1, 1962 - Jun 1962 Orbiting of First British SatelliteRanger IV hits Far Side of Moon American and Soviet Space Developments .... alaser oroptical masersee below was beamed on the moon and reflected back to earth–the first time in history that man had illuminated the surface of another celestial.

Aug 3, 1962 - 2 (Reuters) Ariel, Britain's first earth satellite, has produced interesting and valuable information about the structure of the ionosphere and the higher atmosphere, Freeth, Parlia- ,mentary Secretary for Science, ;said today. The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla,, ...


Sep 2, 1962 - It was somewhat ironic that the Briotish Satellite Ariel should have been one of those knocked out. For it was from Britain that had come the strongest advance pro tests against the high altitude test on primarily scientific grounds — as contrasted with those from Communist sources and ...


Jun 7, 1963 - 3, the first all-british satellite, is to be built by the British Aircraft Corporation's guided weapons division at Stevenage, Herts. will be launched in about four years ... 3 will be the third in a series of joint british-american scientific research satellites.


Jan 15, 1964 - The space agency has already agreed to launch two British satellites, including one earlv this year, and a French satellite in 1965. i Both the British and French satellites will make various measurements of the ionosphere, the electrically charged layer in the upper atmosphere. ...


Nov 27, 1965 - It made France the third nation to launch a satellite with its own rocket. US rockets were used to launch Italian, Canadian and British satellites. The successful orbiting seemed certain to boost President Charles de Gaulle's stock in the Dec. 5 when he will be a candidate to succeed ...


Dec 29, 1966 - UK Satellite LONDON reutersThe British Government intends to proceed with plans to launch an allbritish satellite in years time The Daily Mail ... says the satellite weighing up to 200 pounds would be put into orbit from the Australia rocket range by a new British rocket Black Arrow It.


May 5, 1967 - UK-3 was launched from the Western Test Range in California by (NASA) On Friday, 5th May, 1967. Now that it is in orbit the satellite is known as Ariel III.


Nov 21, 1969 - CAPE KENNEDY, Fla. The— first British military communications satellite is to rocket into space today to link defense units in bases as far apart as England and Singapore. Perched atop a US Delta rocket, the 535-pound payload called skynet is to. into an egg-shaped orbit with a high ...


Oct 28, 1971 - On 28 October 1971, the Prospero satellite was blasted into orbit by a Black Arrow launch vehicle. It was the only time a British satellite has been launched on a British rocket. Future legacy Although many were saddened by the cancellation of Black Arrow ...On 28 October 1971, the Prospero satellite was blasted into orbit by a Black Arrow launch vehicle. It was the only time a British satellite has been launched on a British rocket. Future legacy Although many were saddened by the cancellation of Black Arrow, the legacy of the UK's space pioneers lives on. The technology of the rocket itself was reused in the European rocket programme - now flying as the Ariane series of launchers.


Jan 18, 1974 - satellite Skynet 2 soared into space Friday night, the first space launch in 1974 from Cape Canaveral and the 100th firing of a Delta, the rocket workhorse of the space . the 960 pound satellite on the first part of its journey to a stationary orbit over the Indian Ocean.


Jun 12, 1978 - ... ... a group of British engineers and physicists has just published a remarkable scientific document that is certain to go down in history ... The same British company which has won business worth many millions of dollars for giantspace dish satellite terminals has come in at the other end.


Oct 1, 1981 - This commemorative push button telephone in black & silver was made to mark the inauguration of British telecom on 1 October 1981. CONNECTED EARTH: GOONHILLY SATELLITE EARTH STATION.


May 19, 1982 - WASHINGTON The Soviet Union has launched a nuclear-powered radar satellite into low orbit over the South Atlantic that could aid Argentina in spying on British warships near the Falklands Islands, government sources say. The United States has nothing like the satellite, identified as ...


Aug 17, 1984 - satellites, fired into orbit with an American pay load, await a radio signal that will boost them to a higher orbit where the German craft ... wind The first release is planned in September British satellites are to ob serve from well outside the magnetic fields.


Jul 8, 1985 - The British are coming final ly They may be a few decades behind the Americans but that doesnt matter a bit really ac cording to a team of properly enthusiastic English astronauts who were in Huntington Beach on Friday to inspect McDonnell Douglas satellite launch equip ment ...


Jul 18, 1986 - Charlotte Observer, The : Complete full-text content of local and regional news, including community events, schools, politics, government policies, cultural activities, local companies, state industries, and people in the community. Paid advertisements are excluded.


Jul 16, 1987 - The order, from British Satellite Broadcasting Ltd., a London-based consortium, is believed to be the first firm agreement to launch commer cial ...


Aug 28, 1989 - A privately owned rocket fired a payload into orbit yesterday for the first time in the history of the space age. The 11-story Delta rocket, ... Hughes was hired by British Satellite Broadcasting to build two such satellites and have them launched into space under a $300 million contract.


Jan 1, 1990 - LEAD: A Titan 3 rocket carrying British and Japanese communications satellites roared into space tonight after nine postponements. ... About an hour after liftoff, the British satellite was released, officials said. The other satellite was to be released later.


Dec 9, 1995 - AG Rogers says that the only British satellite was launched by a Black Arrow in 1971Letters 4 November That is incorrect The first allBritish satellite was UK3 renamed Ariel 3 when in orbit launched by a NASA Scout rocket in May 1967.


Jun 19, 1997 - The deal with Primestar sees Murdoch selling ASkyB to the enemy, the cable companies -- the very same companies whose dominance of the American pay television market he originally intended to challenge with a US version of his successful British satellite business, BSkyB. ...


Oct 7, 1998 - Smaller lightweight satellites have been widely used in communications monitoring environmental changes and natural disasters and in scientific experiments in space The Tsinghua1 is 1.2 metres high and weighs 75 kg It will be the first of seven satellites forming a SinoBritish Treaty.


Apr 21, 1999 - Nehoda said that the Dnipro carried a British scientific satellite (?WoSAT-12) weighing 320 kg. He noted that the use of modernized SS-18 missiles, ... in December this year the Dnipro will launch into orbit a Ukranian microsatellite.


Nov 9, 2001 - As Nigeria warms up to join the league of space explorers next year, Minister of Science and Technology Prof Turner T. Isoun yesterday in Abuja commissioned the multi-million-naira annexe expected to house its earth station for its own satellite. The low earth orbit micro-satellite is built by Britain.

Feb 27, 2002 - Britain's armed forces are to be provided with a new satellite communications system under a private finance initiative programme worth about £2bn and creating or sustaining up to 1500 jobs across Britain, the Ministry of Defence announced yesterday. The British consortium Paradigm was ...


Sep 26, 2003 - KUN0078 4 GEN 0289 KUWAIT /KUNA-JRQ6 SCI-BRITISH-SATELLITES Three British-Built satellites for disasters monitoring to be launched tomorrow LONDON, Sep 26 (KUNA ) -- A rocket is due to launch tomorrow, carrying three British-built " International Rescue" satellites.


Jun 2, 2005 - LONDON — The satellite operator Inmarsat announced plans on Wednesday to raise $690 million in an initial public offering here this month. Inmarsat said it would sell 164.5 million shares at 215 pence to 245 pence each, giving the company a total market value of £1.1 billion, ..


Jan 18, 2006 - GUILDFORD, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 18, 2006) - The primary objective of the GIOVE-A satellite, launched on the 28th December 2005 was to secure frequencies with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) without which the operation of Europe's new satellite navigation system ...


Mar 12, 2007 - The British military's communications satellite has blasted off into space after a last-minute glitch delayed its launch by 24 hours. The Ariane rocket carryingSkynet 5A, part of a £3.6 billion British armed forces programme, had been set to take off from the European spaceport at ...


Dec 18, 2008 - BRUSSELS, Dec 18 (Reuters) - European aircraft manufacturer EADS (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) gained clearance from European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday to buy British satellite maker Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.


Feb 3, 2009 - By Jonathan Amos. Two British companies are involved in discussions about developing a low-cost rocket capable of putting small satellites in orbit. The idea is being promoted by SSTL, a firm in Guildford, Surrey, best known for its Earth observation spacecraft.

British Radar – It's History

I have decided to create this article about Radar which invention helped us British win the second world war.

In 1934 a large-scale Air Defence exercise was held to test the defences of Great Britain and mock raids were carried out on London. Even though the routes and targets were known in advance, well over half the bombers reached their targets without opposition. Prime Minister Baldwin's statement "The bomber will always get through" seemed true.

To give time for their guns to engage enemy aircraft as they came over, the Army was experimenting with the sound detection of aircraft by using massive concrete acoustic mirrors with microphones at their focal points.

Dr H.E. Wimperis, the first Director of Scientific Research for the Air Ministry, and his assistant Mr A.P. Rowe arranged for Air Marshall Dowding to visit the Army site on the Romney Marshes to see a demonstration. On the morning of the test the experiment was completely wrecked by a milk cart rattling by. Rowe was so concerned by this failure that he gathered up all the Air Ministry files on the subject of Air Defence. He was so appalled that he wrote formally to Wimperis to say that if we were involved in a major war we would loose it unless something new could be discovered to change the situation. He suggested that the best advisors obtainable should review the whole situation to see whether any new initiatives could be found. On 12th November Wimperis put this proposal to the Secretary of State and a Committee was set up under Henry Tizard.

In 1935 the British Air Ministry asked Robert Watson-Watt of the Radio Research Station whether a "death ray" was possible. He and colleague Arnold Wilkins quickly concluded that it was not feasible, but as a consequence suggested using radio for the detection of aircraft and this started the development of radar in Britain. The idea of using rays to kill or disable people or machines was very popular, so to start things off Wimperis got Professor Hill to estimate the radio energy needed to cause damage to humans. He sent this to Mr Watson-Watt, Superintendent of the Radio Research Station at Slough for his views on the possibility of developing a radio "Death Ray" to melt metal or incapacitate an aircraft pilot. Watson-Watt passed the letter to A.F. Wilkins who reported that there was no possibility of achieving these destructive effects at a distance but that energy reflected from aircraft should be detectable at useful ranges. This was reported to the first meeting of the Tizard Committee on 28th January and Rowe was instructed to get quantitative estimates for detection.

Wilkins made further calculations from which Watson-Watt wrote a memorandum proposing a system of radio-location using a pulse/echo technique. The Committee gave this a very favourable reception and Wimperis asked Dowding for £10,000 to investigate this new method of detection. Dowding, though very interested, said he must have a simple practical demonstration to show feasibility before committing scarce funds to the project.

For this demonstration Watson-Watt and Wilkins decided to make use of transmissions from the powerful BBC short-wave station at Daventry and measure the power reflected from a Heyford bomber flying up and down at various ranges. Detection was achieved at up to 8 miles and the £10,000 was granted.

A site at Orfordness was chosen to do the detection experiments over the sea. Aerials mounted on three pairs of 75ft wooden lattice masts were installed and detection ranges of 17 miles were obtained. These were rapidly increased to 40 miles by July. Work was done to show how map position and height might be determined and Watson-Watt submitted proposals for a chain of stations to be erected round the coast to provide warning of attack and to tell fighters where to engage the attackers. He suggested that a full-scale station should be built at once, to be followed, if successful, by a group of stations to cover the Thames Estuary and then by a final chain covering the South and East coasts. Construction of 5 stations was authorised and the one at Bawdsey was in operation by August 1936. The others followed shortly after. Plots were to be telephoned to a central operations room and combined with data from the Royal Observer Corps and the radio direction-finding system.

In February 1936 Bawdsey Manor became the centre for the expanding research team and Tizard inspired the RAF at Biggin Hill to investigate fighter control and interception techniques. Their results convinced him that effective interceptions could be obtained against mass raids by day, but not against dispersed attackers at night. He therefore pressed for equipment to go into fighters for them to find and engage targets when positioned within a few miles. Initial tests using a large television transmitter on the ground operating on a wavelength of 6 metres and a receiver in a Heyford Bomber with an aerial between its wheels gave detection ranges of over 10 miles. To get a transmitter into an aircraft and reduce the size of the aerial a much lower wavelength was required. Bowen installed a crude equipment operating at 1 metre in an Anson and in the autumn of 1937 aircraft were detected and also Naval ships several miles away in appalling weather.

From then on Air Interception (AI) and Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) equipments were developed. Further Air Defence Trials showed that better detection of low flying aircraft was needed and Chain Low (CHL) stations were evolved from Coastal Defence (CD) equipments which had been developed for the Army. Gun laying equipments (GL) were developed and also equipments to improve navigation (GEE) and bombing (OBOE) and (H2S).

Sep 1940 - The cavity magnetron was perhaps the single most important invention in the history of radar and played a major part in the Allies' victory. In the Tizard Mission during September 1940, it was given free to the US, together with several other inventions such as jet technology, so that we British could use American R&D and their production facilities.

The problem with us Brits giving away many of out Top Secret Gizmo's and inventions to the Americans was that our official secrets act lasted indefinately wheras the Americans did not have such laws holding them back and subsequently after WW2 the Americans decided to claim Computers and many other British Inventions (which were still secret) as their own. My goal is to rectify this situation and publish rights to many old and previously published wrongs. The first manned flight was in Brompton, England in 1849.

The First Manned Flight – England 1849

Britains history is made up of very famous engineers all through their history. This has made me decide to write about one of the the most famous English Engineers called the "Father of Aviation" Sir George Cayley who flew the first manned flight in Brompton, England in 1849.

Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet (27 December 1773 – 15 December 1857) was a prolific English Engineer, one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many consider him the first true scientific aerial investigator and first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight.

In 1799 he set forth concept of the modern aeroplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control. Often known as "the father of Aerodynamics", he was a pioneer of aeronautical engineering. Is called the "Father of Aviation" and designer of the first successful glider to carry a human being aloft, he discovered and identified the four aerodynamic forces of flight — weight, lift, drag and thrust — which are in effect on any flight vehicle. Modern aeroplane design is based on those discoveries including cambered wings. He is credited with the first major breakthrough in heavier-than-air flight and he worked over half a century before the development of powered flight. He designed the first actual model of an aeroplane and also diagrammed the elements of vertical flight.

By 1804 Sir George Cayley had built his first model gliders which appeared similar to modern aircraft: a pair of large monoplane wings towards the front, with a smaller tailplane at the back comprising horizontal stabilisers and a vertical wing.

In 1809 Sir George Cayley was quoted as saying, "I feel perfectly confident that we shall be able to transport ourselves and families, and their goods and chattels, more securely by air than by water, and with a velocity of from 20 to 100 miles per hour."

By 1810 Sir George Cayley had published his now-classic three-part treatise "On Aerial Navigation" which stated that lift, propulsion and control were the three requisite elements to successful flight, apparently the first person to so realize and so state.

By 1816 Sir George Cayley had turned his attention to lighter-than-air machines and designed a streamlined airship with a semi-rigid structure. He also suggested using separate gas bags to limit an airship's lifting gas loss due to damage. In 1837 Cayley designed a streamlined airship to be powered by a steam engine.

1832 to 1835 Sir George Cayley had served for the whig party as member of parliament for Scarborough, and helped found the Royal Polytechnic Institution (now University of Westminster), serving as its chairman for many years. He was a founding member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and was a distant cousin of the mathematician Arthur Cayley.

Around 1843 Sir George Cayley was the first to suggest the idea for a convertiplane, an idea which was published in a paper written that same year.

During some point prior to 1849 Sir George Cayley designed and built a biplane powered with "flappers" in which an unknown ten-year-old boy flew.

During 1853 Sir George Cayley with the continued assistance of his grandson George John Cayley and his resident engineer Thomas Vick, he developed a larger scale glider (also probably fitted with "flappers") which flew across Brompton Dale.

Later during 1853 the first adult aviator has been claimed to be either Cayley's coachman. One source (Gibbs-Smith) has suggested that it was John Appleby, a Cayley employee — however there is no definitive evidence to fully identify the pilot. The Plane Cayley built was a triplane glider (a glider with three horizontal wing structures) that carried his coachman 900 feet (275 meters) across Brompton Dale in the north of England before crashing. It was the first recorded flight by an adult in an aircraft.

An obscure entry in volume IX of the 8th Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1855 is the most contemporaneous account with any authority regarding the event. A 2007 biography of Cayley (Richard Dee's The Man Who Discovered Flight: George Cayley and the First Airplane) claims the first pilot was Cayley's grandson George John Cayley (1826-1878). Dee's book also reports the re-discovery of a series doodles from Cayley's school exercise book which suggest that Cayley's first designs concerning a lift-generating inclined plane may have been made as early as 1793.

A replica of the 1853 machine was flown at the original site in Brompton Dale in 1974 and in the mid 1980s by Derek Piggott. The glider is currently on display at the Yorkshire Air Museum. Another replica flew there in 2003, first piloted by Allan McWhirter and later by Richard Branson.

In 1857 Sir George Cayley died in Scarborough. There is a memorial to his life at Hull University at the Scarborough Campus.

The Battle Of Britain – 1940


One of the most Iconic years in British History was 1940 when The Battle Of Britain was fought against the Luftwaffe. The reader must remember our parents and grand parents were involved or lived through the war and during my growing up in the 1960's the war was a very big thing to British families and a lot of my teachers in the 1960's and 1970's were in the Army, Royal Navy or RAF during the Second World War.

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. From July 1940 until October 13th 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. The last true day of The Battle of Britain was on September 15th. 1940. The bombing raids of British cities continued until October 13th 1940.

As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics.

The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defences or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender is considered its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war.

While we British were using radar for air defence more effectively than the Germans realised, the Luftwaffe attempted to press its own offensive advantage with advanced radio navigation systems of which we British were initially not aware. One of these was knickebein ("crooked leg"); this system was used at night and for raids where precision was required. It was rarely used during the Battle of Britain.

Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, Britain begun slowly running out of aircraft and pilots. The Germans were targeting airfields and then suddenly changed direction and started to bomb London over a period of days. This gave the RAF time to repair the airfields and replace the damaged aircraft. If Germany had gained air superiority, Adolf Hitler would have launched operation Sea Lion, which was the amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.

On 15th  September two massive waves of German attacks were decisively repulsed by the RAF, with every aircraft of 11 Group being used on that day. The total casualties on this critical day were 60 German and 26 RAF aircraft shot down. The German defeat caused Hitler to order, two days later, the postponement of preparations for the invasion of Britain. Henceforth, in the face of mounting losses in men, aircraft and the lack of adequate replacements, the Luftwaffe switched from daylight to night-time bombing.

If the Germans had invaded and beaten us Brits then the World would have been completely different and instead of English this article would have been in German and the continent of Europe would have been controlled by Germany ( Not like today then!!! ).

On 13th  October, Hitler again postponed the invasion "until the spring of 1941"; however, the invasion never happened, and October is regarded as the month regular bombing of Britain ended. It was not until Hitler's Directive 21 was ordered on 18 December 1940, that the threat of invasion finally dissipated.


The Royal Air Force roll of honour for the Battle of Britain recognises 595 non-British pilots (out of 2,936) as flying at least one authorised operational sortie with an eligible unit of the RAF or Fleet Air Arm between 10 July and 31 October 1940. These included 145 Poles, 127 New Zealanders, 112 Canadians, 88 Czechoslovaks, 32 Australians, 28 Belgians, 25 South Africans, 13 French, 10 Irish, 7 Americans and one each from Jamaica, the British Mandate of Palestine and Southern Rhodesia.


Winston Churchill summed up the effect of the battle and the contribution of Fighter Command with the words, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. Pilots who fought in the Battle have been known as The Few ever since.


Battle of Britain Day is commemorated in the United Kingdom on 15th  September. Within the Commonwealth, Battle of Britain Day is usually observed on the third Sunday in September. In some areas in the British Channel Islands, it is celebrated on the second Thursday in September.


The Spitfire – A British Icon

I have decided to create this article about The Spitfire as it's one of the Icons of The Battle of Britain. The designer and builder was R. J. Mitchell and his greatest legacy was the Spitfire single-seat fighter, designed between 1934 and 1936. It was a hybrid of many diverse technical developments. Using high-speed flight experience gained through the Schneider Trophy successes, influences from the German aircraft manufacturer, Junkers, and learning vital lessons from Supermarine's unsuccessful Type 224, the Spitfire was a masterpiece of practical engineering design that Mitchell would never see fly in combat.

The Spitfire designed by R. J. Mitchell came into being as a result of a new Air Ministry requirement for an interceptor fighter to respond to the growing threat of a modern Luftwaffe. The RAF interceptors of the day having a top speed of around 220mph, and a speed of 300 mph was considered vital to ensure interception of the new Luftwaffe aircraft under development.

R J Mitchell, Chief Designer at Supermarine had a reputation for designing high speed airplanes, having been the designer of the successful Schneider Trophy Seaplanes in the late 20's and early 30's. Mitchell's first attempt at a fighter was the Type 224 in 1933, driven by a Rolls Royce Goshawk steam cooled engine. This engine never realised its' full potential due to extreme unreliability of the steam cooling system. The 224 was both slow and underpowered, and was therefore never seriously considered as an interceptor by the Royal Air Force.

Mitchell then went back to the drawing board to design a better fighter using revolutionary techniques in airframe construction. He also had consultations with Henry Royce of Rolls Royce, who himself had ideas for a new V12 engine, which Rolls developed as a private venture, as the PV12, later called the Merlin. This powerful engine, of nearly 1000 hp in its' initial form, coupled with a state-of-the-art airframe promised much, and Mitchell worked on the design through the second half of 1935. The prototype at this stage, was simply called the F37/34, and first flew at Eastleigh airfield, near Southampton, on 5th March 1936. The chief test pilot of Vickers/Supermarine, Mutt Summers, took it up on its' first flight and allegedly said on landing "I don't want anything touched". Most people took this to mean that he believed the aircraft was perfect, although in reality he probably simply did not want any settings changed at that time. The aircraft however, even at that early stage, showed much promise as a fighter. Mitchell had calculated the top speed to be 350 mph, whereas trials showed its' top speed at 349 mph - Mitchell is said to have been satisfied with this!

Development went on during the rest of 1936 with Mitchell often turning up to watch his new creation fly, even though by this time he was very ill with cancer - which he succumbed to in June 1937 at the young age of 42. Subsequently, Joseph Smith became Chief Designer at Supermarine, and presided over the development of the prototype into a production airplane, by now called Spitfire, a name coined originally for the Type 224 by Sir Robert MacLean, MD of Vickers. It is said that prior to his death Mitchell expressed his dislike of the name, saying "It's just the sort of bloody silly name they would choose", and it was very nearly named the Shrew. Fortunately for posterity this view did not prevail.

Armament for the new fighter was originally set at four machine guns, set in the wings, but this was later increased to eight machine guns, to ensure a lethal weight of fire in a typical three second burst. The new type of construction employed in the Spitfire caused Supermarine numerous problems in mass production, especially the revolutionary new type of wing construction. Production of the rival Hurricane fighter was far greater due to its' simpler structure, and it was mid 1938 before the aircraft was starting to be produced in quantity for deliveries to the Royal Air Force.

The First VTOL Harrier Jump Jet – A British Icon 1941

I have decided to create this article about the first Vertical Take Off Aircraft – The Harrier Jump Jet, which is one of the Icons of Britain. In October 1960 the forerunner of the Harrier Jump jet made its first tethered flight there, which led to its maiden conventional flight in November of the same year.

Studies of "vertical takeoff or landing (VTOL)" aircraft began late in the Second World War, with Alan A. Griffiths the famous British Engineer had come up with the Vertical Take Off Aircraft idea in 1941.

Masny nations began to work on flight-worthy VTOL machines after the war, though initially these aircraft were purely experimental in nature. In the UK, Rolls Royce began work on Britain's first VTOL aircraft, known by the bland name of "Thrust Measuring Rig (TMR)", apparently as a dodge to conceal the real nature of the project from those who might have thought it too far-fetched. It was designed to evaluate hovering flight using raw jet thrust, with no capability for serious horizontal flight.

The first of two TMRs was rolled out in 1953. It hardly looked like an aircraft at all, consisting only of a frame with four legs and twin Rolls Nene centrifugal-flow turbojet engines, arranged exhaust-to-exhaust with their exhausts tilted downward through the TMR's center of gravity. There were reaction jets -- "puffers" -- on arms out to each side, fed by exhaust bleed from the engines to provide maneuvering capability during a hover. The pilot sat perched on top, with little protection if the clumsy-looking thing decided to flip over. It was referred to as the "Flying Bedstead" due to its appearance; more or less the same nickname was applied to comparable VTOL evaluation rigs developed in other countries.

Initial tethered flights were performed in 1953 and 1954. The first free flight was made on 3 August 1954 with Rolls chief test pilot R.T. Shepherd at the controls. The Bedstead had an empty weight of 2,720 kilograms (6,000 pounds) and a loaded weight, with enough fuel for ten minutes of flight, of 3,400 kilograms (7,500 pounds). Since the twin Rolls Royce Nene engines only provided a total of 36.0 kN (3,675 kgp / 8,100 lbf) together and about 8% of that thrust was siphoned off for the puffers, the Bedstead had little margin of power. In addition, the throttle response of the old Nene engines was sluggish, making hovering difficult. All in all, the thing was apparently very hair-raising to fly.

After the first Flying Bedstead was moved to the Royal Aeronautical Establishment (RAE) it crashed, killing the pilot. The second Bedstead performed its first flight in late 1957, only to crash within a week. Its parts were used to repair the first Bedstead, which eventually ended up as a museum piece in the UK.

Nobody could have mistaken the ugly Bedstead for anything but a purely experimental lashup. As the Bedstead program was winding down, work was beginning on a new British VTOL machine that looked much more like a proper aircraft.

The basis for the effort was a new type of engine known as a "liftjet", the brainchild of Dr. Alan A. Griffiths, one of the pioneers of British jet technology and a major figure in the history of materials science. A liftjet was a small turbojet that was fitted vertically into a VTOL aircraft for straight-up lift, and was not generally used in forward flight. It were designed to be as compact as possible and to generate large amounts of thrust for a short time. It also had a sensitive throttle to permit fine control in hover.

Griffiths had come up with the idea in 1941, and in 1955 he had bench-tested one of the first liftjet engines, the Rolls Royce "RB.108". It weighed 122 kilograms (269 pounds) and could generate 9.0 kN (920 kgp / 2,030 lbf) thrust, not including 11% bleed to drive puffer thrusters. The British Ministry of Supply (MoS) issued a request for an experimental VTOL aircraft based on the RB.108 and several companies replied. The contract was awarded to Short Brothers of Belfast in August 1957, with funding provided for two machines, designated "SC.1".

In April 1966, the Marines operated a Hawker Siddeley Kestrel off the commando assault ship and were impressed with the aircraft. This then led to the Marines obtaining the Harrier AV-8A jump jet for use from their assault ships.

In 1969 the first flying prototype of what became known as the Harrier 'jump jet ,' entered service. Displayed directly below the airframe is a Rolls Royce Pegasus jet engine whose unique design coupled with the Harrier makes the VTOL feat possible. The Pegasus engine has 4 vectored thrust nozzles that can be swiveled to provide the vertical thrust necessary to counter the Harrier's weight while hovering.

There are four main versions of the Harrier family: Hawker Siddeley Harrier, British Aerospace Sea Harrier, Boeing/BAE Systems AV – 8B Harrier II and BAE Systems/Boeing Harrier II. The Hawker Siddeley Harrier is the firstgeneration version and is also known as the AV-8A Harrier. The Sea Harrier is a naval strike/air defence fighter. The AV-8B and BAE Harrier II are the US and British variants respectively of the second generation Harrier aircraft.

Between 1969 and 2003, 824 Harrier variants were delivered. While manufacture of new Harriers concluded in 1997, the last remanufactured aircraft (Harrier II Plus configuration) was delivered in December 2003 which ended the Harrier production line.

Concorde – A British Icon

I have decided to create this article about The Concorde aeroplane as it's one of the Icons of Britain.

The BAC Concorde aircraft was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport (SST), which flew from 1969 to 2003. It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation. Concorde entered service with British Airways in 1976.

The British Minister of Aviation and the French ambassador signed a preliminary agreement for cooperation. The treaty stated that Britain and France would share equally in both the costs of production and the profits from future sales. Four companies would get the contracts for work on the SST. The British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation would build the airframe. Bristol Siddeley (Britain) and SNECMA (France) would manufacture the Olympus 593 jet engines.

In 1964, a management group was organized between the two governments. BAC (England) and Aerospatiale (France) would build the airframe, and Rolls Royce and SNECMA (France) would make the jet engines. These companies signed hundreds of contracts with suppliers from Britain, France and the USA. A "mini concord" made its first experimental flight in France on May 1. The spelling became the French "Concorde", with Britain saying that the "e" stood for England, Europe and Excellence. This was a government financed and managed program.

In September 1965, work began on the production airframe. Final assembly of the British prototype began in 1966. The following year the first prototype was presented in Toulouse, France. In 1968 the first supersonic airliner to fly was not British of French. The Tupolev Tu-144 took off from a runway near where it was built, in Zhukovski, USSR. The French and British were painstakingly building, rebuilding and testing theirs. Funding was a hot electoral issue in England and was halted for a few months by the new Labor government.

On March 2nd 1969, The French Concorde 001 made its first take off run and on April 9th, the 002 in England first flew. Both aircraft were displayed at the Paris Air Show that year. By October the French model had made 45 test flights, reaching a speed of Mach 1 on October 1. In February 1970 the Olympus 593 engine made a test run and ran continuously for 300 hours, the equivalent of 100 Trans-Atlantic SST flights. Residents of London voiced the first complaints about noise in September when Concorde 002 landed at Heathrow airport.

The first pre-production aircraft rolled out of the hangar at Filton, England on the 20th of September 1971. In December the US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) announced that Concorde was within American airport noise limits. The next year the British Concorde made a 45,000-mile sales tour of twelve countries and China indicated her intention to purchase two of them. BOAC of England ordered five and Air France requisitioned four. The jet had yet to be proved but intense testing and re-design was ongoing.

In June 1973 the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, at the Paris Air Show, crashed killing 14 people, 6 aboard the aircraft and 8 on the ground. The pilot of the Tu-144 appeared to maneuver in order to avoid hitting a Mirage jet, lost a wing and broke apart. The first production model of the Concorde 201 made a flight in France and reached a speed of Mach 1.57.

In a contest reminiscent of the old horse vs. car days, the French Concorde was pitted against a 747 in 1974. The conventional 747 left Boston's Logan Airport en route to Paris at the same time as the Concorde left Paris' Orly for Boston. The Concorde landed in Paris, spent 68 minutes on the ground, and returned to Boston 11 minutes ahead of the 747.

The production and testing of the SST was exceedingly costly for France and England. Because the companies were government financed it was a political issue too. A decision was made by Harold Wilson and Valery Giscard d'Estaing to continue the program but limit production to 16 aircraft. All of the US airline companies that had originally expressed interest in purchasing the Concorde had decided not to.

In 1975 the fourth production type aircraft Concorde 204 made two return flights from London to Gander, Newfoundland in a single day. British Airways and Air France started taking reservations for scheduled service to Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro starting the following January. By the 21st of January 1977 the Concorde had been in service for one year and had carried over 45,000 paying passengers. On the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's flight in the 'Spirit of St Louis' from New York to Paris, a Concorde flew the same route in 3 hours 44 minutes. Lindbergh's time was 33 hours 29 minutes. In April 1979 the last production Concorde 216 was completed.

By 1982 the Concorde had been in service for 6 years and The British Industry and Trade Committee was concerned with the mounting costs of the Concorde program. The British government informed British Airways that they were no longer willing to fund manufacturers Rolls Royce and British Aerospace. British Airways responded that they would investigate the possibility of running the program for profit. On January 1, 1983 the Concorde made the fastest ever time from New York to London at 2 hrs. 56 min. In 1984 British Airways took over responsibility for funding Concorde's British manufacturers.

Aside from a few rudder problems and cracked external windows in the early 1990's the Concorde proved to be the most reliable airliner ever put into service. Cracks were discovered in the wings of a few planes in July 2000 but the cracks were deemed not critical. On July 25th, 2000 Air France Concorde F-BTSC crashed in Paris killing all 109 passengers and crew and 4 on the ground.

The Concorde:

Cruising speed: Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound)

Cruising altitude: 15,000-18,000 meters (50,000-60,000 ft.)

Takeoff speed: 360 km/h (223 mph)

Landing speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)

Runway length required for takeoff: 3,590 meters (11778.2 ft.)

Acceleration on takeoff: zero to 360 km/h in 20 seconds

Passenger capacity: 100

Overall length: 62 meters (203 ft.)

Maximum takeoff weight: 185,000 kilograms (84,000 lbs.)

Engines: Four, with 17,000 kilograms thrust each

Fuel capacity: 94,800 kilograms

Range: 6,545 kilometers (4,058 miles)

Round-trip fare: New York-Paris: $US 8,720

Flight time: New York-Paris: three hours 35 minutes

Concorde remains an icon of aviation history and is known as "Concorde" rather than "the Concorde" or "a Concorde".

10 Turning Points that could have lost GB WW2

I believe that during WW2 "Fate" seemed to be on the side of Great Britain. Ask yourselves What were the turning points of WW2 that could have meant defeat for GB and the whole of Europe becoming dominated by the Nazi's. Below is a list of turning points that I think could have gone either way. We English have always fought. It is part of our makeup, and provides much of our history. But what makes us so good at being Warriors is our ethos. The ability to stand side by side as ‘shoulder companions' in any conflict and fight for ‘each other'. The Nazi's during WW2 found this out and consequently lost. This is the reason for nearly 1,000 years why England has never been invaded.

In peacetime we English played and invented many sports which we gave the world including Football, Rugby, Cricket etc. I have a website where I have listed the many sports and games invented by us British with links to the relevant web page.

1) Winston Churchill Boer War escape.

If Sir Winston Churchill had been caught by the Boers after he had escaped from prison, he would have been shot and he would not have been able to lead Great Britain during WW2. There were Dead or Alive posters posted all through South Africa concerning Winston Churchill's escape.

2) The Phony War

After the fall of France most of Mainland Europe were conquered and occupied by the Nazi's and during the following 18 months, Britain and its Commonwealth stood alone against Germany and its allies including the Soviets. If the Soviets had decided to join Germany by attacking GB then we may have lost the war.

3) British RADAR

Development work in 1937 led to "beamed radar" for airborne sets and for Coastal Defense (CD) radar that operated on 1.5 m wavelength. The CD system was also called the Chain Home Low (CHL). The CHL used a rotating antenna, which rotated at 1-2.3 rpm and had a range of 160 km with an azimuth accuracy of 1.5 degrees. The Navy used a similar set to the CHL. Called the type 281; it was tested on the HMS Dido in October of 1940 and the HMS Prince of Wales in January of 1941. Over 59 sets were produced during the war. This set could operated on a wavelength of 50 cm and it could locate ships up to a distance of 20 km. Without Radar during the Battle of Britain GB would have lost the battle and been invaded shortly afterwards.

4) Battle of Britain

Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, Britain begun slowly running out of aircraft and pilots. The Germans were targeting airfields and then suddenly changed direction and started to bomb London over a period of days. This gave the RAF time to repair the airfields and replace the damaged aircraft. The other result of losing the Battle of Britain would have been the Invasion of Britain by the Germans.

5) The Battle of Dunkirk

Dunkirk was a battle in the Secomnd World War between the Allies and Germany. A part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 24 May to 4 June 1940.

In one of the most widely-debated decisions of the war, Adolf Hitler ordered his generals to halt for three days, giving the Allies time to organise an evacuation and build a defensive line. If Hitler had told his troops to continue to Dunkirk GB would have lost the War. Despite the Allies' gloomy estimates of the situation, with Britain discussing a conditional surrender to Germany,in the end over 338,000 Allied troops were rescued.

6) Japan's Declaring war on the USA

After the japanese declared war on the USA by bombing its Naval base at Pearl harbour, Hitler also made the mistake of declaring war on the USA. If Hitler hadn't declared war on the USA then the Americans may not have become British allies for years in the future.

7) Breaking of enigma code in 1940,

If the British hadn't cracked the ULTRA enigma code than the war would have lasted longer and maybe even had lost the war.

8) Using first computer "COLOSSUS" to break higher settings enigma code in 1943

Colossus was built for the code-breakers at Bletchley Park by Tommy Flowers and his team of post office engineers in 1943. Using standard post office equipment, Tommy Flowers developed a machine that could work at 5000 characters a second, four times faster than anything built before. He went on to develop Colossus Mark 2, which could work at five time faster than the original Colossus.

The computer was as big as a room - 5 metres long, 3 metres deep and 2.5 metres high - and weighed over a ton. Colossus worked by 'reading', through a photoelectric system, a teleprinter tape containing the letters of the coded message. It read 5,000 letters a second.

All possible combinations of the coded message were checked with the cypher key generated by Colossus. A teleprinter typed out the results of Colossus's search, revealing the settings which had been used by the Germans to send their messages. Ten Colossus Mark 2s were eventually built. A complete Mark 2 Colossus machine has recently been rebuilt and is on display at Bletchley Park.

The information revealed by the code-breakers at Bletchley Park was called ULTRA. ULTRA was so secret that only those who needed to know about it - like the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill - were told of its existence. The use of this first computer helped in the organising of the D-DAy Landings. If we hadn't had Colossus's then the war could have lasted longer or been lost.

9) D-Day landing and deception of Landing Ground

Operation Overlord was the code name for the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (commonly known as D-Day). A 12,000-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving almost 7,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June; more than 3 million troops were in France by the end of August.

Allied land forces that saw combat in Normandy on D-Day itself came from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The Free French forces and Polish forces also participated in the battle after the assault phase, and there were also minor contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway. Other Allied nations participated in the naval and air forces. Once the beachheads were secured, a three-week military buildup occurred on the beaches before Operation Cobra, the operation to break out from the Normandy beachhead, began. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to expand the foothold on France, and concluded with the closing of the Falaise pocket on 24th August, the liberation of Paris on 25th August, and the German retreat across the Seine which was completed on 30th August 1944. If the D-Day landings had failed then we could possibly had lost the war and I as an Englishman would be speaking german.

10) V1 and V2 Rockets introduced to late to affect outcome of war and Allies destroying bases

The V1 and V2 Rockets were devised to cause major devastion. In 1943 intelligence of a new threat to Britain's cities began to emerge - missiles and rockets. The V1 missile, once launched, flew without a pilot until it ran out of fuel and came crashing down, blowing up. The V2 rocket was a long distance weapon that could travel at the speed of sound. If they had neen introduced at the start of the war then GB would have lost the war.

The Union Jack – Iconic British Flag

The Union Jack is one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide. I thought it would be interesting to write the history of this famous icon from its early beginnings.

When King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne, thereby becoming James I of England, the national flags of England and Scotland on land continued to be, respectively, the red St George's cross and the white St Andrew's cross. Confusion arose, however, as to what flag would be appropriate at sea. On 12 April 1606 a proclamation was issued:

"By the King: Whereas, some differences hath arisen between Our subjects of South and North Britaine travelling by Seas, about the bearing of their Flagges: For the avoiding of all contentions hereafter. We have, with the advice of our Kingdome of Great Britaine ordered: That from henceforth all our Subjects of this Isle and Kingdome of Great Britaine and all our members thereof, shall beare in their main-toppe the Red Cross commonly called St. George's Crosse and the White Crosse commonly called St. Andrew's Crosse joyned together according to the forme made by our heralds and sent by Us to our Admerall to be published to our Subjects: and in their fore-toppe our Subjects of South Britaine shall weare the Red Crosse onely as they were wont, and our Subjects of North Britaine in their fore-toppe the White Crosse onely as they were accustomed. – 1606."

This is the first known reference to the Union Flag. Although the original design referred to has been lost, it is presumed that it was the flag which, with the addition of the St. Patrick's cross, It forms the basic design of the British Union Flag today. It is also interesting to note that the new flag was not universally popular nor accepted. The English were not overly pleased at the obscuring of the white field of the St George's flag. The Scots, with more justification, were upset at the fact that the red cross was laid over the white. The Scots proposed a number of alternative designs.

While the flag appears symmetric, the white lines above and below the diagonal red are different widths. On the side closest to the flagpole (or on the left when depicted on paper), the white lines above the diagonals are wider; on the side furthest from the flagpole (or on the right when depicted on paper), the converse is true. Thus, rotating the flag 180 degrees will have no change, but if mirrored the flag will be upside-down.

Placing the flag upside down is considered jese majeste and is offensive to some, However, it can be flown upside down as a distress signal. While this is rare, it was used by groups under siege during the Boer War and during campaigns in India in the late18th    century.

The Union Flag is flown from Government buildings at half-mast in the following situations:

·       from the announcement of the death of the Sovereign (an exception is made for Proclamation Day – the day the new Sovereign is proclaimed, when the Flag is flown at full staff from 11 am to sunset)

·       the day of the funeral of a member of the British Royal Family

·       the funeral of a foreign ruler

·       the funeral of a current or former Prime Minister

The Sovereign sometimes declares other days when the Union Flag is to fly at half-mast. Half-mast means the flag is flown two-thirds of the way up the flagpole with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole.

Individuals, companies, local authorities, hospitals, and schools are free to fly the flag whenever they choose. Planning permission is not required to fly the Union Flag from a flagpole.

The Union Flag can be flown by any individual or organisation in England, Scotland or Wales on any day of their choice. Legal regulations restrict the use of the Union Flag on Government buildings in Northern ireland. Long-standing restrictions on Government use of the flag elsewhere were abolished in July 2007.

Sir Francis Drake 1540 to 1596 – British Icon

Sir Francis Drake is one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as a great sailor, navigator and explorer. I thought it would be interesting to write the history of this famous icon from his early beginnings.

Francis Drake was the eldest son of a yeoman farmer and was born near Tavistock, Devonshire. His father later became a Calvinist lay preacher and raised his children as staunch Protestants. Young Drake received some education; he learned the rudiments of navigation and seaman-ship early and did some sailing near his home. The Drakes were related to the Hawkins family of Plymouth, well-to-do seamen and shipowners. The Hawkins connection got Drake a place on a 1566 slave-trading expedition to the Cape Verde Islands and the Spanish Main.

In 1567 John Hawkins made Drake an officer in a larger slave-trading expedition. Drake ultimately received command of one of Hawkins's ships, the Judith, and accompanied his relative to Africa, Rio de la Hacha, and Santa Marta, where Hawkins disposed of the slaves. The English were caught, however, in the harbor of San Juan de Ulúa by a Spanish fleet that opened fire without warning and destroyed most of their ships. Only Drake's Judith and Hawkins's small vessel escaped to England. Embittered by this, Drake resolved to devote his life to war against Spain.

Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain were not at war then, but grievances were steadily mounting. The Queen declined to offend Philip and would not allow Hawkins to go to sea again immediately, but she had no objections to a voyage by the obscure Drake.   

In 1569 Drake had married Mary Newman of Plymouth, but finding domesticity dull. He departed in 1570 for the Spanish Main with a small crew aboard the 25-ton Susan. He hoped to learn how the Spaniards arranged for shipping Peruvian treasure home, and he felt that the ports of Panama City and Nombre de Dios on the Isthmus of Panama were the key. His 1570 voyage was largely one of reconnaissance during which he made friends with the Cimaroons, who were escaped slaves dwelling out of Spanish reach on the Isthmus and stood ready to help him.

During a 1571 expedition he captured Nombre de Dios with Cimaroon help but lost it immediately when, wounded, he had to be carried to safety. After depredations off Cartagena, he intercepted a Spanish gold train near Nombre de Dios and returned to England with the bounty.

His arrival embarrassed the Queen, who still hoped for peace with Spain, and Drake evidently received a broad hint to leave the country temporarily. He is known to have served in Ireland with the Earl of Essex, who was trying to crush a rebellion in Ulster.

By 1576 relations with Spain had worsened, and Drake returned to England, where a new expedition was being planned in which Elizabeth had a financial share. Drake's main instructions were to sail through the Straits of Magellan and probe for the shores of Terra Australis Incognita, the great southern continent that many thought began with Tierra del Fuego. Drake received five ships, the largest being the Pelican (later named the Golden Hind), and a crew of about 160.

The fleet left Plymouth in December 1577 for the southern Atlantic, stopping at Port San Julián for the Southern Hemisphere winter. Ferdinand Magellan had once crushed a mutiny there, and Drake did the same. He tried and executed Thomas Doughty, an autocratic member of the expedition, who had intrigued against him in an attempt to forment a rebellion.

When Drake passed through the strait and entered the Pacific, only the Golden Hind remained; the other ships had been lost or had parted company. Contrary winds forced him southward and he perhaps sighted Cape Horn; in any event, he realized that the two oceans came together and that Terra Australis would not be found there. He traveled along the coasts of Chile and Peru, capturing and destroying Spanish ships but sparing Spanish lives.

Between Callao and Panama Drake took an unarmed treasure ship, bearing gold, emeralds, and all the silver the Golden Hind could carry. Knowing that Spaniards would try to waylay him in the strait, Drake bypassed Panama and, near Guatalco, Nicaragua, captured charts and directions to guide him across the Pacific. Perhaps seeking the Strait of Anian he sailed nearly 48 degrees north, and then descended to a point at or near Drake's Bay, in California, where he made friends with the Indians and overhauled the ship. He left a brass plate naming the country Nova Albion and claiming it for Elizabeth. (In 1936 a plate fitting the description was found near Drake's Bay.)

Drake then crossed the Pacific to the Moluccas and near there almost came to grief when the ship struck a reef. Skilled handling freed it, and his circumnavigation of the globe continued via the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. Drake arrived in Plymouth in 1580, acclaimed by the public and his monarch. In April 1581 he was knighted on the deck of the Golden Hind.

Drake did not immediately go to sea again and in 1581 became mayor of Plymouth. After his wife died, he married a young aristocrat Elizabeth Sydenham. Drake, now a wealthy man, made the bride a substantial settlement. He had no children by either wife.

By 1585 Queen Elizabeth, after new provocations by Philip, felt ready to unleash Drake again. A large fleet was outfitted, including two of her own vessels. Drake, aboard his command ship, the Elizabeth Bonaventure, had instructions to release English vessels impounded by Philip, though Elizabeth certainly knew he would exceed orders.

Drake fulfilled the Queen's expectations. He sacked Vigo in Spanish Galicia and then sailed to Santo Domingo and Cartagena, capturing and holding both for ransom. He would have tried to cross the Isthmus and take Panama, a project he had cherished for years, but an epidemic so reduced his crews that he abandoned the idea. On the way to England he destroyed the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine, in Florida, and farther north, took home the last remaining settlers at Sir Walter Raleigh's unfortunate North Carolina colony.

The expedition, which reached Portsmouth in July 1586, had acquired little treasure but had inflicted great physical and moral damage on Spain, enormously raising English prestige in the bargain. Formal war was now inevitable, and Philip started plans to invade England. In February 1587 the Queen beheaded Mary of Scotland who had been connected with plots to dethrone or murder Elizabeth, to the outrage of Catholic Europe and many English Catholics. Philip began assembling his Armada in Portugal, which had been in his possession since 1580.

Elizabeth appointed Lord Charles Howard of Effingham commander of her fleet and gave Drake, Hawkins, and Martin Frobisher immediately subordinate posts. Drake advocated a strong preventive blow at Philip's unprepared Armada and received permission to strike. In April 1587 he recklessly sailed into Cadiz and destroyed or captured 37 enemy ships. He then occupied the Portuguese town of Sagres for a time and finally, in the Azores, seized a large Portuguese carrack bound homeward from Goa with a rich cargo.

The Cadiz raid damaged but did not cripple the Armada, which, under Alonso de Guzmán, Duke of Medina Sidonia sailed in May 1588. It was alleged that Lord Howard was a figurehead and that the "sea dogs" Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher won the victory in the July encounters. Recent evidence refutes this and shows Howard to have been in effective command. Drake took a conspicuous part in the channel fighting and captured a galleon, but he does not seem to have distinguished himself above other English commanders.

The Armada was defeated, and Drake's career thereafter proved anticlimactic. He met with his first formidable defeat in 1589, when he commanded the naval expedition sent to take Lisbon. He seemed to have lost some of his old daring, and his cautious refusal to ascend the Tagus River for a naval bombardment partly accounted for the failure. Drake did not go to sea again for 5 years. He concerned himself mainly with Plymouth matters. He sat in Parliament, but nothing of note marked his presence there.

In 1595 Queen Elizabeth thought she saw a chance of ending the war victoriously by cutting off the Spanish treasure supply from the Isthmus of Panama. For this she selected Hawkins, then 63, and Drake, in his 50s. The cautious Hawkins and the impetuous Drake could never work well together, and the Queen further complicated the situation by giving them equal authority; in effect, each commanded his own fleet. The Queen's order that they must be back in 6 months scarcely allowed time to capture Panama, and when they learned of a crippled Spanish treasure ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, they decided to go there. Through Drake's insistence on first going to the Canary Islands, their destination was revealed, and the Spaniards sent word ahead to Puerto Rico. Hawkins died as they reached the island, leaving Drake in sole command. The Spaniards had strengthened their San Juan defenses, and Drake failed to capture the city.

Ignoring the Queen's 6-month time limit, the aging Drake, still trying to repeat his earlier successes, made for the Isthmus to capture Nombre de Dios and then Panama. He easily took the former, not knowing that it had been superseded by Puerto Bello as the Caribbean terminus of the Plate fleets. His landing party, which soon realized it was following a path long out of use, was ambushed by Spaniards and forced to retreat.

Drake knew the expedition was a failure; he cruised aimlessly to Honduras and back and then fell ill of fever and dysentery. He died off Puerto Bello on Jan. 28th  1596, and was buried at sea. Sir Thomas Baskerville his second in command, took the expedition back home to England.

The English navigator Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) was the first Englishman and the second person in the World to circumnavigate the globe. His daring exploits at sea helped to establish England's naval supremacy over Spain.

Famous London Icons

England is the oldest European country ( 1500 years old ) and London itself was founded by the Romans in 43 AD.

The Crystal Palace Exhibition – London 1851

I hope all readers will find my article on The Crystal Palace of interest and let's hope in the future It will be re-built to its former glory.

In 1851 Great Britain was the leader of the industrial revolution and feeling very secure in that ideal. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London was conceived to symbolize this industrial, military and economic success of Great Britain. It was decided to make the exhibit truly international with invitations being extended to almost all of the colonized world.

It was also felt that it was important to show Britain's achievements right alongside those of other countries. The prevailing attitude in England at the time was ripe for the exhibiting of its many accomplishments. Many felt secure, economically and politically and Queen Victoria was eager to reinforce the feeling of contentment with her reign. It was during the mid-1850s that the word "Victorian" began to be employed to express a new self-consciousness, both in relation to the nation and to the period through which it was passing.

The exhibition was also a triumph for Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, whom she had married in 1840. Despite outbursts of opposition to Albert by the press the family life of the Victorian court began to be considered increasingly as a model for the whole country. Albert had appreciated the achievements of Prime Minister Robert Peel's political and military advances and publicly advocated the advancement of industry and science. These facts began to sway opinion in his favour as respectable foundations of family life and industrial supremacy were becoming rapidly acquainted with the monarchy of Victoria and Albert. Conceived by prince Albert, the Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park in London in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace was originally designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in only 10 days and was a huge iron goliath with over a million feet of glass. It was important that the building used to showcase these achievements be grandiose and innovative. Over 13,000 exhibits were displayed and viewed by over 6,200,000 visitors to the exhibition.

The millions of visitors that journeyed to the Great Exhibition of 1851 marvelled at the industrial revolution that was propelling Britain into the greatest power of the time. Among the 13,000 exhibits from all around the world were the Jacquard loom, an envelope machine, tools, kitchen appliances, steel-making displays and a reaping machine from the United States. The objects on display came from all parts of the world, including India and the countries with recent white settlements, such as Australia and New Zealand, that constituted the new empire. Many of the visitors who flocked to London came from European cities. The profits from the event allowed for the foundation of public works such as the Albert Hall, the Science Museum, the National History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This "bigger and better" building was divided into a series of courts depicting the history of art and architecture from ancient Egypt through the Renaissance, as well as exhibits from industry and the natural world. Major concerts were held in the Palace's huge arched Centre Transept, which also contained the world's largest organ. The Centre Transept also housed a circus and was the scene of daring feats by world famous acts such as the tightrope walker Blondin. National exhibitions were also staged within its glass and iron walls, including the world's first aeronautical exhibition (held in 1868) and the first national motor show, plus cat shows, dog shows, pigeon shows, honey, flower and other shows.

The Crystal Palace itself was almost outshone by the park in which it stood, which contained a magnificent series of fountains, comprising almost 12,000 individual jets. The largest of these threw water to a height of 250ft. Some 120,000 gallons of water flowed through the system when it was in full play.

The park also contained unrivaled collections of statues, many of which were copies of great works from around the world, and a geological display which included a replica lead mine and the first attempts anywhere in the world to portray life-size restorations of extinct animals, including dinosaurs. Crystal Palace park was also the scene of spectacular Brock's fireworks displays.

After the Great Exhibition closed, the Crystal Palace was moved to Sydenham Hill in South London and reconstructed in what was, in effect, a 200 acre Victorian theme park. The new Crystal Palace park at Sydenham was opened by Queen Victoria on June 10th, 1854.
In 1911, the year of King George V's coronation, the Crystal Palace was home to the Festival of Empire. Three-quarter size models of the parliament buildings of Empire and Commonwealth countries were erected in the grounds to contain exhibits of each country's products.

The Crystal Palace itself was destroyed by fire on November 30th 1936, following which the area lost much of its focus and began to decline. But many of the most important events in the history of the Crystal Palace took place in the grounds, which retain much of their original overall layout today and are a Grade II listed historic park. Thus, for 140 years, Crystal Palace park has been the scene of innumerable contributions to the nation's social, scientific and sporting history.

The London Borough of Bromley, who own the park today, together with the Crystal Palace Foundation, have recently submitted an outline proposal to the National Heritage Lottery Fund to restore much of the park to its former glory. The proposals covered by this application aim not only to improve the park as an amenity, but also to restore a number of its major heritage features. This will include restoration of the Grand Central Walkway, which originally ran the length of the park, the preservation and restoration of the terraces, and the restoration of the geological islands.

The London Hansom Cab – History

The first Powered Passenger Car was driven 160 KM across Cornwall, England in 1801. As my family have lived and worked in London for many centuries I decided to write this article about one of the many London Icons – The London Black Cab.

The Hackney Carriage originated in London, England in 1625. The cabs still come under some of the old rules from the horse drawn days. The Black Cabs' history goes back to the time of horse-drawn cabs which were called Hackney Cabs. The Black Cabs to date are the only taxis that are allowed to pick people up from the street.  

The first Hackney Carriages were licensed in 1662, and were at the time literally horse-drawn carriages. During the 20th century these were generally replaced with cars, and the last horse-drawn Hackney carriage was withdrawn from service in 1947. The name derives not from Hackney in London, but from the French word haquenée, referring to the horse that was pulling it. A carriage house, also called remise or coach house, is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse-drawn carriages and the related tack.

In the United Kingdom, a hackney carriage is a taxicab licensed by the Public Carriage Office in the London Metropolitan Area or by the local authority (shire district councils or authorities) in other parts of England and Wales, Scottish Executive in Scotland, and the Department of the Environment.         

In most of the country hackney carriages are conventional four door saloon cars but in London (and some other cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh) hackney carriages are specially designed vehicles manufactured by Manganese Bronze. These vehicles are designed to take up to 6 passengers in the back, and hold luggage in the front next to the driver. Some modern designs can also accommodate wheelchairs in the back. They were traditionally all black in colour and are popularly known as black cabs.

London Routemaster Buses – History 

The first Powered Passenger Bus was exhibited up and down Bond Street, London in England in 1803. This could be called the first London Bus.

The traditional red Routemaster has become one of the famous features of London, with much tourist paraphernalia continuing to bear Routemaster imagery, and with examples still in existence around the world. Despite its fame, the previous London bus classes the Routemaster replaced are often mistaken for Routemasters by the public and by the media.  

The AEC Routemaster is a model of double decker bus that was built by the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) in 1954 (in production from 1958) and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances. Introduced by London Transport in 1956, the Routemaster saw continuous service in London until 2005, and currently remains on two heritage routes in central London.

The Routemaster was developed by AEC in partnership with London Transport, the customer for nearly all new Routemasters. In total 2,876 Routemasters were built with approximately 1,000 still in existence.

A pioneering design, the Routemaster outlasted several of its replacement types in London, survived the privatisation of the former London Transport bus operators, and was used by other operators around the UK. The unique features of the standard Routemaster were both praised and criticised. The open platform, while exposed to the elements, allowed boarding and alighting away from stops; and the presence of a conductor allowed minimal boarding time and optimal security, although the presence of conductors produced greater labour costs.

Designed for and largely operated in London, over 2,800 of the original Routemaster buses were built between 1956 and 1968, following a design effort started in 1947. So robust was the design that the Routemaster outlived newer buses intended to replace it, into the deregulated era. It was not eventually withdrawn from regular London passenger service until December 2005.

While older buses were exempt from the disability discrimination requirements until 2017, after the 2004 election, TfL adopted an internal policy aim of requiring all of its bus routes to be operated by low-floor buses, thereby requiring the withdrawal of the Routemaster from London. Contributory factors to the withdrawal were said to be the risk of litigation over accidents arising from using the rear platform, and the cost savings of one man operation, and that passengers preferred the comfort levels of modern buses to the now vintage Routemaster.

The Routemaster continues in operation on two heritage routes awarded as TfL contract tendered routes, but they do not contravene the TfL accessible public transport policy requirement as they are paralleled over their entire route by low-floor vehicles of the same route number.

The new Mayor of London in 2008 announced the re-introduction of the routemaster. The new routemaster will be updated to modern hybrid engineering and the new design has been chosen. It is hoped that the new bus will be operating across London in time for the London Olympics of 2012.

City of London Livery Companies

England is the oldest European country ( 1500 years old ) and London itself was founded by the Romans in 53 AD. The London livery companies began in London as craft guilds. At present there are 108 guilds covering most crafts and professions. The oldest guild is the *Bakers Company Guild which started in 1155 AD. 'Guild' derives from the Saxon word for payment, since membership of these fraternities was, and still is, paid for. The word 'livery' refers to uniform clothing as means of identification, hence the term of freemen being "clothed in livery" when they become liverymen of their Company.

A to Z of London Livery Guilds and Year of incorporation:

Actuaries 1979

Air Pilots & Air Navigators 1929

Apothecaries 1617

Arbitrators 1981

Armourers & Brasiers 1453

Bakers* 1155 ( The Oldest Livery Company - See Link Above )

Barbers 1308

Basketmakers 1569

Blacksmiths 1325

Bowyers 1371

Brewers 1437

Broderers 1561

Builders Merchants 1961

Butchers 1605

Carmen 1517

Carpenters 1333

Chartered Accountants 1977

Chartered Architects 1985

Chartered Secretaries & Administrators 1977

Chartered Surveyors 1976

Clockmakers 1631

Clothworkers 1528

Coachmakers & Coach-Harness Makers 1677

Constructors 1976

Cooks 1482

Coopers 1501

Cordwainers 1272

Curriers 1415

Cutlers 1344

Distillers 1638

Drapers 1364

Dyers 1471

Engineers 1983

Environmental Cleaners 1972

Fan Makers 1709

Farmers 1952

Farriers 1674

Feltmakers 1604

Firefighters 2001

Fishmongers 1272

Fletchers 1371

Founders 1614

Framework Knitters 1657

Fruiterers 1605

Fuellers 1984

Furniture Makers 1963

Gardeners 1605

Girdlers 1327

Glass Sellers 1664

Glaziers & Painters of Glass 1637

Glovers 1349

Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers 1693

Goldsmiths 1327

Grocers 1428

Gunmakers 1637

Haberdashers 1371

Hackney Carriage Drivers 2004

Horners 1638

Information Technologists 1992

Innholders 1515

Insurers 1979

International Bankers 2001

Ironmongers 1463

Joiners & Ceilers 1571

Launderers 1960

Leathersellers 1444

Lightmongers 1979

Loriners 1261

Makers of Playing Cards 1628

Management Consultants 2004

Marketors 1977

Masons 1677

Master Mariners 1926

Mercers 1394

Merchant Taylors 1327

Musicians 1350

Needlemakers 1656

Painter-Stainers 1283

Pattenmakers 1670

Paviors 1479

Pewterers 1384

Plaisterers 1501

Plumbers 1365

Poulters 1368

Saddlers 1362

Salters 1394

Scientific Instrument Makers 1955

Scriveners 1373

Security Professionals 2000

Shipwrights 1387

Skinners 1327

Solicitors 1944

Spectacle Makers 1629

Stationers & Newspaper Makers 1403

Tallow Chandlers 1462

Tax Advisors 2005

Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers 1670

Tobacco Pipe-Makers & Tobacco Blenders 1960

Turners 1604

Tylers & Bricklayers 1416

Upholders 1626

Vintners 1364

Water Conservators 2000

Wax Chandlers 1484

Weavers 1155

Wheelwrights 1670

Woolmen 1522

World Traders 2000

Companies without Livery

Parish Clerks

Watermen & Lightermen

England's House of Parliament - It's History

The Houses of Parliament is always called the "Mother of Parliaments", so I thought it would be of interest to write it's history.

The Houses of Parliament occupy the site of an ancient palace and in virtue of that fact still rank as a royal palace and are in the charge of the hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain (not to be confounded with the Lord Chamberlain of the Household). This ancient palace, altered and added to from time to time was the chief London residence of the sovereign from the reign of Edward the Confessor (or perhaps earlier) until Henry VIII seized Whitehall in 1529.

The English Parliament traces its origins to the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot. In 1066, William of Normandy brought a feudal system, by which he sought advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws. In 1215, the tenants-in-chief secured the Magna Carta from King John, which established that the king may not levy or collect any taxes (except the feudal taxes to which they were hitherto accustomed), save with the consent of his royal council, which slowly developed into a parliament. In 1265, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester summoned the first elected Parliament. The franchise in parliamentary elections for county constituencies was uniform throughout the country, extending to all those who owned the freehold of land to an annual rent of 40 shillings (Forty-shilling Freeholders).

In the boroughs, the franchise varied across the country; individual boroughs had varying arrangements. This set the scene for the so-called "Model Parliament" of 1295 adopted by Edward I. By the reign of Edward II, Parliament had been separated into two Houses: one including the nobility and higher clergy, the other including the knights and burgesses, and no law could be made, nor any tax levied, without the consent of both Houses as well as of the Sovereign.

In the Middle Ages and early modern period there were the four separate kingdoms of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and these developed separate parliaments.

In 1605 a chamber at its south end, was the scene of the Gunpowder Plot.

In 1512, the palace was very seriously damaged by fire and it was practically never rebuilt, though Henry VIII. added the cloisters and perhaps also the Star Chamber.

Henry VIII seized Whitehall in 1529.

The Laws in Wales Act of 1535–42 annexed Wales as part of England,

In 1547, the House of Commons, which had hitherto usually met in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, transferred its sittings to St. Stephen's Chapel in the palace; and in 1800 the House of Lords removed to the old Court of Requests, a chamber then situated a little to the south of Westminster Hall.

When Elizabeth I was succeeded in 1603 by the Scottish King James VI (thus becoming James I of England), the countries both came under his rule but each retained its own Parliament.

James I's successor, Charles I, quarrelled with the English Parliament and, after he provoked the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, their dispute developed into the English Civil War. Charles was executed in 1649 and under Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth of England the House of Lords was abolished, and the House of Commons made subordinate to Cromwell. After Cromwell's death, the Restoration of 1660 restored the monarchy and the House of Lords.

Amidst fears of a Roman Catholic succession, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 deposed James II (James VII of Scotland) in favour of the joint rule of Mary II and William III, whose agreement to the English Bill of Rights introduced a constitutional monarchy, though the supremacy of the Crown remained. For the third time, a Convention Parliament, i.e., one not summoned by the king, was required to determine the succession.

The 1707 Acts of Union brought England and Scotland together under the Parliament of Great Britain

Old Palace Yard was an inner court of the palace, and down to 1800 the House of Lords assembled in a chamber at its south end.

The 1800 Act of Union included Ireland under the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In 1834, however, the entire palace was burned down, with the exception of Westminster Hall, the crypt of St. Stephen's Chapel, and part of the cloisters. Rooms were hastily repaired for the use of the two Houses, and the rebuilding of the whole was at once begun.

In 1847 The Lords removed to their present abode and the Commons to theirs in 1850.

The first woman-member of Parliament to take her seat, Viscountess Astor, was elected for Plymouth on November 15th, 1919; the first woman minister was Miss Margaret Bondfield, Undersecretary for Labour in 1924. Payment of members (£400 a year) was established by resolution in 1911.

In 1979 The country voted for the first woman Prime Minister "Margaret Thatcher" who was one of Britain's greatest Prime Minister's and whose party invented "Privatisation" which was taken up by the world. With the help of Ronald Reagan she also helped in destroying Communism and what it stood for. The Soviet Union called her "The Iron Lady" which tells you how impressed they were. As an Englishman I would call Mrs. Thatcher the greatest Prime Minister since Churchill.

Guy Fawkes and The Gunpowder Plot 1605

On every November 5th 1605 we in England and all over the World including New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, parts of the Canada and Caribbean and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda celebrate the failed gunpowder plot by Guy Fawkes and his fellow catholics with a bonfire and the burning of an effigy called a "Guy" and the exploding of Fireworks. The failed plot involved the blowing up of the Houses of Parliament and the murder of the elite of England including the King James I, Princes, Lords and Parliamentarians.

As an addendum, Colonial America also celebrated November 5th until the war of Independence against Britain when George Washington Banned the celebration due to its British connections. This is a bit hypocritical since The Freemasons were founded in London, England yet he still supported and encouraged freemasonry to his friends after the war of independence ( Typical Politician ).

The plot involved 13 conspirators: Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, Robert Wintour, Guy fawkes, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Percy, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham and Thomas Bates.

The 13 conspirators planned to place a hoard of gunpowder in an undercroft directly underneath the House of Lords. The plotters believed it to be the perfect place to hide explosives, as the undercroft had gone unused for some time. As October came and the plot was finalised, concerns arose that there may be Catholics present in Parliament when the device was to explode.[4] On Saturday 26 October William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, Francis Tresham's brother-in-law, received an anonymous letter warning him not to attend Parliament. On Friday 1 November the King was shown the letter, and it was later decided that a search of the Houses of Parliament would be undertaken on Monday.

According to the King's account, searchers discovered a servant nearby a large pile of firewood in the undercroft on Monday 4 November. He informed the searchers that the firewood belonged to his master, Thomas Percy. The servant's true identity was Guy Fawkes. As the searches had so far failed to locate anything untoward the King demanded that a more thorough search must commence. Shortly after midnight a search party under the command of Thomas Knyvet discovered Fawkes in the undercroft. Fawkes, who identified himself as John Johnson, was placed under arrest, and his possessions searched. He was discovered to be carrying a pocket watch, matches, and torchwood. The search team then unearthed barrels of gunpowder hidden beneath the pile of firewood.

Fawkes, still using the alias John Johnson, claimed when interrogated that he had acted alone. "Johnson" was relocated to the Tower of London on 6 November, where he was to be tortured, after the King gave his consent for the torture to take place. On 7 November Fawkes confessed that he had not acted alone, and the full extent of the plot was unearthed.

The plotters were all executed, aside from Catesby and Percy, who had already been killed amidst their refusal to surrender, however the bodies were exhumed and their heads were added to the other conspirators and placed on spikes outside the Houses of Lords.

In January 1606 the Thanksgiving Act was passed, and commemorating the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot became an annual event. Early traditions soon began after the act was passed, such as the ringing of church bells and the lighting of bonfires, and fireworks were even included in some of the earliest celebrations. The act remained in place until 1859. Despite the repeal of the act taking place over 150 years ago, Guy Fawkes Night still remains a yearly custom throughout Britain. When I was at school all children were taught the following rhyme:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I see no reason Why the Gunpowder Treason Should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent To blow up the King and Parli'ment. Three-score barrels of powder below To prove old England's overthrow; By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*) With a dark lantern and burning match. Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring. Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King! And what should we do with him? Burn him!

London Underground – The World's First Underground Railway

The transport system now known as the London Underground began in 1863 with the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway. Over the next forty years, the early sub-surface lines reached out from the urban centre of the capital into the surrounding rural margins, leading to the development of new commuter suburbs.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, new technology—including electric locomotives and improvements to the tunnelling shield enabled new companies to construct a series of "tube" lines deeper underground. Initially rivals, the tube railway companies began to co-operate in advertising and through shared branding, eventually consolidating under the single ownership of the London Electric Railway with lines stretching across London.

Important Dates of The London Underground



Using his patented tunnelling sheild, Marc Brunel begins construction of the Thames Tunnel under the River Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe. Progress is slow and will be halted a number of times before the tunnel is completed.


1843 The Thames Tunnel opens as a pedestrian tunnel. 1845 Charles Pearson, Solicitor to the City of London, begins promoting the idea of an underground railway to bring passenger and goods services into the centre of the City.


1854 Metropolitan Railway (MR) is incorporated and granted powers to construct an underground railway from Paddington to Farringdon. 1856 Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) opens a line from Leyton to Loughton.


1861 Construction of the Metropolitan Railway near Kings Cross Station.

1870 Tower Subway opens, briefly, using a cabled-hauled carriage before conversion to pedestrian use. Constructed using a circular tunnelling shield developed by Peter W. Barlow and James Henry Greathead and lined with segmental cast-iron rings, this short tunnel under the River Thames successfully demonstrated new tunnelling techniques that would be used to construct most of the subsequent underground lines in London.


1880 MR extends to Harrow on the Hill. MDR extends from West Brompton to Putney Bridge.


1890 City and South London Railway electric locomotive and carriages.

1890 City of London and Southwark Subway changes name to City and South London Railway (C&SLR) and opens between Stockwell and King William Street, the world's first deep-level underground and electric railway.


"Underground"-branded Tube map from 1908 showing the newly opened tube lines in central London.

1910s Tube roundels based on Edward Johnston's design

1910 District line extends from South Harrow to connect to the MR at Rayners Lane and commences services to Uxbridge.

1930s Arnos Grove station designed by Charles Holden

1932 MR extends to Stanmore. Piccadilly line extends from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove.

1940s Londoners sheltering from The Blitz in a tube station

1940 Northern line extends over former EH&LR route to High Barnet.


A rear-end collision between two trains on the Central line between Stratford and Leyton kills 12 passengers. 1955 Aldenham depot opens as bus overhaul works. 1956 Parliament grants approval for the construction of the Victoria line. 1957 Electric tube trains replace steam-hauled shuttles between Epping and Ongar. 1959 District line spur between Acton Town and South Acton is closed.

1960s Hans Unger's tiling design at Blackhorse Road Victoria line station, opened 1968

1960 The last published underground map designed by Harry Beck is released. 


1970 Greater London Council (GLC) takes control of management of London Underground from London Transport Board controlling the Underground through a new London Transport Executive (LTE).

1980s London Transport Museum, Covent Garden

1980 London Transport Museum opens in Covent Garden.


2010 East London line reopens as part of London Overground network.

England is the oldest European country ( 1500 years old ) and London itself was founded by the Romans in 53 AD this makes London a world capital. A recent UN survey recently found that London schools had children speaking 365 languages. Please click on links below to visit my various Articles and websites.

The London River Thames – It's History

The Thames is always called the "Artery of England", so I thought it would be of interest to write it's history.

The story of the Thames goes back to over 30 million years ago when the river was once a tributary of the River Rhine, because Britain was not an island but joined at the hip to France. During the Great Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, the Thames changed its course and pushed its way through the Chiltern Hills at the place now known as the Goring Gap. The Thames was then 10 times its present size, a high-energy fast flowing river, fuelled by the melting ice sheets. However, this rapid progress slowed down, and by 3,000 years ago the river had settled down into its familiar meandering pattern that – with a few exceptions – we know today.

The first settlements along the Thames valley began 400,000 years ago by early Neolithic Tribes. Later the Romans came to the site of Londinium in 43AD, present day London, and they consolidated the Thames as an international port by constructing wharves mills and, of course, London Bridge, the first man-made crossing of the river. The story of why they selected the site we now see as the place for the bridge is an interesting one. It was where there was the first easy crossing of the river after they sailed upstream from the estuary. The Romans discovered that by using the rising tide their boats could be swept over 50 miles inland up the Thames from the North Sea, with no wind or muscle power needed. Later invaders also made use of this free energy source.

Old Father Thames is at present 346 kilometres in length (215 miles) – and is one of the most famous rivers in the world. It is the longest and most important waterway in England. Roman writers mention it as the Tamesis, and the name is probably a Celtic word which means ‘broad river'. The Thames connects the Heart of London to the North Sea. Its source starts in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds down to the mighty Thames Barrier on the London estuary. It is a magnificent river and many places of interest lie on its banks (Eton, Oxford, Henley, Windsor, Hampton Court, Richmond). In London the river flows past the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. Ocean tides move up the river to south-west London. The Thames is 250 yards wide (229 metres) at London Bridge and 700 yards (600 metres) wide at Gravesend. It widens until it joins the North Sea at the London estuary. Its fame includes its history, its culture and its amazing variety of wildlife, archaeology and scenery – called The river with Liquid History.

During the 19th century The Thames became one of the busiest rivers in the world. The Thames today is one of the cleanest rivers in the world and has more river tourists than any other types of River traffic.

Some of the famous poems about the River Thames include the following poem by Wordsworth Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames at Evening composed in 1790.

Glide gently, thus forever glide,
O Thames! that other bards may see,
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.
Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
‘Till all our minds forever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.

Another Wordsworth poem and written in September 1802, entitled Composed upon Westminster Bridge.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep:
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

In 1929 the MP John Burns once famously described the river as "liquid history" – the actual quote was "The St Lawrence is water, the Mississippi is muddy water, but the Thames is liquid history".

The London Thames Watermen and Lightermen

As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren and have many ancestors from London who were members of various Livery companies I have created this article to the Company of Waterman and Lighterman.

By Elizabethan times Thames watermen had become some of the most important tradesmen in London. But work on the river could be dangerous for poorly qualified men in unsuitable boats. Accidents were frequent, and passengers were often overcharged.

In 1514, in Henry VIII's reign, Parliament found it necessary to introduce an Act to regulate watermen's fares. A further Act of 1555 led to the foundation of the Company of Watermen and the introduction of apprenticeships on the river.

In 1585 Elizabeth I granted the Company its own coat of arms showing the tools of the watermen's trade, and soon afterwards their first Hall was built.

The original one-year waterman's apprenticeship became seven years in 1603.

Then in 1700, another group of river workers, the lightermen, who carried goods rather than passengers, joined with the Company. It became the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames, a title it still holds. The Company moved to its present Hall in 1780.

Watermen flourished in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and many popular prints and ceramic figures illustrate their activities. Some of these caricatures make fun of the watermen's rivalry when touting for passengers and the reputation of the less scrupulous for overcharging.

However, competition from new bridges, improved road and rail transport and Thames steamers with their heavy wash, eventually led to a decline in the number of watermen.

The lightermen, however, benefited at first from the increase in the shipping trade of the Port of London. But they were severely affected by new cargo-handling methods introduced into the docks in the second half of the 20th century.

The Company was responsible throughout the 19th century for regulating watermen and lightermen and their fees, and for registering their boats. Later, the Thames Conservancy and the Port of London Authority took over most of these duties. However, the Company continued to be responsible for apprenticeships and the granting of Freedoms.

Today, the principal activities of the Company are the training of apprentices and the charitable support of watermen and their families. The Watermen's Company also continues to encourage an interest in rowing and the use of the Thames, as well as traditional City of London ceremonial river events.

London Bridges and Other Thames Crossings – History

The bridges that cross the Thames total 214 with over 20 tunnels, six public ferries and one ford, so I thought it would be of interest to write it's history.

Barrier and Boundary

Until sufficient crossings were established, the river provided a formidable barrier, with Belgic tribes and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms being defined by which side of the river they were on. When English counties were established their boundaries were partly determined by the Thames. On the northern bank were the historic counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Essex. On the southern bank were the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, and Kent. However the permanent crossings that have been built to date have changed the dynamics and made cross-river development and shared responsibilities more practicable. In 1965, upon the creation of Greater London, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames incorporated areas that had been part of both Middlesex and Surrey; and changes in 1974 moved some of the boundaries away from the river. For example, some areas that had been part of Berkshire became part of Oxfordshire, what had been Buckinghamshire became part of Berkshire, and what had been Middlesex became part of Surrey. On occasion – for example in rowing – the banks are still referred to by their traditional county names.

History of Crossings

Many of the present road bridges on the river are on the site of earlier fords, ferries and wooden structures. The earliest known major crossings of the Thames by the Romans were at London Bridge and Staines Bridge. At Folly Bridge in Oxford the remains of an original Saxon structure can be seen, and mediaeval stone structures such as Newbridge and Abingdon Bridge are still in use. Kingston's growth is believed to stem from its having the only crossing between London Bridge and Staines until the beginning of the 18th century. Proposals to build bridges across the Thames at Lambeth and Putney in around 1670 were prevented by the Rulers of the Company of Watermen, since it would mean ruin for the 60,000 rivermen who provided a pool of naval reserve.[1] During the 18th century, many stone and brick road bridges were built from new or to replace existing structures both in London and along the length of the river. These included Putney Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Datchet Bridge, Windsor Bridge and Sonning Bridge. Several central London road bridges were built in the 19th century, most conspicuously Tower Bridge, the only Bascule bridge on the river, designed to allow ocean going ships to pass beneath it. The most recent road bridges are the bypasses at Isis Bridge and Marlow By-pass Bridge and the Motorway bridges, most notably the two on the M25 route Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and M25 Runnymede Bridge.

The development of the railway resulted in a spate of bridge building in the 19th century including Blackfriars Railway Bridge and Charing Cross (Hungerford) Railway Bridge in central London, and the spectacular railway bridges by Isambard Kingdom Brunel at Maidenhead Bridge, Gatehampton Railway Bridge and Moulsford Railway Bridge.

The world's first underwater tunnel was the Thames Tunnel by Marc Brunel built in 1843 and used to carry the East London Line. The Tower Subway was the first railway under the Thames, which was followed by all the deep-level tube lines. Road tunnels were built in East London at the end of the 19th century, being the Blackwall Tunnel and the Rotherhithe Tunnel, and the latest tunnel was the Dartford Crossing.

Many foot crossings were established across the weirs that were built on the non-tidal river, and some of these remained when the locks were built – for example at Benson Lock. Others were replaced by a footbridge when the weir was removed as at Hart's Weir Footbridge. Around the year 2000 AD, several footbridges were added along the Thames, either as part of the Thames Path or in commemoration of the Millennium. These include Temple Footbridge, Bloomers Hole Footbridge, the Hungerford Footbridges and the Millennium Bridge, all of which have distinctive design characteristics.

Some ferries still operate on the river. The Woolwich Ferry carries cars and passengers across the river in the Thames Gateway and links the North Circular and South Circular roads. Upstream are smaller pedestrian ferries, for example Hampton Ferry and Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry the last being the only non-permanent crossing that remains on the Thames Path.

The list starts at the downstream (Estuary) end and follows the river upstream towards the source. A few of the crossings listed are public pedestrian crossings utilising walkways across lock gates and bridges above or adjacent to the adjoining weirs. Most of the other locks on the River Thames also have walkways across their lock gates and weirs, but these either do not completely cross the river, or are restricted to authorised personnel only, and are therefore not listed. Besides the ferry crossings listed, there are commuter boat services operating along the river in London, and tourist boat services operating both in London and upstream. Whilst the principal purpose of these services is not to carry people across the river, it may be possible to use them to do so.

List Of Thames Crossings

North Sea to London

·       proposed Lower Thames Crossing at or east of Dartford Crossing - three options announced in April 2009

·       Gravesend - Tilbury Ferry, a passenger ferry.

·       High Speed 1 rail tunnels from Swanscombe in Kent to West Thurrock in Essex. (Two 2.5 km tunnels, 7.15 m internal diameter.)

·       Dartford Crossing including two Dartford Tunnels (1963 and 1980) and the cable-stayed Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (1991)

·       Dartford Cable Tunnel (2003; tunnel carrying electrical cable; accessible by authorised personnel only)

·       380kV Thames Crossing (power line crossing at West Thurrock)

East London

·       proposed Thames Gateway Bridge, bridge between Beckton with Thamesmead, cancelled in November 2008.

·       Docklands Light Railway tunnel (between King George V and Woolwich Arsenal stations)

·       Woolwich foot tunnel (1912)

·       Woolwich Ferry

·       Crossrail tunnel (construction started 15 May 2009)

·       Millennium Dome electricity cable tunnel

·       Thames Barrier (includes service tunnel accessible by authorised personnel only)

·       proposed Silvertown Link (bridge or tunnel to relieve the Blackwall Tunnels)

·       Jubilee Line tunnels (between North Greenwich and Canning Town; 1999)

·       Blackwall Tunnels (Alexander Binnie, 1897; second bore 1967)

·       Jubilee Line tunnels (between Canary Wharf and North Greenwich; 1999)

·       Docklands Light Railway tunnel (between Island Gardens and Cutty Sark; 1999)

·       Greenwich foot tunnel (Alexander Binnie, 1902)

·       Jubilee Line tunnels (between Canada Water and Canary Wharf; 1999)

·       Canary Wharf - Rotherhithe Ferry

·       Rotherhithe Tunnel (Maurice Fitzmaurice, 1908)

·       Thames Tunnel (Wapping to Rotherhithe Tunnel) (Marc Brunel, 1843; the world's first underwater tunnel, now part of the East London Line)

Central London

·       Tower Bridge (1894)

·       Tower Subway (Peter W. Barlow and James Henry Greathead; 1870. The world's first underground tube railway, cable hauled - now used for water mains and telephone cables and not accessible)

·       Northern Line (City branch) tunnels (between London Bridge and Bank; 1900)

·       London Bridge (1973)

·       City & South London Railway tunnels (This railway's original crossing of the river between Borough and King William Street; 1890. Abandoned in 1900 when the Northern Line City branch tunnels were opened on a new alignment)

·       Cannon Street Railway Bridge (1982)

·       Southwark Bridge (1921)

·       Millennium Bridge (footbridge, 2002)

·       Blackfriars Railway Bridge (1886)

·       Blackfriars Bridge (1869)

·       Waterloo & City Line tunnels (between Waterloo and Bank; 1898)

·       Waterloo Bridge (1945) (the "women's bridge")

·       Northern Line (Charing Cross branch) tunnels (between Waterloo and Embankment; 1926)

·       Hungerford Footbridges (Golden Jubilee Bridges) (2002)

·       Charing Cross (Hungerford) Bridge (Railway, 1864)

·       Bakerloo Line tunnels (between Waterloo and Embankment; 1906)

·       Jubilee Line tunnels (between Waterloo and Westminster; 1999)

·       Westminster Bridge (1862)

·       Lambeth Bridge (1932)

·       Vauxhall Bridge (1906)

·       Victoria Line tunnels (between Vauxhall and Pimlico; 1971)

·       Grosvenor Bridge (Victoria Railway Bridge) (1859)

South west London

·       Chelsea Bridge (1937)

·       Albert Bridge (1873)

·       Battersea Bridge (Sir Joseph Bazalgette, 1890) (Henry Holland, 1771)

·       Battersea Railway Bridge (1863)

·       Wandsworth Bridge (1938)

·       Fulham Railway Bridge and Footbridge (1889)

·       Putney Bridge (Sir Joseph Bazalgette, 1886) (Phillips & Ackworth, 1729)

·       Hammersmith Bridge (Sir Joseph Bazalgette, 1887)

·       Barnes Railway Bridge and Footbridge (1849)

·       Chiswick Bridge (1933)

·       Kew Railway Bridge (1869)

·       Kew Bridge (John Wolfe-Barry, 1903)

·       Richmond Lock and Footbridge (1894)

·       Twickenham Bridge (1933)

·       Richmond Railway Bridge (1848)

·       Richmond Bridge (1777)

·       Hammerton's Ferry (F) (Marble Hill Twickenham to Ham House)

·       Teddington Lock Footbridge

·       Kingston Railway Bridge (1863)

·       Kingston Bridge (1828)

·       Hampton Court Bridge (1933)

·       Hampton Ferry (F) (to Hurst Park, East Molesey, 1519)

London to Windsor

·       Walton Bridge (1953 and 1999)

·       Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry (F)

·       Chertsey Bridge (1785)

·       M3 Motorway Bridge (1971)

·       Staines Railway Bridge (1856)

·       Staines Bridge (1832)

·       M25 Runnymede Bridge (Edwin Lutyens, 1961; widened 1983 and 2005)

·       Albert Bridge (1928)

·       Victoria Bridge (1967)

·       Black Potts Railway Bridge (1892)

·       Windsor Bridge (1824)

·       Windsor Railway Bridge (Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1849)

·       Queen Elizabeth Bridge (1966)

Windsor to Reading

·       Summerleaze Footbridge (1992)

·       M4 Bridge (incorporates footbridge) (1961)

·       Maidenhead Railway Bridge (Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1838)

·       Maidenhead Bridge (1777)

·       Cookham Bridge (1867)

·       Bourne End Railway Bridge (1895; incorporates footbridge)

·       Marlow By-pass Bridge (1972)

·       Marlow Bridge (William Tierney Clark, 1832)

·       Temple Footbridge (1989)

·       Hambleden Lock (incorporates public footbridge)

·       Henley Bridge (1786)

·       Shiplake Railway Bridge (1897)

·       Sonning Bridge (c.1775) & Sonning Backwater Bridges (1986)

·       Caversham Lock (incorporates public footbridge)

·       Reading Bridge (1923)

·       Caversham Bridge (1926)

Reading to Oxford

·       Reading Festival Bridge (2008, a temporary footbridge on permanent footings for the Reading Festival)

·       Whitchurch Bridge (1902, a toll bridge from Whitchurch-on-Thames to Pangbourne)

·       Gatehampton Railway Bridge (Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1838)

·       Goring and Streatley Bridge (1923)

·       Moulsford Railway Bridge (Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1838)

·       Winterbrook Bridge (1993)

·       Wallingford Bridge (1809)

·       Benson Lock (incorporates public footbridge)

·       Shillingford Bridge (1827)

·       Little Wittenham Bridge

·       Day's Lock (incorporates public footbridge)

·       Clifton Hampden Bridge (George Gilbert Scott,1867)

·       Appleford Railway Bridge (1929)

·       Sutton Bridge

·       Culham Bridge (across Swift Ditch, a backwater and former main course of the river near Abingdon)

·       Abingdon Bridge (1416)

·       Abingdon Lock (incorporates public footbridge)

·       Nuneham Railway Bridge (1929)

·       Kennington Railway Bridge (1923)

·       Isis Bridge (1962)

·       Donnington Bridge (1962)

·       Folly Bridge (1827)

·       Oxford Footbridge

·       Osney Footbridge

·       Osney Rail Bridge

·       Osney Bridge (1885)

Oxford to Cricklade

      .    St. John's Bridge, Lechlade.

·       Medley Footbridge (1865)

·       Godstow Bridge (1792)

·       A34 Road Bridge

·       Swinford Toll Bridge (1777)

·       Pinkhill Lock (Incorporates public footbridge)

·       Hart's Weir Footbridge (1879)

·       Newbridge (13th century)

·       Tenfoot Bridge

·       Shifford Cut Footbridge and Duxford Ford

·       Tadpole Bridge

·       Old Man's Bridge (1868)

·       Radcot Bridge (1787)

·       Eaton Footbridge (1936)

·       Bloomers Hole Footbridge (2000)

·       St. John's Bridge (1886)

·       Halfpenny Bridge (James Hollingworth, 1792) - the start of the navigable Thames

·       Hannington Bridge

·       Castle Eaton Bridge

·       Water Eaton House Bridge

·       Eysey Footbridge

·       A419 Road Bridge

·       Cricklade Town Bridge

Beyond Cricklade

·       Waterhay Bridge

·       High Bridge, Ashton Keynes

·       Three Bridges, Ashton Keynes

·       unnamed road bridge at grid reference 020946

·       Neigh Bridge

·       unnamed road bridge at grid reference 004972

·       Parker's Bridge, Ewen

·       A429 Road Bridge

·       A433 Road Bridge

British Cheques – History

In everyday life here in England in 2010  we use cheques to pay all our bills. I thought it would be interesting to write the History of British Cheques. I remember in the early 1980's having cheques that had pictures – called Pictorial Cheques. I hope one day british banks or building socities will re-introduce Pictorial cheques.

By the 17th century, bills of exchange were being used for domestic payments in England. Cheques, a type of bill of exchange, then began to evolve. They were initially known as ‘drawn notes’ as they enabled a customer to draw on the funds they held on account with their banker and required immediate payment. These were hand written and one of the earliest known still to be in existence was drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners and bankers based in the City of London and dated 16 February 1659.

In 1717 the Bank of England pioneered the first use of a pre-printed form. These forms were printed on ‘cheque’ paper to prevent fraud and customers had to attend in person and obtain a numbered form from the cashier. Once written the cheque would have to be brought back to the bank for settlement.

Up until around 1770 an informal exchange of cheques took place between London Banks. Clerks of each bank visited all of the other banks to exchange cheques, whilst keeping a tally of balances between them until they settled with each other. Daily cheque clearings began around 1770 when the bank clerks met at the Five Bells, a tavern in Lombard Street in the City of London, to exchange all their cheques in one place and settle the balances in cash.

In 1811 the Commercial Bank of Scotland is thought to have been the first bank to personalise its customers cheques, by printing the name of the account holder vertically along the left-hand edge. In 1830 the Bank of England introduced books of 50, 100 or 200 forms and counterparts, bound or stitched. These cheque books became a common format for the distribution of cheques to bank customers.

In the late 1800s a number of countries formalised laws around cheques. The UK passing the Bills of Exchange act in 1882 which covered cheques. In 1931 an attempt was made to simplify the international use of cheques with the Geneva Convention on the unification of the law relating to cheques. Many European and South American states as well as Japan joined the convention. However all the members of the Common Law including the United States and the members of The Commonwealth did not participate.

In 1959 a standard for machine readable characters (MRC) was agreed and patented in the United States for use with cheques. This opened the way for the first automated reader/sorting machines for clearing cheques. The following years saw a dramatic change in the way that cheques were handled and processed as automation increased. Cheque volumes continued to grow, and in the late 20th century cheques became the most popular non cash method for making payments, with billions of them processed each year. Most countries saw cheque volumes peak in the late 1980s or early 1990s. At that time electronic payment methods started to become popular and as a result cheque usage started to decline.

In 1969 cheque guarantee cards were introduced in some countries, this allowed a retailer to confirm that a cheque would be honoured when they were used to pay at point of sale. This was done by having the drawer sign the cheque in front of the retailer so it could be compared to the signature on the card and them writing the cheque guarantee card number of the back of the cheque. These were generally phased out and replaced by debit cards starting in the mid 1990s.

As an addendum The First ATM Machines was developed simultaneously in Sweden and Britain which both developed their own cash machines during the early 1960s. The first of these that was put into use was by Barclays Bank in Enfield Town in North London on 27th  June 1967. This machine was the first in the UK and was used by English comedy actor Reg Varney, so as to ensure maximum publicity for the machines that were to become mainstream in the UK. This instance of the invention has been credited to John Shepherd-Baron. and other engineers at De La Rue Instruments who contributed to the design and development of that machine. Nevertheless, Shepherd-Barron was awarded an OBE in the 2005 New Years Honour's List. His design used special checks that were matched with a personal identification number, as plastic bank cards had not yet been invented.  

Dick Whittington - Lord Mayor of London 1397

Dick Whittington and His Cat is a British folk tale that has often been used as the basis for stage pantomines and other adaptations. It tells of a poor boy in the 14th century who becomes a wealthy merchant and eventually the Lord Mayor of London because of the ratting abilities of his cat. The character of the boy is named after a real-life person, Richard Whittington, but the real Whittington did not come from a poor family and there is no evidence that he had a cat.

The first recorded pantomime version of the story was in 1814, starring Joseph Grimaldi as Dame Cecily Suet, the Cook. The pantomime adds another element to the story, rats, and an arch villain, the Pantomime King (or sometimes Queen) Rat, as well as the usual pantomime fairy, the Fairy of the Bells. Other added characters are a captain and his mate and some incompetent pirates. In this version, Dick and his cat "Tommy" travel to Morocco, where the cat rids the country of rats. The Sultan rewards Dick with half of his wealth. Sybil Arundale played Dick in many productions in the early years of the 20th century

The real Richard Whittington ( Dick Whittington ) lived from about 1350-1423. He achieved many things in his life. Now he is known for having a pet cat and 'turning again'.

Richard or 'Dick' Whittington was born during the 1350s. He was the younger son of Sir William Whittington, Lord of the Manor of Pauntley in Gloucestershire. Sir William died in 1358. The oldest son inherited the estate, so Richard travelled to London to find work.

Whittington served an apprenticeship, and eventually became a ‘mercer', dealing in valuable cloth from abroad, such as silks, velvets and cloth of gold. The main market for selling these cloths was the Royal Court. Whittington supplied large quantities to King Richard II (who owed Whittington £1000 when he was deposed in 1399) and to King Henry IV. Whittington became rich. After 1397 he often lent large sums of money to the Crown. In return he was allowed to export wool without paying customs duty on it.

He became a City alderman, or magistrate, in 1393. In 1397 the Mayor, Adam Bamme, died in office and the King chose Whittington to become the new mayor. He was re-elected the following year, and again for 1406-7 and 1419-20. This made him Mayor of London four times.

Whittington died in March 1423. His wife Alice, daughter of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn (or Fitzwarren) of Dorset, had died before him. They had no children.

The gifts left in Whittington's will originally made him famous. However, Londoners did not know how he first made his money. Stories began about how a poor boy became rich with the help of his cat. There is no evidence that Whittington kept a cat, and as the son of a Lord he was never very poor. Despite being untrue the stories flourished. A play produced in 1606 tells most of the story. There are many different versions, but essentially the tale was:

Dick Whittington was a poor boy from Gloucestershire who walked to London to seek his fortune. He found work in the house of a rich merchant Fitzwarren, and fell in love with Fitzwarren's daughter, Alice. Dick had a cat to keep down the mice in the attic where he slept. Fitzwarren invited his servants to put money into a sailing voyage. Dick had no money, but gave his cat to the captain to sell.

Dick decided there was no future for him in London, and left to go home to Gloucestershire. He stopped on top of Highgate Hill on the way out of London. There he heard the bells of London ringing - they seemed to say: ‘Turn again, Whittington, three times Lord Mayor of London'.

Dick thought this was a good omen and returned to Fitzwarren's house. He learnt that the ship had returned with great news. The sailing party arrived in a foreign land where the king's court was overrun by rats. Dick's cat killed or drove out all the rats. In thanks the king paid a huge sum of gold to buy the cat. Dick was now a very wealthy man. He married Alice Fitzwarren, and eventually became Lord Mayor of London.

The story continued to grow in the 17th and 18th centuries and appeared in many children's books. In the 19th century, the story became the subject for pantomimes and other characters were added. The story is still told today in pantomimes and new versions of the story are still published. Even now, Dick Whittington and the cat that made his fortune are familiar to people who have never heard of the ‘real' Richard Whittington.

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London Icon – History

I have created this article about Speakers Corner as it's one of the Icons of London.

Speakers Corner is situated in the north-eastern corner of Hyde Park, opposite Marble Arch. Whilst it is nothing much to look at, it is London's most famous place for public debate. Free speech and banter is the name of the game here, and anyone with something to say can step up and speak their mind.

This was the first royal park opened to the public in 1637. On its corner stands Speakers Corner where on a Sunday morning speakers pontificate of every subject under the sun. During the summer band concert, softball games and boating on the lake takes place. However whilst safe during the day it is better avoided at night.

Its origins date from the 1700s, when Tyburn was still a site of public execution. Condemned men were allowed one last speech before they met their maker, and the memory has stuck throughout the centuries. It gained a huge boost in 1855, when a crowd gathered to rail against the Sunday Trading Bill. When the police arrived to arrest the ringleader, they were met by a mob 150,000 strong.

It moved to its present location, the northeast corner of Hyde Park in 1851. Just beyond it, in the park, is the Speakers' Corner, where soap- box orators sometimes put on a diverting show.It runs through Oxford Circus and passes many department stores on its way to Marble Arch. Modeled on the Arch of Constantine in Rome, Marble Arch was designed to serve as a gate to Buckingham Palace, but was British Travel Association BEHEMOTH -- London tour bus passes Parliament Square and Big Ben. moved to its present location, the northeast corner of Hyde Park in 1851. Just beyond it, in the park, is the Speakers' Corner, where soap- box orators sometimes Speak there mind.

The events of June 1855 at Speakers' Corner inspired Karl Marx ( the disliker of democracy ) to declare that the English proletariat had begun their inexorable rise and that social revolution leading to a communist state was under way. "This alliance between a degenerate, dissipated and pleasure-seeking aristocracy and the church -- built on a foundation of filthy and calculated profiteering on the part of the beer magnates and monopolistic wholesalers -- gave rise to a mass demonstration in Hyde Park.

As in most things neo-communist this was another failed attempt to create a revolution in England which failed because we in England held with suspicion anyone who tried to cause dis-harmony and invariably they would fail miserably. This is probably why Karl Marx and his ilk went back to where they came from. Typically they used our freedoms to try to undermine our freedoms.

The history of Speakers Corner began in 1872. It was then that an Act of Parliament, otherwise known as law, was passed giving up a small corner of Hyde Park to pubic speaking. Throughout the years, great debates and large crowds were common. Today, not so much, but this is still considered a must see. If you are easily offended by many of today's political and religious issues or if you cannot stand to hear another word about the "impending apocalypse," it may be best to walk away or put your hands over your ears.

During 1872 the place had started to gain a nationwide fame, and a legal licence was granted to allow sizeable meetings.

There are many Speakers Corner around the world in Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, Trinidad and tobago, Thailand and Malaysia and in English Cities Nottingham, Worthing based on London's Speaker Corner.

British Silver and Gold Hallmarking from 1300 AD to present

Hallmarking is necessary because when jewellery is manufactured, precious metals are not used in their pure form, as they are unworkable. Gold, Silver, and Platinum are always alloyed with copper or other metals to create an alloy that is more suitable to the requirements of the jeweller. Such an alloy needs to be strong, workable and attractive.

Due to the high value of gold, platinum and silver, there are significant profits to be gained by reducing the precious metal content of an alloy at the manufacturing stage. Even an expert cannot determine the quality or standard of precious metal items by eye or touch alone. Base metal articles plated with a thin coat of gold or silver are indistinguishable from the same articles made wholly of precious metal until subjected to expert testing.

With volume manufacturing, enormous profits can be made from undercarating. Without compulsory independent testing there is huge potential for deception and fraud.

The UK Hallmarking system has offered valuable protection for over 700 years. Compulsory Hallmarking protects all parties; the public who receive a guarantee of quality, the manufacturer who is given quality control and protection from dishonest competitors at a very low cost and the retailer who avoids the near impossible task of checking standards on all his goods.

Brief History of UK Hallmarks
Hallmarking is the world's first known instance of consumer protection law, in the UK it dates back to about 1300 AD.




Hallmarking introduced in UK


Town Marks Introduced


18 Carat Replaces 191/5 Carat as Standard Gold


Date Letters Introduced


London Assay Office Opened


Lion Mark Introduced for Sterling Silver


22 Carat Replaces 18 Carat as Standard Gold


First Edinburgh Date Letters


Britannia Mark Introduced for Silver


Castle Mark Introduced for Exeter


Sterling Silver Standard Re-admitted


Hibernia Mark Introduced for Dublin


Thistle Mark Introduced for Edinburgh


Birmingham Assay Office Opened


Sheffield Assay Office Opened


Duty Mark Imposed


18 Carat Reintroduced in Addition to 22 Carat


Lion Rampant Mark Introduced for Glasgow


Customs Act Requiring Foreign Goods to Have British Hallmark


9 Carat Introduced


12 Carat Introduced


15 Carat Introduced


York Assay Office Closed


Foreign Mark Introduced


Exeter Assay Office Closed


Duty Mark Dropped


Carat Marks Compulsory on Gold


12 Carat Mark Discontinued


15 Carat Mark Discontinued


14 Carat Introduced

1934 - 1935

Silver Jubilee Mark Used

1952 - 1953

Silver Jubilee Mark Used

1953 - 1954

Coronation Mark Used


Chester Assay Office Closed


Glasgow Assay Office Closed


Hallmarking Act


British Hallmarking Council Formed


Platinum Mark Introduced


UK Ratifies Convention Mark


Silver Jubilee Mark Used


Revised Hallmarking Acts


New Acts Become Effective

1999 - 2000

Millennium Mark Used

A typical set of antique British silver hallmarks showing; Standard Mark, City Mark, Date Letter, Duty Mark and Maker's Mark.

The Standard mark indicates the purity of the silver.
A - Sterling .925
B - Britannia .958, used exclusively 1697 - 1720, optional afterwards.
C - Sterling .925 for Glasgow
D - Sterling .925 for Edinburgh
E - Sterling .925 for Dublin

The date letter system was introduced in London in 1478 (elsewhere as the hallmarking system evolved). Its purpose was to establish when a piece was presented for assay or testing of the silver content. The mark letter changed annually in May, the cycles of date letters were usually in strings of 20 and each cycle was differentiated by a changing of the font, letter case and shield shape.

In 1784 the duty mark was created to show that a tax on the item had been paid to the crown. The mark used was a profile portrait of the current reigning monarch's head. The use of this mark was abolished in 1890.

The enforced use of the maker's mark was instituted in London in 1363. Its purpose was to prevent the forgery of leopard's head marks upon silver of debased content. Originally, makers' marks were pictograms, but by the beginning of the 17th Century it had become common practice to use the maker's initials.

Portobello Road Market, London Icon

I have created this article about Portobello Road as it's one of the Icons of London.

When Sir William Bull wrote his description of Portobello Road's Market in the 1730's it was already a place where commerce and entertainment met.

Portobello Road is a legacy of its rural origins when it was a country lane that ran from Notting Hill Gate to Portobello Farm, named by a patriotic farmer after Admiral Vernon captured the city of Puerto Bello in the Caribbean in 1739. One hundred and thirty years later houses and shops stood in an almost continuous line on each side of the road and Sir William Bull described the market in the following way "on Saturday nights in the winter it was thronged like a fair. The people overflowed from the pavement so that the roadway was quite impassable for horse traffic which, to do it justice, never appeared. On the left hand side there were costermongers barrows, lighted by flaming naphtha lamps. In the side streets were side shows, vendors of patent medicines, conjurers, itinerant vocalists, etc."

In 1740, at a society dinner in honour of the admiral, 'Rule Britannia' (see THE BRITANNIA) was performed for the first time, stirring up great national pride. Over time Portobello Lane became, of course, Portobello Road, one of the best-known London street names and the location of possibly the most famous street market.

After the end of the second world war there were many "rag and bone" men in the area who would sell goods on the market stalls. Such were the stupendous bargains to be found that it developed a reputation amongst those in the know as the place to find and buy antiques. As a result the antique trade developed, profiting often from amateurs who came to sell on a Saturday bringing useful stock which would be snapped up by the more knowledgeable professional dealers.

Nowadays in the road there are 30 individual antique markets which open at different times to allow in the crowd of buyers who move from one market to another. The Good Fairy Antique Market is the busiest market of them all and it is the first to open, raising its shutters every Saturday at 4 p.m. Many of the buyers are specialists who appreciate the fresh stock brought into the market each week. Later in the day crowds of tourists shuffle past the rows of pastel painted terraced cottages at the Notting Hill end of the road weaving slowly past the market stalls. The market has an extraordinary draw on people from far and near, fulfilling some kind of human need, presumably on an emotional level.

London Parks and Gardens– Free Entry


London Parks are the lungs of London and are famous for there beauty, history and serenity and are ideal for visitors to enjoy a picnic or just to chill out and enjoy nature and It's water features. To find the London Parks listed below (Which are Free to enter) just enter the name into a search engine.

●      Alexander Park

●      Barnard Park

●      Battersea Park

●      Bishop's Park

●      Bonnington Gardens

●      The Bothy

●      Bushy Park

●      Chelsea Physic Gardens

●      College Farm

●      Crystal Palace Park

●      Dean's Park

●      Dulwich Park

●      Furnival Gardens

●      Golden Square

●      Golders Hill Park

●      The Green Park

●      Greenwich Park

●      Gunnersbury Park

●      Gunnerbury Triangle

●      Hainault Forest Country Park

●      Hampstead Heath

●      Hannover Square

●      Holland Park

●      Hoxton Square

●      Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

●      Inner Temple

●      Island Gardens

●      Kew Gardens

●      Lee Valley Regional Park

●      Leicester Square

●      Lloyd Park

●      Phoenix Gardens

●      Pub on The Park

●      Regent's Park and Primrose Hill

●      Richmond Park

●      Roots and Shoots

●      Royal Botanical Gardens Kew

●      Russell Square

●      Victoria Embankment Gardens

●      Victoria Park

●      Saint James Park

●      Streatham Common

●      Syon Park

●      Tavistock Square

●      Temple Gardens

●      Tibetan Peace Garden

●      Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

●      Trent Park

●      Waterloo Place

●      Waterworks Nature Reserve and Golf Centre

●      Wimbledon Common

Invasion of Lovebirds and Parrots in London

While growing up in the 1970's I remember watching on TV that famous film by Alfred Hitchcock called 'The Birds' where Birds swarmed in large flocks and attacked people.

It now seems London is being invaded by large flocks of tame Lovebirds and Parrots!!!

London green spaces are famed for their unusual wildlife and I recently heard of flocks of Lovebirds over London. Lovebirds have been pets for over 100 years and have been seen in London, in flocks of upto 3,000. Parks and gardens in the leafy London suburbs have been adopted as a preferred habitat by birds that are native to southern Asia.

Escaped parakeets have been spotted nesting in this country since the 19th  Century.

Even though there was a wild population in the 1960s,  the numbers remained very low through to the mid-1990s, when the population appeared to start increasing more rapidly.


In the Surrey stockbroker belt, a single sports ground is believed to be home to about 3,000 parrots. They are mainly found just west of London, Surrey and parts of Kent.

In particular, they have been observed in growing numbers in the outer suburbs and the Home Counties, with trees in parkland and sports grounds becoming their homes.

Parrots have been reported in inner-London, including parks in Peckham, Brixton, Greenwich and Kensington and have also been spotted in East Anglia, the North West and even in Scotland.

Alexandrine parakeets have been spotted by Lewisham crematorium and orange-winged parakeets, native to the Amazon, have now set up home in Weybridge.

South American monk parakeets have formed a colony in Borehamwood and blue-crowned parakeets were observed in Bromley.

At Esher Rugby Club's ground was observed to have had a parrot population that grew from 800 to 2,500 in the space of three years - and researchers estimate there might be 3,000 living there.

There have been reports that there could now be 20,000 wild parrots, including parakeets, living in England, with the largest concentration around London and the South East.

The population boom has been put down to a series of mild winters, a lack of natural predators, food being available from humans and that there are now enough parrots for a wider range of breeding partners.

Please click here to visit my Parrots, Lovebirds, Budgies Art Prints Collection


Tower of London – London Icon

I have decided to create this article about The Tower of London as it's one of the Icons of London.

Her Majestys Royal Palace "The Tower of London" is a castle first founded back in 1066.

When it was built by William The Conquerer in 1078 it was the tallest building in the World. Over several centuries it has been expanded by the many kings and queens that have ruled England during the last 1,000 years. Today it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. During its long history the Tower of London has served many purposes which have ranged from a royal palace to a prison. Today It's a World heritage Site.

The tower as a whole is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. Although the Tower is popularly known today as a place of imprisonment, and was used as such from as early as 1100, that was not its primary purpose. Early in its history, the Tower was a grand palace, serving as a royal residence. The castle underwent several expansions, especially under Kings Richard The Lionheart, Henry III and Edward III, resulting in its current general layout in the 13th century. It was sometimes used as a refuge from the general populace in times of unrest.

The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the Brtish Library in London. England.

Thomas B. Costain, writing in the middle of the 20th century, considered the story of Lord Hastings' summary execution to be the "smoking gun" that proved Morton deliberately falsified the record to make King Richard out to be a villain. Morton wrote in his History that at the lords' council meeting in the Tower of London on 13 Jun 1483, Richard suddenly called his men at arms into the room and had them arrest Hastings for treason and take him outside and chop his head off.

There is much to learn from the story of how the head of one of the most revered men in England, Sir Thomas More, ended up on the chopping block on London's Tower Hill in 1535. Few people in history have faced their trials and deaths as squarely, calmly, and with as much integrity as did More. More's road from his post as Lord Chancellor of England to the Tower of London owes its course to a Bible passage, a marriage of a long-dead prince, and the consuming desire of More.

The zenith of the castle's use as a prison came in the 16th and 17th centuries, when many political or religious figures, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". The Tower is also known as a place of torture and execution, although only seven people were executed within the Tower; executions more commonly took place on the notorious Tower Hill, north of the castle.

Throughout its history, the Tower of London has served variously as an Armoury, Prison, Treasury, Zoo, Royal Mint, Public Records Office and is home to the Crown Jewels. The Tower of London is reputedly the most haunted building in England. The ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn, beheaded in 1536 for treason against King Henry VIII, has allegedly been seen haunting the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried, and walking around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm.

Other ghosts include Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, Margarat Pole and the Princes in the Tower. In January 1816, a sentry on guard outside the Jewel House witnessed an inexplicable apparition of a bear advancing towards him, and reportedly died of fright a few days later. In October 1817, an even more inexplicable, tubular, glowing apparition was seen in the Jewel House by the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, Edmund Lenthal Swifte. The apparition hovered over the shoulder of his wife, leading her to exclaim: "Oh, Christ! it has seized me!" Other nameless and formless terrors have been reported, more recently, by night staff at the Tower.

The Great Plague of London -1665

I have created this article about London's Bubonic Plague of 1665 which killed over 15% of the population of London.

This was the worst outbreak of plague in England since the black death of 1348 and  London lost roughly 15% of its population. While 68,596 deaths were recorded in the city, the true number was probably over 100,000. Other parts of the country also suffered.

The earliest cases of disease occurred in the spring of 1665 in a parish outside the city walls called St Giles-in-the-Fields. The death rate began to rise during the hot summer months and peaked in September when 7,165 Londoners died in one week.

Rats carried the fleas that caused the plague. They were attracted by city streets filled with rubbish and waste, especially in the poorest areas.

Those who could, including most doctors, lawyers and merchants, fled the city. Charles II and his courtiers left in July for Hampton Court and then Oxford. Parliament was postponed and had to sit in October at Oxford, the increase of the plague being so dreadful. Court cases were also moved from Westminster to Oxford.

The Lord Mayor and aldermen (town councillors) remained to enforce the King's orders to try and stop the spread of the disease. The poorest people remained in London with the rats and those people who had got the plague. Watchmen locked and kept guard over infected houses. Parish officials provided food. Searchers looked for dead bodies and took them at night to plague pits for burial.

All trade with London and other plague towns was stopped. The Council of Scotland declared that the border with England would be closed. There were to be no fairs or trade with other countries. This meant many people lost their jobs - from servants to shoemakers to those who worked on the River Thames. How did Londoners react to this plague that devastated their lives?

The plague that hit London and England in 1665 was the bubonic plague and the classic symptoms associated with the Bubonic Plague were as follows:

"The first sign of the plague was that swellings appeared in the groin or the armpits. Some of the swellings became as large as an apple, sometimes they were the size of an egg. The deadly swellings then began to spread in all directions over the body. Then the disease changed. Black or red spots broke out, sometimes on the thigh or arm. These spots were large in some cases; in other they were almost like a rash."

A few days after being infected, a victim developed a rash and there was pain all over the body. The victim began to feel tired and lethargic but the pain made it difficult to sleep. The temperature of the body increased and this affected the brain and the nerves. Speech was affected and the victims became less and less intelligible. As the disease took more of a hold, the victim took on the physical appearance of a drunk with stumbling movement and gait. The victim then became delirious.

After about six days, the lymphatic glands became swollen and inflamed. In the groin, neck and armpit areas of the body this led to buboes – large and highly painful swellings. These buboes caused bleeding underneath the skin, which turned the buboes and surrounding areas blue/purple. In some cases, red spots appeared on the buboes as death approached.

The average time of death from the first symptom was between four to seven days. It is thought that between 50% and 75% of those who caught the disease died.

The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o'clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze. This fire destroyed 80% of the Property was lost in the fire and this helped in the ending of the Plague.

Sir Christopher Wren – London Icon

My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th. Century AD. This gives me an interest in English History which is great fun to research. As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren, one of England greatest architect's, I thought it would be of interest to write about his life story and about his famous buildings.

The greatest British architect of all time was born in East Knoyle, Wiltshire, in 1632, the son of the rector of Knoyle. Christopher Wren attended Westminster School and Wadham College, Oxford, where he graduated with a masters degree in 1651. At this stage Wren was a pure scientist (by the standards of the time) focusing on astronomy, physics, and anatomy. He experimented with submarine design, road paving, and design of telescopes. At the tender age of 25 he was offered the Chair of Astronomy at Gresham College, London from 1657 to 1661.

In 1660 Wren was one of the founding members of the Society of Experimental Philosophy. In 1662, under the patronage of Charles II, this body became known as the Royal Society.

His architectural career began in 1661 when Charles II appointed him assistant to the royal architect and in 1665 he spent six months in Paris studying architecture. The distinguished buildings Wren created in the years thereafter owe much of their cerebral rigor to his mathematical training. After the great fire of 1666 Wren prepared a master plan for the reconstruction of London, which was never executed. He designed, however, many new buildings that were built, the greatest of which was Saint Paul's Cathedral.

In 1669 Wren was named royal architect, a post he retained for more than 45 years. From 1670 to 1711 he designed 52 London churches, most of which still stand, notable for their varied and original designs and for their fine spires. They include:

·       St. Stephen Church, Walbrook;

·       St. Martin Church, Ludgate;

·       St. Bride Church, Fleet Street;

·       St. Mary-le-Bow Church, manifesting the type of spire in receding stages generally associated with Wren's name.

Among his numerous secular works are the:

·       Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford;

·       the elegant library of Trinity College, Cambridge;

·       the garden facade of Hampton Court Palace;

·       and the buildings of the Temple, London.

·       Tom Tower at Christ's Church, Oxford,

·       and the Royal Hospital at Chelsea.

·       He also enlarged and re-modeled Kensington Palace,

·       Hampton Court Palace,

·       The Naval Hospital at Greenwich.

Wren also built residences in London and in the country, and these, as well as his public works, received the stamp of his distinctive style. His buildings exhibit a remarkable elegance, order, clarity, and dignity. His influence was considerable on church architecture in England and abroad. Wren was knighted in 1675, and is buried in the crypt of St. Paul's. He is rightly regarded as the most influential British architect of all time.

Smithfield Market – London Icon

I have always been interested in English History and arts and as a fan of London Icons I thought I would write an article about It's famous Smithfield Market.

Meat has been bought and sold at Smithfield for over 800 years, making it one of the oldest markets in London. A livestock market occupied the site as early as the 10th century.

Smithfield (also known as West Smithfield) is an area of the City of London in the ward of Farringdon Without. It is located in the north-west part of the City of London, and is mostly known for its centuries-old meat market, today the last surviving historical wholesale market in Central London. Smithfield has a bloody history of executions of heretics and political opponents, including major historical figures including the leader of the Peasant's Revolt Wat Tyler and a long series of religious reformers and dissenters.

A livestock market occupied the site as early as the 10th century. In 1174 the site was described by William Fitzstephen as:

"... a smooth field where every Friday there is a celebrated rendezvous of fine horses to be sold, and in another quarter are placed vendibles of the peasant, swine with their deep flanks, and cows and oxen of immense bulk".

The livestock market expanded over the centuries to meet the demands of the growing population of the City. In 1710, the market was surrounded by a wooden fence to keep the livestock within the market; and until its abolition, the gate house of Cloth Fair was protected by a chain (le cheyne) on market days. Daniel Defoe referred to the livestock market in 1726 as "without question, the greatest in the world". and the available figures appear to support this claim. Between 1740 and 1750 the average yearly sales at Smithfield were reported to be around 74,000 cattle and 570,000 sheep. By the middle of the 19th century, in the course of a single year 220,000 head of cattle and 1,500,000 sheep would be "violently forced into an area of five acres, in the very heart of London, through its narrowest and most crowded thoroughfares". The volume of cattle driven daily to Smithfield started to raise major concerns.

Today, the Smithfield area is dominated by the imposing, Grade II Listed covered market designed by Victorian architect Sir Horace Jones in the second half of the 19th century. Some of the original market buildings were abandoned for decades and faced a threat of demolition, but they were saved as the result of a public inquiry and will be part of new urban development plans aimed at preserving the historical identity of this area.

Approximately 120,000 tons of produce pass through the market each year. As well as meat and poultry, products such as cheese, pies, and other delicatessen goods are available. Buyers including butchers, restaurateurs and caterers are able see the goods for themselves and drive away with what they have bought. Bargaining between buyers and sellers at Smithfield sets the guidelines for meat and poultry prices throughout the UK.

The market has recently undergone a £70 million refurbishment to equip it for the future and enable it to comply with modern hygiene standards. The ancient meat market has been transformed into the most modern in Europe, possibly even the world.

The process of change at Smithfield has not been restricted to the buildings alone, but has extended to the whole environment and working practices that had hardly changed in 130 years. The result has been the creation of a thoroughly modern temperature controlled environment inside a magnificent Grade II listed Victorian building.


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My other website is called Directory of British Icons: 


The Chinese call Britain 'The Island of Hero's' which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery.

Copyright © 2011 - 2012 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.



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