• The Oldest 5 English Towns from 13,000 years ago To Present day

  • The Oldest British Cities

  • Bob Monkhouse The Life of an English Comedian 1928 to 2003

  • Thomas Telford Victorian Engineer 1757 to 1834

  • Lewis Carroll 1832-1898 author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  • Charles Kingsley 1819 – 1875 Author of The Water Babies

  • The Ghostly Hauntings of the City of Chester

  • Ghostly Haunting of Derby Hospital's

  • The Ghostly Hauntings of the City of Exeter

  • York England the Most Haunted City in the World

  • John Constable 1776 to 1837 and his Life and Quotes

  • Thomas Gainsborough 14th May 1727 to 2nd August 1788

  • William Hogarth Nov. 10th 1697 to Oct. 26th 1764

  • Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775 to 1851 and Father of Impressionism

  • Thomas Chippendale 1718 - 1779 Designer and Cabinet Maker

  • The Great and Good of Britain Buried at Westminster Abbey

  • Dr. John Snow 1813 to 1858 who found the Source of Cholera

  • Samuel Johnson 1709 to 1784 an English icon

  • Inventor of the Pea Whistle by Englishman Joseph Hudson ( 1848-1930 )

  • History of English Music Hall and Variety Theatre

  • History of English Theatres

  • History of Roman London Part 1 (43 AD to 300 AD)

  • History of Anglo Saxon London Part 2 (300 AD to 1066 AD)

  • History of Medieval London Part 3 (1066 AD to 1485)

  • History of Tudor London Part 4 (1485 AD to 1605)

  • History of Stuart London Part 5 (1605 AD to 1700)

  • History Of Georgian London Part 6 (1700 AD to 1837)

  • History of Victorian London Part 7 (1837 AD to 1901)

  • History of Modern London Part 8 (1901 AD to Present)

  • History of Stocks and Shares London from 1688 to Present

  • The Royal Mint – Its English 1,100 years of History

  • My Favourite English Sporting Icons

  • Crufts the Iconic Dog Show and its History

  • The Supreme Cat Show and its Iconic History

  • Dr. John Dee An English 16th. Century Alchemist and Ghost Hunter

The Oldest 5 English Towns from 13,000 years ago To Present day

As an Englishman and a fan of history and shopping I thought I would list the oldest Towns in England. The oldest town in England is contested by 5 English Towns: Thatcham, Abingdon, Colchester, Ipswich and Marazion which i thought would be of interest to the reader.

1) Thatcham In Berkshire is often claimed as the oldest town in Britain, since its occupation can be traced back to a mesolithic hunting camp, which was discovered there beside a Postglacial period lake, and there is evidence of human occupation within and around Thatcham covering the past 13,000 years or more.

There is strong evidence to support the case that people settled in Thatcham in the Mesolithic Age (10,000BC - 4,000BC). Arguably it is the Bronze (2,500BC - 750BC) and Iron (750BC - 43AD) Ages which make Thatcham more notable that any other, and indeed makes Thatcham a nationally important place. Thatcham has strong evidence that it was settled by the Romans, then Saxons, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Subsequently it received medieval charters.

Thatcham has a place in the 1990 Guinness Book of Records as being the strongest claimant to the longest continually inhabited town in the UK.

2) Abingdon In the English county of Oxfordshire (historically Berkshire) also claims to be the oldest town in Britain in continuous settlement, with people having lived there for at least 6,000 years. In 1991 evidence of a late-Iron Age enclosure of 33 hectares known as an 'oppidum' was discovered underneath the town centre. Unlike other major earthworks discovered from this period, it continued to be used as a town throughout the Roman occupation of Britain and subsequently became the saxon settlement of Sevekesham or Seovechesham at a time when most other Roman cities were being abandoned.

In 2010 the issue of whether Thatcham or Abingdon was the longest inhabited town was disputed after the popular TV program QI claimed on its website's Fact Of The Day that it was Abingdon.( Many facts on Qi's website is incorrect!!!).

3) Colchester claims to be Britain's oldest recorded town. Its claim is based on a reference by Piny the elder, the Roman writer, in his Natural History (Historia naturals) in AD 77. He described Anglesey as "about 200 miles from Camulodunum, a town in Britain", where Camulodunum was the Roman name for Colchester. It is claimed that this is the first known reference to any named settlement in Britain.

However, Camulodunum clearly existed for a substantial period before AD 77. From around AD 10, Cunobelinus ruled much of south-east Britain from Camulodunon (the "fortress of the war god, Camulos") until his death in AD 40. Following the invasion by Claudius in AD 43, Camulodunum became the first garrison and capital of the new Roman province of Britannia. In AD 50, Britain's first city, Colonia Claudia Victricensis, was founded there, but the city was razed and its citizens massacred in Boudica's rebellion in AD 60. The Roman provincial capital subsequently moved to the City of Londinium – London where it remained until the end of Roman colonization and influence.

4) Ipswich in the English county of Suffolk, also claims it is England's oldest continuously settled town, with a history of continued occupation since the Anglo Saxons.

5) Marazion in Cornwall is one of the towns claiming to be Britain's oldest town. Evidence of tin mining begins to appear in Brittany, Devon and Cornwall, and in the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 BC, and all are possible candidates for the Cassiterides (Tin Islands), believed to be situated somewhere near the west coasts of Europe. Remains of an ancient bronze furnace, discovered near the town, indicates that tin smelting was practised here at an early period. Marazion was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1088 and is the oldest chartered town in Britain, having been granted this status by King Henry III in 1257.

The Oldest British Cities

As an Englishman who enjoys visiting various historical English cities I thought it would be interesting to write about the ages of our various cities.

Below is a list of dates when the places now deemed to be cities in the United Kingdom received their charters of incorporation and assumed official city status. Note that some cities have no date listed as their city status predates any known historical record. Also note that the date given is when they officially became cities and is not the same as the date when the settlement began. Most of these cities existed as villages or towns for thousands of years before they were awarded city status



Year of Incorporation

















St Davids










































St Albans










































Newcastle upon Tyne



673 AD














City of London 43 AD (There was a settlement at the site of what we call  london for many thousands of years before the Romans invaded in 43 AD)


In almost all cases it is not known when any of the UK's old cities first began as settlements. Some began as Celtic and Druidic tribe settlements but were built upon by the Romans. In fact most of the early written evidence we have originates from around the time of the Roman occupation. The Romans brought with them vastly superior town planning architecture and infrastructure transforming the previously primitive settlements into 'modern' cities with provisions for the resident population, and for travelers, traders and visitors. Prior to the occupation of the Roman Empire, there is little evidence about the origins of the settlements.

Bob Monkhouse The Life of an English Comedian 1928 to 2003

During my early years in England during the 1960's and 1970's one of the funniest and best entertainers was Bob Monkhouse who I watched on The Golden Shot - a hilarious games show. He was a successful Comedy writer, Comedian and actor and was also well known on British television as a Presenter and Game Show Host. Bob Monkhouse was famous for his one liner jokes. As he died in 2003 I thought I would write about his entertaining history.

Bob Monkhouse was born at 1st June 1928 at 168 Bromley Road, Beckenham, Kent the son of Wilfred Adrian Monkhouse, (1894-1957), and Dorothy Muriel Monkhouse née Hansard, (1895-1971). Monkhouse had an elder brother, John, born 1922. Monkhouse's father was a prosperous Methodist businessman who owned Monk and Glass, which made custard powder.

While a schoolboy at Dulwich College, from which he was later expelled, Monkhouse wrote for the comics The Beano and The Dandy and subsequently drew for Hotdpur, Wizard and Adventure comics. Among other writing, he wrote more than 100 Harlem Hotspots erotic novelettes.

Monkhouse completed his National Service with the Royal Air force (RAF) in 1948. He won a contract with the BBC after his unwitting group captain signed a letter Monkhouse had written telling the BBC he was a war hero and that it should give him an audition.

Writing and Acting success

Bob Monkhouse's adult career began as a scriptwriter for radio comedy in partnership with Denis Goodwin, a fellow Old Alleynian with whom he also compèred Smash Hits on Radio Luxembourg. Alongside performing as a double act, Monkhouse and Goodwin wrote for comedians such as Arthur Askey, Jimmy Edwards, Ted Ray and Max Miller.[3][6] In addition, Monkhouse was a gag-writer for American comedians including Bob Hope when they wanted jokes for British tours.

In 1956, Monkhouse was the host of Do You Trust Your Wife?, the British version of an American gameshow. He went on to host more than 30 different quiz shows on British television.[3] His public profile growing, Monkhouse also began appearing in comedy films, including the first of the Carry On film series, Carry On Sergeant in 1958. He appeared in films and television programmes throughout his career, making guest appearances particularly in later years. Other presenting jobs in the 1960s included hosting Candid Camera and compèring Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Around 1969 he was a partner, with Henry Howard, in the London Agency Mitchell Monkhouse. In 1979 he starred in a sketch comedy television series called Bonkers! with the Hudson Brothers.

In the early 1970s he appeared on BBC Radio in Mostly Monkhouse with Josephine Tewson and David Jason.

Stand Up Comedy

Monkhouse was a respected stand up comedian. Known for his talent at ad-lib, he became a sought-after speaker for dinners and similar events. In 1976 he was the speaker at the Mars, Incorporated sales conference at the Excelsior Hotel on Bath Road opposite Heathrow Airport. He had been in a television advert for Polaroid cameras, and he told the joke, 'I am the only man ever allowed to say on television "you take it out and hold it in your hand, and in only 20 seconds it develops - or a minute if you want it in colour."'

Game Shows

Bob Monkhouse was well known for hosting television quiz shows. One of his biggest successes was The Golden Shot during the late 1960s. This was broadcast live for 52 weeks a year and drew in up to 17 million viewers.[6] The dozens of other shows Monkhouse presented included Celebrity Squares, Bob's Full House and Family Fortunes. Audiences regularly topped 15 million.[2] In the late 1980s he hosted two series of the revival of the talent show Opportunity Knocks which aired as Bob Says Opportunity Knocks. He then moved to ITV to front two more gameshows, Bob's Your Uncle and the $64,000 Dollar Question, neither of which were popular successes.

In 1996, Monkhouse presented the National Lottery show on Saturday evenings on BBC One. The opening to each show would see him deliver several minutes of topical jokes, and on one occasion where his Autocue failed, he improvised a new and still topical routine. This talent was used in Bob Monkhouse On The Spot, a return to pure television comedy, in which audience members suggested topics and Monkhouse came up with a routine. Monkhouse returned to quizzes in 1998 when he took over hosting duties on Wipeout from Paul Daniels.

Chat Shows

In the 1980's he had his own chat show on the BBC called The Bob Monkhouse Show. The show lasted two series and featured many guests from the world of movies and comedians of every age. Monkhouse was known among young comedians as a keen supporter of new comedy, and he used the show to introduce older audiences to new comedians, and vice versa. The format of the interviews varied between "true" chat and analysis of comedy, to scripted routines in which Monkhouse would willingly play the role of the guest's stooge.

The most notable guest was the comedienne Pamela Stephenson who, after prior arrangement with the show's producer, appeared in a series of fake plaster casts, apparently the result of accidents whilst at home. During the interview she produced a handgun and fired it on several occasions, destroying a plant pot on the set and a series of lights in the studio roof. She then presented a rocket launcher which she promptly 'fired' destroying a television camera. The gun, launcher and camera were replicas. None of this arrangement was known to Monkhouse (although the production crew were aware) who appeared genuinely frightened.

Personal Life

Bob Monkhouse was married twice, to Elizabeth Thompson on 5 November 1949 (divorced in 1972), and then to Jacqueline Harding on 4 October 1973. He had three children from his first marriage, but only his daughter Abigail survived him. His son Gary Alan and his other son Simon died before him.

In July 1995, Monkhouse appealed for the return of a ring binder that constituted one of his 'joke books', offering a £15,000 reward. The book, which contained notes on sketches and one-liners, for which Monkhouse was most famous, was returned after 18 months.

Monkhouse was a vocal supporter of the British Conservative party for many years, regularly attending the annual conference.He was appointed an OBE in 1993.

Career Summary:

Television - As a performer

  • Bob's Your Uncle UK 1990s

  • Fast and Loose UK 1954 (with Denis Goodwin)

  • Christmas Box UK 1955

  • The Bob Monkhouse Show UK 1956

  • Beat Up The Town UK 1957

  • My Pal Bob UK 1957

  • The Bob Monkhouse Hour UK 1958

  • The Big Noise UK 1964

  • Thirty Minute Theatre:The Flip Side (BBC2 Drama as Jerry Janus)UK 1966

  • Mad Movies UK 1966

  • The Golden Shot UK 1967

  • Friends In High Places UK 1969

  • The Bob Monkhouse Comedy Hour UK 1972

  • I'm Bob, He's Dickie UK 1977

  • Bonkers! UK 1979

  • The Bob Monkhouse Show UK 1983

  • An Audience With Bob Monkhouse UK 1994

  • Bob Monkhouse On The Spot UK 1995

  • Bob Monkhouse - Over The Limit UK 1998

  • Bob Monkhouse On Campus UK 1998

  • Rex the Runt (1998, cameo)

  • BBC New Comedy Awards UK 1999

  • Aaagh! It's the Mr. Hell Show UK/Canada 2001

  • $64,000 Question (UK version of The 64,000 Dollar Question)

  • All or Nothing

  • Celebrity Squares (UK version of Hollywood Squares)

  • Family Fortunes (UK version of Family Feud)

  • Wipeout (1998–2002)

  • Bob's Full House (later remade as Lucky Numbers in the UK and Trump Card in the US)

  • Opportunity Knocks

As a writer

  • Fast And Loose UK 1954

  • Cyril's Saga UK 1957

  • Early To Braden UK 1957

  • My Pal Bob UK 1957

  • The Bob Monkhouse Hour UK 1958

  • The Big Noise UK 1964

  • The Bob Monkhouse Comedy Hour UK 1972

  • I'm Bob, He's Dickie UK 1977

  • Marti UK 1977

  • Bonkers! UK 1979

  • An Audience With Bob Monkhouse UK 1994

  • Bob Monkhouse On The Spot UK 1995

  • Bob Monkhouse - Over The Limit UK 1998

As an author

  • Book of Days, 1981, ISBN 0099271508

  • Crying with Laughter: My Life Story 1994 ISBN 0099255812

  • Over the Limit: My Secret Diaries 1993-98, 1999 ISBN 0099799812

  • The World of Jonathan Creek with Steve Clark, 1999, ISBN 0563551356

  • Just Say a Few Words 2004 ISBN 0753509083

As a singer

  • You Rang, M'Lord? 1988

As a voice actor

  • Rex the Runt 1998 (Johnny Saveloy in "Johnny Saveloy's Undoing")

  • "Aaagh! It's the Mr. Hell Show 2001" (Mr. Hell in all 13 episodes)

As a TV Presenter

  • " Comedy Playhouse" 2002 - 2003 (?)


  • Mostly Monkhouse

  • I Think I've Got a Problem


  • The Secret People 1952

  • Carry On Sergeant 1958

  • Dentist in the Chair 1960

  • Dentist on the Job 1961

  • A Weekend with Lulu 1962

  • She'll Have to Go 1962

  • Thunderbirds Are Go 1966

  • The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom 1968

  • Simon, Simon 1970

Funny Quotes and Jokes

Notable one-liners

  • "They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They're not laughing now.

  • "Personally, I don't think there's intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?"

  • "Silence is not only golden, it is seldom misquoted.

  • "Marriage is an investment which pays dividends if you pay interest.

  • "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my father. Not screaming and terrified like his passengers." (Said on the advert which was broadcast after he had died)

  • "Growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional."

  • "As a comic, you need every wrinkle. Having a facelift would be like asking a tap dancer to have his feet lopped off."

  • "I came home and found that my son was taking drugs - my very best ones too!" (on Have I Got News For You)

  • "I'm rather relaxed about death. From quite an early age I've regarded it as part of the deal, the unwritten guarantee that comes with your birth certificate."

  • "So you are half Welsh and half Hungarian, that means you are well-hung!" (on V Graham Norton)

  • (on stage as a veteran comic)"You'll be glad to hear, I can still enjoy sex at 74 which is great because I live at 76."[

  • "I can remember when safe sex meant a padded headboard."

  • "It got up to 94 degrees today - that's pretty good at my age."

  • "People often think I'm from Kent. I hear them whisper it as I walk past."

  • On his visits to Princess Grace Hospital for treatment after being diagnosed with prostate cancer--"I've been in and out of Princess Grace more often than Prince Rainier."

  • "With my wife it was sex, sex, sex...Yes, three times in 35 years."

  • "Should you wish to piss...." (an infamous blooper when presenting The $64,000 Question in which he mispronounced the word "pass")

  • "Dulwich College takes me back after seventy years: My Mum must have written one hell of a sick note!"

  • "The Doctor said have you heard of faecal impaction? I said, I think I saw that with Glenn Close" Joking about his cancer battle on Parkinson in 2003.

Game show catchphrases

  • "Bernie.... the bolt!" - catchphrase on The Golden Shot.

  • "In Bingo lingo clickety-clicks, it's time to take your pick of the six"- catchphrase on Bob's Full House.

Stand-Up videos

  • Exposes Himself (17 October 1994)

  • Live And Forbidden (23 October 1995)

  • Way Over The Limit (23 November 1998)

He succumbed to Prostate cancer and died on 29th December 2003.

Posthumous Advert

On 12 June 2007, Monkhouse posthumously appeared on a British TV advertisement promoting awareness of prostrate canacer for Male Cancer Awareness Week. Using reanimation techniques, Monkhouse was seen in a graveyard next to his own grave (though in reality he was cremated) talking about the disease seriously, interspersed with humorous asides to another camera ("What killed me kills one man per hour in Britain. That's even more than my wife's cooking."). He ended by saying, "As a comedian, I've died many deaths. Prostate cancer, I don't recommend. I'd have paid good money to stay out of here. What's it worth to you?" before walking away from his grave and disappearing. The advertisement was made with the support of Monkhouse's family and supported by poster campaigns. Money raised went to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.

Thomas Telford Victorian Engineer 1757 to 1834

One of the most famous victorian engineers was Sir thomas Telford who built the world's first Iron Bridge. I thought it would be of interest to write about his life and accomplishments. Sir Thomas Telford was born in Westerkirk, Scotland on August 9th 1757. He was a stonemason, architect and civil engineer - a noted road-, bridge- and canal- builder.

At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a stonemason, and some of his earliest work can still be seen on the bridge across the river Esk in Langholm in the Scottish borders. He worked for a time in Edinburgh and in 1782 he moved to London where (after meeting architects Robert Adam and Sir William Chambers) he was involved in building additions to Somerset House. 1784 Two years later he found work at Portsmouth dockyard and - although still largely self-taught - was extending his talents to the specification, design and management of building projects.

In 1787, through his wealthy patron William Pulteney, he became Surveyor of Public Works for Shropshire, England. At this time, 'civil engineering' was a discipline still in its infancy, so Telford was set on establishing himself as an architect. His projects included renovation of Shrewsbury's Castle, the town's prison (during planning of which he met leading prison reformer John Howard), a church (St Mary Magdalene) in Bridgnorth and another at Madeley.

As county surveyor, Telford was also responsible for bridges. In 1790 he designed a bridge carrying the London-Holyhead road over the Severn river at Montford, the first of some 40 bridges he built in Shropshire, including major crossings of the Severn at Buildwas, Bridgnorth and Bewdley. The Buildwas bridge was Telford's first iron bridge (he was heavily influenced by the famous bridge at Ironbridge), but was 30 ft (10 m) wider in span and half the weight. As his engineering prowess grew, Telford was to return to this material again and again.

Telford's reputation in Shropshire led to his appointment in 1793 to manage the detailed design and construction of the Ellesmere Canal, linking the ironworks and collieries of Wrexham via the north-west Shropshire town of Ellesmere, with Chester (utilising the existing Chester Canal), and then the River Mersey.

Among other structures, this canal involved building an aqueduct over the River Dee in the Vale of Llangollen; for the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Telford used a new method of construction consisting of troughs made from cast iron plates and fixed in masonry.

Eminent canal engineer William Jessop oversaw the project, but the detailed execution of the project was very much left in Telford's hands.

The Ellesmere Canal was finally completed in 1805 but alongside his canal responsibilities, Telford's reputation as a civil engineer meant he was constantly consulted on numerous other projects. These included water supply works for Liverpool, improvements to London's docklands and the rebuilding of London Bridge (c.1800).

Most notably (and, again, William Pulteney was influential in his 1801 appointment), Telford devised a masterplan to improve communications in the Highlands of Scotland, a massive project that was to last some 20 years. It included the building of the Caledonian Canal along the Great Glen (and redesign of sections of the Crinan Canal), some 920 miles of new roads, over a thousand new bridges, numerous harbour improvements (including works at Aberdeen, Dundee, Peterhead and Banff, to name but four), and 32 new churches.

Telford also undertook highway works in the Scottish Lowlands, including 184 miles of new roads and numerous bridges, ranging from a 112 ft (34 m) span stone bridge across the Dee at Tongueland in Kirkcudbright (1805-1806) to the 129 ft (39 m) tall Cartland Crags bridge near Lanark (1822).

Telford was consulted in 1806 by the King of Sweden about the construction of a canal between Gothenburg and Stockholm. His plans were adopted and construction of the Göta canal began in 1810. Telford travelled to Sweden at that time to oversee some of the more important initial excavations.

During his later years, Telford was responsible for rebuilding sections of the London to Holyhead road (a task completed by his assistant of ten years, John MacNeill; today, the route is the A5 trunk road). Between London and Shrewsbury, most of the work amounted to improvements (including the Archway cutting in north London and improvements at Barnet and South Mimms). Beyond Shrewsbury, and especially beyond Llangollen, the work often involved building a highway from scratch. Notable features of this section of the route include the iron bridge across the River Conwy at Betws-y-Coed, the ascent from there to Capel Curig and then the descent from the pass of Nant Ffrancon towards Bangor.

On the island of Anglesey a new embankment across the Stanley Sands to Holyhead was constructed, but the crossing of the Menai Straits was the most formidable challenge, finally overcome by the Menai Suspension Bridge (1819-1826).

Telford also worked on the north Wales coast road between Chester and Bangor, including another major
suspension bridge at Conwy, opened later the same year as its counterpart at Menai.

(The punning nickname Colossus of Roads was given to Telford by his friend and Poet Laureate Robert Southey.)

Other works by Telford include the St Katharine Docks (1824-1828) close to Tower Bridge in central London, the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal (today known as the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal), the second Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal (1827), and the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal (today part of the Shropshire Union Canal) - started in May 1826 but finished, after Telford's death, in January 1835. At the time of its construction in 1829, Galton Bridge was the longest single span in the world.

In 1820, Telford was appointed the first President of the recently formed Institution of Civil Engineers, a post he held until his death on September 2nd 1834. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

When a new town was being built in the Wrekin area of Shropshire in 1968, it was named Telford in his honour.

Thomas Telford's works can be seen all over Europe: they include a canal in the English midlands, canal tunnels in the north country, the Gota Canal in Sweden; St. Katherine Docks in London and roads that opened up the Scottish Highlands. If any Britain made a difference to countless generations, it surely was Thomas Telford. His work in improving highways and bridges, canals and road made much of the Industrial Revolution possible, for they provided means of transporting, men, machinery, raw materials and finished goods.

Lewis Carroll 1832-1898 author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

One of the most famous Victorian authors and books is the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I thought it would be of interest to write about his life works.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born on 27th January 1832 and is better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll who was an English author, Mathematician, Logician, Anglican Deacon and Photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through The Looking-Glass.

According to anecdotes, Dodgson was very shy and he even hid his hands continually within a pair of gray-and-black gloves. In 1867 he travelled with his friend and colleague Henry Parry Liddon to Russia, where they visited churches, museums and other places of interest. After this journey, he never again left Britain. Dodgson died on January 14, 1898. He was buried in Guilford Cemetery.

In spite of his stammer, Dodgson spoke easily with children, whom he often photographed, first with their clothes on. From July 1866, Dodgson began to take nude photographs, always with the permission of parents. During the next thirteen years, Dodgson took many nude studies, but before he died, he destroyed most the negatives and prints. Dodgson was careful not to show them to anybody, stating in a letter that "there is really no friend to whom I should wish to give photographs which so entirely defy conventional rules."

Dodgson had seven sisters. Although his attraction to young girls was well-known, he followed in their company the strict Victorian rules of behavior and morals, even if his feelings were more intense than he acknowledged in his diaries. He also had long friendships with mature women, but remained a bachelor. This side of his life has remained little examined.

During one picnic – on July 4, 1862, on a blazing summer afternoon – Dodgson began to tell a long story to Alice Liddell (died in 1934), his ideal child friend, who was the daughter of Henry George Liddell, the head of his Oxford college. The Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was born from these tales. The friendship with the Liddell family ended abruptly in June 1863, two years before Wonderland was published, and Dodgson turned his attention to other young friends.

According to some Oxford gossips, Dodgson had proposed marriage to Alice, aged eleven; for females the legal age to marry was twelve. However, the cause of the break between Dodgson and the Liddells is a mystery. Dodgson's relationship with the family remained formal, but in 1870 Mrs. Liddell Brough, Alice and her sister Ina to Dodgson's studio to be photographed. When Alice married Reginald Gervis Hargreaves in 1870, he gave the couple a watercolor of Tom Quad, one of the quadrangles of Christ Church in Oxford. Alice was absent from his funeral, no Liddells appeared.

Originally the book appeared under the title Alice's Adventures Under Ground. The story centers on the seven-year-old Alice, who falls asleep in a meadow, and dreams that she plunges down a rabbit hole, where finds herself first too large and then too small. She meets such strange characters as Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the King and Queen of Hearts, and experiences wondrous, often bizarre adventures, trying to reason in numerous discussions that do not follow the usual paths of logic. Finally she totally rejects the dream world and wakes up.

The sequel Through the Looking Class, appeared in 1871. It is perhaps more often quoted than the first, featuring the poems Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter. The artist John Tenniel refused to illustrate one chapter in Through the Looking Class because he thought that it was ridiculous. The chapter was published later in 1872 as The Wasp in a Wig. Dodgson himself always wished to be an artist and as a boy he illustrated all the manuscript magazines, which he made for his younger brothers and sisters. Dodgson's original drawings for Alice's Adventures Underground were published in 1961.

He was also well known for his poems “The Hunting of the Snark and “Jabberwocky”, all examples of the genre of Literary nonsense. He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy, and there are societies dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of his works and the investigation of his life in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand.

Life's Work

Literary works

  • A Tangled Tale

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

  • Facts

  • He thought he saw an elephant

  • Rhyme? And Reason? (also published as Phantasmagoria)

  • Pillow Problems

  • Sylvie and Bruno

  • Sylvie and Bruno Concluded

  • The Hunting of the Snark (1876)

  • Three Sunsets and Other Poems

  • Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (includes "Jabberwocky" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter") (1871)

  • What the Tortoise Said to Achilles

Mathematical works

  • A Syllabus of Plane Algebraic Geometry (1860)

  • The Fifth Book of Euclid Treated Algebraically (1858 and 1868)

  • An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations

  • Euclid and his Modern Rivals (1879), both literary and mathematical in style

  • Symbolic Logic Part I

  • Symbolic Logic Part II (published posthumously)

  • The Game of Logic

  • Some Popular Fallacies about Vivisection

  • Curiosa Mathematica I (1888)

  • Curiosa Mathematica II (1892)

  • The Theory of Committees and Elections, collected, edited, analyzed, and published in 1958, by Duncan Black

Over the remaining twenty years of his life, throughout his growing wealth and fame, his existence remained little changed. He continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and remained in residence there until his death. His last novel, the two-volume Sylvie and Bruno, was published in 1889 and 1893 respectively. It achieved nowhere near the success of the Alice books. Its intricacy was apparently not appreciated by the contemporary readers. The reviews and its sales, only 13,000 copies, were disappointing.[

The only occasion on which (as far as is known) he travelled abroad was a trip to Russia in 1867, which he recounts in his "Russian Journal" which was first commercially published in 1935.

He died on 14 January 1898 at his sisters' home, "The Chestnuts" in Guildford of pneumonia following influenza. He was 2 weeks away from turning 66 years old. He is buried in Guildford at the mount cemetary.

Charles Kingsley (12th June 1819 – 23rd January 1875) Author of The Water Babies

One of the most famous Victorian authors and books is the The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. I thought it would be of interest to write about his life works. Charles Kingsley

was an English clergyman, University Professor, Historian and novelist, particularly associated with the West country and Hampshire. He was the eldest child of Revd. Charles Kingsley and Mary Lucas. Charles Kingsley was born on 12th June 1819 at Holne vicarage, Devonshire, England. After studying at Magdalene College, Cambridge, he was ordained in 1842. In 1844 he became vicar for Eversley in Hampshire. On 10th January 1844 he married Frances Eliza Grenfell with whom he would have four children.

In 1854 Kingsley helped establish Working Men's College. Westward Ho! was published a year later. The Crimean War was raging and England delighted in his adventure/romance on the Spanish Main. Kingsley also wrote fiction for children including The Heroes or; Greek Fairy tales for my Children (1856) and Madam How and Lady Why (1868).

In 1863 Kingsley published his most famous book, The Water Babies. The book, written for his youngest son, tells the story of a young chimney-sweep, who runs away from his brutal employer. In his flight he falls into a river and is transformed into a water baby. Thereafter, in the river and in the seas, he meets all sorts of creatures and learns a series of moral lessons.

In 1859 he was appointed chaplain to the Queen, and a year later became part time professor of modern history at Cambridge until 1869. Hereward the Wake was published in 1866. In 1873 he was appointed canon of Westminster Abbey. Kingsley died at Eversley in 1875.


  • Saint's Tragedy, a drama

  • Alton Locke, a novel (1849)

  • Yeast, a novel (1849)

  • Twenty-five Village Sermons (1849)

  • Cheap Clothes and Nasty (1850)

  • Phaeton, or Loose Thoughts for Loose Thinkers (1852)

  • Sermons on National Subjects (1st series, 1852)

  • Hypatia, a novel (1853)

  • Glaucus, or the Wonders of the Shore (1855)

  • Sermons on National Subjects (2nd series, 1854)

  • Alexandria and her Schools (I854)

  • Westward Ho!, a novel (1855)

  • Sermons for the Times (1855)

  • The Heroes, Greek fairy tales (1856)

  • Two Years Ago, a novel (1857)

  • Andromeda and other Poems (1858)

  • The Good News of God, sermons (1859)

  • Miscellanies (1859)

  • Limits of Exact Science applied to History (Inaugural Lectures, 1860)

  • Town and Country Sermons (1861)

  • Sermons on the Pentateuch (1863)

  • The Water-Babies (1863)

  • The Roman and the Teuton (1864)

  • David and other Sermons (1866)

  • Hereward the Wake, a novel (1866)

  • The Ancient Régime (Lectures at the Royal Institution, 1867)

  • Water of Life and other Sermons (1867)

  • The Hermits (1869)

  • Madam How and Lady Why (1869)

  • At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies (1871)

  • Town Geology (1872)

  • Discipline and other Sermons (1872)

  • Prose Idylls (1873)

  • Plays and Puritans (1873)

  • Health and Education (1874)

  • Westminster Sermons (1874)

  • Lectures delivered in America (1875)

Charles Kingsley's novel Westward Ho! led to the founding of a town by the same name—the only place name in England which contains an exclamation mark—and even inspired the construction of a railway, the Bideford, Westward Ho! And Appledore Railway. Few authors can have had such a significant effect upon the area which they eulogised. A hotel in Westward Ho! was named for him and it was also opened by him.

A hotel opened in 1897 in Bloomsbury, London, was named after Kingsley. It still exists, but changed name in 2001 to the Thistle Bloomsbury. The original reasons for the chosen name was that the hotel was opened by teetotallers who admired Kingsley for his political views and his ideas on social reform. Charles Kingsley died on January 23rd 1875.

The Ghostly Hauntings of the City of Chester

As a fan of ghost stories and the supernatural I thought I would write about some of the more well known ghost stories from the city of Chester, England. There are stories of the George and Dungeon Pub in Chester being haunted by the spirits of Roman soldiers. A French restaurant occupying the Old Fire Station is also haunted by the spirit of an old fireman and many visitors claim to have seen it. Below is a list of other Hauntings:

St John's Church

The site of a haunting by a ghostly monk. This spectre only started appearing following the partial collapse of the great tower in 1881. He has been heard praying, and appears so real, it was only realised that he was not a real monk when he vanished into thin air in front of startled witnesses. A monk, quite possibly the same one, goes to and from the church by the old passage that runs by the side of the west tower and down to the river. This ghost has also been described as following another route, up from the river bank, through the railings of the present Hermitage, and along a secret underground passage that connects the Anchorite Cell with the church. It has also been described as crossing the bowling green to the Anchorite Cell.

The East Glory - Northgate Street.

In 1642 the English Civil war started between the forces loyal to King Charles and Parliament. At that time Chester was a very important sea port and was a royalist city.

In 1645 the army of Parliament attacked the city to take the sea port facilities away from the King.

Many soldiers were in Chester to defend the city and houses were used to billet the officers. One such officer was billeted at the Blue Bell and had fallen in love with the owner’s daughter. One day he left the house to take up his post on the city walls but never returned; he was killed during an attack... His loved one could not face life without him so she killed herself in the cellar of the East Glory. To this day her ghost walks from the cellar to the upstairs window where she used to look for his return

The Boot Inn - Eastgate Street

Built in 1643 the landlord practised as a barber surgeon and his wife as a “madam”, with her troupe of “ladies of the night”. Sometimes, at night, when all is quiet, the faint sounds of laughter and the subdued hubbub of conversation in empty rooms can be heard. From time to time even the front door is found to be locked

The Falcon Inn - Bridge Street.

Built in the 17th century as the town house of the Baronet of Grosvenor, it was later sold to a gentleman. This new owner employed an angry maidservant who soon found herself dismissed and thrown out of the house. Homeless on the streets of Chester she died. Her ghost has now returned to the place of employment and haunts the house which was converted to an inn only a few years ago.

A building has stood on this site for at least 700 years, the Falcon is a traditional “Chester building” with a black & white timbered frontage inside the original 13th century stone piers which once formed the front of the building can still be seen.

The building was the home to the Grosvenor family during the time of the Civil War, during this time they had a maid called Molly. It is alleged that she was dismissed and thrown out of the house during a bad snow storm, she had no where to go and was found dead the next morning in the snow.

Staff at The Falcon say that they can feel a presence but that it is a nice feeling and quite often find themselves talking to it. Things quite often move or go missing. Staff quite often say that they feel someone touching them on their shoulders.

There has only been one sighting in recent years but there is also a photograph a member of staff took at a wedding reception held in the pub, the figure of a lady appears at the back of the photograph whom nobody recognises.

The Old Kings Head - Bridge Street

Built in 1622 for a gentleman by the name of Randal Holume the house was sold on and became the present inn.

The story is of a lovely maiden who lived in the house. Her bedroom is now room 4 of the inn. Two young men had fallen in love with this beautiful sylph but knew that only one could have her. A dual was arranged, the one who survived would take the hand of this fair maiden. Alas, both were killed and today any young maiden asleep in room 4 is awakened by the presence of two slender handsome young ghosts.

The Marlbororough Arms - St John Street

Black and white timbered building with a strange name. About 100 years ago, the licensee became very depressed about his worsening financial situation and an unsympathetic wife. He took himself down to the cellar and cut his own throat. Strange footsteps are heard in the upper floors and there are reports of his ghost walking the cellar.

A painter and sign writer is said to have seen the ghost prior to completing the sign outside. In such a state of shock he completed the sign but had not noticed that he had already completed the first “OR” in Marlborough.

The Bear and Billet - Lower Bridge Street.

Once the town house of the Earl of Shrewsbury who was the tax collector of the south gate during the 17th century. Now the house is an inn and is haunted by a ghost of a maid who worked in the house when owned by the Earl. The earl’s bailiff, who was a mean and deceitful man decided that she did work as hard as he felt she should. In spite, he locked the girl in the upstairs room thinking he would leave her there for a day without food and water.

By an urgent summons ,from the Earl, he was called away to Shrewsbury which was a distance of 40 miles. Away for many days he forgot all about the young maid who died alone in the room. At night sobs are heard from the room she was locked and died in.

This seems to be one of the most haunted of all of the places. Strange occurrences happen on almost a daily basis, the gas in the cellar is often turned off and barrels move. The kitchen is upstairs and figures are seen moving past the doorway but nobody is there when staff check.

There also seems to be a lot of activity in the managers flat where windows open by themselves and strange messages are left on the answer machine.

The Golden Eagle - Castle Street

Chester was the Roman fortress of Deva built in 79 AD and was the largest of the three military fortresses in Britain. The Golden Eagle is on the direct line the Romans would have marched from the fortress to the River Dee.

Reports that staff and visitors have seen a patrol of Roman soldiers marching through the cellar wall, across the cellar, and out through the other wall.

The Liverool Arms - Northgate Street.

Site of the old Chester prison known as the dungeon of little ease. Prisoners were kept in the dungeon, which could only hold two people , waiting execution. Many have heard the moans of those who were kept in the dungeon of little ease. Some, however, were lucky and were deported to Australia.

George & Dragon – Liverpool Road

The Romans buried their dead outside of the City walls and the site of the George and Dragon today stands on one of these burial sites.

This building has many stories associated with it and has previously been investigated by a number of paranormal groups.

Although there have been no sightings footsteps are frequently heard marching through the pub. Orbs have been captured on camera in the cellar area and this and one guestroom in particular seem to have the most activity.

Former Brannigans Nightclub – Foregate Street

Built in the 1920/30’s this used to be, until recently (early 1990’s), a cinema. Although downstairs has been converted the upper level remains almost untouched.

Figures of two ghosts here, the first is that of a little girl who is seen on the ground floor level occasionally by the cleaner in a morning.

The second is the figure of a man seen in the projection room, upstairs. The story surrounding this ghost is that the man was a projectionist, he found out that his wife was having an affair and committed suicide.

Thornton’s – Foregate Street

This was, at one time, thought to be Chester’s most haunted building although in recent years there has not been much activity.

The building is said to be haunted by 3 spirits one of which is said to be a man in an apron and one the spirit of a girl called Sarah.

Sarah has never been seen but is thought to be responsible for activity in the building. There was a lot of activity up until 1965 when the building was exorcised. Her story is that she was jilted by her lover and could not bear life without him so went into the cellar and hung herself.

It seems that the thought of love upsets Sarah as when the shop is filled with heart shaped boxes for Valentines day these boxes are often found on the floor. A few years ago one of our City Guides was leading a Ghost Tour around the City, he was stood with his back to the window of Thornton’s telling the story of Sarah, the group were enthralled and said what fantastic special effects we had on our ghost tour, when he turned around boxes of chocolates were lying on the floor, they had been ‘flung’ off the shelf.

14 Dee Hills Park, Chester Haunting.

Ghostly monk wakes sleepers in large Victorian gothic mansion overlooking the River Dee.

40 Bridge Street, ChesterGhost.

Active ghost nicknamed 'George' in cellar area, reported by staff in travel agency; formerly a wine merchant's shop.

Bear and Billet, Lower Bridge Street, Chester Ghost.

Kindly old lady often greets men on the stairs with a smile.Bingo Hall, Brook Street, ChesterGhost. 'Old George' widely held to haunt the premises. Unexplained thumps and crashes in the attic; figure in tweed jacket regularly seen on balcony but vanishes when challenged.

Boot Inn, Eastgate Row North, Chester Haunting.

Once Chester's most notorious brothel, present pub still occasionally rings with female moans and laughter.

Boughton Heath (several streets), Chester Haunting.

Running man crosses roads in front of speeding cars only to vanish on far side.Bridge of Sighs,

Northgate Street, Chester Haunting.

Condemned criminals once led across 'Bridge of Sighs' from Northgate gaol to last rites in Bluecoat chapel; their sighs are sometimes heard today.

Brown Heath, Christleton, near Chester Haunting.

Two ghostly figures in Civil War dress with buff greatcoats and broad-brimmed hats occasionally seen at the Brown Heath crossroads.

Castle Street, Chester Poltergeist.

Electrician working in Georgian house spooked by objects being moved, and by owner's apparently calm acceptance of supernatural events.

Cestrian pub, City Road, Chester Haunting.

Loud thumping heard on upstairs floor whenever a previous landlord was angry; emphatically not his wife!

Chester Cathedra Devil's Mark

Record of 1906 tells of flagstone in cloisters bearing 'devil's footprint; when replaced, mark reappears next morning.

Coach and Horses, Northgate Street, Chester Ghost.

Modern ghost of a sad old man orders pint, books room, then vanishes; his reasons later become alarmingly clear.

Curzon Park, Chester Haunting.

Sobbing woman in Elizabethan dress seen beneath a large tree with a hanged man swinging from its branches.

Dee House, Dee Banks, Chester Ghost.

Apparition of old woman sometimes seen prowling top floor of this old telephone exchange and onetime convent.Deva Psychiatric Hospital (now disused)Hauntings. Staff tell of dark forms seen on the wards and strange footsteps.

Deva Pub, Watergate Rows North, Chester Haunting.

Horrific scene of a Victorian boy who fell into fire occasionally replayed in this pub.

Haunted Alley, near St Johns Church, Chester Ghost.

Monk in dark habit occasionally accosts witnesses in 'Haunted Alley' beside St John's Church, speaking a guttural Saxon-like language.

King's Buildings, Chester Ghost.

Sick woman experienced a phantom physician in old-fashioned hat and neck ruff sitting at her bedside. When he reached out and touched her forehead, she recovered shortly afterwards.

Leche House, Watergate Street, Chester Haunting.

Face of an old-fashioned sailor sometimes seen at 1st floor window.Marlbororough Arms. St John's Street, Chester Haunting.

Phantom gurgles sometimes heard from beer cellar where depressed Victorian landlord slit his own throat.

Morgan's Mount, City Walls, Chester Haunting.

Apparitions of Cavalier soldiers appear at this medieval tower named after a Royalist gun captain during the Civil War siege of Chester.

Nicholas Street, Chester Haunting.

Ghostly coachman in carriage coat, tricorn hat, riding boots and breeches occasionally seen descending steps to Georgian terrace's old carriage house.

Northgate arch, Chester Haunting.

Spectral sound of hanged men buffeted against the city walls by strong winds still heard on site of the old city gaol at the Northgate.

Old City Hospital, Hoole, Chester Haunting.

Apparition of 'man in a brown suit' visiting his sick mother seen by several nurses in 1976; woman later tells nurses her son was killed in Second World War.

Old Dee Bridge, Chester Ghost.

In 1986, ghost of dead neighbour spoke to a Handbridge woman on bridge, then vanished.

Ghostly Haunting of Derby Hospital's

As a fan of ghost stories and the supernatural I thought I would write about some of the more well known ghost stories from the city of Derby, England. These stories concerns 2 hospitals in Derby where there have been various hauntings and spookiness.

The Pastures Hospital, now demolished, was built during the 19th century and served as the County Asylum. There have been many reports concerning poltergeist activity at the hospital over the years. What follows is a first-hand account of strange occurrences within the hospital itself. "I would have been around 21 years old at the time and had taken a keen interest in the various ghost stories involving Derby. One particular story that had intrigued myself and my friend was all about ghostly events at the Pastures Hospital and in particular the Wessington Ward of the hospital."

"Having some spare time on our hands we decided to take a walk up there and investigate for ourselves. The hospital was no longer in use at this point but the building remained. There were builders around who were more than prepared to talk to us about the many stories and happenings that had taken place, some of them personnel accounts."

"It was at this point that the manager of operations arrived and kindly agreed to our request to be allowed inside the building to examine the interior of the Wessington Ward."

"After entering the hospital we began to walk along a corridor to the ward in question. The inside of the building was complete and intact, albeit with the windows boarded up, but all of the furniture and fittings had been removed."

"By this point my friend was around 10 metres ahead of me as we explored. As I looked up he stopped and began to peer around the ward. Thinking he was simply being curious I thought nothing of it until I reached the point where he had been standing previously."

"Suddenly I heard voices. None of them spoke with any clarity, it sounded like tens or even hundreds of voices all battling for attention. As soon as I had passed that particular spot the voices ceased only to begin again at a later point in the ward."

"Strange as it sounds this didn't scare me too much. However about five minutes later the mood began to change. A feeling that I can only describe as an oppressive darkness began to envelope me and I realised in a way that I cannot describe that I was no longer welcome - I was in some way trespassing."

"I looked at my friend and asked him if he was ready to leave. With a relieved look on his face he agreed he was. Without further ado we left the building."

"On the way out we spoke to a security guard for the hospital grounds who told me that amongst their number no-one would patrol that area alone."

"He pointed to a light outside the ward that was on even though it was a bright afternoon."

"We always leave that light on" he said. "Otherwise she gets really angry".

Hauntings at the Derby City General hospital where managers spoke of a ghostly goings on in an email to employees after clerical staff claimed they saw a cloaked figure dressed in black. A senior manager sent an email to staff, informing them of a plan to bring in a priest to rid the hospital of paranormal activity. She wrote: "I'm not sure how many of you are aware that some members of staff have reported seeing a ghost. "I'm taking it seriously as it is affecting some members of staff and the last thing I want is staff feeling uneasy at work."I don't want to scare anyone any more than necessary, but felt it was best I made you all aware of the situation and what we are doing about it. "I've spoken to the trust's chaplain and she is going to arrange for someone from the cathedral to exorcise the department.

"I understand that some of you will probably be worried or scared about this. If any of you wish to discuss this, feel free to contact me at any time."

The hospital is located on the site of the old Derby city general hospital, which was built in the 1920s over part of a Roman road. Anglican priests usually need to seek permission from a bishop before performing an exorcism.

The Ghostly Hauntings of the City of Exeter

As a fan of ghost stories and the supernatural I thought I would write about some of the more well known ghost stories from the city of Exeter, England. The city of Exteter is well known for its shipping and its spooks.

The Black Shadow

Location: Exeter - Alleyway that runs from the top of South Street to the Cathedral Green
As this witness walked down the alleyway they became aware of a dark shadow looming over them and felt a presence over their right shoulder. The man turned and saw a black mass which seemed to dissipate upwards into the night.

Queen Henrietta Maria

Location: Exeter - Barnfield House
This Queen stayed here to give birth before escaping to France, though she also appears to continue to remain here today.

The Haunted Three Headed Entity

Location: Exeter - Cathedral Green
Seen moving silently across the Green, this strange apparition is reported to possess three heads.

The Fishy Men

Location: Exeter - Coastline
Further Comments: Fishermen on the shore caught a four foot tall humanoid, with duck-like feet and a tail protruding from its back. It tried to escape, but was killed when the fishermen beat it with sticks. Another fish-man was caught a few months later in the same area, though this one was described with more seal-like qualities.

Haunting Plague Victims

Location: Exeter - Devon Air Radio Studios, St David's Hill
Built on an old plague pit, the ghosts of the inhabitants are blamed for the sounds of closing doors (in places the doors are already closed) and other unexplained events.

The Vanishing Woman

Location: Exeter - Ernest Jones, next to the Guildhall
A female ghost is said to vanish as quickly as she appears, and is blamed for knocking over displays and setting off the fire alarm.

The Ghostly Nun and Monk

Location: Exeter - Exeter Cathedral
Seen only around this time, the nun quickly disappears once spotted. A monk has also been reported in the area surrounding the cathedral, while a small group of witnesses heard music coming from within the building although it was dark and empty at the time.

Ghost of The Last Executed Prisoner in Exeter Prison

Location: Exeter - Exeter prison
Two prisoners reported seeing a middle-aged man walking along the upper gallery, vanishing as he reached a cell door. After staff carried out a little research, they discovered the man was the last person to be executed in the prison.

Ghostly Workman

Location: Exeter - Exeter University
A phantom man dressed in painter's overalls has been seen walking down the corridors of Exeter University.

The Cycling Ghost

Location: Exeter - Exeter's Underground Passages
The guides of the underground passages, normally open to the public, tell of a phantom cyclist who passes through the area. There is also rumoured to be hidden treasure somewhere in the tunnels.

The Haunting Sound of Silk

Location: Exeter - Globe Hotel
An American guest at the hotel reported waking several times during the night to the sound of swirling, as if someone was waving armfuls of silk scarves through the air. The woman in the room next door also reported hearing the sounds.

The Sweet Smelling Rose Lady

Location: Exeter - Guildhall Shopping Centre basement
A shadowy form of a woman has been reported as haunting this area, the smell of roses accompanying her presence.

The Ghostly Victorian Nurse

Location: Exeter - Hospital
A ghostly nurse occasionally appears by the bed of anyone close to death and rearranges any nearby flowers so that they form a cross.

The Wet Murdered Maid

Location: Exeter - Lord Haldon Hotel
This tragic figure fell pregnant after having an affair with a local landowner - he killed the maid to cover the relationship up, and now she returns to the top of the building, dripping wet.

The Supernatural Giant Bat

Location: Exeter - Magdalen Road
A witness walking down the road late at night stated he watched a giant bat, with a wingspan of 1.2 metres, swoop around the churchyard along this road.

Heavy Breathing Poltergeist

Location: Exeter - Marks & Spencer store
Said to be built on an old Roman burial ground, phantom heavy breathing has been reported from staff, as have light poltergeist-like behaviour.

The Crying Waiting Mother

Location: Exeter - Martin's Lane, general area
A weeping woman waits along this lane at night - her daughter ran away to follow Sir Francis Drake on his last voyage, and never returned.

The Ghostly Little Girl with her toy Rag Doll

Location: Exeter - Prospect Inn
This young child only appears once a year in the upper part of the building. She is said to smile sweetly at any witnesses, before quickly fading away.

The Ghostly Viking Ship

Location: Exeter - River Exe
A local legend has it that a ghostly Viking long ship complete with an angry fighter passes up the river.

The Spectral Coughing Fit

Location: Exeter - Royal Clarence Hotel
Built on the site of Walter Raleigh's fathers' house, some attribute the coughing sounds to Walter himself.

The Ghostly Return of Sir Francis Drake

Location: Exeter - Ship Inn, Martin's Lane
The inn claims to have once banned Drake from coming in, as his behaviour once drunk was intolerable - maybe this is the reason he returns here.

The Ghostly Red Light

Location: Exeter - St Layes, ruins of church
A red light would appear to anyone who was due a tragedy in their lives - it was commonly seen during the blitz of World War Two by those who would be killed by bombs or the resulting fires.

The Ghostly Woman's Heels

Location: Exeter - St Thomas railway station
Sitting on the platform with her dog, this women heard the sound of heels walk past her twice, although no one could be seen. The dog circled and barked before rolling over and acted as if being stroked.

The Wandering Monk

Location: Exeter - The Cowick Barton Inn, Cowick Lane
This holy man has been seen walking around outside the pub, as well as inside two local houses and in a nearby field.

The Ghostly Tall Glowing Figure

Location: Exeter - Unnamed building near the Cathedral
Two men trying to steal lead from a roof screamed in horror as they realised a gaunt ghostly figure stood by their sides, pointing accusingly at them. Their cries alarmed the neighbourhood, but they escaped never to be seen again.

Judge Jeffreys Ghost

Location: Exeter - White Hart Inn
A popular haunting figure down in the southwest, the Judge's shade has been reported in this public house. A woman in a long black cape, said to resemble the lady from the 'Scottish Widows' advert, has been seen in the courtyard.

York England the Most Haunted City in the World

As a fan of ghost stories and the supernatural I thought I would write about some of the more well known ghost stories from the city of York, England. York is famous for its roman Heritage and is famous for its cathedral. York - with its history of conflict and many tragic events - boasts more than its fair share of ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night. In fact, in 2002 the International Ghost Research Foundation declared York to be ‘Europe's most haunted city', and sometimes it seems as though a ghostly figure with a score to settle is in residence is just about every street or ginnel in town. Here are just a few...

The Ghostly Roman Legionnaires
One morning in 1953 apprentice plumber Harry Martindale was installing a new central heating system in the cellars of the Treasurer's House in the shadow of the Minster. Suddenly he heard the distant sound of a horn, which became gradually louder. Then a great carthorse emerged through the brick wall, ridden by a dishevelled Roman soldier. He was followed by several more soldiers, dressed in green tunics and plumed helmets. It looked as though they were walking on their knees - their lower legs and feet were nowhere to be seen. Then the ghostly crew moved into a recently excavated area, and it became clear that they were walking on an old Roman road, the Via Decumana, which had been buried 15 inches below the surface.

When a bewildered Harry scrambled upstairs to safety, the Treasurer's House curator reportedly said to him, "You've seen the Roman soldiers, haven't you?" It seems the ghoulish visitors had been spotted on several previous occasions.Working in the cellar of the building,

The building also claims to be home to several other ghosts, including a dog, a black cat, George Aislaby (killed in a duel), and Frank Green, who converted the interior into what it is today. The Tapestry Room has an oppressive atmosphere, and is where the wife of a former owner murdered him after he conducted one extra-marital affair too many.

The Haunting by Mad Alice
Lund's Court (linking Swinegate and Low Petergate) was formerly known as Mad Alice Lane, in honour of Alice Smith who lived in the lane until 1825, the year she was hanged at York Castle for the perceived crime of insanity and apparently only guilty of being 'mad', Alice drifts along the lane that now holds her name.

The Theatrical Grey Lady Ghost
A theatrical ghost, the Grey Lady haunts a room behind the dress circle of the Georgian Theatre Royal. In medieval times, as the story goes, this was part of the old Hospital of St Leonard, which was run by an order of nuns. One young nun fell in love with a nobleman and the pair became lovers, but when her scandalous behaviour became known she was thrown into a windowless room - now part of the theatre - which was bricked up to become her living tomb. A gruesome tale, but apparently if the nun in her grey habit is spotted in the dress circle it's a good omen for that night's production!

The Ghostly Funeral Guest
Once known as the most beautiful of York's many ghosts, this long-haired, elegant apparition has frequently appeared at All Saints Church, Pavement, one of the city's most striking churches, and is in the habit of welcoming funeral processions at the door. Perhaps, a turbulent spirit who was herself denied a Christian burial?

The Unhappy Ghostly Brothers
St William's College, the beautiful medieval building behind York Minster, which is today a much sought-after conference venue and popular eatery, harbours a ghost with a very guilty conscience. Apparently in 16th century York, two brothers were lodging at the College and, desperate for money, hatched a plan to rob a wealthy priest from the Minster. They mugged him, stole his jewellery and purse - and slit his throat. The younger brother was overcome with remorse, and the older sibling feared he would give the game away. He reported his brother to the authorities, and stood by while he was tried and hanged for murder. The elder brother died soon after, racked with guilt. But his unhappy spirit paces the floors of St William's College to this day.

The Ghostly Tudor Lady
Could the finely dressed Tudor lady who walks through walls at the King's Manor be the ghost of Queen Catherine Howard, who was King Henry VIII's guest here in 1541? The lady carries roses in her hands, and the part of the building where she has been spied was once the Rose Garden. Catherine, the fourth of Henry's six wives, was executed shortly after her stay, and possibly the fact that she entertained her lover Thomas Culpeper in the Manor didn't help her chances of a long and happy marriage to the fickle Henry.

The Headless Earl Percy and his Hauntings
Thomas Percy, the Seventh Earl of Northumberland, has been seen decapitated in the churchyard, searching for his severed head. He lost it after upsetting Elizabeth I by attempting to raise an army to fight her, and she vented her anger thus.

A ghostly nun has also been reported on the site. Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was executed for treason in York: as a staunch Catholic. He was beheaded in 1572, and his head stuck on a large spike on Micklegate Bar as a warning to anyone else with similar ideas. There it remained for many years until eventually recovered and buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity church in Goodramgate. The body of the Earl has been seen on many a night staggering between the graves, searching for his mislaid head.

The Ghostly Young Girl

Location: York - 41 Stonegate
A six year old Victorian girl who fell to her death on the staircase now haunts this building. She can be heard walking the stairs, and has also been seen sitting on top of a shop counter.

The Haunting Crying Girl

Location: York - 5 College Street
Both seen and heard, this ghostly child starved to death after her parents died from plague. She only appears to haunt the upper parts of the house.

The Ghostly Glowing Girl

Location: York - All Saint's Church, Pathment
This pale young lass with long curly hair was seen a number of times, always observing funerals from the church door. She vanished suddenly if anyone approached.

The Ghostly Baker and Soldiers

Location: York - Former toy shop just inside Roman Gate
Late at night one female witness approached the toy shop window to look at a teddy bear. At the window she entered a dream-like state - she 'became' a large male baker covered in flour working within the shop, and looking out from the shop she could see Roman soldiers walking past.

The Haunting Funeral

An on-duty policeman passing the church late at night heard funeral music playing within the church. As he approached to investigate, the doors of the building opened and the sound of people leaving could be heard, but nothing could be seen. The church was said to have a more frequent phantom visitor - a tall man who would stare out of the windows in the early hours of the morning.

The Ghostly Drunken Airman

Location: York - The Golden Fleece public house, Pavement Street
Towards the end of World War 2, a drunken Canadian pilot fell from an upstairs window in the building, and broke his neck on the pavement below. Since then, this ghost has reportedly haunted the bedroom from which he fell.

The Haunting Screams

Location: York - The Olde Starr Inn, Stonegate
Another building used to house injured Civil War troops, the basement is said to be the place where amputations occurred, which explains the sound of cries and screams. Two black cats are also reported to haunt the pub, and an old woman has been seen on the stairs.

John Constable 1776 to 1837 and his Life and Quotes

Another one of my favourite artists is John Constable who is famous for his English Country Scenes. John Constable was born in East Bergholt a village on the River Stour in Suffolk to Golding and Ann (Watts) Constable on 11th June 1776. He is principally best known for his Landscape Paintings of Dedham Vale the area surrounding his home—now known as "Constable Country"—which he invested with an intensity of affection. "I should paint my own places best", he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, "painting is but another word for feeling". His most famous paintings include Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821.

Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. During his lifetime he sold more paintings in France than here in his native England.

List of John Constables Quotes:

  • Letter to John Dunthorne on his drawing: 'Helmingham Dell,' 1800.

Here I am quite alone amongst the Oaks and solitudes of Helmingham Park. I have taken quiet possession of the parsonage finding it quite empty. A woman comes up from the farm house (where I eat) and makes the bed; and I am left at liberty to wander were I please during the day. There are abundance of fine trees of all sort; through the place upon the whole affords good objects [rather] than fine scenery, but I can badly judge yet what I may have to shew You. I have made one of two... drawing that may be usefull. I shall not come home yet.

  • Letter to John Dunthorne, 1801;

I paint by all the daylight we have and that is little enough, less perhaps than you have by much... imagine to yourself how a purl must look through a burnt glass.

  • 1st Letter to John Dunthorne (29-05-1802), from John Constable's Correspondence,

And however one's mind may be elevated, and kept us to what is excellent, by the works of the Great Masters — still Nature is the fountain's head, the source from whence all originally must spring — and should an artist continue his practice without referring to nature he must soon form a manner, & be reduced to the same deplorable situation as the French painter mentioned by Sir Joshua Reynolds who told him that he had long ceased to look at nature for she only put him out. For the last two years I have been running after pictures, and seeking the truth at second hand. I have not endeavoured to represent nature with the same elevation of mind — but have neither endeavoured to make my performances look as if really executed by other men.I am come to a determination to make no idle visits this summer, nor to give up my time to common-place people. I shall return to Bergholt, where I shall make some laborious studies from nature — and I shall endeavour to get a pure and unaffected manner of representing the scenes that may employ me.

  • 2nd Letter to John Dunthorne (29-05-1802)

There is room enough for a natural painture. The great vice of the present day is bravura, an attempt to do something beyond the truth. In endeavouring to do something better than well, they do what in reality is good for nothing. Fashion always had, & will have, its day — but truth (in all things) only will last, and can only have just claims on posterity.

  • Letter to his future wife, Maria Bicknell (22-09-1802)

But You know Landscape is my mistress — 'tis to her that I look for fame — and all that the warmth of the imagination renders dear to Man.

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher (22-07-1812)

I have been living a hermit-life, though always with my pencil in my hand... How much real delight have I had with the study of landscape this summer! Either I am myself improved in the art of seeing nature, which Sir Joshua call painting, or nature has unveiled her beauties to me less fastidiously. Perhaps there is something of both, so we will divide the compliment.

  • Letter to John Dunthorne (14-02-1814)

I have added some ploughmen to the landscape form the park pales which is a great help, but I must try and warm the picture a little more if I can... but I look to do a great deal better in future. I am determined to finish a small picture in the spot for every one I intend to make in future. But this I have always talked about but never yet done – I think however my mind is more settled and determined than ever on this point.

  • Letter to his future wife, Maria Bicknell (26-08-1816)

I am going on very well with my pictures... the park (Wivenhoe Park) is the most forward — the great difficulty has been to get so much in as they wanted to make them acquainted with the scene — on my left is a grotto with some elms — at the head of a piece of water — in the centre is the house over a beautifull wood and very far to the right is a Deer House — what it was necessary to add. So that my view comprehended to many degrees — but to day I got over the difficulty and I begin to like it 'myself'... I live in the park and mrs Rebow says I am very unsociable.

  • Letter to his wife, Marian (20-04-1821)

How sweet and beautifull is every place & I visit my old Haunts with renewed delight... nothing can exceed the beautiful green of the meadows which are beginning to fill with butter Cups — & various flowers — the birds are singing from morning trill night but most of all the Sky larks — How delightfull is the Country.

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher (23-10-1821)

  1. I know very well what I am about, & that my skies have not been neglected, though they often failed in execution — and often, no doubt, from an over-anxiety about them — which will alone destroy that easy appearance which nature always has — in all her movements.

  2. But the sound of water escaping from mill-dams, &c., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things. Shakespeare could make everything poetical; he tells us of poor Tom's haunts among "sheep cotes and mills." As long as I do paint, I shall never cease to paint such places. They have always been my delight.

  3. Still I should paint my own places best; painting is with me but another word for feeling, and I associate "my careless boyhood" with all that lies on the banks of the Stour; those scenes made me a painter, and I am grateful; that is, I had often thought of pictures of them before ever I touched a pencil, and your picture ['The White Horse'] is one of the strongest instance I can recollect of it.

  4. I am most anxious to get into my London painting-room, for I do not consider myself at work unless I am before a six-foot canvas. I have done a good deal of skying for I am determined to conquer all difficulties, and that among the rest.

  5. That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition, neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids. Sir Joshua Reynolds speaking of the "Landscape" of Titian & Salvator & Claude says 'Even their skies seem to sympathise with the Subject.' I have often been advised to consider my sky as a 'hite Sheet thrown behind the Objects'. Certainly, if the sky is 'obtrusive,' (as mine are) it is bad, but if they are 'evaded' (as mine are not) it is worse, they must and always shall with me make an effectual part of the composition. It will be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the 'key note,' the 'standard of Scale' and the chief 'Organ of sentiment.' You may conceive, then, what a "white sheet" would do for me, impressed as I am with these notions.

  6. The sky is the 'source of light' in nature, and governs every thing. Even our common observations on the weather of every day, are suggested by them, but it does not occur to us. Their difficulty in painting both as to composition and execution is very great, because, with all their brilliancy and consequence, they ought not to come forward, or be hardly thought about in a picture... I know very well what I am about, and that my skies have not been neglected, though they have often failed in execution, no doubt, from an over-anxiety about them, which will alone destroy that easy appearance which nature always has in all her movements.

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher, 1824,

They [French critics of the Paris Salon of 1824, where his painting 'the Hay Wain' received a gold medal] are very amusing and acute — but very shallow and feeble. Thus one — after saying: "'it is but justice to admire the truth — 'the color' — and 'general vivacity' & richness —" – yet they want the objects more formed and defined &c, and say they are like the rich preludes in musick, and the full harmonious warblings of the Aeolian lyre, which means 'nothing,' and they call them orations — and harangues — and high-flown conversations affecting a careless ease — &c &v &c - Is not some of this 'blame' the highest 'praise' – what is poetry? – What is Coleridge's Ancient Mariner (the very best modern poem) but something like this?

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher, 1824

My picture [A Boat Passing a Lock, 1823-6] is liked at the [Royal] Academy, indeed it forms a decided feature and its light can not be put out. Because it is the light of nature — the Mother of all that is valuable in poetry — painting or anything else... my execution annoys most of them and all the scholastic ones – perhaps the scarifies I make for 'lightness' and 'brightness' is too much but these things are the essence of Landscape.

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher (26-08-1827)

Our little drawing Room commands a view unequalled in Europe — from Westminster Abbey to Gravesend — the dome of St Paul's in the Air — realizes Michael Angelo's Idea on seeing that of the Partheon — 'I will build such a thing in the Sky.'

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher (02-04-1833)

I had on Friday a long visit from Mr. --- alone; but my pictures do not come into his rules of whims of the art, and he said I had "lost my way." I told him that I had, perhaps other notions of art than picture admirers have in general. I looked on pictures as 'things to be avoided,' connoisseurs looked on them as things to be 'mitated'; and that, too, with such a defence and humbleness of submission, amounting to a total prostration of mind and original feeling, as must serve only to fill the world with abortions... But he was very agreeable, and endured the visit, I trust, without the usual courtesies of life being violated. What a sad thing it is that his lovely art is 'so wrested to its own destruction!' Used only to blind our eyes, and to prevent us from seeing the sub shine — the fields bloom — the tree blossom — and from hearing the foliage rustle; while old — black — rubbed out and dirty canvases take the place of God's own works.

  • Letter to Rev. John Fisher (20-12-1833)

My friend Bonner has just set off to Charlotte Street to pack your picture (an old painting) and forward it; it is a beautiful representation of a summer’s evening; calm, warm and delicious; the colour on the man’s face is perfect sunshine. The liquid pencil of this school is replete with a beauty peculiar to itself. Nevertheless, I don’t believe they had any 'nostrums,' but plain linseed oil; 'honest linseed' as old Wilson called it. But it is always right to remember that the ordinary painters of that day used, as now, the same vehicle as their betters, and also that their works have all received the hardening and enamelling effects of time, so that we must not judge of originality by these signs always.

  • Letter to C.R. Leslie (March 1833)

I ought to respect myself for my friends' sake, and my children's. It is time, at fifty-six, to begin, at least, to know oneself, — and I do know what I am not, and your regard for me has at least awakened me to believe in the possibility that I may yet make some impression with my "light" — my "dews" — my "breezes" — my bloom and freshness, — no one of which qualities has yet been perfected on the canvas of any painter in the world.

  • Letter to C.R. Leslie (1834)

My canvas soothes me into forgetfulness of the scene of turmoil and folly — and worse — of the scene around me. Every gleam of sunshine is blighted to me in the art at least. Can it therefore be wondered at that I paint continual storms? "Tempest o'er tempest roll'd" — still the "darkness" is majestic.

  • "The History of Landscape Painting," first lecture, Royal Institution (26-05-1836) from notes taken by C.R. Leslie

I am anxious that the world should be inclined to look to painters for information about painting. I hope to show that ours is a regularly taught profession; that it is scientific as well as poetic; that imagination alone never did, and never can, produce works that are to stand by a comparison with realities.

  • from notes taken by C.R. Leslie (25-07-1836)

The first impression and a natural one is, that the fine arts have risen or declined in proportion as patronage has been given to them or withdrawn, but it will be found that there has often been more money lavished on them in their worst periods than in their best, and that the highest honours have frequently been bestowed on artists whose names are scarcely now known.

  • From Notes taken by C.R. Leslie (1836)

The climax of absurdity to which the art may be carried, when led away from nature by fashion, may be best seen in the works of Boucher... His landscape, of which he was evidently fond, is pastoral; and such pastorality! the pastoral of the Opera house.

  • Text for the 'Old Sarum', print in 'English Landscape' 1835/36

He [the artist] ought to have 'these powerful organs of expression' — colour and chiaroscuro — entirely at his command, that he may use them in every possible form, as well as that he may do with the most perfect freedom; therefore, whether he wishes to make the subject of a joyous, solemn, or meditative character, by flinging over it the cheerful aspect which the sun bestows, by a proper disposition of shade, or by the appearances that beautify its arising or its setting, a true "General Effect" should never be lost sight of.

  • Letter to William Purton (06-02-1836)

I am glad you encouraged me with the 'Stoke' [his painting 'Stoke-by-Nayland', circa 1835] What say you to a summer morning? July or August, at eight or nine o’clock, after a slight shower during the night, to enhance the dews in the shadowed part of the picture, under 'Hedge row elms and hillocks green.' Then the plough, cart, horse, gate, cows, donkey, &c. are all good paintable material for the foreground, and the size of the canvas sufficient to try one’s strength, and keep one at full collar.

  • Lecture, given at Hamptstead (July 1836),

Many of my Hamptstead friends may remember this 'young lady' [an ash tree] at the entrance to the village. Her fate was distressing, for it is scarcely too much to say that she died of a broken heart. I made this drawing [Study of Trees, pencil on paper, circa 1821] when she was in full health and beauty; on passing some times afterwards, I saw, to my grief, that a wretched board had been nailed to her side, on which was written in large letters: 'All vagrants and beggars will be dealt with according to law.' The tree seemed to have felt the disgrace, for even then some of the top branches had withered. Two long spike nails had been driven far into her side. In another year one half became paralysed, and not long after the other shared the same fate, and this beautiful creature was cut down to a stump, just high enough to hold the board.

  • Letter to David Lucas (15-02-1836),

We must bear in recollection that the sentiment of the picture is that of solemnity, not gaiety & nothing garish, but the contrary — yet it must be bright, clear, alive fresh, and all the front seen on the mezzo print of the 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows'.

William Hogarth Nov. 10th 1697 to Oct. 26th 1764

One of England's greatest artists was William Hogarth who was born in London on November 10th 1697 to Richard Hogarth, a poor Latin school teacher and textbook writer and Anne Gibbons . He was most famous for selling prints of his work throughout London and showing the social history of London Folk during the 18th. Century. It was because Hogarth wanted to protect his art prints from copiers that he helped create the World's first Copyright law.

His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects". Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian."

In his youth he was apprenticed to the engraver Ellis Gamble in Leicester Fields where he learned to engrave trade cards and similar products. Young Hogarth also took a lively interest in the street life of the metropolis and the London fairs, and amused himself by sketching the characters he saw. Around the same time, his father, who had opened an unsuccessful Latin-speaking coffee house at St. John's Gate was imprisoned for debt in Fleet prison for five years. Hogarth never spoke of his father's imprisonment.

Early satirical works included an Emblematical Print on the South Sea Scheme 1721 about the disastrous stock market crash of 1720 known as the South Sea Bubble in which many English people lost a great deal of money.

On 23 March 1729 Hogarth married Jane Thornhill, daughter of artist Sir James Thornhill. Hogarth was initiated as a Freemason some time before 1728 in the Lodge at the Hand and Apple Tree Tavern, Little Queen Street, and later belonged to the Carrier Stone Lodge and the Grand Stewards' Lodge; the latter still possesses the 'Hogarth Jewel' which Hogarth designed for the Lodge's Master to wear. Today the original is in storage and a replica is worn by the Master of the Lodge. Freemasonry was a theme in some of Hogarth's work, most notably 'Night', the fourth in the quartet of paintings (later released as engravings) collectively entitled the Four times of The Day.

One of his masterpieces is the depiction of an amateur performance of John Dryden's The Indian Emperor, or The Conquest of Mexico (1732–1735) at the home of John Conduitt master of the Mint, in St. George's Street, Hanover Square, London.

Hogarth's other works in the 1730s include A Midnight Modern Conversation (1733), Southwark Fair (1733), The Sleeping Congregation (1736), Before and After (1736), Scholars at a Lecture (1736), The Company of Undertakers (Consultation of Quacks) (1736), The Distrest Poet (1736), The Four Times of The Day (1738), and The Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn (1738). He may also have printed Burlington Gate (1731), evoked by Alexander Pope's Epistle to Lord Burlington and defending Lord Chandos, who is therein satirized. This print gave great offence, and was suppressed (some modern authorities no longer attribute this to Hogarth).

In 1743–1745 Hogarth painted the six pictures of Marriage-a-la-mode (National Gallery, London) a pointed skewering of upper class 18th century society. This moralistic warning shows the miserable tragedy of an ill-considered marriage for money. This is regarded by many as his finest project, certainly the best piece of his serially-planned story cycles.

The series, which are set in a Classical interior, shows the story of the fashionable marriage of the son of bankrupt Earl Squanderfield to the daughter of a wealthy but miserly city merchant, starting with the signing of a marriage contract at the Earl's mansion and ending with the murder of the son by his wife's lover and the suicide of the daughter after her lover is hanged at Tyburn for murdering her husband.

William Makepeace Thackary wrote:

This famous set of pictures contains the most important and highly wrought of the Hogarth comedies. The care and method with which the moral grounds of these pictures are laid is as remarkable as the wit and skill of the observing and dexterous artist. He has to describe the negotiations for a marriage pending between the daughter of a rich citizen Alderman and young Lord Viscount Squanderfield, the dissipated son of a gouty old Earl ... The dismal end is known. My lord draws upon the counselor, who kills him, and is apprehended while endeavouring to escape. My lady goes back perforce to the Alderman of the City, and faints upon reading Counsellor Silvertongue’s dying speech at Tyburn (place of execution in old London), where the counselor has been executed for sending his lordship out of the world. Moral: don’t listen to evil silver-tongued counselors; don’t marry a man for his rank, or a woman for her money; don’t frequent foolish auctions and masquerade balls unknown to your husband; don’t have wicked companions abroad and neglect your wife, otherwise you will be run through the body, and ruin will ensue, and disgrace, and Tyburn.

Hogarth died in London on 26th October 1764 and was buried at St. Nicholas's Churchyard, Chiswick Mall, Chiswick, London. His friend, actor David Garrick composed the following inscription for his tombstone:

Farewell great Painter of Mankind
Who reach'd the noblest point of Art
Whose pictur'd Morals charm the Mind
And through the Eye correct the Heart.
If Genius fire thee, Reader, stay,
If Nature touch thee, drop a Tear:
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth's honour'd dust lies here.

During a long period of his life, Hogarth tried to achieve the status of history Painter, but unsuccessful in his goal.

  • Letter to his brother George, 1836, referring to J M W Turner

He seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent, and so airy.

  • Quoted in C. R. Leslie, Memoirs of the Life of John Constable, Composed Chiefly of His Letters (1843)

The world is wide; no two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of the world. There is nothing ugly; I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, — light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.

Some of John Constable's Fab Paintings

  • Dedham Vale (1802) - Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Landscape: Two Boys Fishing (1813) -Anglesey Abbey, Cambs, NT

  • Landscape: Ploughing Scene in Suffolk (1814, revised c.1816 and 1831) - Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

  • The Stour Valley And Dedham Village (1814–1815) - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston[24]

  • Boat-building near Flatford Mill (1815) - Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Golding Constable's Flower Garden (1815) - Ipswich Museum, Ipswich

  • Golding Constable's Kitchen Garden (1815) - Ipswich Museum, Ipswich

  • Portrait of Maria Bicknell, Mrs. John Constable (1816) - Tate Gallery, London

  • Wivenhoe Park, Essex (1816) - National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

  • Flatford Mill (original title Scene on a Navigable River; 1816–17) - Tate Gallery, London

  • Weymouth Bay (1816–17) - National Gallery, London

  • The White Horse (original title A Scene on the river Stour) (1819) - Frick Collection, New York City

  • Hampstead Heath (1820) - Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

  • Stratford Mill (1820) - National Gallery, London

  • The Hay Wain (original title Landscape: Noon; 1821) - National Gallery, London

  • View on the Stour near Dedham (1822) - The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

  • Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds (1823) - Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Seascape Study with Rain Clouds (1824–25) - Royal Academy of Arts, London

  • Brighton Beach (c.1824-6) - Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin

  • The Leaping Horse (1825) - Royal Academy of Arts, London

  • The Cornfield (1826) - National Gallery, London

  • Dedham Vale (1828) - National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

  • Hadleigh Castle (1829) - Tate Gallery, London

  • Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831) - Private collection; on loan to National Gallery, London

  • The Opening of Waterloo Bridge seen from Whitehall Stairs, June 18, 1817 (c.1832) - Tate Britain, London

  • The Valley Farm (1835) - Tate Gallery, London

  • Arundel Mill and Castle (c.1836–37) - Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

In 1835, his last lecture to the students of the RA, in which he praised Raphael and called the R.A. the "cradle of British art", was "cheered most heartily". He died on the night of the 31st March, apparently from indigestion, and was buried with Maria in the graveyard of St John-at-Hampstead, Hampstead. (His children John Charles Constable and Charles Golding Constable are also buried in this family tomb.).

Thomas Gainsborough 14th May 1727 to 2nd August 1788

Another one of my favourite artist is Thomas Gainsborough who was famous for his picvture of “The Blue Boy” and family portraits and rural scenes. He was the son of a schoolteacher and was born on 14th May in Sudbury, Suffolk in 1727.

He was the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and maker of woolen goods. At the age of thirteen he impressed his father with his penciling skills so that he let him go to London to study art in 1740. As a child he copied famous paintings and at fourteen was sent to London where he trained under Hubert Gravelot. He first trained under engraver Hubert Gravelot.but eventually became associated with William Hogarth and his school. One of his mentors was Francis Hayman in those years he contributed to the decoration of what is now the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children and the supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens.

n 1745 Gainsborough married Margaret Burr, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Beaufort who settled a £200 annuity on the couple and established himself as a painter at Ipswich. He developed the subject-matter of small portrait groups, set in a realistic landscape. His most famous painting of this period is Mr and Mrs Andrews (1748). The artist's work, then mainly composed of landscape paintings, was not selling very well.

He returned to Sudbury in 1748–1749 and concentrated on the painting of portraits.

In 1752, he and his family, now including two daughters, moved to Ipswich Commissions for personal portraits increased, but his clientele included mainly local merchants and squires. He had to borrow against his wife's annuity.

In 1759, Gainsborough and his family moved to Bath. There, he studied portraits by Van Dyck and was eventually able to attract a better-paying high society clientele. In 1761, he began to send work to the Society of Arts exhibition in London (now the Royal Society of Arts, of which he was one of the earliest members); and from 1769 on, he submitted works to the Royal Academy's annual exhibitions.

He selected portraits of well-known or notorious clients in order to attract attention. These exhibitions helped him acquire a national reputation, and he was invited to become one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in 1769. His relationship with the academy, however, was not an easy one and he stopped exhibiting his paintings there in 1773.

In 1774 Gainsborough moved to London's Schomberg House, Pall Mall where he became a foundation member of the Royal Academy. In 1777, he again began to exhibit his paintings at the Royal Academy, including portraits of contemporary celebrities, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland. Exhibitions of his work continued for the next six years.

In 1780, he painted the portraits of King Gorge III and his queen and afterwards received many royal commissions. This gave him some influence with the Academy and allowed him to dictate the manner in which he wished his work to be exhibited. However, in 1783, he removed his paintings from the forthcoming exhibition and transferred them to Schomberg House.

However he had several disagreements with the Academy about the selection of his paintings and refused to exhibit there after 1784.

By the 1780s Gainsborough and his rivals, Joshua Reynolds and Allan Ramsay were considered to be the best portrait painters in England. All three painted George III but it was claimed that the royal family preferred Gainsborough's portraits.

In his later years, Gainsborough often painted relatively simple, ordinary landscapes. With Richard Wilson he was one of the originators of the eighteenth-century British landscape school; though simultaneously, in conjunction with Sir Joshua Reynolds, he was the dominant Britishn portraitist of the second half of the 18th century.

He died of cancer on 2nd August 1788 at the age of 61 and is interred at St. Anne's Church, Kew, Surrey (located on Kew Green). He is buried next to Francis Bauer, the famous botanical illustrator.

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775 to 1851 & Father of Impressionism

One of my favourite artists is that great English artist Joseph Turner who was the

Father of Impressionism and the first Impressionist Painter in the world. The following letter explains all: "A group of French painters, united in the same aesthetic aims...applying themselves with passion to the rendering of form in movement as well as the fugitive phenomena of light, cannot forget that they have been preceded in this path by a great master of the English, the illustrious Turner." (from a letter signed by Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, and others). J.M.W. Turner was also an English Romantic landscape painter whose expressionistic studies of light, colour, and atmosphere were unmatched in their range and sublimity.

Turner was the son of a barber. At age 10 he was sent to live with an uncle at Brentford, Middlesex, where he attended school. Several drawings dated as early as 1787 are sufficiently professional to corroborate the tradition that his father sold the boy’s work to his customers. Turner entered the Royal Academy schools in 1789 and soon began exhibiting his watercolours there.

From 1792 he spent his summers touring the country in search of subjects, filling his sketchbooks with drawings to be worked up later into finished watercolours. His early work is topographical (concerned with the accurate depiction of places) in character and traditional in technique, imitating the best English masters of the day.

In 1794 Turner began working for engravers, supplying designs for the Copper Plate Magazine and the Pocket Magazine. He was also employed to make copies or elaborations of unfinished drawings by the recently deceased landscape painter John Robert Cozens. The influence of Cozens and of the Welsh landscape painter Richard Wilson helped broaden Turner’s outlook and revealed to him a more poetic and imaginative approach to landscape, which he would pursue to the end of his career with ever-increasing brilliance.

From 1796 Turner exhibited oil paintings as well as watercolours at the Royal Academy. The first, Fishermen at Sea (1796), is a moonlight scene and was acclaimed by a contemporary critic as the work “of an original mind.” In 1799, at the youngest permitted age (24), Turner was elected an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1802 he became a full academician, a dignity he marked by a series of large pictures in which he emulated the achievements of the Old Masters, especially the 17th-century painters Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Albert Cuyp and Willem van de Velde the Younger. In 1807 he was appointed professor of perspective.

Turner was perhaps the greatest landscapist of the 19th century. Although brought up in the academic traditions of the 18th century, he became a pioneer in the study of light, colour, and atmosphere. He anticipated the French Impressionists in breaking down conventional formulas of representation; but, unlike them, he believed that his works should always express significant historical, mythological, literary, or other narrative themes. A line of development can be traced from his early historical landscapes that form settings for important human subjects to his later concentration on the dramatic aspects of sea and sky.

Even without figures, these late works are expressions of important subjects: the relationship of man to his environment, the power of nature as manifested in the terror of the storm or the beneficence of the sun. Unmatched in his time in the range of his development, Turner was also unrivaled in the breadth of his subject matter and the searching innovation of his stylistic treatment.

Turner died in Chelsea in 1851 and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. By his will he intended to leave most of his fortune of £140,000 to found a charity for “decayed artists,” and he bequeathed his finished paintings to the National Gallery, on condition that a separate gallery be built to exhibit them. As a result of protracted litigation with his rather distant relatives, most of the money reverted to them, while both finished and unfinished paintings and drawings became national property as the Turner Bequest. It was not until 1908 that a special gallery was built by Sir Joseph Duveen to house some of the oil paintings at the Tate Gallery. All the drawings and watercolours were transferred to the British Museum for safety after the River Thames flood of 1928, when the storerooms at the Tate Gallery were inundated, but they were returned to the Tate Gallery on the opening of the Clore Gallery, an addition designed by James Stirling expressly for that purpose, in 1987. A few of the oil paintings still remain at the National Gallery.

In 2005, Turner's The Fighting Temeraire was voted Britain's "greatest painting" in a public poll organised by the BBC.

Thomas Chippendale 1718 - 1779 Designer and Cabinet Maker

Thomas Chippendale is one of my favourite furniture designers who was a London cabinet maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo and Neoclassical styles. In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director. The designs are regarded as establishing the fashion for furniture for that period and were used by many other cabinet makers.

The Chippendale family had long been in the wood working trades and so he probably received his basic training from his father, though it is believed that he also was trained by Richard Wood in York, before he moved to London. Wood later ordered eight copies of the Director. On 19 May 1748 he married Catherine Redshaw at St George's Chapel, Mayfair and during there marriage they had five boys and four girls alas his wife, Catherine, died in 1772.

In 1754 he went into partnership with James Rannie, a wealthy Scottish merchant, who put money into the business at the same time as Chippendale brought out the first edition of the Director.

After James Rannie died in 1766, Thomas Haig seems to have borrowed £2,000 from his Rannie's widow, which he used to become Chippendale’s partner. One of Rannie's executors, Henry Ferguson, became a third partner and so the business became Chippendale, Haig and Co. Thomas Chippendale (Junior) took over the business in 1776 allowing his father to retire. He moved to what was then called Lob's Fields (now known as Derry Street) in Kensington. Chippendale married Elizabeth Davis at Fulham Parish Church on 5 August 1777. He fathered three more children.

Chippendale was much more than just a cabinet maker, he was an interior designer who advised on soft furnishings and even the colour a room should be painted. Chippendale often took on large-scale commissions from aristocratic clients. Twenty-six of these commissions have been identified. Here furniture by Chippendale can still be identified, The locations include:

  • Blair Castle, Perthshire, for the Duke of Atholl (1758);

  • Wilton House, for Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke (c 1759-1773);

  • Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, for Sir Roland Winn, Bt (1766–85);

  • Mersham Le Hatch, Kent, for Sir Edward Knatchbull, Bt (1767–79);

  • David Garrick both in town and at his villa at Hampton, Middlesex;

  • Normanton Park, Rutland and other houses for Sir Gilbert Heathcote Bt (1768–78) that included the management of a funeral for Lady Bridget Heathcote, 1772;

  • Harewood House, Yorkshire, for Edwin Lascelles (1767–78);

  • Newby Hall, Yorkshire, for William Weddell (c 1772-76);

  • Temple Newsam, Yorkshire, for Lord Irwin (1774);

  • Paxton House, Berwickshire, Scotland, for Ninian Home (1774–91);

  • Burton Constable Hall, Yorkshire for William Constable (1768–79);

  • Petworth House, Sussex and other houses for George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1777–79).

He also collaborated in furnishing interiors designed by Robert Adam and at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, and Melbourne House, London, for Lord Melbourne, with Sir William Chambers (c. 1772-75).

His Director was used by many other cabinet makers. Consequently recognisably "Chippendale" furniture was produced in Dublin, Philadelphia, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Hamburg. Catherine the Great and Louis XVI both possessed copies of the Director in its French edition.

The Director shows four main styles: English with deep carving, elaborate French rococo in the style of Louis XV furniture, Chinese style with latticework and lacquer, and Gothic with pointed arches, quatrefoils and fret-worked legs. His favourite wood was mahogany; in seat furniture he always used solid wood rather than veneers.

His workshop was continued by his son, Thomas Chippendale, the younger (1749–1822), who worked in the later Neoclassical and Regency styles, "the rather slick delicacy of Adam's final phase", as Christopher Gilbert assessed it.[5] A bankruptcy and sale of remaining stock in the St. Martin's Lane premises in 1804 did not conclude the firm's latest phase, as the younger Chippendale supplied furniture to Sir Richard Colt Hoare at Stourhead until 1820 (Edwards and Jourdain 1955: 88).

His designs became very popular again during the middle to late 19th century, leading to

widespread adoption of his name in revivals of his style. Many of these later designs that attach his name bear little relationship to his original concepts.

In 1779 Chippendale moved to Hoxton where he died of Tuberculosis and was buried at St. Martin-In-The-Fields on 13th November 1779.

There is a Statue and memorial plaque dedicated to Chippendale outside his old school,

the Old Prince Henry's Grammer School in Manor Square, in his home town of Otley near Leeds, Yorkshire. There is a full-size sculpted figure of Thomas Chippendale on the façade of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Great and Good of Britain Buried at Westminster Abbey

One of England's most famous burial sites is at Westminster Abbey where the Famous and Good of Britain are buried. I thought as a fan of history I would list all those buried at Westminster Abbey through the ages. Virtually every royal burial for the nearly 500 years between the deaths of Henry III in 1272 and George II in 1760 took place in Westminster Abbey. The two notable exceptions were Henry VIII and Charles I, both of whom were buried at Windsor Castle. (All monarchs from George III onwards have since been interred at Windsor.)

The Abbey is also the final resting-place for the great and the good of the nation. Many of Britain’s most celebrated statesmen, scientists, writers and composers are buried here, while others among the notability – such as Shakespeare and Churchill – have memorials in the Abbey, even though their remains lie elsewhere.

This is a selection of the names you might look out for on a visit to the Abbey, and where to find them:

The Nave

  • Clement Attlee (1883-1967) – Labour prime minister 1945-51, whose government oversaw the creation of the National Health Service and the disengagement from India.

  • Charles Darwin (1809-82) – naturalist, proponent of evolution, author of The Origin Of Species.

  • Ben Jonson (1572-1637) – dramatist, actor and Poet Laureate.

  • David Livingstone (1813-73) – explorer and medical missionary.

  • Isaac Newton (1643-1727) – physicist and mathematician.

  • Robert Stephenson (1803-59) – civil engineer, designer of railway bridges.

The North Transept

Buried here are three more of the great prime ministers:

  • William Pitt the Elder (1708-78).

  • His son, William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806).

  • William Gladstone (1809-98).

The South Transept

Here you'll find the famous Poets’ Corner, final home of…

  • Novelist Charles Dickens (1812-70), composer, George Handel (1685-1759), actor, Laurence Olivier (1907-89), poets Robert Browning (1812-89), Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400), John Dryden (1631-1700), Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), Samuel Johnson (1709-84), Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), Edmund Spenser (1552-99) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92).

North Choir Aisle

Appropriately enough, two composers are buried here:

  • Henry Purcell (1659-95).

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958).

Henry VII's Chapel

  • Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

  • Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87)

  • Here lies the father of the modern postal system, Rowland Hill (1795-1879).

Gone but not forgotten

  • Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) was originally buried in the Abbey, but his remains were exhumed on the orders of Charles II in 1661, and subjected to a posthumous hanging at Tyburn.

  • Admiral Robert Blake (1599-1657), parliamentarian and naval commander during Cromwell’s Commonwealth, was buried in the Abbey too, but was also exhumed after the Restoration.

Below is the A to Z of Famous Icons buried at Westminster Abbey:


  • Joseph Addison

  • Anne of Cleves

  • Clement Attlee


  • Aphra Behn

  • Lady Frances Brandon


  • Caroline of Ansbach

  • Charles Darwin

  • Geoffrey Chaucer


  • Charles Dickens


  • Edward the Confessor

  • Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany


  • Thomas Hardy


  • Samuel Johnson

  • Ben Johnson


  • Rudyard Kipling


  • Isaac Newton

  • Anne Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk


  • Laurence Olivier


  • Henry Purcell


  • The Unknown Warrior

Dr. John Snow 1813 to 1858 who found the Source of Cholera

Dr. John Snow was born 15th March 1813 in York, England and is one of the greatest epidemiologist who famously traced the source of a Cholera outbreak in Soho, England in 1854. He was an English physician and a leader in the adoption of anaesthesia and medical hygiene. He is considered to be one of the fathers of epidemiology. He was the first of nine children born to William and Frances Snow in their North Street home. His neighbourhood was one of the poorest in the city and was always in danger of flooding because of its proximity to the River Ouse.

His father worked in the local coal yards, which were constantly replenished from the Yorkshire coalfields through the barges on the Ouse. Dr. Snow was baptised at the Anglican church of All Saints, North Street..

Snow studied in York until the age of 14, when he was apprenticed to William Hardcastle, a surgeon in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and physician to George Stephenson and family. William Hardcastle was a friend of Snow's uncle, Charles Empson who was both a witness to Hardcastle's marriage and executor of his will. Charles Empson also went to school with Robert Stephenson and it was probably through these connections that Snow acquired his apprenticeship so far from his home town of York. Snow later worked as a colliery surgeon.

Between 1833 and 1836 he was an assistant in practice, first in Burnopfield, County Durham and then in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire. In October 1836 he enrolled as a student at the Hunterian school of medicine in Great Windmill Street, London. A year later, he began working at the Westminster hospital and was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on 2 May 1838. He graduated from the University of London in December 1844, and was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians in 1850.

Snow was a skeptic of the then dominant miasma theory that stated that diseases such as cholera or the Black Death were caused by pollution or a noxious form of "bad air". The germ theory was not to be created until 1861, so he was unaware of the mechanism by which the disease was transmitted, but evidence led him to believe that it was not due to breathing foul air. He first publicized his theory in an essay On the Mode of Communication of Cholera in 1849. Contrary to what is often still written he was not awarded 30000 French francs for this work by the Institute de Franc. In 1855 a second edition was published, with a much more elaborate investigation of the effect of the water-supply in Soho, London epidemic of 1854.

By talking to local residents (with the help of Reverend Henry Whitehead), he identified the source of the outbreak as the public water pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street). Although Snow's chemical and microscope examination of a sample of the Broad street pump water was not able to conclusively prove its danger, his studies of the pattern of the disease were convincing enough to persuade the local council to disable the well pump by removing its handle. Although this action has been commonly reported as ending the outbreak, the epidemic may have already been in rapid decline, as explained by Snow himself:

There is no doubt that the mortality was much diminished, as I said before, by the flight of the population, which commenced soon after the outbreak; but the attacks had so far diminished before the use of the water was stopped, that it is impossible to decide whether the well still contained the cholera poison in an active state, or whether, from some cause, the water had become free from it.

Snow later used a spot map to illustrate how cases of cholera clustered around the pump. He also made a solid use of statistics to illustrate the connection between the quality of the source of water and cholera cases. He showed that the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company was taking water from sewage-polluted sections of the Thames and delivering the water to homes with an increased incidence of cholera. Snow's study was a major event in the history of public health and geography and can be regarded as the founding event of the science of epidemiology.

In Snow's own words:

On proceeding to the spot, I found that nearly all the deaths had taken place within a short distance of the [Broad Street] pump. There were only ten deaths in houses situated decidedly nearer to another street-pump. In five of these cases the families of the deceased persons informed me that they always sent to the pump in Broad Street, as they preferred the water to that of the pumps which were nearer. In three other cases, the deceased were children who went to school near the pump in Broad Street...

With regard to the deaths occurring in the locality belonging to the pump, there were 61 instances in which I was informed that the deceased persons used to drink the pump water from Broad Street, either constantly or occasionally...

The result of the inquiry, then, is, that there has been no particular outbreak or prevalence of cholera in this part of London except among the persons who were in the habit of drinking the water of the above-mentioned pump well.

I had an interview with the Board of Guardians of St James's parish, on the evening of the 7th inst [Sept 7], and represented the above circumstances to them. In consequence of what I said, the handle of the pump was removed on the following day.

John Snow letter to the editor of the Medical Times and Gazette

It was discovered later that this public well had been dug only three feet from an old cesspit that had begun to leak fecal bacteria. A baby who had contracted cholera from another source had its nappies washed into this cesspit, the opening of which was under a nearby house that had been rebuilt farther away after a fire had destroyed the previous structure, and the street was widened by the city. It was common at the time to have a cesspit under most homes. Most families tried to have their raw sewage collected and dumped in the Thames to prevent their cesspit from filling faster than the sewage could decompose into the soil.

There is a plaque commemorating Snow and his 1854 study in the place of the water pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street) with a water pump with its handle removed, near what is now "The John Snow" public house which is rather ironic, given that Snow was a teetotaller for the majority of his life. The spot where the pump stood is covered with red granite.

In York, there is a blue plaque to Snow on the west end of the Park Inn, a hotel in North Street.

John Snow was voted in a poll of British doctors in 2003 as the greatest physician of all time.

Snow gives his name to John Snow College, founded in 2001 on the University of Durham's Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees.

Snow is one of the heraldic supporters of the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

The public health consulting firm John Snow Inc. is named after him.

At the age of 45, Snow suffered a stroke while working in his London office on 10 June 1858. He never recovered, dying on 16 June 1858 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery.

Samuel Johnson 1709 to 1784 an English icon

Samuel Johnson is one of my favourite English Icons who changed the way way we English looked at ourselves and is often referred to as Dr Johnson. He was a British author who made lasting contributions to English Literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory and has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature": James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.

Samuel Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire on 18th September 1709 and attended Pembroke College, Oxford for just over a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher he moved to London, where he began to write miscellaneous pieces for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include the biography The Life of Richard Savage the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes and the play Irene.

After nine years of work, Johnson's Dictionary of The English Language was published in 1755; it had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship." The Dictionary brought Johnson popularity and success. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was viewed as the pre-eminent British dictionary. His later works included essays, an influential annotated edition of William Shakespeare's Plays and the widely read tale Rasselas.

In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson described their travels in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives of the most Eminent English poets, a collection of biographies and evaluations of 17th- and 18th-century poets.

Johnson had a tall and robust figure, but his odd gestures and tics were confusing to some on their first encounter with him. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome (TS), a condition not defined or diagnosed in the 18th century.

After a series of illnesses he died on the evening of 13th December 1784, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the years following his death, Johnson began to be recognised as having had a lasting effect on literary criticism, and even as the only great critic of English literature.

Inventor of the Pea Whistle by Englishman Joseph Hudson ( 1848-1930 )

As a fan of most sports I thought I would write about how the first referee's Pea Whistle was invented and by whom. Way back in the 1860s, Joseph Hudson, who was originally a Farm Worker from Derbyshire who moved to Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution. He later trained as a toolmaker and converted his humble wash room at St. Marks Square, Birmingham which he rented for 1s. 6d. (one shilling and six pence per week) into a workshop where he could supplement the family income by watch repairing and to cobbling shoes

Joseph Hudson was well known as an inventor in Birmingham, England during the late 19th century and the founder of J Hudson & Co. in 1870 later to become the world largest whistle manufacturer.

He entered a competition held by the Metropolitan police force in London in 1883 to design a better way of attracting people's attention. He won a contract to supply the police with their new devices, a small but loud 'Whistle'.

Prior to this time the police force had to rely on hand rattles and whistles were only thought of as musical instruments or toys, his whistle is still used by the force and many others world side.

He later invented the first referee whistle for footballl matches, prior to this handkerchiefs were used at games. Hudson also invented the 'Acme Thunderer' (first ever pea whistle) which has been, and remains, the most used whistle in the world, from train guards to dog handlers, party goers to police officers.

Joseph Hudson set up his whistle factory in Birmingham, England in 1870. Around 1878, his ACME Whistles were the first to replace the handkerchiefs and sticks of football referees.

In 1883 the Home Secretary invited competition from companies to replace the hand rattle that the London Metropolitan Police of the time relied on. Joseph Hudson, basing a new whistle on the sound he had heard when a violin broke from a fall, was awarded the contract for over 7,000 whistles. During testing on Clapham Common, the sound of the whistle was heard over a mile away.

In 1884, the company continued their whistle revolution, inventing the first reliable pea-whistle, the ACME Thunderer which is still the most popular whistle today and has sold in the hundreds of millions. Today Acme whistles are recognized as some of the finest whistles manufactured in the world today.

History of English Music Hall and Variety Theatre

As a child my first memory of visiting a theatre was at the Kings Theatre, Southsea in 1969 to see a Christmas Pantomine called Puss N' Boots. This opened up a whole new world and since, I have been to the theatre many times. One of the best shows I have seen was in London's West end to see a Musical play about Sir Winston Churchill. The Special effects and drama was brilliant and Robert Hardy who played Winnie was excellent.

Music hall and Variety Theatre was popular entertainment that featured successive acts by singers, comedians, dancers, and actors. The form derived from the taproom concerts given in city taverns in England in the 18th–19th centuries.

To meet the demand for entertainment for the working class, tavern owners often annexed nearby buildings as music halls, where drinking and smoking were permitted. The originator of the English music hall as such was Charles Morton, who built Morton's Canterbury Hall (1852) and Oxford Hall (1861) in London. Leading performers included Lillie Langtry, Harry Lauder (1870–1950), and Gracie Fields. Music halls evolved into larger, more respectable variety theatres, such as London's Hippodrome and the Coliseum. Variety acts combined music, comedy acts, and one-act plays and featured celebrities such as Sarah Bernhardt and Herbert Tree.

Before Music Hall was given its name, similar types of entertainment would have been going on for many centuries. In essence, Music Hall brought together a variety of different acts which together formed an evening of light hearted entertainment.

The origins of Music Hall are found in a number of institutions which provided entertainment in the populous towns and cities of Britain in the 1830s. These were:

- The backroom of the pub, where simple sing-songs gave way to the singing saloon concert.
- Popular theatre, sometimes in pub saloons but mainly at travelling fairs.
- Song & Supper Rooms, where more affluent middle class men would enjoy a night out on the town.
- The Pleasure Gardens, where entertainment became more low brow as the years passed.

By the 1850s, the tavern landlords had moved the entertainment function of pubs into purpose built halls; these new premises still retaining the traditional ambience of the inn. The format of the evening was unchanged: a chairman would introduce song and dance acts onto a simple stage, whilst trying to keep order with a gavel. In all cases, eating, drinking and smoking continued throughout the performances.

The audience, often exuberant with alcohol, both heckled and joined in with their favourite songs and performers.The growth of the Halls was rapid and spread across Britain with the first great boom in the 1860s, so that by 1870, 31 large halls were listed in London and 384 in the rest of the country. This growth was not only in the number of halls, but also in the amenities and catering facilities. In addition, performers now became a professional workforce, appearing in London at several Halls each night and making frequent provincial tours.

At its peak, music hall was the television of its day. Its stars were enormously popular in a way it is hard to believe nowadays. They had their songs specially written for them, and permission would have to be sought if other performers wanted to sing them in public.

After consolidation during the 1870s, music hall then started another period of expansion. The London Pavilion was restyled in 1885 and incorporated much from traditional theatre's ideas of house and stage design. This lead to the era of the de-luxe hall or Variety theatre. Now there was fixed seating in the stalls and the performer was more distant from the audience. With the increase in costs from the introduction of safety regulations and the inflation of the star's fees, the music hall industry began to combine into a number of Syndicates. A number of nationwide chains such as Moss, Stoll and Thornton with their "Empires" and "Palaces" started to dominate the business.

Changes to licensing laws made a music and dancing licence a requirement. This allowed moral and social reformers the opportunity to challenge the style and operation of the halls; most notable in this respect was Mrs Ormiston Chant who campaigned against lax morals in the Empire, Leicester Square. Later, there was the prohibition of drink in all new halls such that by 1909, of the 29 halls belonging to Stoll, only 8 held a drinks licence.

With just a few proprietors controlling the majority of the halls, the owners attempted to extract the maximum work for minimum pay from the performers. This lead to the formation of the Variety Artists' Federation, which in 1907 organised the first music hall strike. In 1912, music hall gained a level of respectability with the first Royal Command Performance.

The London County Council, after a series of fires in theatres and music halls finally banned eating and drinking in the auditorium in 1914. From that time, the music halls simply had to be run on the same lines as theatres. After this, music hall became known by its earlier name of Variety and, with the coming of cinema and later radio, became extinct by the time of World War II.

As far as sound recording goes, a convenient watershed is the year 1925 when the electrical recording process was first commercially introduced, making obsolete the previous mechanical "acoustic" recordings. In W. Macqueen-Pope's book The Melody lingers on he attempts to give the difference between Music Hall and Variety. "Music Hall", he states, "was Variety (although Variety is not Music Hall)." This shows the difficulty of any definition, although one can understand what he means. On this site, we have used the term "Variety" for recordings made after 1925, and Music Hall where Artists bridged both methods of recording.

Although generally regarded as a particularly British institution,one other countriy namely  the USA, also have a music hall tradition. In America vaudeville developed on parallel lines to music hall in Britain.

Attempts have been made at revival in Britain on British television in the 1960's to 1970's with "The Good Old Days" which has been something of a pastiche. Unfortunately, sound recording came too late for most of very first generation of artists, for example George Leybourne. However, at the turn of the 19th/20th century a number of survivors such as Dan Leno, as well as younger artists, started to make recordings. Initially these were very expensive (typically you could buy twelve of the best seats in the house for the price of one record), but with time, prices fell and these records eventually became more affordable by typical music hall clientele.

Over the first three decades of the 20th century many artists committed their songs and performance to record, and these can still be heard and enjoyed today.

Music hall and variety died in the mid fifties with the arrival of Rock n Roll which attracted the youth of Britain. The previous clientele were the mums and dads which lost the habit of going to Music Hall and Variety shows and by the time of the 1960's the end was nigh.

In the modern era the West End in London is the theatre centre of the world and has become a mixture of acting greats from the Movie World and Theatreland. In 1994 Shakespeare's The Globe Theatre was rebuilt and is now one of the most popular theatres in London.

History of English Theatres

As a child my first memory of visiting a theatre was at the Kings Theatre, Southsea in 1969 to see a Christmas Pantomine called Puss N' Boots. This opened up a whole new world and since, I have been to the theatre many times. One of the best shows I have seen was in London's West end to see a Musical play about Sir Winston Churchill. The Special effects and drama was brilliant and Robert Hardy who played Winnie was excellent.

Several hundred years after the Romans left England, towns re-emerged. The Church dominated religion, education and often politics. Theatre was reborn as liturgical dramas performed by priests or church members.

Then came vernacular drama spoken in the vulgar tongues (i.e the language of the people as opposed to Church Latin); this was a more elaborate series of one-act dramas enacted in town squares or other parts of the city. There were three types of vernacular dramas. Mystery or cycle plays, like the York Mystery Plays or Wakefield Cycle were series of short dramas based on the Old Testament and New Testament organized into historical cycles. Miracle plays dealt with the lives of saints. Morality plays taught a lesson through allegorical characters representing virtues or faults. Secular plays in this period existed, but medieval religious drama is most remembered today.

Plays were set up in individual scenic units called mansions or in wagon stages which were platforms mounted on wheels used to move scenery. Often providing their own costumes, amateur performers in England were only men, but other countries had female performers. The platform stage allowed for abrupt changes in location which was an unidentified space and not a specific locale.

Among the more notable religious plays were "The Summoning of Everyman" (an allegory designed to teach the faithful that acts of Christian charity are necessary for entry into heaven), passion plays (such as the later Oberammergau Passion Play, which is still performed every ten years), and the great cycle plays (massive, festive wagon-mounted processions involving hundreds of actors, and drawing pilgrims, tourists, and entrepreneurs) York Corpus Christi Play Simulator. The morality play and mystery play (as they are known in English) were two distinct genres.

Since many of the more theatrically successful medieval religious plays were designed to teach Catholic doctrine, the Protestant Reformation targeted the English Renaissance theatre, in an effort to stamp out allegiance to Rome.

During the 1580's a group of men formed a group called "The University Wits." These were men who were interested in writing for the public stage. The "wits" included Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, John Lyly, and Robert Greene.

Thomas Kyd wrote The Spanish Tragedy, the most popular play of the 16th century. He constructed a well-planned plot which made for a very interesting play. The Cambridge-educated Christopher Marlowe was important in the development of chronicle plays such as Edward II. He also wrote the well-known play Doctor Faustus.

John Lyly was another member of the University Wits who wrote primarily pastoral comedies in which he used mythology along with English subjects. Campaspe, Endimion, and Love's Metamorphosis are just a few examples of Lyly's work.

Yet another University Wit, Robert Greene, wrote pastoral and romantic comedies. Greene took many different aspects and pieces and combined them into a single play. Two of his adventurous works are Friar Bacon & Friar Bungay and James IV.

The man known as the greatest dramatist of all time is William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare was involved in all aspects of theatre, more than any other writer of his day. Shakespeare is said to have written 38 plays--histories, tragedies, and comedies-- including Comedy of Errors, Taming of the Shrew, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth. No writer has been more effective and powerful with the use of the language as Shakespeare. Emotions, pride, attitudes are all incorporated into Shakespeare's dramatic situation. He was effective and at the same time sensitive to needs of his audiences and actors. Although well-known during his life, Shakespeare's popularity didn't flower until after his death.

Ben Jonson was also a popular playwright in England, who some scholars consider the finest Elizabethan playwright (after Shakespeare, of course). In an effort to combat the dramatic excesses of his English contemporaries, Jonson addressed classical principles and sought to bring back the practices of the ancients in his own plays. Two of Jonson's 28 plays are The Alchemist and Bartholomew Fair. He was awarded the title of England's poet laureate in 1616.

After 1610, changes started to occur in English drama . There was an increase in technical skill, playwrights handled exposition better, they began to compress action to fewer episodes, and they built startling climaxes to surprise audiences. With these changes came a new breed of playwrights who created a drama more focused on thrilling and exciting subject matter than complex characterization or tragic emotion.

John Fletcher was one of these new playwrights who became very successful writing jointly with Francis Beaumont. Together they wrote about 50 plays including The Maid's Tragedy, Philasta, and A King and No King. Fletcher also wrote plays on his own after Beaumont retired. A Wife for a Month and The Scornful Lady are two of his most famous solo works. Interestingly enough, during the Restoration, Fletcher's plays were performed more frequently than Shakespeare's or Jonson's.

Thomas Middleton, Philip Mossinger, John Webster, John Ford, and James Shirley were also strong dramatists who helped shape and encourage theatre during this time. With Mossinger's A Way to Pay Old Debts, Webster's The White Devil, Ford's The Broken Heart and Shirley's The Cardinal, these men became well-known playwrights who made a great impression on the world of theatre.

Whereas most churches carefully watched over the scripts of their dogmatic plays, in order to ensure that the faithful were being taught the accepted doctrine, by the end of the 16th century Queen Elizabeth I was controlling the stage just as effectively through a system of patronage, licensing, and censorship. Hamlet's reference to a frenetic performance that "out-Herods Herod" refers to the tradition of presenting King Herod as a bombastic figure, suggesting that Shakespeare expected his audience to be familiar with this particular medieval tradition, long after the religious landscape in England had changed.

Puritan opposition to the stage – informed by the arguments of the early Church Fathers who had written screeds against the decadent and violent entertainments of the Romans – argued not only that the stage in general was pagan, but that any play that represented a religious figure was inherently idolatrous. In 1642, at the outbreak of the English Civil War the Protestant authorities banned the performance of all plays within the city limits of London. A sweeping assault against the alleged immoralities of the theatre crushed whatever remained in England of the dramatic tradition.

In the modern era the West End in London is the theatre centre of the world and has become a mixture of acting greats from the Movie World and Theatreland. In 1994 Shakespeare's The Globe Theatre was rebuilt and is now one of the most popular theatres in London.

History of Roman London Part 1 (43 AD to 300 AD)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part one covers the Roman era.

The beginnings of London can be dated with some exactitude to the invasion of the Romans in 43AD. Prior to the Roman invasion there was no permanent settlement of significance on the site of London. Instead, the Thames River flowed through marshy ground sprinkled with small islands of gravel and sand. There were probably more mosquitoes than people inhabiting the area.

The commander of the Roman troops was one Aulus Plautius. He pushed his men up from their landing place in Kent towards Colchester, then the most important town in Britain. The Roman advance was halted by the Thames, and Plautius was forced to build a bridge to get his men across.

This first "London Bridge" has been excavated recently, and found to be only yards from the modern London Bridge!

The Roman bridge proved a convenient central point for the new network of roads which soon spread out like a fan from the crossing place and allowed the speedy movement of troops. The Roman settlement on the north side of the bridge, called Londinium, quickly became important as a trading centre for goods brought up the Thames River by boat and unloaded at wooden docks by the bridge.

Just 18 years after the arrival of the Romans, Boudicca, queen of the Iceni tribe of present-day East Anglia, launched her rebellion against the new rulers of Britain. The new trading centre of London was one of her primary targets, and her warriors leveled the burgeoning city to the ground and killed thousands of the traders who had begun to settle there.

The city was quickly rebuilt, with a cluster of timber-framed wooden buildings surrounding the imposing Roman civic buildings. The city continued to grow in size and splendor over the next century, reflecting the increasing importance of trade in Britain.

By the middle of the second century AD, Londinium possessed the largest basilica (town hall) west of the Alps, a governor's palace, a temple, bathhouses, and a large fort for the city garrison. Gracechurch Street, in the City, runs through the middle of the old Roman basilica and forum (market place).

One of the best Roman remains in London is the 2nd century Temple of Mithras (mithraism was a form of religion popular among Roman soldiers). It was found near Walbrook during construction work in this century, and moved to Temple Court, Queen Victoria Street. Artefacts recovered from the excavation of the temple are now in the Museum of London.

About the year 200 AD a defensive wall was built around the city. For well over a millennium the shape and size of London was defined by this Roman wall. The area within the wall is now "the City", London's famous financial district. Traces of the wall can still be seen in a few places in London.

London continued its growth under the late Roman Empire, and at its peak the population probably numbered about 45,000. But, as the Roman Empire creaked its way to a tottering old age, the troops defending London's trade routes were recalled across the Channel, and the city went into a decline which lasted several centuries.

History of Anglo Saxon London Part 2 (300 AD to 1066 AD)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part two covers Anglo Saxon era.

After the Romans left, the city of London fell into a decline. That's a polite way of saying that the population diminished drastically and large areas of the city were left in ruins.

London's location on the Thames was too good for this decline to continue, and the 7th century saw trade once more expand and the city grow once more.

Early in that century, perhaps in 604 AD, the first St. Paul's Cathedral was founded, on the site now occupied by the present St. Paul's.

By the 9th century, London was a very prosperous trading centre, and its wealth attracted the attention of Danish Vikings. The Danes periodically sailed up the Thames and attacked London. In 851 some 350 longboats full of Danes attacked and burned London to the ground.

The tale of the next century is a confused one, with first English, then Danish, then Norman kings controlling the city. The Danes were ousted from the city by Alfred The Great in 886, and Alfred made London a part of his kingdom of Wessex. In the years following the death of Alfred, however, the city fell once more into the hands of the Danes.

The Danes did not have it all their own way. In 1014 they were occupying the city when a large force of Anglo-Saxons and Norwegian Vikings sailed up the Thames to attack London. The Danes lined London Bridge and showered the attackers with spears.

Undaunted, the attackers pulled the roofs off nearby houses and held them over their heads in the boats. Thus protected, they were able to get close enough to the bridge to attach ropes to the piers and pull the bridge down. There is some speculation that the nursery rhyme "London Bridge is Falling Down" stems from this incident.

The attacks ceased when the Danish king Cnut (Canute) came to power in 1017. Cnut managed to unite the Danes with the Anglo-Saxons, and invited Danish merchants to settle in the city. London prospered under Cnut, but on his death the city reverted to Anglo-Saxon control under Edward the Confeddor. Edward had been raised in Normandy, so his rule brought French influence and trade.

London was now the most prosperous, and largest city in the island of Britain - but it was not the capital of the realm. The official seat of government was at Winchester, although the royal residence was generally at London.

Edward the Confessor was an extremely religious man, and he made it his dream to build a vast monastery and church at an island on the Thames just upriver from the city. He refounded the abbey at Westminster and moved his court there.

When Edward died in 1065, his successor, Harold, was crowned in the new abbey, cementing London's role as the most important city in England.

History of Medieval London Part 3 (1066 AD to 1485)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part three covers Medieval era.

In some ways the medieval history of London can be said to have begun on Christmas Day, 1066, when William the Conquerer was crowned king of England in a ceremony at the newly finished Westminster Abbey, just three months after his victory at the Battle of Hastings.

William granted the citizens of London special privileges, but he also built a castle in the southeast corner of the city to keep them under control. This castle was expanded by later kings until it became the complex we now call the Tower of London.

The Tower acted as royal residence, and it was not until later that it became famous as a prison. During the medieval period it also acted as a royal mint, treasury, and housed the beginnings of a zoo.

In 1097 William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall was to prove the basis of a new Palace of Westminster, the prime royal residence throughout the Middle Ages. On William's death his brother Henry needed the support of London merchants to maintain his dubious grip on the throne. In exchange, Henry I gave city merchants the right to levy taxes and elect a sheriff.

By the early 12th century the population of London was about 18,000 (compare this to the 45,000 estimated at the height of Roman Britain). In 1123 St. Bartholomew's Priory was founded in the city, and other monastic houses quickly followed.

At one point in the medieval period there were 13 monasteries in the city. Today, these houses are remembered only by the names they gave to their area, such as Greyfriars, Whitefriars, and Blackfriars.

The city played a role in the outcome of the struggle between Stephen and Maud for the crown in the 12th century. Although they initially supported Maud, her arrogant behavior when she occupied Westminster so angered the citizens that they rose in revolt and Maud was forced to flee London.

In 1176 the first stone London Bridge was built, mere yards from the original Roman bridge across the Thames. This bridge was to remain the only one in London until 1739. Because the passage across this one bridge was narrow and clogged with traffic, it was much quicker and easier for travelers to hire waterboatmen to row them across the river, or transport them up or down river.

In 1191 Richard I acknowledged the right of London to self-government, and the following year saw the election of the first Mayor. This right was confirmed by later monarchs.

In 1245 Henry III began his lifetime work of rebuilding Westminster Abbey which was reconsecrated in 1269. The other major building project of the medieval period was Old St. Paul's. The cathedral was finished in 1280.

In 1381 the city was invaded by peasant's during the Wat Tyler's Peasant's Revolt. Although the major complaints of the peasants were aimed at the advisors of Richard II, they took advantage of their occupation of London to loot houses within the city. The Lord Mayor, William Walworth, stabbed Wat Tyler to death in a confrontation at Smithfield.

The London merchants supported Edward IV in his grab for the throne in 1461. In gratitude Edward knighted many of the merchants. A few years later in 1477 William Caxton made history when he printed the first book on his new printing press near Westminster.

Daily Life
Medieval London was a maze of twisting streets and lanes. Most of the houses were half-timbered, or wattle and daub, whitewashed with lime. The threat of fire was constant, and laws were passed to make sure that all householders had fire-fighting equipment on hand. A 13th century law required new houses to use slate for roofing rather than the more risky straw, but this seems to have been ignored.

The government of the city was by a Lord Mayor and council elected from the ranks of the merchant guilds. These guilds effectively ran the city and controlled commerce. Each guild had its own hall and their own coat of arms, but there was also the Guildhall (1411-40) where representatives of the various guilds met in common.

Many of the streets in the city were named after the particular trade which practiced there. For example, Threadneedle Street was the tailor's district, Bread Street had bakeries, and on Milk Street cows were kept for milking. There was also a very active livestock market at Smithfield.

Plague was a constant threat, particularly because sanitation was so rudimentary. London was subject to no less than 16 outbreaks of the plague between 1348 and the Great Plague of 1665.

The prime real estate in London was the Strand, where many rich landowners built homes. Lawyers settled at the Temple and along Fleet Street. The Fleet River (which was called the Holborn) was navigable by boats, and docks were set up at what is now Farringdon Street. The Fleet River was covered over in the 18th century.

History of Tudor London Part 4 (1485 AD to 1605)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part four covers the TUDOR era.

When Henry VII took the throne in 1485, the population of the city of London was about 75,000. By 1600 that figure had risen to 200,000. London under the Tudors was a prosperous, bustling city.

Henry's son Henry VIII made Whitehall Palace the principle royal residence in the city, and after Cardinal Wolsey "gave" Hampton Court to Henry, that palace became a countryside retreat for the court.

During Henry's Dissolution of the Monasteries the 13 religious houses in London were either converted for private use or pulled down for building materials. All that now remains are the names they gave to areas of the city, such as Whitefriars and Blackfriars.

Many areas that are now London Parks were used as Royal hunting forests during the Tudor period. Richmond Park served this purpose, so did Hyde Park, Regent's Park, and St. James Park.

An international exchange was founded by the mercer Thomas Gresham in 1566 to enable London to compete for financial power with Amsterdam. This became the Royal Exchange in 1560, and is now housed in a massive Victorian building beside the Bank of England Museum in Mansion House Square.

In 1598 John Stow, a retired tailor, wrote a survey of the city of London, which gives a wonderful historic snapshot of the state of Tudor London and its history. Stow is buried at St. Andrew Undershaft and a ceremony is held there every year celebrating his life.

After the Reformation, theatres were banned in the city of London, but it wasn't for religious objection to the play's contents. Rather, the city authorities (read guilds) thought they wasted workmen's time.

Rather than disappearing, the theatres moved across the Thames to Southwark, outside the authority of the city government. Southwark became the entertainment district for London (it was also the red-light area).

The Globe Theatre, scene of many of Shakespeare's plays, was built on the South Bank in 1599, though it burned down in 1613. A modern replica, also called the Globe, has been built near the original site. Southwark was also a favorite area for entertainment, like bull and bear-baiting.

Unfortunately, many of London's Tudor buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, so it is difficult to get a real sense of what the city was like at that time.

History of Stuart London Part 5 (1605 AD to 1700)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part five covers the Stuart era.

The history of Stuart London almost kicked off with a real bang. Catholic conspirators planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament when they opened on November 5, 1605, hoping to kill the new king, James I.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your sympathies, the plot was discovered, and a conspirator named Guy Fawkes was discovered in cellars beneath Parliament with kegs of explosives. This event, called the Gunpowder Plot, is commemorated each year with the celebration of Bonfire Night on November 5.

London water was pretty foul in those years, so you can imagine the delight of Londoners at the completion in 1613 of the New River Head at Finsbury. This was a massive engineering project collecting clean water from 40 miles away and bringing it to large cisterns at Finsbury before final delivery to the city in "pipes" made of hollowed elm trunks.

In the early Stuart years the landscape of London was changed by the extraordinary work of the self-taught architect, Inigo Jones. In 1631 Jones designed Covent Garden piazza, the first purpose-built square in the city. Jones' other important work in this period was at Queen's House (Greenwich), Banqueting Hall (Whitehall), and Queen's Chapel.

In 1637 Charles I, in one of the few gestures of his life that may have swayed public opinion his way, opened the royal reserve of Hyde Park to the public. This was the first royal park to be made public.

If Charles was looking for support, he didn't get it from Londoners. The City helped finance the Parliamentary war efforts in the English Civil War, and Charles was eventually beheaded outside Inigo Jones' Banqueting House in Whitehall.

The Protectorate and Commonwealth that followed Charles' death saw a concerted effort by Puritan extremists to quench Londoner's appetite for the bawdier aspects of life. Theatre was banned, as was dancing and just about anything else enjoyable. Churches had their organs and choirs removed.

But when the Restoration of the Monarchy brought Charles II to the throne in 1660 the pendulum swung back the other way with a vengeance. Riotous entertainment was once more in fashion. Theatre was not only admissible, it even earned royal approval - Theatre Royal Drury Lane gained the royal warrant in 1665.

The city entered on a period of extensive building development, and new residential squares were laid out for the aristocracy to live in. St. James Square was the first of these, and the districts of St. James, Mayfair, and Marylebone became areas for the well-heeled to settle.

The Stuart period is sadly dominated by two disasters, the Great Plague and the Great fire. In 1665 Plague broke out in the city, brought by ship from Holland. London had been no stranger to the plague since the Middle Ages, but this was something different - a strain so virulent that sufferers could catch it and die within hours. The city descended into a state of panic.

Sufferers were locked in their houses, along with their families. It was thought that dogs and cats spread the disease, so the Lord Mayor ordered them all killed. Thus, with one stroke, the natural enemies of the rats who were the true carriers were decimated.

Throughout the very long, dry summer of 1665 the plague raged in London. The court fled, most doctors and priests followed, and anyone with the means to leave, left quickly. Although the worst of the plague died by autumn, it was not until the next great calamity cleansed the filthy streets of London that the plague was truly over. Estimates of the death toll range from 70,000 to well over 100,000 lives.

The second calamity was the Great Fire. On the night of September 2, 1666 a small fire, perhaps started by the carelessness of a maid, started in the shop of the king's baker in Pudding Lane. Fanned by a strong wind, the fire soon became an inferno. For four days the fire raged through the close-packed streets of wooden houses, until the wind died.

The toll of the fire was immense. Although only 8 lives were lost, fully four-fifths of the city was completely destroyed, including 13,000 buildings, 89 churches, 52 company halls, and old St. Paul's Cathedral.

Within days, Christopher Wren presented a plan for rebuilding the city with broad boulevards and open squares replacing the warren of alleys and byways. Wren's plan, though, was simply too costly, and people being people, new buildings were built along the same street pattern as before.

Wren was, however, given the task of rebuilding the churches, including St. Paul's Cathedral. Most of the churches in London today are Wren's work, and it is difficult to find churches that date to the period before the fire.

History Of Georgian London Part 6 (1700 AD to 1837)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part six covers the Georgian era.

The early years of the 18th century saw the birth of newspapers in London. The early papers, the most notable of which was Richard Addison's Spectator, catered to the demands of an increasingly literate population. Many of the newspapers that followed Addison put up shop along Fleet Street.

The Georgian period in London coincided very neatly with the Palladian Revival in architecture and art. Lord Burlington, in his 1715 design of Burlington House in Piccadilly, played a major role in popularizing this classical style which became the norm for much of the century. A few years later, in 1725, Lord Burlington was at it again, with his remodeling of Chiswick House, then a country retreat but now part of the greater London sprawl.

At the same time Grosvenor Square was laid out in Mayfair, part of the Grosvenor family's development of that aristocratic district. More London squares followed, notably at Berkeley Square (design by William Kent). Kent was also responsible for building the Treasury Building (1733), and the Horse Guards (1745).

Theatre, which had been so popular under the Stuart Restoration, became a little too vociferous for the taste of the city authorities. In 1737 a series of satires staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket so infuriated them that the Lord Chamberlain was given the power of censorship over all public theatre performances. This power was not revoked until 1968.

For some six hundred years the only bridge across the Thames in London was London Bridge, of nursery rhyme fame. However, the growing city demanded more ease of movement, so the shops and houses on London Bridge were pulled down, and large sections of the old city walls destroyed. In 1750 a second stone bridge was added, Westminster Bridge.

In 1759 the British Museum opened its doors for the first time. The museum was based on a collection of "curiosities" collected by the packrat nobleman, Sir Hans Sloane. When Sloane died his collection, really a jumble of oddments that happened to catch Sloane's fancy, was acquired by the government and put on display to the public.

If the early Georgian period was influenced by Lord Burlington, the latter was the domain of Robert Adam and his neo-classical imitators. Adam was responsible for a spate of influential house designs around London, including Syon House (1761), Osterley Park, and Kenwood House.

A year after Adam's work at Syon, King George III and Queen Charlotte moved into Buckingham House (later to become Buckingham Palace). St. James Palace remained the official royal residence.

One of the biggest social revolutions in Georgian London was a quiet one. It was the popularity of coffee houses as a forum for business, entertainment, and social activity. The London coffee houses were immensely popular, and certain houses became associated with different political viewpoints or kinds of commercial activity. It was in one of these coffee houses, New Jonathan's, that merchant venturers (read entrepreneurs) gathered, and formed what was to become the London Stock Exchange.

Lest you think that religious strife ended with the demise of extreme Protestantism after the English Civil War, 1780 saw the outbreak of what we now call the Gordon Riots. The riots began as a march through the streets of London to protest the Catholic Relief Act, which granted basic rights to Catholics.

The marchers, under the vociferous leadership of Lord George Gordon, let their religious prejudice boil over into a week of looting and murder. For that week Londoners lived their own version of the "Reign of Terror" which later gripped Paris. The Gordon Riots terrified the authorities and brought repressive measures against any form of protest or reform-minded writing.

On a lighter note, Georgian London saw a new form of entertainment, the pleasure garden, become popular. These pleasure gardens, notably at Ranelagh and Vauxhall, were like outdoor amusement parks, complete with musicians and fireworks.

History of Victorian London Part 7 (1837 AD to 1901)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part seven covers the Victorian era.

The Victorian city of London was a city of startling contrasts. New building and affluent development went hand in hand with horribly overcrowded slums where people lived in the worst conditions imaginable. The population surged during the 19th century, from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. This growth far exceeded London's ability to look after the basic needs of its citizens.

A combination of coal-fired stoves and poor sanitation made the air heavy and foul-smelling. Immense amounts of raw sewage was dumped straight into the Thames River. Even royals were not immune from the stench of London - when Queen Victoria occupied Buckingham Palace her apartments were ventilated through the common sewers, a fact that was not disclosed until some 40 years later.

Upon this scene entered an unlikely hero, an engineer named Joseph Bazalgette. Bazalgette was responsible for the building of over 2100 km of tunnels and pipes to divert sewage outside the city. This made a drastic impact on the death rate, and outbreaks of cholera dropped dramatically after Bazlgette's work was finished. For an encore, Bazalgette also was responsible for the design of the Embankment, and the Battersea, Hammersmith, and Albert Bridges.

Before the engineering triumphs of Bazalgette came the architectural triumphs of George IV's favorite designer, John Nash. Nash designed the broad avenues of Regent Street<, Piccadilly Circus, Carlton House Terrace, and Oxford Circus, as well as the ongoing creation of Buckingham transformation of Buckingham House into a palace worthy of a monarch.

In 1829 Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police to handle law and order in areas outside the City proper. These police became known as "Bobbies" after their founder.

Just behind Buckingham Palace the Grosvenor family developed the aristocratic Belgrave Square. In 1830 land just east of the palace was cleared of the royal stables to create Trafalgar Square, and the new National Gallery sprang up there just two years later.

The early part of the 19th century was the golden age of steam. The first railway in London was built from London Bridge to Greenwich in 1836, and a great railway boom followed. Major stations were built at Euston (1837), Paddington (1838), Fenchurch Street (1841), Waterloo (1848), and King's Cross (1850).

In 1834 the Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace burned down. They were gradually replaced by the triumphant mock-Gothic Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin.

The clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, known erroneously as Big Ben, was built in 1859. The origin of the name Big Ben is in some dispute, but there is no argument that the moniker refers to the bells of the tower, NOT to the large clock itself.

In 1848 the great Potato Famine struck Ireland. What has this to do with the history of London? Plenty. Over 100,000 impoverished Irish fled their native land and settled in London, making at one time up to 20% of the total population of the city.

Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria was largely responsible for one of the defining moments of the era that bears his wife's name; the Great Exhibition of 1851. This was the first great world's fair, a showcase of technology and manufacturing from countries all over the world. The Exhibition was held in Hyde Park, and the centerpiece was Joseph Paxton's revolutionary iron and glass hall, dubbed the "Crystal Palace".

The exhibition was an immense success, with over 200,000 attendees. After the event, the Crystal Palace was moved to Sydenham, in South London, where it stayed until it burned to the ground in 1936. The proceeds from the Great Exhibition went towards the founding of two new permanent displays, which became the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The year 1863 saw the completion of the very first underground railway in London, from Paddington to Farringdon Road. The project was so successful that other lines soon followed.

But the expansion of transport was not limited to dry land. As the hub of the British Empire, the Thames was clogged with ships from all over the world, and London had more shipyards than anyplace on the globe.

For all the economic expansion of the Industrial Revolution, living conditions among London's poor were appalling. Children as young as 5 were often set to work begging or sweeping chimneys. Campaigners like Charles Dickens did much to make the plight of the poor in London known to the literate classes with his novels, notably Oliver Twist. In 1870 those efforts bore some fruit with the passage of laws providing compulsory education for children between the ages of 5 and 12.

History of Modern London Part 8 (1901 AD to Present)

I have many ancestors from London including Sir Christopher Wren and to this day I have many cousins still living in London. As so many Famous events and People were Born, Lived and worked in London which extends almost two thousand years, I thought it would be a good idea to tell its story and History in 8 parts and part eight covers the modern era.

The terrific population growth of the late Victorian period continued into the 20th century. In 1904 the first motor bus service in London began, followed by the first underground electric train in 1906, but perhaps more notable was the spate of new luxury hotels, department stores, and theatres which sprang up in the Edwardian years, particularly in the West End. The Ritz opened in 1906, Harrod's new Knightsbridge store in 1905, and Selfridges in 1907.

New entertainment venues sprouted like mushrooms; with the London Palladium the largest of some 60 major halls for music-hall and variety shows.

Several major building projects marked Edward VII's reign. The long, broad sweep of the Mall was designed by Aston Webb. Webb was also responsible for Admiralty Arch, the Queen Victoria memorial, and the east front of Buckingham Palace.

Although the hardship of London during the Second World War is well known, it is easy to forget that WWI brought hardship as well to the city. In the Fall of 1915 the first Zeppelin bombs fell in London near the Guildhall, killing 39 people. In all, 650 fatalities resulted from bombings during the "War to End All Wars".

Population surged after the war, to about 7.5 million in 1921. The London County Council began building new housing estates, which pushed further and further out into the countryside. Unemployment was high, and labour unrest erupted in the 1926 General Strike. So many workers joined the strike that the army was called in to keep the Underground and buses running, and to maintain order.

In the 1930's large numbers of Jews emigrated to London, fleeing persecution in Europe, and most of them settled in the East End. The year 1938 saw movement out of the city; the threat from Germany was great enough that large numbers of children were moved out of London to the surrounding countryside.

The outbreak of WWII precipitated the defining moment of the century for Londoners - the Blitz. During the dark days of 1940 over a third of the City was destroyed by German bombs, and the London Docks largely demolished.

One 17 of Christopher Wren's London churches were badly damaged. The area worst hit was the City itself, but strangely, St. Paul's Cathedral suffered only minor damage.

Some 16 acres around the area that now houses the Barbican development and the Museum of London were totally flattened, and numerous historic buildings were destroyed. The death toll was heavy; 32,000 dead and over 50,000 badly injured.

In the post-war period heavy immigration from countries of the old British Empire changed the character of the city. Notting Hill acquired a large Caribbean population, Honk Kong immigrants settled in Soho, Sikhs in Southall, and Cypriots in Finsbury.

The Festival of Britain took place in 1951 on the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Whereas that first exhibition had left the legacy of the extraordinary Crystal Palace, the Festival left behind it the universally reviled concrete mass of the South Bank Arts complex.

Heathrow airport opened to commercial flights in 1946, and the first double-decker red buses (dubbed the Routemaster) appeared on London roads in 1956.

The London Docks declined after the war, and the formerly bustling area around the Isle of Dogs fell into disuse until rescued by modern development in the last decade.

Between 1972-82 the Thames Barrier was built to control flooding along the river. This amazing engineering feat consists of 10 moveable underwater gates supported by 7 shining steel half-domes strung across the river.

The last great building project of the century was the controversial Millennium Dome, an exhibition centre beside the Thames in North Greenwich. The Dome, which opened on January 1, 2000, is a massive complex, built at a cost of over 750 million GBP. It houses, among other things, sponsored exhibits on the human experience of life, including Faith, Science, and biology.

History of Stocks and Shares London from 1688 to Present

As my family can trace our family tree back many generations of Londoners including directly descended from the famous church builder Sir Christopher Wren I thought I would write about its history. One of the interesting things I learnt in my Commerce Class was the London Stock Exchange saying "My word is my bond". Trading in London accounted for 36.7% of the world total, making London by far the most important global centre for foreign exchange trading.

The trade in shares in London began with the need to finance two voyages: The Muscovy Company's attempt to reach China via the White Sea north of Russia, and the east India Company voyage to India and the east. The trading in the stocks of the second company began in 1688. Unable to finance these expensive journeys privately, the companies raised the money by selling shares to merchants, giving them a right to a portion of any profits eventually made.

The idea soon caught on (one of the earliest was the Earl of Bedford's scheme to drain the Fens). It is estimated that by 1695, there were 140 joint-stock companies. The trade in shares was centred around the City's Change Alley in two coffee shops: Garraway's and Jonathan's. The broker, John Castaing, published the prices of stocks and commodities called The Course of the Exchange and other things in these coffee shops.

In 1697, a law was passed to "restrain the number and ill-practice of brokers and stockjobbers" following a number of Insider Trading and market-rigging incidents. It required all brokers to be licensed and to take an oath promising to act lawfully.

In 1698, when a man named John Castaing began publishing lists of stock prices called 'The Course of the Exchange and Other Things'. London's stock dealers were at this time making trades in the streets and in coffee houses. In 1761, 150 of these stockbrokers started a club for buying and selling shares in a dealing room on Sweeting's Alley, which eventually became known as The Stock Exchange. It became an official, regulated exchange in 1801 and a year later moved into a building in Chapel Court.

Like many other stock exchanges, the London Stock Exchange closed for five months during World War I, and again for six days during World War II.

Previously, all members of the London Stock Exchange had to be British as per Rule 21. The nationality requirement was lifted in 1970. This allowed foreigners to become members of the London Stock Exchange, the first approved membership being that of Egyptian Prince Abbas Hilmi.

Then in 1972 a new office with a 23,000 square foot trading floor was opened for the exchange by Queen Elizabeth II on Threadneedle Street. A year later, all the regional exchanges in England and Ireland merged with the London Stock Exchange.

In 1986 there was a deregulation of the exchange, called the 'Big Bang'. Among other things, this deregulation allowed outside corporations to own member firms, eliminated voting rights for individual members, and transformed the face-to-face trading system into one largely operated over computers and telephones.

In 1995, the London Stock Exchange opened the Alternative Investment Market, creating the division between the trading of large cap and small cap companies.

In 2000, the London Stock Exchange made the decision to go public, and began listing their shares on their own exchange in 2001.

In 2004, the exchange left their building on Threadneedle Street to move to their current location on Paternoster Square near St. Paul's Cathedral.

On February 9, 2011, the London Stock Exchange announced that they had agreed to merge with the Toronto-based TMX Group, the owners of the Toronto Stock Exchange, creating a combined entity with a market capitalisation of listed companies equal to £3.7 trillion.

In October 2010, the London Stock Exchange announced that the new Linux based trading system. named Millennium Exchange, had smashed the world record for trade speed, with 126 microsecond trading times being recorded on the Turquoise dark pool trading venue and would go live on in early 2011.

Due to London's dominance in the market, a particular currency's quoted price is usually the London market price. For instance, when the IMF calculates the value of its SDR's (Special Drawing Rights ) every day, they use the London market prices at noon that day.

The Royal Mint – Its English 1,100 years of History

One of the oldest English organisations is the Royal Mint which has been minting English Coinage since 886 AD during the time of King Alfred the Great. The Mint originated over 1,100 years ago, but has functioned since 1975 as a Trading Fund, operating in much the same way as a government-owned company. The Royal Mint also manufactures and circulates coins for over 100 other countries, mints collectors' coins, and produces military medals and civilian decorations for the British armed forces and orders of chivalry.

As well as minting coins for the UK, it also mints and exports coins to many other countries, and produces military medals, commemorative medals and other such items for governments, schools and businesses, being known as the world's leading exporting Mint Responsibility for the security of the site falls to the Ministry of Defence Police, who provide an armed contingent.

The Royal Mint began to move its operations from Tower Hill, London to Llantrisant, South Wales, in 1968 and has operated on a single site in Llantrisant, since 1980,[2] where it holds an extensive collection of coins dating from the 16th century onwards. The collection is housed in eighty cabinets made by Elizabeth II's cabinet maker, Hugh Swann.

The London Mint first became a single institution in 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great, but was only one of many mints throughout the kingdom. By 1279 it had moved to the Tower of London, and remained there the next 500 years, achieving a monopoly on the production of coin of the realm in the 16th century. Sir Isaac Newton took up the post of Warden of the Mint, responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting, in 1696, and subsequently held the office of Master of the Royal Mint from 1699 until his death in 1727. He unofficially moved the Pound Sterling to the gold standard from silver in 1717.

By the time Newton arrived, the Mint had expanded to fill several rickety wooden buildings ranged around the outside of the Tower. In the seventeenth century the processes for minting coins were mechanised and rolling mills and coining presses were installed. The new machinery and the demand on space in the Tower of London following the outbreak of war with France led to a decision to move the Mint to an adjacent site in East Smithfield. The new building, designed by James Johnson and Robert Smirke, was completed in 1809, and included space for the new machinery, and accommodation for the officers and staff of the Mint.

The building was rebuilt in the 1880s to accommodate new machinery which increased the capacity of the Mint. As technology changed with the introduction of electricity and demand grew, the process of rebuilding continued so that by the 1960s little of the original mint remained, apart from Smirke's 1809 building and the gatehouse in the front.

During WWII, the Royal Mint was bombed by the Germans. The Mint was hit on several different occasions and was put out of commission for three weeks at one point.

The Tower Hill site finally reached capacity ahead of decimalisation in 1971, with the need to strike hundreds of millions of new decimal coins, while at the same time not neglecting overseas customers. In 1967 it was announced that the Mint would move away from London to new buildings in Llantrisant, ten miles (16 km) north west of Cardiff. The first phase was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 17 December 1968, and production gradually shifted to the new site over the next seven years until the last coin, a gold sovereign, was struck in London in November 1975. Smirke's 1809 Building is now used as commercial offices by Barclays Global Investors.

Trial of the Pyx

The Trial of the Pyx is the procedure in the United Kingdom for ensuring that newly-minted coins conform to required standards. The trials have been held since the twelfth century, normally once per calendar year, and continue to the present day. The form of the ceremony has been essentially the same since 1282. They are trials in the full judicial sense, presided over by a judge with an expert jury of assayers. Trials are now held at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, having previously taken place at the Palace of Westminster. Given modern production methods, it is unlikely that coins would not conform, although this has been a problem in the past as it would have been tempting for the Master of the Mint to steal precious metals.

The term "Pyx" refers to the boxwood chest (in Greek, πυξίς, pyxis) in which coins were placed for presentation to the jury. There is also a Pyx Chapel (or Pyx Chamber) in Westminster Abbey, which was once used for secure storage of the Pyx and related articles.

The jury is composed of Freemen of the Company of Goldsmiths, who assay the coins provided to decide whether they have been minted within the criteria determined by the relevant Coinage Acts.

My Favourite English Sporting Icons

My dad is a sports fan and during my early life i also became a keen sports fan. As a sports fan I thought I would list my favourite English sporting icons that I have followed during my lifetime from the 1960's to the present day.

My first sporting hero was Graham Hill the 2 times World Formula one Champion in 1962 and 1968. I am also a fan of other great drivers including: Barry Sheen MotorCyclist World Champion and Formula One Champions James hunt, Nigel mansell, Jensen Button and Lewis hamilton. Many a time in the 1980's watching Nigel Mansell racing in Formula One wheel to wheel with Ayerton Senna was intoxicating.

When England won the football World Cup in 1966 against Germany the English team became icons worldwide. I was 5 years old and have memories of watching the final (on our black and white TV). The whole team were greats and ever since we won the world cup the shadow of 1966 has haunted English football teams. In the 1970 F.A. Cup Final Chelsea were playing Leeds United and my brother mark chose to back Chelsea and I

backed Leeds United. Chelsea won the final after a replay and I followed Leeds united all through the 1970's. The team included the hardest shooter in World Football History -

Peter Lorimer whose shots were registered at over 130 miles an hour.

My favourite players past and present include: Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker, David Beckham.

At Bayhouse Secondary School I ran 1500 metres against other local schools at Portsmouths Alexandria Stadium so this created an interest in athletics. I remember watching David Bedford break the World 10,000M record in 1973 and destroying the field.

During the seventies and eighties English athletes ruled the world and to name a few: Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Daley Thompson, Linford Christie etc.

I have always been a fan of Rowing and followed Sir Steve Redgrave at all of his 5 Gold Medal winning Olympics was amazing.

My sporting hero's today include: Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Phillips Idowu, David Beckham, Ben Ainslie, Johnny Wilkinson, Rebecca (Becky) Adlington and the new Rugby Union sensation Chris Ashton.

My favourite English Sporting icons:

  • England 1966 World Cup Winning Team

  • Sir Jimmy Greaves 1950's to 1970's.

  • Graham Hill Motor Racing 1960's to 1970's

  • Sir Alf Ramsey England Football Manager 1960's to 1970's

  • Gordon Banks Footballer 1960's to 1970's

  • Bobby Moore 1960's to 1970's

  • David Bedford Athletics 1970's

  • Leeds United F.C. 1970's

  • Lord Seb Coe Athletics 1970's to 1980's

  • Steve Ovett Athletics 1970's to 1980's

  • Daley Thompson 1970's to 1980's

  • Barry Sheen MotorCycling 1970's to 1980's

  • Duncan Goodhew Swimming 1970's to 1980's

  • James Hunt Motor Racing 1970's to 1980's

  • Sir Ian Botham Cricket 1970's to 1990's

  • Gary Lineker Footballer 1980's to 1990's

  • Rory Underwood Rugby Union 1980's to 1990's

  • Nigel Mansell Motor Racing 1980's to 1990's

  • Linford Christie Athletics 1980's to 1990's

  • Sir Steve Redgrave Rowing 1980's to 2000

  • Chris Boardman Cycling 1990's

  • Dame Kelly Holmes Athletics 1990's to 2000's

  • Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff Cricket 1990's to 2000's

  • Tim Henman Tennis 1990's to 2000's

  • Jensen Button Motor Racing 1990's to Present

  • Johnny Wilkinson Rugby Union 1990's to Present

  • Phillips Idowu Athletics 1990's to Present

  • David Beckham Football 1990's to Present

  • Ben Ainslie Sailing 1990's to Present

  • Lewis Hamilton Motor Racing Present

  • Rebecca (Becky) Adlington, 2000's to Present

  • Chris Ashton Rugby Union 2000's to present

Crufts the Iconic Dog Show and its History

As an animal fan and an atendee of over 1000 shows of dogs, cats, birds, horses and country shows when I was self employed and selling old fine art prints.

Crufts was named after its founder, Charles Cruft, who worked as general manager for a dog biscuit manufacturer, travelling to dog shows both in the United Kingdom and internationally, which allowed him to establish contacts and understand the need for higher standards for dog shows. In 1886, Cruft's first dog show, billed as the "First Great Terrier Show", had 57 classes and 600 entries. The first show named "Crufts"—"Cruft's Greatest Dog Show"—was held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1891. It was the first at which all breeds were invited to compete, with around 2,000 dogs and almost 2,500 entries.

With the close of the 19th century, entries had risen to over 3,000, including royal patronage from various European countries and Russia. The show continued annually and gained popularity each year until Charles' death in 1938. His widow ran the show for four years until she felt unable to do so due to its high demands of time and effort. To ensure the future and reputation of the show (and, of course, her husband's work), she sold it to The Kennel Club.

In 1936, "The Jubilee Show" had 10,650 entries with the number of breeds totalling 80. The 1948 show was the first to be held under the new owner and was held at Olympia in London, where it continued to gain popularity with each passing year. The first Obedience Championships were held in 1955. In 1959, despite an increase in entrance fees, the show set a new world record with 13,211 entrants. By 1979, the show had to be moved to Earls Court exhibition centre as the increasing amount of entries and spectators had outgrown the capacity of its previous venue. Soon, the show had to be changed again—the duration had to be increased to three days in 1982, then again in 1987 to four days as the popularity continued to increase. Since 1991, the show has been held in the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, the first time the show had moved out of London since its inception.

It was also at the Centenary celebrations in 1991 that Crufts was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest dog show with 22,973 dogs being exhibited in conformation classes that year. Including agility and other events, it is estimated that an average 28,000 dogs take part in Crufts each year, with an estimated 160,000 human visitors attending the show and watched on Television Worldwide by over 100 million viewers.

The Supreme Cat Show and its Iconic History

As an animal fan and an atendee of over 1000 shows of cats, dogs, birds, horses and country shows when I was self employed and selling old fine art prints UK wide.

The Supreme Cat Show is the world's largest cat show and is comparable to Crufts. It is organised every year by the world's oldest cat registry, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, or GCCF and takes place each November at the National Exhibiting Centre in Birmingham. Special awards of UK Champion and Supreme Champion can be gained at this show only and the cat winning Best In Show has the accolade of becoming the supreme exhibit.

The first Supreme Cat Show took place in 1976. Until then the GCCF itself did not organise cat shows, but licensed shows put on by the breed clubs and area clubs affiliated to it. The Supreme Cat Show was devised as a special show, whoch would only be open to cats which had won an open class at another championship show under GCCF rules, much in the same way that Crufts is only open to winning dogs. The show grew in size each year until it became big enough to be held at the NEC, which has been its home ever since.

Unlike most other shows the GCCF’s Supreme Show has no miscellaneous or club classes; it does, however, have classes other shows do not have. There are four Adult Open classes for each championship status breed: Champion Male and Female classes for full Champions, the winners being eligible for Grand Challenge Certificates and Pre-Champion Male and Female classes for cats with one or two Certificates or who have qualified as kittens, competing for Challenge Certificates.

The same applies to the neuter classes which are split into Premier and Pre-Premier classes for males and females. Cats which are already Grand Champions do not compete in these classes but in special classes for Grand Champions, Imperial Grand Champions, UK Grand Champions and UK & Imperial Grand Champions only, the winner being eligible for a UK Grand Challenge Certificate. Grand Premiers, Imperial Grand Premiers, UK Grand Premiers and UK & Imperial Grand Premiers compete for a UK Grand Premier Certificate.

In these classes several breeds may compete together. UK Grand Certificates are only awarded at the Supreme Show; two such Certificates from different judges give the cat the title of UK Grand Champion/Premier or UK & Imperial Grand Champion/Premier if it has additionally gained that title. There is no Reserve UK Grand Challenge/Premier Certificate.

Best of Breed winners at the Supreme Show do not get certificates but compete against the other BOB winners in their section for Best of Variety.

The seven Best of Variety Adults (Persian, Semi-Longhair, British, Foreign, Burmese, Oriental and Siamese) compete for Supreme Adult, the seven kittens for Supreme Kitten and the seven neuters for Supreme Neuter. The Supreme Adult and the Neuter can add the coveted word 'Supreme' to their title.

Finally, the Supreme Adult, Supreme Kitten and Supreme Neuter compete against each other for the honour of being judged Supreme Exhibit.

Dr. John Dee An English 16th. Century Alchemist and Ghost Hunter

English history is full of weird and wonderful characters and one of the most spooky characters was John Dee who was born in London on 13th July 1527 and died in 1608 and was a noted mathematician, Astronomer, Astrologer, Occultist, Navigator, Imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and hermetic philosophy. By the time of his death the whole of Europe new him as the Magician of Queen Elizabeth.

His writings are said to have influenced Shakespeare and he frequently consulted mediums in his attempts to communicate with spirits. Dee had a large library of books on witchcraft, the occult and magic.

When Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne, Dee was asked by Lord Dudley to name a propitious day for the coronation. On this occasion he was introduced to the queen, who took lessons in the mystical interpretation of his writings, and made him great promises, which, however, were never fulfilled. In 1564 he again visited the continent, in order to present his Monas hieroglyphica to the Emperor Maximillian, to whom he had dedicated it. He returned to England in the same year; but in 1571 he was in Lorraine, whither two physicians were sent by the queen to his relief in a dangerous illness.

Returning to his home at Mortlake, in Surrey, he continued his studies, and made a collection of curious books and manuscripts, and a variety of instruments. In 1578 Dee was sent abroad to consult with German physicians and astrologers in regard to the illness of the queen. On his return to England, he was employed in investigating the title of the crown to the countries recently discovered by British subjects, and in furnishing geographical descriptions. Two large rolls containing the desired information, which he presented to the queen, are still preserved in the Cottonian Library. A learned treatise on the reformation of the calendar, written by him about the same time, is also preserved in the Ashmolean Library at Oxford.

From this period the philosophical researches of Dee were concerned entirely with necromancy. In 1581 he became acquainted with Edward Kelly, an apothecary, who had been convicted of forgery and had lost both ears in the pillory at Lancaster. He professed to have discovered the philosopher's stone, and by his assistance Dee performed various incantations, and maintained a frequent imaginary intercourse with spirits.

He began his experiments in trying to contact discarnate entities in 1581, mainly fuelled by strange dreams, feelings and mysterious noises within his home. On 25th May 1582 he recorded that he had made his first contact with the spirit world, through the medium of his crystal ball. This had taken Dee years of work to achieve, through studying the occult, alchemy and crystallomancy. Spirit contact would prove to be a major driving force behind Dee for the rest of his life.

Dee found contacting the spirits tiring, and started to employ gifted scryers so that he would be free to make extensive notes on the communications received. Dee had been working with a scryer called Barnabas Saul, until he had experienced some disturbing encounters, and could no longer see nor hear beings from the other realm, so in March 1582 Dee started to search for a work colleague.

Shortly afterwards Kelly and Dee were introduced by the Earl of Leicester to a Polish nobleman, Albert Laski, palatine of Siradz, devoted to the same pursuits, who persuaded them to accompany him to his native country.

They embarked for Holland in September 1583, and arrived at Laski's residence in February following. Upon Dee's departure the mob, believing him a wizard, broke into his house, and destroyed a quantity of furniture and books and his chemical apparatus. Dee and Kelly lived for some years in Poland and Bohemia in alternate wealth and poverty, according to the credulity or scepticism of those before whom they exhibited.

They professed to raise spirits by incantation; and Kelly dictated the utterances to Dee, who wrote them down and interpreted them.

Dee at length quarrelled with his companion, and returned to England in 1589. He was helped over his financial difficulties by the queen and his friends. In May of 1595 he became warden of Manchester College. In November 1604 he returned to Mortlake, where he died in December 1608, at the age of eighty-one, in the greatest poverty.

Aubrey describes him as "of a very fair, clear sanguine complexion, with a long beard as white as milk — a very handsome man — tall and slender. He wore a goune like an artist's goune with hanging sleeves." Dee's Speculum or mirror, a piece of solid pink-tinted glass about the size of an orange, is preserved in the British Museum.

Please visit my Funny Animal Art Prints Collection http://www.fabprints.com

My 2nd  website is called Directory of British Icons: http://fabprints.webs.com


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.


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola