Matt Hill

Let Them Drink Curry


The Duke of Norfolk suffered a ‘Marie Antoinette Moment’ on 8th November, 1845, when, amidst the Irish Potato Famine, the Whig MP proposed a questionable solution to feed Ireland’s starving workers: curry powder soup. The Duke was met with derision, but the moment highlighted how woefully out-of-touch the English aristocracy were regarding what was about …

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Who Needs A Switchboard?


Queen Elizabeth II made Britain’s first long-distance automated phone call on 5th November, 1958 – when, from Bristol, she spoke directly to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 300 miles away, without the need for an Operator.  Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD) transformed the telephone network, but was not without its challenges: automation brought efficiency but also …

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The Sound of Luxury


In the annals of automotive innovation, November 28th, 2018 marked a peculiar milestone: the birth of the Lincoln Chimes. The brainchild of Jennifer Prescott, overseer of “Vehicle Harmony” at the motor company, this warning system replaced the synthetic sound of in-car emergency alerts with a blend of violin, viola, and marimba played by The Detroit …

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The Berners St Hoax


We reveal how, on 27th November, 1809, a respectable house on the well-to-do Berners Street in London became ground zero for one of the most disruptive practical jokes in history: the Berners Street Hoax. First a chimney sweep turned up at the address, then another and another, then cake makers, surgeons, lawyers, physicians, obstetricians, butchers, …

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