1700s

How Not To Invade Britain

The ‘Last Invasion’ of Britain was not, as most people assume, The Battle of Hastings – but actually a farcical French attempt to conquer the Pembrokeshire town of Fishguard on 24th February, 1797.  Windy weather had already scuppered the first two prongs of this failed three-pronged attack, which was ultimately overthrown by a rag-bag militia […]

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RETRO

The ‘Last Invasion’ of Britain was not, as most people assume, The Battle of Hastings – but actually a farcical French attempt to conquer the Pembrokeshire town of Fishguard on 24th February, 1797.  Windy weather had already scuppered the first two prongs of this failed three-pronged attack, which was ultimately overthrown by a rag-bag militia

Arriving At Botany Bay

‘The First Fleet’ – the eleven ships carrying around 1400 people from Britain, most of whom were convicted criminals – landed in New South Wales on 18th January, 1788. Australia had been home to indigenous people for at least 50,000 years – but was a barren and shocking destination for ‘the poms’, who’d endured an

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RETRO

‘The First Fleet’ – the eleven ships carrying around 1400 people from Britain, most of whom were convicted criminals – landed in New South Wales on 18th January, 1788. Australia had been home to indigenous people for at least 50,000 years – but was a barren and shocking destination for ‘the poms’, who’d endured an

Rebooting ‘The Rivals’

The first night of Richard Sheridan’s classic comedy ‘The Rivals’ did not go according to plan. Critics thought it was too long, the Irish gentry in the audience were insulted, and an actor was pelted with rotten fruit. It closed after one performance on 17th January, 1775. But then… after eleven days of rewrites, recasting

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RETRO

The first night of Richard Sheridan’s classic comedy ‘The Rivals’ did not go according to plan. Critics thought it was too long, the Irish gentry in the audience were insulted, and an actor was pelted with rotten fruit. It closed after one performance on 17th January, 1775. But then… after eleven days of rewrites, recasting

Elizabeth of Russia’s Bloodless Coup

Wearing an armoured breastplate, clasping a silver cross and seizing an Army spontoon, 31 year old Elizabeth Petrovna appeared at the HQ of the elite Preobrazhensky Regiment guards in St. Petersburg on 25th November, 1741 – intent on over-throwing Tzar Ivan VI (a baby), and seizing the Russian throne for herself. Although she was the

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RETRO

Wearing an armoured breastplate, clasping a silver cross and seizing an Army spontoon, 31 year old Elizabeth Petrovna appeared at the HQ of the elite Preobrazhensky Regiment guards in St. Petersburg on 25th November, 1741 – intent on over-throwing Tzar Ivan VI (a baby), and seizing the Russian throne for herself. Although she was the

The (Lady) Pirates of the Carribbean

Anne Bonny and Mary Read – the most notorious women to swashbuckle and plunder in the ‘golden age of piracy’ – were captured near Jamaica by pirate-hunter Jonathan Barnet on 8th November, 1720. Disguised as men for most of their careers, they sailed (and cavorted) with Pirate Captain ‘Calico Jack’. But, when their crimes came

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RETRO

Anne Bonny and Mary Read – the most notorious women to swashbuckle and plunder in the ‘golden age of piracy’ – were captured near Jamaica by pirate-hunter Jonathan Barnet on 8th November, 1720. Disguised as men for most of their careers, they sailed (and cavorted) with Pirate Captain ‘Calico Jack’. But, when their crimes came