UK

Goodbye, Alexandra Palace

A huge fire ravaged Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill, London on 9th June, 1873 – just 16 days after it had opened, on Queen Victoria’s birthday, as ‘the People’s Palace’. A single burning ember is thought to have caused the blaze. 125 firefighters, in horse-drawn and steam-powered fire engines, had to climb 7 miles uphill, […]

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RETRO

A huge fire ravaged Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill, London on 9th June, 1873 – just 16 days after it had opened, on Queen Victoria’s birthday, as ‘the People’s Palace’. A single burning ember is thought to have caused the blaze. 125 firefighters, in horse-drawn and steam-powered fire engines, had to climb 7 miles uphill,

The Man Who Cycled The World

Riding a Penny Farthing bicycle from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Yokohama, Japan, Thomas Stevens began his epic two-and-a-half year journey around the world on 22nd April, 1884. Along the way, he encountered mountain lions, Persian aristocracy, and thousands of supporters from bicycle clubs, who turned up to hear him speak. His journey was endlessly

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RETRO

Riding a Penny Farthing bicycle from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Yokohama, Japan, Thomas Stevens began his epic two-and-a-half year journey around the world on 22nd April, 1884. Along the way, he encountered mountain lions, Persian aristocracy, and thousands of supporters from bicycle clubs, who turned up to hear him speak. His journey was endlessly

Not The Loch Ness Monster

The ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’, as it came to be known – a supposed glimpse of Nessie papped from the lochside – was debated by Loch Ness Monster aficionados for decades after being published in a sensational front-page splash by the Daily Mail on 21st April, 1934. Taken by London gynaecologist Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson, the photo

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RETRO

The ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’, as it came to be known – a supposed glimpse of Nessie papped from the lochside – was debated by Loch Ness Monster aficionados for decades after being published in a sensational front-page splash by the Daily Mail on 21st April, 1934. Taken by London gynaecologist Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson, the photo

The Original Sad Clown

Joseph Grimaldi, the most famous clown in Britain, made his final appearance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 17th March, 1829 – the very venue where he’d made his stage debut as a toddler in his father’s variety act. He was 48. Crippled with rheumatism, he told his adoring audience: “It is four years since I

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Joseph Grimaldi, the most famous clown in Britain, made his final appearance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 17th March, 1829 – the very venue where he’d made his stage debut as a toddler in his father’s variety act. He was 48. Crippled with rheumatism, he told his adoring audience: “It is four years since I

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

The Most Famous Sheep in the World

Dolly The Sheep, the first ever successfully cloned mammal, was introduced to the world’s press at the Roslin Institute in Scotland on 22nd February, 1997. Born seven months earlier, with the comparatively unremarkable name ‘Lamb Number 6LL3’, news of her birth had been leaked by The Observer before the scientific paper about her genesis could

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RETRO

Dolly The Sheep, the first ever successfully cloned mammal, was introduced to the world’s press at the Roslin Institute in Scotland on 22nd February, 1997. Born seven months earlier, with the comparatively unremarkable name ‘Lamb Number 6LL3’, news of her birth had been leaked by The Observer before the scientific paper about her genesis could

The Prince Who Drowned in Wine

Sentenced to death for treason against his brother King Edward IV, George, Duke of Clarence was executed on 18th February, 1478 – and, according to legend, chose to be drowned in a butt of his  favorite tipple: malmsey wine.  It was apt punishment for years of plotting against his brother alongside his father-in-law, the Earl

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RETRO

Sentenced to death for treason against his brother King Edward IV, George, Duke of Clarence was executed on 18th February, 1478 – and, according to legend, chose to be drowned in a butt of his  favorite tipple: malmsey wine.  It was apt punishment for years of plotting against his brother alongside his father-in-law, the Earl

Britain Goes To School

The 1870 Education Act was the first to deal specifically with the provision of British schools. Speaking in the House of Commons, William Edward Forster MP proposed: “I believe that the country demands from us that we should… cover the country with good schools, and get parents to send their children to those schools.” But

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RETRO

The 1870 Education Act was the first to deal specifically with the provision of British schools. Speaking in the House of Commons, William Edward Forster MP proposed: “I believe that the country demands from us that we should… cover the country with good schools, and get parents to send their children to those schools.” But

The Delia Smith Backlash

TV chef Delia Smith built a stellar career on the success spawned from her first book, ‘How To Cheat At Cooking’ in 1971. So, when she published a reboot on 15th February, 2008, it seemed a shoo-in to sell bucketloads (which it did) – but not, perhaps, attract controversy (which it REALLY did). By seemingly

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TV chef Delia Smith built a stellar career on the success spawned from her first book, ‘How To Cheat At Cooking’ in 1971. So, when she published a reboot on 15th February, 2008, it seemed a shoo-in to sell bucketloads (which it did) – but not, perhaps, attract controversy (which it REALLY did). By seemingly

The Urinary Leash

The first women’s public toilets in London opened on Bedford St on 11th February, 1852 – attempting to capitalize on the success of George Jennings’ ‘monkey closets’, used by over 800,000 visitors to the 1851 Great Exhibition. Unfortunately, even though the facility had been fought for by campaigning women’s sanitary organizations, middle and upper class

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RETRO

The first women’s public toilets in London opened on Bedford St on 11th February, 1852 – attempting to capitalize on the success of George Jennings’ ‘monkey closets’, used by over 800,000 visitors to the 1851 Great Exhibition. Unfortunately, even though the facility had been fought for by campaigning women’s sanitary organizations, middle and upper class