Titanic Captain Edward John Smith Lived Here

On the night of 15 April 1912, Captain Edward John Smith died along with 1500 other people when RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic. Edward John Smith was born on 27 January 1850. In 1875 he earned his master’s certificate, a qualification necessary for him to serve as a ship’s captain. In 1880 he became a junior officer with the … Continue reading Titanic Captain Edward John Smith Lived Here

Writing History: Some Hints and Tips

Family history – own it Are you writing about your family history? If so, then YOU own the story. In my experience, I’ve found this to be a stressless way of writing history. It’s always enjoyable to reminisce. When I write my family history posts the words nearly always flow very easily once I’ve settled on a topic and this is because it is my … Continue reading Writing History: Some Hints and Tips

William Marsden Lived Here

A blue plaque commemorating the founder of the Royal Free and Royal Marsden Hospitals adorns a townhouse in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Marsden was born in Yorkshire in 1796 and after his apprenticeship to an apothecary moved to London. He studied surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and qualified as a surgeon in 1827. He opened what became known as the Royal Free Hospital as sick people … Continue reading William Marsden Lived Here

Parliament Square: Protesting Trump in the Home of Democracy

I don’t pretend to be a political analyst. Indeed, I’m often apolitical because I just don’t want to do politics. Nevertheless, I can list several things I dislike about US President Donald Trump, but that can be said of several other political figures, too. However, in the western democratic world, we have the right of free speech and the right to protest peacefully. Enter the … Continue reading Parliament Square: Protesting Trump in the Home of Democracy

Oscar Wilde at the Old Bailey

25 March 1895 Oscar Wilde was largely the architect of his own downfall. He was jailed on 25 May 1895 after an investigation into his private life. Reacting to what amounted to being ‘outed’, Wilde brought a public prosecution against the Marquess of Queensbury. It was this court case that brought his lifestyle under criminal and public scrutiny. John Sholto Douglas, the Marquess of Queensberry, was … Continue reading Oscar Wilde at the Old Bailey

Pictures of History: Reading Prison, Where Oscar Wilde was Detained

A couple of years ago I visited Reading Prison for an exhibition prior to it being pulled down and the land sold off for development. Reading Gaol, as it was then, was opened in 1844 and continued to house inmates until it was decommissioned in 2013. Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was incarcerated there from 1895 to 1897 for ‘committing acts of gross indecency … Continue reading Pictures of History: Reading Prison, Where Oscar Wilde was Detained

Alfred Bestall Lived Here

Alfred Bestall, 1892 – 1986, was the illustrator of popular cartoon Rupert Bear. He lived in this house in Surbiton, for thirty years. His time there has been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque. Alfred Edmeades Bestall was Rupert Bear’s second illustrator. He took over from Mary Tourtel, the creator of Rupert Bear when she retired. He was born in Mandalay, Burma, the son of … Continue reading Alfred Bestall Lived Here

Enid Blyton Lived Here

Enid Mary Blyton was (and is still) an extremely popular children’s author. She was born in East Dulwich, South London on 11 August 1897. She was the first child of Thomas Blyton and Theresa Harrison and was Head Girl at St Christopher’s School for Girls, Beckenham – the inspiration for her later school-themed books, maybe? During her school days, she created a magazine called Dab … Continue reading Enid Blyton Lived Here

1 July 1961: the Birth of Diana, Princess of Wales

The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, the youngest daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp – later Earl Spencer, and Frances Roche. She was born at Park House, near Sandringham, Norfolk and was styled Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the Spencer Earldom in 1975. It is well documented that she came from a broken home. Her parents divorced, and … Continue reading 1 July 1961: the Birth of Diana, Princess of Wales