In the News: English Heritage – ‘Nominate Female Candidates for New Blue Plaques’

Only 14% of London’s blue plaques celebrate women.  English Heritage is trying to redress the balance. Since they began a campaign in 2016 more than half of the plaques awarded have celebrated women. However, they are seeking more nominations from the public. What a wonderful way to engage with public history! You can check out the selection criteria here. One of the rules states that … Continue reading In the News: English Heritage – ‘Nominate Female Candidates for New Blue Plaques’

Herbert Hoover Lived Here

Driving through Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England, I happened upon a blue plaque. You may recall that blue plaques were my featured content in July. Of course, I had to pull over so I could take a snap.  The plaque states ‘Herbert Hoover President of the USA (1929-1933) Lived here in 1902’. Herbert Hoover was the thirty-first President of the United States. What was he doing … Continue reading Herbert Hoover Lived Here

What’s Featured: a Month in Review

I was forever playing around with my blog, not 100% happy with it, but also not hating it enough for change. However, when I removed my header image, my theme (Canard) was able to showcase ‘featured content’ in its stead! I had to go into the customiser and select a chosen tag in ‘Featured Content’, then the latest five posts that have had that tag … Continue reading What’s Featured: a Month in Review

Cesar Picton: an African in Georgian Britain

Cesar Picton was born in Senegal in 1755 but was taken to Picton Castle, Pembrokeshire, as a boy in  November 1761. The castle belonged to Sir John Philipps, Baronet and MP for Pembrokeshire. Philipps described his journey to Norbiton, near Kingston upon Thames, where he had a home, with ‘a black boy from Senegal given to me by Captain Parr, a paraquet [parakeet] and a … Continue reading Cesar Picton: an African in Georgian Britain

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

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

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

Alan Turing: WWII Code-breaker

Alan Turing Lived Here! A few minutes walk from the River Thames at Hampton, is a house adorned with a plaque celebrating that Alan Turing lived there from 1945 – 1947, when he worked at the nearby National Physical Laboratory. But who was Alan Turing? Alan Turing was born June 1912. He studied mathematics at Cambridge University and graduated in 1934 with a first class … Continue reading Alan Turing: WWII Code-breaker

‘What’s Featured?’ on HistorianRuby: a New Series

On the first of each month, or as near as, work and family commitments permitting, I will feature several of my posts thematically. I will also write a new themed post to coincide with the current chosen topic. For this I will be utilising the ‘featured content’ option on my WordPress theme – I use Canard. I’ve tried to find a new theme, (I get … Continue reading ‘What’s Featured?’ on HistorianRuby: a New Series

Millicent Garrett Fawcett Lived Here

Yesterday on the top deck of a London bus my husband and I passed some time spotting blue plaques! If you are not familiar with them they are plaques that are placed on historic buildings usually indicating that a person of note lived or worked there. The blue plaque project is now run by English Heritage. It was started in 1866 and is thought to … Continue reading Millicent Garrett Fawcett Lived Here

Mayflower Passenger Pilgrim Father William Mullins Lived Here

On a trip to Dorking, Surrey, I came across this plaque commemorating the home of Pilgrim Father William Mullins. He lived at 58 West Street and it is the only surviving home of a Pilgrim Father. The building dates from the late sixteenth century. Mullins bought it with a mortgage in 1612 and sold it in 1619. He ran a successful shoe shop and was … Continue reading Mayflower Passenger Pilgrim Father William Mullins Lived Here

The Many Ways to Consume History

History as entertainment can be consumed without you knowing it. The popularity of historical dramas, Downton Abbey, Jamaica Inn, Jamestown, The Crown and Victoria, to name a few, help educate the public, albeit passively, and at the risk of the odd inaccuracy if an historical advisor has not been consulted. Traditionally, history was consumed through reading text books and learning dates by rote – I … Continue reading The Many Ways to Consume History

Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century

Dora Jordan was one of the most celebrated actresses of the late eighteenth century. She delighted theatregoers with her repertoire of comedic performances, was a spellbinding tragedian and was renowned for her classic Shakespearean drama, with roles such as Rosalind in As You Like It and Viola in Twelfth Night. She was also one of the women who pushed eighteenth century boundaries for daring to … Continue reading Actress, Mistress of a Royal Duke: Dora Jordan, Leading Lady of the Late Eighteenth Century