Index to Chapter 10
- Toad In The Hole – English History and Recipe
- Bubble and Squeak – English Recipe and History
- Black Pudding – It's English History and Recipe
- British Cheeses – Types and Taste
- English Crumpets – History and Recipe
- English Custard – History and Recipe
- Spotted Dick or Spotty Dog – English Pudding Recipe
- The Earliest Sandwich – It's English History
- Ye Olde English Marmalade – History and Recipe 1480 AD
- English Chelsea Buns – History and Recipe
- English Mustard – An English Icon
- Lardy Cake – 15th Century History and Recipe
- History of Cribbage – An English Iconic Game
- History of English Lawn Bowls – Jactus Lapidum
- Jigsaw Puzzles – An English Iconic Game
- The Valentine Card – An English Icon
- Sir Francis Walsingham – Spymaster for Queen Elizabeth 1
- MI6 and "C" – First Head of MI6 from 1911
- P.M. Mrs Margaret Thatcher – The Iron lady
- British Knighthoods – Iconic History
- Women's Auxiliary Air force – History 1939 - 1949
- Women's Timber Corps – 1942 History
- Women's Land Army – History 1939 – 1950
- Stainless Steel – It's English Discovery 1912
- Tower Bridge – London Icon
- William Shakespeare – British Playwright Icon
- The Globe Theatre – London Icon
- Portsmouth Football Club ( Pompey ) 1898
- Twenty20 Cricket – It's Founder and History
- Commonwealth Games – The Friendly Games
- Earliest Horse Races – England 12th Century
- The Grand National – England 1839
- The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – It's Fun History
- British Seaside Piers – History from 1391
- Robert Thompson – “The Mouseman” Furniture Maker
Toad In The Hole – English History and Recipe
I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the famous and traditional English recipe with a weird name – “Toad In The Hole”. This is a recipe of Batter and Sausages baked in an oven. The origin of the name "Toad-in-the-Hole" is often disputed. Many suggestions are that the dish's resemblance to a Toad sticking its head out of a hole provide's the dish with its somewhat unusual name.
Nowadays this British dish typically consists of sausage cooked in batter, but in its earliest incarnations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (when it was usually called toad in a hole) various cuts of meat were used. Mrs. Beeton, for instance, used steak and kidney, and recipes recommending the finest fillet steak are to be found, but often enough toad in the hole was a repository for leftovers. Even today lamb chops are occasionally found lurking in batter, and sausage toad' is the unappetizing colloquialism that distinguishes the orthodox version.
Toad in the hole...provokes historical questions of exceptional interest. What are the origins of the dish and how did it get its name? Enquiries are best commenced from two starting points. The first is that batter puddings (whether baked in the oven by themselves or cooked under the spit or jack in the drippings falling from a joint--in the latter case they could be classed as Yorkshire pudding) only began to be popular in the early part of the 18th century.
Jennifer Stead's essay is the best reference for studying the complex historical questions regarding batter pudding and Yorkshire pudding.
The second is that the earliest recorded reference in print to toad in the hole occurs in a provincial glossary of 1787, quoted by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as saying: the dish called toad in a hole meat boiled in a crust.' That gives the name, but the technique is different form that subsequently established...Mrs. Beeton (1861) describes the dish as homely but savoury
A wartime variation on the original uses pieces of Spam in place of sausages.
The recipe itself is rather simple. A pan is placed into the oven and heated for about 15 minutes while the batter is prepared. The sausages and batter are added and cooked for half an hour. With frozen sausages, the meat is placed into the dish while heated. It is normally accompanied by gravy (often onion gravy), vegetables, chips or mashes potato's.
Recipe for Toad – In – The - Hole
This very objectionable title enables me to usher in to your special notice a dish possessing some claims to consideration, when prepared with care as follows: viz., —cut up about two pounds of tender steak or ox-kidney, or half of each, into rather thick collops about three inches in diameter; season with pepper and salt; fry them over a sharp fire, merely to brown them without their being done through; place the collops in neat order in a buttered pie-dish; detach the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan in which you have fried the beef, with gravy or water, and a little catsup, and pour the residue to the collops in the dish; then add a well-prepared batter for Yorkshire pudding, (see elsewhere on the recipe section -we have included Mrs Beetons recipe on the site instead as its better), gently poured upon the meat, bake for about an hour, and serve while quite hot. This excellent old English dish will occasionally prove a welcome addition to the dinner-table of paterfamilias.
by Charles Elme Francatelli (1805-1876)
Bubble and Squeak – English Recipe and History
I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the famous British recipe – Bubble and Squeak which is a really tasty meal of fried leftovers. There is a fine example of metaphorical ‘Bubble and Squeak’ and eighteenth century wit in an article in The Mid-Wife: or, the old woman’s magazine, by Christopher Smart, 1753 - which is certainly not a cookery magazine. The second quotation cited for the actual dish is in 1772 but there are earlier references to the figurative use of the phrase, so the dish was undoubtedly being made well before this time all over England.
Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The chief ingredients are potato and cabbage but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts and other vegetables can be added. It is traditionally served with cold meat from the Sunday Roast and pickles. Traditionally, the meat was added to the bubble and squeak itself, although nowadays it is more commonly made without meat. The cold chopped vegetables (and cold chopped meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides.
The name comes from the bubble and squeak sounds made as it cooks. The name bubble and squeak is used throughout the United Kingdom, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. It may also be understood in parts of the United States. In the UK the dish may sometimes be referred to as bubble or bubble and scrape.
Bubble and squeak was a popular dish during World War 11 as it was an easy way of using leftovers during a period when most foods were subject to rationing. In more recent times, pre-prepared frozen and tinned versions have become available.
Bubble and Squeak Ingredients
450g/1lb potatoes, unpeeled
salt and pepper
70g/2 1/2 oz butter
125g/4oz Cabbage - shredded 125g/4oz Carrots - shredded 125g/4oz Brussels Sprouts – shredded 125g/4oz Peas
3 tbsp water
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
Cook the potatoes for 25 minutes in a pan of lightly salted boiling water, then drain, peel and dice.
Place them in a bowl with 55g/2oz of the butter and mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, place the cabbage, water and remaining butter in a large heavy based saucepan and cover. Cook gently for 10 minutes, or until tender. Mix the Cabbage, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Peas and mashed potato together and season with a drop of olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
Heat half the Sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the potato and cabbage vegetable mixture and press down with the back of a wooden spoon to make a flat, even cake.
Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until golden brown on the underside and place on a large plate. Add the remaining oil and cook again on the other side for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a plate, cut into wedges and serve.
Black Pudding – It's English Recipe and History
I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the English recipe and history – Black Pudding which is a sausage of interesting taste and is eaten as a breakfast or snack and can be traced back to the 16th Century..
Black pudding in the United Kingdom is generally made from pork blood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal. In the past it was occasionally flavoured with pennyroyal. differing from continental European versions in its relatively limited range of ingredients and reliance on oatmeal instead of onions to absorb the blood. It can be eaten uncooked, but is often grilled, fried or boiled in its skin.
In the UK, black pudding is associated with Lancashire and particularly with the town of Bury where it is usually boiled and served with malt vinegar out of paper wrapping. In the remainder of the country, and especially in the south, it is usually served sliced and fried or grilled as part of a traditional full breakfast.
it is also served this way in Ireland, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The further addition of the similar white pudding is an important feature of the traditional Northumbria, Scottish, Irish and Newfoundland breakfast.
Towns other than Bury noted for their black pudding include Clonakilty, County Cork in Ireland's south west and on Stornaway, Isle of Lewis off the west coast of Scotland.
Black and white pudding, as well as a third variant red pudding is served battered at chip shops in Scotland and England as an alternative to fish and chips.
Pig or Cattle blood is most often used;Sheep and Goat blood are used to a lesser extent.
Typical fillers include Meat, Fat, Suet, Bread, Sweet Potato, Onion, Chestnuts, Barley and Oatmeal.
1 litres Wild Boar
300g Wild Boar, cubed
1.5 Onions, diced
300g Oatmeal, soaked
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp Butter
· Heat the butter in a pan and cook the onions until soft but not browned.
2. Mix the onions with the cubed fat and oatmeal. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and the paprika.
3. Add the blood and mix well with your hands to ensure a sloppy consistency. Leave to cool.
4. Pipe the mixture into the ox casings. At regular intervals tie the bag off to make individual sausage-shaped black puddings. Prick each pudding to ensure it doesn't split whilst being cooked.
5. Heat a large pan of water to 80C and add the black puddings. Cook for about 10 minutes; it is vital that you continually move them around while cooking.
6. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
I hope you enjoy this tasty bit of England which if you visit England can be found in the chill cabinet and brought from our local supermarkets.
British Cheeses – Types and Taste
Britain is famous for it's many cheeses made over the centuries by many cheese makers. I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the various 700 types of British Cheeses. Cheese is an ancient food whose origins pre-dates recorded history.
The British Cheese Board claims that Britain has approximately 700 distinct local cheeses, France and Italy have perhaps 400 each. Still, the advancement of the cheese art in Europe was slow during the centuries after Rome's fall. Many cheeses today were first recorded in the late Middle Ages or after— cheeses like Cheddar around 1500.
There are many different ways of categorising cheese, but perhaps the easiest way is to break them down according to their texture and the style of manufacture as follows:
Fresh Cheese - Cheese that is almost ready to eat the moment it is made such as Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Fromage Frais, Ricotta, Mozzarella. They have high moisture content and therefore a relatively short shelf life.
Soft Cheese - Cheese with a very soft texture including Brie, Camembert which do require time to reach maturity and full flavour. Again they have relatively high levels of moisture and need to be eaten within a defined period once sold. On white mould cheeses such as Brie and Camembert the young cheese is sprayed with penicillium candidum to help ripen the cheese from the outside in an unripe cheese will have a chalky white strip running through the middle of the cheese.
Semi Hard Cheese - As the name suggests, these cheeses sit between being soft and hard. Often they have a rubbery texture such as Edam and will be sold at a relatively young age of a few months. Other examples would include St. Paulin and Port Salut and certain other cheeses where the rinds will be washed with brine, beer, wine or fruit juices to add character to the cheese during the maturation process.
Hard Cheese - Firm - These are cheeses which have been pressed to remove as much of the whey and moisture from the curds as possible to ensure a long keeping product. Cheeses may be matured from anything between 12 weeks in the case of mild Cheddar, up to 2 years or more in the case of vintage Cheddar, Parmesan or Manchego. Other British examples of firm hard cheese will include Red Leicester, Double Gloucester, Derby, Malvern, Worcester, Hereford. Continental varieties include Emmental and Gouda.
Hard Cheese - Crumbly - A category of cheeses well known in the UK as young variants of Cheshire, Caerphilly, Lancashire and Wensleydale all fall into this group. The cheeses are pressed to remove much of the moisture but because they are sold at a relatively young age - typically between 4 and 8 weeks of age - they retain a crumbly texture and a fresh flavour. Older more mature versions of these cheeses will tend to become firmer and may lose their crumbly texture and hence fall into the firm hard cheese category. They will also have a stronger flavour.
Blue Cheese - There are blue cheese variants of many of the cheese listed above. What puts them into the blue cheese category is that penicillium roqueforti - a blue mould - is added to the cheese at various stages in the making process. Sometimes it is added to the milk at the start of the process in other cases it is sprayed onto the curds before being shaped. Normally the cheese will be pierced with stainless steel needles to allow air into the body of the cheese which then activates the blue mould and starts to break down the protein which in turn creates the blue mould. The process is a way of accelerating the normal development of the cheese and means that quite strong tasting cheese is produced within a few months. Blue Stilton is perhaps the best known blue cheese produced in the UK but there are now more than 70 different blue cheeses being produced within the UK. Other notable British examples are Shropshire Blue, Blue Cheshire, Blue Wensleydale, Dovedale, Buxton Blue, Blacksticks Blue and even Blue Leicester! Imported examples include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Cambozola and Danish Blue.
Blended Cheese - Also known as fruit cheese, herb cheese, cheese with bits or More Than Just Cheese. Though we think of these as modern cheeses it is well known that the Romans routinely blended their cheese with fruit and herbs. High quality hard cheeses are chopped into small pieces and herbs or fruit added and the whole mixed together before being shaped into cylinders or blocks. Most popular examples in the UK are Wensleydale with Cranberry, White Stilton with Apricots, Cheddar with Caramelised Onion, Double Gloucester with Chives and Onion and Lancashire with Garlic.
These categories can apply to any cheese regardless of the animal from which the milk came.
English Crumpets – History and Recipe
I thought as English Crumpets is an Iconic English Recipe and Snack, which I thought would be interesting to tell on its long history. Crumpets were an Anglo-Saxon invention. In early times, they were hard pancakes cooked on a griddle, rather than the soft and spongy crumpets of the Victorian era which were made with yeast. The crumpet-makers of the Midlands and London developed the characteristic holes, by adding extra baking powder to the yeast dough. The term itself may refer to a crumpled or curled-up cake, or have Celtic origins relating to meaning a "thin, flat cake".
Crumpets are generally circular roughly 7cm in diameter and roughly 2cm thick. Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring. They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a half-chewy half-spongy texture. They may be cooked until ready to eat warm from the pan, but are frequently left slightly undercooked so that they may be cooled and stored before being eaten freshly-toasted. In Australia and New Zealand, branded square crumpets can be purchased from supermarkets, designed to easily fit in a standard toaster.
Crumpets are generally eaten hot with butter with or without a second (sweet or savoury) topping. Popular second toppings are cheese (melted on top), honey, poached egg, jam, marmite, salt, marmalade, cheese spread, golden syrup, hummus, lemon curd and maple syrup. The butter may be omitted - but a phrase very commonly associated with crumpets is "dripping with butter" (in this context, 'dripping' is - usually - a verb, rather than a reference to animal fat).
Delicious fresh from the pan spread with butter! Why not try with a slice of cheese and gently grill?
White Bread Flour
Baking Yeast1 x 7g sachet
Warm the milk and the water together.
Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth (1 to 2 minutes).
Leave until the mixture is frothy and double in size.
Grease and heat a heavy frying pan or griddle and 9 cm (3 in) rings and half fill with the mixture.
Maintaining a moderate heat, cook the crumpets for 5 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
Reduce the heat until the bubbles have burst.
Turn the crumpets over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Serve hot with butter and jam.
If allowed to cool, toast before serving.
Preparation Time 30 minutes
Baking Time 07 minutes
I hope visitors to article will enjoy the English Crumpets.
English Custard – History and Recipe
I thought as English Custard (which the French do not have a name for) is an Iconic English Recipe and food, I thought my article would be interesting to fans of English Food. Custard was known in English Cuisine at least as early as the fourteenth century. One of the most popular and quintessential English Custard's is "Birds Custard Powder" which I recommend to any cook who wants to make the perfect English custard.
The first reference to custard in England was as almond milk or almond cream In a history of the Abbey of Croyland, England, Laurence Chateres in 1413. It contained almonds, thick milk, water, salt and sugar.
Not all custards are sweet. A quiche is a savoury custard tart. Some kinds of timbale or vegetable loaf are made of a custard base mixed with chopped savoury ingredients. Custard royale is a thick custard cut into decorative shapes and used to garnish soup or broth.
Bird's Custard (a brand name) is the original version of what is known generically as custard powder. It is a cornflour-based powder which thickens to form a custard-like sauce when mixed with milk and heated to a sufficient temperature. Bird's Custard was first formulated and first cooked by Alfred Bird in 1837, because his wife was allergic to eggs the key ingredient used to thicken traditional custard.
In some regions of the United Kingdom the popularity of this type of dessert is such that it is simply known as "custard." In such cases, general usage of the word may be more likely to refer to the "Bird's" custard rather than to the traditional egg-based variety.
In recent years, "instant" versions (containing powdered milk and sugar and requiring only hot water) and ready-made custard in tins and cartons have also become popular.
A food and drink survey carried out in 2000 found 99% of customers recognised the brand which accounts for 45% of the custard consumed in the UK. Bird's Custard is also exported to several countries around the world, including the United States, where it is popular among several ethnic groups. Many ethnic and specialty stores across the United States sell the product. In Canada Bird's Custard can often be found in many popular grocery supermarkets.
In addition to the Bird's brand, generic cornflour-based custards are widely available.
1/3 cup sugar
2-3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 piece vanilla bean
Work up sugar and egg yolks with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add flour. Scald milk and vanilla bean together and then add egg yolk mixture to it, little by little. Return to saucepan and cook slowly, stirring constantly until it comes to the boiling point. Do not allow to boil. Remove vanilla bean. Cool, stirring vigorously at first and then from time to time to prevent crust from forming on top. Serve cold or a little warm. Other flavoring may be used. For coffee flavor use 1/2top milk and 1/2 strong coffee, for chocolate flavor add grated chocolate to taste to hot milk. Serves to to 3.
Spotted Dick or Spotty Dog – English Pudding Recipe
Many food stuffs are synonymous with iconic English Dishes. We in England may have strange names for our quality food but at least we don't eat Pets like the french who eat Horses, Frogs and Pet Birds. I thought as Spotted Dick is an Iconic English Recipe and pudding I thought I would tell its history.
Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currents) commonly served with custard.Spotted refers to the dried fruit (which resemble spots) and dick may be a contraction or corruption of the wordpudding (from the last syllable) or possibly a corruption of the word dough or dog, as "spotted dog" is another name for the same dish with the use of plums rather than currants. Another explanation offered for the latter half of the name is that it comes from the German word for "thick", in reference to the thickened suet mixture.
Food historians generally agree the first puddings made by ancient cooks produced foods similar to sausages. We English claim pudding as part of their culinary heritage. Medieval puddings black and white were still mostly meat-based. 17th century English puddings were either savory (meat-based) or sweet (flour, nuts & sugar) and were typically boiled in special pudding bags. The “The Pease Porridge" most of us know from the old nursery rhyme was most likely a simple boiled pudding of pease meal. By the latter half 18th century traditional English puddings no longer included meat. 19th century puddings were still boiled but the finished product was more like cake. These puddings are still traditionally served at Christmas time. Plum Pudding (aka Christmas pudding) is a prime example. Modern steamed puddings descend from this tradition.
5 oz (75g) Self raising Flour
5 oz (75g) Chopped Suet
3 oz (50g) Fresh White Breadcrumbs
4 oz (75g) Raisins
4 oz (75g) Currents
3 oz (50g) Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon Mixed Spices
1/2 pint (300ml) Milk
Pkt. Of Birds Custard
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them together well. Now add the Milk and mix to a fairly soft dough.
Put the mixture into a greased 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin and cover with kitchen foil, making a pleat across the centre to allow the pudding to rise. Tie the foil firmly in place with string, forming a handle across the top so that you can lift the pudding easily.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and place an inverted saucer in the bottom. Lower in the pudding basin and let it boil, covered, for 2 hours, filling the pan with more boiling water as the level falls.
Remove from the pan by the string handle, unwrap, turn out on to a heated dish.
Open pkt of Birds Custard and follow instructions on pkt.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the earliest documented reference is a recipe for "Plum Bolster or Spotted Dick", in Alexis Soyer's The Modern Housewife, or, Ménagère (1850).
The Earliest Sandwich – It's English History
I thought as The Sandwich was created by The fourth Earl of Sandwich in 1762 and is an Iconic English Snack, I thought it would be interesting to readers and fans of English Food to know It's beginings and history. We in England have sandwiches while having a picnic or as a general snack just like anyone else in the world.
The first mention of the word, "Sandwich" came around 1762 when a reporter wrote in the daily news about John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). As he sat gambling for long hours, the only sustenance he requested was spirits, water, bread, cheese and meat. As he continued to play with one hand, he sat the meat and cheese between the slices of bread and held them in his non-playing hand. His fellow gamblers, no doubt looking for a lucky charm, began to order "the same as Sandwich!" The original sandwich would have been nothing more than a piece of salt beef between two slices of toasted bread. Whatever the truth of the legend, the name sandwich is inscribed for all time.
John Montagu was First Lord of the Admiralty and patron to Capt. James Cook who explored New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and Polynesia. Capt. Cook named the Hawaiian Islands after him, calling them the Sandwich Islands. Legend holds that Montagu was addicted to gambling, so addicted that he gambled for hours at a time at a restaurant, refusing to get up for meals.
A sandwich is a food item, often consisting of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. They generally contain a combination of salad vegetables, meat, cheese, and a variety of sauces. The bread can be used as it is, or it can be coated with any condiments to enhance flavor and texture. They are widely sold in restaurants and cafes.
In Spain, where the word sandwich is borrowed from the English language, it refers to a food item made with English sandwich bread.
The verb to sandwich has the meaning to position anything between two other things of a different character, or to place different elements alternately,
Recipes for sandwiches were not immediately forthcoming in cookbooks. In England they were (at first) considered restaurant fare. The primary difference between early English and American sandwiches? In England beef was the meat of choice; in America it was ham. A simple matter of local supply.
Literary references to sandwiches begin to appear in English during the 1760s, but also under the assumption that they are a food consumed primarily by the masculine sex during late night drinking parties. The connotation does not change until the sandwich moves into general society as a supper food for late night balls and similar events toward the end of the eighteenth century.
Charlotte Mason was one of the first English cookbook authors to provide a recipe for sandwiches. During the nineteenth century, as midday dinner moved later and later into the day, the need for hot supper declined, only to be replaced with light dishes made of cold leftovers, ingredients for which the sandwich proved preeminently suitable. Thus the sandwich became a fixture of intimate evening suppers, teas, and picnics, and popular fare for taverns and inns. This latter genre of sandwich has given rise to multitudes of working class creations.
Ye Olde English Marmalade – History and Recipe 1480 AD
I thought as English Marmalade is an Iconic English Recipe and food, I thought it would be interesting to fans of English Food to know It's recipe and history. According to the Oxford English Dictionary "marmalade" appeared in the English language in 1480 AD.
In 1524, Henry VIII received a "box of marmalade" from Mr. Hull of Exeter. As it was in a box, this was likely to have been marmelada, a quince paste from Portugal , still made and sold in southern Europe. Its Portuguese origins from marmalado can be detected in the remarks in letters to Lord Lisle, from William Grett, 12th May 1534, "I have sent to your lordship a box of marmaladoo and another unto my good lady your wife" and from Richard Lee, 14th December 1536, "He most heartily thanketh her Ladyship for her marmalado".
The extension of "marmalade" in the English language refers to citrus fruits which were made in the 17th century, when citrus first began to be plentiful enough in England for the usage to become common.
Various Marmalade's from around the World
Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the peel of Citrus Fruits, Sugar and Water. The traditional citrus fruit for marmalade production is the "Seville Orange" from Spain, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, thus called because it was originally only made in Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges and therefore gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade. Marmalade can be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, sweet oranges or any combination thereof. For example, California-style marmalade is made from the peel of sweet oranges and consequently lacks the bitter taste of Spanish style marmalade.
In languages other than English, marmalade can mean preserves made with fruit other than citrus. For example, in Spanish all preserves are known generically as mermelada (There is no distinction made between jam, jelly, preserves or marmalade).
The recipe for marmalade includes sliced or chopped fruit peel simmered in sugar, fruit juice and water until soft; indeed marmalade is sometimes described as jam with fruit peel (although manufacturers also produce peel-free marmalade). English Marmalade is often eaten on toast for breakfast.
2 lb (900 g) Seville oranges
½ lb (225 g) lemons
6 pints (3.4 litres) water
1 lb (450 g) sugar per 1 lb (450 g) pulp – of which 1lb should be brown
Wash and dry the fruit. Cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Remove the pips, inside skin and pith. Tie these in a piece of muslin.
Cut the peel chunkily.
Put the peel in a large bowl with the bag of pips etc and the juice. Add 6 pints (3.4 litres) of water and leave to soak overnight.
Weigh the preserving pan and make a note of it. Put the soaked peel, pith and pips into it with the water and juice.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the peel is soft and the contents of the pan have been reduced to half its original bulk. This will take about 1½ hours.
Lift out the bag of pips and pith, squeezing it again the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Test for pectin.
Re-weigh the pan and subtract from this weight the original weight of the empty pan to calculate the weight of the remaining pulp.
Add 1 lb (450 g) of warmed sugar to each 1 lb (450 g) of pulp of which 1 lb (450 g) should be brown. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the marmalade sets when tested.
Remove the scum and leave to cool slightly.
Pot and seal whilst still hot.
Makes about 6 lbs (2.7 kg) of marmalade.
English Chelsea Buns – History and Recipe
I thought as Chelsea Buns is an Iconic English Recipe and Snack, which I thought would be interesting to Fans of English Food. Chelsea Buns have been made since at least the start of the 1700s. They were reputedly invented either at the Old Chelsea Bun House, or at the "Real Old Original Chelsea Bun-house" in London, England.
The two were rivals. Both were on Grosvenor Row, both made great buns, and both had a long wooden covered footpath in front of them, that looked something like a verandah except it was a sidewalk, too.
Grosvenor Row (which no longer exists) was the name for what is now approximately the middle section of Pimlico Road, from Passmore Street east a few blocks to Bourne Street. Technically, the area is Pimlico, not Chelsea, but it's probably far too late to suggest the name "Pimlico Buns" to anyone.
The Old Chelsea Bun House was owned by a 'Captain Bun' (sic). Reputedly, in the latter decades of the 1700s, it was frequented by George II, his son George III (the mad King George) and his wife Queen Charlotte. In 1817, it had been in business for four generations of the same family (as per Sir Richard Philips (1767-1840; one of whose pseudonyms was Reverend David Blair.)
On Good Fridays, they sold Hot Cross buns, and were frequently mobbed by huge line-ups. The mob scene had been so great in 1792 that they in fact skipped selling them in 1793. They posted a notice instead on Wednesday, 27 March 27 1793 saying, "Royal Bun House, Chelsea, Good Friday.—No Cross Buns. Mrs. Hand respectfully informs her friends and the public, that in consequence of the great concourse of people which assembled before her house at a very early hour, on the morning of Good Friday last, by which her neighbours (with whom she has always lived in friendship and repute) have been much alarmed and annoyed; it having also been intimated, that to encourage or countenance a tumultuous assembly at this particular period might be attended with consequences more serious than have hitherto been apprehended; desirous, therefore, of testifying her regard and obedience to those laws by which she is happily protected, she is determined, though much to her loss, not to sell Cross Buns on that day to any person whatever, but Chelsea buns as usual."
But the shop appears to have got back into the Hot Cross Bun business. On 18 April 1839,
Good Friday for that year, they sold around 24,000 Hot Cross buns. Nevertheless, the business was sold and demolished later that year."
Mentions of Chelsea Buns in Letters and Publications
A fine day, but begins to grow a little warm; and that makes your little fat Presto sweat in the forehead. Pray, are not the fine buns sold here in our town; was it not Chelsea buns? I bought one to-day in my walk; it cost me a penny; it was stale, and I did not like it." -- Jonathan Swift. Letter no. 22. The Journal to Stella, 28th April 1711.
"I soon turned the corner of a street which took me out of sight of the space on which once stood the gay Ranelagh. … Before me appeared the shop so famed for Chelsea buns, which for above thirty years I have never passed without filling my pockets. In the original of these shops—for even of Chelsea buns there are counterfeits—are preserved mementoes of domestic events in the first half of the past century. The bottle-conjuror is exhibited in a toy of his own age; portraits are also displayed of Duke William and other noted personages; a model of a British soldier, in the stiff costume of the same age; and some grotto-works, serve to indicate the taste of a former owner, and were, perhaps, intended to rival the neighbouring exhibition at Don Saltero's. These buns have afforded a competency, and even wealth, to four generations of the same family; and it is singular that their delicate flavour, lightness, and richness, have never been successfully imitated." -- Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840). In "Morning's Walk from London to Kew." 1817.
The Royal East London Volunteers made a brilliant sight that day: formed into lines, squares, circles, triangles, and what not, to the beating of drums, and the streaming of flags; and performed a vast number of complex evolutions, in all of which Sergeant Varden bore a conspicuous share. Having displayed their military prowess to the utmost in these warlike shows, they marched in glittering order to the Chelsea Bun House, and regaled in the adjacent taverns until dark." -- Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, Chapter 42.
"I was rather in a hurry," returns Mr. Bucket, "for I was going to visit a aunt of mine that lives at Chelsea -- next door but two to the old original Bun House..." -- Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter 53.
"Give her a Chelsea bun, miss! That’s what most young ladies like best!" The voice was rich and musical, and the speaker dexterously whipped back the snowy cloth that covered his basket, and disclosed a tempting array of the familiar square buns, joined together in rows, richly egged and browned and glistening in the sun." -- Lewis Carroll, A Tangled Tale.
Mrs. Beaton's Recipe for Chelsea Buns
0.5 oz. dried yeast
0.25 pints mixed milk and warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb. strong plain flour
3 oz. margarine
3 oz. castor sugar
2 large eggs
2 oz. currants
1. Pre heat oven to 200°C
2. Mix the yeast with the warm milk and water and add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
3. Mix the salt into the flour and rub in 2 oz. of the margarine.
4. Add 2 oz. of the castor sugar to the flour and the salt.
5. Whisk the eggs.
6. Mix the eggs and other liquids into the flour and knead it until if forms a smooth dough.
7. Leave the dough to rise in a greased bowl, in a warm spot away from draughts.
8. Cover the bowl ( tea-towel or Cling film ) to keep it warm and free from draughts, and leave it until the dough has almost doubled in size.
9. Spread a little flour on a wooden board. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the board.
10. Roll out the dough into a piece about 20 by 8 inches.
11. Spread the remaining 1 oz. of butter over the surface of the rolled out dough.
12. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and currants evenly over the dough.
13. Roll up from the shortest edge to form a roll about 20 inches long.
14. Cut the roll into 15 / 20 equal slices.
15. Place the slices on a greased tray, leaving spaxce around each so they can expand. Cover with a tea-towel and leave until the buns rise and are puffy.
16. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes.
NB: It may be necessary to cover the top of the buns with metal foil towards the end of the cooking to prevent them from browning / burning too much.
Either eat them fresh or put them in the freezer. They freeze very well.
GLAZE: Mix 2 tablespoons of boiled milk with a tablespoon of sugar, then brush it over the tops of the buns whilst they are still hot.
English Mustard – An English Icon
I thought as English Mustard is an Iconic English sauce I thought I would tell its history. Oner of the most commonest English meals is Roast Beef, Roast Potato's, Brussel Sprouts, Gravy with English Mustard.
According to an old saying, Durham City, England was famed for seven things - wood, water and pleasant walks, law, gospel, old maids and mustard.
This saying probably originated in the 18th Century when Durham's mustard achieved great fame.
Mustard was introduced into England in the 12th Century and in early times seeds were coarsely ground at the table using a mortar and it was eaten in this rough state.
It had reached the North-East by about 1486 when monks on the Farne Islands (a monastic cell tied to Durham Cathedral) are known to have used quern stones in the grinding of "mwstert".
In those early days, it was used primarily to disguise the flavour of rotten meat and it was not until the late 1600s that it came to be recommended in its own right.
At that time, the town of Tewkesbury was primarily noted for mustard making, but in those days it was a much weaker substance and it was not until 1720 that English-style mustard, resembling what we know today, really came into being.
English mustard was born largely due to the vision and energy of a Durham City woman by the name of Mrs Clements.
Her forename has, despite her remarkable achievements, eluded all historians that have strived to tell her story.
In 1720, she invented a new method of extracting the full flavour from mustard seed. Her methods were secretly guarded but involved grinding the seeds in a mill and passing them through several processes similar to those used in the making of flour from wheat.
This resourceful woman soon recognised the potential of her invention and travelled the country collecting orders.
She regularly visited London where her product tickled the palate of none other than King George I, whose liking for the mustard brought Mrs Clements numerous orders from people who wished to follow royal fashion.
It is said that Mrs Clement's mustard mill was situated at the rear of a property in Saddler Street (now a clothes shop that was once the House of Andrews stationer), but this is not certain.
Mustard seeds were certainly grown on local farms in the early days, including Houghall Farm, near Shincliffe. It must have been a lucrative trade because mustard crops worth up to £100 an acre were occasionally known.
The manufacture also stimulated other industries and it is known that a Gateshead pottery specialised in supplying pots for mustard export.
In the 18th century, the name of Durham came to be synonymous with mustard and, in local slang, Durham people came to be known as knock-kneed Durham men from the alleged grinding of mustard between their knees.
Later in the century, rival mustard firms sprang up around the country, including London where Messrs Keen and Sons manufactured the product from 1742, supplying it to taverns and chophouses.
Though later acquired by Colmans of Norwich (who made mustard from 1814) the London firm is still remembered in the saying "keen as mustard".
By 1810, the London Journal recorded that the once frowned upon condiment of "mustard seed is now used and esteemed by most of the quality and gentry". However, by this time, Durham had lost its mustard monopoly.
Meanwhile, Mrs Clements' daughter, who was heir to the family business, married local man Joseph William Ainsley whose family had been involved in Durham flour-making since 1692.
The Ainsley family became the main name in Durham mustard making and their business was situated in Silver Street - number 22. This location, and not Saddler Street, may have been the original site of Durham's mustard factory.
The Ainsley family history is not totally clear, but at the beginning of the 19th Century the business passed into the hands of a son or grandson, also called Joseph William Ainsley. Another family member, possibly a brother, called John, worked at a flour mill at Crook Hall. This mill seems to have been involved in making mustard for the Silver Street premises.
Following Joseph Ainsley's death in about 1830, his widow, Eleanor, carried on the business but later married John Balmborough who became proprietor in the 1840s or 50s.
At about this time, a new mustard business also opened in the city, this time in Saddler Street and was operated by William Ainsley who was, it is believed, the son of John, from Crook Hall flour mill.
Balmborough was clearly threatened by this rival firm and his advertisements went to great lengths to emphasise that he was the true heir to the Ainsley name.
William Ainsley however was a successful entrepreneur noted for his printing and stationery business at 1 Saddler Street. He moved to larger premises at 74 (later the House of Andrews) after branching out into mustard.
A William Ainsley advertisement of 1865 only lists mustard as a footnote to a number of enterprises that included gunpowder-making, but it must have affected Balmborough's business.
By the early 1870s, Saddler Street was too small for the business and Ainsley moved to Waddington Street in the northern part of the city. In 1874, he died and was succeeded by his sons, William and John Ainsley, trading as William Ainsley and Brother. Balmborough also died during this period and the Silver Street business closed.
A new Durham mustard business was launched in 1888 operated by John Simpson and James Willan, initially in Providence Row and then in Gilesgate's Station Lane, but it barely lasted a decade.
Simpson, who died in 1908, spent his final years as a timekeeper at the city's gas company.
William Ainsley died in 1896 and the Ainsley firm lasted only two or three years into the following century.
Durham's mustard-making trade fell into the hands of Colmans, the Norwich firm most closely associated with English mustard-making today.
Lardy Cake – 15th Century History and Recipe
I thought as English Lardy cake is an Iconic English Spiced bread I thought it would be interesting to fans of English Food to know It's recipe and history. Lardy cake is also called Lardy bread, Lardy Johns, Dough cake and Fourses cake and originates from Wiltshire. In the West Country and dates from the 15th. Century. Today local bakers still make it to their own recipes, cramming in as much lard, sugar and fruit as they or their customers choose.
The lardy cake relates back to the 15th. Century 'Old English Fair' which was an eagerly awaited event by town and countrymen who would get together to sell their wares. Gingerbread and Plum Cake became established products at these fairs, with the Lardy Cake being an adapted version of the later.
The major difference between the two products was that the fat (lard) was layered into the dough similar to Danish Pastry. Today a equal mixture of lard and brown sugar are layered in at approximately 20% of the dough weight. The fermented dough also contains fruit and will also be spiced.
20 Gram Yeast fresh (1 3/4 tsp dried + pinch of sugar) (3/4 oz)
450 ml Water, warmed (3/4 pint)
600 Gram Strong white flour (1 1/4 lb)
1 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
100 Gram Lard, diced (4 oz)
100 Gram Butter, diced (4 oz)
240 Gram Mixed sultanas and currants (10 oz)
65 Gram Chopped mixed peel (3 oz)
65 Gram Sugar (3 oz)
Makes 16 slices
Preheat oven to 220 °C / 425 °F / Gas 7. Grease a 20 x 25 cm (8 x 10 inch) roasting tin. Blend the fresh yeast with the warm water. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the warm water with the pinch of sugar and leave for 15 minutes until frothy.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and rub in 100g ( 4 oz) of the lard. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast liquid. Beat together to make a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean, adding more water if necessary. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Turn the dough on to a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle about 0.5 cm ( 1/4 inch) thick. Dot one-third of the remaining lard and butter over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle over one-third of the fruit, peel and sugar. Fold the dough in three, folding the bottom third up and the top third down. Give a quarter turn, then repeat the process twice more.
Roll the dough out to fit the prepared tin. Put in the tin, cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes, until puffy. Score the top with a criss-cross pattern with a knife, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Turn out and serve immediately or leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled this can be stores in a freezer until ready to warm up. It's best served plain or with butter.
Lardy Cake is really scrumptious hot or cold and once cooked can be kept in a freezer until ready to carve up and then warmed up prior to eating.
History of Cribbage – An English Iconic Game
I thought as the Game of Cribbage was invented by us English and is played Worldwide I thought I would tell its history. The most famous cribbage player of all, as described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: "Mr Toby Crackit swept up his winnings [at cribbage] and crammed them into his waist-coat pocket."
According to John Aubrey who was a 17th Century English antiquary and writer, cribbage was created by the English poet Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century, as a derivation of the game “Noddy”. While noddy has disappeared, crib has survived, virtually unchanged, as one of the most popular games in the English Speaking world. The objective of the game is to be the first player to score a target number of points, typically 61 or 121 Points are scored for card combinations that add up to fifteen, and for pairs, triples, quadruples, runs and flushes.
Cribbage, or crib, is a card game traditionally for two players, but commonly played with three, four or more, that involves playing and grouping cards in combinations which gain points. Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for score keeping, the eponymous crib or box (a separate hand counting for the dealer), two distinct scoring stages (the play and the show) and a unique scoring system including points for groups of cards that total fifteen.
1) The players cut for first deal, and the dealer shuffles and deals five or six cards to each player, depending on the number of players. For two players, each is dealt six cards; for three or four players, each is dealt five cards. In the case of three players, a single card is dealt face down in the centre of the table to start the crib. Once the cards have been dealt, each player chooses four cards to retain, then discards the other one or two face-down to form the "crib" which will be used later by the dealer. At this point, each player's hand and the crib will contain exactly four cards. The player on the dealer's left cuts the deck and the dealer reveals the top card, called the "starter". If this card is a jack the dealer scores two points for "his heels", also known as "his nibs".
2) Starting with the player on the dealer's left, each player lays one card in turn onto a personal discard pile, stating the cumulative value of the cards laid (for example, the first player lays a five and says "five", the next lays a six and says "eleven", and so on), without the total going above 31. Once no more cards can be played, the cumulative position is reset to zero and those players with cards remaining repeat the process until all players' cards have been played. Players score points during this process for making a total of fifteen, for reaching exactly, or as close as possible to a total of thirty-one, for runs and for pairs. Players choose the order in which to lay their cards in order to maximize their score; experienced players refer to this as either good or poor "pegsmanship". If one player reaches the target (usually 61 or 121), the game ends immediately and that player wins.
3) Once the play is complete, each player in turn receives points based on the content of his hand in conjunction with the starter card. Points are scored for combinations of cards totalling fifteen, runs, pairs, flushes and having a Jack of the same suit as the starter card ("one for his nob [or nobs or nibs]"). The dealer scores his hand last and then turns the cards in the crib face up. These cards are then scored by the dealer as an additional hand in conjunction with the starter card. Scores between 0 and 29 are all possible, with the exception of 19, 25, 26 and 27.Players may refer colloquially to a hand scoring zero points as having a score of nineteen.
4) Visually, cribbage is known for its scoring board - a series of holes ("streets") on which the score is tallied with pegs (also known as "spilikins"). Scores can be kept on a piece of paper, but a cribbage board is almost always used, since scoring occurs throughout the game, not just at the conclusion of hands as in most other card games. Points are registered as having been scored by "pegging" along the crib board. Two pegs are used in a leapfrog fashion, so that if a player loses track during the count one peg still marks the previous score. Some boards have a "game counter", with many additional holes for use with a third peg to count the games won by each side.
The most famous cribbage player of all, as described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: "Mr Toby Crackit swept up his winnings [at cribbage] and crammed them into his waist-coat pocket."
History of English Lawn Bowls – Jactus Lapidum
I thought as Green Bowls is popular worldwide and was invented by us English I thought I would tell its history.One of the most famous stories concerning Bowls was On 19th July 1588 Captain Thomas Fleming in the Golden Hinde, glimpsed the Armada through the swirling morning mist off the Lizard and raced for Plymouth, Lord Howard’s home port. Fleming came up the channel into Plymouth with the afternoon tide to find Sir Francis Drake playing bowls with his officers on the Ho, high above the harbour. On hearing of Fleming’s sighting Drake insisted on continuing with the game.
Bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls, called bowls, so that they stop close to a smaller—normally white—bowl called the "jack" or "kitty". Bowls, either flat- or crown-green, is usually played outdoors, on grass and synthetic surfaces. Flat-green bowls can also be played indoors on synthetic surfaces. Both variants are collectively known as "lawn bowls".
It is most popular in Australia, New Zealand (where the natural playing surface is cotula), the United Kingdom and in other Commonwealth nations.
It has been traced certainly to the 13th century and conjecturally to the 12th century with William Fitzstephen (d. About 1190 AD). In his biography, Thomas Becket gives a graphic sketch of the London of his day and writing of the summer amusements of the young men, says that on holidays they were "exercised in Leaping, Shooting, Wrestling, Casting of Stones [in jactu lapidum], and Throwing of Javelins fitted with Loops for the Purpose, which they strive to fling before the Mark; they also use Bucklers, like fighting Men."
It is commonly supposed that by jactus lapidum, Fitzstephen meant the game of bowls, but though it is possible that round stones may sometimes have been employed in an early variety of the game - and there is a record of iron bowls being used, though at a much later date, on festive occasions at Nairn, - nevertheless the inference seems unwarranted. The jactus lapidum of which he speaks was probably more akin to the modern "putting the weight," once even called "putting the stone." It is beyond dispute, however, that the game, at any rate in a rudimentary form, was played in the 13th century. A manuscript of that period in the royal library, Windsor (No. 20, E iv.), contains a drawing representing two players aiming at a small cone instead of an earthenware ball or jack. The world's oldest surviving bowling green is the Southampton Old Bowling Green which was first used in 1299 AD.
Another manuscript of the same century has a crude but spirited picture which brings us into close touch with the existing game. Three figures are introduced and a jack. The first player's bowl has come to rest just in front of the jack; the second has delivered his bowl and is following after it with one of those eccentric contortions still not unusual on modern greens, the first player meanwhile making a repressive gesture with his hand, as if to urge the bowl to stop short of his own; the third player is depicted as in the act of delivering his bowl.
As the game grew in popularity, it came under the ban of king and parliament, both fearing it might jeopardise the practice of archery, then so important in battle. Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of King Edward III, King Richard II and other monarchs. Even when, on the invention of gunpowder and firearms, the bow had fallen into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued. The discredit attaching to bowling alleys, first established in London in 1455, probably encouraged subsequent repressive legislation, for many of the alleys were connected with taverns frequented by the dissolute and gamesters. The word "bowls" occurs for the first time in the statute of 1511 in which Henry VIII confirmed previous enactments against unlawful games. By a further act of 1541 - which was not repealed until 1845 - artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas and then only in their master's house and presence. It was further enjoined that any one playing bowls outside his own garden or orchard was liable to a penalty of 6s. 8d., while those possessed of lands to the yearly value of £100 might obtain licences to play on their own private greens.
Bowls is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and parts of the United States. It is also gaining momentum in Japan.
Because of its competitiveness, skill and the fact that it is a non-contact sport, the game suits people from teen years through to their nineties. However, there is a considerable professional competition with many younger men and women playing.
Since the 1990's, the sport has developed in Denmark as well. The World Championships are held in the UK annually and the £100,000 competition is watched by 3 million viewers on BBC TV.
Today the sport is played in over 40 countries with more than 50 member national authorities.
Jigsaw Puzzles – An English Iconic Game
I thought as Jigsaw Puzzles was invented by us English I thought I would tell its history. The first jigsaw was made by John Spilsbury (an Englishman) in 1766 who was a renowned mapmaker and engraver from London who mounted a map of England on a thin sheet of mahogany board, used a hand held fretsaw to cut round the county boundaries and sold the boxed pieces for children to assemble. They were known as "Dissected maps". The result was an educational aid, which could be used for teaching Geography to children.
John Spilsbury certainly spotted a great business opportunity. In the space of two years he marketed the eight map subjects most likely to appeal to upper class English parents: The World, the Four Continents then known (Africa, America, Asia and Europe), England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
During the next 40 years several other manufacturers (including individuals in Holland) copied John Spilsbury's ideas and introduced historical scenes to compliment his map subjects. In the early part of the century, puzzles were made almost exclusively for wealthy children and almost always with education in mind.
To save on cutting labour the puzzles consisted of only a few large pieces and only the outside interlocked – the rest was cut quickly with straight or wavy lines. The wood used was usually Mahogany or Cedar. The jigsaw named “The Parable of the Sower” on the right was cut by Betts in about 1870 and typifies the style of jigsaws up to that date. Only the outside pieces interlock and the quality of the print is very poor by modern standards.
Towards the end of the century great strides were made in many manufacturing techniques and three of these influenced jigsaws:
Treadle operated jigsaws were invented.
Techniques were developed to produce THIN sheets of wood.
Printing improved in leaps and bounds.
These technological advances enabled jigsaws to be made that were much more intricate, durable and colourful. Adults became interested in doing jigsaws and this spurred the manufacturers to widen the range of subjects available and to make them more difficult to do.
It became evident that colourful, complex jigsaws held a fascination for many people.
In the late 1800’s a German furniture dealer named Raphael Tuck and his two sons developed 4 techniques that set the scene for jigsaw development into the next century:
2) Their subjects included many varied and colourful topics.
3) Cutting was made more intricate and included "Whimsies" – individual pieces cut into recognisable shapes like animals and household goods.
4) Plywood and thick card started to be used instead of expensive hardwood.
5) Attractive boxes (that for the first time included an image of the uncut puzzle) were introduced.
Those with an interest in history might like to know that Raphael Tuck was also instrumental in the development of other industries – he is credited with the first commercial production of Christmas cards and also the first picture postcards. He set up printing establishments in London, Paris and New York and in 1893 he received the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria for printing the Queen’s letter to the nation on the occasion of the death of the Duke of Clarence.
The Valentine Card – An English Icon
I thought as the Valentines Card was invented in England I would write about It's story. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415 AD is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London. England.
Valentine greetings have been popular since the Middle Ages, a time when prospective lovers said or sang their romantic verses. Written valentines began to appear after 1400. Paper valentines originated in the 1500s, being exchanged in Europe and being given in place of valentine gifts and oral or musical valentine greetings. They were particularly popular in England.
The first written valentine (formerly known as "poetical or amorous addresses") is traditionally attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. While confined in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt, the young Duke reportedly passed his time by writing romantic verses for his wife in France. They are credited with being the first modern day valentines.
By the Sixteenth Century, written valentines were commonplace and by the Seventeenth Century, it was a widespread tradition in England for friends and sweethearts to exchange gifts and notes on February 14.
During the early 1700s, Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the "language of flowers" to Europe and throughout the Eighteenth Century, floral dictionaries were published, permitting the exchange of romantic secrets via a lily or lilac, for example, culminating in entire conversations taking place within a bouquet of flowers.
The more popular the flower, the more traditions and meaning were associated with it. The red rose, for instance, believed to be the favored flower of Venus, Roman Goddess of Love, became universally accepted to represent romantic love. Thus, the custom of giving red roses on Valentine's Day quickly gained popularity.
Some time after 1723, the popularity of valentine cards in America began to grow with the import from England of valentine "writers." A "writer" was a booklet comprised of a vast array of verses and messages which could be copied onto gilt-edged paper or other type of decorative sheet. One popular "writer" contained not only "be my valentine" types of verses for the men to send to their sweethearts, but also acceptances or "answers" which the ladies could then return. Late Eighteenth Century and Early Nineteenth Century valentines were often religious in nature and it is possible that the "Sacred Heart" often depicted on these cards eventually became the "Valentine Heart" with the customarily accompanying Angel eventually becoming "Cupid." It is believed that the earlier versions of these religious valentines may have been made by nuns who would cut-out the paper lace with scissors. It is thought the process probably took many days since the cards had every appearance of being machine-made.
By the early 1800s, valentines began to be assembled in factories. Such early manufactured valentines were rather simplistic, composed of black-and-white pictures painted by the factory workers. Fancy valentines comprised of real lace and ribbons were introduced in the mid-1800s. Paper lace began to be introduced to the cards later in the 1800s, These valentines also contained delicate and artistic messages with pictures of turtledoves, lovers' knots in gold or silver, bows and arrow, Cupids and bleeding hearts.
During the Victorian Era and its printing advances, Valentine cards became even more popular and the modern postal service of the age implmented the "penny post," which made it easier to mail written valentines. (Prior to that time, postage was so expensive that most cards were hand-delivered and usually left on doorsteps.) Known as "penny postcards" (because they were mailed with a one-penny postage stamp), these valentine greetings were very popular from around 1890 to 1917.
During this time, it was also considered "proper" to collect and display collections of postcards and trade cards in the Victorian and Edwardian parlor. Friends and guests would be invited to sit for hours, leafing through albums while they visited. This custom gained so much popularity that photographers, studios, printers and business continually strived for new and exciting subjects to satisfy a public which was anxious for innovative items in order to impress their acquaintances.
To make their cards stand out, people often sought for real photographic postcards. As opposed to mass-produced lithographs, these were actual photographs made with a postcard-printed back. The photography studios frequently employed women to hand-tint and color the black-and-white images. Some of the best of these cards came from Germany...famous for its detailed and colorful lithography. Popular subjects included women, children, flowers and couples, posed and arranged in an effort to portray the idealized virtues of the Era.
Indeed, it was in England that the first commercial-type valentine was produced on embossed paper, later perforated to make a lace-type design. Some of these cards contained tiny mirrors with the message: "Look at my Beloved," while others were called "Cobweb Valentines" because the center could be lifted by a tassel to reveal a cobweb effect of paper and underneath, a picture of a couple or a romantic message.
Although pre-Victorian valentines are virtually unavailable today, but cards have survived over a century due chiefly to the fact that they began to be mass-produced around 1850. However, the majority of early Victorian valentines were customarily made by hand from honeycombed tissue, watercolors, paper puffs, colored inks, embossed paper hearts and exquisite lace. These were truly beautifully-created small works of art, often adorned with silk or satin (in addition) to lace, flowers or feathers and even gold leaf. Such fragile honeycomb designs remained the vogue until around 1909.
Some of the most unusual valentines were fashioned by lonely sailors during this time...unique cards sporting seashells of various sizes employed to create hearts, flowers and other designs, or to cover heart-shaped boxes. Sailors also sent what were known as "Busk Valentines," rounded long sticks fashioned from ivory or wood, somewhat resembling a tongue depressor but approximately five time longer. Upon these sticks, the sailor would carve hearts and other loving designs. The "Busk Valentine" was worn by the sailor's sweetheart inside her corset. It was not unusual for a manufactured valentine of this era to cost as much as a month's earnings, particularly the "proposal valentines" which were very popular and might contain the depiction of a church or a ring. In keeping with Victorian etiquette, it was considered improper for a lady to send a valentine greeting to a man.
Sir Francis Walsingham – Spymaster for Queen Elizabeth 1
Sir Francis Walsingham was one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as the greatest Spymaster of the 16th Century. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in 1532.
Francis Walsingham was born at the Walsingham family seat, Scadbury park near Chislehurst, Kent to William Walsingham and Joyce Denny. His father died the following year, and later, his mother married Sir John Carey a relative by marriage of Queen Anne Boleyn.
Walsingham was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth 1st of England from 1573 till 1590, and is popularly remembered as her “Spymaster”. Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security. He oversaw operations which penetrated the heart of Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, and disrupted a range of plots against the queen, securing the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
Walsingham studied at Kings College, Cambridge from 1548 with many Protestants but as an undergraduate of high social status he did not sit for a degree. In 1550, he travelled abroad, returning two years later to enroll at Gray's Inn. Upon the death of Edward VI and accession of Catholic Queen Mary, he fled to continue his studies as a law student at the University of Padua. Between April 1556 and November 1558, he visited Switzerland and cultivated contacts among the leading Protestant statesmen on the continent.
When Elizabeth I ascended to the throne in 1558, Walsingham returned to England and, through the support of Sir William Cecil, was elected to the House of Commons for Banbury in 1559 and then Lyme Regis in 1563.
After his return, Walsingham was appointed joint principal secretary ("of state": the phrase was not used at this time in England) with Sir thomas Smith, succeeding Sir William Cecil. Smith retired unexpectedly in 1576, leaving Walsingham in sole charge.
Elizabeth called him her "Moor", perhaps due to his complexion or a preference for sombre clothes. She put up with his blunt, often unwelcome, advice because she valued his competence and industry, his passion for her security, and his grasp of foreign affairs.
On 1 December 1577, Walsingham received a knoghthood. He spent the years between 1574 and 1578 consolidating his control of the routine business of the English state, foreign and domestic. This included the substantial rebuilding of Dover Harbour and the coordination of support for Martin Frobisher's attempts to discover the north west passage and exploit the mineral resources of Labrador. Walsingham was among the foremost promoters of the career of Sir Francis Drake and was a major shareholder in his 1578–1581 circumnavigation of the world. Walsingham's participation in this venture was calculated to promote the Protestant interest by provoking the Spanish and demonstrating the vulnerability of their Pacific possessions.
He was sent on special embassies to the Netherlands in 1578, and again in 1581 to the French Court, suggesting both the Queen's high confidence in his abilities, and also that she knew how to exploit his standing as a committed Protestant statesman to threaten the Catholic powers.
Between 1578 and 1581, Walsingham was at the forefront of debate on the attempt by a group at court to encourage the Queen to marry the Duke of Anjou, heir to the French throne. Walsingham passionately opposed the marriage, perhaps to the point of encouraging public opposition. Walsingham canvassed the variety of consequences of a Catholic French consort of a Queen now past the age of childbearing, and with no clear successor. He believed that it would serve England better to seek a military alliance with France against Spanish interests,and the debates in council raged around the viability of an independent England against the increasing threat posed by Spain, and by the forces of international Catholicism which were undermining the unity of the French state.
Walsingham advocated direct English intervention in the Low Countries, and eventually, after the deaths of both Anjou and William of Orange in 1584, English military intervention was agreed at the Treaty of Nonsuch in 1585.
In the realm of counter-espionage, Walsingham was behind the discovery of the Throckmorton and Babington Plots to overthrow Elizabeth I, return England to Catholicism and place Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne.
In November 1583, after months of surveillance, Walsingham had Throckmorton arrested. He extracted, under torture, Throckmorton's confession — an admission that he had plotted against Elizabeth with the Spanish ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza and others. The plot, which may not have been known to Mary, called for a two-pronged invasion of England and Scotland along with a domestic uprising. Throckmorton was executed in 1584, and Mendoza was expelled from England.
Although Mary was not prosecuted, Walsingham became so concerned about her influence that he was determined to hold her responsible for any further conspiracies.
Babington's Plot was the result of that determination. Walsingham drew deeply on his spies among the English Catholic community, and abroad, on whose divisions he was adept at playing. The uncovery of the Babington plot, which is unusually well documented, is a compelling piece of counter-espionage, and stretched the policing resources of the Elizabethan state to the limits, with Walsingham's private secretaries carrying out surveillance in person. This led to Mary's execution in 1587, for which Walsingham had worked since before his advent to power. He was an active participant at her trial. He briefly experienced his share of the Queen's displeasure after the execution of Mary, which the queen claimed not to have sanctioned, due to Elizabeth's desire to distance herself from this action.
Prior to the attack of the Spanish Armada, he received a large number of dispatches from his agents from mercantile communities and foreign courts. Walsingham's recruitment of Anthony Standen in particular represented an intelligence triumph, and Standen's dispatches were deeply revealing. However the close security enforced by Philip II meant that Walsingham remained in the dark about the Spanish strategy and the planned destination of the Armada. This, plus his naturally bold spirit, lay behind his encouragement of the more aggressive strategies advocated by Drake in particular. The Cadiz raid in 1587 wrought havoc on Spanish logistics, and Walsingham would have repeated this the following year if more cautious counsels had not prevailed.
In foreign intelligence, the full range of Walsingham's network of "intelligencers" (of news as well as secrets) may never be known, but it was substantial. While foreign intelligence was part of the principal secretary's duties, Walsingham brought to it flair and ambition, and large sums of his own money. He also cast his net more widely than others had done hitherto, exploiting the insight into Spanish policy offered at the Italian courts; cultivating contacts in Constantinople and Aleppo, building complex connections with the Catholic exiles.
Among his minor spies may have been the playwright Christopher Marlowe, who seems to have been one of a stream of false converts whom Walsingham planted in foreign seminaries for gathering intelligence and insinuating counter-intelligence (citation needed). A more central figure was the cryptographer Thomas Phelippes, expert in deciphering letters, creating false handwriting and breaking and repairing seals without detection.
Walsingham was one of the small coterie who directed the Elizabethan state, overseeing foreign, domestic and religious policy. He worked to bring Scotland and England together. Overall, his foreign policy demonstrated a new understanding of the role of England as a maritime and Protestant power in an increasingly global economy. He was an innovator in exploration, colonization and the use of England's potential maritime power. He is also a convincing prototype of the modern bureaucrat.
Francis Walsingham died on 6 April 1590, leaving great debts, in part arising from his having underwritten the debts of his son-in-law and colleague, Sir Phillip Sidney. But the true state of his finances is undocumented and may have been less dismal than regularly alleged, and he pursued the Sidney estate for recompense, and had carried out major land transactions in his later years.
His daughter Frances received only £300 annuity. However, she married well, to the Earl of Essex and Walsingham's widow lived comfortably until her death. After his death, his friends reflected that poor bookkeeping had left him further in the crown's debt than was fair, and a compromise was eventually agreed upon with his heirs. His public papers were seized by the government and his private papers, which would have revealed much, not least about his finances, were lost.
MI6 and "C" – First Head of MI6 from 1911
I have decided to create this article about the first head of MI6 as he's one of the Icons of Britain.
Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming (1 April 1859 – 14 June 1923) was the first director of what would become the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6. In this role he was particularly successful in building a post-imperial intelligence service.
Born into a middle-class family, Smith attended the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and, upon graduation, was commissioned a sub-lieutenant. He was posted to the HMS Bellerophon in 1878 and for the next seven years saw sea duty in the East Indies. However he increasingly suffered from severe seasickness, and in 1885 was placed on the retired list as "unfit for service".
He was recalled to duty into the foreign section of Naval Intelligence in 1898 and undertook many missions. He would travel through eastern Germany and the Balkans pretending to be a German businessman, even though he didn't speak any German. His work was so successful that he was recruited to the Secret Service Bureau as the director of the foreign section. During this period he married the extremely rich May Cumming, and as part of the marriage changed his name to Smith-Cumming.
In 1911 Cumming's became the new head of the Foreign Section, responsible for all operations outside Britain. Over the next few years he became known as 'C', after his habit of initialing papers he had read with a C written in green ink. This habit became a custom for later directors, although the C now stands for "Chief". Ian Fleming took these aspects for his "M", Sir Miles Messervy - using Cumming's other initial for the name and having M always write in green ink.
In 1914, he was involved in a serious road accident in France, in which his son was killed. Legend has it that in order to escape the car wreck he was forced to amputate his leg using a pen knife. Hospital records have shown however that while both his legs were broken, his left foot was only amputated the day after the accident. Later he often told all sorts of fantastic stories as to how he lost his leg, and would shock people by interrupting meetings in his office by suddenly stabbing his artificial leg with a knife, letter opener or fountain pen
Budgets were severely limited prior to World War 1 and Smith-Cumming came to rely heavily on Sidney Reiley (aka the Ace of Spies), a secret agent of dubious veracity based in Saint Petersburg. He described pre-1914 espionage as ‘capital sport', but was given few resources with which to pursue it. His early operations were directed almost entirely against Germany. Between 1909 and 1914 he recruited part-time ‘casual agents' in the shipping and arms business to keep track of naval construction in German shipyards and acquire other technical intelligence. He also had agents collecting German intelligence in Brussels, Rotterdam and St. Petersburg.
At the outbreak of war he was able to work with Vernon Kell and Sir Basil Thomson of the Special Branch to arrest twenty-two German spies in England. Eleven were executed, as was Sir Roger casement found guilty of treason in 1916. During the war, the offices were renamed: the Home Section became MI5 or Security service, while Smith-Cumming's Foreign Section became MI6 or the Secret Intelligence Service. Agents who worked for MI6 during the war included Augustus agar, Paul Dukes, John Buchan, Compton Mackenzie and W. Somerset Maugham. When SSB discovered that Lemon Juice made a good invisible ink his agents adopted the motto "Every man his own stylo".
With the outbreak of the First World War, Cumming's control of strategic intelligence gathering as head of the wartime MI1c was challenged by two rival networks run by general headquarters. Cumming eventually out-performed his rivals. His most important wartime network, 'La Dame Blanche', had by January 1918 over 400 agents reporting on German troop movements from occupied Belgium and northern France. Cumming was less successful in post-revolutionary Russia. Despite a series of colourful exploits, his agents obtained little Russian intelligence of value.
Secret Service budgets were once again severely cut after the end of WWI, and MI6 stations in Madrid, Lisbon, Zurich and Luxembourg were closed. Cumming succeeded, however, in gaining a monopoly of espionage and counter-intelligence outside Britain and the empire. He also established a network of SIS station commanders operating overseas under diplomatic cover.
To the end of his life Cumming retained an infectious, if sometimes eccentric, enthusiasm for the tradecraft and mystification of espionage, experimenting personally with disguises, mechanical gadgets, and secret inks in his own laboratory.
P.M. Mrs Margaret Thatcher – The Iron lady
In the last 100 years there have been two Great British Prime Minister's of the 20th. Century, Churchill is one of them and the other is Mrs. Thatcher. Margaret Hilda Roberts was born October 13, 1925. Home was, Margaret recalled, "practical, serious and intensely religious." During the 1970's the economy of Britain was dominated by the unions and a ridiculous tax rate of 90%.
When Mrs. Thatcher was elected in 1979 she inherited an economy and country which was in hock to the IMF, where inflation was 30%, where there was Power Cuts, Where Strikes had caused overflowing Rubbish Bins and where bodies were piled high and unburied in hospital Morturies.
The similarities to today is stark, where the British economy in 2010 is overdrawn by 155 Billion Pounds caused by Gordon Brown the ex Labour PM changing the Rules on oversight of the Banks from the Bank of England to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) which was so incompetent it missed all the warnings.
What the new government of 1979 had to do was cut back on spending and introduce new laws to curb the unions. One of the best bits of legislation was to outlaw Unions sending striking pickets to other strike actions by other unions and to maximise the number of strikers on a picket line to six. This allowed non strikers to go to work unmolested in law.
Because of the needed cuts the Tory party was quite low in the opinion polls in early 1982 when the dictatorship of Argentina decided to invade the Falkland Islands. This caused the Royal Navy to send a task force to recapture the Falklands and rescue the inhabitants. When the Islands had been retaken it was found that the Argentinians had changed the road signs and traffic flow from the Left to the Right side of the roads. Also, the Argentinians had raided the homes of the local inhabitants and stole goods and food and also killed some 3 Civilian's.
The Falkland Islands are a group of islands 300 miles east of Argentina. The two main islands are East Falkland and West Falkland. There are about 200 smaller islands that together form a total land area of approximately 4,700 square miles. The capital is Port Stanley. The Falkland Islands include the British territories of South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands and the Shag and Clerke rocks. The population of the islands in 2010 was about 3,000.
On June 20th the British formally declared an end to hostilities and established a Falkland Islands Protection Zone of 150 miles. This undeclared war lasted 72 days and claimed nearly 1000 casualties. The British took about 10,000 Argentine prisoners during the undeclared war while Argentina lost 655 men who were killed while Britain lost 236. Argentina's defeat discredited the military government and led to the return of democracy in Argentina in 1983.
Mrs. Thatcher was elected in 1979, 1983 and 1987 and ushered in a decade of painful reform, privatization, deregulation and tax cutting. At first inflation and unemployment rocketed, some businesses crumbled. But—"the lady's not for turning"—the prime minister brazened it out over three historic terms of office, wrenching the economy back off its knees. At least one widely popular measure was the sale of council houses, allowing by 1982 a half-million people to become homeowners (and possibly Tory voters) for the first time.
Less spectacular but truly far-reaching was Mrs. Thatcher's role in bringing about the end of the Cold War and contributing to the demise of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. As an individualist and free market advocate, she had an innate and frequently voiced distrust of communism. In Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, however, she found a man she "could do business with," and she helped to persuade President Ronald Reagan away from "evil Empire" rhetoric to do the same. The chemistry between Reagan and Thatcher made their alliance a high point of the special relationship between Britain and the United States in the 20th century. "She was warm, feminine, gracious and intelligent and it was evident from our first words that we were soul mates when it came to reducing government and expanding economic freedom," Reagan remarked.
She badly misjudged when she introduced the notorious poll tax despite advice against it; she openly clashed with her chancellor over monetary policy and with her foreign secretary on European policy. Both resigned, precipitating a party leadership battle, which concluded in Thatcher's resignation on November 28, 1990. She was cast back outside. For once the tears were public as she left 10 Downing St.
Elevated to the House of Lords, she styled herself Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven in honor of her roots. She set up the Margaret Thatcher Foundation to continue to promote her ideas and undertook lecture tours; she was particularly gratified by her welcome in the United States, "the seat of radical modern conservative thinking and almost my second home."
Mrs. Thatcher was Prime Minister for 11 years, six months and 24 days (1979-90)
After a series of small strokes, doctors advised her in 2002 against public speaking.
In 2003 Denis, her constant companion, died; they had been married 52 years. More than any political knocks, it was a devastating loss.
In future history books she will be remembered for her invention of Privatization and Thatcherism and also Sticking to her ideals and her down to earth honesty.
British Knighthoods – Iconic History
British Knighthoods are recognised worldwide as one of the most romantic and chivalrous awards. Since the dawn of English History England has had Knights like King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. The British honour's system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom.
Although the Anglo Saxon Monarchs are known to have rewarded their loyal subjects with rings and other symbols of favour, it was the Norman's who introduced Knighthoods as part of their feudal government. The first English order of chivalry, the Order of The Garter was created in 1348 by King Edward III. Since then the system has evolved to address the changing need to recognise other forms of service to the United Kingdom.
The system consists of three types of award: Honours, Decorations and Medals:
Honours are used to recognise merit in terms of achievement and service.
Decorations tend to be used to recognise specific deeds.
Medals are used to recognise bravery, long and/or valuable service and/or good conduct.
Current orders of Chivalry
The Most Noble Order of The Garter which was Established in 1348 by King Edward III.
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of The Thistle which was Established in 1687 by King King James II.
The Most Honourable Order of The Bath which was Established in 1725 by King George I.
The Most Distinguished Order Of Saint Michael and Saint George was Established in 1818 by the Prince Regent.
The Distinguished Service Order was Established in 1886 by Queen Victoria.
The Royal Victorian Order was Established in 1896 by Queen Victoria.
The Order of merit was Established in 1902 by the King Edward VII.
The Imperial Service Order was Established in 1902 by King Edward VII.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was Established in 1917 by King George V.
The Order of the Companions of Honour was Established in 1886 by the Queen Victoria.
There are five ranks of hereditary peerage's: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. Until the mid 20th century, peerages were usually hereditary (bar legal peerages - see below) and, until the end of the 20th century, English, British and UK peerages (except, until very recent times, those for the time being held by women) carried the right to a seat in the House of Lords.
Hereditary peerages are now normally only given to members of the Royal Family. The most recent was the grant to the Queen's youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, on his marriage in 1999. No hereditary peerages were granted to commoners after the Labour Party came to power in 1964.
Margaret Thatcher tentatively reintroduced them by two grants to men with no sons in 1983, respectively the Speaker of the House of Commons George Thomas and the former Deputy Prime Minister William Whitelaw. Both these titles died with their holders. She followed this with an Earldom in 1984 for the former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan not long before his death, reviving a traditional honour for former Prime Ministers. Macmillan's grandson succeeded him on his death in 1986.
No hereditary peerages have been created since 1986 and Mrs. Thatcher's own title is a life peerage (see further explanation below). The concession of a baronetcy (i.e. hereditary knighthood), was granted to Margaret Thatcher's husband Denis following her resignation
Orders were created for particular reasons at particular times. In some cases these reasons have ceased to have any validity and orders have fallen into abeyance, primarily due to the decline of the British Empire during the twentieth century. Reforms of the system have sometimes made other changes. For example the British Empire Medal ceased to be awarded in the UK in 1993, as was the companion level award of the Imperial Service Order (although its medal is still used).
Women's Auxiliary Air force – History 1939 - 1949
During the war the women of Britain joined many organisations and various armed services, wheras before the war women had not been able to join the sevices. One of the Corps especially created for women was the "Women's Auxilliary Air Force". The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) was formed in June 1939. The main reason for this service was to release men for combat posts.
A Womens Royal Air Force had existed from 1918 to 1920. The WAAF was created on 28th June 1939, absorbing the forty-eight RAF companies of the Auxillary Territorial Service which had been formed since 1938. Conscription of women did not begin until 1941. It only applied to those between 20 and 30 years of age and they had the choice of the auxiliary services or factory work.
Women were accepted between the ages of 17 and 44. By the year 1943 there were 180,000 women in the WAAF.The work done by the WAAF covered virtually every activity carried out by men including Intelligence Operations.
WAAFs did not serve as aircrew. The use of women pilots was limited to the Air Transport Axillary (ATA - which was civilian) which delivered aircraft to the various RAF bases. Neither did they participate in active combat, though they were exposed to the same dangers as any on the "home front" working at military installations.
WAAF's were also active in the following:
Manning of The Barrage Balloons
All types of Catering
Communications duties including wireless Telephonic and Telegraphic operations.
Intelligence Operations using Codes and Ciphers
Analysis of reconnaissance photographs Operation Rooms controlling Radar, Aircraft and Plotters.
Nurses belonged to Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service
Medical and Dental officers were commissioned into the Royal Air Force and held RAF ranks.
Alas, WAAFs were paid two-thirds of the pay of male counterparts in RAF ranks.
By the end of World War II, WAAF enrollment had declined and the effect of demobilisation was to take thousands out of the service. The remainder, now only several hundred strong, was renamed the Womens Royal Air Force on 1st February 1949.
Nursing Orderlies of the WAAF flew on RAF transport planes to evacuate the wounded from the Normandy battlefields. They were dubbed Flying Nightingales by the press. The RAF Air Ambulance Unit flew under 46 Group Transport Command from RAF Down Ampney, RAF Broadwell and RAF Blakehill Farm. RAF Dakota aircraft carried military supplies and ammunition so could not display the Red Cross.
Training for air ambulance nursing duties included instruction in the use of oxygen, injections, learning how to deal with certain types of injuries such as broken bones, missing limb cases, head injuries, burns and colostomies; and to learn the effects of air travel and altitude.
In October 2008 the seven nurses still living were presented with lifetime achievement awards by the Duchess of Cornwall.
Women's Land Army – History 1939 – 1950
During the war the women of Britain joined many organisations and the various armed forces, wheras before the war women had not been able to join the sevices. One of the Corps especially created for women was the "Women's Land Army" where 80,000 women were enrolled to work on Farms all over the UK. The "Women's Land Army" (WLA) was a civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as "Land Girls".
The Women's Land Army was often referred to as "The Forgotten Army" and was actually originally formed in 1917 by Roland Prothero who was the then Minister for Agriculture.
The Board of Agriculture organised the Land Army during the Great War, starting activities in 1915. Towards the end of 1917 there were over 250,000 - 260,000 women working as farm labourers. 20,000 in the land army itself.
With 6 million men away to fight in the First World War we in Britain were struggling to find enough workforce. The government wanted women to get more involved in the production of food and do their part to support the war effort. This was the beginning of the Women’s Land Army. Many traditional farmers were against this, so the board of trade sent agricultural organisers to speak with farmers to encourage them to accept women’s work on the farms.
The First World War had seen food supplies dwindle and saw the creation of the Women's Land Army (WLA).
The WLA was reformed in June 1939 first asking for volunteers and later by conscription with numbers totalling 80,000 by 1944.
The women were called “Land Girls”, as they were affectionately known, replaced the men who had answered the call to war. They wore the same uniform as the “Women Timber Corps” ( Except with a different badge on their Beret's) and their living conditions were frequently primitive and for girls who had worked in shops, offices, hairdressing salons and restaurants, the work was pretty tiring.
The Women's Land Army was made up of girls from every walk of life. Posters of smiling girls bathing in glorious sunshine and open fields covered the fact that the WLA often presented raw recruits (many from industrial towns) with gruelling hard work and monotony. The majority of the Land Girls already lived in the countryside but more than a third came from London and the industrial cities of the north of England.
Homesickness was common as many of the girls had never been away from their parents for long periods. This was particularly true of girls that stayed in private billets. The girls that stayed in local hostels often told a different story and were more settled as they were grouped together. However despite all this there was a great sense of friendship amongst the girls.
The WLA lasted until its official disbandment on October 21, 1950. Looking back over the last 70 years it is always surprising how many stories there is still to tell concerning the British Struggle during the second world war and how the war affected every day life and person in the country. My generation who were born in the1950's and 1960's owe our parants and grandparants generation for todays freedoms and our grateful thanks.
Women's Timber Corps – 1942 History
During the war many women of Britain joined many organisations and the various armed forces, wheras before the war women had not been able to join the sevices. One of the Corps especially created for women was the "Women's Timber Corps" where 4,900 women were enrolled to felling, snedding, loading, crosscutting, driving tractors, trucks, working with horses, measuring and operating sawmills and manage forests all over the UK.
Originally the Women’s Timber Service had been set up during the first world war, but in April 1942 the Ministry of Supply (Home Grown Timber Department) inaugurated a new venture – the "Women's Timber Corps" (WTC), in England. The Scots quickly followed in May 1942, forming their own Women’s Timber Corps which was a part of the Women’s Land Army of Scotland. This was a new unit with its own identity and uniform.
Today if you talked of the Women's Timber Corps the most likely response is "Never heard of them". Yet their story is fascinating. The Women's Timber Corps replaced men in the forests and helped to produce timber vital to the war effort. These women were called “Lumber Jills” as they were affectionately known, who replaced the men who had answered the call to war. They wore the same uniform as the women Land army ( With a different badge on their Beret's) and their living conditions were frequently primitive and for girls who had worked in shops, offices, hairdressing salons and restaurants, the hardship was daunting.
Worst of all was the extreme physical effort required to lay-in, fell and cross-cut the timber; but the girls of the WTC set to with determination to produce pit-props for the mines, telegraph poles for communications, gun-stocks for the troops and even coffins for the casualties of war. There are tales of the social and practical aspects of living in crowded huts, as well as the more technical details of working with axe and saw. Training centres were set up throughout the UK.
The Women’s Timber Corps was disbanded in August 1946, with each girl handing back her uniform and receiving a letter from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who was then the patron of the WTC.
Looking back over the last 70 years it is always surprising how many stories there is still to tell concerning the British Struggle during the second world war and how the war affected every day life and person in the country. My generation who were born in the1950's and 1960's owe our parants and grandparants generation for todays freedom with our grateful thanks.
Stainless Steel – It's English Discovery 1912
I thought as Stainless Steel was discovered here in England, by Harry Brearley, I thought it would be interesting write It's history. Brearley was born in Sheffield, England in 1871. His life had humble beginnings as the son of a steel melter. He left school at the age of twelve to enter his first employment as a labourer in one of the city's steelworks, being transferred soon afterwards to the post of general assistant in the company's chemical laboratory.
For several years, in addition to his laboratory work, he studied at home and later in formal evening classes, to specialize in steel production techniques and associated chemical analysis methods.
By his early thirties, Brearley had earned a reputation as an experienced professional and for being very astute in the resolution of practical, industrial, metallurgical problems. It was in 1908, when two of Sheffield's principal steel making companies innovatively agreed to jointly finance a common research laboratory (Brown Firth Laboratories) that Harry Brearley was asked to lead the project.
In 1912, Harry Brearley of the Brown-Firth research laboratory in Sheffield, England while seeking a corrosion-resistant alloy for gun barrels, discovered and subsequently industrialized a martensitic stainless steel alloy. The metal was later marketed under the "Staybrite" brand by Firth Vickers in England and was used for the new entrance canopy for the Savoy Hotel in London in 1929.
Brearley died in 1948, at Torquay, a coastal resort town in Devon, south west England. He is buried at Sheffield Cathedral.
It was probably Harry Brearley’s upbringing in Sheffield, a city famous for the manufacture of cutler since the 16th century, which led him to appreciate the potential of these new steels for applications not only in high temperature service, as originally envisioned, but also in the mass production of food-related applications such as cutlery, saucepans and processing equipment etc. Up to that time carbon steel knives were prone to unhygienic rusting if they were not frequently polished and only expensive sterling silver or EPNS cutlery was generally available to avoid such problems. With this in mind Brearley extended his examinations to include tests with food acids such as vinegar and lemon juice, with very promising results.
Brearley initially called the new alloy "rustless steel"; the more euphoric "stainless steel" was suggested by Ernest Stuart of R.F. Mosley's, a local cutlery manufacturer, and eventually prevailed. It is reported that the first true stainless steel, a 0.24wt% C, 12.8wt% Cr ferrous alloy, was produced by Brearley in an electric furnace on August 13, 1913.
The well told story is that Brearley noticed in his sample bin one of his pieces which had not shown signs of rusting after being exposed to air and water. This was further examined and analysed, a new steel, which he called "rustless steel", was born, the first commercial cast coming from the furnaces in 1913. Its name was changed to the more euphonic “Stainless Steel” following a suggestion from Ernest Stuart of R.F. Moseley's, a local cutlery maker, and this eventually prevailed.
He was subsequently awarded the iron and steel institutes's Bessemer Gold Medal in 1920.
Virtually all research projects into the further development of stainless steels were interrupted by the 1914-18 War, but efforts were renewed in the 1920s. Harry Brearley had left the Brown Firth Laboratories in 1915, following disagreements regarding patent rights,
The research continued under the direction of his successor, Dr. W.H. Hatfield. It is Hatfield who is credited with the development, in 1924, of a stainless steel which even today is probably the widest-used alloy of this type, the so-called "18/8", which in addition to chromium, includes nickel (Ni) in its composition.
Tower Bridge – London Icon
I have decided to create this article about "Tower Bridge" as it's one of the Icons of London.
In the second half of the 19th century, increased commercial development in the East End of London led to a requirement for a new river crossing downstream of London Bridge. A traditional fixed bridge could not be built because it would cut off access to the port facilities in the Pool of London between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
A Special Bridge or Subway Committee was formed in 1876, chaired by Sir Albert Joseph Altman, to find a solution to the river crossing problem. It opened the design of the crossing to public competition. Over 50 designs were submitted, including one from civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. The evaluation of the designs was surrounded by controversy, and it was not until 1884 that a design submitted by Horace Jones the City Architect (who was also one of the judges), was approved.
Jones' engineer, Sir John Wolfe Barry devised the idea of a bascule bridge with two towers built on piers. The central span was split into two equal bascules or leaves, which could be raised to allow river traffic to pass. The two side-spans were suspension bridges, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways.
During it's building, two piers were sunk into the river bed to support the weight of the bridge. A massive 11,000 tons of steel used then for the walkways and towers. A layer of Cornish granite and Portland stone were used as a covering, to protect the steelwork and to make it look nicer to the eye.
Still in use today the bridge is still opened for river traffic many times in a week. It is said the bridge carries 1,900 vehicles per hour between 7am and 10am during London rush hour. 140 feet above the Thames you can look down and around the tower and see the original steam engines used to lift the huge bridge until 1976.
Historic Dates worthy of note
· 1910 - the high-level walkways were closed down due to lack of use.
· 1912 - Frank McClean flew between the bascules and the high-level walkways in an emergency. Quite a spectacle for onlookers and the bi-plane pilot.
· 1952 - a London bus leapt between the opening bascules to avoid plunging into the river as the bridge opened with the bus still on it.
· 1977 - for the Queen's Silver Jubilee Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue.
Tower bridge was completed and opened in the year 1894. It was opened by Edward 7th when he was Prince of Wales. It took 8 years in it's construction, using 5 major contractors and over 400 labourers. When it was completed and as it stands still today, it is one of London's most famous landmarks, its designers, John Wolfe Barry and Sir Horace Jones can be proud of a splendid piece of engineering.
William Shakespeare – British Playright Icon
William Shakespeare is one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide. I thought it would be interesting to write the history of this famous icon from his early cloudy beginnings.
William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and mother Mary Arden some time in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. There is no record of his birth, but his baptism was recorded by the church, thus his birthday is assumed to be the 23rd of April. His father, John Shakespeare, was a whittawer by profession and held several important town offices. His father was also a prominent and prosperous alderman in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and was later granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds.
His mother, Mary Arden, was from a fairly wealthy family.
In all the Shakespeares had eight children, and William was their first son.
All that is known of Shakespeare's youth is that he presumably attended the Stratford Grammar School, and did not proceed to Oxford or Cambridge.
The next record we have of him is his marriage to Anne Hathaway in 1582. The next year she bore a daughter for him, Susanna, followed by the twins Judith and Hamnet two years later.
Seven years later in 1889 Shakespeare is recognized as an actor, poet and playwright, when a rival playwright, Robert Greene, refers to him as "an upstart crow" in A Groatsworth of Wit.
Between 1590 and 1592 no records of Shakespeare were found, and that period of his life is usually referred to as "The Lost Years". Some have speculated that he either became a school teacher, became a butcher's apprentice, or was running from the law during this time.
The first evidence of Shakespeare after 1592 was in London. Here he had established himself as a playwright and actor and had found a sponsor, Henry Wriothsley. However, Shakespeare's work in the theatres came to a halt in January of 1593 when the theatres closed because of the plague. The company that Shakespeare worked for was called "Lord Chamberlain's Men" and changed their name to "The King's Men" after King James I took over in 1603. Because Shakespeare worked and performed for them, this company became the biggest and most famous acting company. Shakespeare became very wealthy as a director, writer, actor, and stockholder in "The King's Men".
In 1596 Hamnet died at the age of eleven.
When, in 1599, the troupe lost the lease of the theatre where they performed, (appropriately called The Theatre) they were wealthy enough to build their own theatre across the Thames, south of London, which they called "The Globe." The new theatre opened in July of 1599, built from the timbers of The Theatre, with the motto "Totus mundus agit histrionem" (A whole world of players) When James I came to the throne (1603) the troupe was designated by the new king as the King's Men (or King's Company). The Letters Patent of the company specifically charged Shakespeare and eight others "freely to use and exercise the art and faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Inerludes, Morals, Pastorals, stage plays ... as well for recreation of our loving subjects as for our solace and pleasure."
Shakespeare entertained the king and the people for another ten years until June 19th , 1613, when a canon fired from the roof of the theatre for a gala performance of Henry VIII set fire to the thatch roof and burned the theatre to the ground. The audience ignored the smoke from the roof at first, being to absorbed in the play, until the flames caught the walls and the fabric of the curtains. Amazingly there were no casualties, and the next spring the company had the theatre "new builded in a far fairer manner than before." Although Shakespeare invested in the rebuilding, he retired from the stage to the Great House of New Place in Statford that he had purchased in 1597, and some considerable land holdings where he continued to write until his death in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday.
· 1556 - Anne Hathaway is born.
· 1564 - Shakespeare's baptism is recorded in the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon dated April 26, 1564. The usual delay between birth and baptism was 3-4 days, making the date of birth most likely April 22 or 23. Since Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and the engraving on his monument lists him as aged 53, it is assumed he was born on April 23. At least, that is how scholars in the absence of any other information have been willing to leave it. April 23 is also St. George's day, an appropriate day for the birth of the national poet. (94 miles from London.)
· 1582 - Marries Anne Hathaway on November 27. Worcester was 21 miles west of Stratford, and the consistory court there the place where a marriage license, issued to a local parish priest, might be obtained. Whitgift's register for the date November 27nd , 1582 indicates the issuance of a license for marriage between William Shaxpere and Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton. At the time, Shakespeare would have been 18 years old.
· 1583 - Susanna Shakespeare is born.
· 1585 - The twins Judith and Hamnet Shakespeare are born.
· 1592 - After leaving Stratford for London, William was recognized as a successful actor, as well as a leading poet. He was a member of 'The Chamberlain's Men'.
· 1596 - Hamnet dies at the age of eleven. Shakespeare becomes a "gentleman" when the College of Heralds grants his father a coat of arms.
· 1597- He bought a large house called "The Great House of New Place".
· 1599 - The 'Globe Theater' is built from the pieces of 'The Theater' in July.
· 1603 - 'The Lord Chamberlain's Men' became 'The King's Men' on May 19.
· 1613 - The 'Globe Theatre' burns during a performance of Henry VII when a canon fired on the roof sets fire to the straw thatch. The theatre is rebuilt, but Shakespeare retires.
· 1616 - April 23, in Stratford, on his 52nd birthday he died.
In 1611 Shakespeare retired and left London. He made a will on March 25, 1616, and died on April 23, 1616. He was fifty two years old. The cause of Shakespeare's death is not known. Shakespeare also wrote his own epitaph because during his time, when the graveyard was full, people would dig up someone's corpse and burn it so that another could be buried in that person's place. This disgusted Shakespeare, and he didn't want this type of disrespect after his death. His epitaph reads as follows:
"Good Friends, for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the bones enclosed here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones."
To this day no one has disturbed Shakespeare's grave.
The Globe Theatre – London Icon
I have created this article about The Globe Theatre as it's one of the newly re-built Icons of London.
The Globe Theatreis a reconstruction of the open air playhouse originally designed in 1599. The theatre was in London and associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company and the Lord Chamberlain's Men.
The Globe was owned by actors who were also shareholders. Two of the six Globe shareholders, Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert Burbage owned double shares of the whole, or 25% each; the other four men, Shakespeare, John Hemmings, Augustine Phillips and Thomas Pope owned a single share, or 12.5%. (Originally William Kempe was intended to be the seventh partner, but he sold out his share to the four minority shareholders leaving them with more than the originally planned 10%). These initial proportions changed over time as new sharers were added. Shakespeare's share diminished from 1/8 to 1/14, or roughly 7%, over the course of his career.
The Globe was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre which had been built by Richard Burbage's father, James Burbage in Shoreditch in 1576. The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which The Theatre was built but owned the building outright. However, the landlord, Giles Allen, claimed that the building had become his with the expiry of the lease. On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street's waterfront warehouse near Bridewell. With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe on some marshy gardens to the south of Maiden Lane, Southwark.
On 29 June 1613 the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of Henry The Eighth. A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. It was rebuilt in the following year.
Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. It was pulled down in 1644, or slightly later—the commonly cited document dating the act to 15 April 1644 has been identified as a probable forgery—to make room for tenements.
A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare Globe", opened in 1997 approximately 230 metres (750 ft) from the site of the original theatre. Open-air performances are held May -September. The Globe Exhibition, situated beneath the theater itself, offers a fascinating glimpse of Elizabethan theater and audiences and the design and reconstruction of the new Globe.
The Globe was owned by actors who were also shareholders in Lord Chamberlain's Men.
Two of the six Globe shareholders, Richard Burbage and his brother CuthbertBurbage, owned double shares of the whole, or 25% each; the other four men, Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope, owned a single share, or 12.5%. (Originally William Kempe was intended to be the seventh partner, but he sold out his share to the four minority sharers, leaving them with more than the originally planned 10%). These initial proportions changed over time as new sharers were added. Shakespeare's share diminished from 1/8 to 1/14, or roughly 7%, over the course of his career.
The Globe was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre, The Theatre, which had been built by Richard Burbage's father, James Burbage, in Shoreditch in 1576. The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which The Theatre was built but owned the building outright. However, the landlord, Giles Allen, claimed that the building had become his with the expiry of the lease. On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street's waterfront warehouse near Bridewell. With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe on some marshy gardens to the south of Maiden Lane, Southwark.
On 29 June 1613 the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of Henry the Eighth. A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale.It was rebuilt in the following year.
Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. It was pulled down in 1644 to make room for tenements.
Portsmouth Football Club ( Pompey )
Portsmouth F.C. was founded in the back garden of 12 High Street, Old Portsmouth on 5th April 1898 with John Brickwood, owner of the local Brickwoods Brewery as chairman and Frank Brettell as the club's first manager. Portsmouth F.C. is an English football club based in the city of Portsmouth. The city and hence the club are nicknamed Pompey and sometimes called 'The Blues', with fans known across Europe. Pompey were early participants in the Southern League, One of their first Goalkeepers Pre -1898 was Arthur Conan Doyle the author of Sherlock Holmes.
The club joined the Southern League in 1898 and their first league match was played at Chatham Town on 2nd September 1899 (a 1–0 victory), followed three days later by the first match at Fratton Park, a friendly against local rivals Southampton, which was won 2–0, with goals from Dan Cunliffe (formerly with Liverpool) and Harold Clarke (formerly with Everton.
That first season was hugely successful, with the club winning 20 out of 28 league matches, earning them the runner-up spot in the league. During 1910-11 saw Portsmouth relegated, but with the recruitment of Robert Brown as manager the team were promoted the following season.
The team play in the Football League Championship after being relegated from the Premier League after the 2009/10 season. Until then, Portsmouth had been a member of the Premier League for seven consecutive seasons.
Portsmouth's debut season in the English First Division was during the 1920's that alas, turned out to be a difficult one. However, despite disappointing league form the club fought off stiff competition to reach the FA Cup final closely losing out to Bolton Wanderers.
Having solidified their position in the top flight, the 1938-1939 season saw Portsmouth again reach the FA Cup final. This time Portsmouth were successful beating Wolves in a convincing 4-1 win. The club had secured their first major trophy.
After the end of World War Two league football began again and Portsmouth quickly proved to the footballing masses that they were a team to be reckoned with, lifting the League title in 1949 season. The club then crowned this achievement by retaining the title the following year 1950 and becoming only one of five English teams to have won back to back championships since World War Two.
Portsmouth was the first club to hold a floodlit Football League match when they played Newcastle in 1956.
Finally under the management of Harry Redknapp Portsmouth were promoted into the Premier League and have held a solid place in the top flight since this date despite coming close to relegation a number of times.
Portsmouth went from strength to strength under the careful management of Harry Redknapp and a much-needed injection of cash. In the 2007-2008 season Portsmouth won the English F.A. Cup and qualified for the UEFA Cup qualification. They had proven themselves as a consistent and strong team.
Alas during the 2009-2010 season they had financial difficulties and were at the root of the Premier League because of there financial difficulties they were deducted 9 points due to going into Administration and subsequently relegated into the Championship league Division. They only bright part of the season was when they reached the F.A.Cup final in 2010 and lost to Chelsea.
Twenty20 Cricket – It's Founder and History
As an Englishman from a country that has created 100+ Sports and Games given to the world and a fan of most sports, I thought I would write about the latest sport given to the world which is proving a great success with the world - Twenty20 Cricket and it's history.
Twenty20 is a form of cricket originally introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each has a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket.
A Twenty20 game is completed in about three and half hours, with each innings lasting around 75 minutes, thus bringing the game closer to the timespan of other popular team sports. It was introduced to create a lively form of the game which would be attractive to spectators at the ground and viewers on television and as such it has been very successful. The ECB did not intend that Twenty20 would replace other forms of cricket and these have continued alongside it.
The idea of a shortened format of the game at a professional level was discussed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 1998 and 2001.
When the Benson and Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one day competition to fill its place. The cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game. Stuart Robertson, the marketing manager of the ECB, proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11-7 in favour of adopting the new format. A media group was invited to develop a name for the new game and Twenty20 was the chosen title. Twenty20 cricket is also known as T20 cricket.
Historical Dates of Twenty20
1) Twenty20 Introduced in England for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003.
2) On 10th January 2005 Australia's first Twenty20 game was played at the WACA between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sell out crowd of 20, 700.
3) Starting 11th July 2006 19 West Indies regional teams competed in what was named the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The event has been financially backed by billionaire Allen Stanford who gave at least US$28,000,000 funding money. West Indies legends also backed the programme, and several "looked after" the teams during their stay in and around the purpose built ground in Antigua. It was intended that the tournament would be an annual event. Guyana won the inaugural event, defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 5 wickets. The top prize for the winning team was US$1,000,000, but other prizes were given throughout the tournament, such as play of the match (US$10,000) and man of the match (US$25,000).
4) On 1st November 2008 the Superstars West Indies team (101-0/12.5 overs) beat England (99/all out) by 10 wickets. England slumped to 33-4 and then 65-8 after 15 overs before Samit Patel's 22 took them to 99 in 19.5 overs, still easily their lowest Twenty20 total. Chris Gayle scored an impressive 65 runs not out.
5) On 5th January 2007 Queenslands Bulls played the New South Wales Blues at The Gabba, Brisbane. A crowd of 11,000 was expected based on pre-match ticket sales. However, an unexpected 16,000 turned up on the day to buy tickets, causing disruption and confusion for surprised Gabba staff as they were forced to throw open gates and grant many fans free entry. Attendance reached 27,653.
6) For 1st February 2008's Twenty20 match between Australia and India, 84,041 people attended the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground involving the Twenty20 World Champions against the ODI World Champions.
7) Twenty20 attracted billions of fans to the game through the Indian Premier League. The first Indian Premier League which was staged in India in 2008 changed the face of the game. The league involved over hundreds of players contracted and over billion dollars investment. It was won by Rajasthan Royals with the Chennai Super Kings finishing as runners-up.
8) The second edition was staged in South Africa which was won by Deccan Charges beating the Royal Challengers in the final.
9) The third edition was played in India despite the many challenges and controversies surrounding the league which was won by the Chennai Super Kings with Mumbai Indians finishing as the runners-up.
10) On 17th February 2005 Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men's full international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland.
11) The first Twenty20 international in England was played between England and Australia at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire on the 13th June 2005, which England won, by a record margin of 100 runs.
12) On 9th January 2006 Australia and South Africa met in the first international Twenty20 game in Australia. In a first, each player's nickname appeared on the back of his uniform, rather than his surname.
Since its inception the game has spread around the cricket world. On most international tours there is at least one Twenty20 match and most Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition. The inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India winning by five runs against Pakistan in the final. Pakistan won the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 defeating Sri Lanka by eight wickets. England won the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 defeating Australia in the final by 7 wickets.
In June 2009, speaking at the annual Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's, a former Australian wicket-keeper pushed for Twenty20 to be made an Olympic Sports. "It would," he said, "be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world." Earliest Horse Races – England 12th Century
I thought as English Horse Races are famous worldwide I thought my article on the earliest English horse races would be of interest to horse lovers and readers from all over world. The origins of modern racing lies in the 12th century, when English knights returned from the Crusades with swift Arab horses.
Over the next 400 years, an increasing number of Arab stallions were imported and bred to English mares to produce horses that combined speed and endurance. Matching the fastest of these animals in two-horse races for a private wager became a popular diversion of the nobility.
Horse racing began to become a professional sport during the reign (1702-14) of Queen Anne, when match racing gave way to races involving several horses on which the spectators wagered. Racecourses sprang up all over England, offering increasingly large purses to attract the best horses. These purses in turn made breeding and owning horses for racing profitable.
With the rapid expansion of the sport came the need for a central governing authority. In 1750 racing's elite met at Newmarket to form the English Jockey Club, which to this day exercises complete control over English racing.
The English Jockey Club wrote complete rules of racing and sanctioned racecourses to conduct meetings under those rules. Standards defining the quality of races soon led to the designation of certain races as the ultimate tests of excellence. Since 1814, five races for three-year-old horses have been designated as "classics." Three races, open to male horses (colts) and female horses (fillies), make up the English Triple Crown: the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby (see DERBY, THE), and the St. Leger Stakes. Two races, open to fillies only, are the 1,000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks.
The Jockey Club also took steps to regulate the breeding of racehorses. James Weatherby, whose family served as accountants to the members of the Jockey Club, was assigned the task of tracing the pedigree, or complete family history, of every horse racing in England. In 1791 the results of his research were published as the Introduction to the General Stud Book. From 1793 to the present, members of the Weatherby family have meticulously recorded the pedigree of every foal born to those racehorses in subsequent volumes of the General Stud Book.
By the early 1800s the only horses that could be called "Thoroughbreds" and allowed to race were those descended from horses listed in the General Stud Book. Thoroughbreds are so inbred that the pedigree of every single animal can be traced back father-to-father to one of three stallions, called the "foundation sires." These stallions were the Byerley Turk, foaled c.1679; the Darley Arabian, foaled c.1700; and the Godolphin Arabian, foaled c.1724.
Overseas Horse Racing
The British settlers brought horses and horse racing with them to the New World, with the first racetrack laid out on Long Island as early as 1665. Although the sport became a popular local pastime, the development of organized racing did not arrive until after the Civil War. (The American Stud Book was begun in 1868.) For the next several decades, with the rapid rise of an industrial economy, gambling on racehorses, and therefore horse racing itself, grew explosively; by 1890, 314 tracks were operating across the country.
In 1894 the America's most prominent track and stable owners met in New York to form an American Jockey Club, modeled on the English Jockey Club, which soon ruled racing with an iron hand.
The Grand National – England 1839
I thought as The Grand National is an Iconic English Horse race, I thought it would be interesting to fans of English Horse racing to know It's history. The origins of the Grand National can be traced back to the first official races at Aintree which were initiated by the owner of Liverpool's Waterloo Hotel, Mr William Lynn. Lynn who leased the land from Lord Sefton, built a course, built a grandstand and staged the first Grand National onTuesday February 26th 1839 and Lottery became the first winner of The Grand National. In those days the field had to jump a stone wall (now the water jump), cross a stretch of ploughed land and finished over two hurdles.
The Grand National in the days of the Topham family owned substantial tracts of land around Aintree and had been involved with the management of the course since the early years of the Aintree Meeting. In 1949 Lord Sefton sold the course to the Tophams who appointed ex-Gaiety Girl Mirabel Topham to manage it. Mrs Topham built a new track within the established National Racecourse and named it after Lord Mildmay, a fine amateur jockey and lover of the Grand National. The Mildmay course opened in 1953, the same year as the motor circuit which still encircles the track.
The motor circuit was another of Mrs Topham's ideas and it quickly gained a reputation as one the best in the world hosting a European Grand Prix and five British Grand Prix. Stirling Moss won his first Grand Prix on it in 1955 while Jim Clark won the 1962 event.
Aintree Racecourse suffered some lean times in the post-war years and in 1965 it was announced that the course would be sold to a property developer. In 1973 the Tophams finally sold the course to property developer Bill Davies who gave a commitment to keep the race going however he was not a real racing fan. As a result the attendance at the 1975 Liverpool Grand National was the smallest in living memory (Davies had tripled the admission price) and the great race reached its lowest point.
Ladbrokes, the bookmaker made a bold bid in 1975 and signed an agreement with Davies allowing them to manage the Grand National.
Ladbrokes, like all true racing professionals, had a genuine love for the National and were determined to keep it alive. Their task stretched over the next eight years and they set about it admirably but Davies was reluctant to renew their contract. He was determined to sell Aintree.
Racing and the public in general finally realised that after so many years of "crying wolf" the threat was serious and a huge campaign was launched to rescue the race once and for all.
Donations from the public helped the Jockey Club pay Davies' price and in early '83 he finally sold the racecourse. That year the Grand National was sponsored by the Sun newspaper but in '84 Seagram Distillers stepped in to provide the solid foundation on which Aintree's revival has been built.
The last Seagram-sponsored National was in 1991 when the race was won by a horse which chairman Straker twice had the opportunity to buy; the horse's name was Seagram.
The Seagram subsidiary, Martell, took over sponsorship in 1992. Martell backs the whole three-day Grand National meeting. Around 100,000 people will be at Aintree to watch the top horses battle for honours.
By far the most successful and my favourite horse in Grand National history was Red Rum, the only horse to win three times, in 1973, 1974, and in 1977. He also came second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976. In 1973, he beat the champion Crisp who had to carry 12 stone, in what is arguably the most memorable Grand National of all time.
Aintree racecourse has overcome all the obstacles and today enjoys its most successful period in modern times. Future plans include a new grandstand, a Heritage Centre and a strong ambition to establish Aintree as an international tourist attraction on non-racedays.
Below is a list of the Past Winners of the Grand National:
Wild Man From Borneo
1916–18 see below
1941–45 no race [b]
Well to Do
Rhyme 'n' Reason
race void [c]
Comply or Die
Don't Push It
The 1843 winner Vanguard was trained at Lord Chesterfield's private stables at Bretby Hall
The race was abandoned from 1941 to 1945 because of World War II
The 1993 running was declared void because some of the horses failed to be called back after a false start.
Unofficial winners Pre-1839
The first official running of the "Grand National" is now considered to be the 1839 Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. There had been a similar race for several years prior to this, but its status as an official Grand National was revoked some time between 1862 and 1873.
For three years during World War 1, the Grand National could not be run at Aintree, and so a substitute event was held at another racecourse, Gatwick. This venue is now defunct, and it is presently the site of Garwick Airport. The course was modified to make it similar to Aintree, and the races were contested over the same distance, with one less fence to be jumped.
The 1916 running was titled the Racecourse Association Steeplechase, and for the next two years it was known as the War National.
Please visit my Horse racing and Jockeys on Art Prints Collection @ http://www.fabprints.com/HORSES.html
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race – It's Fun History
I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the history of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race as It's one of the most famous boat races in the world and is one of England's greatest sporting Icon competition's.
The event generally known as "The Boat Race" is a rowing race in England between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club. The teams comprised of Eight rowers in each team with a cox in the bow who would control the speed of the boat.
The race is between competing eights, each spring on the Thames in London. It takes place generally on the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April.
The formal title of the event is the Xchanging Boat Race, and it is also known as the University Boat Race and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
The event is a popular one, not only with the alumni of the universities, but also with rowers in general and the public. An estimated quarter of a million people watch the race live from the banks of the river, around seven to nine million people on TV in the UK, and an overseas audience estimated by the Boat Race Company at around 120 million, which would make this the most viewed single day sporting event in the world. However, other sources estimate that the international audience is below 20 million.
Members of both teams are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a “Blue Boat” with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. The first race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars. The most recent race was on Saturday, 3 April 2010 at 4.30pm with Cambridge (on the Middlesex Station) winning.
Full Results by Year
01829-06-10 10 June 1829
01836-06-17 17 June 1836
01839-04-03 3 April 1839
01840-04-15 15 April 1840
01841-04-14 14 April 1841
01842-06-11 11 June 1842
01845-03-15 15 March 1845
01846-04-03 3 April 1846
01849-04-29 29 April 1849
01849-12-15 15 December 1849
01852-04-03 3 April 1852
01854-04-08 8 April 1854
01856-03-15 15 March 1856
01857-04-04 4 April 1857
01858-03-27 27 March 1858
01859-04-15 15 April 1859
01860-03-31 31 March 1860
01861-03-23 23 March 1861
01862-04-12 12 April 1862
01863-03-28 28 March 1863
01864-03-19 19 March 1864
01865-04-08 8 April 1865
01866-03-24 24 March 1866
01867-04-13 13 April 1867
01868-04-04 4 April 1868
01869-03-17 17 March 1869
01870-04-06 6 April 1870
01871-04-01 1 April 1871
01872-03-23 23 March 1872
01873-03-29 29 March 1873
01874-03-28 28 March 1874
01875-03-20 20 March 1875
01876-04-08 8 April 1876
01877-03-24 24 March 1877
01878-04-13 13 April 1878
01879-04-05 5 April 1879
01880-03-22 22 March 1880
01881-04-08 8 April 1881
01882-04-01 1 April 1882
01883-03-15 15 March 1883
01884-04-07 7 April 1884
01885-03-28 28 March 1885
01886-04-03 3 April 1886
01887-03-26 26 March 1887
01888-03-24 24 March 1888
01889-03-30 30 March 1889
01890-03-26 26 March 1890
01891-03-21 21 March 1891
01892-04-09 9 April 1892
01893-03-22 22 March 1893
01894-03-17 17 March 1894
01895-03-30 30 March 1895
01896-03-28 28 March 1896
01897-04-03 3 April 1897
01898-03-26 26 March 1898
01899-03-25 25 March 1899
01900-03-31 31 March 1900
01901-03-30 30 March 1901
01902-03-22 22 March 1902
01903-04-01 1 April 1903
01904-03-26 26 March 1904
01905-04-01 1 April 1905
01906-04-07 7 April 1906
01907-03-16 16 March 1907
01908-04-04 4 April 1908
01909-04-03 3 April 1909
01910-03-23 23 March 1910
01911-04-01 1 April 1911
01912-04-01 1 April 1912
01913-03-13 13 March 1913
01914-03-28 28 March 1914
01920-03-28 28 March 1920
01921-03-30 30 March 1921
01922-04-01 1 April 1922
01923-03-24 24 March 1923
01924-04-05 5 April 1924
01925-03-28 28 March 1925
01926-03-27 27 March 1926
01927-04-02 2 April 1927
01928-03-31 31 March 1928
01929-03-23 23 March 1929
01930-04-12 12 April 1930
01931-03-21 21 March 1931
01932-03-19 19 March 1932
01933-04-01 1 April 1933
01934-03-17 17 March 1934
01935-04-06 6 April 1935
01936-04-04 4 April 1936
01937-03-24 24 March 1937
01938-04-02 2 April 1938
01939-04-01 1 April 1939
01946-03-30 30 March 1946
01947-03-29 29 March 1947
01948-03-27 27 March 1948
01949-03-26 26 March 1949
01950-04-01 1 April 1950
01951-03-26 26 March 1951
01952-03-29 29 March 1952
01953-03-28 28 March 1953
01954-04-03 3 April 1954
01955-03-26 26 March 1955
01956-03-24 24 March 1956
01957-03-30 30 March 1957
01958-04-05 5 April 1958
01959-03-28 28 March 1959
01960-04-02 2 April 1960
01961-04-01 1 April 1961
01962-04-07 7 April 1962
01963-03-23 23 March 1963
01964-03-28 28 March 1964
01965-04-03 3 April 1965
01966-03-26 26 March 1966
01967-03-25 25 March 1967
01968-03-30 30 March 1968
01969-04-05 5 April 1969
01970-03-28 28 March 1970
01971-03-27 27 March 1971
01972-04-01 1 April 1972
01973-03-07 7 March 1973
01974-04-06 6 April 1974
01975-03-29 29 March 1975
01976-03-20 20 March 1976
01977-03-19 19 March 1977
01978-03-25 25 March 1978
01979-03-17 17 March 1979
01980-04-05 5 April 1980
01981-04-04 4 April 1981
01982-03-27 27 March 1982
01983-04-02 2 April 1983
01984-03-18 18 March 1984
01985-04-06 6 April 1985
01986-03-29 29 March 1986
01987-03-28 28 March 1987
01988-04-02 2 April 1988
01989-03-25 25 March 1989
01990-03-31 31 March 1990
01991-03-30 30 March 1991
01992-04-04 4 April 1992
01993-03-27 27 March 1993
01994-03-26 26 March 1994
01995-04-01 1 April 1995
01996-04-06 6 April 1996
01997-03-29 29 March 1997
01998-03-28 28 March 1998
01999-04-03 3 April 1999
02000-03-25 25 March 2000
02001-03-24 24 March 2001
02002-03-30 30 March 2002
02003-04-06 6 April 2003
02004-03-28 28 March 2004
02005-03-27 27 March 2005
02006-04-02 2 April 2006
02007-04-07 7 April 2007
02008-03-29 29 March 2008
02009-03-29 29 March 2009
02010-04-03 3 April 2010
Unofficial wartime races
Although the heavyweight men's eights are the main draw, the two universities compete in other rowing boat races. The main boat race is preceded by a race between the two reserve crews (called Isis for Oxford and Goldie for Cambridge).
The women's eights, women's reserve eights, men's lightweight eights and women's lightweight eights race in the Henley Boat races a week before the men's heavyweight races. There is also a 'veterans' boat race, usually held on a weekday before the main Boat Race, on the Thames between Putney and Hammersmith.
Commonwealth Games – The Friendly Games
The Commonwealth games is a sporting event that appears every 4 years and over 70 countries are represented. The Commonwealth Games are called the friendly games and the atmosphere is completely different to the Olympics. The sporting competition brought together the members of the old British Empire was first proposed by the Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire"
In 1911, the Festival of the Empire was held in come London to celebrate the Coronation of King George V. As part of the festival an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics.
In 1928, a key Canadian athlete, Bobby Robinson, was given the task of organizing the first ever Commonwealth Games. These Games were held in 1930, in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and saw the participation of 400 athletes from eleven countries.
All other nations march in English alphabetical order, except that the first nation marching in the Parade of Athletes is the host nation of the previous games, and the host nation of the current games marches last. In 2006 countries marched in alphabetical order in geographical regions.
Since then, the Commonwealth Games have been held every four years, except for the period during the Second World War. The Games have been known by various names such as the British Empire Games, Friendly Games and British Commonwealth Games. Since 1978, they have been known as the Commonwealth Games. Originally having only single competition sports, the 1998 Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur saw a major change when team sports such as cricket, hockey and netball made their first appearance.
In 2001, the Games Movement adopted the three values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny as the core values of the Commonwealth Games. These values inspire and connect thousands of people and signify the broad mandate for holding the Games within the Commonwealth.
The Games were originally known as the British Empire Games. The first Commonwealth Games were held in 1930 at Hamilton, Canada. The 10th Commonwealth Games were held at Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974, the 11th in Edmonton (Canada) in 1978, the 12th in Brisbane (Australia) in 1982, the 13th in Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1986, the 14th in Auckland (New Zealand) in 1990 and the 15th in Victoria (Canada) in 1994, where about 3,350 athletes from a record 64 nations (including South Africa, which joined the family of Commonwealth athletes after 36 years) participated. Namibia also, which gained its independence in 1990, made its debut while Hong Kong made its final appearance in the Games before being ceded to China in 1997.
Table of Past Commonwealth Games
...................Venue.............Year........No of Countries
1 Hamilton,Canada 1930 11
2 London,England 1934 16
3 Sydney, Australia 1938 15
4 Auckland, N Z 1950 12
5 Vancouver, Canada 1954 24
6 Cardiff,Wales 1958 35
7 Perth, Australia 1962 35
8 Jamaica, West Indies 1966 34
9 Edinburgh, Scotland 1970 42
10 Christchurch, N Z 1974 38
11 Edmonton, Canada 1978 48
12 Brisbane, Australia 1982 47
13 Edinburgh, Scotland 1986 26
14 Auckland, N Z 1990 55
15 Victoria, Canada 1994 64
6 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1998 70
17 Manchchester, England 2002 72
18 Melbourne, Australia 2006 76
19 New Delhi, India 2010 72
20 Glasgow, Scotland 2014
After Olympics, Commonwealth Games is the second largest sports festival in the world. The Games are held once in four years but only in between the Olympic years.
The three nations to have hosted the games the most number of times are Australia (4), Canada (4), and New Zealand (3). Furthermore, five editions have taken place in the countries within the United Kingdom. Two cities have held the games on multiple occasions: Auckland (1950 and 1990), and Edinburgh (1970 and 1986).
British Seaside Piers – History from 1391
As an Island race and surrounded by water I thought as British Seaside Piers are popular with us Brits I thought I would tell the history of Piers and list all the British Piers. There have been very few piers built since the First World War. However, due to the precarious nature of piers - they are often prey to fires, collisions, and storm damage. Today several piers have been completely changed in the period from the thirties to the present day.
The oldest Pier in England is in Cramer where there has been a pier or jetty in Cromer, Norfolk, England since 1391. Letters granting the right to levy duties for repairs suggest that attempts at maintenance seem to have gone on until 1580. In 1582, Queen Elizabeth I granted the right to the inhabitants of Cromer to export wheat, barley and malt for the maintenance of their town and towards the rebuilding of the pier.
The oldest cast iron pier in the world is Gravesend Town Pier in Kent which opened in 1834. However, it is not recognised by the National Piers Society as being a seaside pier.
There are still a significant number of piers of architectural merit still standing, although some have been lost.
The most well known piers are perhaps the two at Brighton in East Sussex and the three at Blackpool in Lancashire.
Two piers, Brighton's now derelict West Pier and Clevedon Pier were Grade 1 listed: Brighton West lost its status after a series of fires and storms. The Birnbeck Pier in Weston-Super-Mare is the only pier in the world that is linked to an island.
The National Piers Society gives a figure of 55 surviving seaside piers in England and Wales.
Herne Bay Pier
Bognor Regis Pier
Clarence Pier, Southsea
Great Yarmouth Pier
Herne Bay Pier
Lytham St Annes Pier
New Brighton Pier
South Parade Pier, Southsea
Totland, Isle of Wight Pier
Walton on the Naze Pier
Colwyn Bay Pier
Isle Of Man
In their heyday, there were many pleasure piers across England. These were found in most fashionable seaside resorts during the Victorian era.
Robert Thompson – “The Mouseman” Furniture Maker
One of the most famous Furniture makers in England in the last 80 years is the Mouseman - Richard Thompson who was born in Kilburn, Yorkshire, England on the 7th May 1876. If you love beautiful, handmade wooden furniture that's also highly collectible, you should investigate Robert Thompson's Mouseman furniture. On any piece of Robert Thompson Furniture was carved a mouse – hence his name “The Mouseman”.
The story began when one day in 1919 an offhand remark about being as poor as a church mouse, lead him to carve a mouse on the finished cornice he was working on. In that moment, a famous trademark was born - even though it wasn't registered until the 1930's.
Even though Robert Thompson adopted the mouse as his trademark, not all the furniture created in the early years had it.
The patina of the furniture, the colour and degree of adzing, the use of a specific tool to shape the timber, also aid in identifying the pieces that weren't marked with the mouse.
His mouse has changed also.
Thomson removed the front legs from the mouse design in 1930 because they tended to break off easily.
The facts the mouse has no front legs but clearly recognisable whiskers are important things to look for when you find a piece identified as Mouseman furniture for unfortunately, there are imposters. (If you're worried about fakes, check out The Vintage Mouseman. where a "Rogue's gallery" of known replicas and fakes is maintained.)
Each piece of Mouseman Furniture is truly unique. It's not made by committee. Each craftsman starts a piece of furniture and remains responsible for it from selecting the wood to carving the signature mouse. In fact, just by looking at the pieces, most avid collectors of Robert Thompson's furniture can tell which craftsman made the piece.
Inspired by the medieval oak furnishings at Ripon and York Cathedrals, Robert Thompson became determined to spend his life bringing back the spirit of craftsmanship in English Oak, and set about teaching himself how to use traditional craft tools. He soon developed a technique of finishing the surfaces of his oak furniture with a pronounced “tooled” effect using an adze, a medieval tool which had been much used in the past for roughing out the broad shapes of ships' timbers, etc, and this still remains a feature of today’s items.
Fr Paul Nevill, a former Headmaster of Ampleforth College asked Thompson to make the Ampleforth Abbey's furniture; they liked it so much that Ampleforth kept asking Thompson for more works, including the library and most of the main building. Fr Gabriel Everitt, current Headmaster, has recently asked the Mouseman company for more work. Most of Ampleforth College houses are decorated with Robert Thompson's furniture.
The “Mouseman” style was based on sound construction and a straightforward fitness for purpose, using the three basic materials of English Oak, real cowhide and wrought iron. During his working life he worked alongside architects such as Sir Giles Scott and J S Syme, who in turn have left their mark on buildings throughout the United Kingdom.
The workshop, which is now being run by his descendants includes a showroom and visitors' centre, and is located beside the Parish Church, which contains "Mouseman" Pews, fittings and other furniture. Please enter into any Search Engine The company which is now known as "Robert Thompson's Craftsmen Ltd - The Mouseman of Kilburn.". The original Robert Thompson – The Mouseman died on December 8th 1955 and is buried in the small church graveyard at Kilburn overlooking his beloved workshop, which was later extended by his two grandsons and is still in production today.
The Chinese call Britain 'The Island of Hero's' which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery.
Copyright © 2012 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.