Index to Chapter 5
- Hauntings of Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, England
- Famous Hauntings of England
- Mrs Duncan – The Last Witch to be Tried in England
- Is This Proof of Reincarnation?
- Wymering Manor House – The Most Haunted House in England
- Stonehenge and It's Eerie Past
- City of Bath, England – History and Ghosts
- List of Spooky and Ghostly IOW Hauntings
- James Herbert OBE – English Iconic Horror Author
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley– English Iconic Author
- Sir Michael Caine - English Iconic Actor
- Sir Henry Irving – Iconic English Actor Manager
- James Bond 007 – British Icon
- Dr. Who - A British TV Icon
- Sir Rex Harrison - English Iconic Actor
- Sir John Mills - English Iconic Actor
- Sir Norman Wisdom – Comic Actor and Singer
- 7th Century to Swinging Naughties - British Icons
- Swinging Sixties – British Fashion Designers
- Swinging Sixties ( London ) – British Iconic Music
- The New Romantics – 1980's London Music
- World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar
- Village of Wenlock, England – A Modern Olympic Games – 1850
- Sir Isaac Newton – Iconic Scientist
- Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882
- Lady Godiva (1040-1080 AD) – An English Icon
- English Spa Towns – Iconic Places
- Edward Somerset – English Inventor of The First Steam Engine 1653
- The First Steam Locomotive – England 1804
- Howard Carter – The Discoverer of Tutankhamen
- Sir Henry Wood – The Last Night Of The Proms
Hauntings and History of Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, England
Many years ago I worked at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, England and as its history is very interesting I thought I would write about it's fun history. The Royal Hospital Haslar began as a Royal Navy hospital in 1753. It has a long and distinguished history in the medical care of service personnel in peacetime and in war. The buildings were designed by Theodore Jacobsen and built from 1746 and completed in 1762. St Luke's Chapel was added in 1762 and later still, a landing stage was added so troops could reach the hospital directly from ships.
Haslar was the biggest hospital and the largest brick building in England when it was built. The hospital included an asylum for sailors with psychiatric disorders and an early superintending psychiatrist was the phrenologist, William Scott, a member of the influential Edinburgh Phrenological Society. James Lind at Haslar Hospital 1758-1774 played a large part in discovering a cure for scurvy, not least through his pioneering use of a double blind trial of vitamin C supplements.
Ghosts of RNH Haslar
A lot of poltergeist activity has been reported in the galley. According to a clairvoyant who worked in the hospital there are three ghosts occupying the kitchen area and many more around the hospital.
1) Michael Connelly, an Irishman who apparently likes the cooking. 'Michael' apparently like to let the galley workers know that they are there. It has been reported that all the files in the office have been tipped on the floor several times by unexplained means, and witnesses have claimed that the taps have turned on by themselves. The radio has apparently turned itself down.
2) An angry man called Derek who appears to have died from stab wounds. 'Derek' and The evening supervisor has reported that cutlery has been thrown around and it has also been claimed by witnesses that the kettle has switched itself on and that doors have opened by themselves
3) A woman called Margaret who haunts the spiral staircase. She is believed to have tripped over something before the stairs were built and died as a result. One of the Wardroom stewards claimed to have met 'Margaret' a few years ago walking up the spiral staircase. She said she met an elderly woman coming down and, thinking she was lost the steward asked her if she needed some help. However, the woman had vanished.
4) There is also a spirit who inhabits the old Senior Rates Mess. Several people have claimed that some parts of the galley are bitterly cold where the rest of it is warm; another favourite trick of all the ghosts is leaving puddles of water on the floor. Many members of the galley staff have claimed to have heard tapping on the window of the chef's office, which has encouraged them to leave for the public restaurant in a hurry.
5) Several members of staff have reported seeing the figure of a man in the corridor outside the galley. One claims to have seen a man look in the door (she went to ask if he was lost but when she got there there was nobody in sight).
6) Another reports having seen the reflection of an older man in the window (he turned around to ask if the man was looking for something, again nobody could be seen). Many people have complained that this corridor gets bitterly cold even when all the windows are shut and the heaters are on.
7) In F Block which used to be the lunatic asylum - the galley, which is opposite, used to be the yard where those in the asylum had their exercise and this area is claimed to be a 'psychic hotspot.
8) Outside the Operating Theatre's Staff have claimed to experience a sensation of being followed and most have reported a feeling of fear while being in this area. Staff members have claimed to hear footsteps as they have walked down the corridor and have admitted that they have quickened their pace while walking alone along it. Most members of the nursing staff choose to take the long route from B block to E block in order to avoid it.
A clairvoyant has claimed that the spirit residing in the corridor died because of a botched operation - an emergency procedure (as he was in immense pain), probably to save him from a blood clot. A hole was drilled in his left temple to relieve the pressure but he died in the corridor. It is claimed that he can only rest once the operation is repeated and the new patient dies. The original spirit is attempting to guide the other man's spirit back to his body. This is supposedly because there was nobody around to help him when he died.
9) In the Children's Ward A member of staff claims to have seen the ghost of a little girl who runs around the top floor of D Block. A large number of children were killed in a fire in this part of the building, but nothing specific is known about this tragedy. The area is now closed as the paediatric department has moved to another hospital.
10) In the Cellar's where I used to use to cut across the hospital (which are now closed), but before that, they were used as a short cut to the X-Ray department. In the days before anaesthetic the cellars accommodated the operating theatres and housed the insane; it has been reported that you can still hear screams and the rattling of chains. During the Second World War the cellars were once again used as operating theatres and as wards during the height of air raids.
11) In the Canada Block the money used to build this accommodation block was raised by the 'Women of Canada' during the Great War. It has been claimed that many spirits supposedly inhabit Canada Block along with unexplained noises and lights turning on and off. The ghost that most have reported seeing is that of a nurse who hanged herself during the First World War. Just to add to this, Canada Block is also built in the site of the original hospital graveyard.
12) Near St. Lukes Church an MoD Police officer described a ghost he'd witnessed while on a night patrol at St. Luke's church at Haslar Hospital. He'd seen an elderly woman walking towards the church, but when he returned less than a minute later, she had disappeared. An hour later, the hospital mortician told him about the body he'd dealt with earlier that day. The description matched that of the woman the police officer had seen.
With its history of pain and distress its not surprising that Haslar is haunted by distressed spirits.
Interesting Facts about RNH Haslar
a) In 1902 the hospital became known as the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar (abbreviated to RNH Haslar).
b) In the 1940s, RNH Haslar set up the country’s first ’blood bank’ to help treat wounded soldiers from the Second World War.
c) In 1966 the remit of the hospital expanded to serve all three services - the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
d) In 1996 the hospital again became known as the Royal Hospital Haslar.
e) In 2001 the provision of acute healthcare within Royal Hospital Haslar was transferred from the Defence Secondary Care Agency to the NHS Trust. The Royal Hospital was the last MOD-owned acute hospital in the UK. The change from military control to the NHS, and the complete closure of the hospital have been the subject of considerable local controversy.
f) The last military-run ward was ward E5, a planned orthopaedic surgery ward. The ward encompasses 21 beds in small ’rooms’, and is run by the military staff with some NHS colleagues; the ward manager is a serving military officer. The ward is served by both military and NHS doctors; the ancillary staff are non-military.
g) The ward E5 closed in 2009 along with the rest of the site and military staff will move to new posts within MDHU Portsmouth or other units around the country.
h) To mark the handover of control to the civilian NHS trust, the military medical staff marched out of RH Haslar in 2007, exercising the unit’s rights of the freedom of Gosport.
i) The staff consisted of Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army led by a band of the Royal Marines. The Gosport citizens are said to deeply saddened by the closure of Haslar and there are campaigns to keep the hospital open. Gosport politicians cite that that the UK is the only country in the Western world not to have a dedicated Military hospital, run by and for its military staff - who understand the needs and ideology of the service person. At present, most casualties from conflicts return to Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.
J) The grounds are said to contain the bodies of at least 20,000 service personnel.
In 2001 Haslar was designated a Grade II listed historic park. Several of the buildings are listed.
Famous Hauntings of England
During my life here in England I have had various supernatural experiences which has led me to list just some of the many famous hauntings which may be of interest to readers.
This is a list of the most famous haunted locations in England, there are likely to be hundreds of thousands more that are only locally known.
Airfields around the country are said to have paranormal activity arising from the spirits of airmen who died in World War II. Airfields include:
the former RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
the former RAF East Kirkby in east Lincolnshire. The control tower is haunted by a 'malign' presence
the former RAF Elsham Wolds, near the A15 just north of Barnetby in North Lincolnshire. The control tower was reportedly haunted by a friendly ghost of an airman, reported in the 1950s. Phantom Lancasters have reportedly been seen taking off at night over the A15.
Arundel Castle in Sussex is often said to be home to just four ghosts but there are more ghostly goings on between its ancient walls than first meets the visitor. The spirit of the first Earl of Arundel, who originally built the castle, is said to still haunt the Castle's Keep. Another spirit is said to be of a young woman who, stricken with grief from a tragic love affair, took her own life by jumping to her death from one of the towers. Seen by some, she is said to still haunt the castle on moonlit nights dressed in white. Another spirit is that of a 'Blue Man' who has been seen within the library since the 1630s and it is thought that he could be a Cavalier due to his time period seeming to be from King Charles I's reign. Another notable 'spirit' is that strangely of a white owl like bird. Legend tells that if the white bird is seen fluttering in one of the windows, it is an imminent warning of a death of a Castle resident or someone closely associated. It's interesting to note here that Dukes used to keep a colony of white American Owls here at the castle before its restoration. There is also mention of a servant lad who once lived at the castle who was treated very badly until beaten to his death. He is said to now haunt the kitchen area and has been seen scrubbing pots and pans. Another strange sighting was more recent in 1958 by a footman. Working late one night on the ground floor the footman was walking near the servant's quarters and saw what he thought to be a man walking in front of him when he thought he had been alone. As he got closer to the apparition the man faded and then was gone.
Bochym Manor is residence to two ghosts, the short pink lady, and an unnamed ghost who stands at one of the bedroom windows.
Belgrave Hall in Leicester, attracted attention in 1999 when a white figure was captured on CCTV. One theory is it is the daughter of a former owner.
50 Berkeley Square is reputed to be the most haunted house in London.
Blue Bell Hill in Kent, specifically the A229. This has been the site of a female phantom hitchhiker. Cars have stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker, only for her to vanish to the drivers' disbelief.
Borley Rectory in the village of Borley, Essex, England. Many sightings have been reported since 1885. The house burned down in 1939, and remains a huge source of controversy.
Brislington, once an attractive Somerset village but now a neighbourhood in Bristol, has many ghosts in pubs and hotels, houses old and new, and public spaces.
Bruce Castle in Tottenham, North London is haunted by the ghost of a woman who allegedly appears every 3 November. The ghost is thought to be Lady Coleraine, who was kept locked in a chamber within the castle by her husband.
Castle Lodge, Ludlow in Ludlow, Shropshire, is believed by many to be haunted by a young girl in Tudor dress. Some say this is Catherine of Aragon, who lived in Castle Lodge during her marriage to Prince Arthur.
Chingle Hall in the village of Goosnargh, near Preston, England. Chingle Hall, previously known as Singleton Hall, was built in 1260 by Sir Adam de Singleton. It is reputably haunted by more than one spirit.
Crowley Hall in the north of England, is supposedly haunted by the spirit of Dr. Bernard Leys. Leys ran the hall for a number of years before dying under mysterious circumstances in 1952. Sightings of ghosts have been reported since the 1970s.
Dartmouth, Devon, ancient maritime town has many modern and traditional ghost stories including (in its hinterland) some recently discovered spirits from the Bronze Age.
In Dorset an axe wielding ghost riding a horse, bareback is described by witnesses as looking like a stone age warrior.
Hampton Court Palace, home of King Henry VIII of England, whose fifth wife, Catherine Howard, is supposed to be heard screaming in the "Haunted Gallery". On December 21, 2003, CCTV footage allegedly showed someone in 16th century clothes and no face closing a fire door that, though locked, was constantly being opened without anyone near it.
Minsden Chapel in Hertfordshire is reported to be haunted by a monk climbing stairs which no longer exist.
The Old Bailey, London's main criminal court. A figure (of unclear sex) supposedly appears in the building during important trials. These appearances have been allegedly witnessed by judges, barristers and policemen.
Pluckley in Kent is listed in the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the most haunted village in England. Ghosts include a phantom coach and horses, a colonel and a highwayman.
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall has been sighted quite a few times over the years. She is so called because of the brown brocade dress she is supposedly seen wearing while wandering the halls and staircase. In 1849 a Major Loftus and a friend named Hawkins claimed to see the ghost one night after retiring to bed, saying they were amazed by the old-fashioned clothing she wore. The next night Loftus claimed to see the figure once again, saying he took note of her empty eye-sockets. The incident resulted in several members of staff resigning and a full investigation of Raynham Hall involving local detectives.
There have been a number of reported sightings at the Royal Albert Hall, including the ghost of Father Willis, walking around inside the organ and two ladies wandering the corridors.
Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire, is supposedly haunted by Lady Dorothy Southworth, known as the "White Lady". Weeping is often heard, and her ghost has been seen wandering near where her lover was buried.
Temple Newsam is reported to be the most haunted house in Yorkshire, with the most famous ghost being Mary Ingram, commonly known as "the Blue lady", who in her life became deranged after an attack by highwaymen. Ghosts linked with the more famous residents of Temple Newsam include "the White lady": this is said to be the ghost of the "nine days queen", the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey. She was executed by Mary I.
Windsor Castle — home of English and British royalty for 1,000 years. Numerous ghosts are supposed to have been seen, including Queen Elizabeth I. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, is also said to haunt Windsor castle and supposedly runs down a corridor screaming. Among those who claimed to have seen the ghost, who sometimes is said to be carrying her head, are King George VI, William Ewart Gladstone and Andrew, Duke of York.
Muncaster Castle in the Lake District National Park, Ravenglass.
Pendle Hill, near Clitheroe, Lancashire
Pendle Hill is one of the scariest places. Injuries, strange sightings, uncanny feelings of dread, and even ‘possessions', abounded.
Halloween at Pendle Hill – an appropriate time, as this beautiful area experienced English history's most famous witchcraft trials. Ten witches were hanged, accused of putting curses on locals using clay effigies.
Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex
If you settle down to watch a performance at this grand old theatre, the seat next to you might not be as empty as you think…
Actors have reported weird tobacco smells, and theatre-goers sitting with no one beside them have reported feeling a hand on their shoulder.
The spirit is thought to be that of a theatre manager who hung himself from the fly floor when the theatre got into financial difficulties. Sightings of a ‘distinguished woman in white' and the sound of a piano coming from the deserted pit add to the eerie atmosphere.
1) Macbeth's castle
Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland
The setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth (a play that's not short on its own ghosts and superstitions), Glamis is regarded by paranormal-investigator types as the most haunted castle in Britain.
Among the many alleged ghostly goings-on over the centuries have been a card game between the Earl and the devil (they are said to still play every Sunday, in a secret room within the crypt walls) and an incident a few years ago, when an Edinburgh lawyer visiting for dinner saw a lady in white float beside his car, all the way to the door. And he hadn't even had an aperitif.
1. Country house haunting
Levens Hall, near Kendal, Lake District, Cumbria
Imposing old country houses were just made to be haunted, and Levens Hall, an Elizabethan manor house with a creepy 12th-century tower, fits the bill nicely.
Once again there's a lady involved, though here it's the Grey Lady, who was, so legend tells, a gypsy who was refused food and shelter during a harsh 17th-century winter. Sometimes a black dog accompanies her, so at least she's not lonely.
There's also a lesser-spotted Pink Lady, and a phantom harpsichord player, though he or she hasn't been heard since the 1950s.
Lord Byron's ruined country pile
Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire
As well as yet another White Lady (frankly, White Ladies are ten-a-penny in the world of British hauntings), the ancestral home of Lord Byron (he of "mad, bad and dangerous to know" fame) positively throngs with phantasms.
The Goblin Friar was said to appear to the head of the Byron family before an unhappy event (such as the arrival of the gas bill).
Also, look out for the Black Friar who, in the 1930s, pointed a lost doctor to the bedroom of a lady who was about to give birth. Nice to know that ghosts aren't always moody and unhelpful.
· A visitation in the pews
St Mary's Church, Beaminster, Dorset
In the spring of 1728 a boy from the school within the church, John Daniel, was found dead near his home. As he was known to suffer from fits, he was buried without an inquest.
A few days later, some schoolboys found a coffin in the church, with John Daniel sitting next to it. Presently, the apparition and coffin disappeared.
The magistrate was believed the boys, and had the body exhumed. John Daniel was found to have been strangled. No one was apprehended for the crime.
So it's more of an historical haunting, but would you spend a night in St Mary's?
· Yorkshire's most haunted inn
The Busby Stoop Inn, Thirsk, North Yorkshire
At this windswept Yorkshire pub, you can't move at the bar for parapsychologists, such is the place's renown.
The murderer Thomas Busby's remains were hanged outside the pub after his execution in 1702. He had been the landlord, a boozy thief who killed his father-in-law with a hammer.
Busby cursed the chair he was dragged from by the cops, and anyone who sat in it afterward was said to have died soon afterward. The chair is now in a local museum, but Busby's ghost is still spotted, his head drooping and a rope around his neck.
· Celebrity ghosts: The Tower of London
As it was the location of violent, bloody tortures and executions for hundreds of years, it's little wonder the Tower of London is London's ghost-central.
And because of the erstwhile English penchant for beheadings, it's home to some classic headless spectres, many of them veritable celebrities.
Anne Boleyn is said to walk the corridors in a headless state, and also to promenade on Tower Green with her head intact. Sir Walter Raleigh has been spotted, too.
Dogs, it's said, will not enter the spooky Salt Tower. There are also two anonymous ghosts known, not very originally, as the Grey Lady and the White Lady.
· Pagan burial site
The Ram Inn, Wooton under Edge, Gloucestershire
Lots of inns in the UK claim to be the ‘most haunted', but by general consensus, The 12th-century Ram Inn is the daddy.
It was converted into a private residence in 1968, but that hasn't affected its legendary status in the annals of the paranormal. Child sacrifice and black magic practices are alleged to have taken place here.
The Bishop's Room is the hotspot: visitors have reported apparitions, unexplained noises, ghostly orbs and even a spectral cat. To cap it all, the Ram is supposed to have been built on an old pagan burial site.
True Spooky Stories – Called Fate, Bibles, Witches and Castles
During my lifetime I have had many various supernatural experiences including hearing of stories that brings a chill to the back of the neck. Please don't start reading these stories after dark - you have been warned. The first of four stories concerns Fate.
The sport of Cricket has been played in one form or another for over 1,000 years in England. The game consists of 11 players per side and the object of the game is to bowl out the batsman who is defending a set of wickets.
Fate – Gods Revenge
Many years ago in a Hampshire Village in England there was a Cricket Match being played. Going into bat was Jack Smith aged 28 years of age, who had played for his team for many years. During the course of his innings he hit many runs and reached 55 when the weather changed and started to get grey and overcast.
Just as he was about to make a run, after hitting the ball, Lightening appeared from nowhere and struck him on the foot and knocked him a distance of many metres.
Suffice to say, he was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital where he was treated for slight burns and nerve damage.
Over the next twelve months he recuperated and finally recovered from his shocking experience.
One day he was sitting watching TV when he received a visit from his old cricketing pal, Bill. It transpired that the cricket team were short of players and Jack was asked if he would like to play a match the following Sunday. After much persuasion, he agreed to play for the village team the following Sunday.
The sun was bright and hot that Sunday with lots of spectators watching including his parents. The game progressed with the opposition making 158 runs all out. Then Jacks team went into bat with the hot sun still shining and just before Tea Jacks team were on 76 for 4 wickets when a team mate was bowled. It was Jack's turn to bat, so on he walked to the crease and waited with bated breath for the first ball. All of a sudden the weather changed and it became very dark and cloudy and before he could hit the first ball an almighty bang and lightening strike hit Jack on the head and he was thrown over 100 Metres, dead as a dodo.
I was told this true story by one of the Cricket Players who happened to also be a good friend. In truth, he asked me to play that same match but I was too busy to play (thank god) I believe in fate and God and I believe that when your time is up your time is up.
The Haunted Bible
The second story concerns my life in Gosport when I was 13 years old. One day my step mother and her friend went to a house contents sale where my step mother brought a silver covered bible. About a week later our TV went on the blink and a repairman was called in to sort out the problem.
The doorbell rang and at the door stood the TV repairman. He refused to enter the house because he felt an evilpresence and he described and asked if there was a bible with a silver cross on the cover. When he was told that, yes it was a recent acquisition, the repairman told my step mother to burn the bible to cleanse the evil presence. This she did and when the TV repairman returned he told her the evil had gone. Months later she read in the paper that the TV repairman had been sacked for scaring customers with his psychic abilities.
The Hauntings at Arundel Castle
· The third story concerns Arundel Castle in Sussex is often said to be home to just four ghosts but there are more ghostly goings on between its ancient walls than first meets the visitor. The spirit of the first Earl of Arundel, who originally built the castle, is said to still haunt the Castle's Keep. Another spirit is said to be of a young woman who, stricken with grief from a tragic love affair, took her own life by jumping to her death from one of the towers. Seen by some, she is said to still haunt the castle on moonlit nights dressed in white. Another spirit is that of a 'Blue Man' who has been seen within the library since the 1630s and it is thought that he could be a Cavalier due to his time period seeming to be from King Charles I's reign. Another notable 'spirit' is that strangely of a white owl like bird. Legend tells that if the white bird is seen fluttering in one of the windows, it is an imminent warning of a death of a Castle resident or someone closely associated. It's interesting to note here that Dukes used to keep a colony of white American Owls here at the castle before its restoration. There is also mention of a servant lad who once lived at the castle who was treated very badly until beaten to his death. He is said to now haunt the kitchen area and has been seen scrubbing pots and pans. Another strange sighting was more recent in 1958 by a footman. Working late one night on the ground floor the footman was walking near the servant's quarters and saw what he thought to be a man walking in front of him when he thought he had been alone. As he got closer to the apparition the man faded and then was gone.
Stonehenge and It's Eerie Past
One of the most spooky experiences I have ever had was driving past Stonehenge, during a cold misty winter's night, with the light of a full moon reflecting of the stone's. As this is one of the most English iconic sights in the world I thought I would write about it's history. For 5000 years, the structure on Salisbury Plain has continued to baffle and intrigue all those who have considered it and it seems it will continue to do so for many more years to come. Stonehenge is a World heritage site which is older than the Pyramids.
Criss Crossing the English countryside are Leylines which are Psychic lines of force that surround Stonehenge and where the Leylines cross forces of Psychic energy is released. This could explain why the area surrounding Salisbury and Stonehenge is famous for the appearance of a number of “Crop Circles”.
The mystery of the Stone Circles lies more in their ancient majesty than in the enigma of when they were built, or by whom—more in their magic than their history. Of course, interest in the origin of, say, Stonehenge, is as sizeable as the monument itself, and the debate as to how it was built by cavemen — or indeed, a lost civilization of some scientific and cultural achievement — rages on.
But whatever your take, the fact remains that if you’ve ever spent the night at Stonehenge, or any other stone circle for that matter, you will likely have experienced something really quite special—something that embodies in a very real way what could never be experienced simply by crunching the numbers.
Without question something tangible occurs when you enter the inner circle of Stonehenge at midnight. The air stills. The giants come alive. Magic happens.
And it’s that magic more than any facts or figures that informs you of what Stonehenge is all about. If you’ve never done it, I recommend you do. Permission needs to be gained from the relevant authorities and a small fee is required. But it’s worth it.
Stonehenge can be referred to as a monument of the prehistoric times located in Wiltshire (an English country) at around 3.2 kilometers to the west of ‘Amesbury’ and thirteen kilometers to the north of ‘Salisbury’. It is considered to be amongst the most amazing prehistoric sites of the world. A round setting of huge standing stones with earthworks in the centre- comprises the Stonehenge. As per the archaeological survey, the erection of standing stones can be traced back to 2200 BC. The survey also states that the ditch and round earth bank surrounding the monument trace back to 3100 BC.
The Time line in the Building of Stonehenge
Four huge Mesolithic post holes have been found by certain archaeologists. They trace back to 8000 BC. They are said to lie underneath the modern tourist car park. Neolithic sites such as tombs having long barrows and causewayed enclosure were constructed in the landscape.
2) Stonehenge (3100 BC)
The 1st monument comprised of a round bank and enclosure of ditch made up of Seaford chalk belonging to Santonian Age. It had a diameter of approximately 110 metres. Bones of oxen and deer were placed at the ditch’s bottom.
3) Stonehenge (3000 BC)
The second phase has not left much evidence. From the appearance of some of the postholes, one can have a guess that timber structure had been built after the first phase. ‘Grooved ware’ pottery was the specialty of this phase.
4) Stonehenge (2600 BC)
This phase suggests that timber was replaced by stone. The site’s center had two concentric holes (R and Q holes) dug. Widening of northeastern entrance had taken place.
5) Stonehenge (2450 BC-2100 BC)
This phase marked the buying of thirty ‘Oligocene-Miocene’ sarsen stones from quarry on Malborough Downs.
6) Stonehenge BlueStones
By this time, bronze era had already dawned. Bluestones had been re-erected. This was the first ever event of that time.
7) Stonehenge (2280 BC-1930 BC)
The bluestones were further rearranged by placing them in circle. Altar stone was made to stand vertically. A horseshoe-shaped setting was created thereafter.
8) After the Construction (1600 BC)
During this Iron Age, Vespasian’s Camp, a hill fort was built near Avon.
City of Bath, England – History and Ghosts
Bath is one of my favourite English City's full of history and Ghosts. It is one of the most attractive city's in layout and history and is famous for it's Spa and Baths. The archaeological evidence shows that the site of the Roman Baths main spring was treated as a shrine by the Celts, and dedicated to the goddess Sulis. There is a legend that Bath was founded in 860 BC when Prince Bladud, father of King Lear, caught leprosy. He was banned from the court and was forced to look after pigs. The pigs also had a skin disease but after they wallowed in hot mud they were cured. Prince Bladud followed their example and was also cured. Later he became king and founded the city of Bath.
The Romans probably occupied Bath shortly after the Roman Invasion of Britain in 43AD. They knew it as Aquae Sulis ('the waters of Sul'), identifying the goddess with Minerva.
In Roman times the worship of Sulis Minerva continued and messages to her scratched onto metal have been recovered from the Sacred Spring by archaeologists. These are known as curse tablets. Written in Latin, and usually laid curses on other people, whom they feel had done them wrong. For example, if a citizen had his clothes stolen at the Baths, he would write a curse on a tablet, to be read by the Goddess Sulis Minerva, and also, the "suspected" names would be mentioned. The collection from Bath is the most important found in Britain.
It has been suggested that Bath may have been the site of the Battle of Mons Badonicus (circa 500 AD), where King Arthur is said to have defeated the Saxons, but this is disputed. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mentions Bath falling to the West Saxons in 577 after the Battle of Deorham.
The Anglo-Saxons called the town Baðum, Baðan or Baðon, meaning "at the baths," and this was the source of the present name. In 675, Osric, King of the Hwicce, set up a monastic house at Bath, probably using the walled area as its precinct. King Offa of Mercia gained control of this monastery in 781 and rebuilt the church, which was dedicated to St. Peter. Bath had become a royal possession. The old Roman street pattern was by now lost, and King Alfred laid out the town afresh, leaving its south-eastern quadrant as the abbey precinct. Edgar of England was crowned king of England in Bath Abbey in 973.
King William Rufus granted the city to a royal physician, John of Tours, who became Bishop of Wells and Abbot of Bath in 1088. It was papal policy for bishops to move to more urban seats, and he translated his own from Wells to Bath. He planned and began a much larger church as his cathedral, to which was attached a priory, with the bishop's palace beside it. New baths were built around the three springs. Later bishops, however, returned the episcopal seat to Wells, while retaining the name of Bath in their title.
By the 15th century, Bath's abbey church was badly dilapidated and in need of repairs. Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, decided in 1500 to rebuild it on a smaller scale. The new church was completed just a few years before Bath Priory was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII. The abbey church was allowed to become derelict before being restored as the city's parish church in the Elizabethan period, when the city revived as a spa. The baths were improved and the city began to attract the aristocracy. Bath was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth 1 and a Royal Charter in 1590. From then on Bath had a mayor and aldermen. There were some improvements in the little town. Bellots almshouses were built in 1609. In 1615 a 'scavenger' was appointed to clean the streets of Bath. In 1633 thatched roofs were banned because of the risk of fire.
However like all towns Bath suffered from outbreaks of the plague. It struck in 1604, 1625, 1636 and 1643.
There had been much rebuilding in the Stuart period, but this was eclipsed by the massive expansion of Bath in Georgian times. The old town within the walls was also largely rebuilt. This was a response to the continuing demand for elegant accommodation for the city's fashionable visitors, for whom Bath had become a pleasure resort as well as a spa. The architects John Wood the elder and his son John Wood the younger laid out the new quarters in streets and squares, the identical facades of which gave an impression of palatial scale and classical decorum. The creamy gold of Bath stone further unified the city, much of it obtained from the limestone Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines under Combe Down, which were owned by Ralph Allen (1694–1764). The latter, in order to advertise the quality of his quarried limestone, commissioned the elder John Wood to build him a country house on his Prior Park estate. A shrewd politician, he dominated civic affairs and became mayor several times.
The early 18th century saw Bath acquire its first purpose-built theatre, pump room and Assembly Rooms. Master of Ceremonies Beau Nash, who presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761, drew up a code of behaviour for public entertainments.
By the 1801 census the population of Bath had reached 40020 making it amongst the largest cities in Britain.
William Thomas Beckford bought a house in Lansdown Crescent in 1822, eventually buying a further two houses in the Crescent to form his residence. Having acquired all the land between his home and the top of Lansdown Hill, he created a garden over half a mile in length and built Beckford's Tower at the top.
Bath Spa Rail Station was built in 1840 for the Great Western Railway by Brunel and is a grade II listed building.
Between the evening of 25th April and the early morning of 27th April 1942 Bath suffered three air raids in reprisal for RAF raids on the German cities of Lübeck & Rostock. The three raids formed part of the Luftwaffe campaign popularly known as the Baedeker Blitz: they damaged or destroyed more than 19,000 buildings, and killed more than 400 people. Much damage was done to noteworthy buildings. Houses in the Royal Crescent, Circus and Paragon were burnt out along with the Assembly Rooms, while the south side of Queen Square was destroyed. All have since been reconstructed.
Bath is a very haunted city and below is a list of the more famous ghosts:
The man in the black hat
Easily Bath's most famous and most-seen ghost, the man in the black hat is dressed in late 18th-century attire and sometimes wears a billowing black cloak. He's regularly seen around the Assembly Rooms. For the best results, look for him at Saville Row and Bennett Street.
Several ghosts have appeared in the vicinity of Freezing Hill, just outside Bath. Most of these phantoms are from the 17th century, when this hill was the site of the bloody Battle of Lansdown.
The best opportunity to see these ghosts is from The Park, a 240 acre estate featuring a Jacobean mansion that is now an hotel. You can also enjoy a fine meal at The Oakwood Restaurant, and play golf at their Crown and Cromwell courses.
The Royal Crescent
It's not a movie that's being filmed at the Royal Crescent when you see an elegant coach drawn by four horses. Instead, you're witnessing a residual haunting, repeating the elopement of Elizabeth Linley of No. 11, with Irish playwright and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
Sheridan was not Miss Linley's only suitor. Captain Thomas Mathews (a married man) and Lord Sheridan fought two duels--with swords--over the lovely Miss Linley.
Sheridan may have won her hand in marriage, but he later proved unfaithful. Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis and died at age 38. A bronze plaque at number 11 Royal Crescent marks the address from which she eloped.
The Theatre Royal the Garrick's Head pub
The Theatre Royal and Garrick's Head are next door to each other. Their ghost stories seem to be interwoven, and the ghosts congenially wander from one building to the other.
At least two ghosts appear in this area. One is an unfaithful wife and the other is her lover, from the 18th century. The lover was killed by the husband, and the wife committed suicide. Look for a woman (some say there are at least two) in a grey dress. The lover is handsome and well-dressed.
A second anomaly is noted at the Theatre Royal: A tortoiseshell butterfly appears there during the pantomime run each year, which is not butterfly season.
Many visit this former home of Richard "Beau" Nash for the fine food. However, the restaurant hosts at least two ghosts, both of them women. One is Juliana Popjoy, the 18th-century mistress of Beau Nash.
The other ghost is Janice (or perhaps Janet). She is more modern, dressed in attire best suited to the 1960's. She dines alone and looks perfectly normal until she vanishes.
The Beehive Public House
'Bunty', a serving girl from the Victorian Era or slightly earlier, appears in the kitchen of The Beehive, a popular Bath public house.
Crystal Palace Tavern
A hooded figure--perhaps a monk--appears at this tavern when he is concerned that the structure may change, such as during repairs or redecorating. He usually appears briefly and is fairly transparent.
Julia, of Queens Square
This jilted bride has been seen strolling around the Square in her white gown.
Today Bath continues to thrive on tourism. Moreover in 2006 a new spa opened in Bath so perhaps the old glory days will return! Today the population of Bath is 85,000.
Famous Hauntings of The Isle Of Wight, England
The Isle of Wight is one of my favourite places to visit and stay. In the late 1970's we had a family holiday on the Isle of Wight and stayed in a Holiday Caravan. The island is famous for its Hauntings of places and houses and I thought it would be interesting to write about these spooky going – ons. The first Ghost Story concerns Dimbola Lodge which was the home of the famous 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. It is said her ghost haunts the museum and the visitors have reported the smell of photographic chemicals.
This small island is home to hundreds of ghosts and spooky happenings. There are all sorts of Isle of Wight ghosts - from phantom monks, grey ladies and poltergeists - to the shades of smugglers, soldiers, Royalty and Romans. There are ghostly murderers and their victims, ghost-ships out at sea, and even a ghost-train still running on long vanished rails.
With the Island´s rich historical heritage, its violent and colourful past, it´s not surprising that ghostly goings-on and haunting echoes of those turbulent times continue to reverberate through 21st century. Hundreds of unquiet and restless Isle of Wight ghosts have been reported here in Hotels, Hospitals, manor houses, Pubs, Shops and offices, while the spirits of smugglers and shipwrecked seamen walk lonely West Wight beaches.
List of Spooky and Ghostly IOW Hauntings
As a visitor to the IOW I thought I would list some spooky stories.
APPULDURCOMBE HOUSE, Wroxall. This handsome haunted mansion with its 365 windows and 52 rooms is now a shell of its former self. The ghosts however, remain. They include a phantom carriage, brown-clad monks, dark shapes glimpsed flitting through the grounds. A baby´s cry is heard, and unseen hands regularly leaf through pages of the visitors´ book. KNIGHTON GORGES, Newchurch. Known as the Island´s most haunted place, every New Year´s Eve, people gather to wait for the ghostly house to re-appear. A pair of weathered stone gateposts are all that remain of the manor house of Knighton Gorges, yet it lives on, its blood-red history a testament to murder, suicide, insanity, malice, and a gallery of ghosts. A coach and horses, poltergeist lights, phantom revels and tales of stone creatures seen upon the gate pillars are just a few of the spooky happenings in this strange place. A brutal family murder and a young girl pushed from a window to her death are at the heart of the hauntings here. A little child in a blue dress is regularly seen and heard, crying "Mama Mama". Other regular visitors are ghostly monks, whose grave chanting is heard, while the figure of a woman wearing a cherry-red gown has also been seen.
Carisbrook Castle For more than nine centuries it has stood firm against attack, but within its walls, ghosts roam. In the famous well house where donkeys work the wooden tread wheel, the face of a dead girl who drowned in the160ft deep well, has been seen. A mysterious cloaked figure, with four dainty lap dogs, walks the castle grounds. Other phantoms include a Victorian lady in grey and tragic Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Charles I, who died a prisoner here.
HARE AND HOUNDS
Arreton Murderous woodcutter Micah Morey who killed his young grandson in cold blood in 1737, was tried and hanged, and his corpse left rotting on the gibbet at Gallows Hill, near the Hare and Hounds, until it became ´an offence to eye and nostril´. The gibbet crossbeam, complete with a notch cut in it beside the date of his execution can be seen in the pub. Morey´s restless spirit can also be seen, roaming Gallows Hill, carrying a large axe.
VENTNOR BOTANIC GARDENS
For almost a century, the world-renowned chest hospital Royal National Hospital specialised in treating the killer disease, tuberculosis. When the half-mile long building was demolished in 1969, the site was transformed into gardens. The hospital was haunted long before this, and even today long-dead patients are still seen and heard. Ghostly weeping, groaning, and smells of ether are reported. A sickly, consumptive-looking ghost, and phantom nurses in old-fashioned uniforms walk the gardens.
THE PUB THAT VANISHED
You may never find this one, but have fun trying! One dark November night, two Island men set out from Newtown, on what became the strangest night of their lives. They came upon a pub - the Falcon or the Vulcan - where they shared a drink with some unsociable spirits. The drab bar felt unwelcoming and cold. Hostile eyes turned towards the two strangers and all conversation ceased. They drank up quickly and left. The strange old-fashioned pub, which was along a narrow lane somewhere between Newtown and Calbourne, has never been seen again. Despite repeated attempts, neither the lane nor ghostly pub has ever been found.
Northwood House, Cowes Old Town. Northwood House is a Grade II listed Victorian residence built by the Ward family in 1837. It was donated under Trust to the town in 1929, the grounds becoming Northwood Park. Between 1902 and 1906, it was occupied by French Benedictine nuns, and the ghost of one of these sisters can be seen flitting through the park at night. Old stone tunnels under the park were once used by smugglers and, in cellars under the house, the ghost of a grinning pirate appears. On a still night, the sound of boxes and kegs being moved around in the empty cellars can sometimes be heard!
Ghosts of Godshill Church.The Norman church at Godshill is associated with a legend that is common throughout Britain with slight variations. Tradition tells that the original site of the church was towards the Southwest, but each night the stones of the church were moved by an unknown agency on to the hill where the church now stands. The builders of the church wanted to discover who was moving the stones and posted a watch of two guards during the night. While keeping vigil they were astonished to see the stones move up the hill of their own volition. This was taken to be a sign from God that the church should be built of the hill, and the site was named Godshill afterwards. In other traditions it was actually the fairies who moved the stones. The meaning of this folklore motif is obscure, but it has been suggested that it has its roots in the fact that many churches were built on top of older places of worship.
Haunting of St Catherines Lighthouse in Niton Village. St Catherine's Lighthouse is situated in Niton Undercliffe, 5 miles from Ventnor and was built in 1838 following the loss of the ship called The Clarendon on rocks near to the present location. It's Lighthouse haunted by a dark burley man.
The Ghosts of Osborne House Osborne House is haunted by many Spirits in the rooms and hallways. One of the ghosts is supposed to be that of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow.
Mrs Duncan – The Last Witch to be Tried in England
The fourth story concerns the last person to be tried as a witch was a Mrs Duncan, a Scotswoman who travelled the country holding seances, was one of Britain's best-known mediums, reputedly numbering Winston Churchill and George VI among her clients, when she was arrested in January 1944 by two naval officers at a seance in Portsmouth. The military authorities, secretly preparing for the D-day landings and then in a heightened state of paranoia, were alarmed by reports that she had disclosed - allegedly via contacts with the spirit world - the sinking of two British battleships long before they became public. The most serious disclosure came when she told the parents of a missing sailor that his ship, HMS Barham, had sunk. It was true, but news of the tragedy had been suppressed to preserve morale.
Desperate to silence the apparent leak of state secrets, the authorities charged Mrs Duncan with conspiracy, fraud, and with witchcraft under an act dating back to 1735 - the first such charge in over a century. At the trial, only the "black magic" allegations stuck, and she was jailed for nine months at Holloway women's prison in north London. Churchill, then prime minister, visited her in prison and denounced her conviction as "tomfoolery". In 1951, he repealed the 200-year-old act, but her conviction stood.
Is This Proof of Reincarnation?
As an Englishman from a country that has many stories of the supernatural I thought I would write about a story that links America with 12th Century York, England.
Many years ago I was reading about this lady american Doctor W. who had spent many years and hypnotised many thousands of volunteer patients, investigating Past Live regression during the 1960's -1970's. Past Life Regression is when a person is hypnotised back before they are born into a past life.
One day she was hypnotising one of her patients who was regressed back to a past life.
The story concerns a period in the 1190's of upheaval in the English City of York during a pogrom against the Jews. This lady believed she was called Susanne de Blouir and she was being chased by a riotus crowd because of her jewness. At the time of her fleeing she had her baby in her arms, which made it difficult to run and escape.
Finally she arrived outside the entrance to York Minster Cathedral and ran through the front doors seeking sanctuary. Finding no one around, she flees to the back of the Cathedral and runs down some steps that led into some rooms. One of the rooms had a door slightly ajar, and she runs through the door and then down some more steps. While running down the steps the woman here's the front doors of the Cathedral open and the noise of the screaming mob come pouring in. Terrified and clutching her baby the woman arrives at a long passage which ends at a door which leads into a Crypt. The woman enters the Crypt and sees various tombs incuding a stone carved black knight lieing on top of a tomb. She puts the baby down and trie's to barr the door with any furniture she could find.
After a period of moments, the door is banged upon and the mob tries to get into the crypt.
Beacuse of the emotion and fear by the woman under hypnosis the doctor decide's to bring the woman out of hypnosis.
Suffice to say, the woman believed her today's lifetime fear of confined spaces could be explained by this past life in 12th century York.
The Doctor decided to investigate this story by contacting the dean at York Minster in England and asking if they had such a thing as a Crypt with a black knight's tomb. After many weeks the dean contacted the doctor and explained York Minster had no record of any Crypt. This seems to confirm the doctors fears that this patient was dreaming and imagining the story. The strange thing was the woman had never travelled outside the state of Kansas, yet she knew so many things about the dress code of York etc. ( Remember this was in the 1960's-1970's before the Internet)
Forward ten years and outside York Minster the road was being dug up by some workman when all of a sudden the road collapses into a dark abyss. The Fire brigade is called and they lowered some fire fighters down into the deep hole. The hole ended in a stone floor after clearing away some of the rubble he realised he was in a Crypt. In a far corner was the skeleton of a trapped and tied up woman and next to her was a baby skeleton.
It seems that the mob had finally got through the door and tied the woman up and then sealed and bricked up the door while she was still alive.
The spooky thing about this story is that Doctor W. 's book was printed ten years before they found the Crypt and skeleton's.
I believe this story proves Reincarnation – what does the reader think?
Please scroll down the page and vote for this story by clicking on the Stars.
Wymering Manor House – The Most Haunted House in England.
As I am from Portsmouth, England I thought it may be of interest to write about the oldest house in Portsmouth dated from 1042 AD which is also the most haunted house in England called Wymering Manor House.
Although most of the current structure dates back to the 16th century, the manor goes back much further. Records show the first owner of Wymering Manor was King Edward the Confessor in 1042 and then after the Battle of Hastings it fell into the hands of King William the Conqueror until 1084. The house has been altered andrenovated continually over the centuries, yet remarkably it has retained materials dating back to medieval and even ancient Roman times.
Having changed ownership many times over these hundreds of years, the property was eventually adopted by the Portsmouth City Council, then sold for a short time to a private organization for development into a hotel. When the development fell though, the property reverted to the council, which has again put it up for auction.
Once a country manor, the structure is now surrounded by modern houses. And when it was saved from demolition and used as a youth hostel, many areas of the building were "modernized" and have an unfortunate, institutional feel.
With this rich history it's no surprise perhaps that Wymering Manor should be haunted.
Below are some of the Ghosts that haunt Wymering Manor:
The Lady in the Violet Dress. When Mr. Thomas Parr lived at Wymering Manor, he awoke one night to the sight of an apparition standing at the foot of his bed. It was his cousin, who had died in 1917. Dressed in a full-length violet-coloured dress, the spirit spoke to him in a friendly and matter-of-fact manner, telling him of her recent religious experiences and about other deceased family members. Suddenly the ghost said, "Well, Tommy dear, I must leave you now as we are waiting to receive Aunt Em." In the morning, Parr received a telegram with the news that his Aunt Em had died during the night.
The Blue Room. An elderly relative of Thomas Parr, who was staying in the "Blue Room," was careful always to lock her door at night, as she feared break-ins by burglars. One morning she was surprised to find her door unlocked and open.
The Choir of Nuns. Mr. Leonard Metcalf, an occupant of the house who died in 1958, said he occasionally saw a choir of nuns crossing the manor's hall at midnight. They were chanting, he claimed, to the clear sound of music. His family never believed his story as they didn't know - and neither did Mr. Metcalf - that nuns from the Sisterhood of Saint Mary the Virgin visited the house in the mid-1800s.
The Panelled Room. The so-called "Panelled Room" may be the manor's most dreaded. The Panelled Room served as a bedroom in the manor's south east corner, and as Metcalf was using the washbasin one day, he was startled by the distinct feeling of a hand on his shoulder. He turned quickly to find no one there. Others have felt an oppressive air in this room, instilling a strong feeling to flee. When the building served as the youth hostel, its warden and wife expressed an unexplained fear of the room.
Other Paranormal occurrences reported at the manor include visitors who claim to have heard the whispers of children, spotted strange apparitions and seen items in the manor move of their own accord. Dramatic drops in temperature and accounts of unusual or intimidating 'spirit energies' have also been reported. Film and video footage has captured both orbs and other strange light anomalies.
James Herbert OBE – English Iconic Horror Author
I am a great fan of James Herbert who has written some great pieces of Horror including my favourite – The “Rats” which I brought in 1974. As a teenager every time James Herbert released a new horror book I would be joining the queue at my local W H Smiths. James Herbert was born on the 8th April 1943 and has sold over 40 million books worldwide. All through my life I can remember reading the newest James Herbert book at certain special events of my life. I remember buying “The Fluke” in 1977 when I first started work and reading “The Jonah” when I had just got engaged in 1981.
During my lifetime I have had many Supernatural experiences which I have written about in my many articles which can be found at my website. I recommend to any “Horror Story” fan to go out and buy any of James Herbert's books (They are so much better than Stephen king's) but don't forget to read his books with plenty of lights on and not in a spooky haunted house.
List of James Herbert Books:
1974: The Rats
1975: The Fog
1976: The Survivor
1978: The Spear
1980: The Dark
1981: The Jonah
1986: The Magic Cottage
1992: By Horror Haunted
1993: The City
1993: Dark Places
1994: The Ghosts Of Sleath
2003: Nobody True
2003: Devil In The Dark
2006: The Secret Of Crickley Hall
James Herbert was awarded the Order Of The British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours list.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley– English Iconic Author of Frakenstein
Mary Shelley will forever be remembered for her novel “Frankenstein” one of the scariest books you will ever read. Mary was born on the 30th August 1797 in Somers Town, England to well-known parents: author and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and philosopher William Godwin. Mary was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer and travel writer who was best known for her Gothic Novel Frankenstein and The Modern Prometheus.
She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic Poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley who she had married in 1816 after the death of his wife Harriet.
In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelley's left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence.
In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm in the Bay of La Spezia. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author.
Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish Percy Shelley's works and for her novelFrankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelley’s achievements.
Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels “Valperga” (1823) and “Perkin Warbeck” (1830), the apocalyptic novel “The Last Man” (1826), and her final two novels, “Lodore” (1835) and “Falkner” (1837).
Studies of her lesser-known works such as the travel book “Rambles in Germany and italy” (1844) and the biographical articles for “Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia” (1829–46) support the growing view that Mary Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life.
Mary Shelley's works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin.
In the mid-1840s, Mary Shelley found herself the target of three separate blackmailers. In 1845, an Italian political exile called Gatteschi, whom she had met in Paris, threatened to publish letters she had sent him. A friend of her son's bribed a police chief into seizing Gatteschi's papers, including the letters, which were then destroyed. Shortly afterwards, Mary Shelley bought some letters written by herself and Percy Bysshe Shelley from a man calling himself G. Byron and posing as the illegitimate son of the late Lord Byron. Also in 1845, Percy Bysshe Shelley's cousin Thomas Medwin approached her claiming to have written a damaging biography of Percy Shelley. He said he would suppress it in return for £250, but Mary Shelley refused.
The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53 on the 1st February 1851.
Sir Michael Caine - English Iconic Actor
Sir Michael Caine is one of England's greatest iconic actors and is famous for his starring roles from Harry Palmer etc. Michael Caine was born Born Maurice Micklewhite in Rotherhithe, London, on the 14th March 1933. Michael Caine was the son of a fish-market porter and his mother was a cook and housewife. Caine grew up in Camberwell, London, and during the WWII he was evacuated to North Runcton in Norfolk. As a fan, my favourite film would have to be "Zulu" which is shown most christmas's on British TV.
In 1944, he passed his eleven plus exam, winning a scholarship to Hackney Downs Grocers School. After a year there he moved to Wilson's Grammar School in Camberwell (now Wilson's School in Wallington, South London), which he left at sixteen after gaining a School Certificate in six subjects.
He then worked briefly as a filing clerk and messenger for a film company in Victoria Street, London and the film producer Jay Lewis in Wardour Street, London.
In 1952, when he was called up to do his National Service, until 1954, he served in the British Army's Royal Fusiliers, first at the BAOR HQ in Iserlohn, Germany and then on active service during the Korean War. Caine has said he would like to see the return of National Service to help combat youth violence, stating: "I'm just saying, put them in the Army for six months. You're there to learn how to defend your country. You belong to the country. Then when you come out, you have a sense of belonging rather than a sense of violence."
Upon his return to England he gravitated toward the theatre and got a job as an assistant stage manager. He adopted the name of Caine on the advice of his agent, taking it from a marquee that advertised The Caine Mutiny (1954).
In the years that followed he worked in more than 100 television dramas, with repertory companies throughout England and eventually in the stage hit, "The Long and the Short and the Tall." Zulu (1964), the 1964 epic retelling of a historic 19th-century battle in South Africa between British soldiers and Zulu warriors, brought Caine to international attention. Instead of being typecast as a low-ranking Cockney soldier, he played a snobbish, aristocratic officer. Although "Zulu" was a major success, it was the role of Harry Palmer in Ipcress File (1965) and the title role in Alfie (1966) that made Caine a star of the first magnitude.
He epitomized the new breed of actor in mid-'60s England, the working-class bloke with glasses and a down-home accent. However, after initially starring in some excellent films, particularly in the 1960s, including Gambit (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Play Dirty (1969), Battle of Britain (1969), Too late the Hero (1970), The last Valley (1971) and especially Get Carter (1971). He gave a magnificent performance opposite Sean Connery in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and turned in a solid one as a German colonel in The Eagle has landed (1976). During the 1980's “Educating Rita” (1983) and “Hannah and her Sisters” (1986) (for which he won his first Oscar) were highlights of the 1980s, while more recently Little Voice (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999) (his second Oscar) and Last Orders (2001) have been widely acclaimed.
Films and Actor Credits
Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
Harry Brown (2010)
Playing the part of Harry Brown
Playing the part of Miles
Is Anybody There? (2009)
Playing the part of Clarence
Playing the part of Hobbs
The Dark Knight (2008)
Playing the part of Alfred
Playing the part of Andrew Wyke
Children of Men (2006)
Playing the part of Jasper
The Prestige (2006)
Playing the part of Cutter
Batman Begins (2005)
Playing the part of Alfred
Playing the part of Nigel Bigelow
The Weather Man (2005)
Playing the part of Robert Spritz
Around the Bend (2004)
Playing the part of Henry Lair
Secondhand Lions (2003)
Playing the part of Garth
The Actors (2003)
Playing the part of Tom O Malley
The Statement (2003)
Playing the part of Pierre Brossard
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
Playing the part of Nigel Powers
The Quiet American (2002)
Playing the part of Thomas Fowler
Last Orders (2001)
Playing the part of Jack Dodds
Playing the part of Jake Mellows
Shadow Run (2001)
Get Carter (2000)
Playing the part of Cliff Brumby
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Playing the part of Victor Melling
Playing the part of Doctor Royer-Collard
Playing the part of Billy Shiner Simpson
Curtain Call (1999)
Playing the part of Max Gale
The Cider House Rules (1999)
Playing the part of Doctor Wilbur Larch
The Debtors (1999)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1998)
Little Voice (1998)
Playing the part of Ray Say
Blood & Wine (1997)
Playing the part of Victor Spansky
Mandela & de Klerk (1997)
Bullet to Beijing (1995)
Midnight in St. Petersburg (1995)
On Deadly Ground (1994)
Playing the part of Michael Jennings
World War II - When Lions Roared (1994)
On Deadly Ground (1993)
Blue Ice (1992)
Playing the part of Harry Anders
Noises Off (1992)
Playing the part of Lloyd Fellowes
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Playing the part of Scrooge
Playing the part of Dr Daniel Hicklar/ Sidney Lipton
Mr. Destiny (1990)
Playing the part of Mike
A Shock to the System (1990)
Playing the part of Graham Marshall
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Playing the part of Lawrence Jamieson
John Huston: The Man, The Movies, The Maverick (1988)
Playing the part of Himself
Without A Clue (1988)
Playing the part of Sherlock Holmes
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Playing the part of Hoagie
Playing the part of Sean Stein
The Fourth Protocol (1987)
Playing the part of John Preston
The Whistle Blower (1987)
Playing the part of Frank Jones
Half Moon Street (1986)
Playing the part of Lord Sam Bulbeck
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Playing the part of Elliot
Mona Lisa (1986)
Playing the part of Mortwell
Sweet Liberty (1986)
Playing the part of Elliot James
Playing the part of Baxter Thwaites
The Black Windmill (1986)
The Holcroft Covenant (1985)
Playing the part of Noel Holcroft
Blame It on Rio (1984)
Playing the part of Matthew Hollis
The Jigsaw Man (1984)
Playing the part of Sir Philip Kimberley/ Sergeo Kuzminsky
Beyond the Limit (1983)
Playing the part of Charley Fortnum
Educating Rita (1983)
Playing the part of Dr Frank Bryant
Playing the part of Sidney Bruhl
Playing the part of Captain John Colby
The Hand (1981)
Playing the part of Jon Lansdale
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Playing the part of Dr. Robert Elliott
The Island (1980)
Playing the part of Blair Maynard
Playing the part of Dr David Linderby
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979)
Playing the part of Mike Turner
California Suite (1978)
Playing the part of Sidney Cochran
Silver Bears (1978)
Playing the part of Doc Fletcher
The Swarm (1978)
Playing the part of Brad Crane
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Playing the part of Lieutenant Colonel Joe Vandeleur
Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976)
Playing the part of Adam Worth
Playing the part of Leslie Tucker
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
Playing the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Kurt Steiner
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Playing the part of Peachy Carnehan
The Romantic Englishwoman (1975)
Playing the part of Lewis
The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)
Playing the part of Keogh
The Black Windmill (1974)
Playing the part of Major Tarrant
The Destructors (1974)
Playing the part of Deray
Playing the part of Mickey King
Playing the part of Milo Tindle
X Y & Zee (1972)
Playing the part of Robert
Get Carter (1971)
Playing the part of Jack Carter
Playing the part of Alan Breck
The Last Valley (1971)
Playing the part of Captain
Too Late the Hero (1970)
Playing the part of Private Tosh Hearne
Battle of Britain (1969)
Playing the part of Squadron Leader Canfield
The Italian Job (1969)
Playing the part of Charlie Croker
Playing the part of Henry Clarke
Play Dirty (1968)
Playing the part of Captain Douglas
The Magus (1968)
Playing the part of Nicholas Urfe
Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Playing the part of Harry Palmer
Playing the part of Harry
Hurry Sundown (1967)
Playing the part of Henry Warren
Tonite Let s All Make Love in London (1967)
Playing the part of Himself
Woman Times Seven (1967)
Playing the part of Handsome Stranger
Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Playing the part of Harry Palmer
Solo For Sparrow (1966)
Playing the part of Mooney
The Wrong Box (1966)
Playing the part of Michael Finsbury
Playing the part of Alfie
The Ipcress File (1965)
Playing the part of Harry Palmer
Playing the part of Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead
The Wrong Arm of the Law (1962)
The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
Carve Her Name With Pride (1958)
How to Murder a Rich Uncle (1958)
Playing the part of Gilrony
The Key (1958)
The Two-Headed Spy (1958)
Playing the part of Gestapo Agent
A Hell in Korea (1956)
Playing the part of Private Lockyer
Back to Top
Blue Ice (1992)
The Fourth Protocol (1987)
There is, in a filmography of over 80 titles (plus TV work) and his own performances seem from 5 out of 10 up to 10 out of 10. When the material was right, as in The Man Who Would Be King (US, d. John Huston, 1975), few can touch him for conviction and subtlety. In the latter film, his second wife, Shakira Baksh, played her last screen role;
Caine now runs his own production company, M & M Productions, with business partner Martin Bregman. He was made a CBE in 1992, knighted and awarded a BAFTA fellowship in 2000.
Sir Henry Irving – Iconic English Actor Manager
One of the most famous English theatrical Actor Manager's in the Victorian era was Sir Henry Irving who was born John Henry Brodribb on Feb. 6th 1838 in Keinton Mandeville, Somerset, England. Irving is thought to have been the inspiration for the title character in Lyceum manager “Bram Stoker's” 1897 novel “Dracula”.
Bram Stoker left Dublin for London in 1878 to take a position managing the Lyceum Theatre for actor manager Sir Henry Irving. During his long career at the Lyceum he wrote many fantastic stories and novels, cementing his fame with Dracula. Stoker's tale made vampires famous, and his creepy Count Dracula based on Sir Henry Irving became the model for the popular movie “Dracula” of the 20th century
He toured for 10 years with a stock company before making his London debut in 1866. With his success in The Bells (1871), he became a leading actor in H.L. Batman's company (1871 – 77).
As actor-manager of the Lyceum Theatre (from 1878), he made it London's most successful theatre. He formed a celebrated acting partnership with Ellen Terry that lasted until the company dissolved in 1902. They were noted for their Shakespearean roles, and their theatrical qualities complemented each other: he the brooding introvert, she the spontaneous charmer.
He was a champion of the star system and produced artistic spectacles that emphasized scenic detail. As an actor he was most successful in the "realistic" melodramas of his day and in Shakespeare's plays, which he liberally abridged. To him acting was movement and emotion; his realistic approach to creating a character, in which he stressed that the actor should incorporate real feelings into his characterization, led to the noted controversy with his French contemporary, Coquelin, who advocated simulated emotion (or representation) in acting. His company frequently toured the United States where he became quite well known.
Irving was knighted in 1895, the first actor to be so honoured.
His acting divided critics; opinions differed as to the extent to which his mannerisms of voice and deportment interfered with or assisted the expression of his ideas. On October 13th 1905, Henry Irving appeared as “Becket” at the Bradford Theatre, he was seized with a stroke just after uttering Becket's dying words 'Into thy hands, O Lord, into thy hands', and though he lived for an hour or so longer he never spoke again. He was brought to the lobby of the Midland Hotel, where he died. The chair that he was sitting in when he died is now at the Garrick Club. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. There is a fabulous statue of Sir Henry Irving behind “The National Portrait Gallery” in London.
James Bond 007 – British Icon
James Bond is one of the most recognisable Movie Characters in the world and was written by Ian Fleming an English writer who was born in London on may 28th, 1908. As a youngster growing up in Portsmouth, England he was one of my favorite writer's and James Bond one of my favourite characters. I suppose my favorite actor to play James Bond was Roger Moore who I think was the closest to the original character written by Ian Fleming. My favourite baddie has to be Christopher Lee – The man with the Golden Gun. Since the launch of the first film the total box office takings has reached over 8 Billion Pounds.
James Bond 007 is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. The character has also been the longest running and most financially successful English-language film franchise to date, starting in 1962 with Dr. No.
The hero, James Bond, was named after an American Ornithologist who was a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide book “Birds of The West Indies”.
Ian Fleming, a keen birdwatcher had a copy of Bond's field guide at Goldeneye.
With reference to the James Bond name, Fleming once said in a Readers Digest interview, "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department."
Nevertheless, news sources speculated about real spies or other covert agents after whom James Bond might have been modelled or named, such as Sidney Reilly or William Stephenson who was best-known by his wartime intelligence codename of Intrepid.
Although they were similar to Bond, Fleming confirmed none as the source figure, nor did Ian Fleming Publications nor any of Fleming's biographers, such as John Pearson or Andrew Lycett.
Historian Keith Jeffrey speculates in his authorized history of MI6 that Bond may be modeled on Fleming's close friend, Bill Biffy Dunderdale a MI6 agent whose sophisticated persona and penchant for pretty women and fast cars closely matches that of Bond.
After Fleming's death in 1964, subsequent James Bond novels were written by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson and Sebastian Faulks. Moreover, Christopher Wood novelised two screenplays, Charlie Higson wrote a series on a young James Bond while other writers have authored unofficial versions of the character.
There have been 22 films in the EON Productions Series to date, the most recent of which was Quantum of Solace which was released on 31 October 2008 here in the UK.
There has also been an American television adaptation and two independent feature productions. Apart from movies and television, James Bond has also been adapted for many other media, including radio plays, comic strips and video games.
The EON Produced films are generally termed as "official" films originating with the purchase of the James Bond film rights by producer Harry Saltzman in the late 1950s.
James Bond's association with Aston Martin sports cars has helped further boost the brand's already strong image and popularity since Bond (first played by Sean Connery) who first drove an Aston Martin in Goldfinger in 1964. A poll by Lloyds TSB in September 2010 revealed that Aston Martin was the most desired brand of "dream" car in Britain.
List of James Bond films.
Dr. No 1962
From Russia With Love 1963
You Only Live Twice 1967
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
Diamonds Are For Ever 1971
Live and Let Die 1973
The Man With the Golden Gun 1974
The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
For Your Eyes Only 1981
A View To A Kill 1985
The Living Daylights 1987
License to Kill 1989
Tomorrow Never Dies 1997
The World is Not Enough 1999
Die another Day 2002
Casino Royale 2006
Quantum of Solace 2008
Dr. Who - A British TV Icon
Dr. Who is the World's longest running Science Fiction television series and as I am a great fan of this BBC show I thought I would write about It's fun history. The programme depicts the adventures of a mysterious and eccentric humanoid alien known as the Doctor who travels through time and space in his spacecraft, the Tardis (an acronym for “Time And Relative Dimensions In Space”), which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s British Police Box. With his companions, he explores time and space, faces a variety of foes and saves civilizations, helping others and righting wrongs, as well as improving the way people, aliens and robots choose to live their lives.
Some episodes from the 1960s are missing due to the BBC's 1970s junking policy, and thus their serials are incomplete. In the first two seasons and most of the third, each episode of a serial had an individual title; no serial had an overall on-screen title until The Savages. The serial titles are the most common title for the serials as a whole, used in sources such as the Doctor Who Reference Guide and the BBC's classic episode guide, and are generally those used for commercial release. The practice of individually titled episodes resurfaced with the 2005 revival, when Doctor Who's serial nature was abandoned in favour of an episodic format.
The first incarnation of The Doctor was portrayed by William Hartnell for 29 episodes. During Hartnell's tenure, the Doctor visited a mixture of both stories set in the future and historical events that had no extraterrestrial influence, such as fifteenth century MesoAmerica. In his last story, The Tenth Planet, the Doctor gradually grew weaker to the point of collapsing at the end of the fourth episode, leading to his regeneration.
The Second incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Patrick Troughton for 31 episodes and whose serials were more action-oriented. He retained the role until the last episode of The War Games when members of the Doctor's race, the Time Lords, put him on trial for breaking the laws of time.
The Third Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Jon Pertwee for 23 episodes. Sentenced to exile on Earth and forcibly regenerated at the end of The War Games, the Doctor spends his time working for Unit. After The Three Doctors, The Time Lords repeal his exile, however the Doctor still worked closely with UNIT from time to time. The Third Doctor regenerated into his Fourth incarnation, as a result of radiation poisoning, near the end of Planet Of The Spiders.
The Fourth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Tome Baker for 40 episodes and is to date the longest-serving Doctor, having held the role for seven seasons.
The Fifth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Peter Davidson for 19 episodes and who was also famous for his role in “All Creatures Great and Small”.
The Sixth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Colin Baker for 11 episodes.
The Seventh Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Sylvester McCoy for 12 episodes.
The Eighth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Paul McGann for one Movie.
The Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Christopher Ecclestone for 10 episodes.
The tenth Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by David Tennant for 36 episodes.
The eleventh Incarnation of the Doctor was portrayed by Steven Moffat for 24 episodes up to the end of 2011. Hopefully he will continue as Doctor Who after 2011 even though it is not confirmed. Hopefully he will stay in the role for a good five years.
There have been many Doctor Who radio broadcasts over the years. In addition to a small number of in-house BBC productions, a larger number of radio plays produced by Big Finish began to be broadcast on BBC Radio 7 from 2005, featuring the Eighth Doctor (again played by Paul McGann) with mainstay companions Charley Pollard and later Lucie Miller. All told there were 24 episodes broadcast on BBC radio and later on audio tapes/cd.
Sir Rex Harrison - English Iconic Actor
Sir Rex Harrison was an English Iconic Actor who had a long and distinguished career. One of his most iconic roles was as Dr. Doolittle in the 1960's film when he talked to the animals. He was born Reginald Carey Harrison on March 5th 1908 in Huyton, Lancashire, England. He was a Debonair and distinguished British star of stage and screen for more than 66 years. Sir Rex Harrison is best remembered for playing charming, slyly mischievous characters.
Stagestruck from boyhood, suave British actor Rex Harrison joined the Liverpool Repertory Theatre at the age of 16, beginning a 66-year career that would culminate with his final performance on Broadway, May 11, 1990, three weeks prior to his death.
Best known for his Tony - and Oscar-winning portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's "My Fair Lady", he made his West End debut in "Getting George Married" (1930) and his Broadway debut in "Sweet Aloes" (1936), but it was a two year run on the London stage in Sir Terrence Rattigan's "French Without Tears" that made him a star. Appearances in other sophisticated comedies, S N Behrman's "No Time for Comedy" and Noel Coward's "Design for Living" (both 1939), established him as what Coward himself called "the best light comedian in the world--after me."
Rex Harrison's feature debut came in "The Great Game" (1930), and starring turns in movies like "Night Train to Munich", (1940) "Major Barbara" (1941) and "Blithe Spirit" (1945) brought him to the attention of Hollywood, leading to a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox. He scored a major triumph as the King in "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946) and recorded another success with "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" (1947), but subsequent films performed poorly at the box office, although Preston Sturges' "Unfaithfully Yours" (1948) later acquired a cult status.
Actor and studio parted company by mutual agreement, and Harrison returned to Broadway, earning a Tony for his 1948 performance as King Henry VIII in Maxwell Anderson's "Anne of the Thousand Days". Continued acclaim followed for his work in T S Eliot's "The Cocktail Party" and John van Druten's "Bell, Book and Candle" (both 1950). He directed and starred in "The Love of Four Colonels" (1953) and a revival of "Bell, Book and Candle" (1954) and "Nina" (1955), all for the London stage. He made his Broadway directing debut with "The Bright One" (1958).
Despite having, in his own words, a vocal range of "one-and-a-half notes", Harrison talked his way through the numbers of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady" (1956), directed for the stage by Moss Hart, and became the darling of the critics, playing the show for two years in New York and another in London. His waspish professor of phonetics was "crisp, lean, complacent and condescending until at last a real flare of human emotions burns the egotism away," wrote Brooks Atkinson in THE NEW YORK TIMES, and the success of "My Fair Lady" once again brought Harrison important film offers.
He earned his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Julius Caesar in "Cleopatra" (1963), stealing the picture from his more famous co-stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Reprising Higgins for the 1964 film version of "My Fair Lady" opposite Audrey Hepburn brought him a Best Actor Oscar and international fame, and "Dr.Doolittle" (1967) introduced him to a new generation of moviegoers as he shamelessly enjoyed himself playing the fanciful jungle gentleman who conversed with wildlife.
Harrison devoted most of his remaining years to his first love, the stage, taking parts in such diverse plays as Luigi Pirandello's "Henry IV" and Rattigan's "In Praise of Love" (both 1974). He co-starred with Claudette Colbert in a Broadway production of "The Kingfisher" (1978), and, after returning to Broadway in "My Fair Lady" (1981), garnered some of the best reviews of his career for a Broadway revival of "Heartbreak House" (1983), later captured for posterity in a 1985 Showtime cable special.
Harrison portrayed Lord Grenham in London and Broadway productions of "Aren't We All?" (1984-85) and Grand Duke Cyril Romanov in the NBC miniseries, "Anastasia: The Story of Anna" (1986).
He last appeared on the London stage in "The Admirable Crichton" (1988) and bowed out in a Broadway revival of W Somerset Maugham's "The Circle", playing eight times a week just prior to his June 1990 death.
The oft-married man dubbed 'Sexy Rexy' by Walter Winchell never wanted to be anything but an actor and never intended to retire. "He died with his boots on, no doubt about it," said "The Circle" producer Elliot Martin. The actor, who was knighted in July 1989, played a wide variety of roles during his long career in theater and films, but he was best known for his portrayal of the waspish professor of phonetics in the musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play ''Pygmalion'' and “Dr. Doolittle”.
Sir John Mills - English Iconic Actor
Sir john Mills is one of England's greatest acting Icons and is remembered for appearing in more than 100 films in a 70 years plus period. Sir John Mills was born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills on February 22nd 1908, at the Watts Naval Training College in North Elmham, Norfolk, England. The young Mills grew up in Belton, where his father was the headmaster of the village school and in in Felixstowe, Suffolk, where his father was a mathematics teacher and his mother was a theatre box-office manager. As a fan of John Mills my favourite of his films was “Ice Cold in Alex”, “The Colditz Story” and “Great Expectations”.
After training as a dancer, he was first on stage in the chorus of The Five O'Clock Revue (1929) and was regularly on the London stage, in revues, musicals and straight plays, throughout the 30s, as well as making films before war broke out. He is an engaging juvenile lead in such 1930s pieces as The Ghost Camera (1933), the chirpy musical Car of Dreams (1935), the love interest for Nova Pilbeam’s Tudor Rose (1936), and the schoolboy grown into soldier in Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939).
But WW2 changed everything for Mills, as it did for so many connected with British cinema. The roles he played ‘In Which We Serve’ (1942), ‘We Dive at Dawn’ (1943), ‘This Happy Breed’, ‘Waterloo Road’ (1944) and The Way to the Stars (1945) defined a new kind of British film hero. He was the boy next door in his ordinariness. He also established an everyman reliability under stress; showing himself to be decent, brave and loyal.
John Mills was always noted for his sincerity and believability rather than for romantic qualities. He topped the Picturegoer poll in 1947 for his performance as Pip, the personable everyman in 'Great Expectation's (1946), emphatically a figure for a supposedly more egalitarian Britain; the tormented hero, an industrial chemist who fears he may have committed murder, in The October Man (1947).
This ordinary decency was elevated in ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ (1948) to the status of national hero. It is the nobility of sacrifice for others which turns physical suffering and defeat into a spiritual triumph; a victory for the team rather than for charismatic individualism. In place of the debonair gentleman's dash and charm, Mills embodied a boyish enthusiasm which is deepened by testing into a gritty determination to continue whatever the cost.
He was the shabby private detective in ‘The End of the Affair’ (1954). The twitchy, repressed military types in ‘Tunes of Glory’ (1960) and ‘Tiara Tahiti’ (1962) and he is ultimately very moving as the father in ‘The Family Way’ (1966) who may have loved no one as much as his dead mate.
John Mills was also much admired in ‘Morning Departure’ (1950) as a similarly inspirational leader, this time a submarine captain who has to encourage three of his crew, trapped with him in their stricken craft, to face death calmly. Despite his versatility as an actor, Mills continued to achieve his greatest success in similar roles: as Commander Fraser in ‘Above Us the Waves’ (1955), and as Pat Reid, the head of the escape committee, in ‘The Colditz Story’ (1955).
It was however as the captain in 'Ice Cold in Alex' (1958) that pushed by exhaustion into alcoholism, which really brought out the best in Mills. A superb piece of film-making that embodied most of the key characteristics of ‘being British’. There are two lovely scenes, the first being at the sand hill and ensuing tension when Syms and Mills meet at the bottom after the Landover rolls back down. The second I feel is at the bar where Mills drinks the Carlsberg and his character courageously addresses post war attitudes. In return Qualye’s character admits that the British were not what he had supposed them to be. Both of these statements would both have been very conciliatory at the time. Why ‘Ice Cold’ did not win Oscars…
Typically, then he got the Oscar for a grotesque piece of facial and vocal distortion in the inflated Ryan's Daughter (1970) - supporting actor Oscars have always been drawn to this sort of cosmetic display - when one could nominate a dozen far less showy, more worthy contenders among his roles. Even in perfectly ordinary films like The Vicious Circle (1957), one never stops believing in him.
The later decades saw him many in character roles such as Gandhi (1982); Kenneth Branagh then enlisted him for Hamlet (1996) to play the mute role of `Old Norway', for whom Shakespeare had thoughtlessly failed to produce lines. Though partially now deaf and blind, he still evidenced the chipper persona honed below the decks in those films half a century earlier. The achievement is there in the CV and it has been recognised with a CBE (1960), a Knighthood (1976) and the BAFTA Special Tribute Award (1987).
List Of Sir John Mills Films:
The Midship Maid
Words and Music
The Ghost Camera
Britannia of Billingsgate
A Political Party
Those Were the Days
Charing Cross Road
Car of Dreams
The Green Cockatoo
Goodbye Mr Chips
Old Bill and Son
Cottage to Let
The Black Sheep of Whitehall
The Big Blockade
The Young Mr Pitt
In Which We Serve
We Dive at Dawn
This Happy Breed
The Way to the Stars
The Sky's the Limit
So Well Remembered
The October Man
Scott of the Antarctic
The History of Mr Polly
The Rocking Horse Winner
Mr Denning Drives North
The Gentle Gunman
The Long Memory
The Colditz Story
The End of the Affair
Above Us the Waves
War and Peace
It's Great to be Young
The Baby and the Battleship
Around the World in 80 Days
Town on Trial
I Was Monty's Double
Ice Cold in Alex
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
Tunes of Glory
The Singer Not the Song
The Swiss Family Robinson (U.S.)
Flame in the Streets
The Chalk Garden
The Truth About Spring
King Rat (U.S.)
The Wrong Box
The Family Way
Africa Texas Style (U.S.)
Oh What a Lovely War
Run Wild Run Free
Emma Hamilton (Ger.)
A Black Veil for Lisa
Lady Caroline Lamb
The Human Factor
Trial by Combat
The Devil's Advocate
The Big Sleep
The 39 Steps
Who's That Girl
Bright Young Things
I've never considered myself to be working for a living; I've enjoyed myself for a living instead.
Sir John Mills died aged 97 on 23rd April 2005 in The Chilterns, Buckinhamshire following a chest infection. A few months after Sir John's death, his wife Mary Hayley Mills (Lady Mills) died on 1st December 2005. A British film actor par excellence, he was the last of his generation.
Sir Norman Wisdom – Comic Actor and Singer
I have just heard about the death of Sir Norman Wisdom one of the great English Comedians and I thought I would write an Englishman's view of his career. During the 1960's while growing up here in England one of the most popular films we used to watch on a Saturday Morning at the cinema was a Norman Wisdom Comedy. Norman was a great singer and musician apart from also being a Genius Comic Actor. Norman J. Wisdom was born on Feb 04, 1920 in Maryleborne, London, England. If you have never seen his films can I recommend that readers go out and buy one of his very funny films – you won't regret it.
After a difficult and poverty-stricken childhood he joined the 10th Hussars and began to develop his talents as a musician and stage entertainer. Wisdom’s mother left when he was nine, and he and his brother were left in the charge of their father.
Wisdom ran away from home when he was 11, but returned to become an errand boy with a grocery store on leaving school at 13. Later he was a coal-miner, a waiter, a pageboy and a cabin-boy, before joining the army and seeing service in India.
After leaving the army in 1946, he made his debut as an entertainer at the advanced age of 31 - but his rise to the top was phenomenally fast. A West End star within two years, he made his TV debut the same year and was soon commanding enormous audiences. By this time, he had adopted the suit that would remain his trademark - tweed cap askew with peak turned up, too-tight jacket, barely-better trousers, crumpled collar and tie awry. The character known as "the Gump" was to dominate Wisdom's film career during the 1950's and 1960's.
In 1966, Norman went to America to star on Broadway in the James Van Heusen-Sammy Cahn musical comedyWalking Happy. His highly-acclaimed performance was Tony nominated. He also completed his first American film as a vaudeville comic in The Night They Raided Minsky's is a 1968 film that purports to show the story of how striptease was invented at Minskys Burlesque circa 1927. Any opportunities which might have opened up by this Stateside success were cut short when he had to return to London owing to a family crisis.
His subsequent career was largely confined to television and he also toured the world with his successful cabaret act.
He won critical acclaim in 1981 for his dramatic role of a dying cancer patient in the play Going Gently. On 11thFebruary 1987 Norman Wisdom was the subject of Thames television's 'This Is Your Life' for the second time.
He became prominent again in the 1990's when helped by the young comedian Lee Evans, whose act was heavily influenced by Wisdom's work. The highpoint of this new popularity was the knighthood which he received in 1999 from Queen Elizabeth II and after he was knighted, true to his accident-prone persona, he couldn't resist pretending to trip off the platform on his way out.
Also in the 1990s he appeared in the recurring role of Billy Ingleton in the long-running BBC comedy Last Of the Summer Wine. He also appeared in the Detective Series called “The last Detective” which also starred Peter Davidson.
In 2004 he made a cameo appearance in Coronation Street playing fitness fanatic pensioner Ernie Crabbe.
Norman Wisdom is a well-known and loved Film Icon especially in Albania and was the only Western actor whose films were allowed in the country during the Communist Dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. He is known as "Mr. Pitkin" in Albania, after the character he played in his films. The archetypal Wisdom plot where the common working man gets the better of his bosses was considered ideologically sound by Hoxha. In 1995 he visited the post-Stalinist country, where to his surprise he was greeted by many appreciative fans including the then-president of Albania, Sali Berisha. His fondness for Brighton & Hove Albion is renowned in Albania and subsequently there are many 'Seagulls' fans in Albania.
When England played Albania in 2001 during the World Cup qualifying round Norman Wisdom visited the England Team training ground where he was quickly surrounded by film fans including the England team of David Beckham, David James etc.
Norman Wisdom announced his retirement from the entertainment industry on his ninetieth birthday, on the 4th February, 2005. He spent his retirement spending more time with his family, playing golf and driving around the Isle of Man where he now lives (being a neighbour of John Rhys-Davies from Sliders).
In mid-2006 he was admitted to hospital after he suffered an irregular heart rhythm. He was in hospital for a few days after he was fitted with a pacemaker device to steady his heartbeat.
In 2007 he made his return to acting in the independent movie Expresso, premiering at the Cannes Film Festival on the 27th May.
List of Films:
· 1948: A Date with a Dream
· 1948-50: Wit and Wisdom (TV)
· 1953: Trouble in Store
· 1954: One Good turn
· 1955: As Long as They're Happy
· 1955: Man of the Moment
· 1956: Up in the World
· 1957: Just My Luck
· 1958: The Square Peg
· 1959: Follow a Star
· 1960: There Was a Crooked Man
· 1960: The Bulldog Breed
· 1962: On the Beat
· 1962: The Girl on The Boat
· 1963: A Stitch in Time
· 1965: The Early Bird
· 1966: The Sandwich Man
· 1966: Press for Time
· 1967: Androcles and the Lion (TV)
· 1968: The Night They Raided Minsky's (The Night They Invented Striptease)
· 1969: What's Good for the Goose (Girl Trouble)
· 1970: Norman (TV)
· 1970: Music Hall (TV)
· 1973: Nobody Is Norman Wisdom (TV)
· 1974: A Little Bit of Wisdom (TV)
· 1981: BBC PlayHouse: Going Gently (TV)
· 1983: BBC Bergerac: "Almost Like a Holiday"(TV)
· 1988: The 1950s: Music, Memories & Milestones (TV)
· 1992: Double X: The Name of the Game (Double X, Run Rabbit Run)
· 1995: Last of The Summer Wine (TV): episode "The Man Who Nearly Knew Pavarotti"
· 1996: Last Of The Summer Wine (TV): episode "Extra, Extra!"
· 1998: Where on Earth Is ... Katy Manning (TV)
· 2000: Last of the Summer Wine (TV): episode "The Coming of the Beast"
· 2002: Last of the Summer Wine (TV): episode "A Musical Passing for a Miserable Muscroft"
· 2002 Dalziel and Pascoe (TV): episode "Mens Sana"
· 2003: The Last Detective – episode called “Lofty Brock”
· 2004: Coronation Street (TV)
· 2004: Last of the Summer Wine (TV): episode "Variations on a Theme of the Widow Winstanley".
· 2007: Expresso – Film. Plays himself Sir Norman Wisdom.
· 2008: Evil calls – Film. Plays Winston Llamata.
· 2010: Labrats – Film. Voice over of a mouse called Scaredy. ( Still in Post Production )
Music by Norman Wisdom
➢ I Would Like to Put on Record
➢ Jingle Jangle
➢ The Very Best of Norman Wisdom
➢ Androcles and the Lion
➢ Where's Charley?
➢ Wisdom of a Fool
➢ Nobody's Fool
➢ Follow a Star
➢ 1957 Original Chart Hits
➢ Follow a Star/Give Me a Night in June
➢ Happy Ending/The Wisdom Of A Fool
➢ Big in Albania - One Hit Wonderland
Sir Norman Wisdom, after suffering various strokes in the last 6 months of his life, died at 6-40 pm on Monday 4thOctober 2010 still living on his favourite Island - the Isle Of Man.
7th Century to Swinging Naughties - British Icons
England and Britain are famous worldwide for its many British Icons from Boudeca, Queen Chief of the Iceni Tribe, Football, Mini Skirt to the Mini Car and I thought I would tell its British history and list some of the most famous Icons from the 7th Century to the present day. British Icon's have dominated the world with British Royalty, British Music, British Fashion, British Movie Stars, British Saints, British Buildings and British Sports.
The UK, Great Britain, Albion, this Sceptred Isle - however you refer to this small island perched up on the north western edge of the European continent, one thing that is undeniable is that nowhere else on Earth, from any country, has there been such a massive global impact.
Whether in the form of symbols of power as with the British Union Flag, in the guise of the person as with W. Churchill or Princess Diana, or in the form of chic design, as with the mini and mini-skirt in the Swinging Sixties, The Beatles, or the simple yet powerful Oasis logo from the Britpop era of the Nineties, British icons have been at both the forefront and in the background of history, decorating the past and how we perceive it.
In taking a closer look at our British Icons and history, hopefully you can gain a better understanding of the United Kingdom, its people, and what makes us tick.
Below is a list of my favourite British Icons:
King Alfred The Great
2) Boudeca, Queen Chief of the Iceni Tribe
3) King Edward the Confessor ( I am Related to )
4) Queen Elizabeth the 1st
5) Queen Victoria
6) Queen Elizabeth the 2nd
7) William Shakespeare
8) Charles Dickens
9) Agatha Christie ( Author of Miss Marple and Poiret )
10) J.K Rowling ( Author of the Harry Potter Books )
11) Sir Terry Pratchett ( Author of the Disc World Books )
12) James Herbert ( Horror Story writer of many novels including The Rats )
13) Sir Christopher Wren ( I am related to )
13b) Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel
13c) James Watt ( Inventor of the Steam Engine )
13d) George Stevenson ( Inventor of the Steam Train )
13e) Sir Isaac Newton
13f) Charles Darwin
14) Rudyard Kipling ( Author of the Jungle Book )
14b) H.G. Wells ( Author of The Time Traveller )
14c) Arthur Conan Doyle ( Author of Sherlock Holmes )
14d) Bram Stoker ( Author of Count Dracula )
14e) Mary Shelley ( Author of Frakenstein )
14) Sir Walter Raleigh
15) Sir Francis Drake
16) Duke Of Marlborough
17) Admiral Lord Nelson
18) Duke of Wellington
19) Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
20) Robert Walpole, 1st. Earl of Orford ( Regarded as the first Prime Minister in the modern sense );
21) William The Pit The Younger ( introduced the first Income tax )
22) Charles Grey, The Earl Grey ( restriction of employment of children; reform of the poor Laws, abolition of Slavery )
23) Sir Robert Peel ( Created the first National Police Force )
24) Edward Smith -Stanley, The Earl Derby. ( Father of the Conservative party ).
25) Benjamin Disraeli ( Queen Victoria's favorite Prime Minister )
26) Sir Winston Churchill ( Saviour of the world by defeating Hitler, Mussolini and Japanese Emporer )
27) Lady Margarat Thatcher ( First female prime minister and creator of Privatisation ).
28) The 1966 England World Cup Winning Team
29) The Portsmouth F.Cup Winning Team from 2008
30) Sir Ian Botham
31) David Beckham
32) Lord Sebastian Coe
33) Steve Ovett
34) Virginia Wade
35) David Bedford
36) Johnny Wilkinson
37) Torvil and Dean
38) Jennifer Ennis
39) Dame Kelly Holmes
40) Freddie Mercury
41) Elton John
43) Electric Light Orchestra ( ELO )
44) The Beatles
45) Annie Lennox
45b) Pink Floyd
46d) The Spice girls
46) Tom Baker
47) Lord Olivier
48) Sir Roger Moore
49) Cary Grant
50) Peter Davidson
51) John Pertwee
British Sports and Other Icons Given To the World
England Football Team
Portsmouth F. C. ( My Favorite Football Club - Pompey )
Sheffield F.C 1857 ( The Oldest Football Club In The World )
Wembley Stadium and Football Association ( Home of Football )
Wimbledon Tennis Championship ( Home of Tennis )
Saint Andrews ( Home Of Golf )
Lords Cricket Ground ( Home of Cricket )
The Jockey Club ( Home of Horse Racing )
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
The England 1966 World Cup Winning Football Team
Football / Soccer
English Premier League
American Football - Adapted from English Rugby
The Boat Race
Baseball - Adapted from Rounders and Softball
Modern Olympic Games Held from 1846 Village of Wenlock by Dr. William Penny Brookes
Shove A Ha'penny
Yachting and Sailing
Formula One ( The First Ever Formula One race was Held in England in 1948 )
A to Z British Games and Icons
Snakes and ladders
Ringing The Bull
3 Mens Morris
Shut the box
Bat and Ball
Toad in Hole
English Morris Dancing
The Valentine Card
Oxford University 1096
Cambridge University 1209
Haggis - A Dish first seen in a English Receipe Book from 1615 and loved by the Scots
London Hansom Black Cab
First British canal in AD50
Double Decker Buses ( Routemasters )
History of British Post Box
Histoy of British Telephone Box
English Folk Songs
We British Invented the Fizz and Sparkle in Champagne
Scottish, Irish and English Kilts
History of London Stock Exchange
History of English Sterling Silver and Gold Hallmarks 1300 to present
A Compleat Angler by Charles Cotton and Izaac Walton
The Magna Carta
The Doomsday Book
Anglo Saxon Chronicles
English Jury Service
The English Sherriff
The King James Bible
Tower of London's Beefeaters or Yeoman of the Guard
Saint Georges Day Englands Patron Saint
Saint Andrews Day Scotlands Patron Saint
Saint Patrick's Day Ireland's Patron Saint ( Saint Patrick was an Englishman )
Saint Davids Day Welsh Patron Saint
Listing of All Other British Saints
The City of London ( survey found that over 350 languages are spoken in London Schools )
British Telephone Box
Sir Charles Barry
Sir Christopher Wren ( I am a direct descendent )
The Iconic English Pub
Houses of Parliament and Big ben
Number 10 Downing Street
The London Eye
Madame Tussaud Waxworks Museum
Tower Of London
Whitechapel ( aka Where Jack The Ripper Killed. aka Mr Tumblety was the Ripper )
To find out more about these British Icons can I suggest to find out more please enter any of the above Icons into a search engine.
Swinging Sixties – British Fashion Designers
As the swinging sixties is famous worldwide for many things British including Fashion I thought I would tell its history and mention some of the most famous names in British fashion. At the start of the 60's, skirts were knee-length, but steadily became shorter and shorter until the mini-skirt emerged in 1965. By the end of the decade they had shot well above the stocking top, making the transition to tights inevitable.
Many of the radical changes in fashion developed in the streets of London, with such gifted designers as Mary Quant (known for launching the mini skirt) and Barbara Hulanicki (the founder of the legendary boutique Biba). After designer Mary Quant introduced the mini-skirt in 1964, fashions in the 1960s were changed forever. The mini skirt was eventually to be worn by nearly every stylish young female in the western world.
The main outlets for these new young fashion designers were small boutiques, selling outfits that were not exactly 'one-offs', but were made in small quantities in a limited range of sizes and colors. However, not all designers took well to the new style and mood.
The basic shape and style of the time was simple, neat, clean cut, and young. Synthetic fabrics were very widely-used during the Sixties. They took dyes easily and well, giving rise to colors that were both clear and bright, very much mirroring the mood of the period. Hats suffered a great decline and by the end of the decade they were relegated to special occasions only. Lower kitten heels were a pretty substitute to stilettos. Pointed toes gave way to chisel shaped toes in 1961 and to an almond toe in 1963. Flat boots also became popular with very short dresses in 1965 and eventually they rose up the leg and reached the knee.
The principal change in menswear in the '60s was in the weight of the fabric used. The choice of materials and the method of manufacture produced a suit that, because it was lighter in weight, had a totally different look, with a line that was closer to the natural shape of the body, causing men to look at their figures more critically. The spread of jeans served to accelerate a radical change in the male wardrobe. Young men grew their hair down to their collars and added a touch of color, and even floral motifs, to their shirts.
The polo neck never succeeded in replacing the tie, but the adoption of the workman's jacket in rough corduroy. As the suits drifted away from pale, toned shades, menswear was now bright and colourful. It included frills and cravats, wide ties and trouser straps, leather boots and even collarless jackets. Ties were worn even five inches wide, with crazy prints, stripes and patterns. Casual dress consisted of plaid button down shirts with comfortable slacks.
The hippie movement late in the decade also exerted a strong influence on ladies' clothing styles, including bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye and batik fabrics, as well as paisley prints.
In the early to mid-1960s, the London Modernists known as the Mods were shaping and defining popular fashion for young British men while the trends for both sexes changed more frequently than ever before in the history of fashion and would continue to do so throughout the decade. The leaders of 1960s style were the British. The Mods were characterized by their choice of style different from the 1950s and revealed new fads that would be imitated by many young people. As a level of the middle social class known as the Mods, controlled the ins and outs of fashion in London, 1960s fashion set the mode for the rest of the century as it became marketed mainly to youth. Modernists formed their own way of life creating television shows and magazines that focused directly on the lifestyles of Mods.
British rock bands such as The Who, The Small Faces and The Kinks emerged from the Mod subculture. The Mods were known for the Modern Jazz they listened to as they showed their new styles off at local cafes. They worked at the lower end of the work force, usually nine to five jobs leaving time for clothes, music, and clubbing. It was not until 1964 when the Modernists were truly recognized by the public that women really were accepted in the group. Girls had short, clean haircuts and often dressed in similar styles to the male Mods. The Mods' lifestyle and musical tastes were the exact opposite of their rival group known as the.
The rockers liked 1950s rock-and roll, wore black leather jackets, greased, pompadour hairstyles, and rode motorbikes. The look of the Mods was classy; they mimicked the clothing and hairstyles of high fashion designers in France and Italy; opting for tailored suits, which were topped by anoraks that became their trademark. They rode on scooters, usually Vespas or Lambrettas. The Mods dress style was often called the City Gent look. Shirts were slim, with a necessary button down collar accompanied by slim fitted pants. Levi's were the only type of jeans worn by Modernists. Flared trousers and bellbottoms led the way to the hippie stage introduced in the 1960s. Variations of polyester were worn along with acrylics.
Carnaby Street and Chelsea's Kings Road were virtual fashion parades. In 1966, the space age was gradually replaced by the Edwardian, with the men wearing double-breasted suits of crushed velvet or striped patterns, brocade waistcoats, shirts with frilled collars, and their hair worn below the collar bone.
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones epitomised this "dandified" look. Women were inspired by the top models of the day which included Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Colleen Corby, Penelope Tree and Veruschka. Velvet mini dresses with lace-collars and matching cuffs, wide tent dresses and culottes had pushed aside the geometric shift.
False eyelashes were in vogue, as was pale lipstick. Hemlines kept rising, and by 1968 they had reached well above mid-thigh. These were known as "micro-minis". This was when the "angel dress" made its appearance on the fashion scene. A micro-mini dress with a flared skirt and long, wide trumpet sleeves, it was usually worn with patterned tights, and was often made of crocheted lace, velvet, chiffon or sometimes cotton with a psychedelic print.
The cowled-neck "monk dress" was another religion-inspired alternative; the cowl could be pulled up to be worn over the head. For evening wear, skimpy chiffon baby-doll dresses with spaghetti-straps were the mode as well as the "cocktail dress", which was a close-fitting sheath, usually covered in lace with matching long sleeves. Feather boas were occasionally worn.
By 1968, the androgynous hippie look was in style. Both men and women wore frayed bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed shirts, workshirts, and headbands. Wearing sandals was also part of the hippie look for both men and women. Women would often go barefoot, and some even went braless.
Fringed buck-skin vests, flowing caftans, Mexican peasant blouses, gypsy-style skirts, scarves, and bangles were also worn by teenage girls and young women. Indian prints, batik and paisley were the fabrics preferred. For more conservative women, there were the "lounging" or "hostess" pyjamas. These consisted of a tunic top over floor-length culottes, and were usually made of polyester or chiffon.
Another popular look for women and girls which lasted well into the early 1970s was the suede mini-skirt worn with a French polo-neck top, square-toed boots and Newsboy Cap or beret. Long maxi coats, often belted and lined in sheepskin, appeared at the close of the decade. Animal Prints were also popular for women in the autumn and winter of 1969. Women's shirts often had transparent sleeves. Psychedelic prints, hemp and the look of "Woodstock" came about in this generation.
The late 1960 produced a style categorized of people whom promoted sexual liberation and favored a type of politics reflecting "peace, love and freedom". Ponchos, mocassins, love beads, peace signs, medallion necklaces, chain belts, polka dot-printed fabrics, and long, puffed "bubble" sleeves were additional trends in the late 1960s.
New materials other than cloth (such as polyester and PVC) started to become more popular as well.
Starting in 1967, the Mod culture began to embrace reggae music and its working class roots. The new urban fashion known as Skinhead was born.
Swinging Sixties ( London ) – British Iconic Music
At the start of the 60's, British Music was just emerging from obscurity with Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Adam Faith beginning to become known worldwide. By the end of the decade British Music dominated the world with The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones etc. One of the stories told by George Harrison was the story that when the Beatles were first in the USA they visited “Elvis” at his home and which ended with Elvis and the Beatles Jamming together. That must have been one of the coolest musical sessions ever.
As the swinging sixties London is famous worldwide for many things British including Music I thought I would tell its history and list some of the most famous names in British Music.
Swinging London was underway by the mid-1960s, and included music by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces and other artists from what was known by America as the “British Invasion” as well as the growing popularity of Psychedelic Rock as Jimi Hendrick being represented as a cultural icon, supported by British bands like Cream and early Pink Floyd. This music was heard in the United Kingdom over pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline, Wonderful Radio London and Swinging Radio England.
On December 10th , 1963 the Walter Cronkite ran a story about the Beatlemania phenomenon in the United Kingdom. After seeing the report, 15 year old Marsha Albert of Maryland wrote a letter the following day to disc jockey Carroll James at radio station WWDC asking "why can't we have music like that here in America?".
On December 17th James had Albert introduce “I Want to Hold Your Hand" live on the air, the first airing of a Beatles song in the United States. WWDC's phones lit up and Washington, D.C. area record stores were flooded with requests for a record they did not have in stock.
On December 26th Capitol Records released the record three weeks ahead of schedule. The release of the record during a time when teenagers were on vacation helped spread Beatlemania in America.
On January 18th , 1964, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached number one on the cash Box chart, the following week it did the same on Billboard.
On February 7th the CBS Evening News ran a story about The Beatles' United States arrival that afternoon in which the correspondent said "The British Invasion this time goes by the code name Beatlemania". Two days later (Sunday, February 9th ) they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Seventy five percent of Americans watching television that night viewed their appearance.
On April 4th the Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the only time to date that any act has accomplished this. The group's massive chart success continued until they broke up in 1970.
Dusty Springfield, having launched a solo career, became the first non-Beatle act during the invasion to have a major U.S. hit with “I only Want to be With You”. She followed with several other hits and has been described by Allmusic as the finest white soul music singer of her era.
During the next two years, Chad & Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and The Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mind-benders, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Troggs and Donovan would have one or more number one singles. Other acts that were part of the invasion included The Kinks and The dave Clark Five. British Invasion acts also dominated the music charts at home in the United Kingdom.
The Dave Clark Five was the first British Invasion group to formally tour the United States (in the Spring of 1964). The group was considered the main competitor to The Beatles.
The DC5 made its first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 8, 1964, shortly after The Beatles. The DC5 made more appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show than any other British Invasion band.
British Invasion artists played in styles now categorized either as blues-based rock music or as guitar-driven rock/pop. A second wave of the invasion occurred featuring acts such as The Who and The Zombies which were influenced by the invasion's pop side and American rock music.
The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night and fashions from Carnaby Street led American media to proclaim England as the center of the music and fashion world.
The emergence of a relatively homogeneous worldwide "rock" music style about 1967 marked the end of the "invasion".
A Second Invasion occurred during the 1980s consisting of acts primarily popularized by the cable music channel MTV which was dominated by British Music video's by Queen, Duran Duran etc. While acts with a wide variety of styles were part of the invasion, New Wave and New Wave-influenced acts predominated.
The New Romantics – 1980's London Music
During the late 1970's Punk Rock became popular and those of us who were fans of Disco ignored punk rock as a passing fad. In the late 1970's and early 1980's as an alternative to Punk a new type of music appeared in London called The New Romantics. They could be identified by their Big hair and make up – both Men and Women. It was often associated with the New Wave music scene that had become popular during that time. It has seen several revivals since then, and continues to influence popular culture.
Developing in London nightclubs such as Billy's and The Blitz, the movement was associated with bands such as Visage, Culture Club, Adam and the Ants, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Japan and Spandau Ballet.
Other artists, such as Brian Eno and Roxy Music had significant influence on the movement. The term New Romantic was coined by Richard James Burgess in an interview with reference to Spandau Ballet.
As a whole, the movement was largely a response to the ethos and style of early punk rock, which had been enjoying widespread popularity around this time. Although punk initially had great appeal as a vehicle of self-expression and entertainment, by the final days of the 1970s, some had felt that it had lost its original excitement and degenerated into an overly political and bland movement instead. The New Romantic image ultimately sought to contrast with the austerity of punk as a whole by celebrating artifice in music and culture as opposed to rejecting it.
New Romantic music is influenced by many genres such as Disco, Rock, R&B and early electronic pop music. Since the New Romantic movement began in and was largely based in nightclubs, a great amount of the music associated with the movement was meant to be suitable for dancing. Glam rock acts of the 1970s such as David Bowie (whose 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes" was influenced by and considered a New Romantic anthem Roxy Music and Brian Eno have been cited as major influences on the music and image the bands. Kraftwork, a German band pioneering electronic music, also heavily impacted many of the artists.
Since each of the bands associated with the movement took a different approach to their music, it is difficult to define what constitutes New Romantic music. Contrasting with the punk rock which was popular at the peak of the movement, New Romantic music tends to be elaborate and highly stylized. The musical structures are usually consistent with those of pop music, as are the lyrics, which are often very emotional, which deal with themes such as love, dancing, history, the future and technology. The lyrics of New Romantic music also tend to be far more apolitical than those of punk rock or other songs written in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Many of the bands featured synthesizers and electronic drums or drum machines in their music, often alongside bass and lead guitar. While some bands such as Ultravox or Duran Duran consciously synthesized rock and electronic elements, others such as Culture Club or Spandau Ballet drew greater influence from R&B and soul music while still employing electronic instrumentation, albeit to a lesser extent.
Some bands, such as Visage, made music that was almost entirely electronic; often many early British electronic bands such as the Human League and Depeche Mode have been connected to the New Romantic movement, although some sources, sometimes including the individual members of such bands, deny the association.
During the last 25 years the New Romantic's music scene has been active and in the charts on a regular basis – Duran Duran is an example as a group who still release new music.
World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar
As football is England's favourite sport and is called England's national game I thought I would write about the World's First Football Chant – by Edward Elgar who was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester, England on 2nd June 1857.
It has recently come to light that Elgar wrote music to the world's first football chant for his favourite football team Wolverhampton Wanderers which was called “He Banged The leather for Goal” ( The Leather was shorthand for the Football which was made of leather and if you tried to head it when wet, it nearly took your head off )!! Elgar went to his first football match in February 1898 and became hooked on the atmosphere and the football and became a fan of Wolves for the rest of his life.
Edward Elgar was an English Composer who was famous for his orchestral works including the “Land of Hope and Glory”, “Enigma Variations”, the “Pomp and Circumstance Marches”, “concertos for violin and cello” and two symphonies. He also composed oratorios, including “The Dream of Gerontius”, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the Kings Musick in 1924.
Despite the fluctuating critical assessment of the various works over the years, Elgar's major works taken as a whole have in the twenty-first century recovered strongly from their neglect in the 1950s. The Record Guide in 1955 could list only one currently-available recording of the First Symphony, none of the Second, one of the Violin Concerto, two of the Cello Concerto, two of the Enigma Variations, one of Falstaff, and none of The Dream of Gerontius. Since then there have been multiple recordings of all the major works. More than thirty recordings have been made of the First Symphony since 1955, for example, and more than ten of The Dream of Gerontius. Similarly in the concert hall, Elgar's works, after a period of neglect are once again frequently programmed. The Elgar Society's website, in its diary of forthcoming performances, lists performances of Elgar's works by orchestras, soloists and conductors across Europe, North America and Australia.
Edward Elgar died on the 23rd February 1934.
Elgar's statue at the end of Worcester High Street stands facing the cathedral, only yards from where his father's shop once stood. Another statue of the composer is at the top of Church Street in Malvern, overlooking the town and giving visitors an opportunity to stand next to the composer in the shadow of the Hills that he so often regarded. In September 2005, a third statue sculpted by Jemma Pearson was unveiled near Hereford Cathedral in honour of his many musical and other associations with that city. It features Elgar with his bicycle.
Village of Wenlock, England – A Modern Olympic Games - 1850
Before the Modern Olympics began there was an Olympics in the Village of Wenlock, Shropshire, England which was run by Dr. William Penny Brookes from 1850 and every year therafter. He has been widely recognised as the founding father of the modern Olympic Games, but surprisingly not that many people are aware of him or his remarkable life. We in Britain have given the World over 100 Sports and Games and the Wenlock Olympics are still held every year.
In 1850, the Agricultural Reading Society resolved to establish a class called "The Olympian Class", "for the promotion of the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wenlock and especially of the working classes, by the encouragement of outdoor recreation, and by the award of prizes annually at public meetings for skill in Athletic exercise and proficiency in Intellectual and industrial attainments".
The first meeting was held in October 1850, and included athletics and country sports such as quoits, football and cricket. The event quickly expanded, and within a few years attracted competitors from as far away as London and Liverpool.
When the first Wenlock Olympian Games were staged in 1859, there was heavy criticism of Brookes' insistence that the Games be open to "every grade of man". It was felt that such an event would cause rioting, lewd behavior, and that men would leave their wives. Brookes tirelessly avoided requests to limit the Games to only the pupils of public schools and the sons of professionals. The Games were a huge success and none of the threatened disturbances occurred.
In 1859, Brookes established contact with the organisers of an Olympic Games revival in Athens sponsored by Evangelis Zappas. In 1860, the Class officially became the Wenlock Olympian Society, adopted some of the athletics events from the Athens games, and added them to their program. The first athlete to be listed on the honor roll of the Society was Petros Velissariou (an ethnic Greek from Smyrna, in the Ottoman Empire who was one of the first international Olympians.
In 1865, Brookes helped establish the National Olympian Association (NOA) based in Liverpool. Their first Olympic Games, a national event, held in 1866 at the Crystal Palace, London, was a success and attracted a crowd of over 10,000 spectators. W.G. Grace, the famous cricketer (before he became famous), competed and came first in the hurdles event. The Amateur Athletic Club, later to become the Amateur Athletics Association was formed as a rival organisation to the NOA.
In 1877, he requested an Olympian prize from Greece in honour of Queen Victoria'sjubilee. In response, King George I of Greecee sent a silver cup which was presented at the National Olympian Games held in Shrewsbury. This brought Brookes into contact with the Greek government, but his attempts to organise an international Olympian Festival in Athens in 1881 failed.
In 1889, he invited Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the organizer of an International Congress on Physical Education, to Much Wenlock. Meetings between William Penny Brookes and Baron Pierre de Coubertain took place at The Raven Hotel (as did the feast which concluded each year’s Olympian Games), and today in The Raven Hotel there are displayed many artefacts from those early years, including original letters from Baron Pierre de Coubertain to William Penny Brookes. A meeting of the Wenlock Olympian Games was held in de Coubertin's honour in 1890, with much pageantry. On his return to France, de Coubertin gave a glowing account of his stay in an article, "Les Jeux Olympiques à Much Wenlock", and referred to his host's efforts to revive the Olympics.
He wrote: "If the Olympic Games that Modern Greece has not yet been able to revive still survives today, it is due, not to a Greek, but to Dr W P Brookes.
Dr. W.P. Brookes died four months before the Athens 1896 Olympic Games, under the auspices of the IOC which was held in Athens in 1896.
The Wenlock Olympian Society maintains his original ideals, and continues to organise annual games. The William Brookes School in Much Wenlock is named after him.
Sir Isaac Newton – Iconic Scientist
One of England's greatest Icons is Sir Isaac Newton the discoverer of the equation of gravity. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), mathematician and physicist was one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time. Born at Woolsthorpe, near Grantham in Lincolnshire in 1642, where he attended school. Many years ago at school I was taught the story that Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree (Which is still there today) in his garden when he saw a falling apple.
He conceived that the same force governed the motion of the Moon and the apple. He calculated the force needed to hold the Moon in its orbit, as compared with the force pulling an object to the ground. This eventually became the book “Principia”.
He also calculated the centripetal force needed to hold a stone in a sling, and the relation between the length of a pendulum and the time of its swing. These early explorations were not soon exploited by Newton, though he studied astronomy and the problems of planetary motion.
Book I of the Principia states the foundations of the science of mechanics, developing upon them the mathematics of orbital motion round centres of force. Newton identified gravitation as the fundamental force controlling the motions of the celestial bodies. He never found its cause. To contemporaries who found the idea of attractions across empty space unintelligible, he conceded that they might prove to be caused by the impacts of unseen particles.
Book II inaugurates the theory of fluids: Newton solves problems of fluids in movement and of motion through fluids. From the density of air he calculated the speed of sound waves.
Book III shows the law of gravitation at work in the universe: Newton demonstrates it from the revolutions of the six known planets, including the Earth, and their satellites. However, he could never quite perfect the difficult theory of the Moon's motion. Comets were shown to obey the same law; in later editions, Newton added conjectures on the possibility of their return. He calculated the relative masses of heavenly bodies from their gravitational forces, and the oblateness of Earth and Jupiter, already observed. He explained tidal ebb and flow and the precession of the equinoxes from the forces exerted by the Sun and Moon. All this was done by exact computation.
Newton's work in mechanics was accepted at once in Britain, and universally after half a century. Since then it has been ranked among humanity's greatest achievements in abstract thought. It was extended and perfected by others, notably Pierre Simon de Laplace, without changing its basis and it survived into the late 19th century before it began to show signs of failing. See Quantum Theory; Relativity.
Newton has been regarded for almost 300 years as the founding example of modern physical science, his achievements in experimental investigation being as innovative as those in mathematical research. With equal, if not greater, energy and originality he also plunged into chemistry, the early history of Western civilization, and theology; among his special studies was an investigation of the form and dimensions, as described in the Bible, of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.
Time line of Sir Iasaac Newton
1642 Born at Woolsthorpe, Nr. Grantham, Lincs.
1661 he entered Cambridge University.
1665-1666 was "the prime of my age for invention".
1667 He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
1669 became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.
Until 1696 he remained at the university, lecturing in most years.
During two to three years of intense mental effort he prepared Philosophiae Naturalis Published in 1687 Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) commonly known as the Principia.
1696 he moved to London as Warden of the Royal Mint.
1699 he became Master of the Mint an office he retained to his death in 1727.
1671 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
1689 and again between 1701-1702 Newton was elected Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge to the Convention Parliament.
1703 he became President of the Royal Society.
1704 “Opticks” was published.
1705 was knighted in Cambridge.
1710), Newton published an incomplete theory of chemical force.
After Sir Isaac Newton's death in 1727 he had posthumously published his writings which included: The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728), The System of the World (1728), the first draft of Book III of thePrincipia, and Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St John (1733).
Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882
I thought it would be of interest to write this article about one of England's greatest scientist - Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.
Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury,Shropshire, England on 12th February 1809 at his family home, the Mount. He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father's side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother's side. Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwood's were adopting Anglicanism.
Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, had baby Charles baptised in the Anglican Church, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight year old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818, he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.
Beginning on the 27th of December, 1831, the voyage lasted almost five years and, as Fitzroy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while theBeagle surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates but in all other areas was a novice and ably collected specimens for expert appraisal. Despite repeatedly suffering badly from seasickness while at sea, most of his zoology notes are about marine invertebrates, starting with plankton collected in a calm spell.
His five year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russell Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.
He published his theory with compelling evidence for evolution in his 1859 book On the Origins of Species. The scientific community and much of the general public came to accept evolution as a fact during his lifetime.
It was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences which explained the diversity of life.
Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, he examined human evolution. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
In recognition of Darwin's pre-eminence as a scientist, he was one of only five 19th-century UK non-royal personages to be honoured by a state funeral and is buried in Westminster Abbey close to John Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton.
Lady Godiva (1040-1080 AD) – An English Icon
One of the most unusual English Iconic stories is the story about Lady Godiva an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman and her travel through Coventry on a horse with no clothes on in the 11th Century. The Countess Godiva, who was a great lover of God's mother, longed to free the town of Coventry from the oppression of a heavy toll.
She often said urgent prayers and besought her husband that, from regard to Jesus Christ and his mother, he would free the town from that service and from all other heavy burdens; and when the Earl sharply rebuked her for foolishly asking what was so much to his damage, and always forbade her evermore to speak to him on the subject; and while she, on the other hand, with a woman's pertinacity, never ceased to exasperate her husband on that matter, he at last made her this answer: "Mount your horse and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of this town from one end to the other, and on your return you shall have your request."
On which Godiva replied, "But will you give me permission if I am willing to do it?"
"I will," said he.
Whereupon the Countess, beloved of God, loosed her hair and let down her tresses, which covered the whole of her body like a veil, and then, mounting her horse and attended by two knights, she rode through the marketplace without being seen, except her fair legs, and having completed the journey, she returned with gladness to her astonished husband and obtained of him what she had asked, for Earl Leofric freed the town of Coventry and its inhabitants from the aforesaid service, and confirmed what he had done by a charter.
The above was sourced from Roger of Wendover (d. 1236), Chronica.
Godiva by Alfred Lord Tennyson
I waited for the train at Coventry;
I hung with grooms and porters on the bridge,
To watch the three tall spires; and there I shaped
The city's ancient legend into this:
Not only we, the latest seed of Time,
New men, that in the flying of a wheel
Cry down the past, not only we, that prate
Of rights and wrongs, have loved the people well,
And loathed to see them overtaxed; but she
Did more, and underwent, and overcame,
The woman of a thousand summers back,
Godiva, wife to that grim Earl, who ruled
In Coventry: for when he laid a tax
Upon his town, and all the mothers brought
Their children, clamoring, "If we pay, we starve!"
She sought her lord, and found him, where he strode
About the hall, among his dogs, alone,
His beard a foot before him and his hair
A yard behind. She told him of their tears,
And prayed him, "If they pay this tax, they starve."
Whereat he stared, replying, half-amazed,
"You would not let your little finger ache
For such as these?" -- "But I would die," said she.
He laughed, and swore by Peter and by Paul;
Then fillip'd at the diamond in her ear;
"Oh ay, ay, ay, you talk!" -- "Alas!" she said,
"But prove me what I would not do."
And from a heart as rough as Esau's hand,
He answered, "Ride you naked thro' the town,
And I repeal it;" and nodding, as in scorn,
He parted, with great strides among his dogs.
So left alone, the passions of her mind,
As winds from all the compass shift and blow,
Made war upon each other for an hour,
Till pity won. She sent a herald forth,
And bade him cry, with sound of trumpet, all
The hard condition; but that she would loose
The people: therefore, as they loved her well,
From then till noon no foot should pace the street,
No eye look down, she passing; but that all
Should keep within, door shut, and window barr'd.
Then fled she to her inmost bower, and there
Unclasp'd the wedded eagles of her belt,
The grim Earl's gift; but ever at a breath
She linger'd, looking like a summer moon
Half-dipt in cloud: anon she shook her head,
And shower'd the rippled ringlets to her knee;
Unclad herself in haste; adown the stair
Stole on; and, like a creeping sunbeam, slid
From pillar unto pillar, until she reach'd
The Gateway, there she found her palfrey trapt
In purple blazon'd with armorial gold.
Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity:
The deep air listen'd round her as she rode,
And all the low wind hardly breathed for fear.
The little wide-mouth'd heads upon the spout
Had cunning eyes to see: the barking cur
Made her cheek flame; her palfrey's foot-fall shot
Light horrors thro' her pulses; the blind walls
Were full of chinks and holes; and overhead
Fantastic gables, crowding, stared: but she
Not less thro' all bore up, till, last, she saw
The white-flower'd elder-thicket from the field,
Gleam thro' the Gothic archway in the wall.
Then she rode back, clothed on with chastity;
And one low churl, compact of thankless earth,
The fatal byword of all years to come,
Boring a little auger-hole in fear,
Peep'd -- but his eyes, before they had their will,
Were shrivel'd into darkness in his head,
And dropt before him. So the Powers, who wait
On noble deeds, cancell'd a sense misused;
And she, that knew not, pass'd: and all at once,
With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon
Was clash'd and hammer'd from a hundred towers,
One after one: but even then she gain'd
Her bower; whence reissuing, robed and crown'd,
To meet her lord, she took the tax away
And built herself an everlasting name.
This above famous poem was written in 1842 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
English Spa Towns – Iconic Places
I thought as English Spa Towns are famous UK Wide but not World Wide I thought I would explain what a Spa Town is and where in England you can find Spa towns. As a snippet of information the city of "Bath" is a Spa Town (Also a City ) and where the word "Bath" originated.
A spa town (also called a bathing-place or simply a spa) is a town situated around a mineral spa (a developed mineral spring). Patrons resorted to spas to "take the waters" for their health benefits. The word comes from the Belgian town Spa. In continental Europe a spa was known as a ville d'eau (town of water). The term spa is used for towns or resorts offering hydrotherapy which can include cold water ormineral water treatments and hot thermal baths.
Some but not all British spa towns contain "Spa", "Wells", or "Bath" in their names, e.g.,Matlock Bath. Some towns are designated Spa Heritage Towns. Both English towns granted the title "Royal", Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells are spa towns.
A List Of Spa Towns in England
Boston Spa (West Yorkshire)
Royal Leamington Spa
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Scarborough also called The Spa, Scarborough
To find out more about English Spa Towns just enter one of the above towns into Google to find out more about the Town of your choice.
Edward Somerset – English Inventor of The First Steam Engine 1653
I though as England has produced so many famous inventors and engineers I thought it may be of interest to write this short article on the world's first Steam Engine.
Edward Somerset (1601 – 1667) was an English nobleman involved in royalist politics; he was also an inventor. In the book he authored in 1655 of over 100 inventions, the power and applications of what would become the steam engine are clearly described.
Edward Somerset was a Cavalier who supported Charles I in Wales and raised a regiment of horse for him. His campaigning in the West of England and in Wales did not go well.
After a month with his force of over 2,000 troops encamped at Higham outside Gloucester in March 1643, Herbert decided to leave them as he travelled to meet the king at Oxford.
In his absence the entire force surrendered without any exchange of fire, earning it the title "The Mushroom Army". He was rewarded in 1644, however, with a peerage, being created Earl of Glamorgan and Baron Beaufort, of Caldecote. However, due to irregularities in the letteers patent these titles were not recognized after the Restoration.
Sent to Ireland, he made a false move in concluding a treaty, in great secrecy, on behalf of Charles that was considered to concede too much to the Catholics there; he himself was a Catholic. In extricating himself from that position, he became a close ally of Giovanni Battista Rinuccini and a potential replacement for James Butler as royalist leader.
His plans to bring Irish troops over to England were overtaken by events, and he left for France with George Leyburn. He succeeded his father as Marquess of Worcester in 1646.
He was formally banished in 1649, but after four years in Paris returned to England in 1653. He was discovered, charged with high treason and sent to the Tower of London he was treated leniently by the Council of State and released on bail in 1654. That year he took up again his interest in engineering and inventions, leasing a house at Vauxhall where his Dutch or German technician Kaspar Kalthoff could work. After this he largely avoided politics, and did not press his claims to the various other titles of nobility.
In 1655 he authored a book which consisted of textual descriptions of 100 separate inventions. It was eventually printed in 1663 and included a device described as his "Water-commanding Engine". Constructed from the barrel of a cannon it was an obvious prototype design for what would later become the steam engine which clearly anticipated the power and applications of that machine.
When Edward died he suggested that a model of his engine should be buried with him. Almost 200 years later in 1861, this prompted Victorian collector Bennet Woodcroft to mount an expedition, on behalf of The Science Museum to the vault of Raglan church, to try and find a model of the invention in Somerset's tomb. Despite opening the coffin lid and searching thoroughly, no model was found. Woodcroft did, however, return with one of Edward's fingers as a memento
The London Science Museum has plans of his "Water-commanding Engine" which shows it was a working steam engine for pumping water.
The First Steam Locomotive – England 1804 and First Steam Engine 1653 - England
As an Englishman born and bred and a fan of history of steam Locomotives I thought it may be of interest to write an article about the history of the earliest steam locomotive. The first full scale working railway steam locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick in the United Kingdom on 21st February 1804 when the world's first railway journey took place as Trevithick's unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales.
This is different from the first Steam Engine which was first invented in 1653 by Edward Somerset (1601 – 1667) was an English nobleman.
On Christmas Eve 1801 in West Cornwall, England an engineer called Richard Trevithick took his new steam car, ( or the "Puffing Devil" as it became known) out for its first test run. After a number of years research, Trevithick had developed a high-pressure engine powered by steam. His vehicle was no more than a boiler on 4-wheels but it took Trevithick and a number of his friends half a mile up a hill. The vehicle's principle feature was a cylindrical horizontal boiler and a single horizontal cylinder let into it. The piston propelled back and forth in the cylinder by pressure from the steam. This was linked by piston rod and connecting rod to a crankshaft bearing a large flywheel.
The vehicle was used for several journeys until it turned over on the unsuitable trails that were used for pack horses in Cornwall at that time. After having been righted, Trevithick and crew drove it back to Camborne and retired to a hostelry.
The water level dropped in the boiler and the fusible plug melted, sending a jet of steam into the furnace where it blew embers all around, setting fire to the surroundings and the wooden parts of the engine.
In 1802 a steam-powered coach designed by British engineer Richard Trevithick journeyed more than 160 km from Cornwall to London.
The "Puffing Dragon" was the world's first passenger car. Despite the disaster of losing his first vehicle, undeterred, Trevithick built a 3-wheeled steam carriage but this time complete with seats and a real carriage like appearance. In 1803, he drove it through London's Oxford Street on demonstration runs and reached speeds of 8-9 mph (13 - 14 km/h). Despite the runs, nobody was interested and so when he ran out of funds, he sold the power unit to a local Miller. Trevithick's vehicle was the first self-propelled carriage in the capital and in essence the first London bus.
Regular intercity bus services by steam-powered buses were also pioneered in England in the 1830s by Walter Hancock and by associates of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney among others, running reliable services over road conditions which were too hazardous for horse-drawn transportation. Steam carriages were much less likely to overturn, did not "run away with" the customer as horses sometimes did. They travelled faster than horse-drawn carriages (24 mph over four miles and an average of 12 mph over longer distances). They could run at a half to a third of the cost of horse-drawn carriages. Their brakes did not lock and drag like horse-drawn transport (a phenomenon that increased damage to roads).
According to engineers, steam carriages caused one-third the damage to the road surface as that caused by the action of horses' feet. Indeed, the wide tires of the steam carriages (designed for better traction) caused virtually no damage to the streets, whereas the narrow wheels of the horse-drawn carriages (designed to reduce the effort required of horses) tended to cause rutting.
However, the heavy road tolls imposed by the Turnpike Acts discouraged steam road vehicles and left the way clear for the horse bus companies, and from 1861 onwards, harsh legislation virtually eliminated mechanically-propelled vehicles altogether from the roads of Great Britain for 30 years, the Locomotive Act of that year imposing restrictive speed limits on "road locomotives" of 5 mph in towns and cities, and 10 mph in the country.
In 1865 the Locomotives Act of that year (the famous Red Flag Act) further reduced the speed limits to 4 mph in the country and just 2 mph in towns and cities, additionally requiring a man bearing a red flag to precede every vehicle. At the same time, the act gave local authorities the power to specify the hours during which any such vehicle might use the roads. The sole exceptions were street trams which from 1879 onwards were authorised under licence from the Board of Trade.
Howard Carter – The Discoverer of Tutankhamen
Howard Carter is famous for his discovery of Tutankhamen and as a great English icon I thought it would be of interest to write his history. Howard Carter was born at 10, Rich Terrace in Kensington, London on May 9th 1874. His father, Samuel John Carter, was an artist who specialized in animal paintings. Howard Carter's youth was spent in Swaffham in Norfolk where he also received a relatively modest private education.
Young Carter's talent for drawing and his interest in Egyptian antiquities took him to Egypt when he was still only seventeen, in the autumn of 1891. Over the years he became convinced that there was at least one undiscovered tomb, that of the almost unknown King Tutankhamen.
He was hired by the Egypt Exploration Fund in London to help P. E. Newberry with the epigraphic recording of tombs at Beni Hasan and El-Bersha, in Middle Egypt. In January 1892, he was also asked to join Flinders Petrie who excavated at El-Amarna, and this gave him invaluable archaeological experience. In 1893 he began on epigraphic recording of the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri as a member of an Egypt Exploration Fund expedition directed by Édouard Naville. This task, at which he excelled, occupied him until 1899.
At the beginning of 1900 Howard Carter was appointed Chief Inspector of Antiquities to the Egyptian Government with responsibilities for Upper Egypt. He stayed in this post until late in 1904 when he was moved to the post of Chief Inspector for Lower Egypt. But an unfortunate incident at Saqqara which resulted in a brawl between a party of arrogant Europeans and Egyptian employees of the Antiquities Service brought Carter's meteoric progress to an abrupt stop. Although not personally involved, he sided with his men, was transferred to a less important post in the Delta and eventually resigned from the Antiquities Service the following year. His professional career and his life were in serious crisis.
But a few years later Carter's luck changed.The Earl of Carnarvon, who visited Egypt for health reasons in 1905, became interested in Egyptian antiquities and decided to finance some archaeological work. The Antiquities Service, however, insisted that the work should be in the hands of an experienced archaeologist, and Carter seemed the best person available. The cooperation between an archaeologist and an English aristocrat with a passion for Egyptian archaeology which began in 1909 was, eventually, going to result in the greatest discovery in Egyptian archaeology.
The Carter-Carnarvon work was first centred on Thebes. In 1912 the work moved to the Delta but the results were rather disappointing. In 1914 Lord Carnarvon was able to secure a concession to excavate in the Valley of the Kings. But the outbreak of the First World War meant that any excavation had to be postponed until five short seasons, with little success, between the end of 1917 and March 1922.
The first steps leading into the tomb of Tutankhamen were found on November 4, 1922, only a few days after the beginning of a new season of excavations in the Valley of the Kings. The entrance to the tomb, with intact seals, was uncovered the following day, on November 5. Carter, accompanied by Lord Carnarvon, his daughter Lady Evelyn, Arthur Callender and Egyptian reises (foremen), had their first glimpse of the interior of the tomb on November 26th 1922. A few months after the tomb's opening, tragedy struck. Lord Carnarvon, 57, was taken ill and rushed to Cairo. He died a few days later. The exact cause of death was not known, but it seemed to be from an infection started by an insect bite on his face. Legend has it that when he died there was a short power failure and all the lights throughout Cairo went out. His son reported that back on his estate in England his favourite dog howled and suddenly dropped dead.
Even more strange, when the mummy of Tutankhamen was unwrapped in 1925, it was found to have a wound on the left cheek in the same exact position as the insect bite on Carnarvon that lead to his death.
The work on the clearance and recording of the contents of the tomb continued until the concession ran out in 1929 and during this year eleven people connected with the discovery of the Tomb had died early and of unnatural causes. This included two of Carnarvon's relatives, Carter's personal secretary, Richard Bethell, and Bethell's father, Lord Westbury. Westbury killed himself by jumping from a building. He left a note that read, "I really cannot stand any more horrors and hardly see what good I am going to do here, so I am making my exit “.
According to figures of the 22 people present when the tomb was opened in 1922, 6 had died by 1934 and Of the 22 people present at the opening of the sarcophagus in 1924, 2 died in the following ten years. Also ten people were there when the mummy was unwrapped in 1925 and all survived until at least 1934.
Many years later, Howard Carter, Egyptologist who earned world fame for his discovery and exploration, in association with the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, of the tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen, died in his London home on March 2nd1939.
Sir Henry Wood – The Last Night Of The Proms
I thought the last night of the proms is such a English Icon I would tell it's history. The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of over 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, a series of chamber concerts at Cadogan Halll, additional Proms in the Park events across the United Kingdom on the last night of the proms.
Sir Henry Joseph Wood, (3 March 1869 – 19 August 1944) was an English conductor, forever associated with The Proms which he conducted for half a century. Founded in 1895, they became known after his death as the "Henry Wood Promenade Concerts" and are now the "BBC Proms". He had an enormous influence on musical life in Britain: he improved access immensely, and also raised the standard of orchestral playing and nurtured the taste of the public, introducing them to a vast repertoire of music, encouraging especially compositions by British composers. He was knighted in 1911.
The first Proms concert was held on 10th August 1895 in the Queen's Hall in langham Place under the auspices of impresario Robert newman. Newman's idea was to encourage an audience for concert hall music who, though not normally attending classical concerts, would be attracted by the low ticket prices and more informal atmosphere. In addition to promenading, eating, drinking and smoking were all allowed. He stated his goal as follows:
"I am going to run nightly concerts and train the public by easy stages. Popular at first, gradually raising the standard until I have created a public for classical and modern music."
With financial backing from the otolaryngologist Dr George Cathcart, Newman hired Henry Joseph Wood as the conductor for this series of concerts, called "Mr Robert Newman's Promenade Concerts". Wood built the "Queen's Hall Orchestra" as the ensemble devoted to performing the promenade concerts. Although the concerts gained a popular following and reputation, Newman went bankrupt in 1902, and the banker Edgar Speyer took over the expense of funding the concerts. In 1914 anti-german feeling forced Speyer out of his post. After Speyer, music publishers Chappell & Co. took control of the concerts.
Newman continued to work in the artistic planning of these promenade concerts until his sudden death in November 1926. With time, Wood became the name which was most closely associated with the concerts. As conductor from that first concert, Wood was largely responsible for expanding the repertoire heard in later concerts, such that by the 1920s the concerts had grown from being made up of largely more popular, less demanding works, to presenting music by contemporary composers such as Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss Ralph Vaughan Williams. A bronze bust of Wood, belonging to the Royal Academy of Music is placed in front of the Organ for the whole season. While now known as the BBC Proms, the text on the tickets (along with the headline "BBC Proms" next to the BBC logo), still says "BBC Music presents the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts'".
In 1927, the BBC — later based at Broadcasting House next to the hall—took over the running of the concerts. When the BBC Symhony Orchestra (BBC SO) was formed in 1930, it became the main orchestra for the concerts. At this time the season consisted of nights dedicated to particular composers; Mondays were Wagner, Fridays were Beethoven with other major composers being featured on other days. There were no Sunday performances.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the BBC withdrew its support. The Proms continued though, under private sponsorship, until the Queen's Hall was gutted by an air raid in 1941 (its site is now the St George's Hotel and BBC Henry Wood House). The following year, the Proms moved to their current home, the Royal Albert Hall, and the BBC took over once more. In 1944, however, increased danger to the Royal Albert Hall from bombing meant that the Proms moved again, this time to the Bedford Corn Exchange. This venue had been the home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 1941 and played host to the Proms until the end of the war. After the war, other orchestras were invited to perform in the Proms, such that the BBC SO was no longer the sole orchestra responsible for all Proms concerts.
Wood continued his work with the Proms until his death in 1944. In the years after the war, Sir Adrian Boult and Basil Cameron look on principal conducting duties for the Proms until the advent of Malcolm Sargent as Proms chief conductor in 1947. Sargent held this post until 1966. He was noted for his immaculate appearance (evening dress carnation) and his witty addresses where he good-naturedly chided the noisy Prommers. Sir Malcolm championed choral music and classical and British composers, especially Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The charity founded in his name, CLC Sargent continues to hold a special Promenade Concert each year shortly after the main season ends. CLIC Sargent, the Musician's Benevolent Fund and further musical charities (chosen each year) also benefit from thousands of pounds in donations from Prommers after most concerts. When asking for donations, Prommers from the Arena regularly announce to the audience the running donations total at concert intervals through the season, or before the concert when there is no interval.
In 2009 the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. In the context of classical music festivals. The Proms has been described as "the world's largest and most democratic musical festival".