Index to Chapter 8
- Sir Winston Churchill – War Leader, Artist and Writer
- Whitefriars Glass – 17th Century History
- The Brown Dressed Lady Ghost of Raynham Hall – England
- Windsor Castle – It's Royal Hauntings
- Sir Walter Raleigh 1552 to 1618 – British Icon
- Sir Roger Moore – British Iconic Actor
- Peter Sellers – English Comic Actor
- Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov – Renaissance Funny Man
- Les Dawson – English iconic Comic, Writer and Actor
- Benny Hill – Chaplin's Favourite Comedian
- Ken Dodd – English iconic Comic, Writer and Actor
- Samuel Fox – English Inventor of The Metal Ribbed Umbrella
- Cats Eyes for the Roads– Invented by Percy Shaw 1933
- Sir Alexander Fleming – Discoverer of Penicillin
- History of The Tank – An England Icon
- The Unofficial Truce – Christmas 1914
- Famous English and British Battles and Wars 59 AD to Present
Sir Winston Churchill – War Leader, Artist and Writer
Sir Winston Churchill was one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the greatest Leader and Politician of the 20th Century. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth on November 30th 1874 at Blenheim Palace, a home given by Queen Anne to Churchill's ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough. He is best known for his determination yet courageous leadership as Prime Minister for Great Britain when he led the British people from the brink of defeat during World War II.
He was the eldest son of Lord Randolph Churchill, a Tory Democrat (a British political party) who achieved early success as a rebel in his party. Later, after Randolph Churchill failed, he was cruelly described as "a man with a brilliant future behind him." His mother was Jenny Jerome, the beautiful and talented daughter of Leonard Jerome, a New York businessman. Winston idolized his mother, but his relations with his father, who died in 1895, were cold and distant. It is generally agreed that as a child Winston was not shown warmth and affection by his family.
As a child Churchill was sensitive and suffered from a minor speech impediment. He was educated following the norms of his class. He first went to preparatory school, then to Harrow in 1888 when he was twelve years old. Winston was not especially interested in studying Latin or mathematics and spent much time studying in the lowest level courses until he passed the tests and was able to advance. He received a good education in English, however, and won a prize for reading aloud a portion of Thomas Macaulay's (1800–1859) Lays of Ancient Rome (1842). After finishing at Harrow, Winston failed the entrance test for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst three times before finally passing and being allowed to attend the school. His academic record improved a great deal once he began at the college. When he graduated in 1894 he was eighth in his class.
Very early on Churchill demonstrated the physical courage and love of adventure and action that he kept throughout his political career. His first role was that of a soldier-journalist.
In 1895 he went to Cuba to write about the Spanish army for the Daily Graphic. In 1896 he was in India, and while on the North-West Frontier with the Malakand Field Force he began work on a novel, Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania. The book was published in 1900.
More important, however, were Churchill's accounts of the military campaigns in which he participated. Savrola was followed by a book about the reconquest of the Sudan (1899), in which he had also taken part. As a journalist for the Morning Post,he went to Africa during the Boer War (1899–1902), where British forces fought against Dutch forces in South Africa. The most romantic of his adventures as a youth was his escape from a South African prison during this conflict and the “Wanted Dead Or Alive Poster” put up all over South Africa.
In 1899 Churchill lost in his first attempt at election to the House of Commons, one of two bodies controlling Parliament in England. This was to be the first of many defeats in elections, as Churchill lost more elections than any other political figure in recent British history. But in 1900 he entered the House of Commons, in which he served off and on until 1964. Churchill's early years in politics were characterized by an interest in the radical reform (improvement) of social problems. The major intellectual achievement of this period of Churchill's life was his Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909). In this work he stated his belief in liberalism, or political views that stress civil rights and the use of government to promote social progress. Churchill was very active in the great reforming government of Lord Asquith between 1908 and 1912, and his work fighting unemployment was especially significant.
In 1912 Churchill became first lord of the Admiralty, the department of British government that controls the naval fleet. He switched his enthusiasm away from social reform to prepare Britain's fleet for a war that threatened Europe. While at the Admiralty Churchill suffered a major setback. He became committed to the view that the navy could best make an impact on the war in Europe (1914–18) by way of a swift strike through the Dardanelles, a key waterway in central Europe. This strategy proved unsuccessful, however, and Churchill lost his Admiralty post. In 1916 he was back in the army, serving for a time on the front lines in France.
Churchill soon re-entered political life. He was kept out of the Lloyd George War Cabinet by conservative hostility toward his style and philosophy. But by 1921 Churchill held a post as a colonial secretary. A clash with Turkish president Kemal Atatürk, however, did not help his reputation, and in 1922 he lost his seat in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party gained power for the first time since 1905, and Churchill began a long-term isolation, with few political allies.
In 1924 Churchill severed his ties with liberalism and became chancellor of the Exchequer (British treasury) in Stanley Baldwin's (1867–1947) government. Churchill raised controversy when he decided to put Britain back on the gold standard, a system where currency equals the value of a specified amount of gold. Although he held office under Baldwin, Churchill did not agree with his position either on defence or on imperialism, Britain's policy of ruling over its colonies. In 1931 he resigned from the conservative "shadow cabinet" in protest against its Indian policy.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, on 3 September 1939 the day Britain declared war on Germany, Churchill was appointed First Lord of The Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, just as he had been during the first part of the First World War. When they were informed, the Board of the Admiralty sent a signal to the Fleet: "Winston is back". In this job, he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called “Phoney War”, when the only noticeable action was at sea. Churchill advocated the pre-emptive occupation of the neutral Norwegian iron-ore port of Narvik and the iron mines in Kiruna, Sweden, early in the war. However, Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and the operation was delayed until the successful German Invasion of Norway.
On 10 May 1940, hours before the German invasion of France by a lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following failure in Norway, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain's prosecution of the war and so Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax turned down the post of prime minister because he believed he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. Although the prime minister does not traditionally advise the King on the formers successor, Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in the House of Commons.
A meeting between Chamberlain, Halifax, Churchill and David Margesson, the government Chief Whip, led to the recommendation of Churchill, and, as we are a constitutional monarch, King George VI asked Churchill to be prime minister and to form an all-party government. Churchill's first act was to write to Chamberlain to thank him for his support.
Churchill had been among the first to recognise the growing threat of Hitler long before the outset of the Second World War, and his warnings had gone largely unheeded. Although there was an element of British public and political sentiment favouring negotiated peace with a clearly ascendant Germany, among them the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax.
Churchill nonetheless refused to consider an armistice with Hitler's Germany. His use of rhetoric hardened public opinion against a peaceful resolution and prepared the British for a long war. Coining the general term for the upcoming battle, Churchill stated in his “Finest Hour” speech to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940, "I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin." By refusing an armistice with Germany, Churchill kept resistance alive in the British Empire and created the basis for the later Allied Counter-attacks of 1942–45, with Britain serving as a platform for the supply of Soviet union and the liberation of Western Europe.
In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence. He immediately put his friend and confidant, the industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production. It was Beaverbrook's business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft production and engineering that eventually made the difference in the war.
Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as prime minister was the famous "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”.
He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the words:
... we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.
At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” which engendered the enduring nickname “The Few” for the RAF fighter pilots who won it.
One of his most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at Mansion House in London, in response to the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Churchill stated:
“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.
Without having much in the way of sustenance or good news to offer the British people, he took a risk in deliberately choosing to emphasise the dangers instead.
"Rhetorical power", wrote Churchill, "is neither wholly bestowed, nor wholly acquired, but cultivated."
As an Englishman I am proud we were able to stand alone from 1939 to the beginning of 1942 against Hitler, Stalin and the various Nazi quisling governments from continental Europe.
The final period of Churchill's career began with the British people rejecting him in the general election of 1945. In that election 393 Labour candidates were elected members of Parliament against 213 Conservatives and their allies. It was one of the most striking reversals of fortune in democratic history. It may perhaps be explained by the British voters' desire for social reform.
In 1951, the voters returned Churchill as prime minister. This was a belated thank you from the voters.
He resigned in April 1955 due to his age and health problems during his term in office. For many of the later years of his life, even his personal strength was not enough to resist the persistent cerebral arteriosclerosis, a brain disorder, from which he suffered. He died on January 24, 1965, and was given a state funeral.
Whitefriars Glass – 17th Century History
The Whitefriars Glass company is one of the oldest glass companies in Britain from the 17th Century to the present day and is famous for its uniquely shaped glass. As a long established British glass designer and maker I thought readers may be interested in it's history.
The firm of James Powell and Sons, also known as Whitefriars Glass, were English glass-makers, lead lighters and stained glass window manufacturers. As Whitefriars Glass, the company existed from the 17th century, but became well known as a result of the 19th century Gothic Revival and the demand for stained glass windows.
In 1834 James Powell (1774-1840), a London wine merchant and entrepreneur, purchased the Whitefriars Glass Company, a small glass works off Fleet Street in London, believed to have been established in 1680. Powell and his sons were newcomers to glass making, but soon acquired the necessary expertise. They experimented and developed new techniques, devoting a large part of their production to the creating of church stained glass windows. The firm acquired a large number of patents for their new ideas and became world leaders in their field, business being boosted by the building of hundreds of new churches during the Victorian era. While Powell's manufactured stained glass windows, they also provided glass to other stained glass firms.
A major product of the factory was decorative quarry glass which was mass-produced by moulding and printing, rather than hand-cutting and painting. This product could be used in church windows as a cheap substitute for stained glass. It was often installed in new churches, to be later replaced by pictorial windows. Most of this quarry glass was clear, printed in black and detailed in bright yellow silver stain. Occasionally the quarries were produced in red, blue or pink glass, but these are rare. Surprisingly few entire windows of Powell quarries are to be seen in English churches, although they survive in little-seen locations such as vestries, ringing chambers and behind pipe organs. St Philip's Church, Sydney, retains a full set of Powell quarry windows. Powell also produced many windows in which pictorial mandorlas or roundels are set against a background of quarries. See picture right
During the latter part of the 1800s the firm formed a close association with leading architects and designers such as T. G. Jackson Edward Burne Jones, William De Morgan and James Doyle. Whitefriars produced the glass that Phillip Webb used in his designs for William Morris. The firm’s production diversified in the 1850s to include domestic table glass after supplying the glassware for William Morris's Red House.
In 1875 Harry James Powell, grandson of the founder and an Oxford graduate in chemistry, joined the business. His training, which led to more scientific production and innovations such as previously unattainable colours and heat-resistant glass, for applications in science and industry, like X-Ray tubes and light bulbs.
New production lines such as opalescent glass proved to be extremely successful. The firm took part in major exhibitions around the world. Designs were copied from historical Venetian and Roman glass found in European museums and art galleries. Harry Powell, an admirer of Ruskin delivered numerous lectures on glass manufacture.
The firm's name was changed to Powell & Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd in 1919 and the growth in business demanded new premises. In 1923 the new factory was opened in Wealdstone despite a flourishing business, the great expense of the new factory scuttled plans to construct a village to house the workers in a style fashionable during the Arts and Crafts Movement. The furnaces were lit at the new factory using the flame from a furnace at the old works, which had been carefully carried across London in a brazier. The company also had showrooms on Wigmore Street, and this attracted customers for both domestic and window glass.
In the years between World War 1 and World War 11 business and the financial situation were much improved. Glassware trended to the colourful and heavy, and optic moulding and wheel engraving played a major part in bringing the Art Deco style to the middle and upper classes.
In the 1930s the firm started production of Milefiori paperweights, characterised by shallow domes and wide bases. This period of prosperity was ended with the onset of World War 11. Glass manufacture was restricted to that aiding the war effort. Cessation of hostilities found the company in a desperate struggle for survival, aggravated by the loss of key personnel who had enlisted and not returned.
The Festival of Britain of 1951 led to a much-needed financial infusion for the economy. Whitefriars was selected as an outstanding example of modern British industry. The following years saw austere and functional Scandinavian design sweeping Europe, and dominating stock purchases by major outlets such as Selfridge's and Fortran's & Mason.
The arrival of glass bricks which were cheap, thick slabs of coloured glass set in concrete bricks, dispensed with the need for expensive stained glass in new churches.
One of the many well-known glass designers who worked at Whitefriars was Geoffrey Baxter. He joined the factory in 1954 after graduating from the Royal College of Art. Baxter had a great influence on Whitefriars table and domestic glass designs. In the 1960s, he began to experiment with a new moulded glass. This led to the introduction of the Textured range in 1967. The pieces were made in moulds using tree bark, nails, wire and other materials to produce alternative textures to the glass.
In 1962 the company name was changed back to Whitefriars Glass Ltd. and specialised in freeform domestic glass ware until its purchase in 1981 by Caithness Glass.
The Brown Dressed Lady Ghost of Raynham Hall – England
The Brown Dressed 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.
According to legend, the Brown Dressed Lady of Raynham is the ghost of Lady Townsend who was married to CharlesTownsend, a man known for his fiery temper. When Charles learned of his wife's infidelity, he punished her by imprisoning her in the family estate at Raynham Hall, located in Norfolk, England. He never allowed her to leave its premises, not even to see her children. She remained there until her death, when she was an old woman.
Over the next two centuries Lady Townsend's ghost was repeatedly sighted wandering through Raynham Hall, suggesting that she never left its premises even after her death.
For instance, in the early nineteenth century King George IV saw her while he was staying at the hall. He said that she stood beside his bed wearing a brown dress, and that her face was pale and her hair dishevelled.
In 1835 Colonel Loftus sighted her. He was visiting the house for the Christmas holidays and was walking to his room late one night when he saw a figure standing in the hall in front of him. The figure was wearing a brown dress. He tried to see who the woman was, but she mysteriously disappeared.
The next week Colonel Loftus again saw the figure. This time, however, he got a better look at her. He said she was an aristocratic looking woman. She was wearing the same brown satin dress, and her skin glowed with a pale luminescence, but, to his horror, her eyes had been gouged out and 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.
Colonel Loftus told others of his experience, and more people then came forward to say that they too had seen a strange figure. An artist drew a painting of the 'brown lady' (as she was now known), and this picture was then hung in the room where she was most frequently seen.
A few years later the novelist Captain Frederick Marryat was staying at Raynham Hall. He decided to spend the night in the room in which she was most frequently seen. He studied the painting of her and waited to see her, but she never appeared that night.
However, a few days later he was walking down an upstairs hallway with two friends when they suddenly saw the brown lady. She was carrying a lantern and glided past them as they cowered behind a door. According to Marryat she grinned at them in a 'diabolical manner'. Before she disappeared, Marryat leapt out from behind the door and fired at her with a pistol that he happened to be carrying. The bullet passed through her and lodged in a wall. In 1936 a phograph was taken of the ghost and the image is widely believed to be one of the best and most convincing of all the known photographs of ghosts. In many publications it is presented as actual photographic proof of the existence of ghosts.
Windsor Castle – It's Royal Hauntings
Windsor Castle in England is famous for it's many hauntings seen over the centuries by many famous kings and queens of kings and queens. I thought it would be of interest to write this article about the various hauntings of Windsor Castle.
William the Conqueror began the building of Windsor Castle in 1075 after the Norman Conquest. The castle is almost one mile in circumference and is the largest in Britain. Since it was built, the Castle has been embroiled in legends of suicide, witchcraft and demonic ghosts. The list of ghostly sightings reported at the Castle is huge.
The castle was nearly destroyed during the civil war of the 1600s. While the castle served as a prison, it was also a safe haven for the Royal family for a long time.
Queen Elizabeth I haunts the Royal Library and is said to have been seen by several members of the Royal family. The sounds of her high heels are heard on bare floorboards, before her imposing figure appears and passes through the library and into an inner room. She has also been seen standing at the window in the Dean's Cloister. She is always dressed in a black gown with a black lace shawl draped over her shoulders.
King Charles I has often been seen in the library and the Canon's house. Although he was beheaded during the English Revolution, his ghost is seen as a whole. It is reported that he looks exactly like his portraits.
A young guard shot and killed himself and another guard on duty saw him afterwards.
The most frequently seen specter is Herne the Hunter whose ghost has been seen by hundreds of people in Great Windsor Park. According to legend, he was a royal huntsman who was framed by those who were jealous of his relationship with the king. He felt disgraced and hanged himself. His ghost is seen astride a phantom black steed, often accompanied by spectral baying hounds.
Both Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn haunt the Tower of London.
Henry VIII haunts the Deanery Cloisters. People heard his footsteps and groans.
One of the most famous ghosts reported at the Castle is that of King Henry VIII, while various guests staying at the castle have reported hearing the king's footsteps along the long hallways of the Castle. Some have even claimed to hear moans and groans coming from the hallway.
Anne Boleyn, one of his wives, whom he had executed, has been sighted and seen standing at the window in the Dean's Cloister.
In the last 250 years, hundreds of people have claimed to have seen the spirit of Herne the Hunter, who was the favourite huntsman of King Richard II. He is often seen accompanied by his pack of hounds, careering across the Great Park searching for lost souls.
The story is that Herne was one of the Royal keepers in the time of King Richard II (1367-1400). Herne had two large black hounds and was hated by the other keepers because of his great skill. One evening King Richard was hunting a stag in the grounds of Windsor Park, but the stag turned on him and he would have been killed if Herne hadn't stood between the enraged animal and Richard.
However, Herne was fatally wounded and fell to the ground. At this point a strange dark man appeared and said he could cure Herne. Richard asked him to go ahead and the dark man cut the stag's head off and put it on Herne's body. The Dark Man then took Herne away to his hut on Bagshot Heath some miles away, to complete the cure. The King was so grateful to Herne that he swore that if Herne recovered he would make him his chief keeper.
The other keepers disliked Herne so much that they wished that he would die. The Dark Man overheard them and offered them a bargain - if they would grant him the first request he made, he would ensure that, though Herne would recover, he would lose all his hunting skills. They agreed and everything happened as the Dark Man said. Herne was so distraught at the loss of his skill that he found a mighty oak in Windsor Park and hanged himself from it. Instantly, his body disappeared.
The other keepers weren't happy for long though, because they too lost all their hunting abilities. They found the Dark Man and asked him to help them. He said that if they went to the oak the following night, they would have a solution to their problem. When they went to the Oak, the spirit of Herne appeared to them. He told them to go and fetch his hounds and horses for a chase.
This they did and when they returned, Herne took them to a Beech tree. There he invoked the Dark Man who burst from the tree in a shower of sparks and flame. His first request of the unfortunate keepers was that they form a band for Herne the Hunter. Bound by their oath, they had to swear allegiance to Herne. After that, night after night, they hunted through the forests.
The ghostly haunt's is presaged by flashes of lightning, wind in the tree tops, the rattling of chains and tolling of bells and the terrible din of a pack of dogs in mad pursuit. As the legend goes, if you hear the baying of the ghostly hounds in the sky, run away, because if they catch you, you too will be forced to follow Herne and his Wild Hunt, ranging across the night skies for eternity.
In the early 1860's the tree from which Herne was found hanging, was cut down, and Queen Victoria kept the oak logs for her fire "To help kill the ghost". Her plan didn't work however.
King George III had his moments of insanity and was detained in a room. People have seen his sad face looking out of the window I that room. King George III had many bouts with mental deterioration. During these times he was kept out of the public's eye. He has been seen looking out the windows located below the Royal Library, where he was confined during the recurrence of his illness.
William of Wykeham and Sir George Villiers, the First Duke of Buckingham, are also haunters. Sir George Villiers, The first Duke of Buckingham, is said to haunt one of the bedrooms of Windsor castle.
The 'Prison Room' in the Norman Tower is haunted, possibly by a former Royalist prisoner from Civil War times. Children playing there have seen him and adults have felt him brush past.
The Deanery is haunted by a boy who yells that he doesn’t want to go riding. Footsteps are also heard there and many believe they are his. Children playing in the Norman Tower’s Prison Room have seen the ghost of a man. Adults felt him brush by them.
A kitchen in the castle is home to a spectral man and a horse. The room was once part of the cavalry stable. The ghost of a young girl standing by an evergreen tree has been sighted here.
Ghostly footsteps are often heard on the staircase in the Curfew Tower. On one occasion, the bells began to swing on their own while the temperature became distinctly chilly.
A visitor saw a new group of statues near St. George’s Chapel one night. They were dressed in black. One was crouched and the others stood. One of statues was wielding a sword. When asked about the tableau, a sentry replied he knew nothing about the new statues. When the visitor returned to the scene, the statues were gone.
Many spirits haunt the Long Walk, one of whom is a young Grenadier Guard who shot himself while on duty there in the 1920s. During his guard watch, he saw marble statues moving "of their own accord." He was seen by at least two of his colleagues, immediately after his death. Two Grenadier Guards saw his ghost while on duty on the Long Walk.
In 1873, a night-time visitor to the castle noticed an interesting new statuary group had been erected near St. George's Chapel: three standing figures, all in black, and a fourth crouching down. The central standing character was in the act of striking with a large sword. The sentry knew nothing of this artwork and when the visitor returned to re-examine it, it had gone!
There is a demonic horned being said to bring death and disease to those who are unfortunate enough to see it, especially the Royal family. Other legends tell of witchcraft, murder and suicide.
During the reign of King George IV in the nineteenth century, it was transformed into a palace. In 1917, King George V adopted the castle’s name as the Royal family’s, replacing the old one, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
From that time, the name of the monarchy would be the House of Windsor. Windsor Castle survived the bombs of two world wars. Today, Queen Elizabeth II goes to church in its St. George Chapel.
Sir Walter Raleigh 1552 to 1618 – British Icon
Sir Walter Raleigh is one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as an English aristocrat, great sailor, navigator, frontierman's, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy and explorer and is also largely known for popularising tobacco and potato's in England. I thought it would be interesting to write the history of this famous icon from his early cloudybeginnings. Walter Raleigh was born on his father’s estate at Hays Burton, England. Little is known about Raleigh's birth. Some historians believe Raleigh was born in 1552, while others guess as late as 1554. In 1578, he joined forces with his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert to organize an exploratory venture in North America. However, the ships were prevented from sailing by a series of storms and eventually the expedition was cancelled. This failed effort was important to Raleigh because it had planted a seed within his mind - he was determined to establish English colonies in the New World. Raleigh’s reputation was enhanced by service at Munster during the Irish rebellion (1580). That contribution, coupled with immense personal charm, led to a close friendship with Elizabeth I and knighthood in 1585. Raleigh further increased his standing by helping to expose a plot by Catholic elements to depose the queen in favour of Mary, Queen of Scots. During the mid-1580s, Raleigh began efforts to establish permanent settlements in North America in an area he thoughtfully named Virginia, to honour his patroness the Virgin Queen. The culmination of these labours was the ill-fated Lost Colony on Roanoke Island under a Royal Patent. With the looming threat of the Spanish Armada (1588), Raleigh played a leading role at court in planning for the island's defence. Records do not indicate that Raleigh participated in the fighting, however. With the crown nearly hamstrung by an empty treasury, Raleigh provided the government with a new warship, the Ark Royal, in exchange for an IOU. In 1591 he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen's permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset. Raleigh served briefly in Parliament in the 1590s, but his reputation was tarnished by his association with a group of poets known as the “school of night,” most of whom were widely known religious skeptics. An actual rupture with Elizabeth and imprisonment in the Tower of London occurred when the queen learned that Raleigh had secretly married one of her maids of honour, Elizabeth Throckmorton.
Following his release, Raleigh turned his attention In1594, to the "City of Gold" in South America and sailed to find it, publishing an exaggerated account of his experiences in a book that contributed to the legend of “El Dorado” in Guiana in South America. He explored portions of the Orinoco River and returned to England with only small amounts of gold.
Following the queen’s death in 1603, Raleigh’s enemies conspired against him and had him tried on charges of treason. Allegedly he had plotted against the accession of the new king, James I. A guilty verdict carried with it the death sentence, but James commuted the sentence to life imprisonment in the Tower of London.
Raleigh spent his confinement writing poetry, history, and tales of his adventures. In 1616, he managed to arrange release from prison in exchange for his promise to provide a huge ransom. He was to gather the treasure in Guiana and solemnly pledged that in doing so he would not disturb Spanish installations in the area.
The venture turned out to be an unmitigated failure. No gold was found. The group decided to attack a Spanish fort and Raleigh’s son was killed. He returned home in disgrace.
The Spanish ambassador protested Raleigh’s actions in Guiana and his earlier death sentence was reinstated. On October 29th 1618, he faced the executioner. As custom provided, he took the opportunity to examine the axe and is reported to have remarked, “This is a sharp medicine, but is a physician for all diseases.” His embalmed head was given to his wife, another customary practice, and she never let it out of her sight during the remaining 30 years of her life.
Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the most colourful figures of the Elizabethan Era and is important to World history because of his efforts to establish permanent settlements in America and his circumnavigation of the World.
Sir Roger Moore – British Iconic Actor
Sir Roger Moore is one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as a great actor. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his early beginnings to his present day status as a great English Icon.
Roger George Moore was born in Stockwell, south London on October 14, 1927, the son of a policeman. At 15, he entered art school with the intention of becoming a painter, and later became an apprentice at an animation studio. He delved into acting as an extra in crowd scenes in the mid 1940's. He studied at the Royal Academy of Drama (RADA) and appeared in some plays in the West End, before being inducted into the British Army. There he served in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with a Combined Services Entertainment Unit in Germany at the end of World War II. After release from the military, he worked in theatre, radio and television, but also worked as a model and salesman to make ends meet.
Moore came to the U.S. in 1953, where he got a film contract with MGM, playing supporting roles in several films including “Ivanhoe”. His first big TV series was Ivanhoe, followed by Maverick. But it was his role as suave and debonair Simon Templar in the TV series The Saint that catapulted him to stardom. His contract with that show prevented him from being chosen for to play James Bond in 1962.
In 1971 an action/adventure series called The Persuaders! Was produced by ITC Entertainment for initial broadcast on ITV and ABC.
It starred Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde, and Roger Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair, two international playboys. Much of the humour of the show derived from playful observations about the differences between British and American customs. The show ended after one season, in consequence of failing to make an impact on US TV, thereby releasing Roger Moore to star in the popular Bond Films. Roger Moore had been directly involved in the production of the series, and the need for an American co-star was deemed by all imperative to ensure a television release in the USA.
Tony Curtis agreed to the series project and flew into England in April 1970 to commence location filming, only to create headlines of a different type by way of his arrest at Heathrow Airport for possession of marijuana.
But the Bond role returned to Moore in 1972, when Sean Connery again said for a second time that he was finished as Bond, and Moore was hired as his successor for Live and Let Die.
It has been said that Moore is closer to Ian Fleming's original concept of Bond, as a disenfranchised member of the British Establishment, than Connery's more rough-and-tumble Bond. Indeed, the tone of the series changed under Moore's aegis, with the scripts being tailored to his personality and acting ability. Moore made 7 Bond films [more than Connery's, retiring as 007 after A View to a Kill in 1985.
Moore has acted sporadically since that time, and appears most frequently in European gossip magazines and at charitable events. In 1996 he appeared in a television commercial spoofing James Bond for the conglomerate Hansen's, which was pulled off the air due to litigation with the Bond copyright holders. He succeeded the late Audrey Hepburn in the role of Special Representative for the Film Arts for UNICEF, raising funds for children in underdeveloped countries.
Roger was the first James Bond to be honoured by the British government, receiving a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) award in March 1999. He was awarded a knighthood in June 2003 for his work with UNICEF.
He has been married 4 times: to Doorn Van Steyn, Dorothy Squires, Luisa Mattoli and Kristina Tholstrup (2002) and he has 3 children, Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, and 2 granddaughters.
Roger Moore wrote his memoirs, My Word is My Bond which was published in 2008.
Peter Sellers – English Comic Actor
Peter Sellers was one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the greatest comic actors of the 20th Century. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in Southsea to his present day status as a great English Icon.
Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in Southsea, Portsmouth, England in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served during World War II. After the war he met Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine who would become his future workmates on the BBC Radio Show “The Goon Show”.
After the war, he set up a review in London, which was a combination of music (he played the drums) and impressions. Then, all of a sudden, he burst into prominence as the voices of numerous favourites on "The Goon Show" (1951-1960), making his début in films in Penny Points to Paradise (1951) and Down among the Men (1952), before making it big as one of the criminals in The Ladykillers (1955).
These small roles continued throughout the 1950s, but he got his first big break playing the dogmatic union man, Fred Kite, in I'm All Right Jack (1959). The film's success led to starring vehicles into the 1960s that showed off his extreme comic ability to its fullest. In 1962, Sellers was cast in the role of Clare Quilty in the Stanley Kubrick version of the film Lolita (1962) in which his performance as a mentally unbalanced TV writer with multiple personalities landed him another part in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964) in which he played three roles which showed off his comic talent in play-acting in three different accents; British, American, and German.
He is best known for playing the klutzy and bumbling French Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther (1963) which led to him reprising the role in A Shot in the Dark (1964), plus three more Pink Panther movies during the 1970s. But after the relative failure of Whay's New Pussycat (1965), which was Woody Allen;s first film, Sellers embarked on a rapid downfall to "Grade Z" movies during the 1970s, all of which he claimed to have made only because he needed the money.
In 1972, he read the book "Being There" and decided to make it into a film. It took him seven years to finally bring it to the screen, but it earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
The film “Being There” (1979) proved to be somewhat of a last hurray for Sellers, as he died the following year.
In May 1964, at age 38, Sellers suffered a series of heart attacks (13 in total, and all within a few days) because of his recreational smoking, drinking, and drug use. Although he survived, his heart was permanently damaged. Sellers' heart condition slowly deteriorated over the next 16 years because, instead of electing traditional medical treatment, he only consulted with "psychic healers." In late 1977, Sellers barely survived another major heart attack and as a result, he had a pacemaker surgically implanted on his failing heart to help regulate his heartbeat, which caused him even more considerable medical problems.
His last movie, The Fiendish Plot of Fu Manchu (1980), completed just a few months before his death, proved to be another box office flop. Director Blake Edward's attempt at reviving the Pink Panther series after Sellers' death resulted in two panned 1980s comedies, the first of which, Trail of The Pink Panther (1982), deals with Inspector Clouseau's disappearance and was made from material cut from previous Pink Panther films and includes interviews with the original casts playing their original characters.
A reunion dinner was scheduled in London with his Goon Show partners, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, for July 25, 1980. But on July 22, Sellers collapsed from a massive heart attack in his Dorchester Hotel room and fell into a coma. He died in a London hospital just after midnight on July 24, 1980 at age 54. He was survived by his fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, and three children: Michael, Sarah and Victoria. At the time of his death, he was scheduled to undergo heart surgery in Los Angeles at the very end of that month.
Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov – Renaissance Funny Man
Sir Peter Ustinov was one of Britain's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the greatest comic actors, dramatist, director, writer's of the 20th Century. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in London on April 26th 1921 to his present day status as a great British Icon.
He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov on April 16, 1921, in Swiss Cottage, London, England. Ustinov was of Russian, German, French, Italian and Ethiopian descent, with ancestral connections to Russian nobility as well as the Ethiopian Royal Family. His grandmother, Magdalena, was daughter of a Swiss military engineer and Ethiopian princess. His father, Iona von Ustinov, also known as "Klop" in Russian and Yiddish, was a pilot in Luftwaffe during the First World War. In 1919 he joined his mother and sister in St. Petersburg, Russia. There he met artist Nadia Benois who worked for the Imperial Mariinsky Ballet and Opera House in St. Petersburg. In 1920, in a modest and discrete ceremony at a Russian-German Church in St. Petersburg, Ustinov's father married Nadia Benois. Later, when she was 7 months pregnant with Peter Ustinov, the couple emigrated from Russia in 1921, in the aftermath of the Communist Revolution.
Young Peter Ustinov was brought up in a multi-lingual family, he was fluent in Russian, French, Italian, and German, and also was a native English speaker. He attended the Westminster College in 1934-37, took the drama and acting class under Michel St. Denis at the London Theatre Studio, 1937-39, and made his stage debut in 1938, in a theatre in Surrey. In 1939, he made his London stage debut in a revue sketch, then had regular performances with Aylesbury Repertory Company. In 1940 he made his film debut in Hullo Fame (1940).
From 1942-46 Ustinov served as a private soldier with the British Army's Royal Sussex Regiment, during the Second World War. He was batman for David Niven and the two became life-long friends. Ustinov spent most of his service working with the Army Cinema Unit, where he was involved in making recruitment films, wrote plays, and appeared in three films as actor. At that time he wrote and directed his film, The Way Ahead (1944) (aka.. The Immortal Battalion).
Eventually, Ustinov made a stellar film career as actor, director, and writer, appearing in more than 100 film and television productions. He was awarded two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, one for his role in Spartacus (1960) and one for his role in Topkapi (1964); and received two more Oscar nominations as an actor and writer. During the 1970s he had a slowdown in his career, before making a comeback as Hercule Poirot in Death on The Nile (1978) by director John Guillermin. In the 1980s, Ustinov reprised the Poirot role in several subsequent television movies and theatrical films, such as Evil under the Sun (1982) and Appointment with Death (1988). Later he appeared as a sympathetic doctor in the disease thriller Lorenzo's Oil (1992).
Ustinov's effortless style, his expertise in dialectal and physical comedy made him a regular guest of numerous talk shows and late night comedians. His witty and multi-dimensional humour was legendary, and he later published a collection of his jokes and quotations, summarizing his wide popularity as a raconteur. He was also an internationally acclaimed TV journalist. For one of his projects Ustinov covered over one hundred thousand miles and visited more than 30 Russian cities during the making of his well-received BBC television series 'Peter Ustinov's Russia'.
In his autobiographical books, such as 'Dear Me' (1977) and 'My Russia' (1996), Ustinov revealed a wealth of thoughtful and deep observations about how his life and career was formed by his rich multi-cultural and multi-ethnic background. Ustinov wrote and directed numerous stage plays, having success with presenting his plays in several countries, such as his 'Photofinish' had acclaimed staging in New York, London, and St. Petersburg, Russia, starring Elena Solovey and Petr Shelokhonov among other actors.
Outside of his film and acting professions, Ustinov served as a roving ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund. He was knighted Sir Peter Ustinov in 1990. From 1971 to his death in 2004, Ustinov lived in his own Château in the village of Bursins, Vaud, Switzerland, He died of a heart failure on March 28, 2004, in Genolier, Vaud, Switzerland. His funeral service was held at Geneva's historic cathedral of St. Pierre, and he was laid to rest in the village cemetery of Bursins, Switzerland. He was survived by three daughters, Tamara, Pavla, and Andrea, and son, Igor Ustinov.
"I am an international citizen conceived in Russia, born in England, working in Hollywood, living in Switzerland, and touring the World" said Peter Ustinov.
Les Dawson – English iconic Comic, Writer and Actor
Les Dawson is one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the funniest comedians of the 20thCentury. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in Knotty Ash, Liverpool on the2nd February 1931 to his present day status as a great English Icon. I recommend to any fan of comedy, please go out and by one of his many DVD's and see what a great comic Les Dawson was.
Raised in the Collyhurst district of Manchester. Les Dawson began his entertainment career as a pianist in a Parisian brothel (according to his entertaining but factually unreliable autobiography). As a club pianist ("I finally heard some applause from a bald man and said 'thank you for clapping me' and he said 'I'm not clapping - I'm slapping me head to keep awake'"), he was to find that he got laughs by playing wrong notes and complaining to the audience. He made his television debut on the talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967 and became a prominent comic on British television for the rest of his life.
His most characteristic routines featured Roy Barraclough and Dawson as two elderly women, Cisse Braithwaite and Ada Shufflebotham. Cissie had pretensions of refinement and often corrected Ada's malapropisms or vulgar expressions. As authentic characters of their day, they spoke some words aloud but only mouthed others, particularly those pertaining to bodily functions and sex. At one time, no respectable woman would have said, for instance, "She's having a hysterectomy." Instead they would have mouthed, "She's having women's troubles." (Dawson's character, of course, mistakenly said "hysterical rectomy.") These female characters were based on those Les Dawson knew in real life. He explained that this mouthing of words was a habit of mill workers trying to communicate over the tremendous racket of the looms, and then resorted to in daily life for indelicate subjects. To further portray the reality of northern, working-class women, Cissie and Ada would sit with folded arms, occasionally adjusting their bosoms by a hoist of the forearms. Many of the Cissie and Ada sketches were written by Terry Ravenscroft. This was also typical of Pantomime dame style, an act copied faithfully from his hero, Norman Evans who had made famous his act Over The Garden Wall.
Les Dawson was of portly build and often dressed in the traditional 'John Bull' of England costume. He introduced to his BBC television shows a dancing group of very fat ladies called the Roly Polys.
He loved to undercut his own fondness for high culture. For example, he was a talented pianist but developed a gag where he would begin to play a familiar piece such as Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. After he had established the identity of the piece being performed, Dawson would introduce hideously wrong notes (yet not to the extent of destroying the identity of the tune) without appearing to realise that he had done so, meanwhile smiling unctuously and apparently relishing the accuracy and soul of his own performance. He also used a grand piano in a series of sketches where it became animated, for example, trying to walk away from him across the stage, collapsing or shutting its lid.
Les Dawson's style as a comic performer was world-weary, lugubrious and earthy. He was as popular with female as with male audiences, and genuinely loved by the British public. A news reporter from The Sun looking for him after a show to interview him found him backstage joking with some cleaning women and making them laugh.
Before his fame Dawson wrote poetry and kept it secret. It was not expected that someone of his working class background would harbour such literary ambitions. In a BBC TV documentary about his life, he spoke of his love for some canonical figures in English literature, in particular the 19th Century essayist Charles Lamb whose somewhat florid style influenced Dawson's own.
His love of language influenced many of his comedy routines - for example one otherwise fairly routine joke began with the line "I was vouchsafed this vision by a pockmarked Lascar in the arms of a frump in a Huddersfield bordello..." He was also a master of painting a beautiful word picture and then letting the audience down with a bump: "The other day I was gazing up at the night sky, a purple vault fretted with a myriad points of light twinkling in wondrous formation, while shooting stars streaked across the heavens, and I thought: I really must repair the roof on this toilet."
Dawson wrote many novels but was always regarded solely as an entertainer in the public imagination, and this saddened him. He told his second wife, Tracey, "Always remind them - I was a writer too".
Having broken his jaw in a Boxing match, Dawson was able to pull grotesque faces by pulling his jaw over his upper lip. This incident is described in the first volume of Dawson's autobiography A Clown Too Many.
His first wife, Margaret, whom he married on 25 June 1960, died on 15 April 1986 from cancer. They had had three children: Julie, Pamela and Stuart. He later married Tracy on 6 May 1989, despite worries that his show business contemporaries and the public would object, as she was 17 years younger. They had a daughter, Charlotte, who was born on 3 October 1992.
Dawson starred in a radio sketch show Listen to Les, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in the 1970s and 1980s. Television series in which he appeared included Sez Les for Yorkshire Television, The Dawson Watch for the BBC, written by Andy Hamilton and Terry Ravenscroft, The Les Dawson Show, written by Terry Ravenscroft, Dawson's Weekly, Jokers Wild (1969-73) and the quiz show Blankety Blank, which he presented for some years. His final TV appearance was on the LWT series Surprise, Surprise hosted by Cilla Black, when he sang a comical rendition of "I Got You Babe" with a woman from the audience who wanted to fulfill a wish to sing with him.
Dawson was a heavy smoker and drinker throughout his adult life. On 10 June 1993, during a check-up at a hospital in Whalley Range, Manchester, Les Dawson died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. Many comedians and other celebrities attended a memorial service for him at Westminster Abbey on 24 February 1994.
On 23 October 2008, the fifteenth anniversary of his death, a bronze statue of Dawson, by sculptor Graham Ibbeson, was unveiled by his widow Tracy and daughter Charlotte. The statue stands in the ornamental gardens next to St Anne's Pier, in Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire where Dawson had lived for many years.
Benny Hill – Chaplin's Favourite Comedian
Benny Hill was one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the greatest comedians of the 20thCentury. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in Southampton to his present day status as a great English Icon.
He was born Alfred Hawthorn Hill in Southampton in January 21st 1925. It was his grandfather who introduced him to Burlesque Shows and the theatre from where the young Benny Hill was to draw much of his comic inspiration.
Charlie Chaplin who died in 1977, was a fan of Benny Hill's work: Hill had discovered that Chaplin, his childhood idol, was a fan, when he was invited to Chaplin's home in Switzerland by the Chaplin family and discovered that Chaplin had a collection of Benny Hill's work on video. Benny Hill and Denis Kirkland were the first outside the family to be invited into Chaplin's private study. Hill was awarded the Charlie Chaplin International Award for Comedy at the 1991 Festival of Comedy in Vevey, Switzerland.
Which he used to watch all the time. Charlie Chaplin's son explained to Benny that he was his father's favourite comedian, which he said later, was the proudest moment of his life.
After his national service with the army during WW2, Benny came to London, adopted the stage name Benny Hill (in homage to his all time favourite comedian Jack Benny) and began appearing in variety shows. He briefly formed a double act with Reg varney and did radio shows. But it was his talent for impressions and comic timing that were to give him his first big break on TV with the show "Hi There" in 1949.
Benny Hill appeared in the following Shows and Films:
1) "Ernie The Fastest Milkman In The West". No1 Record for Christmas 1971
2) “The Benny Hill Show” began in (1955)
3) Who Done it? (1956)
4) Hill's audio recordings include Gather in the Mushroom (1961),
5) Pepys Diary (1961),
6) Transistor Radio (1961),
7) Harvest of Love (1963),
8) “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965).
9) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
10) The Italian Job (1969),
11) a clip-show film spin-off of his early Thames shows (1969–73)
12) The Best Of Benny Hill (1974).
13) In 1979 “The Benny Hill Show” was shown in America for the first time and Benny went on to become one of the biggest stars on US TV.
14) He also appeared in the 1986 video of the song “Anything She Does” by the band Genesis.
The Benny Hill show itself has been seen in 109 countries and won a BAFTA as well as Golden Rose Of Montreaux Award.
In 1991 he was awarded the Charlie Chaplin Award for Contributions to Comedy.
Benny Hill's TV career came to an end in 1989, when his show was dropped, but his popularity continued and he completed a US TV special, Benny Hill - Unseen (1991) (TV) shortly before his death in 1992.
When Benny Hill died in April 1992, his estate was worth an estimated £10 million. The only will Hill created left his estate to his parents who both died years ago. Next in line were his brother and sister, neither of whom he had a close relationship with, but like his parents are also dead. As a result, Hill's estate was divided among his seven nieces and nephews.
Ken Dodd – English iconic Comic, Writer and Actor
Ken Dodd is one of England's greatest icons and is recognised worldwide as one of the funniest comedians of the last 100 years. I thought it would be interesting to write the story of this famous icon from his birth in Knotty Ash, Liverpool on the 8th. November 1927 to his present day status as a great English Icon. If you want a good laugh by a genius comedian than please look at one of his DVD's – you won't regret it.
Ken Dodd was the son of a Coal Merchant, Arthur Dodd and his loving Mother, Sarah Dodd. He went to the Knottyash School, and sang in the local church choir of St. Johns Church, Knottyash. At the age of Seven, he was dared by his School chums to ride his bike with his eyes shut..... And he did. For about 10 feet and the bike hit the kerb. As did the young Doddy, open mouthed onto the tarmac. Resulting in his Famous Teeth you see today.
It was around this time he became interested in showbiz. After seeing an advert in a comic, " Fool Your Teachers, Amaze Your Friends - Send 6d in Stamps and Become a Ventriloquist ! " And he Promptly sent off for the book. Not long after, His Father bought him a Ventriloquist's dummy and Doddy called it Charlie Brown. He started entertaining at the local orphanage, then at various other local community functions.
At 14yrs. He Left the High Holt Grammar School, and went into his Dad's Coal business. Though by his early 20's had branched out on his own. Selling Pots, Pans, and Brushes. And invented his own version of Soft soap for the Liverpool Housewives. He worked hard by day, selling his wares round the streets of Liverpool. And by night, became a regular and very popular performer on ' The Club's ' Circuit as " Professor Yaffle Chuckabutty. Operatic Tenor and Sausage-Knotter.
He Got his big break at the age of 27. In September 1954 he appeared at the Nottingham Playhouse. A nervous young man, he sat in a local Milk Bar for most of the Afternoon going over and over his lines before going to the theatre. Although he can't remember much of the actual act of that night. He did recall.,, " Well at least they didn't boo me off. " But there wasn't much fear of that, as Dodd's act went from strength to strength. Eventually Topping the bill at Blackpool in 1958 !
And in the late 1950's came to little guys we all came to love.,,The Diddymen of Knottyash Work the Broken Biscuit Repair Works, the Jam Butty Mines, The Moggy Ranch and the Treacle Wells. A very industrious town indeed.
Ken Also started to work in radio with the BBC. " The Ken Dodd Show " and " Ken Dodd's Laughter Show " Were all extremely popular productions.
Television also beckoned and in the late 50's the Ken Dodd Show was broadcast Live from the Opera House in Blackpool. Other Series followed. The Ken Dodd Show : Doddy's Music Box : The Good Old Days : Ken Dodd's World Of Laughter. and of Course, Ken Dodd and the Diddymen.
Ken entered hit the big time in 1965 with THE longest ever run at the London Palladium. 42 Weeks to be exact. Which broke all box office records. And for which he was awarded a gold watch by the manager.
At the same time Ken began his singing career Before 1964's 'Tears' on EMI's Columbia label, Ken had a big 'hit' in 1960, with his first ever 45 rpm single 'Love is Like a Violin' on EMI's 'rival' label, Decca,and he followed it up with 'Once in Every Lifetime' in 1961. The record numbers are Decca F 11248 and F11355.
His now famous theme tune "Happiness" Was Released in 1964.
However, his biggest hit though was "Tears" also in 1964. Which sold over 2 Million copies, earning Ken Dodd 2 gold discs. And the next year. "Promises, 1966."
It was the 1960's that also saw Ken entered into the Guinness Book of Records for the Longest Joke Telling session EVER. 1,500 jokes in 3 and a half Hours. People were queuing up at the theatre in Liverpool, and going into the theatre in relays to hear him.
Although Ken isn't on the telly as much as he used to be, Ken Still gives marathon performances. All over the U.K. Ken Dodd is currently doing around 4 shows a week at various locations across England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
Samuel Fox – English Inventor of The Metal Ribbed Umbrella
As the Umbrella is associated with England and It's weather I thought it would be interesting to write about the inventor of the Metal Ribbed collapsible umbrella invented in England In 1852 by Samuel Fox. He was born on the 17th June 1815 in Bradwell, Derbyshire.
An umbrella is a device used for temporary shade or shelter from precipitation. They can be made by stretching a fabric or other material over a wire frame. Umbrellas carried by hand are now usually used as rain shields, although their first use was for shielding from the sun; however, as tans became more sociably acceptable, this usage declined. An umbrella made for protection from the sun, is called a parasol. These are often meant to be fixed to one point and often used with patio tables or other outdoor furniture, or on the beach for shelter from the sun.
The first all umbrella shop was called "James Smith and Sons". The shop opened in 1830 and is still located at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England.
He started work as an apprentice wire drawer in Hathersage then became a partner in a wire drawing business in the Rivelin Valley near Sheffield.
He moved to Stocksbridge in 1842 to establish his own wire drawing business. This business developed into the Stocksbridge Steelworks. In 1842, Mr. Samuel Fox set up the “Fox Umbrella Frames Ltd” at Stocksbridge, UK. FoxUmbrella Company started with a rain umbrella. He is the first person who invented the U-shape ribs (called “ Paragon”) and used it in his Paragon Umbrella.
“Paragon” used to be one of the oldest famous brand names in the UK. Its rain umbrella used to be the most famous brand in the umbrella field.
In 1842, Fox married Maria Radcliffe (born 20 January) at Stannington, Sheffield). They had one son, William Henry Fox (1843–1920) who never married.
In 1851 he and his company Fox Umbrella Frames Ltd. developed the "Paragon" Umbrella frame, a U section of string steel that was far superior to its competitors. Development of the product continued until at least 1935. A similar product was used to make Crinoline frames from 1855. Umbrellas with 'Fox Frames' were sold worldwide.
In 1852, Samuel Fox invented the steel ribbed umbrella design. Fox also founded the "English Steels Company", and claimed to have invented the steel ribbed umbrella as a way of using up stocks of farthingale stays, steel stays used in women's corsets.
Fox bought the Bradwell Grove Estate, Holwell, Oxfordshire in 1871. Upon his death, he was buried near his estate at the North Cliffe church (near Market Weighton). His son and wife are buried at St. Mary the Virgin church, Holwell, Oxfordshire.
The first all umbrella shop was called "James Smith and Sons". The shop opened in 1830 and is still located at 53 New Oxford Street in London, England.
Cats Eyes for the Roads– Invented by Percy Shaw 1933
Britain's history is made up of many famous Inventor's all through our history. This has made me decide to write about one of the most famous British Inventors – Percy Shaw the Inventor of the road safety device called “Cat's Eye's”. This invention has saved many lives, worldwide and as a driver, late at night, It is always comforting to see the Cats Eyes guiding the way with its glowing light.
The cat's eye is a retro-reflective safety device used in road markings and was the first of a range of raised pavement markers. It originated here in the UK in 1933 and is today used all over the world. It consists (in its original form) of two pairs of reflective glass spheres set into a white rubber dome, mounted in a cast iron housing. This is the kind that marks the centre of the road, with one pair of cat's eye showing in each direction. A single-ended form has become widely used in other colours at road margins and as lane dividers. Cat's eyes are particularly valuable in fog and are largely resistant to damage from snow ploughs.
A key feature of the cat's eye is the flexible rubber dome which is occasionally deformed by the passage of traffic. A fixed rubber wiper cleans the surface of the reflectors as they sink below the surface of the road (the base tends to hold water after a shower of rain, making this process even more efficient). The rubber dome is protected from impact damage by metal 'kerbs' – which also give tactile and audible feedback for wandering drivers.
The inventor of cat's eyes was Percy Shaw of Boothtown, Halifax,West Yorkshire. When the tram-lines were removed in the nearby suburb of Ambler Thorn when he realised that he'd been using the polished strips of steel to navigate. The name "cat's eye" comes from Shaw's inspiration for the device: the eye shine reflecting from the eyes of a cat. In 1934, he patented his invention (patent No.436.290 and 457.536), and on 15 March 1935, founded Reflecting Roadstuds Limited in Halifax to manufacture the items. The name Catseye was their trademark. The reflective lens had been invented six years earlier for use in advertising signs by Richard Hollins Murray, an accountant from Herefordshire and as Shaw acknowledged, they had contributed to his idea.
· The following Types of Cats Eyes are used on UK roads:
· White cat's eyes are used for the centre of a road on many roads which lack street lighting but are subject to high speeds or high volumes of traffic. They are also used for lane markings, soft traffic islands and on "double-white lines" where no overtaking is permitted.
· Red cat's eyes are placed along the hard shoulder of a motorway or sometimes dual carriageways
· Amber cat's eyes are placed along the edge of the central reservation (median).
· Green cat's eyes denote joining or leaving slip roads at junctions
· Blue cat's eyes are used for police slip roads.
These units are not very visible in daylight and are generally used in conjunction with traditionally painted lines. Temporary cat's eyes with just a reflective strip are often used during motorway repair work. These are typically day glow green/yellow so they are easily visible in daylight as well as in darkness, they can then be used on their own for lane division.
Also seen during motorway repair work are plastic traffic pillars that are inserted into the socket of a retractable cat's eye rather than being free-standing. These are often used in conjunction with two rows of the temporary cat's eyes to divide traffic moving in opposite directions during motorway road works.
Solar powered cat's eyes known as solar road studs and showing a red or amber LED to traffic, have been introduced on roads regarded as particularly dangerous at locations throughout the world. However, shortly after one such installation in Essex in the Autumn of 2006 the BBC reported that the devices, which flash almost imperceptibly at 100 times a second, could possibly set off epileptic fits and the Highways Agency had suspended the programme.
Proposed enhancements, for an "intelligent cat's eye" of the future, will see the standard white light change to amber for four seconds after the passing of a vehicle, or red if the following vehicle is too close or traffic ahead is stationary.
My family tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th Century AD. I am also a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren which has given me an interest in English History, English Sports, English Icons, English Discoverers and English Inventions which is great fun to research.
Sir Alexander Fleming – Discoverer of Penicillin
Britain's history is made up of very famous Scientists all through their history. This has made me decide to write about one of the most famous British Scientist – Sir Alexander Fleming the discoverer of Penicillin. The discovery of penicillin was more than a mere chance event.
Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin is one of the most celebrated case of an accident in science. In the conventional story, a stray mould spore was borne through an open window and landed on an exposed bacterial culture, Fleming later noticed a clear zone where the bacteria had been killed, he immediately recognized the therapeutic significance of the event, and it was only a matter of time before penicillin became a miracle drug. Fleming himself often underscored the role of chance in his work. Despite the numerous honours and awards he received, he was fond of reminding others, "I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident."
There was even more "chance" to the story than is often told, however. In addition, the traditional account obscures a considerable amount of scientific work that identified the efficacy of penicillin as an antibacterial agent. Without several researchers, who aggressively pursued the potential in Fleming's initial observation, penicillin would probably not have become a "discovery" on this occasion. The fuller story suggests a more complex view of science--as guided both by the contingencies of circumstance and by the focused effort of researchers.
Renewed interest in the history of Fleming's work began quite a few years ago when a bacteriologist in London noted that the windows of Fleming's lab at St. Mary's Hospital were so constructed that they could not open. How could a stray mould spore have wandered in, even by chance? Second, he observed, spores of Penicillium will not germinate under the conditions described by Fleming. Someone else then observed that the particular species of Penicillium would not likely have been floating in the air of London. Though common bread mould is a variety of Penicillium, it was the much rarer P. notatum that produced Fleming's penicillin.
The most likely source of the mould, it now appears, was a mycology lab downstairs from Fleming. There were likely spores all over the building. Further, Fleming was never known for neatness in his lab. Open cultures would not have been uncommon. It almost seems inevitable, then, that the mould would contaminate one of his cultures sooner or later.
The conditions of contamination would also have been important. Fleming believed, based on his earlier work on lysozyme, that penicillin acted by lysing bacteria open. This would certainly have accounted for the watery appearance of the area on his culture where the bacteria were absent. In this case, the spore would merely have needed to land on the culture plate--and this is how Fleming reported his own chance observation. But we have since learned that penicillin acts by blocking the synthesis of chemicals used by bacteria to build cell walls. Penicillin does not kill bacteria outright. Rather, it prevents their effective reproduction. A spore landing on an existing culture would thus be unlikely to have any immediate observable effect. The mould would have had to establish itself first if it was to prevent the further growth of bacteria. Temperature conditions while Fleming was away from his lab on vacation may have allowed this, or Fleming may have inoculated a plate that was already mouldy. In either case, a stray mould spore alone would not have created what Fleming observed.
The circumstance whereby Fleming noticed the original culture also seems quite improbable. Fleming did not notice themould's effect while routine-ly examining his cultures, though he did inspect them when he returned from his one-month summer vacation in 1928. In fact, he had discarded the now famous culture and left it to soak in a tray of lysol. A former member of his lab stopped by to visit, however, and Fleming showed him several cultures. Among these he casually selected the critical culture from the top of the discarded stack, where it had escaped the liquid disinfectant. Only then was Fleming struck by the unusual pattern of growth. He was obviously impressed, though, because he showed the culture to numerous colleagues the rest of the day and went on to investigate some of the strange antibacterial properties he saw.
Fleming was certainly not the first scientist to have noticed the antibacterial effects of moulds. In 1871, Joseph Lister (noted for introducing antiseptic practice into surgery) had found that a mould in a sample of urine seemed to be inhibiting bacterial growth. In 1875 John Tyndall reported to the Royal Society in London that a species of Penicillium had caused some of his bacteria to burst. In 1877 Louis Pasteur and Jules Joubert observed that airborne micro-organisms could inhibit the growth of anthrax bacilli in urine that had been previously sterilized.
Most dramatically, Ernest Duchesne had completed a doctoral dissertation in 1897 on the evolutionary competition amongmicro-organisms, focusing on the interaction between E. coli and Penicillium glaucum . Duchesne reported how the mould had eliminated the bacteria in culture. He had also inoculated animals with both the mould and a lethal dose of typhoid bacilli, showing that the mould prevented the animals from contracting typhoid. He urged more research, but went into the army following his degree and died of tuberculosis before ever returning to research. Chance, here, worked against his discovery (or potential discovery?) bearing fruit.
Several other researchers--almost certainly unknown to Fleming--had noticed the effects of Penicillium moulds on bacteria. Fleming was not unique in this regard. But noticing a phenomena does not always mean that it will be followed up. The chance in Fleming's case may have been less the appearance of the mouldy culture itself than that Fleming had a habit of pursuing odd phenomena. Fleming pursued his observation.
Still, Fleming did not follow through on his own "discovery" in ways that we might expect, knowing the current role and importance of penicillin. Fleming originally observed the action of penicillin in 1928. Yet he did not initiate clinical trials. Nor did he strongly advocate the use of penicillin in treating humans until 1940. The events during this twelve-year hiatus are perhaps the most telling in the history of penicillin.
Fleming was certainly searching for antibacterial agents in 1928 and he investigated penicillin's potential. But he was not impressed. He found that penicillin was not toxic to animals and that it did not harm white blood cells (leukocytes), yet he also found that penicillin would not be absorbed if taken orally. Penicillin taken by injection, alternatively, was excreted in the urine in a matter of hours--well before it could have its effects. For Fleming, penicillin's therapeutic potential was limited, perhaps to topical antisepsis.
Fleming did continue to use and advocate penicillin in the years following his initial discovery. But he saw the value of penicillin primarily in the context of bacteriology. Penicillin suppressed the growth of certain bacterial species, allowing one to selectively culture certain others (such as those causing influenza, acne and whooping cough). In this role penicillin became a valuable tool in the manufacture of vaccines--a major task Fleming managed at St. Mary's Hospital. Production of penicillin continued on a weekly basis throughout the 1930s, but all for purifying bacterial cultures. The penicillin was crude--good enough for Fleming's purpose, but hardly strong enough to destroy a serious human infection. Meanwhile, Fleming had turned his research to another group of chemical bactericides, the sulphonamides.
The pursuit of penicillin in treating human infections was due ultimately to another lab, led by Howard Florey in Oxford. In 1938 Ernst Chain, an associate of Florey's, began a search for natural antibacterial agents, as part of an effort to under-stand their mechanisms more fully. He chose three to study, penicillin among them. Fleming's 1929 paper offered a thread of information that Chain could pick up, though with a quite different purpose in mind. By early 1939 Chain and Florey began to suspect the medical potential of penicillin. But they could not simply test it: penicillin was difficult to produce and to purify. Florey had difficulty finding funding. By that time, the war effort in Britain meant that extra funds were not available for exploring mere possibilities. Support eventually came in late 1939 from the Rockefeller Foundation in the U.S.
Florey shifted the resources of his department to the penicillin project. Before they could demonstrate the efficacy of penicillin, they had several technical challenges. They needed to improve extraction methods, refine an assay for determining the strength of their extracts, and scale up production. After five months of work--in May, 1940--they had enough of the brown powder to test on mice. The penicillin allowed several mice injected with lethal doses of virulent streptococci to survive. The potential of penicillin for treating infections then seemed demonstrably real. Florey and Chain repeated their tests as a double-check, and then went on to determine appropriate dosages and treatment duration, publishing their results in August.
But the research was hardly done. Would the results transfer to humans? To know, they had to scale up production yet again. Based on relative weight, a human would need roughly 3,000 times the penicillin used by a mouse. And commercial support was still not forthcoming. In the Oxford labs, flasks and biscuit tins used for the mould cultures gave way to hundreds of bedpan-like vessels stored on bookshelves. Purification turned from the laboratory to dairy equipment. Column chromatography allowed the group to isolate the relevant fractions and to concentrate their solutions. All this was in the service of a clinical test. --And after the first test in early 1941, they had to return to their methods to find a way to remove some impurities that had caused side effects. The tests eventually went quite well, but it had required two professors, five graduates and ten assistants working almost every day of the week for several months to produce enough penicillin to treat six patients.
Fleming took notice of the striking results. But he did not disturb his research agenda. He knew that the value of penicillin still lay in research on economical mass production. Thus, the research--and, in a sense, the discovery--was still not complete. Florey took his cause to America once again, where work began on the scale of breweries. One key technical assistant found a new medium for the mould cultures, increasing yields tenfold. Other drug companies in England were by now interested, but the scale of production was at first somewhat limited. After a second set of clinical trials in 1942-43, though, production began in earnest. In another half-year, industry could produce enough for treating 200 persons per month. Two years later, the U.S. was producing enough to treat a quarter-million patients per month.
Many scientists, Fleming among them, were confident that determining the chemical structure of penicillin would enable chemists to produce it synthetically and thus more economically. Once the structure was determined, however, synthesis proved to be at least as costly as extraction. The "failure" seems an exception in this tale otherwise graced by good fortune. But not all research ventures pay off as expected--chance works both ways in science.
Nobel Prize winner Peter Medawar once commented, "I was sorry that the traditional story of Fleming's discovery did not stand up to critical scrutiny because I should have liked to have believed it true; but even if it had been true, it would not have told us very much about the efficacy of luck." Here, Medawar referred to the substantial work that transforms a lucky event into a genuine discovery. There is more to science that what meets the eye. First, one must recognize and be ready to pursue the meaning of one's observations. Fleming had a habit of playing in the lab and of toying with oddities. He pursued a chance phenomenon that even his colleagues found insignificant, even without guessing its ultimate significance.
Further, the import of an observation is not always obvious. Chain and Florey recognized a therapeutic potential where Fleming saw it only vaguely. And they were willing to invest resources to pursue it. Fleming, Chain and Florey all shared in the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945. Their joint award reminds us that the discovery of penicillin was more than a mere chance event.
History of The Tank – An England Icon
As the Tank became an integral part of WW1 and helped in the defeat of Germany I thought I would tell the history of the Tank. If it wasn't for Sir Winston Churchill the Tank would probably have never seen the light of day.
The name tank first came about during World War I. The first armoured fighting vehicles were built in the United Kingdom by William Foster and Co. Ltd. of Lincoln. The development was cloaked in secrecy by making up a story that they were making mobile water cisterns (tanks) for use on the Eastern Front and the boxes were even labelled "with care to Petrograd" in the Cyrillic alphabet. Thus originated the name of tank for the new weapon. The naval background of the tank's development also explains such nautical tank terms as hatch, hull, bow, and ports.
The great secrecy surrounding tank development, coupled with the scepticism of infantry commanders, often meant that infantry had little training to cooperate with tanks. As a result, the infantry would become separated from the tanks, allowing the German infantry to defeat the two arms separately.
The Royal Navy, largely at Churchill's urging, sponsored experiments and tests of the vehicle as a type of "land ship" during 1915, and the tank at last became a reality.
Small, local attacks, beginning at Flers on the Somme on 15 September 1916, dissipated the initial surprise of the tank. Not until 20 November 1917, at Cambrai, did the British Tank Corps get the conditions it needed for success. around 400 tanks penetrated almost six miles on a 7-mile front in an attack at Cambrai. This was the first large-scale employment of tanks in combat. Unfortunately, success was not complete because the infantry failed to exploit and secure the tanks' gains.
The British scored another victory the following year, on 8 August 1918, with 600 tanks in the Amiens salient. General Eric von Ludendorff referred to that date as the "Black Day" of the German Army. The German response to the Cambrai assault was to develop its own armoured program.
Numerous sustained tank drives in the early tank actions showed the usefulness of tanks and by 1918 tanks were also accompanied by infantry and ground-attack aircraft and both of which worked to locate and suppress antitank defences.
The first appearnce of the tanks on the battlefield was at Flers-Courcelette on 15th September 1916 during the Somme offensive, and the memorial to this event on the outskirts of Pozieres will be familiar to all who have visited the battlefields.
The Unofficial Truce – Christmas 1914
One of the interesting things about the first world war concerns the Unofficial truce between the British and German troops and the Football played between them in “No Man's Land”.
One of the most remarkable, and heavily mythologised, events concerns the 'Christmas Truce' of 1914, in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas Day and met in No Man's Land, exchanging food and cigarettes, as well as playing football. The cessation of violence was entirely unofficial and there had been no prior discussion. Both sets of troops acted spontaneously from goodwill, not orders.
It began when British troops hearing their German counterparts singing Christmas carols and joined in. Frank Richards, a private in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, told of how both sides erected signs wishing the other a 'Merry Christmas'. From these small starts some men crossed the lines with their hands up, and troops from the opposing side went to meet them. By the time officers realised what was happening the initial meetings had been made, and most commanders either turned a blind eye or happily joined in.
The fraternisation lasted, in many areas, for the whole of Christmas day. Food and supplies were exchanged on a one to one basis, while in some areas men borrowed tools and equipment from the enemy, in order to quickly improve their own living conditions. Many games of football were played using whatever would suffice for a ball, while bodies that had become trapped within No Man's Land were buried.
Most modern re-tellings of the Truce finish with the soldiers returning to their trenches and then fighting again the next day, but in many areas the peace lasted much longer. Frank Richard's account explained how both sides refrained from shooting at each other the next day, until the British troops were relieved and they left the front line. In other areas the goodwill lasted for several weeks, bringing a halt to opportunistic sniping, before the bloody conflict once again resumed.
On January 1, 1915, the London Times published a letter from a major in the Medical Corps reporting that in his sector the British played a game against the Germans opposite and were beaten 3-2.
Kurt Zehmisch of the 134th Saxons recorded in his diary: 'The English brought a soccer ball from the trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvellously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.'
The Truce lasted all day; in places it ended that night, but on other sections of the line it held over Boxing Day and in some areas, a few days more. In fact, there parts on the front where the absence of aggressive behaviour was conspicuous well into 1915.
Captain J C Dunn, the Medical Officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, whose unit had fraternised and received two barrels of beer from the Saxon troops opposite, recorded how hostilities re-started on his section of the front.
Dunn wrote: 'At 8.30 I fired three shots in the air and put up a flag with "Merry Christmas" on it, and I climbed on the parapet. He [the Germans] put up a sheet with "Thank you" on it, and the German Captain appeared on the parapet. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our respective trenches, and he fired two shots in the air, and the War was on again.'
The war was indeed on again, for the Truce had no hope of being maintained. Despite being wildly reported in Britain and to a lesser extent in Germany, the troops and the populations of both countries were still keen to prosecute the conflict.
Famous English and British Battles and Wars 59 AD to PresentSoldiers in the trenches of the First World War would often quote that they fought for each other. It makes us English a united culture, the envy of so many around the world. It is part of the English Enigma. It is why the English can laugh at themselves and celebrate defeats. It is their confidence and their very character.
In peacetime we English played and invented many sports and Games which we gave the world including Football, Rugby, Cricket etc.
Queen Boudecca and the Rebellion of 59 AD Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, who was head of the Iceni tribe in East England, in what is now Norfolk and Suffolk.After Prasutagus died in 59 AD the Romans arrived to take over half the kingdom and seize control. To humiliate the former rulers, the Romans beat Boudicca publicly, raped their two daughters, seized the wealth of many Iceni and sold much of the royal family into slavery.
Led by Boudicca, about 100,000 British attacked Camulodunum (now Colchester), where the Romans had their main centre of rule. With Suetonius and most of the Roman forces away, Camulodunum was not well-defended, and the Romans were driven out. The Procurator Decianus was forced to flee. Boudicca's army burned Camulodunum to the ground; only the Roman temple was left.
Immediately Boudicca's army turned to the largest city in the British Isles, Londinium (London). Suetonius strategically abandoned the city, and Boudicca's army burned Londinium and massacred the 25,000 inhabitants who had not fled. Archaeological evidence of a layer of burned ash shows the extent of the destruction.
List of Anglo – Welsh Wars from 446 AD to 598 AD This is a list of wars and battles between the English or England and the Welsh from the Adventus Saxonum in c.446AD to the late Middle Ages when they ceased.
The Battle of Mons Badonicus 490 - 517 AD The Battle of Mons Badonicus (English Mount Badon, Welsh Mynydd Baddon) was a battle between a force of Britons and an Anglo – Saxon army, probably sometime between 490 and 517 AD. Though it is believed to have been a major political and military event, there is no certainty about its date or place.
Battle of Edington – 878 AD In the late 9th century the Danes had slowly but surely infiltrated the British Isles and pushed back the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants. They already held the north and east of the country. A temporary defeat at Ashdown had interrupted, but not stopped, the Danish advances. Under Guthrum, they pushed into Wessex from the south and east. They launched a winter attack on a surprised King Alfred at his court of Chippenham.
The Battle of Ethandun by King Alfred The Great 878 AD Alfred won a decisive victory in the ensuing Battle of Ethandun, which may have been fought near Westbury, Wiltshire. He then pursued the Danes to their stronghold at Chippenham and starved them into submission. One of the terms of the surrender was that Guthrum convert to Christianity; and three weeks later the Danish king and 29 of his chief men were baptised at Alfred's court at Aller, near Athelney, with Alfred receiving Guthrum as his spiritual son.
Battles of Brunanburh 937 AD was an Anglo-Saxon victory in 937 by the army of Æthelstan, King of Angle-Land, and his brother, Edmund, over the combined armies of Olaf III Guthfrithson, Norse-Gael King of Dublin, Constantine II, King of Scots, and Owen I, King of Strathclyde.
The Battle of Maldon AD 991Took place on the shores of the River Blackwater in Essex. There was a heroic stand by the Anglo-Saxons against the Viking invasion which ended in utter defeat for Brithnoth and his men. The battle's progress is related in a famous Anglo-Saxon poem, only part of which survives.
Battle of Fulford - 1066 AD and Battle of Stamford Bridge – 1066.The Battle of Fulford, on the outskirts of York, has been overshadowed by the other great battles of 1066 at Stamford Bridge and Hastings.
The Battle of Hastings 1066 AD The Battle of Hastings which took place on October 14th. 1066 is considered to be the decisive battle resulting in the Norman conquest of England. The battle took place at Senlac Hill, about eighteen miles from Hastings.
Battle of The Standard or The Battle of Northallerton 1138 AD The Battle of the Standard, sometimes called the Battle of Northallerton, in which English Forces repelled a Scottish Army which took place on 22 August 1138 on Cowton Moor near Northallerton in Yorkshire.
Lincoln (First Battle of Lincoln) – 1141 AD The contest between Stephen of Blois and his cousin Maud ( Matilda ) for the throne of England was a messy affair, with first one side and then the other side gaining the upper hand. A supporter of Maud's cause, Ranulf de Tailebois, seized control of Lincoln Castle and fortified it against attack. The citizens of Lincoln appealed to King Stephen for help.
Lincoln ( Second Battle of Lincoln ) - 1217 AD King John's conflict with his powerful barons was at the root of the conflict known as the Battle of Lincoln Fair. The king was forced by his barons to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215. Louis, Dauphin of France, sent troops to aide the baron's cause.
Battle of Lewes – 1264 AD The reign of Henry III was beset by conflict with the Barons. Henry's autocratic rule, his favouritism at Court towards unpopular French nobles, particularly his despised half brothers, his foreign policies, and his refusal to discuss or negotiate policy with his Barons led ultimately to the Barons War of 1263 – 1267.
Battle of Evesham – 1265 ADThe Battle of Evesham in 1265 restored Henry III to the English throne where he stayed until his death in 1272. He was succeeded by his son Edward I who went on to conquer Wales and nearly Scotland. Monks recovered de Montfort's mutilated body and buried him at Evesham Abbey. Today his grave is marked by a stone on which an inscription commemorates his death.
Battle of Stirling Bridge – 1297 AD In 1297 a commoner by the name of William Wallace was starting to oppose the English rule by attacking small English garrisons. The word soon spread through out Scotland and in a short time Wallace soon had enough followers to defend Scotland. When Edward heard of Wallace and his followers, he decided to send a large English army to wipe out Wallace before he got too big. When the word got out that a large English army was heading for Stirling to meet Wallace, thousands of Scots came down from the Highlands to join Wallace and confront the advancing English army. They met at Stirling. The Scots heavily defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) which brought most of Scotland back to the Scots.
Battle of Falkirk – 1298 AD Wallace was knighted in 1298 and became a Guardian of Scotland, Wallace's army then continued over the border to ravage the north of England, sacking many towns and causing mayhem before returning back to Scotland. This prompted Edward into invading Scotland again. Edward's army advanced back into Scotland in 1298, and met Wallace at Falkirk.
Battle of Bannockburn – 1314 AD By 1314, only Stirling Castle was held by the English, and was not long till the Scots took it back. In a last attempt to stay in control of Scotland, Edward II and a large army marched north to relieve the castle. But was met by the Scots led by Robert the Bruce just outside of Stirling at Bannockburn.
The Hundred years War 1337 to 1453 AD The Hundred Years' War (French: Guerre de Cent Ans) was a series of separate wars lasting from 1337 to 1453 between two royal houses for the French throne, which was vacant with the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings.
The Battle of Crecy 1346 AD France, August 26, 1346: after a long march from Cherbourg to the town of Crécy, the invading English forces faced off against an overwhelmingly larger French and Genoese army. It was a battle royale that shook France and showed the lasting ability of the English to defeat overwhelming odds.
Battle of Stalling Down – 1405 ADOwain Glyndwr (variously called Glendower, Glyn Dwr, and Owain ap Gruffydd) was a noble Welshman and a descendent of Llewelyn the Last. For most of his life he lived - and fought - as an Englishman, but by 1400 his growing sense of Welsh patriotic pride - and a squabble over land with his English neighbour - led him to raise an insuurection against the English in Wales.
Battle of Agincourt 1415 AD On 11 August 1415, Henry V, the English king for two years, set sail for France with an army to substantiate his claim to the French Throne. His plan was to take Harfleur as a bridgehead before marching down the Seine to Paris and Bordeaux. There are a number of possible reasons for this campaign. It was an attempt not only to reclaim what Henry believed to be his lawful birthrights, the Duchy of Normandy and the French Throne, but also as a means of securing his reign by diverting attention from the problems at home. Moreover, it was not without provocation by the French who had raided the English coast. After a generation of defeats and setbacks, this English force held three main strengths. If properly deployed, the English archer was one of the most formidable fighting forces in Europe, the strength of Henry as a general and the disorder of the French leadership under the frequent insanity of a weak king.
List of Battles during War of The Roses: Yorkshire V Lancashire 1455 - 1487
1. The first Battle of St. Albans 1455
2. The Battle of Blore Heath 1459
3. The Battle of Northampton 1460
4. The Battle of Wakefield 1460
5. The Battle of Mortimer's Cross 1461
6. The Second Battle of St Albans – 1461 AD
7. The Battle of Ferry Bridge – 1461 AD
8. Battle of Towton – 1461 AD
9. The Battle of Hedgeley Moor 1464 AD
10. The Battle of Hexham 1464 AD
11. The Battle of Edgecote Moor 1469 AD
12. The Battle of Losecote Field 1470 AD
13. Battle of Barnet – 1471 AD
14. Battle of Tewkesbury – 1471 AD
15. Battle of Bosworth – 1485 AD
16. The Battle of Stoke – 1487 AD
Battle of Flodden – 1513 AD Even before the political significance of England's resounding thumping of the Scots at Flodden Field, where almost a third of the Scottish army were slaughtered in Northumbria, military historians have cause to note the Battle Of Flodden Field. The most disastrous battle in Scotland's history was a watershed for medieval combat, where the decisive thrust of the longbow, so favoured by England, began to cede, giving way to a new weapon more suited to lusty battle at close quarters.
The Spanish Armada 1588 AD The spectacular but unsuccessful attempt by King Philip II of Spain to invade Elizabethan England. The Armada is for the us English the classic foreign threat to our country.
The English Civil War 1641 – 1651 AD The English Civil War (1641–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists. The first (1642–46) and second (1648–49) civil wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third war (1649–51) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The Civil War ended with the Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
Battle of Edgehill 1642 ADEdgehill was the first major set-piece battle of the Civil War. A clear victory for either side at this point could have meant a rapid end to the conflict. Instead a combination of the particular circumstances surrounding the battle and poor leadership of both armies saw the clash end indecisively. The war would drag on for four bloody years yet.
Battle of Marston Moor – 1644 ADMarston Moor has some claim to being the biggest battle ever fought on British soil, and it was certainly one of the most decisive in our history, tipping the scales in the Civil War very much the way of the Parliamentary cause.
Battle of Naseby 1645 AD The Battle of Naseby was the key battle of the first English Civil War. On the 14th of June 1645, the main army of King Charles I was destroyed by the Parliamentarian New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell.
Battle of Worcester – 1651 AD in August 1651 Charles and his largely Scottish forces found themselves in Worcester, resting before either moving further south, or meeting Parliament's New Model Army in battle.
The Monmouth Rebellion 1685 AD The Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, was an attempt to overthrow James II, who had become King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland at the death of his elder brother Charles II on 6 February 1685. James II was unpopular because he was Roman Catholic and many people were opposed to a papist king. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II, claimed to be rightful heir to the throne and attempted to displace James II.The rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth's forces at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685. Monmouth was executed for treason on 15 July, and many of his supporters were executed or transported in the "Bloody Assizes" of Judge Jeffreys.
Battle of Sedgmoor - 1685 AD took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England.It was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion and followed a series of skirmishes around south west England between the forces of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and the crown he was trying to take. The royalist forces prevailed and about 500 troops captured. Monmouth escaped from the battlefield but was later captured and taken to London for trial and execution.
The War of the Spanish Succession (the Duke of Marlborough) 1701-1714 AD Battle of Blenheim 1704 , Battle of Ramillies 1706
The War of the Austrian Succession 1742 to 1748 AD
Battles of: Dettingen 1743, Fontenoy, Roucoux and Lauffeldt.
The Jacobite Rebellion 1745 to 1746 AD
The Jacobite Risings were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in the British Isles occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings were aimed at returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne after he was deposed by Parliament during the Glorious Revolution. The series of conflicts takes its name from Jacobus, the Latin form of James. Battles of: Prestonpans, Falkirk and Battle of Culloden 1746.
The Seven Years War 1756 to 1763 AD
The Seven Years War was the first global conflict. It had two main fronts. The first, in Europe, was the hostility between Prussia and Austria, still simmering after the War of the Austrian Succession , which expanded through alliances to include all of Europe.
Battles of : Rossbach 1757, Minden 1759, Quebec 1759, Emsdorff 1760, Warburg 1760, Kloster Kamp 1760, Vellinghausen 1761 and Wilhelmstadt 1762.
The French and Indian War 1755 to 1763 AD
Braddock on the Monongahela, Ticonderoga 1758, Louisburg and Quebec 1759.
The American Revolutionary War 1775 to 1783 AD
Battles of: Concord and Lexington, Bunker Hill, Quebec 1775 - 1776, Long Island, Harlem Heights, White Plains, Fort Washington, Trenton, Princeton, Ticonderoga 1777, Hubbardton, Bennington 1777, Brandywine Creek, Freeman's Farm, Paoli, Germantown, Saratoga, Monmouth 1778, Camden, King's Mountain, Cowpens, Jersey 1781, Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown.
Battle of The Nile 1798 AD
The Battle of the Nile was Nelson's famous victory over the French fleet on 1st August 1798, leaving Napoleon stranded with his army in Egypt. It was fought in Aboukir bay near Alexandria, Egypt, on the 1st and 2nd of August 1798. The British fleet was under the command of Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson and the French fleet under Admiral Paul D'Brueys.
Battle of Trafalgar 1805 AD
The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on the 21st of October 1805 off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast, between the combined fleets of Spain and France and the Royal Navy. It was the last great sea action of the period and its significance to any invasion of England by the French and Spanish was ended and helped in the dominance of the Seas by us British for over 100 years.
The Napoleonic Wars 1802 to 1814 AD
Trafalgar and Quatre Bras.
The Peninsular War 1808 to 1814 AD
Vimeiro, Corunna, Douro, Talavera, Busaco, Barossa, Fuentes de Onoro, Albuera, Salamanca and Vitoria.
The War of 1812 AD between USA and GB On June 18, 1812, the United States stunned the world by declaring war on Great Britain. Supporting its allies in Spain and Portugal, Britain's army was on the Iberian Peninsula, involved in a struggle with Napoleon Bonaparte, who had marshaled the forces of Revolutionary France under his penumbra.
Despite losing the Thirteen Colonies to George Washington and the American revolutionaries twenty-five years earlier, England, like many on the European continent, did not take the United States that seriously. Despite the fact that most of Britain's supplies for the Napoleonic war came from America and Canada -from beef to feed the Duke of Wellington's army, to the oak trees essential to maintain Britain's majestic navy. Britain found itself faced with another war, a war they had assiduously tried to avoid.
The Battle of Waterloo AD 1815
The Battle of Waterloo took place near Waterloo, Belgium on June 18, 1815. In this battle, the forces of the French Empire under the leadership of Michael Ney and the Dictator Napoleon Bonaparte were defeated by an Anglo-Allied Army commanded by the Duke of Wellington.
The First Afghan War 1839 to 1842 AD in which Britain suffered the humiliation of a British and Indian force massacred by Afghan tribesmen as they struggled to reach India from Kabul and saw an Army of Retribution exact revenge.
Battles: Ghuznee, Kabul and Gandamak, Jellalabad and Kabul 1842.
The Second Afghan War 1879 to 1882 AD which saw three British/Indian armies invade Afghanistan, fighting the battles of Ali Masjid and Peiwar Kotal, the death of the British envoy Cavagnari in the Billa Hissar citadel at Kabul and the second invasion of Afghanistan by General Roberts, leading to the battles of the Sherpur Cantonment (Kabul), Ahmed Khel, the disaster of Maiwand and the final victory of Kandahar, following Roberts' spectacular march from Kabul. Battles: Ali Masjid, Peiwar Kotal, Charasiab, Kabul 1879, Ahmed Khel, Maiwand, Kandahar.
The First Sikh Wars 1845-1846 AD The Sikhs fought First Anglo Sikh War with the British and lost Kashmir as they were defeated in the battle.
The Second Sikh War 1848-1849 AD
The Second Anglo-Sikh War fell out between the Sikh Empire and the British Empire. The war led to the subjugation of the Sikh kingdom and the annexation of Punjab and what subsequently became the North-West Frontier Province by the British East India Company.
The Crimean War 1854 to 1856 AD Everyone interested in history has an impression of the Crimean war, if only because of the famous battle of the Charge of the Light Brigade, mistakenly charging the Russian cannon at the battle of Baklava in the aftermath of the Heavy Brigade's triumph in breaking the Russian line. The latter passed into oblivion but the former took on immortality after Alfred Tennyson, doing a good day's work as Poet Laureate. The battles included: Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sevastopol.
World War One 1914 – 1918 The start of World War 1 was caused by the assasination of Archduke Francis Ferdinandon on June 14th. 1914 and the alliances throughout Europe which led to the first World War.
World War Two 1939-1945 Europe : Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany 1933. He rearmed the country, in violation of a treaty signed after World War One, and soon began to threaten other European nations. After the invasion of Poland in 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany and Italy declared war on Britain and France. At this time in 1939 the Soviet Union had a pact with Germany. After the fall of France, Britain and its Commonwealth stood alone for 18 monthe against Hitler and Stalin. Once Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Britain signed an accord with the Soviet Union against Hitler. The end of the war came shrotly after Hitler commited suicide at the end of April 1945.
World War Two 1941-1945 Japan In December 1941 The japenese bombed pearl Harbour and declared war on the USA. Hitler shortly afterwards declared war on the USA. This led to Britain to declare war on japan.
The Soviet Union joined Britain and its Commonwealth plus the USA in the war against Japan, and shortly after the soviets joining war against Japan the USA dropped a second Atom Bomb and shortly afterwards Tokyo surrendered within days, with V-J Day declared on 15 August 1945. On 2 September 1945 World War II ended when representatives of Japan signed the instruments of surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) in Tokyo Bay.
The Korean War 1950-1957 The first British units to arrive at Pusan on 28 August 1950 were the 1st Battalion The Middlesex Regiment and 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders under the 27th British Infantry Brigade.
The Suez Conflict 1956 AD In 1956, the Suez Canal became the focus of a major world conflict. The canal represents the only direct means of travel from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, making it vital to the flow of trade between Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. Normally, free passage was granted to all who used the canal, but Britain and France desired control of it, not only for commercial shipping, but also for colonial interests. The Egyptian government had just been taken over by Gamal Abdel Nasser, who felt the canal should be under Egyptian control. The United States and Britain had promised to give aid to Egypt in the construction of the Asw_n High Dam in the Nile. This aid was retracted however, and in retaliation Nasser nationalized the canal. He intended to use the funds raised from the operation of the canal to pay for the Dam.
The Falklands War 1982 AD The Falklands War started on Friday, 2 April 1982 with the Argentine invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982. The war lasted 74 days, and resulted in the deaths of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and three civilian Falklanders. It is the most recent conflict to be fought by the UK without any allied states and the only external Argentine war since the 1880s.
The First Iraq War 1990-1991 AD international conflict that was triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Iraq's leader, Ṣaddām Ḥussein, ordered the invasion and occupation of Kuwait with the apparent aim of acquiring that nation's large oil reserves, canceling a large debt Iraq owed Kuwait, and expanding Iraqi power in the region.
The Second Gulf War 2003 AD to 2008 Prior to the war, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom claimed that Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed a threat to their security and that of their coalition/regional allies. These were lies by Tony Blair and George W. Bush just to get the support of the UN and the populations of the Brits and Yanks.
The ongoing Afghan War 2001 to Present the War in Afghanistan is an ongoing coalition conflict which began on October 7, 2001, as the US military's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) that was launched, along with the British military, in response to both the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. The UK has, since 2002, led its own military operation, Operation Herrick, as part of the same war in Afghanistan. The character of the war evolved from a violent struggle against Al-Qaeda and its Taliban supporters to a complex counterinsurgency effort.
The Chinese call Britain 'The Island of Hero's' which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery.
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