Thursday, 31 December 2020


On 31 December 1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada

Sunday, 27 December 2020


 The great astronomer Johannes Kepler was born on 27 December 1571.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Queen Zenobia

 Queen Zenobia was born on 23 December 245. Zenobia was the queen of Palmyra in what is now Syria from about 268 AD to 272 AD. She fought the Romans and conquered Egypt. However, Zenobia was eventually defeated and captured.

Monday, 21 December 2020


 On 21 December 1898 Pierre Curie and his wife Marie discovered radium. Well done Pierre and Marie.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Friday, 18 December 2020

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Catherine of Aragon

 Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII was born on 16 December 1485

Monday, 14 December 2020

Tycho Brahe

 The great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was born on 14 December 1546. Sadly he died shortly before the telescope was invented. It's a pity because he would have loved to look through one.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Monday, 7 December 2020

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our readers. The phrase Merry Christmas was first recorded in 1534 when Bishop John Fisher wrote a letter to Henry VIII's chancellor Thomas Cromwell.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020


 On 24 November 1859, Charles Darwin's book On The Origin of Species was published

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Victorian ladies

 I am sure we have all wondered how did women in the 19th century go to the toilet (use the bathroom) with all those layers of clothing. This excellent video discreetly explains it.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

World Toilet Day

 19 November is World Toilet Day. So let's hear it for the men who invented the modern toilet. In 1596 Sir John Harrington invented a flushing lavatory with a cistern. However, the idea failed to catch on. However, in 1775 Alexander Cumming was granted a patent for a flushing lavatory. Joseph Bramah made a better design in 1778. In 1883 a Mr. Ashwell invented the vacant/engaged bolt for public toilets.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

William Herschel

 William Herschel the great astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus was born on 15 November 1738. He also discovered infrared light.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Angolan Independence Day

 Angola became independent on 11 November 1975. Happy Angolan Independence Day.

Monday, 9 November 2020


 9 November is National Louisiana Day. I haven't written specifically about Louisiana but I did write about New Orleans

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Edmund Halley

 The great astronomer Edmund Halley was born on 8 November 1656. He has a comet named after him.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Marie Curie

 Famous Polish scientist Marie Curie was born on 7 November 1867 (She was born Marya Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland)

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Gunpowder plot

 On 5 November 1605 a Catholic plot to blow up the king and parliament was foiled.

Bra patented

Mary Phelps Jacob patented the modern bra on 3 November 1914. She invented the idea in 1913 when she sewed together some handkerchiefs and ribbons.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Captain Cook

 Famous explorer Captain James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 

Monday, 26 October 2020


 Happy birthday Norway. It formally separated from Sweden and became an independent country on 26 October 1905. 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Sam Houston

 On 22 October 1836 Sam Houston was sworn in as the first elected president of the Republic of Texas

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Alaska Day

 On 18 October 1867 Alaska passed from Russia to the USA. Happy Alaska Day. Happy Alaska Day.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Marie Antoinette

On 16 October 1793, Marie Antoinette was guillotined. She almost certainly never said 'let them eat cake'.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Mary Rose

On 11 October 1982 Henry VIII's warship The Mary Rose was raised from the sea bed. (It sank in 1545). I remember hearing all about it and even reading about it in a local newspaper but I cannot remember seeing it being raised on TV.

Friday, 9 October 2020


 Uganda became independent on 9 October 1962. Happy birthday Uganda. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Edgar Allan Poe

Sadly, Edgar Allan Poe died on 7 October 1849. I love his short story, The Masque of the Red Death.


 On 7 October 1571, a Christian fleet totally defeated the Turkish fleet at the naval battle of Lepanto in the eastern Mediterranean. After the battle 12,000 Christian galley slaves were set free.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Pierre Curie

I wrote a brief bio of Pierre Curie. He was one of the great scientists of the late 19th century

Monday, 21 September 2020

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Sunday, 6 September 2020


 Happy birthday, tanks. The first one was built on 6 September 1915. 

Thursday, 3 September 2020


 In the 19th century, it was common to adulterate foodstuffs by adding cheap substances. Calcium sulphate was added to peppermints. In 1858 a sweet maker in Bradford, England sent somebody to obtain some from a druggist. However, by mistake, the druggist's assistant picked up some arsenic thinking it was calcium sulphate. The arsenic was added to the sweets. As a result, 200 people became seriously ill and 20 died.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Fire of London

The Fire of London began on 2 September 1666 in a baker's house. It devastated the city.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Mary Shelley

The great writer Mary Shelley was born on 30 August 1797. She is famous for her novel Frankenstein. 200 years after it was written her book is still famous.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Battle of Bosworth

On 22 August 1485, a decisive battle in English history was fought at Bosworth. Richard III was killed, Henry Tudor won and subsequently, he became King Henry VII, the first of the Tudor dynasty.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Virginia Dare

On 18 August 1587 Virginia Dare became the first child born in North America of English parents

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Josef Jakobs

On 15 August 1941, a German spy named Josef Jakobs became the last person to be executed at the Tower of London.

Monday, 10 August 2020

The Vasa

On 10 August 1628, the Swedish ship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage 

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Wearing a crinoline

Have you ever wondered how 19th century women moved about while wearing a crinoline? This woman has made an interesting video about it

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte was born on 30 July 1818. She is famous for her book Wuthering Heights.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Elizabeth Short

Elizabeth Short was born on 29 July 1924. In 1947 she became the victim of an unsolved murder in Los Angeles. She is sometimes called The Black Dahlia 

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Alexander McKee

Alexander McKee was born on 25 July 1918. He led the search for the wreck of Henry VIII's warship Mary Rose, which lay under the sea bed for more than 400 years.

Friday, 24 July 2020


Happy birthday Detroit. Antoine de Cadillac selected a site for a fort on 24 July 1701. Later it became a city. Later still they named a car after him.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Anne Askew

On 16 July 1546, a Protestant woman named Anne Askew was burned to death for heresy. She is the only woman to be tortured in the Tower of London. She was tortured on the rack but she refused to change her beliefs. She had to be carried to the place of execution because she was unable to walk.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Tall Tales

For all lovers of tall tales: Henry VIII was 6 feet 2 inches. England’s tallest king was Edward IV who was 6 feet 4 inches tall. By all accounts, William Wallace was also very tall. It's believed he was well over 6 feet tall. Beating them all was Tsar Peter the Great at 6 feet 8 inches tall. Among women, Mary Queen of Scots was almost 6 feet tall (very tall for a woman in the 16th century)

Monday, 6 July 2020

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Czech Heroine

On 28 June 1950 Milada Horáková, a heroine of the Czech resistance during World War II was executed by the Communists on trumped-up charges.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Lizzie Borden

On 20 June 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother although she was almost certainly guilty.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Sugar rationing

Sugar rationing in the USA ended on 11 June 1947 (5 years after it started). I don't think I would have survived sugar rationing. (In Britain sugar rationing began in January 1940. It lasted until 1953).

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Joan of Arc

On 30 May 1431 that unfortunate woman Joan of Arc was burned to death.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

First World War Myths

I grew up with myths about the First World War, especially the idea that British soldiers were lions led by donkeys. This BBC article debunks the myths:

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Olympe de Gouges

Woman writer Olympe de Gouges was born on 7 May 1748. She was executed during the French Revolution for her radical views.

Female Entrepreneurs

Some famous women entrepreneurs 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Eyam and the Plague

Most people in England have heard of the village of Eyam in Derbyshire. According to legend when plague struck the village the people heroically quarantined themselves to stop it spreading and most of them died. It's probably a myth. The village WAS quarantined but the evidence suggests the authorities imposed the quarantine. It also seems the wealthy villagers fled before the quarantine was imposed, leaving the poor to their fate

Friday, 1 May 2020


Welcome to May. It's probably named after Maia the Roman goddess who caused plants to grow. This is my history of Mayday:

Monday, 27 April 2020

Nichola de la Haye

In 1216 King John of England made a woman named Nichola (Nicola) de la Haye sheriff of Lincolnshire. Nicola was a female landowner. For more than 40 years she was also constable (person in charge of) Lincoln Cathedral. She defended the castle against a siege in 1191. She sounds like a formidable woman.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Famous writer Mary Wollstonecraft was born on 27 April 1759. She is known for her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

Sunday, 26 April 2020


William Shakespeare was baptised on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth is not certain but it was probably 23 April. (In those days the date of a child's baptism was recorded not the day of his birth).

Saturday, 25 April 2020

The Guillotine

On 25 April 1792 Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person in France to be guillotined. But beheading devices were used in other parts of Europe much earlier. A beheading device was recorded in Dublin in 1307.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Saturday, 18 April 2020


The first laundromat opened in Fort Worth, Texas on 18 April 1934

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth on 9 April 1806. He was one of the greatest engineers of the 19th century.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Dick Turpin

Infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was hanged on 7 April 1770. Despite his image Turpin was a brutal thug.

Casino history

A history of online casinos

Friday, 20 March 2020

Zip fastener

On 20 March 1913 Gideon Sundback patented the zip fastener. Well done Gideon.


Tunisia became independent from France on 20 March 1956

Monday, 16 March 2020

Las Vegas

Las Vegas was incorporated on 16 March 1911

Caroline Herschel

Astronomer Caroline Herschel was born on 16 March 1750. She is sometimes overshadowed by her brother William Herschel but in her own day, she was just as famous.

Friday, 13 March 2020


On 13 March 1781 the great astronomer William Herschel discovered a new planet, the first to be discovered since Ancient Times. The planet was eventually named Uranus.

Thursday, 12 March 2020


Happy birthday Canberra. The foundation stone of the Australian capital was laid on 12 March 1913.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Ancient Toilets

In the ancient world people were capable of designing quite sophisticated toilets. Stone age farmers lived in a village at Skara Brae in the Orkney islands (Scotland). Some of their stone huts had drains built under them and some houses had cubicles over the drains. They may have been inside toilets. 

Self Raising Flour

Henry Jones patented self raising flour on 11 March 1845. It wasn't a very big invention but it made cooking easier so well done Henry. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2020


On 9 March 1562 Naples banned people from kissing in public to help stop the spread of the plague (they thought that was one way the plague spread). 


Barbie debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York on 9 March 1959 

History of Gambling

A history of gambling in the UK 

Monday, 9 March 2020

Yuri Gagarin

Happy birthday you share it with Yuri Gagarin the first man in space. You also share it with Amerigo Vespucci the great explorer who sailed along the coast of South America.

Friday, 6 March 2020


Toronto was incorporated on 6 March 1834. Happy Toronto Day. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020


Happy birthday Chicago. (it was incorporated as a city on 4 March 1837). 

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone was born on 3 March 1847.

Monday, 2 March 2020


In 1681 King Charles II granted a large amount of land in North America to a Quaker named William Penn. He established the colony of Pennsylvania. Penn sailed to North America in 1682. When he arrived he founded the city of Philadelphia.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Voting in Egypt

All men in Egypt were given the right to vote in 1923. Women in Egypt were allowed to vote in 1956. 

19th Century Food

My video about food in the 19th century is 3 years old 

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Christopher Marlowe

The great Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe was baptised on 26 February 1564. We don't know the exact date of his birth because in those days they recorded the date of rhe baptism not the birth. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Pancake Day

Pancake Day was first recorded in 1439. People were supposed to fast certain foods during Lent. They made pancakes to use up eggs and butter before Lent. Pancake Day is also called Shrove Tuesday. To shrive meant to confess your sins. So people 'shrove' their sins before Lent. The word Lent was on old English word meaning lengthen because the days are getting longer.

Salem Witch Trials

In 1702 the General Court (legislature) of Massachusetts overturned the convictions for witchcraft in Salem and in 1711 they granted compensation to the relatives of the victims bringing the whole sorry episode to an end. In the early 18th century belief in witches died out. Finally, in 1992 a memorial was erected to those who were wrongly executed at Salem. 

Monday, 24 February 2020

Nancy Astor

On 24 February Nancy Astor the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons made her first speech. 


Saturday, 22 February 2020

The slave trade

The first country to abolish the slave trade was Denmark in 1792 (although the ban did not take effect until 1803). Britain followed in 1807. The USA abolished the slave trade in 1808. Other European countries followed. Sweden abolished the slave trade in 1813, The Netherlands in 1814, France in 1815, and Spain in 1820. Brazil ended the slave trade in 1851. 

George Washington

George Washington was born on 22 February 1732

Thursday, 20 February 2020

John Glenn

On 20 February 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth www.localhistories/spacetime.html 

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Darwin, Australia

On 19 February 1942 the Japanese bombed Darwin Australia 


The great astronomer Nicklaus Copernicus was born on 19 February 1473 

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Monday, 17 February 2020

St Olga

Olga of Kiev was a formidable woman in the early Middle Ages

Jigsaw Puzzles

John Spilsbury made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. He intended to teach geography by cutting maps into pieces but soon people began making jigsaws for entertainment.

The Assyrians

The Assyrians were a warlike people from the north of what is now Iraq. From about 880 BC to 612 BC they ruled a great empire in the Middle East.

Saturday, 15 February 2020


The great scientist Galileo was born on 15 February 1564 

Friday, 14 February 2020

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Friday, 7 February 2020

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Voting in Britain 1918

On 6 February 1918 a new law giving all men in Britain the vote received the royal assent. (Until then about 40% of men in Britain could not vote). The new law also gave the vote to women over 30. 

Portchester Walk

This is a video I made about one of my favourite walks 

Wednesday, 5 February 2020


People used to believe that fleas appeared on 1 March. They used to keep their windows closed on that day to stop the fleas coming in their houses. There was a saying 'The Devil shakes a bag of fleas at every house on 1 March'.

Robert Peel

Robert Peel was born on 5 February 1788. He formed the first modern police force in Britain, in 1829. They were called bobbies or peelers after him. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2020


In 1793 the first governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe founded a new town. He called the new town York in honor of the Duke of York and he made it the capital of Upper Canada. It's name was later changed to Toronto.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka became independent on 4 February 1948

Monday, 3 February 2020

Leigh Park

Public lavatories

There were public lavatories in London in the Middle Ages but the first modern public lavatory in the city opened on 2 February 1852. It was for men. One for women opened on 11 February.

Saturday, 1 February 2020


Bay leaves are native to the Mediterranean area. Bay was well known to the Greeks and the Romans, who held it in high regard. Bay was also a popular herb in the Middle Ages and for centuries bay was a medicine as well as a food. 

Friday, 31 January 2020

Medieval Towns

The thing that would strike us most about medieval towns would be their small size. By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 London probably had a population of about 18,000. Winchester, the capital of England, probably had about 8,000 people. At that time a 'large' town, like Lincoln or Dublin had about 4,000 or 5,000 inhabitants and a 'medium sized' town, like Colchester had about 2,500 people. Many towns were much smaller.

Women in the 20th Century

My video about women in the 20th century

Thursday, 30 January 2020

History of Firefighting

In the mid 17th century the only tools for fighting fire were buckets, hooks and hand held pumps. (Gunpowder could be used to blow up buildings and create fire breaks). However in 1672 Jan Van der Heiden invented a flexible leather hose with brass fittings. Van der Heiden also pioneered hand pumped fire engines to use with the hose.


In 1875, the Mounties built a fort. In 1876 it was named Fort Calgary after Calgary Bay in Scotland. The Scottish name is derived from the Gaelic words Cala-ghearridh meaning pasture by the bay. When a railway station was built near Fort Calgary in 1883 the little settlement grew rapidly.


My video about Emsworth in Hampshire

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel was a famous astronomer. In 1846 she was given the Prussian Gold Medal for science. She was then 96. Caroline lived from 1750 to January 1848. She died at the age of 97. So even in those days some people did live to extreme old age.

Horndean, Hampshire

The charming village of Horndean in Hampshire


Winnipeg stands at the confluence of two rivers. Its name comes from native words meaning murky waters. The French built a fur trading post on the site in 1738 called Fort Rouge. However, the fort was later abandoned. Then in 1810, the North West Company built a new fort called Fort Gibraltar. Slowly the settlement grew and in 1873 Winnipeg was incorporated as a city.  

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published on 28 January 1813 


Happy birthday lego, patented 28 January 1958

History of Poverty

I made a video about the history of poverty. Its a grim subject but I found it interesting. 

The City of Regina

The city of Regina was once a place called Pile O'Bones because of the bones left there by hunters. Then in 1882, the first settlers arrived at the site. The new settlement grew rapidly and it was renamed Regina (Latin for queen) for Queen Victoria. 

Monday, 27 January 2020

Blendworth, Hampshire

Egyptian Surgery

In Ancient Egypt surgeons treated wounds and broken bones and dealt with boils and abscesses. Egyptian surgeons used clamps, sutures and cauterization. They had surgical instruments like probes, saws, forceps, scalpels and scissors.
They also knew that honey helped to prevent wounds becoming infected. (It is a natural antiseptic). They also dressed wounds with willow bark, which has the same effect. y.html 

Southampton City

My video of the city of Southampton 


The great Canadian city of Edmonton began as a trading post called Fort Edmonton, built in 1795. It was named after Edmonton in England, which was then a town north of London. However in the late 19th century the settlement began to spread outside the fort. Then in 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town and in 1904 it was incorporated as a city. Despite its small size Edmonton was chosen to be the capital of Alberta in 1905. 

Friday, 24 January 2020

Yorkshire Pudding

And some totally useless information: A Yorkshire pudding was originally called a dripping pudding. In 1747 a woman named Hannah Glasse, who was famous for her books on cookery, called it a Yorkshire pudding. She was the first recorded person to call it that. It sounds much nicer than 'dripping pudding' so thank you Hannah.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

History of Brazil

The Portuguese discovered Brazil by accident. Pedro Alvares Cabral landed on 23 April 1500. Then, in 1501 Amerigo Vespucci led another expedition to the new land. However at first the Portuguese showed little interest in Brazil although merchants set up coastal trading stations and they exported Brazil wood.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

The Guillotine

On 21 January 1790 in France Dr Joseph Guillotin proposed a new humane device for executing people by slicing their head off. However the idea was not new, a mechanical device for beheading people was recorded in Dublin in 1307.

New York

The Dutch built a little town on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It was called New Amsterdam and it flourished by selling skins. The settlers sold otter, beaver, mink and seal skins. However, New Amsterdam was a tiny town with only about 1,500 inhabitants in the mid-17th century. However, some farmers cultivated the land in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. (The Bowery takes its name from Bouwerie the Dutch word for farm).

Monday, 20 January 2020

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Friday, 17 January 2020

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Women in the Ancient World

My video about women in the Ancient World

Egyptian cosmetics

A history of cosmeticsThe Egyptians are known for their cleanliness (they bathed frequently) and they used many cosmetics. They used black eyeliner and green pigment for their eyelids. They also used rouge for their cheeks. The Egyptians also used perfume.

Wickham, Hampshire

My video about Wickham in Hampshire

Monday, 13 January 2020

History of England

A brief history of England

Women's Boxing

Women's boxing has a long history. It was popular in England in the 18th century.

Women's Education

There have always been some educated women. In the past, generally, upper class women were well educated. Middle class women often had some education. But poor girls like poor boys had little or no access to education. In Ancient Egypt, some girls taught to read and write.Upper class women were often well educated. There were some women doctors in Ancient Egypt. Merit Ptah was a famous woman doctor who lived around 2,700 BC. The Ancient Egyptians had a goddess of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Her name was Seshat. In Ancient Greece too some girls were taught to read and write. Women from wealthy families are often well educated. In Rome, many girls were taught to read and write at school. Upper class women were often educated.