The locomotive is not the invention of one man, but of a nation of mechanical engineers.
Robert Stephenson (1803-1859)
Caprotti valvegear, BR Standard 5MT No. 73129.
52 / 58
Stories
Two-minute tales and grammar games
Puzzles
Games with words and numbers
John Stanley
Liberty and Prosperity
The Bond of Liberty
Britain’s ‘empire’ owed its existence not to her armies or politicians but to her merchants and her unique brand of liberty.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

AS long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience.

Continue reading
No. 1
2 two-part story
Sir John Blackwood McEwen
Stuart Era
The Darien Scheme
The Parliament of Scotland tried to liberate itself from London’s strangling single market.

IN 1603, King James VI of Scotland became James I of England too, and he and his son Charles I held two crowns and summoned two Parliaments, Westminster and Edinburgh, until 1649 when Westminster had Charles summarily executed.

Two years later, the newly republican English Parliament then passed the first Navigation Act, shutting out Dutch competition in the belief that imports made the country poorer.

Continue reading
No. 2
Anonymous (English)
Christmastide
His Bright Nativity
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf wonders at the mystery of the Bethlehem manger, where all the light of heaven was shining.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

O EÄRENDEL! Brightest messenger sent to men of middle-earth, radiance of the Sun, steadfast and true, outshining the stars, ceaselessly lighting from thyself the ebb and flow of all things!

Shine thy bright Sun upon us, come thyself and light us, who have sat in darkness, in gloom of endless night, these long years, wrapped in sin, enduring the dark shadow of death.

Continue reading
No. 3
2 two-part story
William Byrd and John Dowland
Modern History
The Voyage of ‘Mayflower’
A crackdown on dissent in England’s established Church drove a band of Nottinghamshire townspeople to seek new shores.

AT the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, King James I insisted that the English Church would never adopt the more extreme views of Swiss reformer John Calvin. Some hardliners dubbed ‘Puritans’ were bitterly disappointed, and resolved to leave the country.

Continue reading
No. 4
Francesco Geminiani
Liberty and Prosperity
Folly and Freedom
Britain’s colonies were founded to supply her Government with gold, but instead they supplied her people with liberty.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

FOLLY and injustice seem to have been the principles which presided over and directed the first project of establishing those colonies; the folly of hunting after gold and silver mines, and the injustice of coveting the possession of a country whose harmless natives, far from having ever injured the people of Europe, had received the first adventurers with every mark of kindness and hospitality.

Continue reading
No. 5
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Liberty and Prosperity
The Empire of Enterprise
Adam Smith credited the British Empire’s success not to the policy of her Government, but to the character of her people.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

THE policy of Europe has very little to boast of, either in the original establishment, or, so far as concerns their internal government, in the subsequent prosperity of the colonies of America.

The conquest of Mexico was the project, not of the council of Spain, but of a governor of Cuba; and it was effectuated by the spirit of the bold adventurer to whom it was entrusted.

Continue reading
No. 6
John Garth
Georgian Era
Portrait of a Lady
Edmund Burke takes time off from campaigning for liberty to reflect on the delights of captivity.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

SHE has a face that just raises your attention at first sight; it grows on you every moment, and you wonder it did no more than raise your attention at first.

Her eyes have a mild light, but they awe you when she pleases; they command, like a good man out of office, not by authority, but by virtue.

Continue reading
No. 7
Gustav Holst
Modern History
The Power of Balance
George Canning warned the Commons to be very careful about their plans for reform.
By George Canning MP
(1770-1827)

MY lot is cast under the British monarchy. Under that I have lived, — under that I have seen my country flourish, — under that I have seen it enjoy as great a share of prosperity, of happiness, and of glory as I believe any modification of human society to be capable of bestowing.

Continue reading
No. 8
George Frideric Handel
Extracts from Literature
At a Solemn Musick
John Milton shows his appreciation for noble words and music in uplifting harmony.
By John Milton
(1632-1704)

BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav’ns joy,
Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixt power employ
Dead things with inbreath’d sense able to pierce,
And to our high-rais’d phantasie present,
That undisturbed Song of pure concent,
Ay sung before the saphire-colour’d throne
To him that sits theron.

Continue reading
No. 9
William Crotch
International Relations
Let Europe’s Peoples Go!
George Canning begged Britain not to help Europe’s Great Powers deny small states their right to independence.
By George Canning MP
(1770-1827)

GENTLEMEN, there is (disguise it how we may) a struggle going on, — in some countries an open, and in some a tacit struggle, between the principles of monarchy and democracy. God be praised, that in that struggle we have not any part to take. God be praised, that we have long ago arrived at all the blessings that are to be derived from that which alone can end such a struggle beneficially, — a compromise and intermixture of those conflicting principles.

Continue reading
No. 10
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
From our Archive
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Kate Nickleby must bite her lip as she experiences snobbery for the first time.
Scotland’s association with the brother of Peter is down to an early 8th century Bishop of Hexham.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
A fox tries to save herself from a fall, but finds she would have been better off taking the tumble.
After escaping from six years as a slave in Ireland, Patrick wanted only one thing: to go back.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (83)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (23)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Inlet’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘a river, part of the Bristol-London waterway’ (6 letters), and ‘e.g. D minor’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SPIT and finish with FIRE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.