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Discovery and Invention (60)
1
The Gift of the Gab
Music: Ignaz Moscheles
There was one form of power that self-taught engineering genius George Stephenson never harnessed.

ONE evening, when staying with Sir Robert Peel at his country house in Derbyshire, Stephenson fell into animated conversation with William Buckland, the eccentric geologist and palaeontologist, about the formation of coal.

Buckland, a veteran debater, loftily dismissed Stephenson’s theories, but the tongue-tied engineer was certain he was right.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Notorious. Famous.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: Hand. Rub. Lead.

Use together in one sentence: Conversation. Worst. Pace.

More games: Précis. Sevens. Jigsaw. Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.

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Paxton’s Palace
Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan
Sir Joseph Paxton not only designed the venue for the Great Exhibition of 1851, he embodied the festival’s most cherished principles.

JOSEPH Paxton one day confided to John Ellis MP, a fellow board-member of the Midland Railway, that he had designed a building truly fit to host the forthcoming Great Exhibition of 1851, the exciting showcase for Imperial science and industry destined for Hyde Park. Ellis gave Paxton just nine days to submit a formal application.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Cell. Sell.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: Host. Ship. Fit.

Use together in one sentence: Real. Submit. Give.

More games: Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.

Mary Anning
Music: Sophia Giustani Dussek
A twelve-year-old girl from Lyme Regis made a historic discovery while selling seashells to tourists.

IN 1811, twelve-year-old Mary Anning pieced together a fossilised skeleton from the limestone cliffs of Lyme Regis in Dorset. It was very different from the usual ammonite and belemnite shells that she and her brother sold to tourists, and it netted them £23, a welcome windfall following the death of their father Richard the previous year.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Replete. Complete.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: Display. Net. Draw.

Use together in one sentence: Usual. Windfall. Quarry.

More games: Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.

Russia’s First Railway
Music: Mikhail Glinka
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.

IN 1836, sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth arrived in the Russian capital, St Petersburg, bearing the heavy responsibility of delivering a steam locomotive, built by his father Timothy at Shildon in County Durham, to the Russian Empire’s first railway line.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Though. Through.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: Line. See. Father.

Use together in one sentence: Near. Purpose. Several.

More games: Précis. Sevens. Jigsaw. Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.

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John Dalton
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
At fifteen John Dalton was a village schoolmaster in Kendal; at forty he had published the first scientific theory of atoms.

JOHN Dalton, a weaver’s boy, began his teaching career at fifteen, helping his elder brother to run a Quaker school in Kendal. He deepened his education by contributing maths problems to The Ladies’ Diary, and reading scientific works to Kendal’s distinguished natural philosopher John Gough, who was blind, in exchange for lessons in Latin and Greek.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Taut. Taught.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: School. Career. Read.

Use together in one sentence: Philosopher. Law. Mountain.

More games: Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.

The ‘Ladies’ Diary’
Music: Ann Sheppard Mounsey
A long-lived annual of riddles, rhymes and really hard maths aimed specifically at Georgian Britain’s hidden public of clever women.

THE ‘Ladies’ Diary’, published annually in London from 1704 to 1841, offered an almanack of useful dates, astronomical events, rhyming riddles and readers’ queries, such as

“I should be glad to know, what is the composition of the India rubber; and how and where it is made”.

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Grammar and Composition

Distinguish using sentences: Shall. Should.

Use as a noun and also as a verb: Feature. Name. Cover.

Use together in one sentence: Submission. Often. From.

More games: Confusables. Spinner. Opposites. Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object. Adjectives. Word Classes.