English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Latest
Arthur MacPherson
Music: Frank Bridge
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.

ARTHUR MacPherson’s grandfather, Murdoch, had moved from Perth to St Petersburg in the 1830s. But where Murdoch’s business was shipyards, Arthur was an investor, timber merchant, and sports promoter.

Continue reading ›
Six Posts
The Fleming Valve
Music: York Bowen
A Victorian children’s book inspired the birth of modern electronics.

FANNY Umphelby’s ‘Child’s Guide To Knowledge’ can have had few readers more devoted, or more distinguished in later life, than Ambrose Fleming.

Her collection of scientific facts sparked his long career at University College, London, and at the Marconi Company, assisting in the first transatlantic radio transmissions.

Continue reading ›
Hyder Ali and Tipu
two-part story
Music: Johann Christian Bach
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.

IN 1778, King Louis XVI of France declared war on Britain, and London responded by driving the colonial French out of the port of Mahé in Mysore, a kingdom in southwest India dating back to the turn of the fifteenth century.

This trespass incensed Hyder Ali, Mysore’s brilliant military commander whose hero status had already relegated King Krishnaraja Wodeyar II to a mere figurehead.

Continue reading ›
West Auckland, European Champions
Music: Edward Elgar
A team of amateurs gave Europe’s finest a drubbing.

IN 1909, Sir Thomas Lipton, a Scotsman of humble background who had made his fortune in tea, decided to organise a football competition for the best sides in Europe.

Continue reading ›
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Music: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)

AT the age of five, Samuel Taylor began violin lessons with a local music-teacher in Croydon. Fifteen years later, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he changed course to study composition, under Charles Villiers Stanford.

Continue reading ›
Benno Moiseiwitsch
Music: Johannes Brahms
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.

AT fifteen, budding pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch inquired at the Royal Academy of Music in London about continuing studies that had begun in his hometown, Odessa, and had brought him the Anton Rubinstein Prize when he was nine. His prospective tutors told him frankly that they did not know what they could teach him.

Continue reading ›
‘Risoluto’
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)

THE Leeds Festival of 1910 caused a stir with the appearance of Sergei Rachmaninoff as soloist in his own Second Piano Concerto, adding the Russian to a long list of overseas composers brought to England by the conductor, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Continue reading ›
All Posts
Tagged Edwardian Era (12 posts)
page 1
1 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
2 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
3 Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
4 Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.
5 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
6 The Boer Wars
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.
page 2
7 ‘Risoluto’
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
8 The Man who Made the Headlines
William Stead conceived modern print journalism in the belief that newspapers could change the world.
9 West Auckland, European Champions
A team of amateurs gave Europe’s finest a drubbing.
10 The Fleming Valve
A Victorian children’s book inspired the birth of modern electronics.
11 ‘Nimrod’
Music by Edward Elgar
(1857-1934)
Edward Elgar suffered from depression, and ‘Nimrod’ is his token of thanks to the true friend who supported him through it.
12 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Lift. Difficulty. Estimate.

The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone explains that a truly ‘exceptional nation’ respects the equality and rights of all nations.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Style’
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 Birmingham (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 Puzzles
Do you know ‘situation of a golf ball’ (3 letters), and ‘the capital of the State of New York’ (6 letters)?
Do you know ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
Take one number from another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Change KEEP into MOAT, one letter at a time.
Do you know ‘a temperature scale’ (6 letters), and ‘a bit of useful advice’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (80)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Countdown’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic