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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

Ireland’s First Railway
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
The Dublin to Dun Laoghaire line opened in 1834, and proved a remarkable testimony to the speed of technological progress.

THE first railway in Ireland was the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, which opened on 9th October 1834 with a train of eight carriages drawn by the steam locomotive ‘Hibernia’, a 2-2-0 designed by Richard Roberts of Manchester.

The line was paid for by Dublin businessmen, keen to transport goods in bulk between the city and the port at Kingstown, better known today as Dun Laoghaire.

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One Post
St Patrick of Ireland
two-part story
Music: John Field
After escaping from six years as a slave in Ireland, Patrick wanted only one thing: to go back.

AT sixteen, Patrick was abducted from his comfortable home and smuggled across to Ireland, where he was put to work as a shepherd.

He was thus deprived of a Roman education (his father was a Roman citizen and town councillor), but out on the hard hills, Patrick learnt to pray, and to trust in Providence.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Abolition of Slavery’ (15 posts)
page 1
1 An Incorrigible Fanatic
By William Wilberforce
(1759-1833)
William Wilberforce told Parliament that the more his opponents slandered him, the more he was sure he was winning.
2 A Selfish Liberty
By Frederick Douglass
(1818-1895)
American anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass contrasts two kinds of ‘nationalist’.
3 Douglass in Britain
Frederick Douglass, the American runaway slave turned Abolitionist, spent some of his happiest days in Britain.
4 Douglass’s Debt
By Frederick Douglass
(1818-1895)
British statesmen were among those who inspired the career of one of America’s greatest men, Frederick Douglass.
5 How Britain Abolished Slavery
The Church’s campaigns against slavery were boosted by competition for labour after the Black Death.
6 The Obstinacy of Fowell Buxton
Fatherless teenage tearaway Fowell Buxton was not a promising boy, but the Gurney family changed all that.
page 2
7 How Liberating the Slaves also Clothed the Poor
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
The closure of slave plantations following the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833 had a curious side-effect.
8 David Livingstone
The Scottish missionary and medic believed that slavery could better be eradicated by trade than by force.
9 The Bombardment of Algiers
For two centuries, human traffickers had stolen English men, women and children for the slave-markets of the Arab world.
10 The Case of Jonathan Strong
Granville Sharp and his surgeon brother William rescued a young African man from the streets of London.
11 The Anglo-Zanzibar War
It lasted barely forty minutes, but it brought slavery to an end in the little island territory.
12 Fashionable Freedom
By Thomas Clarkson
(1760-1846)
Josiah Wedgwood’s promotional gift made Abolitionism fashionable.
page 3
13 The Persistence of Thomas Clarkson
Today, the slave trade is a £150bn global business. Back in the late 18th century, it was making a lot of influential people very rich too, but some in England were determined to stop it.
14 In the Nick of Time
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.
15 Somersett’s Case
James Somersett’s new Christian family used every available means to keep him from slavery.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Active or Passive?

Use each of the verbs below in either the active or the passive form. Can you use both forms?

Face. Live. Rise.

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 ‘Hope’
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.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Make words like ‘give in’ and ‘switch off’, and then find other words to express their meaning.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘popular Asian chilled fruit drink’ (7 letters), and ‘bear witness’ (6 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (80)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

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

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ 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