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
‘My English Joy’
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
In 1837 William Sterndale Bennett, then regarded as England’s most exciting young composer, made history in quite another... field.
By Sir William Sterndale Bennett
(1816-1875)

WELL, I’m off on Monday. Beginning to pay my visits p.p.c.. Count Reuss is gone away to Kreutz. Called yesterday on Madame von Goethe, dined with Benecke, and played at Cricket with some Englishmen, which made the Germans stare very much, as they never saw the game before — we had English bats and balls.

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Six Posts
Max Woosnam
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.

THE oddest of Max Woosnam’s many sporting achievements must be defeating Charlie Chaplin at table tennis, wielding only a butter knife. His more conventional sporting career began with cricket at Winchester College, and a century against the MCC for Public Schools.

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The Ashes of English Cricket
Music: Percy Grainger
How the cricketing rivalry between England and Australia got its name.

IN 1882, a cricket team representing Australia defeated England by just seven runs in a match at the Oval in London, the first time Australia had beaten England on home soil.

The Sporting Times mourned the death of English cricket in a tongue-in-cheek Obituary, which ran:

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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.

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The Aspden Cup
Music: John Field
English factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

IN 1879, British expatriates formed Russia’s first football team, the St Petersburg Football Club, and started playing matches against the crews of visiting ships. Soon three new teams, largely recruited from among the labourers and sports-mad administrators of local textile mills, were vying for the Aspden Cup, sponsored by English entrepreneur Thomas Aspden.

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A Many-Chorded Lyre
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)

“BEFORE W. G. batsmen were of two kinds, — a batsman played a forward game or he played a back game. Each player, too, seems to have made a specialty of some particular stroke. The criterion of style was, as it were, a certain mixed method of play. It was bad cricket to hit a straight ball; as for pulling a slow long-hop, it was regarded as immoral.

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How Britain Brought Football to Chile
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
British expats in Valparaíso kicked off the Chilean passion for soccer.

DAVID Foxley Newton founded a football club in Cerro Alegre, Valparaíso, in 1909, which he named ‘Everton’ after the prestigious team from Liverpool back home.

Newton’s forebears had moved to Chile after Britain established a trading base in Valparaíso in 1826, and other British-heritage Chileans introduced football there shortly before the civil war of 1891.

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All Posts
Tagged Sport History (12 posts)
page 1
1 ‘My English Joy’
By Sir William Sterndale Bennett
(1816-1875)
In 1837 William Sterndale Bennett, then regarded as England’s most exciting young composer, made history in quite another... field.
2 A Many-Chorded Lyre
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.
3 Hooked
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
The great British public leaves a German tourist speechless during a county match at the Oval in London.
4 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
5 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
6 Rugby League
The less glamorous code of Rugby football, but the best for sheer speed and strength.
page 2
7 Rebel Rugby
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.
8 Ranji
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.
9 Max Woosnam
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
10 How Britain Brought Football to Chile
British expats in Valparaíso kicked off the Chilean passion for soccer.
11 The Ashes of English Cricket
How the cricketing rivalry between England and Australia got its name.
12 West Auckland, European Champions
A team of amateurs gave Europe’s finest a drubbing.
Authors
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Pass. Done. Between.

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 ‘Crab’
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
Do you know ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with TOWN and finish with CITY.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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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