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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

Fashionable Freedom
Music: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Josiah Wedgwood’s promotional gift made Abolitionism fashionable.
By Thomas Clarkson
(1760-1846)

NOR was the philanthropy of the late Mr. Wedgwood less instrumental in turning the popular feeling in our favour. He took the seal of the committee for his model, and produced a beautiful cameo.

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The Tea-Cup Revolutionary
Music: John Field
Josiah Wedgwood brought about a quiet revolution in English society.

A NASTY bout of smallpox when he was eleven left Josiah Wedgwood so lame that he could not work the pedal of a potter’s wheel.

But pottery was all he knew, so in 1759 he turned from manufacture to innovation, employing others for design and production, and burying himself in the chemistry of his trade.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Second World War’ (10 posts)
page 1
1 The Outbreak of the Second World War
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
2 Alan Blumlein
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.
3 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
4 The Battle of Britain
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
5 Wilfrid Israel
Wilfrid Israel used his Berlin department store as cover for smuggling thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain.
6 The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.
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7 Leslie Howard
Howard gave his life to saving the ‘great gifts and strange inconsistencies’ of Britain’s unique democracy.
8 Britain’s Destiny
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
9 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
10 Penicillin
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Words. Off. Difficulty.

By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, and it turns out that she has been using words wrong all her life.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
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 ‘Hare’
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
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with TOWN and finish with CITY.
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.
For each of these things, select the most apposite word of praise.
Do you know ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (81)

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