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Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

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The Stockton and Darlington Railway
two-part story
Music: John Field
George Stephenson and his son Robert created the world’s first passenger railway.

THE Stockton and Darlington Railway is celebrated as the first public railway for fare-paying passengers, and over 30,000 travelled the line in twelve months from July 1826. But their single, horse-drawn carriages on rails (fare one-and-six) were not the line’s real business.

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Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Poets and Poetry’ (26 posts)
page 1
1 Autumn: A Dirge
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
2 To Autumn
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
3 The Empire Within
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
4 Eddi’s Service
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
5 ‘The Overland Mail’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A tribute to the postal workers of British India, and to the kind of empire they helped to build.
6 ‘Recessional’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A heartfelt plea for humility at the height of Britain’s Empire.
page 2
7 ‘The Nightingale and the Glow Worm’
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
8 Ring out the Old, Ring in the New
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
9 Christmas Bells
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The sounds of an English country Christmas helped Tennyson in his deep mourning for an old friend.
10 Six Honest Serving-Men
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
11 Northumberland
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
(1878-1962)
A poem of nostalgia for the sea breezes and yellow gorse of Northumberland.
12 ‘Sussex’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A meditation on our instinctive love for the place in which we live.
page 3
13 King Arthur’s Last Request
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.
14 The Pitman Poet
Joseph Skipsey taught himself to read and write by candlelight, hundreds of feet below ground in a Northumberland pit.
15 ‘My Shadow’
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)
An enduringly popular, bitter-sweet poem by the author of ‘Treasure Island’.
16 A Farewell
By Charles Kingsley
(1819-75)
A last goodbye breathes promise of a merry meeting.
17 The Rainbow
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.
18 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
page 4
19 ‘If...’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A reflection on what builds real character
20 Daffodils
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
A poem about the blessing of fond memories.
21 Love’s Last Knot
By Richard Crashaw
(1613-1649)
Richard Crashaw offers the hope of eternity for wedded love.
22 ‘I Remember’
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
A poem of nostalgia tinged with regret.
23 Unsung Heroes
By Thomas Gray
(1716-1771)
The poet reflects on the obscure lives that most of us lead.
24 November
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
Humorist Thomas Hood obviously didn’t like to see the nights drawing in
page 5
25 Ozymandias
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
The glory of political power soon passes away.
26 The Music of Silence
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834)
In Coleridge’s epic poem, the Ancient Mariner, amid the horrors of a ship of dead men, sees a sight both beautiful and surreal.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Keep. Know. Work.
JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
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 ‘Castle’
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
Try writing complete sentences using these adjectives in the predicative position.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with MILE and finish with POST.
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with COAL and finish with FIRE.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

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: High Tiles (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: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic