All Posts (649)
Nos 151 to 160
Frank Bridge
Extracts from Literature
The Cats of Harrison Weir
A Victorian artist and avid bird-watcher banished cats from his country cottage, but soon wished he hadn’t.

THE world’s first cat show, held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871, was organised by Harrison Weir, artist, illustrator and bird-watcher.

Harrison had learnt drawing and engraving under George Baxter, the pioneer of commercial colour printing. As songbirds were a favourite subject, later on he bought himself a country cottage so he could observe them from his window. Cats, reluctantly, were forbidden.

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No. 151
2 two-part story
Cipriani Potter and Alice Mary Smith
Liberty and Prosperity
The Reform Acts
Nineteenth-century Britain had busy industrial cities and a prosperous middle class, but no MPs to represent them.

IN 1832, the controversial Reform Act was pushed through by Prime Minister Lord Grey. It was a wide-ranging overhaul of the way Britain voted for her MPs, necessitated by persistent abuse, and by the industrial revolution.

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No. 152
Sir Hubert Parry
Anglo-Saxon History
The Battle of Brunanburh
Athelstan confirmed himself as King of the English, and also reawakened a feeling that all Britain should be a united people.

AFTER overcoming the Viking kingdom of Yorvik in 927, Athelstan found himself in control not just of Wessex but of the great kingdoms of the past, including Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia – in other words, most of modern-day England.

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No. 153
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
St Chad and the Invisible Choir
Chad, the seventh-century Bishop of Mercia, seemed to be making a lot of music for one man.

BROTHER Owen was busy digging near Chad’s private oratory, when he heard the sound of many voices singing. That puzzled him: the Abbot, he knew, was praying alone, and everyone else away on errands. Moreover, the sound was coming from across fields to the southeast.

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No. 154
2 two-part story
Nikolai Medtner
Modern History
Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.

KRISHNARAJA Wodeyar IV inherited the throne of Mysore in 1894, though his mother acted as regent until 1902. The Kingdom had a recent history of good governance, owing much to chief administrator Purniah from 1799 to 1812, and British Commissioner Sir Mark Cubbon from 1843 to 1861. A democratic legislature had been introduced in 1881.

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No. 155
Lives of the Saints
The Night-time Disciple
Nicodemus did not allow intellectual doubts to get in the way of what he knew in his heart.

NICODEMUS was a Pharisee, and also a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Temple in Jerusalem. Having heard wonderful stories, he was sure Jesus was sent by God and came looking for him – at night, since controversy was already swirling.

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No. 156
2 two-part story
Matthew Locke and Thomas Arne
Stories in Short
The Tempest
A duke with a passion for the art of enchantment is stranded by his enemies on a deserted island.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

PROSPERO, Duke of Milan, a keen student of spells and enchantments, was so wrapped up in his books of lore that his brother Antonio thought the duchy would be better in other hands. So he conspired with Alonso, King of Naples, to have Prospero and his three-year-old daughter Miranda taken out to sea, and set adrift.

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No. 157
Francesco Geminiani
Music and Musicians
Francesco Geminiani
The most brilliant violinist of his generation, whose finely-crafted compositions showed off bravura and spoke tenderness.

‘THE intention of musick’, wrote Francesco Geminiani in 1751, ‘is not only to please the ear, but to express sentiments, strike the imagination, affect the mind, and command the passions’. He had spent the last thirty-seven years doing just that, delighting audiences from London to Dublin and the near Continent.

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No. 158
Johann Baptist Cramer
Liberty and Prosperity
Inquire Within
Philosopher and social activist John Stuart Mill discusses the most liberating kind of education.
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)

MOST boys or youths who have had much knowledge drilled into them, have their mental capacities not strengthened, but overlaid by it.

They are crammed with mere facts, and with the opinions or phrases of other people, and these are accepted as a substitute for the power to form opinions of their own.

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No. 159
Orlando Gibbons
Liberty and Prosperity
The Firstborn Liberty
John Milton (of ‘Paradise Lost’ fame) urged Parliament not to fall into bad old habits of censorship, whatever their fears may be.
By John Milton
(1632-1704)

IF it be desired to know the immediate cause of all this free writing and free speaking, there cannot be assigned a truer than your own mild and free and humane government. It is the liberty, Lords and Commons, which your own valorous and happy counsels have purchased us, liberty which is the nurse of all great wits.

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No. 160
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
Gideon is chosen by God to save Israel from the Midianites, but doubts his fitness for the task.
George was born in Israel and served in the Roman army, yet makes an ideal patron for England.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith warns that politicians are the last people who should lecture the public about how to run their affairs.
William Hyde Wollaston discovered new elements and helped Faraday to greatness, all from the top of a tea-tray.
How appropriate that the comic opera ‘Patience’ should introduce the world to the results of thirty years of labour.

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Polyword ‘Bird of Prey’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘wallow in resentment’ (4 letters), and ‘English composer’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with STAR and finish with DUST.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.