All Posts (676)
Nos 171 to 180
Camille Saint-Saens
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
A Monument to Liberty
Samuel Smiles explains why the London and Birmingham Railway was an achievement superior to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

THE Great Pyramid of Egypt was, according to Diodorus Siculus, constructed by 300,000 — according to Herodotus, by 100,000 — men. It required for its execution twenty years, and the labour expended upon it has been estimated as equivalent to lifting 15,733,000,000 of cubic feet of stone one foot high.

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No. 171
Gustav Holst
Liberty and Prosperity
The Grievances of the South
Victorian MP Richard Cobden believed British politicians supporting the slave-owning American South had been led a merry dance.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

THE members from the Southern States, the representatives of the Slave States, were invited by the representatives of the Free States to state candidly and frankly what were the terms they required, in order that they might continue peaceable in the Union; but from beginning to end there is not one syllable said about tariff or taxation.

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No. 172
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lives of the Saints
Soviet Union (1917-1990)
The Blessings of Nicholas Mogilevsky
Passengers sharing Bishop Nicholas’s Moscow-bound flight found his blessings faintly silly, but that was when the engines were running.

NICHOLAS Mogilevsky liked to pronounce blessings. He blessed every member of his congregation after holy communion, over a thousand of them. He blessed every passenger who stepped onto his train. And he blessed every passenger sharing his plane to Moscow in 1947, bound for a church synod.

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No. 173
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Liberty and Prosperity
Dixie on Thames
Victorian MP Richard Cobden offered a startling analogy for the American Civil War.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

THEY wanted to consolidate, perpetuate, and extend slavery. But, instead of that, what do they constantly say? ‘Leave us alone; all we want is to be left alone.’

And that is a reason that the Conservative Governments of Europe, and so large a section of the upper middle-class of England, and almost the whole aristocracy, have accepted as a sufficient ground on which to back this insurrection.

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No. 174
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. 175
2 two-part story
Cipriani Potter and Alice Mary Smith
Liberty and Prosperity
King William IV (1830-1837) to King George V (1910-1936)
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. 176
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. 177
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. 178
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. 179
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. 180
Polywords (185)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Grey
Added on Thursday February 15th, 2018
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.

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From our Archive
St Adamnán worked tirelessly to secure protection, rights and dignity for the women of Ireland.
All but forgotten today, the RCH was one of the most important steps forward in British industrial history.
From ‘History of the Wars’ by Procopius of Caesarea
(c.500—c.560)
The Roman Emperor Honorius, so the story goes, had more on his mind than the impending sack of one of Europe’s iconic cities.
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
Businessmen in Liverpool engaged George Stephenson to build one of his new-fangled railways.

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History (414)
Polywords (185)
Georgian Era (113)
Fiction (85)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (24)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
India (14)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Once’
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 ‘beg’ (7 letters), and ‘a single game in the sport of darts’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.