All Posts (649)
Nos 201 to 210
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Sport History
Max Woosnam
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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No. 201
2 two-part story
Henry Purcell
Russian History
The Grand Embassy
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.

IN January 1698, John Evelyn lent his house at Sayes Court to the Government for the impending ‘Grand Embassy’ of Tsar Peter of Russia, then a young man of twenty-six. Peter’s plan was to forge a European alliance against Turkey, and acquire vital ship-building technology for Russia’s navy.

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No. 202
2 two-part story
Felix Mendelssohn and Sir George Macfarren
Frederick Douglass
Douglass in Britain
Frederick Douglass, the American runaway slave turned Abolitionist, spent some of his happiest days in Britain.

THE publication of his memoirs caused a storm that in 1845 led Frederick Douglass (as he put it) ‘to seek a refuge in monarchical England, from the dangers of Republican slavery’. The chief concern was that his old master, Captain Auld, might reclaim his ‘property’, for Frederick was technically a runaway slave still.

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No. 203
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Frederick Douglass
Douglass’s Debt
British statesmen were among those who inspired the career of one of America’s greatest men, Frederick Douglass.
By Frederick Douglass
(1818-1895)

I MET there one of Sheridan’s mighty speeches, on the subject of Catholic Emancipation, Lord Chatham’s speech on the American War, and speeches by the great William Pitt, and by Fox.

These were all choice documents to me, and I read them over and over again, with an interest ever increasing, because it was ever gaining in intelligence; for the more I read them the better I understood them.

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No. 204
Johann Baptist Cramer
Discovery and Invention
Dr Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston discovered new elements and helped Faraday to greatness, all from the top of a tea-tray.

AFTER graduating in medicine from Gonville and Caius in 1793, and practising as a rural doctor in Cambridgeshire for a few years, William Wollaston came into family money and settled in London, free to indulge his passion for chemistry.

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No. 205
Johann Baptist Cramer
Samuel Smiles
The School of Difficulty
It is not educational institutions and methods that advance science or the arts, but people.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

MEN who are resolved to find a way for themselves, will always find opportunities enough; and if they do not lie ready to their hand, they will make them.

It is not those who have enjoyed the advantages of colleges, museums, and public galleries, that have accomplished the most for science and art; nor have the greatest mechanics and inventors been trained in mechanics’ institutes.

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No. 206
2 two-part story
Jan Ladislav Dussek and Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Discovery and Invention
Mr Faraday
Faraday’s work on electromagnetism made him an architect of modern living, and one of Albert Einstein’s three most revered physicists.

YOUNG Michael Faraday worked in a bookshop, so he had plenty to read. He did not spurn his good fortune, and was especially fascinated by science and electricity.

One customer, the eminent pianist William Dance, spotted Michael’s enthusiasm and sent him tickets to Sir Humphrey Davy’s famous public lectures.

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No. 207
Muzio Clementi
Samuel Smiles
On Equal Terms
An aristocratic statesman was choked with emotion as he reflected on Britain’s creative social mobility.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

Sir James Graham rose immediately, and declared, amidst the cheers of the House, that he did not before know that Mr. Brotherton’s origin had been so humble, but that it rendered him more proud than he had ever before been of the House of Commons.

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No. 208
2 two-part story
Sir Hubert Parry
Discovery and Invention
Sir Sandford Fleming
What George Stephenson was to the railways of England, Sandford Fleming was to the railways of Canada.

IN 1845, eighteen-year-old Sandford Fleming left home in Kirkcaldy for colonial Canada. He qualified as a surveyor, and kept busy with engineering work on the railways and with graphic design: his threepenny postage stamp was Canada’s very first, and it made the industrious beaver one of Canada’s enduring symbols.

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No. 209
Alice Mary Smith
Samuel Smiles
As Good as his Word
Benjamin Disraeli did not make a promising start to his Parliamentary career - but he did start with a promise.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

AS an orator too, his first appearance in the House of Commons was a failure. Though composed in a grand and ambitious strain, every sentence was hailed with “loud laughter.” But he concluded with a sentence which embodied a prophecy.

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No. 210
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
By Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832)
The role of government in a nation’s prosperity is important but limited.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Railways not only brought fresh, healthy food to the urban poor, they improved the conditions of working animals.
Back in the 6th century, a young woman was ruining her own life and the lives of others.
By Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
Cats do have a conscience: it tells them when to look innocent.
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Time’
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 ‘wheedle’ (6 letters), and ‘engine-driver’s compartment’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with BEEF and finish with STEW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.