All Posts (676)
Nos 261 to 270
2 two-part story
Alice Mary Smith
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The London and Birmingham Railway
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.

THE London and Birmingham Railway opened on September 17th, 1838, connecting Euston to Curzon Street via Rugby and Coventry in five and a half hours. At Curzon Street, passengers could change to the Grand Junction Railway for Manchester and Liverpool, whose cotton-merchants and mill-owners had paid for the link to the capital.

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No. 261
Frank Bridge
The Great War
King George V (1910-1936)
The Outbreak of the Great War
Germany felt she had a right to an empire like Britain’s, and she was willing to get it at the expense of her neighbours.

FROM the 1890s onwards Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, envious of Britain’s industrial and colonial success and exhilarated by German unification, began pouring resources into battleships, weapons and manufacturing. Britain and other European nations, sensing danger, nervously followed suit.

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No. 262
Edward German
Classical History
A Pyrrhic Victory
The ancient Greek King knew victory had cost his army more than it could afford to lose.
By Plutarch
(AD 46-120)

AFTER they had fought till sunset, both armies were unwillingly separated by the night, Pyrrhus being wounded by a javelin in the arm, and his baggage plundered by the Samnites; in all there died of Pyrrhus’s men and the Romans above fifteen thousand.

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No. 263
John Garth
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Mystery Guest
A young monk was rewarded for taking his duties as guest-master seriously.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

ONE freezing cold winter’s morning, after a night of snow, Cuthbert was surprised to discover a footsore traveller in the guest-house. He bathed the man’s feet, and suggested breakfast, but it seemed his visitor’s home was a long way off, and he was eager to be gone.

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No. 264
Richard Jones
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The Rewards of Treachery
Cicero warns those who seek power through civic unrest that they will never be the beneficiaries of it.
By Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 BC)

MEN of another class, though crushed by debt, still expect to rule, still covet political power, nursing a hope that public unrest might bring honours they could never dream of in untroubled times.

Let it be clear to one and all, right now, that their quest is hopeless.

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No. 265
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
King George III (1760-1820) to King William IV (1830-1837)
How Britain Abolished Slavery
The Church’s campaigns against slavery were boosted by competition for labour after the Black Death.

SLAVERY was part of everyday life in Britain both under the Romans and among the Celts, and following the Romans’ withdrawal in 410 the Anglo-Saxon newcomers continued to own and trade in slaves.

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No. 266
Charles Avison
Mediaeval History
Gregory and the Slave Children
How some English slave children sparked the conversion of Britain to Christianity.

GREGORY was a Roman aristocrat and politician, and from 579 to 585 a Papal ambassador to the court of the Roman Emperors in Constantinople. Following his father’s death, Gregory turned the family villa on the Caelian Hill into a monastery, dedicated to St Andrew, and settled down for the quiet life of a monk.

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No. 267
John Field
Modern History
The Obstinacy of Fowell Buxton
Fatherless teenage tearaway Fowell Buxton was not a promising boy, but the Gurney family changed all that.

AT fifteen, Fowell Buxton was illiterate, idle and self-willed. Yet his mother always insisted, ‘You will see it will turn out well in the end’, and after he was befriended by the family of banker John Gurney, Fowell justified her faith.

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No. 268
Sir Hubert Parry
The Great War
King George V (1910-1936)
The Battle of Jutland
Preventing the German fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic in 1916 should have felt like victory, but it felt like defeat.

ON 31st May, 1916, the German High Seas Fleet sortied from its North Sea base, hoping to lure the British into a submarine-infested trap, and clear a route to the Atlantic. British intelligence anticipated the ploy, and sent the Grand Fleet to catch the Germans off guard, but the Admiralty’s messages were misreported, and the British were as surprised as the Germans when they met in murky weather near Denmark’s Jutland peninsula.

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No. 269
2 two-part story
Edward Elgar
Lives of the Saints
Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)
The Spy
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.

ON his way home to Paros after a long-anticipated visit to Mount Athos, a young monk named Constantine Zervakos decided he had enough time before his ship left Thessalonica to nip into the Turkish-controlled city and visit the church of St Demetrius.

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No. 270
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
By Harrison Weir
(1824-1906)
Victorian cat-lover Harrison Weir launches into his favourite subject, but finds his audience growing restive.
By George Canning MP
(1770-1827)
George Canning begged Britain not to help Europe’s Great Powers deny small states their right to independence.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
Brute force is no substitute for quick thinking.
The outlaw showed that strange as it may be, he did have a code of honour.
In encouraging women into music, Alice Mary Smith thought promises of ‘greatness’ counterproductive.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Icy’
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 ‘current of cold air’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. fascinator’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FAST and finish with SLOW.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.