All Posts (649)
Nos 571 to 580
John Field
Discovery and Invention
The Tea-Cup Revolutionary
Josiah Wedgwood, a village potter whose disability meant he could not use a potter’s wheel, brought about a quiet revolution in English society.

A NASTY bout of smallpox when he was eleven left Josiah Wedgwood so lame that he could not work the pedal of a potter’s wheel.

But pottery was all he knew, so in 1759 he turned from manufacture to innovation, employing others for design and production, and burying himself in the chemistry of his trade.

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No. 571
William Herschel
Discovery and Invention
Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley will forever be associated with the comet named after him, but his greatest achievement was getting Sir Isaac Newton to publish ‘Principia Mathematica’.

AT nineteen, Edmond Halley was assistant to John Flamsteed, the Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory, and at twenty-two he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, in recognition of his work mapping constellations and observing weather patterns on the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic.

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No. 572
John Field
Discovery and Invention
The Star that Winked
John Goodricke’s observations of Algol won him the Copley Medal while still in his teens, despite his disability.

JOHN Goodricke lost his hearing to a childhood fever, but his parents found a place for him at a pioneering school for the deaf, the Thomas Braidwood Academy in Edinburgh, which then enabled him to attend the distinguished Warrington Academy.

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No. 573
Discovery and Invention
Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850) turned steam locomotives into a reliable commercial success.

TIMOTHY Hackworth was locomotive superintendent on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world’s first public railway using steam locomotives, from its opening in 1825. His task was to keep the line’s primitive steam locomotives running and earning revenue.

Often overshadowed by his larger-than-life employer, George Stephenson, Hackworth was the man who made railways reliable.

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No. 574
Cornelius Tacitus
The Battle of Ynys Mon
Suetonius Paulinus, Governor of Britain, hoped to enhance his reputation.
Based on an account by Cornelius Tacitus
(AD 56-117)

IN Suetonius’s opinion, the chief threat to Roman rule in Britain came from the Welsh tribes and the Druids. He would discover that this was a mistake, but in the meantime, he bent his attention on the Island of Mona, just off the Welsh coast, which had become their stronghold.

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No. 575
Johann Christian Bach
Discovery and Invention
John Harrison’s Marine Chronometer
When Harrison won the Longitude Prize, fair and square, Parliament wouldn’t pay up.

IN their day, John Harrison’s innovative clocks were perhaps the most precise in the world.

But his greatest achievement was a watch that could keep accurate time on long sea-journeys, such as Britain’s trade empire depended on.

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No. 576
Charles Avison
Plantagenet Era
The Battle of Neville’s Cross
Ralph Neville spoiled David of Scotland’s alliance with France in the Hundred Years’ War

FOLLOWING a heavy defeat at the Battle of Crécy on the 26th of August, 1346, King Philip VI of France appealed to the Scottish King David II to honour the ‘Auld Alliance’, and help him by harassing England from the north.

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No. 577
Richard Jones
Cat Stories
The Tale of Dick Whittington
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.

WHEN Dick Whittington was a young boy, the merchant he worked for demanded that each of his employees invest something in his latest venture, a trade agreement with a wealthy African prince.

Dick had no money, so the merchant took Dick’s beloved cat and put it on board ship, bound for Africa.

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No. 578
Modern History
The Persistence of Thomas Clarkson
Today, the slave trade is a £150bn global business. Back in the late 18th century, it was making a lot of influential people very rich too, but some in England were determined to stop it.

THOMAS Clarkson was assured that all slaves were actually prisoners of war, and that if they were not sold into slavery they would be killed.

Of course, Clarkson knew that free people were being hunted down and enslaved. But he needed a witness to prove it.

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No. 579
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Modern History
In the Nick of Time
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.

AN African boy named Thomas Lewis was snatched at night by two boatmen working for Robert Stapylton, a wealthy plantation-owner from Chelsea. Thomas was gagged with a stick, tied up, and put aboard a ship bound for Jamaica.

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No. 580
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
Michael Faraday showed that gases could be compressed and evaporated to preserve food and make ice.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)
A young monk was rewarded for taking his duties as guest-master seriously.
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
(1878-1962)
A poem of nostalgia for the sea breezes and yellow gorse of Northumberland.

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 ‘Satellite’
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 ‘pull along’ (3 letters), and ‘examine someone’s background and credentials’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.