All Posts (676)
Nos 591 to 600
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. 591
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. 592
2 two-part story
Richard Jones
Stories in Short
The Birds
Two men fed up with Athenian politics decide to build a city in the sky.
Based on the play by Aristophanes
(c. 445-386 BC)

TWO men from Athens, that cradle of democracy, were fed up with the childish politicking and squabbles about laws.

Imagine, said Pisthetaerus to his friend Euelpides, that we were birds! We could build ourselves a city in the sky, and get away from it all.

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No. 593
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Discovery and Invention
Fashionable Freedom
Josiah Wedgwood’s promotional gift made Abolitionism fashionable.
By Thomas Clarkson
(1760-1846)

NOR was the philanthropy of the late Mr. Wedgwood less instrumental in turning the popular feeling in our favour. He took the seal of the committee for his model, and produced a beautiful cameo.

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No. 594
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. 595
Discovery and Invention
The First Train Journey by Steam
Richard Trevithick’s boss hailed the engineer as a genius. Today he’d have been fired. (Oh, and the train was delayed.)

IN 1803, the owner of the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, Samuel Homfray, brought Richard Trevithick over to South Wales to build a steam-driven hammer for his factory.

Instead, Trevithick mounted his steam engine on wheels and set it running along the factory’s primitive railway.

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No. 596
Lives of the Saints
Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)
The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.

ONE day in 1705, the nuns of a convent on Kefalonia heard that pirates were toiling up the hill, intent on rape and plunder. So they hurried to their chapel, where they kept a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.

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No. 597
Muzio Clementi
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The Character of George Stephenson
A self-made man who never forgot his humble beginnings.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

HE would frequently invite to his house the humbler companions of his early life, and take pleasure in talking over old times with them.

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No. 598
Discovery and Invention
King George V (1910-1936) to King George VI (1936-1952)
John Logie Baird
Baird’s inventions didn’t always work as well as his televisions.

IN 1923, John Logie Baird pressed an old hatbox, a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a handful of lenses taken from bicycle lights, a tea chest, and some glue into service, and made the world’s first working tv set.

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No. 599
Sir William Walton
Stuart Era
King Charles I (1625-1649)
An Agent of the Crown
Rascally republican Thomas Blood was usually to be found in any conspiracy against the King, but even when he stole the Crown Jewels the King never seemed to mind...

AFTER the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, one of Oliver Cromwell’s old lieutenants, Thomas Blood, was living in Dublin.

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No. 600
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.

About our calendars

From our Archive
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A widow cast her precious icon into the sea rather than see it dishonoured by government agents, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Mothering Sunday is a peculiarly British celebration of Christian faith, close family and responsible freedom.
By William Windham MP
(1750-1810)
William Windham MP was appalled at the idea of levying a tax on man’s best friend.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
An over-excited jackdaw goes out of his league, and pays the price.
By Richard Whately
(1787-1863)
Jane Austen wrote as a Christian, but all the better for doing so unobtrusively.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
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 ‘Bray’
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 ‘part of a fish’ (3 letters), and ‘heart of the matter’ (3 letters)?
Change SNOW into DROP, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.