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All Posts (665)
Nos 261 to 270
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Discovery and Invention
King George III (1760-1820) to Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Heathcoat’s Bobbinet
John Heathcoat’s lace-making machine created thousands of jobs, and gave ordinary people clothes they could never have dreamt of.

IT was the dream of most framesmiths at the turn of the nineteenth century to make machines that could mimic hand-made lace, but it required a dextrous twisting of the threads that they could not reproduce.

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No. 261
Charles Villiers Stanford
Modern History
Queen Victoria (1837-1901) to King Edward VII (1901-1910)
The Boer Wars
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.

IN 1836, disaffected colonists of Dutch descent from the British-run Cape Colony made their ‘Great Trek’ north, and founded Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State. British governance followed close behind, however, occupying Natal in 1842, and invading Transvaal in 1877 after it fell into bankruptcy.

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No. 262
2 two-part story
Francesco Geminiani
Mediaeval History
Roman Empire (Byzantine Era) (330-1453)
Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.

IN 988, Vladimir the Great, Prince of Kiev, converted to Christianity after receiving exuberant reports of the beauty of worship in Constantinople. A century earlier, however, Kiev’s pagan founders, Askold and Dir, had thought quite differently, crossing the Black Sea to lay siege to the Imperial capital while its Emperor, Michael III, was away dealing with an Arab assault on the eastern border.

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No. 263
2 two-part story
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Extracts from Literature
The Duel
Sir Mulberry Hawk’s coarse conduct towards Kate Nickleby has awoken a spark of decency in Lord Frederick Verisopht.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THEY turned to the right, and taking a track across a little meadow, passed Ham House and came into some fields beyond. In one of these, they stopped.

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No. 264
John Playford
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Augean Stables
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.

AUGEAS, King of Elis, had kept three thousand high-spirited cattle in an enclosure near his palace for thirty years without once mucking them out, even though they were of divine race and produced mountains of potent dung.

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No. 265
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Mediaeval History
Edward VI (1547-1553) to Mary I (1553-1558)
Merchants of Muscovy
In 1553, Richard Chancellor set out on a perilous voyage to Russia in order to bypass the Hanseatic League’s single market.

ON 10th May 1553, Sir Hugh Willoughby and his pilot Richard Chancellor set out in three ships for the Arctic Ocean beyond Norway. At that time, European merchants from modern-day Holland to Poland ran a single market monopolising trade with Russia, and a competing route promised rich rewards for England’s wool industry.

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No. 266
Igor Stravinsky
Lives of the Saints
Russian Empire (1721-1917)
Not a Scratch!
Hapless extremists try to wipe out a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.

IN 1898, Russian anarchists planted a bomb in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in Kursk. It was timed to go off during the evening service for maximum casualties, and designed to destroy the miraculous icon of Mary kept there in a glass case. A shared belief in the icon’s miraculous powers drew peasant and Tsar closer together, which did not suit the anarchists at all.

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No. 267
Antonio Salieri
Character and Conduct
A True Gentleman of Verona
A young man from the Italian city on the Adige River demonstrates that class has nothing to do with wealth.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

ONCE on a time, when the Adige suddenly overflowed its banks, the bridge of Verona was carried away, with the exception of the centre arch, on which stood a house, whose inhabitants supplicated help from the windows, while the foundations were visibly giving way.

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No. 268
John Marsh
History of British India
Wellington’s Secret
The future hero of Waterloo dealt with political ambush as comfortably as he dealt with the military kind.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

SHORTLY after the Battle of Assaye, one morning the Prime Minister of the Court of Hyderabad waited upon him [Sir Arthur] for the purpose of privately ascertaining what territory and what advantages had been reserved for his master in the treaty of peace between the Mahratta princes and the Nizam. To obtain this information the minister offered the general a very large sum — considerably above £100,000.

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No. 269
2 two-part story
Louise Farrenc
Extracts from Literature
One Last Question
English lawyer Sydney Carton goes to the guillotine in place of a French aristocrat.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

“WILL you let me ask you one last question? I am very ignorant, and it troubles me — just a little.”

“Tell me what it is.”

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No. 270
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 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.
From our Archive
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
How do we get the help of millions of people we don’t know? Only by trade.
Two of Heracles’s labours are declared void, so to make up the number he is sent to find the Garden of the Hesperides.
In 655, the future of England as a Christian nation hung by the slenderest of threads.
Based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)
Is an old family legend being used as a cover for a very modern murder?
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith encourages employers to restrict working hours to reasonable limits, for humanity and for profit.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (112)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Destiny’
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 which ‘Barry’ is the title-character of a novel by Thackeray (6 letters), and ‘thwart, perplex’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FRIES and finish with CHIPS.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.