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Anecdote The Underground Rivers of London

Where London is situated today was once the floodplains of the river Thames, surrounded by gently rolling hills and valleys carved by the river itself and its innumerable tributaries. London originall……

Anecdote Canary Girls: The World War One Women Who Turned Yellow

Munition workers in a shell warehouse at National Shell Filling Factory No.6, Chilwell, Nottinghamshire in 1917. Photo credit: Imperial War Museum The role women played in the two World Wars is well k……

Culture The Humble Sources of 10 Major Rivers

The source or headwaters of a river, defined as the furthest place in that river from its estuary or confluence with another river, is an elusive concept. On a colloquial basis, some define the source……

Culture The Limestone Pavements of Orton Fells

The Orton Fells, located to the east of Lake District, in Cumbria County, in England, is an area of remarkable geology. This vast area bounded by the small villages of Orton, Great Asby, Little Asby,……

Anecdote Exercise Tiger: The Disastrous D-Day Rehearsal That Cost 800 Lives

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers stormed into the beaches of northern France in what became the largest seaborne invasion in history. In the space of a single d……

Anecdote Shanghaiing: How Trickery And Deception Turned Thousands of Unwilling Men Into Sailors

Underneath Portlands Old Town is a network of tunnel passages connecting the basements of many downtown bars and hotels to the Willamette River waterfront. In the 19th century, these tunnels were prim……

Anecdote The Theater That Shakespeare Stole

On a cold, snowy December night in 1598, about a dozen men armed with swords, daggers and axes quietly broke into a recently vacated theater in Shoreditch, located just outside the city of London. Wit……

Anecdote Why Do Many Historic Buildings in The UK Have Bricked Up Windows?

There was a time in Great Britain when having windows in homes and buildings were prohibitively expensive. That time began in 1696 with the introduction of the much-despised window tax, that levied t……

Anecdote The Frost Fairs of River Thames

Between the 13th and the 19th centuries, the northern hemisphere was in the grip of a Little Ice Age. Temperatures dropped worldwide as summers became cold and wet while winters became colder, long an……

Culture Pebble Beaches Around The World

Beaches usually mean sand, but not always. There are beaches made of sea shells, broken glasses pounded smooth by the surf and pebbles. While stray pebbles on the beach are common, a beach made entire……

Anecdote Wyld's Great Globe

The famous British cartographer and former Member of Parliament, James Wyld, had a brilliant plan to promote his mapmaking business. The Great Exhibition was slated for 1851, at Hyde Park in London, a……

Culture The Red Chalk Cliffs of Hunstanton

Hunstanton is a small seaside town on the northwest coast of Norfolk, in England, and home to one of the few west-facing beaches on the east coast of the country where the sun can be seen to set over……

Anecdote Vinegar Valentines: The Victorian Tradition of Sending Anonymous Hate Mail

In the late 19th century, Valentine's Day was more than an occasion for lovers to express their love for each other by sending greetings cards and presenting gifts. It was also the day for haters to h……

Anecdote Priest Holes: Secret Chambers That Hid Mediaeval Priests

In mediaeval England, when feuds were violent and justice swift and brutal, it was common for castles and mansions of the powerful and the wealthy to have secret chambers or hidden passageways that al……

Anecdote The House That Was Moved Across The Atlantic

Sometimes a house just needs to be moved no matter whats the cost. Usually, these are historic structures that are in danger of demolition or flooding and has to be relocated to a safer spot. A profes……

Anecdote London Railings Made From World War 2 Stretchers

Many housing estates throughout London are surrounded by black steel and mesh railings with peculiar notches around the edges. Although at first glance they appear to be some quirky architectural desi……

Anecdote Britain’s Thankful Villages

War memorials are a familiar sight in towns and villages across Britain, somberly remembering the sacrifices made by millions of ordinary young men in the First World War. But there are a handful of v……

Anecdote How Clowns Trademark Their Face By Painting On Eggs

Every clowns face makeup is unique, or at least, they should be, for there is an unwritten rule within the clowning community that no clown should copy another clowns look. In order to copyright the s……

Anecdote Victorian Era Murder Figurines

During the late 18th century, the potteries in the Staffordshire region of England began churning out detailed ceramic figures commemorating everything from classical artwork to political movements an……

Anecdote Sheela-Na-Gig: The Mysterious Medieval Carvings of Women Exhibitionists

The Church of St Mary and St David at Kilpeck in the English county of Herefordshire is famous for its Norman carvings of writhing snakes and mysterious beasts. But the most extraordinary of all is th……

Anecdote London’s Cabmen's Shelters

Scattered throughout the streets of London, often overlooked, are small green sheds that have been offering shelter and hot food to the citys cab drivers since 1875. In those times, cab drivers rode……

Anecdote The Wooden Wagonways of Britain

Two hundred years before the first steam locomotive carrying passengers chugged out of the Heighington railway station in the English town of Newton Aycliffe in 1825, British engineers were laying woo……

Anecdote London’s Mail Rail

For seventy-six years, starting from 1927, the London Post Office operated a fleet of driverless electric trains that scuttled around pairs of narrow gauge rails deep under the ground hauling mails be……

Anecdote The 'Great Stink' of London

In the summer of 1858, Londoners found themselves in the middle of a big stinking problem. For centuries, the city was abusing River Thames using it as dumping ground for human excrement and industria……

Anecdote Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?

This question, which appears in the form of a graffiti on a towering brick obelisk in Hagley in Worcestershire, England, has been haunting the small village for more than seventy years. The story begi……