Archive for the ‘History’ Category


Victoria and Albert – their names are everywhere

April 1st, 2020 by Roger Darlington

This coronavirus crisis has found me running online lessons in Victorian history for a couple of nine year olds. We’re using Skype to have a one-hour session each week and we’re finding it fun. Naturally we started with Queen Victoria herself who ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901, a record 37 years – until the […]

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Coronavirus (or Covid-19): where and who was patient zero?

March 13th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Whenever there is a global pandemic, it is natural to wonder how it all started. We still don’t know for sure where the Black Death of the mid 14th century originated although, in October 2010, medical geneticists suggested that all three of the great waves of the plague originated in China. Similarly there are different […]

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Coronavirus is not the first global pandemic and, by some accounts, today is the anniversary of the start of one of the very worst

March 11th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

It was called Spanish flu, but it did not start in Spain and we are still not sure where it originated. So-called Spanish flu was an influenza pandemic which ran from around January 1918 – December 1920. It was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic which was the first of the two involving the H1N1 virus, with the second […]

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What do you know about Paraguay and why is today a special one for that country?

March 1st, 2020 by Roger Darlington

One of the many reasons that I love foreign travel is that, having visited a country, I am more likely to pay attention to any news coming out of that nation. I only spent a short time in Paraguay but it was sufficient for me to pick up that today is a special one for […]

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“The Night Of The Bayonets” – a World War Two story that you’ve never heard

February 1st, 2020 by Roger Darlington

In the dying days of the Second World War, a group of Georgian soliders rebelled against their German ‘comrades’ on Texel Island off the coast of The Netherlands. It’s an amazing story brought to light by my good friend Eric Lee. In December, he was interviewed by Dan Snow (also known as “The History Guy”) […]

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Last of the RAF’s Battle of Britain fighter aces dies – but the victory was not a wholly British effort

January 30th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The Battle of Britain in 1940 was a decisive turning point in British history and we owe an immense debt of gratitude to the 3,000 Royal Air Force pilots who defended this country against a proposed German invasion. We have just heard the news that the last of the British aces of that conflict has […]

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How liberal is America’s Democratic Party?

January 21st, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Last weekend, I went on a one-day course at London’s City Literary Institute with the title “Liberalism And The Democratic Party: From FDR To Today”. The course was delivered by Brian Kennedy, a knowledgeable and eloquent American who hails from Boston. We were told that a progressive wing of American politics first developed in the […]

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King William III and “the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat”

December 10th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Today I was passing through St James’s Square in central London and took the opportunity to check out a statute in the middle of the square’s gardens. It is an equestrian statute with some kind of lump underneath one of the horse’s hoofs. What’s it all about? You’ll find the explanation here.

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Please don’t confuse the Jacobites with the Jacobins

December 5th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I’ve just finished a six-week evening course at London’s City Literary Institute on the subject of “The Making Of The United Kingdom 1603-1801”. There was frequent reference to the Jacobites. These were people who remained loyal to the Stuart dynasty in exile, headed by the Catholic James, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689 which brought […]

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A review of the new bio-pic “Harriet”

November 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Araminta “Minty” Ross was born a slave in the American state of Maryland probably in 1822 but, when she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849, she took the ‘free name’ of Harriet Tubman. As if her own escape was not remarkable enough, she subsequently made some 13 missions back south to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, […]

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