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The Kirkaldy Testing Museum

One of the things which I love looking at is monumental Victorian engineering. However, there is a side to these buildings and constructions that people rarely think about – and that is how did they know if the materials used

Domesticating Electricity – a lunchtime lecture

This lunchtime, I wandered over to the opulent splendor of the Royal Society for one of their free lunchtime lectures. They are usually presented by someone who is coincidentally just about to release a new book – and today was

Ludgate Hill Viaduct in 1896

Taken from a June 1896 issue of the Illustrated London News, this is one of a series of “scenes of London” – this of Ludgate Circus. Notable though is the railway bridge and steam train belonging to the Chatham and

A tour of Underground Greenwich

Thanks to a tip-off from The Greenwich Phantom, I spent a couple of hours on a pleasant wander round Greenwich learning a bit about the underground history of the area. It was a bitterly cold day and I almost didn’t

The Ale Connor

In ye olde days, there were a bunch of men – the early council trading standards if you like – who would test the ale brewed by local alehouses to ensure that they didn’t contain too much sugar. Sugar was

The Terracotta Army

I had another visit to see the Terracotta Army in the British Museum this evening – this time as a guest of a friend who works for the NHS. It transpired that the sponsors of the event, Morgan Stanley decided

London’s First International Airport

Long before Heathrow was London’s primary airport, Croydon Airport was the place to go for rich Londoners seeking the exciting experience of flying – and there is a heritage museum there which is open on the first Sunday of each

450 years of Gloriana

Being bored and channel hoping last night, I alighted upon a repeat of Dr. David Starkey’s TV series, Monarchy and settled down to watch it. Incidentally, it seems that the Discovery channel, no longer satisfied with a Discovery+1 also now

Tours of Somerset House

Today, I paid a visit to the impressive Somerset House in central London for a tour of the buildings. They hold tours on the first Saturday of each month which last about 45 minutes and are free of charge. However,

One hundred and fourty years of London Underground complaints

I have a small (and slowly growing) collection of old issues of the wondrous Illustrated London News. I originally started collecting them as sources for research, but I actually find they are quite wonderful to read (although sometimes I think

The woman who could sell Time

In the early part of the 20th century, domestic clocks were still not hugely reliable and regular resetting was generally needed. People who owned a telegraph line or one of the modern radio could listen for the time pips, but

Kirk Douglas in flowing silk

Kirk Douglas wearing flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors? Well, if the infamous movie The Vikings was to be filmed today, then that is what Hollywood’s Mr. Macho might have to wear as opposed to his manly leather

750th Anniversary of the Provisions of Oxford

In just a few weeks time, it will be the 750th anniversary of one of the most important events in English legal history. On the 7th April 1258, there was a confrontation between King Henry III and his barons in

An old news article about the Central Line Underground Railway

I have a copy of an article published in The New York Times on March 7th 1898 which goes into detail about the construction of the first stage of what we today call the Central Line on the underground. As

Marylebone Passage – of religion, printers and workhouses

Just along Margaret Street from the awesome gothic style church I wrote about a few months ago, lies another of those tiny lanes that I am finding increasingly fascinating. Marylebone passage is an oddly disappointing little alley, as it looks