The Civil Service

Members of Parliament can be regarded as the front-end, public-facing partners of His/Her Majesty’s Home Civil Service (HCS), an organisation which is tasked with the nuts-and-bolts administration of the country. HCS employees are called civil servants […]

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Law

Magistrates’ Courts

There remain around 200 operational UK Magistrates’ Courts (called Justice of the Peace (JP) Courts in Scotland) after many closures in recent years, perhaps indicating that Brits are more law-abiding these days. Alas no, since […]

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The symphonium and the concertina

Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-75) from Gloucestershire is best known for the ‘Wheatstone bridge’, a device for measuring electrical resistance, though he can only lay claim to its practical development and not the idea itself, which […]

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The Jarrow March

The 1929 ‘Wall Street Crash’ over in the USA had repercussions in the UK which put a halt to big-money investment and spending in our coal, steel, iron and shipbuilding industries. Consequently, there was high […]

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, complements the surrounding geological heights with its own towering architecture. The extinct volcano of Arthur’s Seat and its satellite vent known as Castle Rock, along with other prominences such […]

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Working men’s clubs

In 1862 Henry Solly (1813-1903), a Presbyterian clergyman from London, founded the Working Men’s Club & Institute Union to oversee and gain philanthropic funding for the first working men’s clubs. Solly’s vision was that they […]

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Received Pronunciation

The relatively modern concept of ‘standard English’ has become known as Received Pronunciation (RP) or even ‘BBC English’. It was originally based on the accent used by the upper-middle classes in south-east England and the […]

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Capt. Henry J. Round, ‘the tame wizard’

Staffordshire-born Henry Joseph Round (1881-1966) lived and breathed engineering and was affectionately nicknamed ‘the tame wizard’ by his colleagues at the Marconi company where he spent many years experimenting, trouble-shooting and pioneering wireless telephony. He […]

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The Millennium Dome

Where better to build an enormous structure dedicated to a moment in time than on 0° longitude just 3 miles north of the Greenwich Observatory? That is the location of the Millennium Dome (now called […]

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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is usually taken to expire at midnight on 5th January but some argue for 6th January or even 31st December. The first two options are the result of counting the ’12 days of […]

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Speakers’ Corner

Public access to London’s 350-acre Hyde Park was granted in 1637. In the 1800s its proximity to Buckingham Palace‘s fashionable district added to its attraction for rallies by social reform groups, such as the Chartists. […]

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Three Lions

Knights began to have personal coats-of-arms for identification on the battlefield in the 1100s and this quickly spread to the nobility and monarchs. It is suggested that King Henry I (1069-1135) initially had one lion […]

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