Trebuchet in Castelnaud, France by Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

Warwolf and the hammering of the Scots

Stirling Castle is a striking, man made addition to an already formidable natural fortress. Sheer cliffs thrust up from the rolling Scottish Lowlands. The thick castle walls extend these solid quartz-dolerite foundations towards the sky. It is imposing and seems impregnable. It probably was, at least until Warwolf came to visit. In 1304, Stirling Castle was the last Scottish holdout to the English invasion. Edward I of England had lived up to […]

Hudson Bay

On This Day … in 1610

On This Day in 1610, Henry Hudson sails into what would become known as Hudson’s Bay, Canada.  

Ballot used for Austrian referendum, 1938 See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fixing the results

On Sunday, Greeks will go to the polls to vote in a crucial referendum. The politics are fraught, the media is frenzied and accusations and recriminations are already flying. The ballot paper has attracted plenty of attention, both inside and outside of Greece. The question is detailed and, to eyes that are unaccustomed to non-Roman alphabets, impenetrable. Some commentators have pointed out that the ‘no’ option is given first. It made me […]

The Euro monument outside the ECB in Frankfurt, Germany By This photo (C) Lars Aronsson (Own work) [CC SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sa/1.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

The (sovereign) default option

Sovereign debt default was a lot more common when it was literally sovereigns defaulting. Kings liked money. They didn’t like paying it back. So, quite often, they didn’t. In the richest economies, default has become rare. One of the reasons the Greek financial crisis is dominating headlines and moving markets around the world is the rarity of a rich country failing to pay back the IMF. But back in the nineteenth century, […]

Coronation portrait of Edward VIII (Illustrated London News)

The coronation that never was

On 12 May 1937, Westminster Abbey rang with shouts acclaiming the new King-Emperor. In 1936, Britain had prepared for the coronation. Much of this effort was wasted when Edward VIII abdicated on 10 December 1936. Everyone had been getting ready for the coronation that never was.  The Coronation of a new King-Emperor promised a bonanza for British manufacturers. Factories that had been quiet during the darkest days of the Great Depression now hummed with […]

Adolf Hitler Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-13774 / Unknown Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fuck off, mein Führer!

By 1935, the Nazi Party had consolidated its grip on the Third Reich. The Enabling Act and November 1933’s election made Hitler the supreme power in Germany. The Night of the Long Knives saw the party bear its murderous teeth to opposition but the regime’s brutality had been established from the outset; Dachau was founded immediately following Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor. So it was a very dangerous time for a decorated German […]

The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London is designated as the United Kingdom’s primary war memorial. It commemorates the end of World War One.

How shall we remember them?

In 1919, London hosted a Victory Parade that marked a unique moment of national rejoicing, mourning and catharsis. The Parade, also known as the London Peace Parade, saw returning troops march through packed streets in the capital. The city’s iconic monuments were momentarily joined by a series of temporary structures erected to mark the march. One of these, a plain but elegant wood and plaster cenotaph erected on Whitehall, would strike such […]