Category Archives : History


George Cruikshank's cartoon of Little Boney gone to Pot depicting Bonaparte on Elba

History Carnival 134

The History Carnival is coming to town! And what it lacks in coconut shies, tombolas and carousels it more than makes up for in fascinating new history blogging. This month, the Carnival features a rich smorgasbord of delights, with everything from Victorian diagnosis of mental illness to heliocentric heresy and a dollop of early modern surgical implements and economic history making this a particularly mouthwatering post.  For those new to the History Carnival, it is a monthly round […]


De_Gaulle-OWI

An unfortunate tête-a-tête

Maréchal Pétain’s journey from war hero to traitor was so complete that it surprised those who had not kept abreast of developments. The result was a rather surprising encounter between Charles de Gaulle and General Pershing. General John J. Pershing was the great commander of the American forces in World War I. He led the US efforts on the western front alongside Maréchal Pétain (Commander-in-Chief of the French Army) and Field Marshal […]


640px-SPB_Mosvokzal_building

Ticket to Vokzal

Why is the word for a main railway station in Russian named after the unprepossessing London area of Vauxhall? The Russian word for a main train station is Vokzal (воксал). Say it out loud – does it remind you of anything? Say it in a suitably English accent, and it sounds like Vauxhall. Is this a coincidence, or is there an etymological connection between this minor suburban railway station on the London […]


A stimulating proposition

Quantitative easing is a new name for an old concept – governments taking a role in stimulating flagging or flat-lining economies.   Old fashioned economic stimulus has a new name for the twenty-first century. Concepts such as Keynesianism, state intervention and pump priming have been replaced by quantitative easing. According to Bob McTeer, quantitative easing is “different from traditional monetary policy only in its magnitude and pre-announcement of amount and timing.” And if we accept […]


Malmesbury – the first capital of England?

Where was the first capital city of England? London? Westminster? Winchester? All would be decent guesses but, according to a BBC 4 documentary, they would be wrong. Could the accolade go to the decidedly less well known Malmesbury? I was dozily watching the first programme in the BBC 4 documentary series ‘Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings’ late last night when the presenter, Dr Janina Ramirez, said something that grabbed my […]


I have sinned

Did a British Army officer communicate a victory in a pivotal battle in India by transmitting a single Latin word? In the frontier thrusting early years of the nineteenth century, the British Army attracted some of the boldest, bravest, most eccentric and unorthodox officers ever to grace the field. Looming large over them all was General Sir Charles James Napier, Commander-in-Chief in India and Governor of Bombay Presidency. His most notable campaign led […]


Albert Göring – the good brother

The Göring family name is indelibly associated with Hermann Göring (1893 – 1945). Hermann was one of the leading lights of the National Socialist movement, and, until the regime was consumed and destroyed in the reaping hubris of Allied military advances, held some of the highest offices of state in Nazi Germany. The Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg saw the trials of 24 of […]