England

Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

On January 23, 1571, the Royal Exchange in London was founded by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The Protagonists On the afternoon of January 23rd, 1571, Queen Elizabeth [8] went from her Palace of Somerset House to dine with Sir Thomas Gresham at his fine mansion in Austin Friars. She went in state with her Trumpeters and Halberdiers, with Sir Thomas Gresham…
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Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

On January 3, 1641, English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks passed away. He was the first scientist to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit and was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639. Background Jeremiah Horrocks grew up in a well educated family and was introduced to astronomy in early years. He was occupied with many astronomical tasks as a young boy and enrolled at…
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The Assassination of Thomas Becket

The Assassination of Thomas Becket

On December 29, 1170 AD, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church, was assassinated by followers of the King in Canterbury Cathedral. The very last hours of Thomas Becket’s life are the reason why we remember him at all. If the four knights sent for his assassination had not completed their bloody work as he defied their…
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Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness

On December 3, 1857, Polish-British writer Joseph Conrad was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. “A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be…
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The Wonderful Worlds of Jonathan Swift

The Wonderful Worlds of Jonathan Swift

On November 30, 1667, Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric Jonathan Swift was born. He is probably best remembered for his satire “Gulliver’s Travels” and is regarded as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, who originally published all of his works under pseudonyms. “Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” — Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, preface…
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Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

On November 8, 1656, Sir Edmond Halley was born. The astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist, was best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet.[9] Background Edmond Halley was born in England to the family of a wealthy soap maker. Halley was able to receive a proper education. He is believed to have been interested in mathematics from early age. Halley first studied at St Paul’s School where he…
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Remember, remember, the 5th of November – Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember, the 5th of November – Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot

On November 5, 1605, the famous Gunpowder Plot planning the assassination of King James I of England was uncovered and Guy Fawkes as one of its leaders was arrested, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. “Remember, remember,The Fifth of November,Gunpowder treason and plot;For I see no reasonWhy Gunpowder TreasonShould ever be forgot.” — Nursery Rhyme Historical Background The plan of the conspirators was to blow up the House of Lords during…
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Geoffrey Chaucer  – the Father of English Literature

Geoffrey Chaucer – the Father of English Literature

On October 25, 1400, English poet Geoffrey Chaucer passed away. Known as the Father of English literature, Chaucer is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.He is best known today for The Canterbury Tales and was the first poet to be buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote  The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,  And bathed every veyne in…
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Christopher Wren and his Masterpiece – Saint Paul’s Cathedral

Christopher Wren and his Masterpiece – Saint Paul’s Cathedral

On October 20, 1708, the construction of Sir Christopher Wren‘s famous Saint Paul’s Cathedral was finished when the final stone was placed on its lantern. The Cathedral is dedicated to Paul the Apostle and depicts the fifth of its kind standing in London since 604 AD. “Architecture has its political Use; public Buildings being the Ornament of a Country; it establishes a Nation, draws People and Commerce; makes the People love their native…
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Oscar Wilde – One of the Most Iconic Figures of Victorian Society

Oscar Wilde – One of the Most Iconic Figures of Victorian Society

On October 16, 1854, the famous Irish poet and writer Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde aka Oscar Wilde was born. He is considered to be one of the most iconic figures from late Victorian society. Enjoying a meteoric rise to the top of society, his wit, humour and intelligence shines through his plays and writings. However, because of his sexual orientation for a long time his name was synonymous with scandal and intrigue.…
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