England

William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

On March 12, 1784, English theologian, geologist and eccentric palaeontologist William Buckland was born, who wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. “Geology holds the keys of one of the kingdoms of nature; and it cannot be said that a science which extends our Knowledge, and by consequence our Power, over a third part of nature, holds a low place among intellectual employments.” — William Buckland, as…
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George Frideric Handel – A Prolific Musical Genius

George Frideric Handel – A Prolific Musical Genius

On March 5, 1685, German-born British Baroque composer George Frideric Handel was born, who is famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Interestingly, Händel is born in the very same year as Johann Sebastian Bach [4] or Domenico Scarlatti. Nevertheless, Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time with works like the Water Music or The Messiah that remain popular until today. “You have taken far too much trouble…
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Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

On March 2, 1544, English diplomat and scholar Sir Thomas Bodley was born. His greatest achievement was the re-founding of the library at Oxford that was named in his honor. Moreover, he established new ideas and practices library of which also modern libraries still benefit today. The Roots of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford and it is one of the oldest…
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Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

On February 26 (or maybe also 24), 1664, English inventor Thomas Newcomen was born, who created the first practical steam engine for pumping water, the Newcomen steam engine. Steam Engines As we know from a previous article on James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution [5], Watt was the one improving Newcomen‘s engine in the 18th and 19th century. Since the knowledge about the power of working with steam had been around for…
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The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

On February 23, 1633, English naval administrator and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys was born, who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Personally, I really enjoyed reading Samuel Pepys’…
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Victoria and Albert – A Royal Wedding

Victoria and Albert – A Royal Wedding

Victoria Alexandrina was born as the fifth in the line of succession and her childhood was rather unspectacular, as her mother kept her from contact with other children and granted her an excellent home schooled education, wherefore she was able to speak many languages. In 1836, Leopold, King of the Beligians, and uncle to Victoria suggested that his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha should marry his niece Victoria. After a first…
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John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

On February 8, 1819, prominent social thinker and philanthropist John James Ruskin was born. He is considered the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman and watercolourist. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century up to the First World War and today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. “No small misery…
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Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

On January 22, 1788, George Gordon Noel Byron, 6. Baron Byron of Rochdale, commonly known simply as Lord Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement was born. I remember to have learned about Lord Byron back at school with his lengthy narrative poems like Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage or the shorter and much more beautiful poem “She Walks in Beauty“. Anyway, Byron is considered one of the greatest British…
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George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

On January 21, 1950, British novelist and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell, passed away. The author of the famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and his works are well known for the awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. “We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be…
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Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

On January 9, 1848, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, German-British astronomer and sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, passed away at age 98. She is best know for the discovery of several comets, in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. Early Years Caroline Lucretia Herschel was born in the German town of Hanover on 16 March 1750. She was the eighth child and fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel, a self-taught oboist,…
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