Magnificent Men and Disastrous Machines. By Judith Allnatt
The History Girls
by J. Allnatt
2w ago
This is the story of Percy Pilcher, a man who could have beaten the Wright brothers to their record of first  flight in a powered aircraft if only he had made one crucial decision differently. Born in 1867, Lieutenant Percy Pilcher was a British inventor and a pioneering aviator. He developed and flew several hang gliders, romantically named The Bat, The Beetle, The Gull and The Hawk. Unfortunately, the ideas evoked by these names, of speed, fast directional control, soaring and hovering were incredibly difficult to achieve with the materials and technology available at the time. Perc ..read more
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Web-surfing and a C16th entrepreneur by Elisabeth Storrs
The History Girls
by Elisabeth Storrs
1M ago
  As an historical novelist, I encounter both joy and tribulation in researching via the internet. Surfing the web provides a plethora of reference articles with helpful hyperlinks to other pages. Woe betide the novelist who is tempted to click on one of these links! You can be transported down a wonderous rabbit hole but end up in the tarpit of research. Instead of writing your novel, you find yourself whiling away hours on fascinating sidetracks. One example of this occurred when I was writing The Golden Dice, the second book in my A Tale of Ancient Rome trilogy. One of my central char ..read more
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A Dark Plot by L.J. Trafford
The History Girls
by LJ Trafford
1M ago
Death of an EmperorOn the 18th of September in the year 96 CE, a young Imperial slave boy was attending to the shrine to the Lares, the gods of the household, that resided in the bedchamber of the emperor Domitian. Domitian paid very serious attention to religion and proper adherence to it. He favoured the god Jupiter and goddess Minerva, rebuilding the temple of the former after it had been burnt to the ground and holding a special festival at his Alban villa for the latter. Elsewhere in his now 15-year reign he had overseen the trial of a Vestal Virgin accused of breaking her sacred chastity ..read more
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Spies, Lies & Deception - Celia Rees
The History Girls
by Celia Rees
1M ago
 Being interested in spies and all things spying, I just caught the end of this fascinating exhibition at The Imperial War Museum.  I first visited the IWM in the Sixties and have been a regular visitor over the decades. In recent years, my visits were often focused on a particular exhibition which had direct relevance to something I was writing. Fashion On The Ration was really useful when I was writing Miss Graham's Cold War Cookbook; Lee Miller: A Woman's War was invaluable as one of my characters was an American photojournalist. I like exhibitions. The mix o ..read more
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To Tate Britain - and Ellen Terry’s Dress. By Penny Dolan
The History Girls
by Penny Dolan
2M ago
The iconic portrait of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth in her beetle-wing dress has been a favourite painting of mine for many, many years.                                  I am not alone in my enthusiasm as, with the detachment of someone who had been on stage almost all her life, the actress herself commented: “The picture of me is nearly finished and I think it magnificent. The green and the blue of the dress is splendid, and I think the expression as Lady Macbeth holds ..read more
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Ada Lovelace - by Sue Purkiss
The History Girls
by Sue Purkiss
2M ago
 On a recent stay on Exmoor, I came across an article about someone called Ada Lovelace. I had vaguely heard of her, but if you'd asked me why, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. Yet she turns out to have been a fascinating and significant character - in a number of different ways.  Born in 1815, she was the only legitimate child of Lord George Gordon Byron, who was famous as much for his scandalous, buccaneering lifestyle as for his status as one of the Romantic poets. His shadow would loom over her life - she called her sons Byron and Gordon; yet she never met him: he and her m ..read more
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Art, Colonialism and Change by Stephanie Williams
The History Girls
by Stephanie Williams
2M ago
If you move fast, you can just catch the fabulous exhibition Entangled Pasts 1768-Now, Art, Colonialism and Change at the Royal Academy in London which ends on 28 April. Yinka Shonibare CBE RA used the banisters of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire for her magnificent piece, 'Woman Moving Up'.  Slowly, but steadily, her head a globe of the world, she heaves herself and a suitcase full of heavy baggage, up a splendid marbled staircase. Photo Stephanie Williams Moving round this exceptional exhibition, I was struck by how much more powerfully a single work of art – rather th ..read more
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The Men who Ate Gold ~ by Lesley Downer
The History Girls
by Lesley Downer
2M ago
Like a great cloud The Wiraqochas [Whites] Demanding gold Have invaded us.         The Death of Atau Wallpa, Runasimi [Quechua] epic lament                                            put into writing in the 18th century Inca Emperor, Museo Inkaryi, Valle Sagrado I was recently lucky enough to go to the enchanting country of Peru and was captivated by its extraordinary landscape and tragic history ..read more
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In Defence of Poland by Rebecca Alexander
The History Girls
by Rebecca Alexander
3M ago
My first neighbours were a couple in their eighties from Poland. As time went on, they told me stories of life in childhood, celebrations, food, the Slavic language, the beautiful landscape and grand history. After Joe died, his wife Rosa started to tell stories of his journey through the war.  Zygmunt Bieńkowski and Jan Zumbach present the first "trophy" of Squadron 303 On 1st September, 1939, as we all know, Germany invaded Poland. What is less commonly known is the scale of the invasion. 1.8 million German combatants poured across Poland from three sides, from Germany, Eas ..read more
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Stories in Flowers by Caroline K. Mackenzie
The History Girls
by Caroline K. Mackenzie
3M ago
Spring is on its way. It has been a long winter (or, at least, it feels that way) and the bursting of buds and arrival of flowers bring welcome signs of new life. In a former History Girls Blog, I wrote about Autumn: a celebration of nature’s golden season but, this year especially, I feel Spring deserves its own celebration. As each new flower appears, I have been delving into the stories behind the species and their names. Here are a few of my favourites: Snowdrop ‘Brother, joy to you! I’ve brought some snowdrops; only just a few, …Cheerful and hopeful in the frosty dew’. Extract from ..read more
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