Category: uk


Bronze strap union (part of a chariot) from Nant-y-cafn in southern Wales (mid 1st century CE). This replica, based on an archaeological find, approximates what it would initially have looked like before it spent nearly 2,000 years in the dirt.

Hats Used To Be Mandatory for Men

Here’s the crowd at a football (soccer) match in 1920, in England. See how many hatless heads you can count!

Where Does “Vegan” Come From?

It was made up by Donald Watson, who founded the first organization for those seeking a lifestyle free from animal products in 1944 in London. Watson and his friends – correctly – thought that ‘non-dairy vegetarians’ was a bit too long a term. So they agreed to create a new word, something shorter and easier to say.

Many options were considered, including vitans, dairybans, benevores, and allvegans. They eventually decided on “vegan” as it took the beginning and the end of the word “vegetarian.” It may also have been influenced by the fact that a popular London vegetarian restaurant was named “Vega.”

A couple looking out to sea on Blackpool Promenade, July 1951….

A couple looking out to sea on Blackpool Promenade, July 1951. Photographed by Bert Hardy.

Newcastle, 1963. Photographed by Colin Jones.

Newcastle, 1963. Photographed by Colin Jones.

Both British and American sailors have worn be…

Both British and American sailors have worn bell-bottom trousers. Named for the wide flare at the bottom, they were introduced in Britain in 1857, with the justification that it allowed men in the water to kick them off over their boots. 

Although its unclear when the US navy introduced them, they were first recorded as being worn by US sailors in 1813. The American justification for the weird pants was that they could be easily rolled up and kept dry when sailors scrubbed the decks.

By the way, picture is from the World War II hit song, “Bell Bottom Trousers.”

The Cable That United The World

In one day in 1858, the time it took information to cross the Atlantic went from weeks to seconds. The first transatlantic telegraph line had been laid. And a new era was born.

In 1884, electrical engineer Rookes Crompton w…

In 1884, electrical engineer Rookes Crompton wrote, “At the recent Crystal Palace Electrical Exhibition, a couple from the country asked the price of an incandescent lamp at one of the stalls, and being supplied with it for 5s., expended a box of matches in trying to light it, and then declared the whole thing was a swindle.”

The End of the Paris Occupation

On the 19th of August, 1944, German tanks roared down the Champs-Elysees and the first clashes began between the occupying German forces and French Resistance fighters. In the two months since D-Day, the combined British and American forces had slowly but steadily advanced. Everything had fallen before them, and now, it was time to take Paris. Hitler’s orders were clear: if the enemy attacked Paris, it “must not fall into the enemy’s hand except lying in complete debris.” In other words, the Germans were ordered to hold Paris or destroy it.

We all know Paris was not destroyed. At 3:30 pm on August 25th, the German governor Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered. von Choltitz later wrote that he thought Hitler was insane and so he deliberately disobeyed Hitler’s orders. It now appears more likely that he was persuaded by the municipal council chairman Pierre Taittinger, but whatever the reason, Paris was liberated with no further bloodshed or destruction.

Glasgow, 1868. Photographed by Thomas Annan.

Glasgow, 1868. Photographed by Thomas Annan.