Use our images
Download images for
personal or educational
use for £2.99/US$5 each
All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.
Posted in Animals, Architecture, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, London, Science on Friday, 17 May 2013
Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park; note the addition of a baby elephant.
Like the great national museums, The Royal Zoological Society was started in the nineteenth century, eleven years before the long reign of Queen Victoria began, in 1826 during the reign of her uncle, George IV, who granted it a Royal Charter in 1829. Located in an expansive site north of the Regent’s Park, it was the first animal collection in the world assembled for scientific purposes, and the animal houses and insititution remained private until 1847, when the Regent’s Zoo was opened to the public. The Zoological Gardens were laid out by Decimus Burton, who was also commissioned to design several of the scattered animal buildings. Unfortunately, only two of his original architectural creations have survived: the elegant brick Buffalo and Giraffe Houses which overlook the Regent’s Canal.
Many more pictures of Regent’s Park can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.
Posted in America, Animals, Famous battles, Historical articles on Friday, 17 May 2013
This edited article about the Little Big Horn originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 257 published on 17 December 1966.
In July, 1876, Americans everywhere were busy celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Suddenly the news broke that Sioux and Cheyenne Indians had wiped out an entire force under the command of General George A. Custer near the Little Big Horn river, in Montana.
Custer, a brave but vain and foolhardy officer, had led his troops into a trap – over 260 officers and men perished in less than half an hour. The greatest of the Sioux warriors, Crazy Horse, led the attack, shouting: “Today is a good day to fight, today is a good day to die!” But it was the white men who died.
Scarcely anyone or anything escaped the slaughter. Curly, a Crow Indian scout, escaped by disguising himself as a Sioux: a dog called Rusty was later found some way from the scene of the fighting: Comanche, the horse of Captain Miles Keogh, second-in-command to Custer, was found after the battle wandering about and severely wounded, the only survivor on the battlefield itself. He must somehow have escaped capture by the Indians, who ran off with most of the Americans’ horses.
For the rest of his life, Comanche was treated as a hero and looked after with pride and care. When he died, his body was stuffed and put on display in a Kansas museum.
Posted in Animals, Historical articles, History, Royalty on Tuesday, 14 May 2013
This edited article about Alexander the Great originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 255 published on 3 December 1966.
Alexander The Great (356-323 B.C.), King of Macedon and the most famous figure in all Greek history, was the supreme military genius of the Ancient World. In his short life he conquered the Thebans; the mighty Darius, King of Persia; and destroyed the power of Syria, Phoenicia and Egypt. He explored and conquered parts of India, and founded the Egyptian city of Alexandria. But his Empire crumbled away after his death.
The story of how Alexander acquired his much-loved horse, Bucephalus, seems far-fetched, but may well be true. His father, Philip of Macedon, had been offered a fiery horse, which none of his ablest riders could break in. Alexander, then aged about 12, asked his father if he could try to master the horse, which most other people were afraid even to approach. His father reluctantly agreed.
The boy noticed that the horse seemed frightened of his own moving shadow, so he turned the horse’s head round so that the shadow fell behind him. Then Alexander stroked the horse and spoke soothingly to him. Moments later he leapt on his back and rode him with complete ease!
Alexander named the horse Bucephalus, (ox-headed) because of a certain ox-like look about his head, and rode him during most of his great campaigns. Bucephalus, who would let nobody but his master ride him, finally died of exhaustion and old age in a battle in India. Alexander founded a town nearby in his honour and called it Bucephala.
Posted in Animals, English Literature, Famous crimes, Legend on Monday, 13 May 2013
This edited article about Dick Turpin originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 253 published on 19 November 1966.
Dick Turpin's ride to York on Black Bess by Ronald Simmons
Dick Turpin’s famous ride from London to York is, alas, a case of The Ride That Never Was – and the same applies to his equally celebrated horse, Black Bess!
Richard Turpin, the son of an Essex innkeeper, was born in 1706. He was apprenticed to a butcher, but took to cattle-stealing instead, and joined a brutal gang of smugglers and thieves who terrorised the Essex countryside. He then teamed up with a notorious highwayman, Tom King, but accidentally shot him when trying to save King from being arrested. The dying highwayman gave information about Turpin, who escaped from London to Yorkshire (but not by a headlong ride), and it was there that he was finally captured. He died bravely on the gallows at York in 1739.
The legend of the ride was built up by Harrison Ainsworth in his romance, Rookwood (1834), but the real rider seems to have been a highwayman known as ‘Swift John Nevison’, who in 1676 robbed a sailor at Gadshill in Kent at 4 a.m. one morning and reached York at 7.45 p.m. the same day, to establish an alibi that he could not have been at Gadshill. He covered roughly 190 miles in just under 16 hours.
Posted in Animals, Birds, Nature, Wildlife on Friday, 10 May 2013
This edited article about animals originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 249 published on 22 October 1966.
The bittern among reeds as the moon rises
‘Attack is the best form of defence’. If animals knew this, it would make a lot of difference. Small birds often fare badly at the paws of a cat, but sometimes a courageous bird, because it has eggs or young, will fly at a cat, calling vigorously, and may end by causing the cat to beat a hasty retreat.
The American mockingbird, a member of the thrush family, has been known to attack crows, hawks, snakes and cats which have ventured too close to its nest. An American woman reported seeing a cat approach close to a tree in which mockingbirds were nesting. Suddenly a bird plunged from its perch and dived at the cat, striking it behind the ears. It did this again and again, returning to a different perch each time and thus carrying on its dive-bombing tactics from various angles. The cat fled in terror. The bird returned triumphantly to its nest.
Many birds depend upon flying to get away from their enemies. However, there are some birds that do not fly, notably the ostrich which has only small wings, incapable of lifting its huge body. When an ostrich fears attack it will lower its head and push its tail up, remaining absolutely motionless so as to merge with the surrounding bushes and trees. If the attacker advances the ostrich relies on its powerful legs to carry it at great speed over the ground. Each leg has two toes, one bigger that the other and bearing a large claw. This is a formidable weapon when an ostrich lashes out at an enemy with its strong legs.
Read the rest of this article »
Posted in Animals, Fish, Nature, Sea, Wildlife on Thursday, 9 May 2013
This edited article about marine animals originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 248 published on 15 October 1966.
Probably the commonest animals in the sea, after fishes, are those known as molluscs. The name itself is from the Latin and means ‘soft-bodied’.
The great majority of molluscs have this soft body enclosed in a shell as a protection. In some, the shell is in two parts and hinged; these are known as bivalves. Others have a spiral shell; these are the univalves, and are often called sea snails.
Not only does the shell of the sea snail protect the body of the animal that makes it, but when the mollusc itself dies, a hermit crab may make use of it. Unlike the more familiar crabs, only the front part of the body, as well as the claws and legs, of a hermit crab are armoured. The abdomen is soft, and to protect this the hermit crab takes over the shell of a dead sea snail and uses it as a ‘house’. It can do this without difficulty, because the hermit’s abdomen is twisted in a spiral that fits easily into the spiral of the shell.
Read the rest of this article »
Posted in Animals, Historical articles, History, Prehistory, Weapons on Thursday, 9 May 2013
This edited article about Primitive Man originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 248 published on 15 October 1966.
The boy waded through the endless swamps, lagoons and sand banks which stretched on and on to the mainland of Europe. He was slightly made, deft-fingered and agile, and his slim brown body was naked save for a deer-skin cape and necklace of carved bone beads.
He was looking for oysters and mussels as he had done every day during winter. Soon he had collected a large pile, which he placed in a basket made of willow. Then he returned to the cave where he and his family had sheltered ever since the rains and winds of autumn had driven them down from the hills.
When the warm weather came the family returned to their old hunting grounds, where hares abounded and wild boar, oxen, stags, red deer, wild horses and cattle roamed.
It took them several days to reach the clearing in birch woods on the low hills which stretch south-eastwards from what are now the Essex borders to the Chilterns, where they had camped the previous summer. The hearth they had built and the remains of their huts were still there. The men found a fresh supply of flint, from which they made new weapons and tools, fashioning tiny arrow heads, darts and flint teeth for saws with delicate precision.
Each day men and boys went hunting with dogs, while the women collected berries, hazel nuts and roots, cleaned skins and made clothes from them. So they lived throughout the long, hot summer till autumn drove them down to lower ground again.
The family belonged to the Tardenoisian people, who lived in Britain nine or ten thousand years ago, when the great mass of ice which had covered much of Europe had at last melted and all the face of the Continent was changing.
In some places land had risen when the weight of ice was lifted from it. Elsewhere, lands were submerged as vast streams of melting ice raised the level of the sea.
Thus it was that, through long years, the North Sea, Baltic Sea and English Channel slowly formed. The Mediterranean came into existence too, and in Africa and Asia lands which had been fertile became drier and ultimately changed into desert.
As North Africa yielded to the Sahara desert, its inhabitants moved farther afield in search of new grounds. Among these were the Tardenoisians, who crossed to Spain and Northern Europe, some of them roaming over marshy wastes which were to become the North Sea, and reaching Britain.
The Magdalenians, who had flourished in Europe’s cold steppes and tundras 50,000 years earlier had fared badly when the thaw came. Their world suffered a slow but fundamental change. Mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and reindeer died out or retreated to the arctic north. The great Magdalenian hunts could no longer be held. By the time the Tardenoisians arrived there were probably only two or three hundred Magdalenians left in Britain.
We know little about the Tardenoisians themselves. Their numbers were few, and their lives hard and primitive. They left few records except tiny flints and burial mounds, and evidence that they had tamed the dog, but they were very probably the ancestors of people who live today round the shores of the Mediterranean.
Posted in Animals, Nature, Wildlife on Thursday, 9 May 2013
This edited article about animals originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 247 published on 8 October 1966.
No animal is without enemies. Some have few, others have many, but all must be ready to defend themselves. They do this by one of two methods. They use either active defence, using whatever weapons they possess, or by passive defence, by some form of armour, or by deterring an enemy without ever striking a blow.
A dog or a wolf uses active defence when it flies at and bites its opponent. Its only weapons are its teeth, especially the long canine teeth, or fangs. But even these animals will avoid a fight if possible and try, in the first place, to put off an enemy by scaring it. If this is ignored they raise their hackles, bare their teeth and crouch ready for the spring. Their ears are laid back, out of harms way, the face is twisted into a scowl and the growl turns to a snarl. Only if these signals are ignored do they attack.
Although a skunk’s method of defence is very different, there is the same kind of warning. A skunk first stamps its feet, then it raises its tail and waves the tip up and down. These are signals to an enemy to go away before the skunk squirts a most obnoxious fluid from two glands under its tail. This fluid can be squirted a distance of 12 feet, can burn the skin or hair and can cause blindness if it goes into the eyes. Its odour last a long time and may spread over a radius of half-a-mile.
The skunk advertises its unpleasant qualities by its prominent white markings, and this has been called a warning coloration. Most poisonous or stinging animals carry a warning coloration. Usually the colours are black-and-yellow, black-and-red, all black or all red. The wasp is a familiar insect that is coloured black-and-yellow. Its defence is active: it stings. But several insects have a passive defence based on this, they are coloured black-and-yellow, and look like wasps. A young bird catches a wasp in its beak, is stung and thereafter leaves all wasps alone, as well as any insects that resemble them. Such insects are said to mimic wasps: and we speak of this as protective mimicry.
Perhaps the best forms of passive defence are seen in the armadillo and the tortoise. In both, the body is enclosed in a bony armour covered with horny plates. The tortoise’s shell is more like a fortress into which the animal withdraws. The armadillo has a flexible suit of armour. The hedgehog achieves the same end by carrying a coat of spines and rolling into a spiky ball when attacked.
Some caterpillars have coloured spots on their bodies that look like eyes. As long as the caterpillar is crawling normally, a bird may get ready to eat it. But if it draws in its head, thus expanding the ‘eyes’, the bird is scared and flies away.
Posted in Animals, Disasters, Geography, Historical articles, History on Wednesday, 8 May 2013
This edited article about St Bernard dogs originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 247 published on 8 October 1966.
Over 8,000 feet high, the Great St. Bernard Pass winds 50 miles, from Valais in Switzerland to Piedmont in Italy. On the wild, bleak summit of the Pass stands the sturdy, ancient monastery hospice of St. Bernard, founded in the 10th century by St. Bernard of Menthon. He cleared the Pass of robbers and gathered together a group of laymen to watch over it. In 1150 the community became a religious one.
The Rule of the St. Bernard Hospice requires that help be given to wayfarers. In medieval times, one ox was grilled daily for up to 100 travellers, free of charge. It is only in recent years, with the vast increase of traffic over the Pass that a modest payment has been asked for hospitality.
Winter at the summit can be wicked; with deep snow, blizzards, fog and avalanches. The Pass is blocked with snow and most people use the tunnel to cross between Switzerland and Italy, but accidents still happen. Throughout the year the hospice carries on the help-giving tradition started by St. Bernard. In trying to deal with incidents of distress, all the latest ski equipment is used, as well as the famous St. Bernard dogs.
The hospice normally has under training about half a dozen of these huge, reddish-brown and white, benign and sensitive creatures.
When trained, they are sent out to search for travellers, lost and overcome by the cold. Blankets are strapped to them and a small parcel of stimulants hung round their necks. A typical piece of rescue work occurred not long ago, when a small plane ran into the mountains. One of the dogs, called Ella, swiftly found the pilot, although he had been killed in the crash.
It is thought that St. Bernards originated in Tibet, went from there to Greece and from Greece to Rome, and that the Roman soldiers brought them to Switzerland’s Rh√¥ne valley about 50 years before the birth of Christ. A nobleman gave two of them to the hospice centuries ago and they have been kept and trained there ever since. At one time, when the breed was practically extinct, it was restored by cross-breeding with the native Pyrenean sheepdog and the Great Dane. But the St. Bernard’s at the hospice are working dogs and are slightly smaller (with uneven, rough coats), than the heavyweight, ponderous specimens seen in Great Britain.
In the days before tunnels, cars and skis, these dogs with their keen sense of smell were of the greatest importance for tracing people in the deep snow. Gradually they assumed the name of the Pass and the hospice with which their work was associated. Despite all the modern equipment available for rescue work today, St. Bernard dogs are still indispensable; their recorded rescues in the Alps total 2,000 lives.
Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Art, Historical articles, History, Prehistory, Weapons on Wednesday, 8 May 2013
This edited article about Primitive Man originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 247 published on 8 October 1966.
The cave was dark and bitterly cold as the hunters tramped in silence for nearly a mile through its shadowy, damp gloom.
At last there was light ahead, from the glow of a dozen small stone lamps. The cave ended in a circular chamber, and at the far end was a stone bench on which sat the hunters’ chief.
The chief was wearing a great head-dress of reindeer horns, a heavy fur cloak, necklaces and armlets. Beside him stood a musician, blowing a final summons on his carved bone pipe.
The walls of the chamber were covered with paintings of animals. A huge bison, on a curving piece of rock, was startlingly rounded, shining and lifelike. Scattered on the floor were fragments of stone on which the artists had made trial sketches, horns in which they kept pieces of red and brown ochre and manganese for paint, and stone palettes.
The chief exhorted the hunters to be brave and tireless. Then he rose, picked up a superbly carved spear of mammoth ivory, stepped forward and pointed his spear at each of the paintings in turn. As he did so he incanted a magic spell, so that each of the depicted animals should quickly succumb to the hunters’ weapons.
The hunters set forth across cold, windswept tundra. After many hours they reached a wide plain. Spring was giving way to summer and it was along this plain that the herds of reindeer moved on their way northwards to new pastures. The hunters pitched their camp on the side of a tributary valley.
They did not have many days to wait. Within a week one of them spotted the leaders of the reindeer herds only a mile away, coming up the main valley from the south. As they drew close, some of the hunters drove them into the side valley, where the others awaited them. Soon the valley was crowded with hundreds of jostling, terrified animals and the entrance was barred . . .
The slaughter of reindeer went on all day and, as the sun set, the tribe rejoiced at their spoils, for they had acquired enough food, skins, horns and bones to keep them well fed, warm and busy for months.
These people, like the Aurignacians, were members of the Cro-Magnon race. They were Magdalenians, the last of the Old Stone Age people of Europe, and they are thought to have lived from about 70,000 to 50,000 years ago.
The Ice Age was drawing to a close, but during the 20,000 years that the Magdalenians were flourishing, the climate was still extremely cold.
The Magdalenians were skilled at making flint and stone implements, though these were never so fine as those of the Solutreans, a race of people who came into Europe in late Aurignacian times and may have been descended from the lost Neanderthals. The Magdalenians preferred weapons and tools of bone and ivory and, like the Aurignacians, they were brilliant artists.
The Solutreans disappeared from Europe with the period of cold which came at the end of the Ice Age, but the Magdalenians lived through it, and it was when Europe at last began to grow as warm as today, and the arctic animals retreated northwards, that the Magdalenians, unable to adapt themselves to changing conditions, gradually faded out of existence.