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Subject: ‘History’

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The Princes in the Tower

Posted in Historical articles, History, Mystery, Royalty on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This edited article about the Princes in the Tower originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 997 published on 18 April 1981.

Prince Richard leaves his mother, picture, image, illustration

Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV’s widow, was finally persuaded to give up her younger son, Richard, to her brother-in-law, Richard of Gloucester. Picture by Clive Uptton

Few kings of England have been born in such impoverished and perilous circumstances as Edward V. His birthplace was a gloomy building called the Sanctuary, at Westminster, where his mother had sought refuge after her husband, Edward IV, had been forced to flee temporarily to Holland.

A midwife named Mother Cobb was called into the Sanctuary to attend to the birth and a doctor named Serigo helped her. The danger of the whole Sanctuary party being starved into surrender by their enemies the Lancastrians was averted only by a well-disposed London butcher named John Gould, who supplied them with “half a beef and two muttons every week”.

A few months later a victorious King Edward IV was back in London. Warwick the Kingmaker was dead and the fortunes of the House of York were restored. So the baby prince, born within a building that had hitherto provided shelter for murderers, robbers and other fugitives from justice, was now heir to the throne of England.

Two years later little Prince Edward had a brother. The new baby was called Richard and soon afterwards created Duke of York.

When Richard was still only four he was married with proper ceremony to three-year-old Anne Mowbray, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Richard’s brother Edward, then six, went to the wedding and afterwards all the guests sat down to a fine wedding feast.

Very little else is known about the short lives of Edward and Richard. The Prince of Wales, says one report, was forever talking about all the wars he would fight and win when he became king, but for a small boy in the 15th century that was normal behaviour.

It is in death, rather than in life, that Edward and Richard are most famed. For their deaths – alleged to have occurred only eleven weeks after their father died – have remained one of the great unsolved mysteries of our islands’ story – a mystery that has occupied the attention of scholars almost ceaselessly since the day it was discovered.

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Condemned pig

Posted in Absurd, Animals, Historical articles, History, Law, Oddities, Religion on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This edited article about legal systems first appeared in Look and Learn issue number 527 published on 19 February 1972.

Animal justice, picture, image, illustration

Top: A sow and her piglets are summoned to appear before the court; Bottom: A court official reads out the charges to a cow accused of trampling a boy to death

Imagine your surprise if you saw a pig, a cow or even a wild animal such as a fox or a badger, being led into court to be tried by a judge and jury! If you had lived on the Continent in medieval times, such a spectacle would not have surprised you in the least, for in those days it was quite common for both domestic and wild animals to be brought to court, there to be tried, sentenced or acquitted, according to the jury’s verdict.

These animal courts were not staged for fun. They were conducted in all seriousness, with eminent lawyers acting for plaintiff and accused, exactly as they do when people are tried in our courts today.

Not long ago a bird was blamed for causing a thatched cottage to be burnt to the ground. It was suggested that the bird had taken a still smouldering cigarette end into the thatch for use as nest-building material. If the same thing had happened in medieval times it would have been the solemn duty of the ecclesiastical court to publicly declare the bird to be under notice to quit the district forthwith.

Fantastic, admittedly – but none the less true. The position was that civil courts had jurisdiction over all domestic creatures, including farm animals, whilst the church, or ecclesiastical courts, could call to trial and pronounce sentence on all forms of wild life, from wolves and rats down to insect pests such as ants and house flies.

One of France’s most eminent jurists, M. Chassensee, made his name for his masterly defence of the rats in the Diocese of Autun, in the 15th century. The rats were accused of appearing in great numbers and annoying the townspeople and were therefore summoned to appear before the local ecclesiastical court.

The defendants were described as “dirty animals of grey colour living in holes.” As the rats failed to appear in answer to the summons, the prosecution demanded sentence right away. But Chassensee argued that All the rats in the diocese were interested parties and they, too, should be called to give evidence. The curate of every parish was therefore commanded to issue a general summons. Still no rats turned up.

Contempt of court? Certainly not, argued Chassensee. Some were too old and some too young to make the journey. The rest of his clients, he explained, were quite willing to attend, but were afraid to come out of their holes because of “evilly disposed cats belonging to the plaintiffs.” This resulted in a stalemate and the case was therefore adjourned, sine die, or indefinitely!

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In 1821 Brighton Pavilion was completed at a cost of £502,797 6s. 10d.

Posted in Architecture, Arts and Crafts, British Towns, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Royalty on Saturday, 30 January 2016

This edited article about architecture originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 439 published on 13 June 1970.

Brighton Pavilion, picture, image, illustration

General view of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, East Sussex.

If a certain Doctor Richard Russell had not very fervently advised sea-water as a cure for many ills, George Prince of Wales, later King George the Fourth, would never have come to Brighton to try the cure for himself. Nor would he have ever dreamt of building for himself a small palace, or pavilion, of Eastern design down by the sea.

Brighton – or Brighthelmstone as it was then called – was a simple fishing town when the Prince of Wales arrived there on Sunday, September 7th, 1783. He was twenty-one years of age. He liked the place, and came to it again the following year when he rented a house.

The Prince was extravagant, and so vast had grown his debts that in 1786 he decided to close his London residence of Carlton House and go to Brighton to lead a simple, and healthy life.

This time he rented a house on that part of the town known as the Steyne, the rent being £150 a year. This house was to be changed and changed again until finally it became his dream home, the fantastic Royal Brighton Pavilion as we know it today.

When first he rented his “house” the Prince of Wales had secretly married a Mrs. Fitzherbert who lived in a house nearby. They were happy enough at first, but George Prince of Wales was a restless man, and forgetting his resolution of economy, he decided to rebuild the house as a “Marine Pavilion”. The actual owner of the house was one Thomas Kemp. Brighton’s Kemp Town of today is named after him.

The well-known architect, Henry Holland, was given the commission to design the new house on the old site. 150 workmen were employed, and in a remarkably short time a classically simple residence was built. The grounds were laid out by two pupils of that great landscape designer Lancelot – “Capability” – Brown. Everything was as it should be – no mad “new ideas” or revolutionary designs. Although one touch which forecast the growing romantic ideas of George, Prince of Wales, was that he had in his bedroom . . . a glass so situated as to afford the Prince an extensive view of the sea and the Steyne as he lay in bed.

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Storming the Eureka Stockade

Posted in Anniversary, Famous battles, History on Saturday, 30 January 2016

picture, Australia, Eureka Stockade, soldiers, rebellion

Colonial soldiers storm the Eureka Stockade. Illustration by Clive Uptton

3 December marks an important anniversary in Australian independence when the Eureka Rebellion broke out in 1854. Gold Miners at Eureka Lead, Ballarat, Australia, had been airing their grievances about the high cost of mining licenses and taxation during the Victorian gold rush and the actions of local military and police. The Ballarat Reform League was formed in September 1854 and growing tension spilled over into armed rebellion.

Miners built a ramshackle stockade to defend their position but were routed by the military and surrendered. 22 miners were brutally killed and news of the massacre spread rapidly turning the victory into a PR disaster. 120 ‘diggers’ were arrested and 13 put on trial for sedition and high treason. All 13 were acquitted and a subsequent enquiry made several recommendations in line with the demands of the rebels.

More pictures featuring the Eureka Stockade can be found here. Many more illustrations relating to the history of Australia, both human and natural, can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 117

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Legend, Leisure, Politics, Sea, Ships, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Croesus showing his treasures to Solon.

Croesus, picture, image, illustration

Croesus showing his treasures to Solon, 6th Century BC

The second picture shows the Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic.

Doge, picture, image, illustration

Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic in Venice

The third picture shows a Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765.

carnival, picture, image, illustration

Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 116

Posted in Actors, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Law, Magic, Music, Politics, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Cinderella by the kitchen fire.

Cinderella, picture, image, illustration

Cinderella by the Kitchen Fire

The second picture shows townsfolk reading a Notice giving their town the right to levy local taxation.

Tax, picture, image, illustration

Notice of the right of a town to levy Octroi tax in the Middle Ages

The third picture shows the dying Violetta in the closing scene of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Traviata, picture, image, illustration

Rodolphe Asks For Forgiveness From Violetta Who Is Dying

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 115

Posted in Actors, Africa, Ancient History, Best pictures, Boats, British Countryside, Christmas, Customs, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Magic, Music, Rivers, Theatre, Transport, Travel on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a barge on the Nile.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

On a barge in the Nile

The second picture shows Christmas Eve in England in the 18th Century.

Christmas, picture, image, illustration

Christmas Eve in England, 18th Century

The third picture shows the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

opera, picture, image, illustration

The Queen of Night Meets Tamino and Papageno

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 114

Posted in Best pictures, Educational card, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Leisure, Religion, Sport, War, Weapons on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaiming the Caliphate of Cordoba.

Cordoba, picture, image, illustration

Abd-ar-Rahman III Proclaims the Caliphate of Cordoba

The second picture shows a game of tennis.

 tennis, picture, image, illustration

A game of tennis

The third picture shows Turkish Bashi-bazouks mutilating Greek corpses.

war, picture, image, illustration

Turkish Bashi-bazouks mutilating Greek corpses, Akrotiri, Crete, Greco-Turkish War, 7 March 1897

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 113

Posted in Actors, Best pictures, Customs, Discoveries, Famous Composers, Famous crimes, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Inventions, Leisure, Science, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a scene from Tosca.

La Tosca, picture, image, illustration

La Tosca by Sardou

The second picture shows a kite flying festival in the imperial gardens, China.

kites, picture, image, illustration

Kite flying festival in the imperial gardens, China

The third picture shows Nikola Tesla’s experiment producing light generated by an electric transformer, 1895.

Nikola Tesla, picture, image, illustration

Nikola Tesla's experiment producing light generated by an electric transformer, 1895

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 112

Posted in Aerospace, Ancient History, Architecture, Aviation, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Disasters, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Sea, Ships, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows an Ancient Egyptian funeral ceremony.

Ancient Egypt, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egypt, funeral ceremony

The second picture shows Francisque Arban being rescued by Italian fishermen, 1846.

balloon, picture, image, illustration

Francisque Arban rescued by Italian fishermen after his balloon crashed into the Adriatic, 1846

The third picture shows the Battle of Milazzo, 260 BC.

Milazzo, picture, image, illustration

Milazzo, the first Roman naval victory over Carthage in 260 BC

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.