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Archive for August, 2010

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The death of John Bunyan

Posted in Anniversary, Literature on Saturday, 21 August 2010

picture, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress

Christian fights for his life in a scene from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Illustration by John Millar Watt

31 August marks the anniversary of the death of author John Bunyan in 1688. Born in Harrowden, near Bedford, in 1628, he was a tinker and soldier before discovering his  faith. Still in his twenties, Bunyan began writing pamphlets and books promoting Christianity. He also began preaching – a dangerous profession as it was feared that Christian gatherings were a cover for plotting the overthrow of the King – and was jailed in 1661. He spent much of his time in jail over the next two decades.

His novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was first published in 1678 and has never been out of print. Bunyan died ten years later of pneumonia.

picture, portrait, John Bunyan

A portrait of John Bunyan

More pictures relating to John Bunyan and his famous novel can be found here. Many more illustrations relating to authors and their works can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Henry VI accedes to the throne

Posted in Anniversary, History, Royalty on Saturday, 21 August 2010

picture, King Henry VI

King Henry VI was tied to a shabby pony and sent to the Tower of London by his enemies. Illustration by Andrew Howat

31 August marks the anniversary of the accession of Henry VI to the throne in 1422. The only son of Henry V, he was only nine months old when he succeeded to the throne. A gentle, pious man, he was not suited for the intrigues and battles that marked his reign. Wars in France and England (the Wars of the Roses) drove him to madness. He lost the throne  in 1461 to Edward IV, regained it in 1470 – but only briefly. In 1471 he was captured and sent to the Tower of London where he died (many believe he was murdered), aged only 49.

More pictures relating to Henry VI can be found here. Many more illustrations relating to the kings and queens of the United Kingdom can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Birth of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, creator of Frankenstein

Posted in Anniversary, Literature on Friday, 20 August 2010

picture, montage, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Frankenstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her creation, Frankenstein. Illustration by C. L. Doughty

30 August marks the anniversary of the birth of authoress Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in 1797. Born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in Somers Town, London, she was the daughter of two writers. She was raised by her father and his second wife and, although poorly educated, began writing as a teenager. She met and later married Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Whilst in Switzerland, Mary conceived the idea that would become her novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. Her later novels, with perhaps the exception of The Last Man, published in 1826, are almost forgotten. She died in London in 1851.

More pictures relating to Mary Shelley can be found here. Many more illustrations of authors and their works can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The first British tram service

Posted in Anniversary, History, Travel on Friday, 20 August 2010

picture, An early horse-drawn tram from 1861

An early horse-drawn tram from 1861. Illustration by John Keay

30 August marks the anniversary of the opening of the first British tram service in Birkenhead in 1860. The first trams were drawn by horses and the tramway system grew rapidly in the late 19th century. Eventually it was possible to travel quite widely throughout the United Kingdom just using connecting tramways.

The tramway system fell out of favour, partly due to pressure from those lobbying for the wider use of cars. More and more tramways were dismantled in the 1920s and most had disappeared by the mid-1930s. The only survivor was the Blackpool tramway which still runs.

More pictures relating to trams and tramways can be found here. A wide variety of illustrations relating to transport throughout history can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction

Posted in Anniversary, Science on Thursday, 19 August 2010

picture, portrait, Michael Faraday

A portrait of Michael Faraday

29 August marks the anniversary of the discovery of the induction of electrical current by Michael Faraday in 1831. Faraday, born in 1791, studied the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct electrical current and established the basis for the electromagnetic field concept in physics and in the process discovered electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and the laws of electrolysis.

Faraday, who died in 1867, was one of the most famous British chemists and physicists. Albert Einstein kept a photograph of him on his study wall alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell.

More pictures relating to Michael Faraday can be found here. Many more pictures relating to science and scientists throughout history can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The sinking of the Royal George

Posted in Anniversary, History on Thursday, 19 August 2010

picture, A young survivor of the sinking of the Royal George

A young survivor of the sinking of the Royal George. Illustration by Angus McBride

29 August marks the anniversary of the sinking of HMS Royal George in 1782. The ship, along with others of the fleet under the command of Admiral Richard Howe, was anchored at Spithead, in the Solent, to take on supplies. The Royal George had been heeled over at an angle by running out the guns on the port side and moving the starboard guns to the centre of the deck so that minor repairs could be undertaken. Unfortunately, the ship took on a cargo of rum and the additional weight, and that of the crew loading the cargo, caused the ship to heel over even further and she began to ship water through her gun ports.

The inrush of water caused the Royal George to roll on her side. She sank before any distress signal could be given, taking some 900 people with her. About 230 survived.

picture, The Royal George founders in the Solent

The Royal George founders in the Solent. Illustration by Angus McBride

Many more pictures relating to the history of ships and shipping can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Henry Hudson discovers Delaware Bay

Posted in Anniversary, Exploration on Wednesday, 18 August 2010

picure, Henry Hudson, whale

Henry Hudson’s search for a northern passage led to the discovery of the large whale populations around the Arctic. Illustration by Severino Baraldi

28 August marks the anniversary of the discovery of Delaware Bay by explorer Henry Hudson. In 1607 the English explorer was hired by the Muscovy Company, a Russian trading company, to find a northern passage to the Pacific coast of Asia. His discoveries included the whaling areas around Spitsbergen during voyages in 1607-08, Delaware Bay and the river now known as the Hudson River in 1609, and the Hudson Straights and Hudson Bay in 1610.

Hudson was presumed killed after a mutiny of his crew in 1611, although his actual fate remains unknown.

More pictures of Henry Hudson can be found here. Many more pictures relating to explorers and exploration can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

William Herschel discovers a new moon of Saturn

Posted in Anniversary, History, Space on Wednesday, 18 August 2010

picture, portrait, Sir William Herschel

Sir William Herschel. Illustration by John Cameron

28 August marks the anniversary of the discovery of a new moon of the planet Saturn by astronomer William Herschel in 1789. The moon, one of four he discovered and Saturn’s sixth largest, was named Enceladus.

Herschel had earlier discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 beyond the orbit of Saturn. He was subsequently appointed King’s Astronomer by George III.

More pictures of Sir William Herschel can be found here. Many more pictures relating to astronomy and the planets can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Death of Rowland Hill

Posted in Anniversary, Communications, History on Tuesday, 17 August 2010

picture, postman

Early postal services were cash on delivery. Illustration by Peter Jackson

27 August marks the anniversary of the death of Rowland Hill, who introduced the first penny post to Great Britain. Hill was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, in 1795 and worked as a teacher, establishing the Hazelwood School in Edgbaston. A progressive educationalist, Hill was also interested in science (a compulsory subject at his school) and painted in his spare time.

He wrote an important pamphlet, Post Office Reform, in 1837, showing that costs could be dramatically reduced if the sender should pre-pay for delivery of a letter rather than trying to collect from the receiver. Proof of postage would be a self-adhesive stamp of the type already in use to prove payment of taxes and on documents.  This type of post was introduced in 1839 and the Penny Black introduced in 1840.

Pictures of Rowland Hill can be found here. More pictures relating to the history of the mail and postal services around the world can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The first jet fighters

Posted in Anniversary, Aviation, World War 2 on Tuesday, 17 August 2010

picture, Early jet fighters, including the Heinkel HE 179, Caproni Campini No.1, Gloster Whittle E28/39, Messerschmitt ME 262

Early jet fighters, including the Heinkel HE 179 (top left), Caproni Campini No.1 (top centre), Gloster Whittle E28/39 (top right) and Messerchmitt ME 262 (bottom). Illustration by Wilf Hardy

27 August marks the anniversary of the first flight of the first jet-propelled aircraft in 1939. The plane was the Heinkel HE 178, developed by Ernst Heinkel and piloted by Erich Warsitz.

The aircraft was a limited success: it’s speeds were limited to 375 mph and its combat endurance was only 10 minutes. Because of this, Göring, German commander of the Luftwaffe, favoured developing the potential of other, non-jet, aircraft during the Second World War and it was left to the Messerschmitt ME 262 to become the first active jet turbo fighter in 1944.

More pictures relating to the development of jet aircraft can be found here. A far greater number of pictures relating to the aircraft of the Second World War can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.