The first chilled refreshments originated when the ancient Chinese, Romans and other early civilisations combined snow or ice with fruit juice or dairy products – epicurean luxuries for the enjoyment of the social elite. In the Levant sharbat/sherbet, created by whisking ice shavings or snow into sugar syrup flavoured with fruit juices and floral essences, became renowned as a summer delicacy; however, this concoction and similar Middle Eastern-style sherbets that eventually came to be replicated in fashionable 17th century London coffee houses were not genuine ices, but scented water-based drinks – sometimes cooled with ice or snow, but never frozen.
In October 1895, the Globe reported on the extraordinary exploits of a little-known lady cyclist: In France she was robbed by highwaymen; while witnessing the battle between the Japs and Chinese in Gasan she was shot in the arm; a cyclist ran over her in California, and a five-weeks’ stay in hospital was the result; while another occasion, through a bad fall, she was compelled to ride 175 miles with a broken arm.
From reading accounts in the local press, it seems that Edwardian Britain was full of individuals seeking to avoid paying for their family’s upkeep. From husbands failing to maintain their wives, to fathers refusing to pay for their children to be accommodated, fed and educated in industrial schools and relatives not paying for their ‘insane’ family members to stay in private asylums, cases were frequently being heard in courts to decide who needed to pay for what.
Some people’s life stories have the ability to simply stop us in our tracks. Our attention may have been drawn by something that they had once done or something that they were involved in. The incident motivates us to take a closer look at the subject’s life in a bit more detail. This is especially true when they have been involved in something that is outside of the normal experience of most people and so we are drawn in to find out more.
It’s ironic our word ‘barrack’ has French origins (from ‘baraque’, meaning a soldier’s tent) as the barracks that emerged in Christchurch (now in Dorset but in Hampshire before 1974) in the final decade of the 18th century was established with the sole purpose of dealing with French invaders. This was the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era and the threat to national security was not an idle one. Housing cavalry and horse artillery, this community of almost 200 people and 150 horses certainly made an impact, socially and economically, on the local area.
Following the arrival of tens of thousands of weavers fleeing religious persecution in 16th and 17th century France and Flanders, bringing superior handloom weaving skills and expertise in achieving Paris fashions, Britain became a major silk-producing nation, its manufactures rivalling the quality of French silk textiles. Fine silks – fashionable alamodes, brocades, ducapes, lustrings, watered (moiré) silks and velvets – were the most prestigious and desirable materials of the early to mid-18th century, requisite for formal dress, favoured for elite household and carriage furnishings and palpable symbols of wealth and social status
The Kingdom of the Picts was the state that eventually became known as ‘Alba’ or ‘Scotland’. By the 12th century, the kings of Alba had added to their territories the English-speaking land in the south-east and attained overlordship of Gaelic-speaking Galloway and Norse-speaking Caithness; by the end of the 13th century, the kingdom had assumed approximately its modern borders.
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