Opium has been known since ancient times. It became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries to treat ailments, give pleasure, and satisfy addiction. Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, was actually an opium drinker since he preferred laudanum – typically opium dissolved in alcohol. Chinese immigrants helped spread the custom of smoking opium or ‘chasing the tiger’.
Popular data website TheGenealogist.co.uk has released more than 650,000 records of 'other ranks’ who died in World War One, taken from War Office publications. The new records further enhance the already significant military collections available at the site, which include Roll of Honour records, unique casualty lists, prisoner of war records (see last month’s issue of the Periodical), regimental records and war memorial lists - making it the perfect place to start researching your ancestors who fought a century ago.
Aerial intelligence, pioneered during World War One, was an essential tool of both Allied and Axis powers during World War Two. Most people are well aware of the importance of strategic bombing or the role of the RAF and its adversary, the Luftwaffe. The story of aerial intelligence during WW2 is perhaps less well known, though certainly no less important
The county of Wiltshire – named after its former county town of Wilton and in turn the River Wylye – was formed in Saxon times, although the huge number of prehistoric remains (most notably Avebury, Silbury Hill and Stonehenge) are testament to its far older settlement. The Normans’ Domesday Survey mentioned 40 hundreds, almost half of which remain barely altered today.
Sunglasses are a relatively modern fashion, yet experiments with eye protectors and shaded lenses extend far back in time. The earliest surviving protective eye-shields are primitive walrus ivory 'goggles’ with narrow slits, worn by prehistoric Inuit peoples of the Arctic to reduce exposure of their eyes to sunlight. Later, the Roman Emperor Nero reputedly watched gladiatorial fights through polished emeralds held to his eyes.
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