In 1885, FW, a 27-year-old single man, having been out of work for six months, was down at the docks in London searching for work. Almost starving, he was invited for a free breakfast by the Self-Help Emigration Society to learn about the employment opportunities in Canada. A Christian man of good character, he was readily accepted by the society and sailed on 10 April 1885, full of hope for a new life. The day after reaching Canada, he got a job that paid him two dollars a day and in August he was able to send his father five dollars, about £1, to help the family in London.
Until the 1850s, policing in Britain was a hotchpotch affair. The first policing – introduced through the Statute of Winchester in 1285 – was a system of ‘watch and ward’ with a number of watchmen (according to a town’s population) keeping an eye on things from dusk to dawn. Their role was to arrest strangers, hold them until morning, and take suspicious characters to the sheriff. Other duties included raising the hue and cry to alert able-bodied men that a stranger had resisted arrest, the pursuit was on and urgent assistance was required.
Woolf Barnato was the heir to huge riches that came from his family’s business interests in the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa. As a ‘Bentley Boy’ – one of the marque’s racing drivers – he was considered to be the best driver on the team by none other than WO Bentley himself. Barnato had an impressive record with three wins in three starts at the gruelling Le Mans 24 hours race for 1928, 1929 and 1930. The brilliant sportsman was known to be a bon viveur and a generous host and in 1926 he became chairman of Bentley Motors at a time when the company was struggling for capital. Barnato was the man behind the 1930 race, in which he pitted his Bentley Speed Six against the Blue Train from Cannes to Calais. He wagered £200 that he could easily beat the train but, despite none of his dinner companions taking up the bet, he set out to race it anyway. The result was that he arrived in Calais so far ahead of the train that he continued on to London, crossing the Channel in a steamer. When he parked his Speed Six outside the Conservative Club in St James’s Street, the Blue Train had yet to arrive at Calais – something it did four minutes later.
It is sometimes said that the circus dates back to Roman times. Certainly the word ‘circus’ is Latin, and some of the core acts that we associate with a night in the big top have a very long history. Take acrobats for example, who we know performed in Minoan culture as early as 2000BC. The Roman circus – meaning ‘circle’ – was, however, a place to exhibit horse and chariot races, such as those famously recreated in Ben-Hur. What we now think of as a circus is a more recent invention, which can be traced back to London in 1768. This year therefore marks the 250th anniversary of modern circus entertainment.
TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million TNA series BT 27 records for the 1930s. These outbound passenger lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that features the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong immigration, emigration, naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again.
Essential dress items, providing modesty, warmth and comfort, are the leg- and foot-coverings worn by both sexes since ancient times and = known as hose, stockings or socks. Throughout history, in general the wealthier and higher ranking the wearer, the finer quality and better-fitting their hose or stockings, while, conversely, going barefoot has always symbolised poverty and humility.
Nottinghamshire lies on the Roman Fosse Way, and there are Roman settlements in the county, for example at Mansfield and the fort at Bilborough. The county was settled by Angles around the 5th century, and became part of the kingdom of Mercia. The county’s name first occurs in 1016, when the shire was harried by Canute, but until 1568 the county was administratively united with Derbyshire, under a single Sheriff. The boundaries have remained practically unaltered since the time of the Domesday survey.
Property title deeds are perhaps the most numerous sources of historical evidence but also one of the most neglected. While the information any one deed contains can often be reduced to a few lines, it can be of critical importance for family and local historians. Nat Alcock’s handbook aims to help the growing army of enthusiastic researchers to use the evidence of these documents, without burying them in legal technicalities. It also reveals how fascinating and rewarding they can be once their history, language and purpose are understood. A sequence of concise, accessible chapters explains why they are so useful, where they can be found and how the evidence they provide can be extracted and applied. Family historians will find they reveal family, social and financial relationships and local historians can discover from them so much about land ownership, field and place names, the history of buildings and the expansion of towns and cities. They also bring our ancestors into view in the fullness of life, not just at birth, marriage and death, and provide more rounded pictures of the members of a family tree.
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