Spanish ‘flu

German graves
German graves

At the time of writing the world is in the grip of a pandemic – Covid 19. People are dying all over the globe and the social, political and economic consequences are huge. But it’s worth remembering this has happened before.

Shortly after the end of the First World War the Spanish ‘Flu swept through a generation who were already decimated by conflict. Unlike Covid 19 the Spanish ‘Flu affected young men most seriously.

Among them were 34 German prisoners of war who were due to be repatriated when they caught the infection. They all died, and are now buried in the cemetery at Castle Donington in Leicestershire. They share a separate peace garden area to one side of the site.

The names of the dead
The names of the dead

The Brontë family

Interior view of Brontë Parsonage
Interior view of Brontë Parsonage

The Rev. Patrick Brontë was appointed vicar of St Michael’s and All Angels’ Church in Haworth, West Yorkshire in 1815. He and his family lived in the  Parsonage, which is now a museum to them and their writing.

Sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848), and Anne (1820–1849) are well known as writers ad poets. Their brother Branwell (1817–1848) was an artist and poet.

In line with the times, the girls originally wrote under assumed names to keep their identities – and their genders – secret. They were known as Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.

Haworth was not a luxurious place to live and the cold, draughty Parsonage was not a healthy environment. Its water supply is believed to have been infected by runoff from the adjoining graveyard.

Self portrait by Branwell Brontë
Self portrait by Branwell Brontë

In addition, Branwell drank heavily and was addicted to opiates. He died in 1848 at the age of only 31. Within 10 months Emily and Anne followed him to their graves.

Charlotte married Haworth curate the Rev. Arthur Bell Nichols in 1854 and the two were reportedly happy, but she died from complications of pregnancy less than a year later.

Charlotte’s novels
Jane Eyre, published in 1847
Shirley, published in 1849
Villette, published in 1853
The Professor, written before Jane Eyre, was first submitted together with Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. Subsequently, The Professor was resubmitted separately, and rejected by many publishing houses. It was published posthumously in 1857.

Emily’s novel
Wuthering Heights published in 1847.

Anne’s novels
Agnes Grey, published in 1847.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall published in 1848.

2019 news review


Brexit vote gives Government the biggest defeat in history. (432 to 202)
Four dead in Paris bakery explosion.
Andy Murray faces career decision over hip injury.
Prince Philip escapes injury in car accident.
Police question Prince Philip for not wearing a seatbelt.
Cafe chain Patisserie Valerie collapses.
Footballer Emiliano Sala missing after plane crash.
US temperatures lowest for 108 years.
Lake Michigan frozen.

Bought the farm
Actress Carol Channing, 97.
Poet Mary Oliver, 83.
Actor Windsor Davies, 88.
BBC presenter Dianne Oxberry, 51. (cancer)
Chemist Stewart Adams, 95, developer of ibuprofen.
Footballer Emiliano Sala, 28.   (Plane crash)
Singer James Ingram, 66.

Big freeze hits UK.
Snow closes hundreds of schools across Wales and south of England.
Duke of Edinburgh agrees to stop driving.
Equine flu halts racing calendar.
8 MPs quit Labour party over Jeremy Corbyn.
3 Tories follow suit over Brexit ‘no deal’ threat.
Knife crime reaches its highest UK level on record. (Office for National Statistics)
Flybmi blames Brexit for its collapse.
IS schoolgirl Shamima Begum has British citizenship withdrawn.
End of February ‘unseasonably warm’.

Gone beyond
Comedian Jeremy Hardy, 57. (The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation)  cancer.
Actor Clive Swift, 82. (Keeping up Appearances)
Actor Albert Finney, 82.
Rapper Cadet, 28. (Road accident)
Actor Carmen Argenziano, 75. (Stargate)
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, 85.
Former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, 81. (Leicester City, Stoke City, national team)
Dick Churchill, 99. (British RAF squadron leader, last survivor of the Great Escape)
Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police John Stalker, 79.
Paul Flynn, 84. (MP for Newport West)
Monkee Peter Tork, 77.
Conductor composer André Previn, 89.

Ethiopian Airlines crash kills 157.
Boeing 737 Max planes grounded.
House of Commons rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal again.
Speaker John Bercow says she can’t have a third vote without changing the offer.
An online e-petition calling on the government to revoke Brexit Article 50 reaches 5,000,000 signatures.
A million people march for ‘People’s Vote’ in London.
Theresa May submits a third, updated offer and is rejected again.
Soldier faces prosecution over Bloody Sunday.

Passed on
Mountaineers Tom Ballard, 30 and Daniele Nardi, 42. (Lost on Nanga Parbat)
Actor Luke Perry, 52.
Prodigy singer Keith Flint, 49.
Walker Brother Scott, 76,
Philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock, 94.
Television presenter Magenta Devine, 61, (Rough Guide, Network 7)

Brexit row rumbles on.
Ex UKIP leader Nigel Farage launches the Brexit Party.
Climate change action group Extinction Rebellion causes transport chaos in London.
Hottest April day on record (25C)
Huge fire at Notre Dame in Paris.

Joined the choir eternal
John McEnery, 75, British actor
Trainspotting actor Bradley Welsh, 48. (shooting)
Songwriter Les Reed, 83  (It’s Not Unusual, Delilah, The Last Waltz)
CBBC star Mya-Lecia Naylor, 16.
David Winters, 80, English-American actor and choreographer (West Side Story).
Dick Rivers, 74, French rock and roll singer (Les Chats Sauvages), cancer.

The Duchess of Sussex gives birth to a son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
UK local elections bring gains for Lib Dems and Greens.
Britain gets lowest ever score in Eurovision – then gets five points taken away to finish last.
Calls for PM’s resignation over Brexit.
Jeremy Kyle show suspended after the death of a participant.
Theresa May announces her resignation from the Tory party.
Boris Johnson says he’ll run for Tory party leader.

Kicked the bucket
Broadcaster Brian Walden, 86.
Hollywood legend Doris Day, 97.
Comedian Freddie Starr, 76.
Broadcaster Nan Winton, 93.  First woman to read BBC News on television
Louvre pyramid architect I M Pei, 102.
F1 legend Niki Lauda, 70.
Actor Stephen Thorne, 84. (Z-Cars, Crossroads, Doctor Who)
First BBC woman newsreader Nan Winton, 93.

Isle of Lewis chessman found in Edinburgh house.
Liverpool defeat Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 in the first all-English UEFA Champions League Final since 2008.
US President Donald Trump pays three-day state visit to the UK.
BBC announces it will end free television licences for over-75s from June 2020.
First person in the UK convicted of illegally manufacturing a firearm using a 3D printer.
Heavy rain causes chaos in UK.
Met Office records hottest June day for 40 years. (34C)
Brexit party sweeps the board in Euro elections.
D-Day 75th anniversary marked with events both sides of the channel.
Theresa May steps down as prime minister.
Massive power failure plunges Argentina and Uruguay into darkness.

Snuffed it
Blake’s 7 actor Paul Darrow, 78.
UK’s oldest person Grace Jones, 112.
Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli, 96.
Jazz musician Dr John, 77.
Actor Bryan Marshall, 81. (The Spy Who Loved Me, Quatermass and the Pit, The Long Good Friday)

Big Ben is 160 years old
6.4 earthquake hits California
Warner Brothers Studio fire.
Boris Johnson wins Tory leadership contest to become PM.
Theresa May resigns and Boris Johnson takes over.
“Bloodbath” cabinet reshuffle removes all but five ministers.
5.1 earthquake hits Athens.
11.7 million viewers watch England’s  1 – 2 defeat to USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi final.
Lewis Hamilton wins a record sixth Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beats Roger Federer (Switzerland) in the longest ever Wimbledon final. (4 hours 57 minutes.)

Conked out
Horse racing pundit John McCririck, 79.
Disney star Cameron Boyce, 20. (complications from epilepsy)
Comedy actor Michael Sleggs, 33. (heart failure)
Journalist Christopher Booker, 81. (Sunday Telegraph)
Actress Denise Nickerson, 62. (Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
Actor Brendan Grace, 68. (Father Ted)
Actor Freddie Jones, 91. (Emmerdale,  Elephant Man)
Actor Rip Torn, 88. (Men in Black)
Actor Rutger Hauer, 75.
Chaser, 15, American Border Collie with the largest-tested non-human memory.

Two mass shootings kill 20 people in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and 9 in Dayton Ohio.
Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire evacuated following dam failure.
Six-year-old thrown off Tate Modern by teenager.
Research shows the Milky Way galaxy is warped.
20 hospitals to receive a share of £850m
Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale and New Mills in Derbyshire evacuated when after concrete slabs on Toddbrook Reservoir partially collapse.
Three remaining cooling towers at Didcot power station, Oxfordshire are demolished, hitting an electricity pole and leaving 40,000 homes without power.
Worldwide protests over climate change.100 MPs write to Boris Johnson for a recall of Parliament to debate concerns that the UK faces “a national emergency” over Brexit.
Video of Prince Andrew with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Hottest late August bank holiday weekend on record

Pushing up daisies
Saoirse Kennedy Hill, Granddaughter of Robert F Kennedy, 22. (Overdosed. (33.3C)
Barrington Pheloung, composer of Inspector Morse theme, 65.
Scottish golfer Gordon Brand Jnr, 60.
Kinks keyboardist Ian Gibbons, 67.
Singer and impressionist Joe Longthorne, 64.
Actor Peter Fonda, 79. (Easy Rider)
Animator and director Richard Williams, 86. (Who Framed 
Roger Rabbit)
Bass guitarist Larry Taylor, 77. (Canned Heat)
Actress Sheila Steafel, 84.
Screenwriter Terrance Dicks, 84. (Doctor Who, Crossroads, Space: 1999)
Actress Valerie Harper, 80. (Mary Tyler Moore Show)

Brexit row grinds on.
Pound falls below $1.20 – its lowest since October 2016.
Boris’s brother resigns as an MP.
Boris’s call for a general election in October fails.
Court wrangling over whether proroguing parliament is legal. Supreme Court decides it isn’t.
American woman says she had sex with Prince Andrew as a 17-year-old. He denies it.
Government forced to publish Brexit no-deal contingency plan, Operation Yellowhammer.
Travel company Thomas Cook collapses after 178 years in business.
BBC row over Naga Munchetty reponse to Trump racism.

Gone to meet their maker
Singer Ric Ocasek, 75. (The Cars)
Former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, 95.
Former French president Jacques Chirac, 86.
BBC News journalist Hanna Yusuf, 27.
Actress Jean Heywood, 98. (When the Boat Comes In, Our Day Out, Billy Elliot)

Office for National Statistics says 726 homeless people died in last year. The highest number on record.
Stabbings in Arndale Centre, Manchester.
London bans Extinction Rebellion protests.
John Bercow resigns.
Grenfell Tower report criticises fire service.

Six feet under
Opera soprano Jessye Norman, 74.
British journalist and broadcaster Peter Sissons, 77.
American actress Diahann Carroll, 84.  (Julia, Dynasty, Claudine)
Actor Stephen Moore, 81. (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Drummer Ginger Baker, 80. (Cream, Blind Faith)
Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, 85. (Voskhod 2, first person to walk in space.)
Rock singer and guitarist Paul Barrere, 71. (Little Feat)

Immediate end to fracking in the UK.
Fracking ban might not be permanent.
18 female MPs say they won’t seek re-election because of threats and abuse.
“Biblical” rainfall levels cause more than 100 flood warnings across the Midlands and northern England.
Mothercare goes bust.
Prince Andrew steps down from public engagements as pressure builds.
Police shoot dead a terrorism suspect on London Bridge. Two others killed and five injured in knife attack.

Had a good innings
TV presenter Gay Byrne, 85. (The Late Late Show)
Actor Ian Cullen, 80. (Z Cars)
Irish actor Niall Tóibín, 89.
Photographer Terry O’Neill, 81.
Actor Michael J Pollard, 80. (Bonnie and Clyde)
Australian-born broadcaster and writer Clive James, 80.
Chef Gary Rhodes, 59.
Theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller, 85.
Shoe designer Terry de Havilland, 81.
Veteran Labour politician Frank Dobson, 79.

At least 18 dead after volcano erupts in New Zealand.
General election Tory landslide.
SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon calls for independence referendum.
Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg named Time magazine Person of the Year.
Trump throws his dummy out of the pram.
Last-minute Strictly Come Dancing entrant Kelvin Fletcher lifts the glitter ball trophy.
Australia has hottest days on record, approaching 50C.
Wildfires sweep through Australia.

Code black
Actor Rene Auberjonois, 79. (Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Benson, M.A.S.H.)
Sesame Street‘s Big Bird puppeteer Caroll Spinney, 85.
Australian musician Greedy Smith, 63. (Mental as Anything)
Cricketer Bob Willis, 70.
Rapper Juice Wrld, 21.
Battle of Britain pilot Maurice Mounsdon, 101.
Botanist and naturalist David Bellamy, 86.
The Rev. David Coles, 42. (Partner of Richard Coles, Vicar of Finedon.)
Actor Nicky Henson, 74.
Singer and entertainer Kenny Lynch, 81.
Actor Tony Britton, 95. (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Day of the Jackal)

Brighton Pavilion

In the 1780s architect Henry Holland converted an old farmhouse near the sea front in Brighton to be a pleasure villa. That building was altered, on the instructions of George (Prince Regent, later George IV) to become a glorious folly in which he could entertain guests. Work began in 1815 under the instructions of John Nash, but it was not until 1823 that the final flourishes were added to the building.

The site already had a domed structure in the form of the Stables, created in the early 1800s in the then fashionable “Hindoo” style. The design bore little or no resemblance to true Indian architecture and was rather more a dream of what England thought India was like – or should be like. In 1809 the fiirst Indian restaurant opened in London but it was never a huge success and closed three years later. All things Indian and “Hindoo” were therefore already falling from fashion when George gave the style his support.

While the exterior of the building is based on Indian influences, even if loosely, the interior is decidedly Chinese. Once again, however, the artists and craftsmen involved in its production knew very little about the country and the overall result is a dream of how they believed it was, rather than reality. Lots of dragons and bamboo but very little restraint. Overall the result is the architectural equivalent of a wedding cake – over dressed on the outside and extremely cloying on the inside. However, it is typical of Brighton, the home of Aubrey Beardsley.

In his BBC2 series Abroad Again in Britain historian Jonathan Meades pointed out that the building was never at the height of fashion and was certainly nothing like the commonly-accepted Regency style. He also called it an “ode to excess” and said: “It’s so rich it’s almost emetic”. That is probably true. It is, however, typical of George – Prince of Wales, Regent and dandy – overblown and extravagant.

H M Coastguard – a history

HM Coastguard has a history dating back more than 200 years. In the 18th century many goods were transported by ship around the coasts of the UK because there was no effective road network overland. But the hazardous conditions meant that many lives were lost, often within sight of the coast.

Several life saving organisations were established to combat the problem but the Exchequer was more concerned with another problem. The shipping system was open to abuse and there was ample opportunity for smuggling. Duty was imposed on many imported goods such as brandy, silk, tea and tobacco.So the tax office set up a customs house in each port with staff who could search cargoes and collect import dues.

Nevertheless, smuggling was still rife. By 1743 it was estimated that half of the tea drunk in Britain was brought into the country illegally. In 1809 the Board of Customs set up a Preventative Water Guard to combat the problem.

They patrolled the coast in small boats looking out for smugglers. In 1816 their organisation was taken over by the Treasury and had 151 stations in 31 districts. Staff were all experienced naval sailors or fishermen.

By the 1820s officers were expected to monitor wrecks to ensure that cargoes were safe from looting. In 1821 a committee of inquiry looked at the customs service and the Preventative Water Guard was renamed the Coast Guard but its primary function was still as a customs force.

Soon after, however, the Admiralty began issuing new uniforms and safety gear as well as training the force in safety drill. In 1856 the Coast Guard Act was passed and defined the force’s primary function as being safety, rather than tax collection.

In 1808 Captain Manby experimented with firing mortars to carry rescue lines to ships. The first practical rescue was of the Elizabeth, which was 150 yards offshore.

The first RNLI gold medal for gallantry was issued in 1824 to Charles Freemantle of Lymington Coastguard who swam with a line to rescue the crew of the Carl Jean off Christchurch.

Timeline 1900 – 1914

Timeline index

Marquess of Queensbury (boxing rules) dies

Creation of the Labour Party

Relief of Mafeking

Paris International Exhibition – Metro system opens

Campaign for pure beer

Coca-Cola arrives in the UK

Oscar Wilde dies

Planck proposes quantum theory

Arthur Evans starts work at

Blood types A, B & C discovered

Sigmund Freud publishes “The Interpretation of Dreams”

Queen Victoria dies


Toulouse-Lautrec dies

Boxing legalised

Walt Disney born (d.1966)


Nobel Prizes first awarded

Willhelm Roentgen wins Nobel Physics prize for discovery of X-rays

Gillette launches first disposable razor

1st diesel motor car goes on show in UK

1st Transatlantic wireless message sent by Guglielmo Marconi

Masefield’s “Salt-Water Ballads

End of Boer War

Ban on women bar staff in Glasgow overturned by appeal court

New York State bans flirting in public

Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”

HG Wells’s “The First Men on the Moon”

Conan-Doyle revives Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles”

Emile Zola dies

London smallpox outbreak brings calls for national vaccination programme

1st special effects movie “A Trip to the Moon” produced by George Melies

Barbituric acid (sleeping pills) patented

Tour de France cycle race launched

Paul Gaugin dies

James McNeill Whistler dies

Barbara Hepworth (sculptor) born (d.1975)

George Orwell born (d. 1950)

Wilber and Orville Wright make first powered flight

Richard Gatling dies

Kew Bridge opens over River Thames

London’s first electric trams

Marie Curie wins Nobel Prize

Henry Morton Stanley dies

Salvador Dali born (d.1989)

1st attempt at talking pictures

Metropolitan Underground line electrified in London

Automobile Association founded

Dr Thomas John Barnardo dies

Jules Verne dies

Einstein’s Miracle year including Special Theory of Relativity

First successful cornea transplant takes place in Olomouc (Czech

Mt Vesuvius erupts

San Francisco earthquake

Paul Cezanne dies

Henrik Ibsen dies

Position of magnetic north established

Pierre Curie dies in road accident

Sonar invented

1st picture transmitted by telegraph

Finland elects worlds first women MPs

Rudyard Kipling gets Nobel Prize for literature

Herge born (Creator of Tintin. d.1983)

Baden-Powell forms the Boy Scout movement

Edvard Grieg (Norwegian composer) dies

Pavlov’s dogs experiment
Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”

W G Grace plays his last season

NSPCC founder Rev Benjamin Waugh dies

Jack Johnson becomes the first black world heavyweight boxer

First Model T Ford

1st person to die in a plane crash is Lt Thomas Selfridge (26)

Ernest Rutherford wins Nobel chemistry prize

Physicist Henri Becquerel dies

1st closed top double decker buses arrive in Widnes

1st old age pension paid in the UK  – 5/- a week

Bakelite first manufactured commercially

Louis Bleriot is first man to fly across the Channel

Crippen hanged

Girl Guides formed

Mount Etna erupts

Edward VII dies

Florence Nightingale dies

Mark Twain dies (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Holman Hunt dies

Leo Tolstoy dies

Wicken Fen drainage engine built

Marie Curie isolates pure radium

The Daylight Comet
Return of Halley’s Comet

Royal Liver Building, Liverpool built

“Spirit of Ecstasy” figurine commissioned for Rolls-Royce

Work completed on saving Winchester Cathedral from the “flood”

Joseph Pulitzer (journalist and publisher) dies

Middlesborough Transporter
Bridge opens

Marie Curie receives (her second) Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Both boats sink in University Boat Race

First aeroplane parachute jump made

Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) founded

1st Keystone Cops film

Samuel Taylor Coleridge dies

Titanic sinks

Marconi invents wireless compass

Continental drift theory proposed by Alfred Wegener

Joseph Lister (antiseptic pioneer) dies

Suffragette Emily Davison dies

Robert Falcon Scott and team found dead in Antarctica

Panama Canal opens

Edison invents telephone recorder

First World War starts

Sir John Tenniel (Alice illustrator) dies

Edison patents electric miners’ safety lamp

Eyam – the plague village

In 1665 a bolt of cloth was delivered from London to the Derbyshire village of Eyam. The cloth was damp, and it was infested with plague carrying fleas.

Within days residents were dying, and the village took the courageous decision to cut itself off from the rest of the world to prevent the disease from spreading.

By November the next year 260 of the villages had died – but no-one outside the village had contracted the plague.

Only one of the victim is buried in the churchyard – the vicar’s wife. The rest were buried around the village, in their gardens and away from the centre, in a bid to stop the disease from spreading.

The nursery rhyme Ring a Ring a Roses is believed to have been inspired by the plague. It describes the symptoms – red blisters and sneezing – and the posies of flowers that people carried to ward off the illness.  The perfume of flowers was believed to protect you from infection – just one of the strange ideas of the time.

Others included walnuts steeped in wine; barberries (fruit of the berberis) dried, powdered, then mixed with vinegar; or stripping the feathers from the tail of a pigeon and rubbing the bare skin on the red sores. The pigeon died in the process!

Timeline 1850-1899

Timeline index

architectual drawing
Salt’s Mill elevation
Wm Wordsworth dies

Tennyson becomes Poet Laureate

Peterborough Railway Bridge opens

Cast iron railway bridge opened in Newcastle

Britannia Bridge opens across Menai Straits

JMW Turner dies

John James Audubon dies

Saltaire construction begun

Great Exhibition

Isaac Singer produces the first sewing machine

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Great Western Royal Hotel opens in Paddington

Kew Waterlily House built

Augustus Pugin dies

Physicist Henri Becquerel born
Vincent Van Gogh born

Levi Strauss sells jeans to US miners

Scarborough market hall

Salt’s Mill opens at Saltaire

Smallpox vaccination made compulsory
Crimean War » 1856

Battles of Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman

Charge of the Light Brigade

Florence Nightingale arrives at Scutari

William West dies

British Medical Association founded
Daily Telegraph founded 1855

Ellen Terry appears on stage for the 1st time

End of Crimean War

Oscar Wilde born

George Bernard Shaw born

Sigmund Freud born


2nd Opium War

Indian Mutiny

Victoria and Albert Museum opens

“The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands” published

Great Western dismantled

Brunel’s Tamar Bridge Opened

The Great Stink – London
Netherton Tunnel opens

Delph “Nine” Locks reconstructed

Donati’s Comet

John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”

George Eliot’s “Adam Bede”

Jerome K Jerome born

Arthur Conan Doyle born


Darwin‘s “Origin of Species”

Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge opens at Saltash

I K Brunel dies

Abraham Lincoln made US president
British Association for the
Advancement of Science meets at Oxford
Henry Bessemer patents the converter to make steel from iron
Prince Albert dies

Hawley Harvey Crippen born

First horse-drawn trams in London

Daily weather forecasts

Henry David Thoreau dies

George Borrow’s “Wild Wales”

John Merrick born


Edvard Munch born » 1944

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec born

Tom King becomes the first world heavyweight boxing champion

Runcorn Railway Bridge opens

Blackpool North Pier opens

Work starts on London

Albert Memorial built

Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

Eugene Delacroix (artist) dies

Poet John Clare dies in Northampton Asylum


Diamonds discovered in South Africa

Ford Madox Brown’s Work exhibited for the first time

Abraham Lincoln  assassinated

Isabella Beeton dies

Joseph Paxton dies

Scarborough Valley Bridge opens

Aberystwyth Pier opens

Beatrix Potter born

J W Penfold designs the red pillarbox

Great Eastern lays the first
transatlantic cable
Brighton West Pier built
Lime juice ration becomes a legal requirement in the merchant navy to fight scurvy

Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial first produced by Lauchlan Rose

First bicycle built

Nobel produces dynamite

Michael Faraday dies

Flogging in peacetime and transporation abolished

Last public execution outside Newgate Prison, London

Charles Rennie Mackintosh born (d.1928)


Imprisonment for debt abolished
Suez Canal opens

Cutty Sark launched


Periodic Table of the
Elements devised

Charles Dickens dies

1st Dr Barnado’s Home opens

Loughborough gets its first public water supply
Stanley finds Livingstone

Bank Holidays introduced

Royal Albert Hall opens

Souter Lighthouse built

Ernest Rutherford born

Charles Babbage dies

Aubrey Beardsley born

Piet Mondrian born (d. 1944)

Wm Heath Robinson born


Sir Edwin Landseer dies

Derby’s first public swimming pool

Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days”

Colour photographs first developed

Horse-drawn tram system opens in Sheffield

Levi Strauss patents blue jeans
Barbed wire invented by Joseph Glidden

Caudwell’s Mill built

Hans Christian Andersen dies

Samuel Taylor Coleridge born

John Buchan born (d.1940  “39 Steps” “Prester John”)

Capt Matthew Webb swins the English Channel

Bizet’s “Carmen” first performed

Anderton Boat Lift opens

London’s sewer system

Excavation begins at
Creswell Crags

Victoria proclaimed
Empress of India
Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”Compulsory school  attendance in the UKTitus Salt dies

Custer’s Last Stand

Plimsoll Line introduced

Death of Samuel Plimsoll

Bell patents the telephone

Bissell patents the carpet sweeper

Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India
Edison invents the phonograph

Fox Talbot dies

John Masefield born

Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”

Salvation Army named

Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore”

George Gilbert Scott dies

Swan demonstrates the electric lightbulb

Downham Market clock erected

Invention of the microphone

Bournville construction begun
Albert Einstein born
Forth Bridge (railway bridge) construction beginsBlackpool installs the world’s first electric arc street lighting
» 1897
George Eliot dies

1st Boer War

First cricket Test Match between England and Australia

Giles Gilbert Scott born

Jacob Epstein (sculptor) born (d.1959)

Start of Arts and Crafts


First street lighting in New York
Thomas Carlyle dies (Scottish essayist and historian)

Pablo Picasso born. (d.1973)

Mary Seacole dies

Ernest Bevin born (d. 1951 WWII politician introduced “Bevin Boys” miners)

Natural History Museum opens in South Kensington, London
Eric Gill (sculptor) born
Charles Darwin dies
Fitzgerald dies

Edouard Manet (painter) dies

Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”

Matthew Webb dies

Brighton West Pier extended

First skyscraper built (10 storeys) in Chicago

The Great English Earthquake
Gregor Mendel dies

Edwin A Abbott’s “Flatland”

Papplewick Pumping Station opens

Eugenius Birch dies

General Gordon dies at
Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”
Louis Pasteur dies
Thomas Hardy’s “Mayor of
Statue of Liberty dedicated
Thomas Burrow’s apology

Clarence Birdseye, inventor of the deep-freeze process, born

Victoria’s Golden

LS Lowry born » 1976Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton builtRupert Brooke born in Rugby, Warwickshire.(d.1915)Sherlock Homes first appears in “A Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Bloody Sunday  (Demonstration in Trafalgar Sq for the release of Irish Nationalist William O’Brien. Dispersed by police)

Esperanto international language invented

Barnes Wallis born in Ripley, Derbyshire. Inventor of the “bouncing bomb” (d.1979)

Coal Mines Regulation Act prevents boys under 13 working below ground

De Beers Consolidated Mines established at Kimberley, South Africa

Jack the Ripper murders

Port Sunlight begun

Financial Times first

Edward Lear dies

John Boyd Dunlop patents the pneumatic tyre

Electric chair first used in New York

George Eastman introduces the Kodak box camera

Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat”

Federal laws introduced in the US to protect the buffalo

Southend Pier built

Paris Exhibition – Eiffel
Tower completed

Igor Sikorsky – helicopter pioneer – born

Institution of Electrical Engineers founded

Vincent Van Gogh
commits suicide
Queen Victoria grants Crown Derby the right to add “Royal” to its nameJohn Merrick diesMassacre at Wounded Knee
First moving pictures shown in New York


Forth Bridge opens

Oscar Wilde publishes “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” 1891
Zips invented
Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures of Sherlock
J R R Tolkien born (d. 1973)Walt Whitman diesThomas Cook (Travel agent) diesLiverpool University’s Victoria Building completed
Bridgnorth Funicular Railway opens

John William Alcock born. (d.1919

Alcock and Brown were the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic – 1919)

Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit”

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”


Ford Madox Brown dies
New Zealand gives women the vote
Sheffield granted city staus
Wilfred Owen born in Oswestry, Shropshire (d. 1918)


Henry Ford’s first automobile produced

Tower Bridge, London completed

Blackpool Tower opens

Marconi’s first radio message

National Trust founded

H G Wells’s “The Time Machine”

T.H Huxley dies

Rontgen discovers X rays

William Morris dies

Sir John Everett Millais dies

Dante Gabriel Rossetti dies

Daily Mail newspaper founded

Kew Gardens employs women gardeners for the first time

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
Nobel Prizes first announced >> 1901
Tate Gallery opens in London
Blackpool’s first illuminations

Discovery of the electron

Edward Burne-Jones dies
Samuel Plimsoll dies

Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium

Liverpool University opens the world’s first School of Tropical Medicine

UK’s first speeding fine
imposed in Northampton

Noel Coward born (d. 1973) Ernest Hemingway born (d. 1961)
L Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Bassett’s Liquorice
Allsorts “invented”
Start of Boer War
Aspirin registered as a trade mark

Brighton Pier opens

Electric trams introduced in Sheffield



Timeline 1800-1849

Timeline index

stone wall with arches
Moira limekilns


William Cowper (poet and hymn writer) dies
Alessandro Volta invents the first chemical battery

Fox Talbot born

William Herschel discovers infrared radiation

Union with Ireland – Union Flag adopted

First official British Census (population of England 8.3 million)

Peace with France

Peel introduces first Factory Legislation

Sir Edwin Landseer born

Thomas Girtin (English painter) dies

Madame Tussaud  arrives in UK

West  India Docks completed in London

Erasmus Darwin dies


John Dalton produces atomic theory and tables of atomic weights

Telford builds the road through the Highlands

Napoleonic War

Titus Salt born

Enclosure Act

Joseph Paxton born

Caledonian Canal opens

Robert Stephenson born

George Romney (English painter) dies

Napoleon declared
Emperor of France

Royal Horticultural Society founded

1804 Joseph Priestley dies

The Great Comet

Closure of Moira Furnace

Battle of Trafalgar –
Death of NelsonMary Seacole born

Hans Christian Andersen born

Grand Junction Canal completed
George Stubbs (painter – well known for animal pictures) dies
East India Docks completed in London

Trevithick’s railway completed at Coalbrookdale

I K Brunel born

Francis Beaufort devises the wind force scale

Lamb’s “Tales from Shakespeare”
Royal Military Canal opens
Thomas Cook (Travel agent) born
Captain Manby experiments with maritime rescue lines
Edward Fitzgerald born

Preventative Water Guard formed (Early coastguard)

Haydn dies

Matthew Boulton dies

Charles Darwin born

George III becomes
George (PoW) made Prince Regent

Throckmorton Coat made

George Gilbert Scott born

Luddite disturbances in Notts and Yorks
Charles Dickens born

Edward Lear born 

Parthenon Marbles shipped to London

Napoleon marches on Moscow

Brighton Pavilion begun

Augustus Pugin born




Foxton Locks open
Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”

Nash begins work on Regent Street

Wooten Wawen aqueduct opens

Gun Barrel Proof House opens in Birmingham

Street lighting installed in St Margaret’s Parish, Westminster
Battle of Waterloo
Tardebigge Locks open

Blisworth to Northampton branch canal opens

Waterloo Bridge, Betws-y-Coed built

Humphrey Davy invents the miners’ safety lamp

Jane Austen’s “Emma” 1816
“The Scotsman” newspaper founded

William Bligh dies

Henry David Thoreau born


Mary Shelley’s  “Frankenstein”

US-Canada border established at 49th parallel

Institution of Civil Engineers founded with Telford as president

Eugenius Birch born

Vulcan ship built

Cantlop Bridge plans drawn

Queen Victoria born

Albert (later Prince Albert) born

George Eliot born

John Ruskin born

Walt Whitman born

Peterloo Massacre

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds opens

Picadilly Circus built in London

James Watt dies

Canal system reaches Sheffield

George III dies

Accession George IV

Sir John Tenniel (Alice illustrator) born

Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound”

John Keats dies

Ford Madox Brown born

Percy Bysshe Shelley dies

Antonio Canova (sculptor) dies

Royal Academy of Music founded

Gregor Mendel born
Oxford Union Society founded

Rugby first played at the public school

Work begins on British Museum extension buildings (current structure)  >> 1847

Pimm’s invented

Brighton Pavilion completed


Edmund Cartwright dies

Edward Jenner dies

Charles Babbage starts work on the first “computer”

Charles Macintosh invents
waterproof fabric

Byron dies

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded in UK

First RNLI gold medal
for gallantry issued

Samuel Plimsoll born
Trade Unions
Stockton & Darlington railway completed

Thomas Henry (T.H.) Huxley born

Telford completes Menai Bridge

Joseph Arch born (d.1922)

1st Edition Burke’s Peerage published

Longstone Lighthouse built


Holman Hun(painter) born

William Blake dies

Beethoven dies

Burke and Hare murders begin >> 1829

Scarborough Spa Bridge opens

Joseph Lister (antiseptic pioneer) born

Ohm’s Law established

Dante Gabriel Rossetti born

Jules Verne born

Leo Tolstoy born

Henrik Ibsen born

Zoological Society of London opens zoo in Regent’s Park
Catholic emancipation

Millais born

Metropolitan Police formed

Rotunda Museum opens in Scarborough

Barclay imports first Cavendish banana plant

William Burke hanged

Robert Abbot dies


Galton Bridge opens over Telford’s canal at Smethwick

Humphry Davy dies


George IV dies

Accession William IV

Camille Pissarro (painter) born

1st cholera epidemic » 1832

Faraday begins work on electricity

Darwin’s 1st voyage on Beagle

Isle of Lewis chess set found
London Bridge opens

Sir James Clark Ross discovers position of magnetic North Pole

Henry Maudslay dies

Faraday demonstrates
electromagnetic induction

Edouard Manet (painter) born

End of 1st cholera
epidemic » 1848

G F Muntz patents Muntz’s Metal
Factory Act limits
child labourSlavery abolished in British Empire

Edward Burne-Jones born

William Wilberforce dies

Birmingham Town Hall completed

Mold cape discovered

Richard Trevithick dies
Coleridge dies

Dickens’s “Sketches by Boz”

Poor Law amendment introduces Union Workhouses

Tolpuddle Martyrs transported

William Morris born

Edgar Degas (painter) born

James McNeill Whistler (painter) born

Telford dies

Chance’s Glassworks  established

Charles Babbage develops the analytic engine

Mark Twain born (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first children’s story

John Nash dies

First civil marriages allowed in Britain

Sheffield’s botanical gardens open

William IV dies

Accession of Queen Victoria

John Constable dies

Isabella Beeton born


Brunel’sGreat Western launched
Public Record Office
establishedGrace and William Darling rescue survivors from the Forfarshire

National Gallery opens in London

Robert Stephenson’s London & Birmingham Railway opens

First public demonstration of the electric telegraph by Samuel Morse

1st Opium War

Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin begin work on the new Houses of
Parliament in London

Pugin’s St Mary’s Church completed in Derby

NSPCC founder Rev Benjamin Waugh born

Paul Cezanne born

Fox Talbot‘s first photographs

Derby gets a railway line

Sheffield gets a railway line

Penny post introduced by Sir Rowland Hill

Charles Dickens publishes The Old Curiosity Shop

New Zealand proclaimed a British colony

Beau Brummel dies penniless in France

Victoria marries Albert

Saxophone invented

Kew Gardens opens

The Rebecca Riots

Derby gets a new town hall

John Sell Cotman dies

George Bassett sets up his confectionery business in Sheffield >> 1899

Wordsworth becomes Poet Laureate

Edvard Grieg (composer) born

United Free Church of Scotland formed

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
first published in December

Nelson’s Column erected in Trafalgar Square

Brunel’s SS Great Britain launched

“The Great Comet”

Chatsworth’s Emperor Fountain


YMCA founded

8th Marquess Queensbury (boxing rules) born

Work begins on Kew Palm House>> 1848

Morse sends first telegraphJohn Dalton dies 
Irish Famine »
Dr Thomas John Barnardo bornEdgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”
First submarine cable under the English Channel

Northampton gets its first railway line

Irish Famine »
Neptune discovered
Dickens’s “Dombey & Son”

Charlotte Bronte‘s “Jane Eyre”

Wm Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair”

Marx & Engels’s “Communist Manifesto”

British Museum completed

Joseph Pulitzer (journalist and publisher) born

Institution of Mechanical
Engineers founded with George Stephenson as presidentDee Bridge disaster

Thomas Edison born

Alexander Graham Bell born

Chloroform first used as an

Pre-Raphaelites formed

Paul Gaugin born

2nd cholera epidemic

Irish Famine

Hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful” written in Dunster, Somerset

Kew’s Palm House completed

Matthew Webb born


Robert Stephenson’s Conway Bridge opens
of the Corn Laws

Beau Brummel dies

William Etty dies

Joseph Fry makes the first chocolate bar

Dickens’s “David Copperfield”


Moira Furnace

In 1792 a plan was launched to build a canal near Ashby de La Zouch, although the cut never actually reached the town. In 1800 the local land was enclosed and the mineral rights granted to Francis Rawdon Hastings, 2nd Earl Moira. Four years later he sank the first coal mine on his land and built a lime kiln. Work began on constructing a blast furnace. The combination was the ideal way of using all the local minerals, ironstone, limestone and coal.

However, the furnace was never a success and worked for only a total of a few months before being finally closed in 1811 after a disastrous fire that reached temperatures high enough to melt the brickwork. The associated iron foundry was a huge success on the other hand and remained in operation producing smallware until the 1850s.

The lime kilns were also a commercial success, producing quicklime for the building industry and agriculture until the 1850s. Coal mining continued in the area until the 1980s.

Moira had a brief spell as a spa in 1812 when it was decided to exploit the salt water from down the mines but the site proved unpopular so the water was later shipped to the Ivanhoe Baths in Ashby by canal and tramway.
Moira Furnace is now a listed building and preserved as a museum at the centre of a heritage park in the National Forest.