The Strange Gadgets Supplied to Resistance groups in World War Two (Part 2)

The SOE had a big section devoted to forgery. Its staff, some of them recruited directly from prison cells, produced over a quarter of a million fake documents. Most of these were individually produced for specific agents. They ranged from passports and ID cards to Travel Passes, Work Permits and currency. One of the biggest […]

Steaming Along – The erratic history of steam powered road vehicles. (Part 3)

Based in Le Mans, France, a town forever associated with motorsport, Amedee Bollee made bells for a living. However, for ten years from 1873 to 1883 he turned his attention to steam vehicles. One of them, L’Obeissante, could carry 12 passengers and it made the 140 mile journey from Le Mans to Paris in 18 […]

The Strange Gadgets Supplied to Resistance groups in World War Two (Part 1)

In July 1940 many countries in mainland Europe were occupied by Nazi forces. Britain was expecting to be invaded within months. Against this background, Winston Churchill authorised the formation of a new secret service. It was called the ‘Special Operations Executive’ or SOE for short. The aim of the SOE was to make life as […]

Steaming Along – The erratic history of steam powered road vehicles. (Part 2)

By the 1860s many different inventors were working on steam cars. Railways powered by steam locomotives were well established, so making something smaller and lighter that could run on roads seemed to be the logical next step. Henry Taylor, a watchmaker based in Quebec, produced a ‘Steam Pleasure Carriage’. This was demonstrated at Country Fairs. […]

Steaming Along – The erratic history of steam powered road vehicles. (Part 1)

Steaming Along – The erratic history of steam powered road vehicles. (Part 1) Today, when it comes to road transport, there is a slow but steady move away from the internal combustion engine and towards hybrid and electric power. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there was another challenger – steam. Steam was […]

9th May 1671 – Colonel Thomas Blood Steals the English Crown Jewels

Born in Ireland in 1618, by 1671 Thomas Blood had already had a colourful life. He initially fought for King Charles I in the English Civil War, but then switched sides and joined the Roundhead army. After the civil war he was involved in an attempt to kidnap the Duke of Ormonde from Dublin Castle […]

Warning to ET – Contains Scenes of Nudity

In November 1971, journalist Eric Burgess was visiting the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California to see the initial pictures from Mariner 9, the first spacecraft to orbit Mars. The pictures were disappointing as a huge dust storm was raging across the planet, but when Burgess was given the chance to have a look at JPL’s […]