The Quirky Past

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Eiffel’s Other Icon

French engineer Gustave Eiffel created one of the most famous structures in the world. For over forty years the 300m (984ft) Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made object in the world, and it remains...

2nd June 1908 The Portable Vacuum Cleaner is Patented 0

2nd June 1908 The Portable Vacuum Cleaner is Patented

James Spangler did not enjoy his work. He was working as a janitor and cleaner in a department store in Ohio, USA. This was a far cry from his dream of being a successful...

1st June 1940 From Titanic to Dunkirk, Charles Lightoller had an Eventful Life 0

1st June 1940 From Titanic to Dunkirk, Charles Lightoller had an Eventful Life

On the morning of 1st June 1940 an old Royal Navy steam launch which had been converted into a pleasure cruiser set off across the English Channel from Ramsgate. At the helm was a...

21st May 1916 British Summer Time starts for the first time. 0

21st May 1916 British Summer Time starts for the first time.

William Willett was an early riser. He ran a successful building company and liked to fit in a horse ride before breakfast and starting work. On a summer morning in 1905, after a ride...

20th May 1892 The end of Brunel’s Broad Gauge. 0

20th May 1892 The end of Brunel’s Broad Gauge.

Fast Work On Friday 20th May 1892 over 3,500 workers took up positions alongside the main railway line running from Exeter to Falmouth. They were due to spend the weekend moving one of the...

15th May 1800 James Hadfield tries to shoot King George III 0

15th May 1800 James Hadfield tries to shoot King George III

A Shot at the Theatre On the evening of Thursday 15th May 1800 King George III visited the Drury Lane Theatre to watch a performance of a comedy called ‘She would, and she would...

13th May 1843 – I.K. Brunel – The Engineer and the coin 0

13th May 1843 – I.K. Brunel – The Engineer and the coin

The Engineer In on Monday 3rd April 1843 Isambard Kingdom Brunel was less than a week away from celebrating his 37th birthday. He was one of the most famous men alive and close to...

1st May 1927 – The First Cooked Airline Food 0

1st May 1927 – The First Cooked Airline Food

On 1st May 1927 Imperial Airways (the ancestor of British Airways) introduced a new luxury service called ‘Silver Wing’ between London and Paris. Included in the return fare of 11 Guineas (£11.55, equivalent to...