The Fanatical 18th Century Frost Fair Flyers Who Risked Life and Limb to Become Folk Heroes

On the 2nd February 1740 a living legend with a death wish, the ‘flying man’ Robert Cadman, scaled the rope in Shrewsbury.  Cadman who was known for ultra-dangerous escapades involving sliding down ropes while operating firearms and even musical instruments, would not be living much longer. A disaster struck as his rope snapped in two, causing Cadman to fall and die. The death was ultra-brutal and as Bowen notes Cadman ended up breaking his neck as a result of the fall. Read More >>

How Victorian Ghosts Went on a Drunken Furniture Rampage

Lots of you have likely heard things going bump in the night, something people like to attribute to the activities of ghosts and other supernatural beings. But for the Victorians, the idea of ‘ghosts’ wasn't so much that they just made the odd creak here and there; they actively tried to destroy your house. These were not one or two tortured souls, but an entire spectral army which seemed to be fuelled by the unfair economic conditions of the period. And also alcohol. Read More >>

The Ridiculous and Sometimes Deadly History of Farting in England

In 1784 Charles James Fox, the inaugural foreign secretary and political celebrity who somehow had his own band of groupies, wrote a strange piece of work. This was not to be on political treatises or statesmanship but instead bore the title The Benefit of Farting. As strange as that sounds, it was somewhat fitting given that Fox’s rival, Prime Minister William Pitt, was often mocked in sketches featuring farting. Read More >>

Sometimes Scandal Can Improve a Prospective PM, as Shown by Stanley Baldwin’s School-Time Porn Drama

Stanley Baldwin might not be a name that comes to mind when you think of prime ministers, not like Churchill or Disraeli anyway. Yet Baldwin helped define the interwar period of the 1920s and ‘30s, and proved himself to be one of the most powerful figures in British politics. Baldwin led his party to victory three times, and was even powerful enough to cause Churchill to hesitate to take him on politically.  Read More >>

London is No Stranger to Housing Shortages, and The Great Fire Caused One of the Worst

In 1735 a dramatic escape from Newgate Prison took place in which the secretive and dastardly highwayman – known by the names Phillips, Clark and Matthews, despite actually being only one person – managed to break out of his cell. The scoundrel took advantage of the labyrinthian array of houses that characterised London to hide from authorities and aid in his eventual disappearance. Read More >>

Why Did Henry VIII Try to Ban Football?

Football might be the beautiful game but it’s had  a very turbulent past. This was definitely the case in the Tudor era where football was  considered to be a violent street game plagued by severe injury and death. Read More >>

The Dogs That Stopped an 18th Century Crime Wave

Dogs have long been considered man’s best friend, but it wasn't until the 18th century that they truly secured that honour. All by doing one of the things dogs do best: stopping burglars and saving their owners a fortune. Read More >>

How the Royal Flying Corps’ ‘Superman’ ‘Image Masked a Crisis of Nervous Disorders During WWI

As the Great War was concerned there are few figures glamorised more than the fighter pilots of the Royal Flying Corps. As ‘knights of the skies’, fighter pilots were immortalised as full of derring-do and 'can do' spirit. Anyone who’s enjoyed the irreverence of Blackadder Goes Forth will remember the flying ace Lord Flashheart and his enormous ego. He may have been a braggart, but he is indefatigable and his actions match his words. Read More >>

Teapot Terror: The Tale of the Stockwell Ghost

Ghosts are associated with many things, disturbed murder victims, demonic forces, but not usually tea pots. Well, the same can’t be said for the flying teapot-centric haunting in Stockwell of 6-7th January 1772. While most hauntings tend to happen at night, this one began at 10am in the morning with a crash of crockery. Read More >>