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Articles Categorized History

The Globe Theater, Then & Now

Over the years, countless English literature students have read plays by William Shakespeare and been told these plays were first performed at The Globe Theater. The Globe was one of the first theaters in London. Initially, plays were performed on street corners and in the yards of inns which I’m sure served refreshments. In 1576

The ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Directly across from the Albert Memorial, on the other side of Kensington High Street, stands a solid brick building built in keeping with Prince Albert’s dream for a central hall and a district to promote the arts and sciences.  The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the first step in making Albert’s vision a reality. When

The Albert Memorial

At the edge of Kensington Gardens on the boundary to Hyde Park stands the Albert Memorial, an incongruous and massive example of the Gothic Revival Style popular during the Victorian Age. The structure, built primarily by public subscription, honored Victoria’s consort, a man without a clear portfolio now credited with bringing the monarchy into the

Kensington Palace: A Home for Princesses & Royal Duchesses

When Victoria became queen in 1837, she immediately moved to Buckingham Palace and demoted Kensington Palace to a residence for members of her extended family and various retainers. THE DUCHESS OF TECK Mary Adelaide was George III’s granddaughter. Prohibited by royal protocol from marrying anyone who wasn’t also a royal, she was a spinster of

Kensington Palace: The First Occupants

For more years than I’m going to mention, I’ve stayed in the Kensington area of London when I travel for my urban fix and British Library research. If you’re familiar with London’s layout, you’ll quickly point out that the library is on the other side of the city. Thankfully, it’s a quick trip on The

Pay Phones, Phone Booths & Superman

Phone booths are so 20th century, but when coin-operated telephones appeared in 1889, they represented a technological breakthrough as amazing as a modern smart phone. At the time, telephones weren’t uncommon, but there were no public venues. It was possible to find an agent operating a telephone pay station. For a fee, the customer could

We All Scream for Ice Cream*

Ice cream and its cousins can be had all year round, but during these Dog Days of Summer when the temperature climbs, frozen deserts are especially welcome. Considering reliable freezers are a 20th century invention, it’s surprising how long frozen desserts have been around. In China during the Tang Dynasty, ice men produced a concoction

Summer Reads: Prominent Women Lost in Shadow

This installment of Summer Reads is a bit on the serious side, because early in the summer I’m still picking through my history reading pile. The first book is historical fiction; the second, narrative non-fiction that is partly biography, and partly a great deal of information on Elizabethan building techniques. Taken in chronological order, let’s

Luggage Luxury

Packing for a well-deserved holiday can be stressful, depending on the length of the trip and the expected activities. If all you need is a couple swimsuits, shorts, T-shirts, and maybe a long skirt for evening, there’s no problem fitting everything into a carry-on bag. But if the journey requires business casual as well as

Titanic Survivors: The Socialite, The Actress, and The “Unsinkable” Woman

At 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. At 00.25 a.m. the next morning, the Titanic sent out a distress call. At 2:20 a.m. the ship sank. At 4:00 a.m. the Carpathia began picking up the 710 survivors. This is a story about three women who traveled in first class. One