Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland
in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel
, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE
that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars
just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Aug 6, 2006 -
"If you really thought about where you were going and what you were doing you'd either be shit scared or you wouldn't go there. We're shit shovellers. Some of the jobs I do a high percentage of the country would turn around and say: 'Poke that up yer arse mate as far as you can put it.'" The history of London's sewers
. The craptacular sewerhistory.org
. More entries in the Night Haunts series
posted by OmieWise
on Jul 13, 2006 -
Ever wondered what old amounts of money would be worth today?
Or what you could buy with your current salary if you went back 200, 400, or 600 years? Now you can find out with a tool that converts English currency from 1270 onwards into today's prices. Based on Treasury records, it tells you that Mr Darcy's £10,000 a year would now be worth nearly £350,000, or that your house would only have to be worth the equivalent of £500 now to qualify for the vote after 1832.
posted by greycap
on Jun 28, 2006 -
Pickles - The dog who won the World Cup.
There were two amazing events that happened in London in 1966 that focused on the Jules Rimet Trophy (aka The World Cup): 1: England won
; 2. the 15 inch, solid gold trophy tall was stolen, held to ransom
, and then discovered in a bush by a dog called Pickles
The English FA had commisioned a base metal replica
, which - after the Queen awarded the trophy to Bobby Moore
- was substituted for the priceless trophy in the England dressing room, when a copper swapped it
with legendary Manchester United & England fullback Nobby Stiles
. That was the one which toured the country over the next few years - not the the real one.
The replica was sold £254,000 by Sothebys in 1997... to FIFA
, whereas the original was stolen again in Brazil
, and has never been seen since. The replica is on long term loan to the National Football Museum
in Preston, Lancashire - though they don't always tell you
: it's a fake
posted by dash_slot-
on Jun 5, 2006 -
All I have to do is change my name to Peyton,
motivate my girlfriend to marry me and have a baby, and hey presto! young Peyton will receive a six-figure scholarship to Brighton College
in England, explains the BBC because the college can't fulfil the bequest by former pupil Derek Wakehurst Peyton. Brighton looks a nice place
so roll up all Peytons, the college principal is spreading "the net wider to the United States, Australia and beyond." Second thoughts ... maybe simpler for me simply to motivate her to change her name ...
posted by Schroder
on Mar 6, 2006 -
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail.
Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château
, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere
. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code
Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code
. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont
on Sep 16, 2005 -
You say bodyline
, I say leg theory
. Either way, the origins of one of sport's most enduring rivalries (leading to a near diplomatic crisis) make for a fascinating read to the budding cricket enthusiast. No wonder people turned out in their thousands
to queue in the early hours for the final day of another nail-biting test. It's turning into a hell of an ashes series
posted by nthdegx
on Aug 15, 2005 -
The Williamson Tunnels
"The explanation most commonly offered [for the construction of the tunnels] is that having risen from humble beginnings, the rich retired merchant was touched by the poverty which pervaded the Edge Hill district and offered construction labour to the unemployed as a gesture of generosity"
posted by dhruva
on Aug 2, 2005 -
Police evacuate Birmingham centre
West Midlands police have evacuated the second largest city in England tonight as a precautionary measure. Sky News are reporting
that a series of controlled explosions (I heard on Sky News TV that one of these was on a bus, but this may be innacurate) have been carried out in the Broad Street area.
I hope that any and all UK MeFi-ites in Birmingham are keeping sane through out all this.
posted by tomcosgrave
on Jul 9, 2005 -
Oh! that I were a T---d, a T---d,
Hid in this secret Place,
That I might see my Betsy's A----,
Though she sh--t me in my Face.
(Written under this in a Woman's Hand)
'Tis Pity but you had your Wish, E. W.
Boghouse (public toilet) poetry from 18th century london.
posted by Kickstart70
on Jun 26, 2005 -
(mostly pictures, slightly more info here
). One car, two men, three decades of rust. Guy buys truly hideous 1957 prototype car from junkyard, restores it to gleaming unsightliness. Conne_ticut?
posted by planetkyoto
on Mar 30, 2005 -
What do Norman Cook (AKA Fat Boy Slim), Lord (Richard) Attenborough, Aubrey Beardsley, Lord (Laurence) Olivier, Sir Winston Churchill, Magnus Volk, Dame Anna Neagle, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Rowland Hill
and Annie Nightingale,
have in common?
They've all had a bus named after them [full list here]
in the city of Brighton & Hove on the south coast of England. In Jamaica the buses are named a little more irreverently
but this whole naming tradition doesn't seem to be as popular as naming trains with the late Joe Strummer
one of the latest in a long line. Pix of the Stummer train here. [Scroll down a bit.]
Anyone live in a place where they name their buses? Or other inanimate objects?
posted by i_cola
on Mar 18, 2005 -
The Mitchell and Kenyon collection
consists of 800 rolls of nitrate film documenting scenes of everyday life in England between 1900 and 1913. This extraordinary archive, now painstakingly restored
by the British Film Institute, includes footage of trams, soup kitchens, factory gates, football matches, seaside holidays and much else besides. Here are some sample images
and a short clip of workers at a Lancashire colliery
, all astonishingly evocative and reminiscent (to me) of Philip Larkin's poem MCMXIV
: 'The crowns of hats, the sun / On moustachioed archaic faces / Grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark .. Never such innocence, / Never before or since .. Never such innocence again.'
posted by verstegan
on Jan 7, 2005 -
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
is published today, in print and online: a biographical record of everyone who's ever been anyone in British history (50,000 individuals) and an astonishing feat of scholarly collaboration (10,000 contributors from all over the world). Access to the full database is fearfully expensive, but the official site gives you a good selection of sample entries
, with a new one added every day; and a feature in today's Times
gives you some more
, beginning with Mary Toft, the woman who gave birth to rabbits.
posted by verstegan
on Sep 23, 2004 -
English Accents and Dialects.
The British Library has compiled an online archive of northern speech dating back to the 19th century. The recordings range from from audio from Victorian cylinder dictaphones to 1950s football fans chanting.
posted by Masi
on Aug 1, 2004 -
Rude place names.
If you're in England then this is for you. Please bare with us rest of the world, this is what we really like in our humour (at least it in Kilburn). If you're not in England then feel free to use my postcode, NW2. Ooooo, titter ye not
(and who will be the first wag to post "not"?)
posted by ciderwoman
on Jun 28, 2004 -
The deportation of an English village to Australia. BBC article with links to other interesting articles on immigration and emigration on the page.
posted by plep
on Jun 20, 2004 -