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The Spirit of Christmas Fake

The Vice Chancellor’s court in Westminster must have been chilly indeed on Thursday January 11th 1844. We don’t know if the court room was busy or if crowds had gathered to get a peek at one of England’s literary darlings. They might well have. When A Christmas Carol was published on December 19th the previous year, it had been to near universal acclaim. The first edition had sold out by Christmas Eve. But for author Charles Dickens, there was no

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“This is the head of a traitor, Edward Marcus Despard!” The plot to kill George III, by Regency Spies author Sue Wilkes

While researching her new book Regency Spies (published by Pen & Sword this month), Sue Wilkes uncovered the story of a desperate plot to kill George III and overthrow the British government… Colonel Despard (1751–1803) has gone down in history as the leader of a wildly impractical, hopeless scheme. Despard was the leader of a group known as the United Britons, which had links with rebel Irishmen. Unfortunately for their plans, some members of the group were government spies, who

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Examples of Winston Churchill’s work as a war correspondent

Simon Read is currently using The British Newspaper Archive to research Winston Churchill’s adventures as a war correspondent. He got in touch to show us some examples of Churchill’s journalism.   **************   Hear the name Winston Churchill, and what comes to mind? Most likely, it’s Churchill the war leader with his ever-present cigar, bulldog scowl, and never-surrender spirit. But long before Churchill’s Finest Hour, there was Winston Churchill the young adventurer. Between 1895 and 1900, Churchill covered wars of

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London cabbie George Smith arrested for drunk driving in 1897

The first person to be arrested and charged for driving under the influence of alcohol was George Smith, a London cabdriver. Charged with drunk driving on 10 September 1897 This article from the Morning Post reported that at about 00:45 on Friday 10 September 1897, Smith’s vehicle ‘swerved from one side of the road to the other, and ran across the footway into 165 New Bond Street’. George Smith admitted that he’d had ‘two or three glasses of beer’ and

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‘Cut your hair’: a court report in the Morning Post

Historical newspapers are full of reports about local criminal trials. These are a great resource for both historical research and genealogy. Not only can you track the sorts of crimes that were being committed and how people were punished, you might also find your ancestors’ names mentioned.   Search local court reports   The Morning Post and the long-haired Londoner Court reports can often make for rather amusing reading, containing the actual words, excuses and explanations of the people involved.

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